(1311-05-17) Game Change
Summary: Philomène comes calling to play the game; Emmanuelle changes it. (Warning: Some language, but we’re not very Mandragian this time round.)
RL Date: 03/05/2019 - 03/06/2019
Related: Creditably Matched, Nothing Comes Free, Needful Adjustments, It Isn’t Dinnertime, It Isn’t Lunchtime, It Isn’t Time For Breakfast Either, Something Foul This Way Comes. Also, takes place later in the day after Gooseberry.
emmanuelle philomene 

Jewel-Box — La Maison Sanglante

This palatial chamber is designed to stifle sound. The walls are padded with cork and covered in quilted dark purple satin, and the floor is layered with thick, priceless Akkadian carpets in warm hues of orange and violet, red and gold. The copper-gilded ceiling above serves as a distorted mirror, reflecting the flicker of candle-flames and whatever alarming games may be played herein.

In the middle of the room stands a massive high bed lavishly layered with jewel-coloured silks and satins and velvets: its four posts are not carved from wood but intricately wrought of black iron, of a piece with shackles and chains and an interesting pulley system inside the canopy, against all of which the strongest man might struggle in vain. The latter is silhouetted against the flames of Lord Kushiel's hell, painted red-orange but violet at their very core. None of this is Mandrake House's standard issue, but an invention of the lady of that house and this one; likewise the cross hewn from rare and costly purple heartwood, attached to a wheel presently chocked but quite capable of spinning.

To the left of the doors by which one enters from the corridor, are three pairs of wide glass doors which open upon the courtyard and are customarily hidden behind floor-length drapes of soft black velvet edged in gold-embroidered Shahrizai keys. Arranged across the farther wall, on ebony shelves against purple satin, is a display of every possible aid to love or incitement to pain, precisely arranged and immaculately dusted. Some would be familiar to any patron of the Night Court, and others bewildering to anyone unaccustomed to the practices of Mandrakes and Valerians. One might wonder why any single person requires quite so many whips, straps, canes, tawses, crops, and flails, organised by size and by colour: but each has its own particular gifts to bestow upon its fortunate victims. To the left of this joyous array, between it and the courtyard doors, stands a locked, glass-fronted cabinet which contains various Akkadian trinkets, designed in the main to inflict extraordinary pains upon masculine anatomy — though there are also one or two pieces of interest to ladies. They obviously comprise a set.

The back wall is anchored by a massive fireplace of dark marble.

At either side of it, dividing the wall into symmetrical sections, stand finely-carven screens of purple heartwood shielding arched openings into smaller chambers. Beyond the left-hand screen is a miniature infirmary, furnished with a lowish, padded, sheet-draped table of the kind one might see in a marquist's shop, or in certain Balm or Coquelicot patron rooms. Shelves above and behind that table hold an extraordinary variety of vials, flasks, jars, and boxes: all the equipage, in fact, of an Eisandine chirurgeon conversant with the very latest theories in medicine. Of course there is also an unusually well-appointed washstand.

The courtyard doors are all open; the air flows freely, the southern spring’s warmth chilled by stone but scented by the purple and white blossoms of mandrake flowers in bloom, and by Emmanuelle Shahrizai’s own resinous cologne.

She is seated beneath a canopy of white oiled silk angled to protect her from the sun without spoiling the light by which she is reading; as Philomène appears in the black and golden sitting-room and makes her approach therefrom she glances up and then down, to find the right point at which to pause before she sets her book aside upon a table draped in white linen and laid with a glass of something cool and red, an emptied plate, an ivory-handled knife suitable for cutting pages, and the other accoutrements of a pleasant hour of solitude.

She rises: a slight and flat-heeled figure dressed in breeches of sturdy rather than sensual black cloth, and a sleeveless shirt of burgundy silk somewhat negligently tucked in. Absent such stringent tailoring as she normally affects her shoulders reveal their squared-off shape, and her pale and customarily-covered arms a musculature formed for power as well as elegance. Her figure suggests nothing feminine to the eye — only the usual blatantly masculine touch, stretching taut her breeches, offering challenge or promise or threat, however an onlooker may happen to interpret it. The pearl dangling from the lower piercing in her left ear is today white and creamy and lustrous; otherwise, her only jewels are the accompanying diamond studs. Her hair is in a plain blue-black chignon. Her expression, as she gestures for Philomène to precede her into the jewel-box and the infirmary beyond, isn’t an expression at all.

