(1311-03-23) Target Switch
Summary: Philomène is here to eat stew and sic her daughter on unsuspecting gentlemen. And she's all out of stew.
RL Date: 23/03/2019
Related: Husband Shopping.
symon philomene 

**Leaping Fish Inn — Market Promenade*

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.

(if you — that's right, you, reading this — have the beginning, please add)

Philomène turns back from the fire, dusting her hand lightly off against her breeches and giving the pair a quick once over and a faint smile. "I believe we did meet," she agrees, dragging a chair a few inches across the floor with a painful screech (the chair not her) before lowering herself carefully into it. "Some sort of quest to find a specific set of Marsilikos playing cards, if I recall correctly. Good afternoon, mademoiselle, Lord Symon. Should I presume, then, that the playing cards have been obtained?"

"Oh, good," Symon says, since that saves him from having to prove whether or not he knows his new friend's name. "It seems as if they have," he puts in eagerly. "I w…was just about to b-be shown them, although of course a m…meal takes precedent." He only now recalls again why he ought to be feeling uncertain, so the next look in Philomene's direction is somewhat different in character than his previous cheerful glances. "Oh, er…Have you b-been…well?" he finds himself asking next.

"Oh, very well," Philomène agrees, absently drumming her slender fingertips on the table in front of her. "The fine weather agrees with me far more than the snow and I was able to take a long ride out of the city today. Still," she adds with a faint smile, "without splitting any part of my saddle this time. And you? I hope you've been getting out in the fresh air."

"Oh, I do love the springtime," Symon can't help but reply, good cheer bubbling forth again. "Plants are actually putting out buds and the wind doesn't hurt your face and fingertips…Truly it must be one of the finest seasons of all." He seems to think this is a discovery that he is among the first to make. "W…what is your horse called?"

"Hirondelle, after the bird," Philomène is keen to provide, leaning forward a little as her favourite subject is discussed so she barely notices the mug of beer set down at her elbow by the server. "She's an older girl now, but she'll still give most beasts a good run for their money. They breed them sturdy in L'Agnace. You ride?"

"Only occasionally, to get somewhere," Symon must admit. "W…we had to ride out to Elua at the last m…moment, and I w…was sore for days from that. B-but I don't usually fall off." Can remain upright in a saddle, a great accomplishment of a gentleman.

Philomène arches one slender brow in surprise, settling back in her seat once more and folding her arms across her chest. "You do surprise me, my lord. Do you intend to learn more? It's a useful skill if you've land to look after, otherwise how do you intend to get from one end to the other? There are always places a carriage can't take you, and nothing gives you the independence of a good horse. I know you said you intend to leave the accounts to your wife, but it's never a bad idea to keep your face known among your tenants by getting out there to see them in person."

"That's just it, do you see," Symon replies, whatever that means, but they are interrupted by the delivery of two bowls of stew and some wine. "Oh, good," Symon says. "I have to say, I didn't come in to eat, b-but once I smelled it, I /was/ hungry."

"I'm absolutely ravenous," Philomène decides, although for her that probably means she might have four spoonfuls instead of three before deciding she's had enough. The woman has the appetite of a bird. She takes up a spoon to begin poking at the fish as though trying to identify it by texture alone. "Lord Symon, if you ever want to come riding, do please just ask. I'd be pleased to teach you what I can." She pauses to take up a spoonful of the stew and lift it to her lips, enjoying it as she chews and finally swallows. "It's always an excellent excuse to get away from the city, and all the people," she adds, the words less polite and disinterested than she'd intended and somewhat more heartfelt.

"B-but I like the p-people," Symon returns. And he likes the stew, which he tucks into without too much delay. "W…why do you like talking to farmers so much m…more than you like the city?"

Philomène rests one elbow on the table, taking up her beer in the other hand. "City people talk a lot without saying anything," she explains after a moment to consider her words. "If you asked a city person what colour the sky is they'd spend half an hour trying to work out what answer you wanted before they answered. Ask a farmer and they'll look at you like you're insane, which with a question like that you might well be, and tell you straight out that it's blue." She pauses, half smiling as she lifts her beer to her lips. "Or grey, admittedly."

Symon looks away from his food to regard Philomene. "Then it's honesty that you p-prize the m…most in them?" he asks, and suddenly it seems like a very serious question.

