(1311-10-25) An Excess of Chalasse
Summary: Too many Chalasses… spoil the bathwater? Something does, anyway.
RL Date: 10/25/2019
Related: Cheap Date, We’re All Barbarians.
athenais philomene zoe 

Temple Baths — Temple of Naamah

A large circular window of colorful stained-glass depicting Naamah is framed by two crescent shaped ones, sitting further up the wall as to allow for generous lighting during the day, with the shades of the glass used in the center painting the interior of the Temple Baths in colorful hues. The light beige tiles of the stone floor are arranged in a pattern, spaces between filled with darker shade mosaic stones. The changing area is divided into two spaces, hidden away behind semi-opaque drapes. Here, visitors can leave their clothing and move over towards the pools that are filled with the warm waters of a hot well, a faint layer of steam lingering occasionally in the air directly above the waterline. A larger pool of white marble is in the center, between two smaller pools that offer room enough for two or three people each. At the edge of the pools, trays are provided at regular intervals, some holding various flagons of bathing oils while others hold bars of flowery soap and other bath implements.

Acolytes of Naamah, clad in the red flowing robes of the temple stand at the ready, to provide towels or robes when needed and make sure a peaceful atmosphere is maintained within the baths.

The best thing about spending an afternoon out riding is… well, to be fair, for Philomène de Chalasse it's the fact that she's spent an afternoon out riding. Okay, so the second best thing about an afternoon out riding is the opportunity and excuse to come in from the cold and soak away the sweat, the horse-smell and the aches and pains in a nice, warm bath. This afternoon she's settled in, having scrubbed away the day's efforts, and is now happily settled in one of the larger pools, toned arms outstretched along the edges either side of her.

She had not been in the city long. Everday was a new adventure, and every day the young Vicomtesse from Tulle found something new. She had been to the port, she had seen a waterfall, she involved herself in a game of hide-and-seek with some young children. Yet, today she finally discovered the baths that she had been hearing about. She had spent a lot of time in her suite, seeing to and making sure that everything was as she had left it; truth be told it really wasn't okay. However, that could all wait. Zoé was going for some serious "me" time.

Entering the baths, the young woman is wrapped in a towel, looking about for exactly how this was supposed to work. Her eyes spy the larger pool, yes that seems safe, and she methodically starts to make her way to it. Her steps take her close to the bathing Philomène and she politely asks, "Is there room for one more?" However, she has already started ot remove the towel, so it would appear she was going to enter anyways.

Philomène lifts a hand, still dripping with water, from the edge of the pool, gesturing broadly in front of her. "Please, do feel free. The company is always welcome, and if you were to choose another pool I'd wonder exactly what's wrong with me," she notes with dry humour. "Beyond, one must assume, the obvious. How's your day?"

The young woman offers a half smile at the woman's reply, not sure exactly how to take it. "My day?" She lowers herself into the water, settling down with a soft exhale of obvious contentment. "My day. Well, where should I begin. The short of it? I spent a lot of it dealing with stuff I thought I had already dealt with. So that was fun. Now, I just wait with a smile and hope I actually did." She moves to lift some of the water out of the pool with one hand to drip it on her arms, switching to do the other. "I decided…the rest can wait, because I am the Vicomtesse and what I say goes." She nods once and gives a somewhat fake serious expression.

“Ah, I see," Philomène responds with similar solemnity, fingers idly trailing in the water now. "Is that how these things work? How marvellous to be a Vicomtesse, hm? To be able to command tasks to simply wait for you, or is it time itself you are able to insist stands still?"

Athénaïs de Belfours comes out of the changing area shortly after Zoé, not modestly towel-swathed but stark naked with wet white-golden hair pulled back by a leather cord and her folded towel swinging from one hand. It must be said she strips to advantage: she's long-legged and boyishly slim of hip, upholstered in lean muscle as elegant as it is functional, with a golden suntan still fading from her forearms and her throat and an assortment of old dueling scars on casual display to her fellow bathers. The slash down the outside of her left thigh is striking even at a distance, though the thinner and subtler cuts of rapier and knife may only resolve in closer proximity— such as she shortly inflicts upon Zoé and Philomène, dropping her towel at the other side of their pool and slipping one foot into the water, perhaps, before she notices the latter. When their eyes meet she raises an eyebrow in greeting and descends further into the water.