It makes a change for Emmanuelle to be the one in casual clothes and Philomène to be the one in the extravagantly expensive jacket, but that’s how it appears to be today. It’s the same green jacket that Baltasar did his best to add his own personal flair to with his knife, but the embroidery has been neatly repaired to the extent that if you didn’t know that a thread or two had been worked loose you wouldn’t know it’s fixed again. This being Philomène, the buttons remain undone, however, for a more casual look, and there’s no waistcoat beneath. Well, it seemed a waste of time to put on more layers when she knew they’d be coming off again.

“What, no warm welcome today?” she can’t help but goad, her gait coming more easily with every visit here, but still quite distinctive in the way her left leg swings outwards and the toes skim the floor with every step. “I’m starting to think you don’t love me after all.”

The taunt is no use; still regarding her patient impassively Emmanuelle suggests, “Go through.” Her arm lifts and her wrist curves and her finger points, indicating the desired direction with all the grace of her Mont Nuit training. Then her hand drops. “And take off your coat,” she adds drily, watching Philomène precede her into the jewel-box’s hushed coolness.

There’s very little grace in the way Philomène limps on through. Even before the injury she’s never had the elegance and poise of a dancer, more the stride and swagger of a front row forward, slender build notwithstanding. She is at least for now, however, rather cheerful, whistling a snatch of a popular tune between her teeth as she makes her way out of the sunshine and into the relative dimness of Emmanuelle’s rooms, shrugging her jacket casually from her shoulders.

“Beautiful day to be outside,” she comments amiably, clearly quite pleased with herself today for some reason. For now. Until the usual twisting and poking and shooting agony of the chirurgeon’s manipulations, anyway. “Although I’m surprised to see you out there. The rumours about you catching fire in the sunlight are vastly exaggerated, then?”

Emmanuelle follows, gauging this last fortnight’s small but — to her — discernible improvement in the ease if not the elegance of Philomène’s stride, and takes up station just outside the carven screen of purple heartwood which covers the arched entrance to her infirmary. She turns there and folds her pale arms across her chest to watch her belligerent (really, a more apt term than ‘patient’) deal with her coat and deposit its embroidered richness where she will.

“This season is usually a pleasant one in Marsilikos, yes,” she offers. A remark with which even Philomène d’Aiglemort may have a tough time disagreeing: though Emmanuelle assumes she will try. Another lift of her hand, graceful yet inevitably imperious, ushers her onward.

“Almost enough to make one think about moving south permanently,” Philomène throws out, hauling herself through the door and up onto the table, ready to be tortured. “If it weren’t for the duties of land and family at home keeping me grounded.” She lets out a grunt of effort as she drags her leg up onto the table behind her, then settles, face down, in the approved position to wait.

This too Emmanuelle keeps one eye upon as she avails herself of the untouched cake of lavender soap left out upon her washstand — the lovely hot water — the pristine white towel, fluffy, but not so fluffy that it sheds fibres upon her hands as she dries them briskly. Baltasar has been here this morning. Baltasar goes everywhere, before she arrives herself.

“You may find your aches lessen with the ripening of an Eisandine summer,” she mentions, dropping the towel in the wicker laundry basket beneath the washstand. “Particularly as you have been accustomed all your life to more northerly climates.” With no more ado, and no more of their usual banter, she takes three crisp booted steps up to the side of the table and applies her clever, ruthless, sparkling clean hands to her belligerent’s unruly spine.

“You’d be… surprised,” Philomène manages, gritting her teeth as a wrench suddenly has all sorts of colours swimming in front of her eyes and words become really far too difficult to articulate. She hisses in a breath or two, scowling at the table because clearly it’s all the table’s fault, before steadying herself and continuing the conversation as though they were sitting with a nice cup of tea in the drawing room somewhere. “How fine the weather can be in l’Agnace in the summer.” She moistens her lips, tilting her head a little so that the sheet on the table touches the corner of her eye and deals with any incumbent teariness before it has a chance to show. “Keeps the crops growing tall.”

