(1311-11-06) Chestnuts
Summary: Absent news from Tiberium, Jehan-Pascal makes do with a tasty little snack. Though, as usual, Philomène is enough to put anybody off his feed.
RL Date: 11/02/2019
Related: Benevolent Baphinols.
jehan-pascal philomene 

Port — Marsilikos

Fortune laid the foundation for the grand port of Marsilikos; look how the arms of the land spread wide to embrace the setting of the sun, welcoming a bay of still waters rendered all the more peaceful by the presence of a small island to the south, on the flanks of which the waves cut themselves into powerless ripples as they move in from the sea. But whatever Fortune gave the d'Angelines their cunning and craft has improved to a hum of efficiency and culture. The natural bay has had its curved shores sharpened into straight edges bolstered with ridges of heavy stones on which the tides have left long mark when the waters are low, algae and barnacles hung onto the rugged stones. Then stone foundations have been piled out into the harbor to hold up wide wooden pillars and the great treated slats of the piers and boardwalks which extend into the bay, now at wider intervals for massive trading vessels, now at shorter intervals for private fishing and pleasure yachts.

The southern arm of the bay is reserved for the great southern fleet of the d'Angeline Royal Navy, which is headquartered here in Marsilikos, and is ever a hub of activity, the giant slips outfitted to haul the massive warships up into the air for repairs, while further inland on the southern peninsula a forest of masts rises into the air where new ships are being built and old ones repaired in full drydock. Between the naval slips and the drydock rises the stately edifice of the southern naval headquarters, glistening with huge latticed windows on the upper floors. Beyond the headquarters rises the massive fortified promontory of the Citadel, with bleached-white parapets and fluttering banners.

Markets and vendors throng the plaza at the innermost fold of the harbor where civilian and military seamen alike might find a bite to eat, supplies for their next mission, a good drink or a little bit of companionship. Far in the bay, that little isle sports a lofty lighthouse to guide the ships in by night.

It's been an exciting time in and around Avignon, and now— now that news is all over Marsilikos, and the few nights' quiet respite from the noise is increasingly coming to an end as the story reaches all the way to the harbor. He's got a pair of sworn guards with him, which is unusual behavior for the future Count, but they're dressed down, just like he is, in his favorite, fluffy green tunic and breeches. The major difference in their wardrobes is that they are packing steel, he is not. He never does. Not for distaste, he's simply no good with one and would as soon stab himself as anyone else near to him. They've paid an early morning's visit to the harbor master's office and spoken with some of the officials there. Now — disappointed of purpose — he's scrounging the tents and stalls of those set up harborside for a little bit of… breakfast? early lunch? something, only on the cheap.

Having achieved her own dubious business with the harbourmaster's clerks this morning, it's on her way back from the dockside and towards the shore that Philomène's low voice, still carrying the short, precise vowels of the mountains of Camlach rather than the more mellifluous tones of her adopted province, suggests from not a million miles behind Jehan-Pascal and his delegation, "I shouldn't trust the look of those, my lord. Go further along to where they bring the fish in and you'll be guaranteed something fresh. Tourists and gullible idiots stop here, because they don't know any better." Perhaps she's implying that Jehan-Pascal is a tourist?

Jehan-Pascal's companions have Philomène in their sights before he does, of course, but they maintain a casual posture, as though simply browsing along with the Lord Baphinol. They leave it to him to look back, and about, scouting for the source of the voice until he surmises upon Philomène, and offers up a mild answer, neglecting the slight— if slight, indeed, it was. "I have no stomach for fish, this morning, my Lady, if I'm being very honest. A roll of bread, maybe, or a bag of chestnuts will be well enough, if you have a suggestion for same?" he allows her, thus, an avenue to continue didactic, if that is her pleasure.

Philomène arches one fine brow at the man, then simply shrugs it off. "The availability of good, fresh fish is one of the greatest features of Marsilikos, I find, but if it's good bread you want," and she rattles off the names and locations of three established bakers in the city, who all by sheer coincidence happen to be customers of fine l'Agnacite wheat which may or may not come from the vicomté of Gueret. Well, increasing the market is never far from the woman's mind, after all, and what harm is there in it? "Although," she adds with a dry tone, increasing the stride of her limp so she can catch up properly and walk with him (uninvited, yes, this is Philomène), "I do hear that the fashion recently is to challenge Baphinols to duel if we disagree with their tastes?"