Zoé eyes Philomène with a narrowed glance, an obvious glance of thought and digestion of what she had just said. "It is only how things work, if they actually work out that way. By definition, if I was to say I wanted to put something off…and then was prevented from doing so, then that is not how it works." She shrugs casually and then softly adds. "And time is relative really. Put your hand in a fire at it feels like it lasts forever…perhaps go for a ride in the countryside all afternoon and it feels like it goes by quickly."

Her eyes turn to the arriving taller woman, the naked woman walking towards the bath and sliding in with them. A nod is given and a polite smile, yet no words spoken just yet aside from. "Good afternoon."

"I will take your word for it," Philomène allows, leaning back against the edge of the pool and taking in the sight of Athénaïs approaching with a very slight curling of her lip. "Although I don't personally make a hobby of placing my hand in fire, I can understand that any ride in the country is always bitterly too short. Good afternoon, Lady de Belfours. No knife today?"

"If I'd known I'd be meeting you," drawls Athénaïs, "Lady Chalasse." She looks away to nod to Zoé, then back to Philomène in case of sudden lunges, or kicks, or other attempts at drowning. Rather that introduce herself to the young woman she doesn't know she simply relaxes with a sigh against the side of the pool, a few feet round the edge of it from the other two, submerged up to her golden neck and thrilling quietly to the sensation of heat so welcome on an autumn afternoon.

Okay. This is awkward. Zoé immediatly feels like she has just literally sunk into a pot that is about to boil over. Her eyes drift back and forth between the two women, trying to detemrine their relationship; shifting eyes and a little smile that seems ot say /okay then/. Lady Chalasse? Were you speaking to me?" She looks to Athénaïs with a inquired brow. "How did you know who I was. I cannot recall us ever meeting."

Philomène's gaze is briefly and unexpectedly drawn away from the tall blonde and instead over towards Zoé, taking in her features in a split second before the scrutiny is noted, and then deliberately she settles the grey-blue eyes back on Athénaïs. "Our friend here," she decides, letting every word drip out with barely concealed sarcasm, "is incredibly perspicacious. Not only can she identify a family name on sight, sometimes she can even see a blade when there is none. Or," she allows, brushing her hand through the water, "vice versa."

When Philomène's gaze returns so pointedly to Athénaïs, the lady in question looks just as firmly away, to Zoé, to explain: "I was addressing our companion." Who is still within her peripheral vision — and always will be. Just take it as read. "But you are a kinswoman of hers?" she inquires, her tone implying no judgment at all upon this regrettable circumstance she presumes to be beyond the young woman's control. Her accent is in the main Eisandine, the characteristic lilt of that southerly province leavened by a few crisp vowels borrowed from the City of Elua — and a few curious hints of l'Agnace besides.

Oh there could very well be blood in the water soon. Zoé wide eyes and looks back and forth between the two, nibbling her lower lip ever so briefly before speaking. "A kinswoman? Perhaps, but to be honest I do not even know who she is. Perhaps by name if I were to know that. Yet her face is unfamiliar to me." She raises a hand to brush her hair back behind her shoulder, "So it owud appear you two know of one another it whatever sick and twisted relationship you may both have and to be honest that is between you." She holds her hands before her, water dripping from her fingers. "Can we do some introductions? I will begin. Zoé. Zoé Chalasse. Vicometesse de Tulle. You may have drank with my father before. It was kind of his thing."

"You're Arabelle's girl," Philomène finally twigs, expression softening at least a little at the realisation. "I do apologise, I had no idea. You must have more of your father's looks about you." She holds up a hand, very slightly, towards Athénaïs. A truce. For now. "How is she? I had no idea your father was even unwell, so it must have been a terrible shock to you, and… your… brothers?" she guesses, eyes narrowing a little as she attempts to recall that side of the family.

Sick? Twisted? Athénaïs's blue-grey eyes narrow at Zoé's bold judgment, then she looks to Philomène — as the one responsible for this mess, for sitting there in the bath next to a damn relative, another titled lady of her own fucking house, without getting round to introducing herself — to clarify it. When that hand lifts toward her, her eyebrow rises to match it. She says nothing.

Oh sure come to the baths. You will enjoy it M'lady. Let your cares float away in the warm and soothing waters. Her eyes continue to shift between the two women and she exhales softrly, addressing Philomène first. "I am. Arabelle is my mother and Alain was my father. Thank you for your concern and condolences, he went quickly. It was without word or warning." He lowers her arms beneath the water again slowly. "Mother is fine. She has since returned back home. She had spent some time with my brothers with her family back in Siovale. I stayed with father to see to the Vicomte." Her voice is a bit softer now. "And I have come here since her return to try and smooth over any damage he may have caused in the months prior to his passing. You understand, trade deals and other htings of that nature."