The small, meditative ‘mm’ sound behind the painted line of Emmanuelle’s lips might be for the growing season in l’Agnace — or for that hiss which escapes Philomène’s own lips and the access of tension which accompanies it. With one hand she administers a firm, soothing stroke to the other woman’s back, calming her as one might a horse who’s had a scare; “Indeed, perhaps I might be surprised,” she ventures, distantly courteous, and then finding that Philo’s reprieve has lasted long enough she resumes working with the heels of her hands.

An instant after she reaches the base of her belligerent’s spine her fingers snap, sudden and sharp, close enough to Philomène's ear to bear an acute auditory resemblance to the crack of a whip. "Marc Blandin," she mentions. "I have been meaning to give you his name and his direction when I saw you again. You owe him at the very least a basket of fruit. Perhaps one of your excellent sides of Gueret bacon… Turn onto your side."

By now the sounds of cracks and pops are second nature to this particular hell hole, but that one so close to her ear warrants an accusing squint upwards at the woman. “And who the bloody hell is Marc Blandin?” she asks, bracing herself against the surface, bending one knee, and shifting to lie sideways as requested. “Or what? What have you been promising him that earns him a Chalasse pig?”

“… You recall,” Emmanuelle murmurs, her hands finding their familiar places about Philomène’s hip, “that day a fortnight past when you amused yourself by hurting my hand—?” On which note — and one really must admire Philo’s boldness on that occasion, if not her good sense — she delivers the customary wrench to the worse of her patient’s two hips. “Marc Blandin,” she explains in the next moment, “is the man who suffered for your actions.”

“I am sure,” Philomène manages, sheer bloodymindedness keeping her from screaming out, “that you are the one who amuses herself by causing pain. I take no pleasure in it, but I do hope you’ll accept the warning for what it is.”

There’s an oddly tender quality in Emmanuelle’s low voice as she shifts the limb in her hands, testing the re-broadened limits of its mobility. “My dear vicomtesse, we discussed this at the time,” she reminds her. “You saw me; I saw your face alter. You were not surprised and reacting by pure instinct. You chose your response because you knew you would enjoy it. But we need not belabour that point if you prefer not to admit it. Turn onto your other side,” she directs, with the same mildness from which she has not yet varied this afternoon.

“… I hold no personal grudge against you,” she adds, “for indulging yourself a little.”

“As though the only motivations for any action are pleasure or instinct?” Philomène challenges, lips curving briefly upwards as she levers herself over, takes a moment to breathe heavily, then settles ready to take the next round of punishment. “And I thought we were supposed to be civilised people, with the capacity for thought, for reason, and for consideration of future consequences?”

“That was thought, yes,” Emmanuelle clarifies, possessing herself of Philomène’s other hip as it is offered up to her, “but it was not reason — which would have dictated any one of several less combative but equally effective deflections of my touch — and nor were you paying heed to the consequences of harming a chirurgeon’s hands. I postponed our appointment and you were longer in pain, because I was not certain I trusted myself to deal with you as gently and professionally as I would wish to do,” and she wrenches that second hip likewise, “after such a moment between us and the consequences which grew from it. Lie on your back.”

And thus they are facing one another, more or less, when the point arrives. With Emmanuelle Shahrizai, it always gets there in the end. “That night I was to have cut a stone from the bladder of a man named Marc Blandin,” she elucidates. “But you hurt my hand sufficiently that I felt I had to wait before I could take up my knives again. He lived an extra day in agony and unable to piss because your idea of thought, is to fight. Is that so civilised, vicomtesse?”

It’s a rare thing, but during all this Philomène actually remains silent. Silent, but for the necessary gasp of breath dragged from her with that wrench of her hip, but as that’s hardly intentional it clearly doesn’t count. Once she’s lying there and is so roundly challenged, she does the one thing that perhaps one might never expect of a d’Aiglemort, especially not this d’Aiglemort. She considers, pauses, and then nods. “You’ll furnish me with the man’s address, then, and I’ll see to it that he’s given a leg of ham and a sound apology?”

She meets the other woman’s eye, noting mildly, “I had forgotten that you might perhaps be doing some good for people other than me. Unforgivable. I shall note your hands in future as sacrosanct at least. I apologise.”

Emmanuelle’s precious and sensitive hands meet behind her back, where they flex several times as she listens to that rarest of orations — a d’Aiglemort apology — and one thumb discreetly massages an ache found in the other palm. She listens, gazing down into those grey-blue eyes which meet her own always so proudly and without flinching, her own blue diamonds set in a visage as implacable as a bronze mask. At length, justly, as befits a scion of Kushiel, she answers Philomène’s words with a slight nod and then another.

