(1311-09-15) Encouraging Vermin
Summary: The vicomtesse de Gueret find her house infested by an uninvited visitor… Discourse ensues, from both sides of the border.
RL Date: 15/09/2019
Related: None.
philomene fenris 

Maison aux Herbes — Rue du Port

The storm has been hitting Marsilikos rather hard but it does not bring relief from the heat, merely it adds humidity to the heat. A letter arrived first to Vicomtesse De Gueret and it had the Valliers seal upon it. Inside the penmanship was harder to read as the writer is still clearly learning. It simply stated, 'I am come to speak with you. Two sides of coin. Request a peaceful speak.' Yes the grammar is even horrible. However, within a few hours, Lord Fenris Valliers arrives alone through the storm wearing only a tunic which is already tight to him and breeches. He is clearly unarmed but he is holding a round of leather that looks like it could hold papers or something else. He walks up to the door and knocks. The strength of the knock can be heard rather deeply into the large home. He is greeted by a maid who he actually bows to. He stands up and follows her into the front room. He's dripping wet but when he sees Philomene, he bows deeply to her before standing up and looking at her with those intense blue eyes, much like the Duc of Valliers eyes.

Philomène doesn't get up when her guest arrives, but she does at least set aside the embroidery on which she's clearly been working, jabbing the needle into the arm of her comfortable chair with some sort of finality. She takes perhaps a few moments longer than strictly necessary to look the younger man up and down, scrutinising his appearance and bearing, before finally inclining her head slightly in response to the bow. "Lord Gaspard Valliers," she pronounces, words quiet but precise. "Caroline, fetch the poor man a towel so he doesn't drip all over the carpets..?" she adds aside to her maid, as though this is a regular annoyance.

The giant of a man doesn't mind the scrutinizing as he stands there before her. He looks down to the carpet and steps back to a more tiled place before he removes his shoes and waits quietly for the towel. He bows his head to the maid when he gets one and he quickly dries his hair, his face, and then walks over to Philo and puts the towel on a hard chair, bringing it closer to her and taking a seat. "Might you permit me to be frank?" He puts the leather bound package on his lap as he looks to her leg then back up to her.

Philomène watches him impassively for a moment longer as he settles in. She reaches forward for her goblet from the table, eyeing him over the rim as she takes a long sip. "Please, do take a seat," she offers drily, well aware that not only has he already done so, he's even moved himself closer. "And that depends very much on whether by 'frank' you're asking for carte blanche to be fucking offensive, or if you're simply moved by a pressing need and drive for honesty." She takes another sip, letting her thumb rest on the rim of her goblet as she lowers it, and raises a brow expectantly at him.

Those blue eyes look at her. "I generally try to avoid being… " He mouths the words. "Fucking offensive." It seems wrong coming from his lips and his accent makes it sound strange. He turns and looks at some of the plants in the area and grunts quietly before turning his eyes back to her. "One of my duties when I was a slave was to forge weaponry. Sometimes I helped with healing patients and others I steadied them." He looks back to her leg before opening up the leather bound papers and then holding them out for her. They are different leather lined metal braces for different parts of the leg. "It won't stop the pain entirely but it takes some of the load off and … it helps you if you wish to engage in combat."

Philomène unrolls the first of the papers, reaching forward across the table for the salt cellar with which to weigh down the top edge and stop the thing from rolling back up again. "I've found, in general, that being on the back of a horse is more useful should I wish to engage in combat," she notes idly, but she traces a finger along the line of the drawing and shoots him a direct glance. "This helps how exactly?"

The man grunts quietly. "There are too many variables with a horse. The horse could stumble, buck, or die leaving one grounded. If you wish to engage in a city or after your horse has fallen… then it helps to have something." He grumbles as he points to the metal. "It holds… steadies. Like one would… take two sticks to stop a broken arm from moving these… there is joint so you could step but it steadies it and bears some of your step load as it's metal and instead of putting the load on the injured part it shifts it to a stronger muscle." He grumbles. "I was … researching things like this when I thought I'd lose my hand. I wanted to keep blacksmithing and I was trying to figure out how to hold my hammer."

"I suspect," Philomène decides, unrolling the next diagram to place on top of the first, "that you may be several decades too late. However, might I keep these to show to my chirurgeon? The pain I have long since accepted as a fact of life, but if this contraption might serve to restore some of my speed and agility in a fight, I can bear the humiliation of wearing it. I note, however, that your hand is still attached."

The man grumbles quietly. "Yet you still engage." He points out. "Of course you can keep them, I designed them for you." He slides back and looks at her carefully. Finally, he extends his right hand. There are scars where bones exited skin and yet no sign of the damage beyond that. "Eisheth healed me which caused a few to…" He frowns. "Be rather upset with me. I didn't ask for it yet I was the skald who was healed by a companion." He shakes his head and pulls his hand back.