Oh, it is Philomène, after all. When she walks closer, it's unmistakable, even if he'd had a notion from the voice and general bearing. "Lady Vicomtesse," he cordially accepts her completely uninvited company, allowing her to fall in with him as he passes the stands and their proprietors, now slowly losing hope of his custom. "I certainly hope it hasn't become a fashion. I do hate to walk around under protection," he sighs, then, lifting more alert in stance, "Which is in no way a comment upon your performance, fellows, which I do terribly appreciate and which is serviceable and pleasant in every manner," he addresses his companions… rather companionably, in fact. "Here, let me buy us all some chestnuts," he declares, stopped by the scent of some nicely spiced ones roasting in a brazier behind a stand. "Will you indulge in a bag, Vicomtesse?"

Philomène lifts a hand to demur, shaking her head a little. But then, has anyone ever seen Philomène actually eat anything? Certainly she doesn't do anything to dispel the rumours that she lives on a liquid diet, some rumours of course claiming that said liquid is the blood of virgins but seriously, where would one find a virgin in Terre d'Ange? "Thank you, I won't," she insists. "I'm sure Caroline will have some lunch prepared and ready soon, and turning her down does rather feel like kicking a puppy. But I do need to learn your trick. I think my day would be immeasurably improved if I could look forward to the excitement of a challenge on every corner. People here are so scared of causing offence that they won't even give their opinion if you don't goad it out of them."

Jehan-Pascal indicates chestnuts for three, then, and pays for same, mildly refusing that change be made for him, and only taking a bag of chestnuts and a blessing for himself, and letting his companions each take a bag for their own. Unfolding the top of the little parcel, he takes a chestnut piece and bites it in half, chewing on one half while his fingers delicately clutch the other, and he's shaking his head even before hes swallowing. "I don't have your enthusiasm for the sport, I fear. But if I come in need of a champion again while I am wintering here I will keep you in mind," is offered up, more of less by way of jest— who could foresee this happening again, after all? He eats the other half of the chestnut piece, too, and fishes around in the bag for another.

"You intend to stay in Marsilikos until the spring now, then?" Philomène picks up on, absently flicking up her collar against the chilly air and pulling the rust-red silk scarf a little closer around her neck. "I'm in two minds whether I ought to get back to Gueret before the weather closes in, or if I'm more use here chasing the trade routes."

"I was so intending," Jehan-Pascal quietly corrects the tense. "Now I'm only waiting on Sauveterre's next Baroness, who is on her way from Tiberium. I'll escort her to Avignon when she arrives, and then return for the rest of the winter, yes." How the Baron has made a mess of Jehan-Pascal's travel plans, to say nothing of his sense of personal safety. "You know that my first child will be due to arrive soon, and I will be happy to rest here and pass the winter quietly once Sauveterre is under her new Baroness' control."

"Your part is done, though, with the child," Philomène opines bluntly. "You can sit back until it's old enough to educate appropriately. A birth is distressing enough without the father lurking about uselessly."

Jehan-Pascal finally, after seeming to take all slights and insults as water off a duck's back, rises to the level one might call indignance. "What?" he furrows his brow. A furrowed brow, I say. It must be serious. "I wouldn't just leave them by themselves. I mean to father my child, not only to sire him. Or her. I can help in soothing and rocking and cleaning-up, and all those sorts of things," he counters her accusations of uselessness.

Philomène fixes the Baphinol in her grey-blue gaze, pursing her lips a little. "Speaking from experience, had the father of my children been present at the birth, I would have gladly run him through, boiled him alive, or set him on fire. Possibly all three. And the soothing and rocking and cleaning up, my goodness, man, will you put every nanny out of work? They are trained, you are not. Let them do their job and do it well, and welcome the stimulus to the service economy on which these people depend."

Jehan-Pascal looks away first, but with a decisiveness of notion even if with a wince about the eyes. "Well— for the actual— birthing, I couldn't say. That would be up the Lady. And the taking on of nannies I will leave to her, as well— it's her household, you know. But I'll be there. And I will help however she needs. But I do know how to hold a baby, I've done it before. And to rock one. So why shy from it?"

"I can butcher and cook a goat and eat it," Philomène counters. "I've done it before. But given that there are professionals here who can do it, do it well, and depend upon their skill to earn a living, I hire them to do so. Is that not our role in the city's economy?"

"I somehow think a parent ought to form a closer bond to a child than a diner to the animal from which the entree has been taken, and so the equivalence is not quite apt, my Lady Vicomtesse. But, again, the Lady Shahrizai is fully capable of making staffing decisions in her own home, and I'm sure she has things in hand already. But she has let me move in with her, and knows I'm to spend the winter with her and the child. I can only hope she'll be pleased if I wish to spend time with both of them." That said, Jehan-Pascal has lost appetite for the rest of his chestnuts, but will wrap up the parcel and hold it in his hand to take home with him. "We'll be on our way, my Lady Vicomtesse. I wish you a fair noontide," he excuses himself with perhaps the bare minimum politeness his entirely pleasant demeanor will comport. And they will go, tacking to port along toward the Plaza of the Hands.

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