“I accept your apology,” she grants softly, “and I am certain Monsieur Blandin will appreciate his ham, now that he is recovering so well from his operation.” She steps behind the table and takes Philo’s head in both her hands, turning it this way and that as she is wont to do, to see how far her neck will move naturally— and then she moves it most unnaturally indeed, a sharp gesture that must feel as reckless to her victim as it is in truth precisely controlled.

“… I am often doing something of the kind,” she adds absently — if one can believe in her tone. “On that afternoon I was coming from the home of a patient of mine who had missed an appointment at the temple. We were concerned about a relapse.” And she wrenches her belligerent’s neck the other way, to complete the pattern. “In the early morning it’s usually a confinement,” she drawls as she steps away to wash her hands again. “Infants have an inveterate habit of arriving when they please, at any hour. You may get up.”

“A habit,” Philomène notes drily as she gingerly touches her hand to her chin and rolls her neck, “that doesn’t seem to disappear no matter how old they get.” She slides her legs round to sit up, adjusts both shoulders, then grips one elbow then the other to stretch out her arm muscles next. “But then what the bloody hell possessed you to decide the best course of action on spying a pair of acquaintances was to throw your arms around us? Do I strike you as a hugging type?”

Emmanuelle shakes droplets of water from her manicured fingertips and turns, resting a hip against the washstand as she dries her hands on another fresh towel. She raises an eyebrow at the question, which immediately makes her seem more her usual self than the bland and non-committal variation thereupon whom she sent out today to receive and to treat Philomène.

“It’s fucking loud on the docks,” she observes, “and I don’t care to raise my voice.” A beat, and without looking round she drops that towel in the basket with the other. “At arm’s length you would not have heard me speak, nor I you. Come through into the sitting-room.”

Again she requires Philo to precede her, out through the jewel-box and into the brighter courtyard, and thence the luxurious gloom of that chamber where once she ate peculiar fruit. Here every piece of furniture seems to gleam with gilt whenever the afternoon sun is so bold as to touch it, not least the secrétaire desk where Emmanuelle sits down.

“I don’t care how skilled your hands are,” Philomène notes drily, tone one of disbelief as she eases to her feet, tests her footing, and begins carefully limping past her ministering angel and back into the other room and the courtyard, snatching up her jacket as she goes. “I can’t believe for one moment that you require the medium of touch in order to speak or listen. Those of us with a normal anatomy use these things called ‘ears’ and ‘a tongue’ for the purpose.”

There’s the usual hesitancy in her step following the cruel chiropractic dark arts of the Shahrizai. There may in theory be more movement, but that doesn’t stop the ache of muscles and joints pressed into unaccustomed positions.

“Just admit you were trying to get a rise from me,” she requests, with more patience than one might ever expect from the woman. “You know as well as I do that there’s no other good reason to come over and wrap an arm around my shoulders. No matter what good works you might have been on previously. You wanted a response. You got one.”

Emmanuelle unlocks her desk with the aid of a small ring of keys produced from a pocket of her dark broadcloth breeches. She leaves her keys in the lock, folds down the lid, and removes a handful of papers from one of the pigeonholes. Sitting there she presents to Philomène only an austere and unwavering Shahrizai profile — but she’s listening, to be sure.

"Did I ever claim a merely normal anatomy?" she muses absently as she sorts through the documents, tucking some back whence they came and laying out one then another before her upon the dark red velvet upholstery inside the desk’s lid. (She lines them up very neatly, of course, with reference to the edges and to one another.) “… I imagine, having had so much good news of late, I was in a whimsical mood that afternoon,” she concedes, and swivels in her chair to face her belligerent and gaze with steady blue intensity up into her eyes. “But what I did is no more than you allowed. You had a choice and a moment in which to make it, and you chose for your enjoyment. You might have moved aside, or held up your hand — either response would have warded me off successfully without the use of force — instead you allowed me to touch you so that you might have the pleasure of hurting me, and the excuse for it. This propensity in you for violence verbal and otherwise amounts to a kind of incontinence," she observes with chirurgeonly detachment, "far less pardonable or curable than Monsieur Blandin's. Here," and having conjured the unfortunate fellow she presents Philomène with the first of the chosen papers, oriented toward its recipient, "is his name and direction."