"I do my damn duty, my lord," Philomène responds crisply, "I was brought up to do no less. And if it takes a woman who's past fifty to show these southerners what their duty is, then so be it. A woman who's had to rely on human rather than divine intervention for her healing, for all that comes with that. I'll have these returned to you in a couple of weeks. Caroline can see you out…?"

He lifts his eyes up and looks at her. "My whole life I've been healed without divine intervention. Sometimes I was left to rot and see if I pulled through. I don't fault you for doing what you thought was right. Where I fault you is that she was much younger and steadier on her feet and you still engaged. Honorable and yet reckless." He pushes himself up. "If she had killed you, then your knowledge and your story would have just ended." He growls at her. "Part of being a good fighter is knowing when to engage. I know you know this." He turns and moves away from her before turning. "Thirty years of my life I was fighting our people for the skald because I didn't know any better. My uncle the Duc wants me to learn the D'Angeline way. I was going to ask you for that help as you are one of the few people in this city who has martial skill."

"You might ask your cousin, Lord Yves," the Gueret suggests, leaning back in her seat. "He's much younger, and steadier on his feet, and apparently that's all it takes to win a fight. I assure you, young man, when I fight I intend to win. The disgusting creature who got the better of me was lucky. If she'd missed that first thrust, I'd have sliced her into pieces then and there. Sometimes speed gives the edge where it's needed, but you need a shit ton of luck to better any d'Aiglemort, I assure you."

The lord shakes his head. "He's quite busy and obviously family so he might take it easy on me which I do not appreciate." He watches her carefully. "Youth and steady is not enough. I want knowledge. You have knowledge." His eyes light slightly. "All intend to win when they fight. I believe less in luck and more in seeing the possibilities. Knowing how your opponent will move or react." He puts his hands on his hips. "I was your enemy once. I knew how to take our people out of the battle quickly. This is not the D'Angeline way. Show me."

Philomène flicks her hand vaguely away. "You're in Eisande now, the preferred tactic here is to avoid the fight altogether and use lawyers to win your battles. I'm just a landlord to wheat and pig farmers now, my lord. You want my knowledge? I can tell you many thrilling things about the fungal infestations of certain types of barley, or the benefits and risks of investment in trade expeditions, or the traditional ways to smoke a side of ham. Ask somebody young enough to still know everything."

He tilts his head and watches her. "I know pigs are warm. They were my companions during bitter winter nights when I was a child. I trained with the herbalist to use plants to heal while also cultivating them. I do not know …risks of investments as that was far over what I could understand. Yet I know how to make a sword that could sever the head of a horse in one swing. I know how to make a shield that would be big enough and light enough to be useful. I know how to stalk prey and I know how to kill D'Angelines." He stares at her. "I want to learn to protect them instead. I do not…know of lawyers or rules. I ask you because most of the young here are soft. They do not bear our scars."

Philomène purses her lips as she lifts her goblet once again, eyeing him as though for slaughter. "What is it you want from me? If you want a drill instructor, try the citadel. If you want a sparring partner, try your cousin. If you want to know our tactics, follow orders until you've learned them. Valliers or not, you'll need the trust of those fighting with you before you can even think to lead them. You're still mostly enemy."

Fen watches her carefully before grumbling, eyes narrowing. "I do not want to lead." He states resolutely. His hands fall from his hips and he watches her carefully. "Mostly enemy…" He brings his hands to his shirt and lifts it up revealing his tattoos before turning his back to her. His back is covered in scars from whips and bones and arrows. It's truly a road map of torture laid out over his back. "The man that owned me came to get me back." He keeps his shirt up. "He crushed my hand, torn flesh off my bones, and threatened this city." His voice going quite. "Even though I loved him and needed him… I tore his head from his shoulders for this city." He lets his shirt fall and it hides the scars. "His rib hangs in my forge to remind me that I still have work to do and there are still D'Angeline children out there trapped in skaldia as slaves. I don't need your trust. I need your help. Though if you wish to not be involved, I can understand."

"You should probably clean that up," Philomène notes drily of the rib. "You'll encourage vermin." She shakes her head. "You still haven't told me what it is you want. Go away and come back when you know what you need. You can't try to manipulate me through tugging on my heartstrings, Lord Valliers, I have none."

The Lord shakes his head. "I know how to fight as a Skald. I do not know how to fight as a D'Angeline. Tactics and moves. Ways to confuse a Skaldic enemy. I have asked you but you choose not to listen." He moves for the door. "If you wish to have one of those made, send someone to tell me which one with measurements of your leg so I can build it for you."

"And I have told you, learn to follow orders," the vicomtesse states flatly. "If you want to confuse the enemy, work together. Follow the orders of your officers and then learn the reasons for the orders given. You can't teach tactics on a map. Good afternoon, my lord. Would you like to borrow an oilskin for your journey home?"

He turns to her and looks at her carefully. "I will not drag more into my mission. This is for me." He bows his head to her. "The rain doesn't frighten me." Fen turns to leave before looking back at her. "If I make it back to Camlach then perhaps I will join an army." He opens the door and leaves her to her needlework.

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