"Absolutely," the Vicomtesse agrees simply, inclining her head before taking a good swig from her mug.

"I don't think I'm going to m…marry your daughter," Symon blurts in response. "I know I shouldn't say so in p-public; I don't m…mean to embarrass you, it's just that I like to talk to you and I don't w…want you to think I am a liar. I don't like lying. I've b-been told I'm not clever enough for it, anyway. So I thought I should just… Anyway, I'm sorry. Honestly."

Philomène's spoon pauses for barely a second on the way up to her mouth as the beer is set down on the table. Gaze fixed on the stew for now, she notes only, "I see," before the necessity of eating renders her at least temporarily mute. It's a rather uncomfortable silence, if we're honest, not really helped by the way she settles those grey-blue eyes on Symon once she's swallowed, for a longer time than might usually be polite. The silence drags out. "Well," she finally decides with a resigned shrug. "I shall let her know, then. How's your wine?"

"I haven't…" Symon takes the cue to pick of the wine and have a sip, his mouth indeed having gone dry at having to suddenly tell such a truth to such an intimidating listener. "It's good," he says. "Do you w…want some?" He really ought to leave it at that, but he can't resist adding, "Could you tell her I'm sorry? To her as w-well? It isn't…w-what you p-probably think. It's just…not the right m…match."

Philomène lifts her beer mug in a sort of ironic toast instead. "I shall pass on your regards and your apologies, certainly, my lord. And regardless of personal interest in the matter, I still wish you every good fortune in finding the wife that is a good match for you. The offer to go riding still stands."

Symon lifts his eyebrows as if a little surprised by that kindness in Philomène. "I…didn't know if you w…would say that, m-my lady," Symon replies, and cheer seems to be cautiously creeping back into his manner. "I think I w…would like that. I'm trying to learn now some things that…I didn't learn enough when I w…was younger." A little more stew. "If you like, I can b-bring my friend Etienne along. He keeps saying I should talk to farmers, too, so surely you two w…would have something in common."

It might be kindness. But that seems unlikely. This is still Philomène de Chalasse, after all. Perhaps it's more like resigned acceptance that her beloved daughter might not entirely have every gentleman in Terre D'Ange leaping to marry her. For some unknown reason. It's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a pie. "If he rides, certainly, bring him," she agrees amiably, scooping up another, and probably final, spoonful of her stew. The bread on the side remains untouched. "Is he more of a city chap, or an honest man?" she asks keenly, eyes narrowing a little at the Perigeux.

"Oh, honest," Symon says brightly and without hesitation. "And the outdoor type. He w…will understand you w-when you say those things that m…make no sense to me," he predicts merrily. Finished with his stew, he sits back with his wine, mood apparently vastly improved now that the weight of confession is off his chest.

"I hadn't realised I'd said anything too impenetrable," Philomène responds drily, nudging her barely touched bowl of stew away from her so she can instead concentrate on the beer, far more her speed. "Do please let me know if I ought to explain things more clearly. But no, do please tell me more about this Lord Etienne?" TARGET ACQUIRED.

"I understand the w…words, of course," Symon says, blinking. "It's just…w-we think differently." And that is said lightly enough. "Oh, Lord Etienne? W-well, he's Azzalese, a swordsman. Hasn't b-been in M…Marsilikos long. W-we went to Elua together and had a m…marvellous time. He's good-hearted; you'll like him."

Philomène enjoys a long swig from her beer before setting it down, thumb running along the rim of her mug. "From a family I know?" she queries, brows furrowing. "I'm not familiar with many Azzalese, I admit. And does he have family here, or..?"

"Not here, no. B-but he has sisters. The family's called Arguil, I don't know if you know them or not. I'd never heard of them," Symon says openly sipping on his wine. "B-but I am p…poor with names."

"I shall have to look them up," Philomè admits pleasantly. And not at all worryingly. Nope. Nothing to see here. Move along. "Here, would you like a little more stew, my lord? I find the portions here are really a little too large for me, and I really ought to be on my way. I do look forward to seeing you at the stables, however, and your young friend, Lord Etienne Arguil." Name locked into targeting device. Beep beep beep.

"Oh, thank you," replies Symon, none the wiser. "I'm sure w…we'll have a glorious time."

Philomène dips her head, rising carefully to her feet, draining her beer, and hobbling back out into the spring air.

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