Philomène claims the paper and holds it up to read it, tilting it to best catch the light. “You were in a ‘whimsical mood’,” she echoes, running a finger down the edge of the paper, then folding it crisply in half and tucking it into the inside pocket of her still unworn jacket. “And you chose to test me. And you expected me to move away from you? If a dog shits on a rug, you don’t take away all the rugs in the house, you discipline the animal until it learns.” She slings the jacket over her shoulders, taking a moment to slide her arms into the sleeves. “So my question is whether you’ve learned?”

Whilst Philomène is still speaking the Shahrizai begins slowly to shake her head. Then she pushes back her lacquered and gilded chair and rises into her usual stance, shoulders squared and boots firmly planted, the second paper in one hand as she shuts and locks her desk with the other. She tests the key in the lock to be sure it’s properly done, then tucks her keys away in her pocket and turns to face her visitor fully and look her once more in the eye.

“It was not the test you think it was,” she says gently. “I have grown fond of you, vicomtesse, these last weeks — I wondered, in that moment when I was deciding how to get near enough to speak comfortably to you and to my old friend Raphael, whether casual affection would succeed with you or whether you would shrug it off as something distasteful… I underestimated you, yes, in that moment,” she admits, inclining her head in a slight but measurable tribute to the sheer bloodymindedness of the woman before her, “and I underestimated your hostility toward me. That, I surely learnt as you wished me to,” she grants. “This is for you also,” and she offers Philomène that second document she prepared in advance; “a list of three healers associated with the Temple of Eisheth who can do for you most or all of what I have done so far. The choice is yours here too, of course, I do not dictate. I recommend that you seek out a practitioner you actually like,” she drawls, giving a faint, wry smile; “one whom you feel less inclined to berate and to assault. Removing a source of anger and of conflict from your life can only be of benefit to your overall health, and, as I hope I have made sufficiently plain upon previous occasions — I do seek the benefit of your health,” she reminds her with quiet sincerity.

Philomène sets three fingers down on the paper as it’s offered over, pressing it down on the secretaire’s marble top and sliding it a few inches back towards the other woman. “Philomène,” she announces quietly. “My name is Philomène. What you mistake for hostility is the greatest of respect.” She lifts her other hand to cut off any argument. “You know me perhaps better than anyone has in… a number of years, Lady Shahrizai. You know that the only thing that keeps me going is the fight. Take away conflict and what is there left of me? An old crippled woman, too far from home and too stubborn to make friends.”

She glances down herself, beginning to carefully and deliberately do up each button in turn on her jacket. “I don’t think I shall seek out another practitioner, but thank you. I find it unlikely that I will find any other chirurgeon who will do me the honour that you have. Perhaps, though, you might still join me for a drink and a verbal spar if you’re on your way from seeing to a patient somewhere, or birthing some squalling child in the silly hours of the morning. If,” and she offers a wry smile, “we are agreed on the rules of engagement in the matter, that your hands are off limits to me, and unless you intend to wrestle, my body is off limits to you.”

“That conflict is what will poison your remaining time in this world,” is Emmanuelle’s quiet warning, “and ensure that you die lonely.” She neither receives the paper nor even glances at it, the full measure of her cool blue attention devoted to the other woman’s face as she drinks in these difficult admissions. “Because I am fond of you, Philomène,” she pronounces gently, “I would rather not watch that happen, nor contribute to it — leaving aside the fact I simply don’t enjoy combat as you do. I would far prefer to see you sustain yourself upon something fundamentally healthy,” she says seriously, “rather than this incessant fighting that is destructive not only to your relationships with the people in your life, but to your own soul. I myself not long ago chose a different style of life. I believe that is possible at any age, with sufficient will. I hoped you might be discovering a different style with me at least. We have spoken before of the difference between iron and steel. Inflexibility is not strength — it’s merely a means of building for yourself a barred cage that you can’t get out of even when you most desire escape.”

“I’m fifty three years old,” Philomène states frankly, continuing to button up her jacket until she reaches somewhere near the top, leaving the last three buttons unfastened. “What am I going to do? Take up knitting? No, I’ll fight my way to my dying breath. Sometimes for my family, sometimes for my land, but, yes, a damn good portion of the time for me. And for those people I’d call my friends, despite everything you amongst them, sometimes you need somebody you can call on who’ll fight for you.” She shrugs. “Cage or not, that’s who I am. That’s what makes me me. Otherwise exactly who am I, I ask you?”

