(1311-11-17) About Twenty Minutes
Summary: Not that anybody much can be expected to put up with Philomène’s company for quite that long, of course.
RL Date: 11/17/2019
Related: None.
philomene zalika 

Jardins d’Eisheth — Marsilikos

Tranquility and beauty of nature is what those coming to the gardens of Eisheth usually seek. There is a playfulness in the arrangement of paths through the greenery, and the way four of them wind to the center, where there is a pond surrounded by a few elm trees, beside an area with wooden benches and tables beneath an arbor, where ivy winds about wooden posts, and a roof of colorfully glazed tiles offers shelter from the sun but also moderate rain.

Bushes are trimmed, and the green is kept short, so that people coming here can enjoy the dramatic view over the coast all the way to the sea, with the harbor and the citadel slightly to the north. Slightly towards the south and close by is the infirmary with the herb garden beside, where a variety of plants used for healing and treating certain illness are grown under the immaculate care of the healers. Towards the east, a path leads towards the temple district, where the dominant structure of the Temple of Eisheth looms, the white marble shimmering almost otherworldly on late afternoons, when it catches the warm, orange light of the setting sun.


Absolutely soaked through after walking her laps around the garden in the freezing, driving rain, Philomène has unbent enough to find shelter under the arbour to keep the worst of it from soaking entirely through her clothes while she waits. There she stands, one hand resting up on one of the structural supports, and the other fussing with the heel of her left boot, which seems to be giving her some sort of trouble.

Someone else has clearly not expected the downpour. Zalika, wrapped in a large cloak with the hood over her head so low she can barely see, runs from the infirmary through the gardens, clutching a small bottle. Spotting the arbour, she runs over there and, view restricted, almost barrels into Philomène. She comes to a stop just in front of the woman, sliding over wet stones and mud to almost go on her knees before her. She mutters something in a very foreign language, clutching the bottle like a specially precious object.

Philomène sets her foot down with a very faint wince, then offers her cold, slightly muddy hand towards the other woman to help her up. "You might want to watch where you're going," she suggests mildly. "And I've no truck for anyone who feels the urge to genuflect before me, especially in the rain. About twenty minutes," she adds, somewhat cryptically.

Zalika takes the hand, her own grip in fine gloves firm and strong. "Say what now?", she asks when the stranger begins to use very big words in front of her and struggles to her feet, brushing her dress down once she stands. "And what's in twenty minutes?"

Philomène leans up against the support beam she's picked as her home for the next wee while, nodding out towards the sky. "Twenty minutes and it'll clear, at least briefly. If you're in no hurry, I'd recommend waiting, else you'll be drenched through." Like Philomène is. Not that she seems to notice, but then a closer look would note that where her hair is soaked through, her outer layer is oiled and has kept her clothing beneath at least mostly dry. It's almost as though she expected the rain.

"How do you know?", Zalika asks curiously, "Are you a wise woman? I didn't think they had any here. And besides, I learned to spot the weather at sea, but it's always weird here." She looks up into the sky to see if she can tell anything from it.

Philomène lets out a little laugh, shaking her head. "No, I don't think anyone has ever described me as wise. Put it down to experience, and too many years farming. The wind comes in off the sea and hits the hills and mountains, and… ah, it's no matter. I'm usually right on these things."

"Well, I don't mind staying here for a bit, I have nowhere to go anyway.", Zalika replies and looks her new companion up and down, then offers a hand. "I'm Zalika. Er, I mean, Lady Zalika Trevalion."

Philomène tucks her hand briefly beneath her oiled coat, finding there some dry patch on which to wipe her hand before she takes Zalika's once more, this time in a more formal capacity. "Philomène de Chalasse. Vicomtesse de Gueret. How do you do." The words might be the elegant formality of high society, but they appear to be by rote and habit rather than pomp. "I should have guessed a Trevalion or a Rousse when you said you were at sea." Never mind that she doesn't give off the air of either of those august families and Philomène's initial assessment had been lower deck sailor. "You're ashore long?"

"A pleasure to meet you, Mylady.", Zalika replies, her tone just as formal and automatic. Once her hand is released, it will rejoin its companion in clutching the bottle. "Chalasse… that's… East, yes?", she asks as if rummaging around her brain for a map of Terre d'Ange. "I am ashore for good. Probably.", she sighs.

