(1311-11-16) When Nothing Can Be Done
Summary: Philomène harasses the clergy.
RL Date: 11/16/2019
Related: None, exactly.
philomene anse 

Temple of Elua — Marsilikos

The edges of the temple are all done in white marble with four pillars reaching up into the sky done in the style of ancient Hellene. The pillars are encircled in vines which flower in a multitude of colors during the warm seasons and are carefully tended by the temple clergy. The temple grounds itself are left wide open to the air, the ground well cared for grass and bushes and flowers are found freely throughout, kept in careful order by the attendant clergy. At the center of the temple is a massive oak tree, nestled within its roots a stone statue of the blessed Elua, as if the tree formed around the statue itself. Here at the foot of the statue of Elua people leave offerings of incense and prayer, leaving a pleasant aroma as the various offerings are burnt throughout the day.

Its a pleasent fall day. Its cool but not cold, and while there has been some on and off rain, right now its mostly just a cool dew on the temple grass. At the moment a trio of blue-robed clergy stand near the edge of the temple grounds making low conversation with one another, seeming at the moment to not have immediate tasks to take care of. The only other present company seems to be another pair of nobles standing off to the side with a priestess, having some kind of more private conversation it seems.

The combination of that on and off rain and the fact that Philomène is far too stubborn to do sensible things like wear a hood when she's out for her lengthy daily walks mean that even with it relatively dry just now, the hair at the back of the vicomtesse's neck is still darkened and damp, and clings to her scalp. She doesn't limp out into the temple proper, but waits by one of the pillars at first, leaning back against it and, with a look an absolute concentration on her face, hoists her long, dark green skirts just enough to reveal tall red-brown riding boots with a set of gleaming brass spurs affixed to the heel, and rather awkwardly begins to remove them. This takes a considerable amount of effort, and her expression is somewhat pained as the angle at which she's forced to lean to remove one boot puts pressure on her old injury, and then when the weight is forced to that leg to remove the other, she visibly winces and hisses out a very soft, very colourful set of phrases which aren't generally heard in the consecrated grounds of the temple.

There seems to be a brief discussion of your presence between the clergy and then Anse breaks off from the group, padding softly on his already bare feet in your direction before smiling at you. "Would you like help lady Chalasse? No need to put yourself through all this strain."

Philomène looks up sharply, all the pain in her expression suddenly disappearing as though a switch were flicked. One moment she's grumbling to herself, the next her face is a mask of studied neutrality, her shoulders go back a little and that perfectly sculpted chin lifts in defiance. Pin prick pupils in pale grey eyes swing up to meet the blue clad priest and she very deliberately continues to peel away the boot she's working on. Only once both boots are removed, set down beside the pillar as though ready to be stepped into by an invisible man, and she's straightened fully does she answer. "The day when I need your help to remove my clothing," she insists in a low, clipped voice, the harsh eastern accent of Camlach more prominent than usual, "is the day you can take me out of here in a box. Thank you." There's a pause, where she runs her tongue over her teeth and absently straightens the heavily embroidered cuffs of her frock coat. "Do you have incense?"

Anse just smiles at Philomène with the response "I do hope you don't die on the temple grounds my lady, it would be a true shame. Besides I believe you've many years left in you given your nature." Anse says happily before bowing his head at you a bit "of course my lady, we've a few scents as well." Anse motions towards the nearby containers outside the grass of the temple grounds which contain various types of incense sticks of various scents and lengths. "You shouldn't be so against someone offering to help you remove your shoes. We are here to help afterall my lady, and there is no reason to suffer for no reason. This is the temple of Elua afterall, not Kushiel."

"It would be a cause for celebration for anyone who's had the misfortune of meeting me," Philomène drawls tiredly, shaking her head, "and would no doubt bring the populace of the city in to sing, dance and make merry on the site of my demise. Now, have you any other pearls of wisdom as to what I should or shouldn't do, or may I go and make my offerings to blessed Elua now? Perhaps you'd like to carry me, too, like some sort of incapable, babbling cripple?" A hand slowly clenches as she speaks, and is suddenly and deliberately flexed out when she notices she's doing it. "Monsieur," she begins again, voice losing that biting edge, "I would like to pray. If you would like to help with that, I would be obliged. My body, however, is my own business and none of yours."