She turns her attention back to Athénaïs now. "Forgive me. I did not mean to come off that way. I don't deal well with…aggression, even if subtle." She leaves it at that, but anyone who knew her father would certainly understand."

Philomène touches her chest, supplying, "Philomène de Chalasse, the Aiglemort who went to Gueret and married Louis-Claude. Provider of enough Camaeline aggression to fill a province, I fear. I shall write to her and offer my condolences." She glances back to Athénaïs for a moment, pondering if she ought to poke the angry bear again, just for fun. A slight smile, then a faint shake of her head, and she looks back to her young kinswoman. "If I can be of any assistance, do let me know. I've a fair knowledge by now of the safest and most profitable trade routes between here and l'Agnace, and from here onward. If my pigs can travel I'm sure your cows can."

“Then you’ll have a hard time in trade negotiations,” speculates Athénaïs drily. She shrugs, sending a ripple of hot water toward the other two. She’s beginning to perspire, the bath’s heat adding a fresh rosy glow to her sun-touched complexion. “Athénaïs de Belfours,” she adds, indicating herself with a gesture more languid than Philomène’s. “I meant no offense, Lady Zoé, and I take none. My condolences upon your family’s loss.”

Zoé relaxes a bit and inclines her head to both women. "Your condoloences are well received." Her foot is raised from the water breifly, water dripping from it, perhaps she too is growing warm. "Life will be different without him for sure." She makes no hint that it will actually be for the better. "It is a pleasure to properly meet the both of you. I am sure I have seen you perhaps M'lady Chalasse at some sort of family gathering. I spent much of my time away from the festivities if I was able." She quickly turns her eyes to Athénaïs now. "No offense taken. Forgive me. Just some things I am still working through."

"I would appreciate any assistance either of you may offer. Much of our meat goes to Ferrand where it is cured and sent along the way. Tho, we have dealt in live cattle." She looks ot the two once more. "Do either of you ride? I have brought with me a small selection of Favarian leather tack. I actually…made it myself. It's yours and if you like it, then perhaps spreading the word?"

Philomène runs her tongue over her teeth, considering for perhaps the first time in her life how best to tactfully put something. Tact and Philomène are rarely close friends, but occasionally the need does arise. "I do ride," she responds after a moment, cupping a handful of water to lift and then let dribble back into the bath, purely for something to concentrate on that isn't just ripping into a young, inexperienced family member. "But I have somewhat specialist tack, given the circumstances. I'm sure the occasional piece of worked leather will be a fine gift for somebody, and I'm sure it's a fine hobby to have, but I imagine your time from here on will be rather full with managing your estates. And," she adds, affecting the friendliest smile she can muster (it's disconcerting, really it is), "And I know you wouldn't want to undermine the market for your own tenant craftsmen, hm?"

From Athénaïs likewise there comes a cautious admission. “I ride.” A pause. “In this city you’ll find more useful people to curry favour with than me, though,” she drawls, neither accepting nor precisely refusing the girl’s offer. She glances from Zoé to Philomène, nods to indicate the latter, and looks again to Zoé to explain: “What Lady Philomène means,” she’s switched to first names rather than go through all that bloody ‘Chalasse’ business again, “is that her old war wound requires accommodation. I imagine her tack is unique.”

Philomène presses her lips together for a moment as Athénaïs explains the unique circumstances to which she refers, taking a breath in through her nose. But then she deliberately schools her expression, dips her head once. "Do please call on me, Lady Zoé, if I can be of any help, though. Family must stick together, after all. And you," she adds to Athénaïs more casually, "the offer to critique my wine still stands."

With that, she braces herself against the edge of the bath, her finely sculpted facial features freeze in place, and with a smooth heave she hoists herself clear of the water. It's hardly as though she could have hidden her injury, the angry, twisted mass of reddened flesh spidered with raised white-pink scarring that cuts a vicious line across her left thigh and leaves the angle of the entire leg below at an unnatural degree. In a nation famous for the beauty of its citizens it's a sickening, mocking sight, made more so by contrast with the statuesque quality of the rest of her body; and as she turns to walk away to take a towel and find her clothing, the extent to which she's had to adjust her gait to account for the pain, the angle, and the difference in length of that leg becomes crystal clear. And yet she walks with an upright, proud posture, damning the whole world and anyone who dares to judge her.

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