The prospect of knitting earns a fractional shake of Emmanuelle’s dark head. “You’d do two murders with the knitting needles in the first quarter of an hour,” she murmurs, without quite interrupting the flow of Philomène’s thoughts, “… as indeed would I.”

Then: “I don’t say you ought to give up fighting for the sake of your health — only that I believe your health, and you yourself, would benefit from the cultivation of other methods of moving through the world. It is something you do, as you say, very much for yourself. That is at root a selfish stance and a selfish impulse, unlikely to gain you the kind of friendships that might add something sweet to your remaining years. Mine, for instance,” she offers drily, with a shrug of one red silken shoulder, “if you should wish for it. You know I haven’t your taste for conflict, and yet every time we meet you do all you can to spark it, because your pleasure matters to you so much more than mine. Perhaps I indulge you too much — I am a courtesan, it is my nature.” And again she shrugs. “But I prefer you when you simply speak from your heart and not your balls, and when you consider my wishes as well as your own. That is what I would consider true respect. I can’t be arsed beating down a wall every time I see you, Philomène,” she says frankly. “This is not a dungeon, and you are not a patron, and it does neither of us good. I have done what I can to make you feel safe with me — the rest, it lies with you.”

There’s a quiet laugh and a shake of her head. “You say you have no taste for conflict… well, perhaps not. You’ve a taste for winning, and if you want to win then you have to play the game. I just think you’ve been playing the game so long that you’ve forgotten how not to play,” Philomène admits, shrugging simply. “So tell me what you want? What keeps you going when otherwise you’d give it up?”

“… On the contrary,” murmurs Emmanuelle, venturing a restrained and crooked red smile, “I often find that the surest path to victory is to change the game for a different one. But I am not certain I understand your question. What would I be giving up? And why?”

Philomène mirrors that smile, her own distinctly unpainted. “But the victory is important to you. For you, the win. For me, the game.” She takes a deep breath, then exhales wearily. Pushing away from the secretaire, she limps a few paces in one direction, then turns and limps back the other, showing off her newly improved gait. “If I didn’t have the will to fight, I’d have given it up when I got this,” she explains, gesturing rather offhandedly towards her leg. “Instead of sweating it out for those months, when it was… well, when it was bad. Something then made me decide to stick two fingers up at the world and show the bastards they can’t keep me down. Are you telling me everything in your life is fucking roses? What keeps you going when it’s shit?”

“That,” mentions Emmanuelle, with a gesture toward Philomène’s gait which brings her fingertips briefly through a beam of sunshine and sets her black-lacquered nails gleaming à la her furniture, “is a victory, and it required no one else to lose…” But at the vicomtesse’s next demand she draws her reddened lower lip between her teeth and gives a slow little shake of her head, which a breath later blossoms into low and husky laughter. “… Ah, but I am happy,” she admits with a wry smile, nonchalantly but unforgivably smug. “Perhaps that is what has sustained me through the darker moments which attend upon any mortal existence — this goal of mine, this life I intended for myself, and my belief that I could in time achieve it.”

The secrétaire stands higher on her than Philomène; she reaches up and rests one fastidious fingertip upon the paper and pushes it back toward the other woman.

"Take the list," she advises, and taps it. "You need not commit yourself to anything, but is it not preferable to retain your power of choice—? You do have to fuck off now,” she adds more soberly; “I’m working tonight. If you do wish to see me again on more cordial terms, and if you are prepared to consider my person as sacrosanct as your own, you may write to me to suggest another rendezvous in a few weeks’ time. I promise you nothing — only that if you are willing to reflect upon my words today, so shall I reflect upon yours.”

“Keep your list,” Philomène insists with a smirk. “I’m fifty three years old. I haven’t got time to train a new butcher. Or write bloody letters. You know where to find me, my routine rarely varies. I assume Baltasar will see me out?”

“I see I have already my answer,” drawls Baltasar’s mistress, sounding unsurprised; and she leaves via the open courtyard doors with her thumbs hooked into her belt just a moment before, indeed, that indefatigable eavesdropping hound arrives to do his duty.

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