Anse continues to be fairly nonplussed by your anger, instead just moving along to open jars as needed for Philomène to select her prefered incense. "If you're looking for pearls of wisdom my lady, I would offer that I don't believe your demise would be a cause of celebration for everyone who met you." Anse says happily, beaming a smile at you. "Of course my lady. I would be more than happy to help you pray if you'd like. Is there anything you wish to ask for specifically, or ask me about? Or have me pray for?"

Without the boots, specifically tailored to minimise the effects of her injury, Philomène's limp is more pronounced, her entire left side falling lower as she swings the leg out and round beneath her skirts. Damp grass and mud settles between her toes, and she leaves footprints behind her, one foot straight forward but the other at an odd outward angle. "I'd say for wisdom but I fear some things are beyond even him," she suggests shortly, claiming a stick of incense apparently at random. "So instead perhaps we both might offer prayers to absent friends. Do you have a light?"

When Philomène grabs her incense Anse brings along a lit match, so hes already ready when you ask for the light. Following your slow plodding path towards the statue of Elua Anse offers it to her when the pair arrive. "Well, there is no harm in praying for wisdom as well is there my lady? The companions blessings can come from the most surprising situations sometimes." Anse says warmly. Once the incense is lit at the base of the effigy Anse goes to his knees in front of it to offer his own silent prayers, and if Philomène kneels next to him Anse waits until she is done and back on her feet before rising.

"You can pray for wisdom, and I shall pray for those not here with us," Philomène insists flatly, the words somehow imbued with a quiet, powerful sense of command. Put simply it's as though the idea of being disobeyed just has not crossed her mind, and so the request rings true. She, unlike the priest, doesn't risk attempting to kneel, but instead bows her head and folds her hands in front of her. She remains standing in silence for some considerable time, motionless and mute, before eventually speaking once again. "I have a friend," she confides in a tone barely above a whisper so one must strain to hear her over the wind in the falling leaves of the trees, "who is unwell. I would like to commit his passage to Elua's keeping, so I can be certain he will not suffer, and that he'll be accepted in his Grandfather's home."

"Elua loves all of us. Flawed though we are, walked the world showing and telling us all that. I am sure your friend will be welcome in Terre d'Ange that lies beyond. As to suffering? Well. That is what prayer is for I suppose." Anse says as he rises, folding his hands behind his back and turning in your direction. "Someone can be there for them, if they are that close to the end, to watch vigil or speak with their family or speak with them." Anse offers quietly.

"I would imagine that having a priest underfoot is the last thing they'd need," Philomène notes sharply. "What use is a damn vigil, exactly? Unless you're there to help feed him, and clean him, and ease his pain with the poppy, you're just another mouth to feed. The people of L'Agnace, my people, are practical people, monsieur. The farming life doesn't allow time to just stand there, unless you're of some sort of practical use. If I thought standing there, just to talk and wait, would be any damn use, don't you think I'd be there myself, not out of the way in fucking Marsilikos?"

"If talking is of no use, then why are you here and telling me about this my lady?" Anse asks curiously "is there no value in sharing the burdens of each other? Don't you think that talking and sharing in company is exactly why we hold funerals and drink to the dead?" Anse shrugs a little "I don't know why you're here my lady, I've no way to know your mind or your desires. Maybe you're here because you're afraid of facing a dying friend, or your own mortality, or because its fall and you wont be able to make it back to Marsilikos until spring again, or a dozen other possible reasons I've no rhyme or reason to know. But you are here. And the idea that a member of the clergy would not be willing to care for the dying is strange. Why wouldn't whoever is there help feed and clean and do their best to ease suffering? Isn't that why any of us joined the temples? To help?" Anse says, perhaps a bit confused by the accusations of impracticality and uselessness.