"Central, so north of here," Philomène responds, leaning back against her pillar and squinting out into the rain. "L'Agnace. Where the wheat comes from." She glances back to her darker companion, grey-blue eyes curious but not altogether unkind. "Marriage is it? Time to stop swanning about enjoying yourself and settle down to squeeze out an heir or two for the family to squabble over?"

"Central.", Zalika repeats as if trying to commit that fact to memory. She shakes her head vigorously to the question. "Oh no, no, marriage and squeezing out heirs. Not yet anyway.", she adds almost as an afterthought, expression turning glum briefly, before she manages a wry smile. "I'm gonna be a Vicomtesse like you. Beauvais, up north."

<FS3> Philomène rolls Politics: Good Success. (4 7 4 1 2 8 4 5 4)

Philomène arches a brow. "I'm fairly certain that seat is taken by Lord Fabrice. He might have something to say about it, unless there's been some sort of recent incident of which I'm unaware?"

Zalika is no longer surprised by what everyone knows about everyone else in this city. "Lord Fabrice is my father. But perhaps you are unaware of the fact that he lost both his heirs in rather swift succession in the last years?", she asks curiously.

If one is to play the political game, the very least one can do is to learn the major players. And when one has daughters to marry off, you can be quite certain that Philomène knows every player in every seat of Vicomte or above. "Would I be correct in inferring," she drawls, pausing to run her tongue over her teeth, "that you and those sadly deceased individuals do not share a mother?" She turns to look Zalika over, taking in every detail with the sort of scrutiny of a sergeant on a parade ground. "Which would make you a highly unexpected candidate for the seat when Lord Fabrice necessarily gives it up." She snorts a small laugh. "Well, I should stay well clear of your uncle, then. He'll have had the vicomte earmarked for one of his from the moment the rumours hit him that both heirs had gone."

Zalika flushes when she's being looked over like a prize cow and grits her teeth, but has learned to keep her temper under control. For now. "No, we do not.", she confirms stiffly, "My mother lived in Western Africa, where she met my father during his time on the high seas. It was only after he lost his proper snowy-white heirs he decided to acknowledge my existence. Just because -" She nods pointedly to Philomène, "Said uncle was already casting greedy eyes on Chateau Beauvais."

"Well, I suppose it'll all come down to the Duc," Philomène notes casually. "Make sure you do enough favours that way, and look the better candidate and perhaps you'll convince him. You might be better not claiming quite so loudly that you'll be the Vicomtesse when technically the decision is your uncle's and you'll need the Duc's support to make it a reality. Sounds…" she snaps her fingers, thinking of the word. "Presumptive? A little arrogant, maybe?"

Zalika's nostrils flare as her patience is wearing thinner. "Thank you for your kind advice, Mylady.", she says, voice kept as even as possible. "And here I was thinking that this country was progressive enough to let women inherit a title as well. Or are you a Vicomtesse by marriage, not through your parents' line?"

"I am," Philomène responds, a tiny smile tugging at the corner of her lips as for once it's somebody else losing their temper. "I was born a d'Aiglemort. From the east," she adds helpfully. "But I don't refer to your gender, only your legitimacy and inconvenience to Lord Archard. I," she points out helpfully, "don't have a dog in the fight. It's of little matter to me where that title ends up. Take my advice or don't. I'll sleep at night in either case."

"I have not met my Uncle yet.", Zalika concedes, "My father wishes me to spend the winter here in Marsilikos and… learn all sorts of dainty stuff. It was my preference, too, seeing as it's much warmer here apparently than in the north. But whatever you think and believe, I am legitimate. Yes, Angeline blood can even run beneath dark skin.", she smirks.

"He wants to be able to present you as the only clear choice for the seat," Philomène affirms, pressing herself off the support and upright to stand. "Before your uncle has the chance to deny you in favour of his children. First thing you want to do, then, is make sure your mother's name is in the peerage in black and white, as wife or consort, whichever, so nobody can deny you legitimacy. That or start sucking up to the Duc the moment you're in out of the rain. On which note…" she pauses, holding her hand, palm upward, out from the shelter of the arbour. "Good afternoon, Lady Zalika. Best of luck to you."

Zalika opens her mouth to question the woman further, but suddenly she bolts like a cat that heard the backdoor open and a food bowl set out. She sighs, rolls her eyes and nods. "Good day, Lady Philomène."

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