Again those long, slender, weathered fingers clench into a fist at the vicomtesse's sides, her jaw sets and her eyes flash paler in the waning sunlight of the autumn afternoon. "I've no bloody idea why any of you joined the temples, except as a way to avoid the real world out there. Not once have I ever seen a priest lend a hand with a scythe or a plough. I've never seen a priest wipe the arse of a dying man and, forgive me if I'm wrong, I'd be fucking shocked if I ever did. I don't know. Maybe you'll prove me wrong, but until that happens, just do the one thing I know you're here for and pray for him. You're not here for me, I'm far beyond any of your bloody help, but you can make sure he gets his safe passage. He's a damn good man, for all his faults. He deserves his rest."

Anse blinks at you "my lady, I" Anse seems at a loss for words, a rare occurance for him "i'm sorry, i've not had this experience oft. I would normally ask if you've lived your whole life in Elua or Marsilikos, well honestly if you aren't from Terre d'angea at all, but, I know you hail from the same province as I, so this makes this all the more.. Outside of the cities we grow our own food and care for ourselves. We've monastaries and orphanages, and I.." Anse scratches the back of his head, still clearly baffled "who do you think runs the cemetaries my lady? I just.. I mean, the temple of Eisheth alone should imply.." Anse just looks at you like you have two heads.

Philomène settles her gaze on him, arching a brow. "When was the last time you ploughed a field, monsieur? When was the last time you left the cosy comforting surroundings of your temple and went out in the world to help out where it's needed? Not to sermonise, or philosophise, but just to roll up your sleeves and lend a shoulder?"

Anse shakes his head "my lady, the temple in Marsilikos doesn't plow fields because its based in a city. Here we maintain the cemetaries and orphanages and the temple grounds. I'm not sure what life of luxury you believe we live in the dormatories, but its a spartain life. I live my life with no coin, working along with all the other priests here to maintain the grounds, cook our meals, mend our clothes, tend the gardens, bury the dead, teach the living. I am here because I ended up here on pilgrimage. When I was on the road I oft put myself to work in the homes of those who showed kindness to me to lend me a meal or place to stay. And when I was but an acolyte I helped tend our goats and our gardens just like any other member of the clergy would. If plowing a field is the only way to put oneself to work then its been a pair of years, but no one dotes on me or any of the other members of the clergy." Anse sighs "my lady, I had hoped perhaps to help you today for I felt as if we left from a great misunderstanding last we spoke, but I fear perhaps I may have been the wrong person to speak with you. I can get another priest or priestess if you'd like."

Philomène runs her tongue over her teeth, then gives a small nod and offers her hand, meeting his gaze squarely. "I apologise, monsieur. I think, perhaps, when nothing can be done, I tend to lash out at the little that can be done as insufficient. This is hardly your fault, and my behaviour is uncalled for."

Anse takes your hand with a firm grip and offers a brief smile "my lady, I truly truly never wished to bring any more trouble to your life. And I am deeply sorry if anything I've said was upsetting, it was never my intention. I truly only wish to help. I am imperfect and know that my idealism can be taken as ignorance or foolishness, but I honestly and truly only wish to ease your burden even a little if I can." Once our hands break he bows slightly at you "truly my lady, I only wish you peace, both of mind and of life. And I am sorry to bring you even a little more trouble today."

Philomène gestures towards the smoking incense by their feet. "Pray for Louis-Claude. Do what you can for his burden. Mine is my own to handle."

Anse siles at you again, more warmly this time "my lady, any of us are here to help try and bare YOUR burden as well. Though I wont belabour the point, as I think we've come to an obvious impass on that. I will most certainly add your friends name to my prayers."

To this, Philomène dips her head first towards Anse, then more deeply towards the statue of Elua, before turning awkwardly and staggering her way, lurching with every step, through the damp grass and back to her boots.

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