(1311-11-27) Respect For Animals
Summary: A principle which brings Philomène and Soleil both to the butcher’s shop, albeit for different reasons…
RL Date: 11/27/2019
Related: I Don’t Drink Water.
philomene soleil 

Market Promenade — Marsilikos

Two massive promenades, separated by a narrow row of alternating planters and plinths supporting marble statues from all over the known world, make up a marketplace that extends in a narrow space far to the north of the grand plaza to the south. Each walkway is two two-meter marble slabs wide, one gleaming white, the other greyish-blue, and they alternate to and fro in coloration all the way down each promenade, their intersections marked with a series of equal-armed crosses in shimmering black stone. While there is plenty of space for vendors to set up ad-hoc establishments to hawk their wares, to each side of the double promenade are stoa of fluted marble, holding up a terra-cotta tiled roof over a shady, cool walkway, punctuated here and there with doorways and windows open to a long series of indoor shops, each marked with a hanging sign outside the door.

Every twenty meters or so, five stairs lift the level of the promenade as the marketplace works its way uphill, to a smaller plaza at the northern end where all the most exclusive and expensive shops are established. This smaller plaza also has an obelisk of red granite in the middle; it's shorter, and more slender, but when the change in elevation is taken into account, its tip is at the exact same height as the massive obelisk in the town square to the south.


Halfway down the market plaza, over to the left, beside a stall selling root vegetables for the winter and another hawking fine ironwork, is a larger structure with a red and white striped piece of canvas which acts as both its roof and its back wall. Joints of meat hang here; a table bears more of the same. It's relatively busy, with customers bustling in for their joints, their chops, their strings of sausages; the butcher, or rather the butcher's boy, is doing his cheery best to serve them all. The butcher, however, has been waylaid by a tall blonde woman in a short brown riding jacket, breeches, and tall riding boots with spurs. He is being being worn down, slowly but steadily, in what appears to be a regular and long-running argument.

With her little basket on her arm, Soleil heads into the market and finds her way into the butcher shop. Here is where Le Chat takes great interest in what is going on, what with the people and the smells. Rather copacetic to the situation, the courtesan simply gets in line, though she must do so with great pains to keep the cat in the basket, as he seems disinclined to stay where he belongs with so many delicious and tempting things about.

Having made what is apparently her final valid point on the subject of the bacon, Philomène folds her arms and attempts to look like an actual human being. She even smiles. Sort of. It's terrifying. A woman whose demeanour implies that she could and would gladly rip a lesser mortal in half— just… smiling.

It's only when she spies the cat in its wee basket that the smile broadens, reaches her eyes, and her rather striking and imposing countenance softens. "Monsieur Percival," she greets the animal, even if the words might be directed slightly further upwards at the ginger cat's current taxi service.

"Ah, Vicomtesse! It is a pleasure to see you," Soleil offers as she holds up the basket to allow Philomène a better look at the little kitten, who seems to be trying to figure out where he can jump out but is not yet quite brave enough to do so. "We have just come to see if we can get Le Chat a little something pleasant to eat. Perhaps some bacon, indeed. Or a little bit of the organ meats. He is a growing boy, and he needs what nutrition that he can get. He is also a big fan of the fishmonger." She motions to the butcher. "Did you resolve your dispute?"

"Hardly a dispute," Philomène demurs, offering her fingertips to the cat to sniff and tentatively examine. "Merely a disagreement on the subject of curing. In my opinion there's no point shipping the pigs here only to cure them with celery. Celery, can you believe it? When," and she gestures with her non-cat hand vaguely towards the south, "when we're right on the coast. Take the time and do it properly, I say. Don't skimp on good sea salt when you've got prime belly pork, or it's frankly disrespectful to the animals."

"Ah, yes, bacon cured with good sea salt is surely more delicious. Le Chat is satisfied with scraps, but his is not a particularly refined palate," Soleil admits with a lovely little laugh, and indeed, the kitten is curiously licking Philomène's fingers, largely because they are there, and perhaps he thinks she smells lickable. "Just be gentle, if you pick him up; I fear I may be in line here awhile. It seems like everyone has come to the butcher today."

No doubt Philomène's fingers have been poking at the bacon in question, hence their interest to their mutual feline friend. "He's a cat," she points out drily. "I would imagine that if I went to pick him up, he'd object. If I choose not to, out of pure perversity, he might decide to claim me yet. They don't follow the rules of human beings, do they?"

She allows the kitten to explore her fingertips a little further, then switches to scratch the animal beneath the chin, prompting a loud purring and a stretch out which threatens the basket even further with being tipped entirely out. "We've a pair of cats at home," she explains with a half smile. "In theory for the mice, but in practice I rather think that they own the house and we merely serve them. Are you in a hurry? Perhaps Monsieur Dupuis might serve you sooner if it's absolutely necessary?" Because nepotism makes the world go round.

"He was a gift from a duc, who wanted me to be loved always by the most important personage in the room," Soleil offers with a playful laugh as she attempts to stabilize the basket a bit. "I do not think he has really figured out quite how to cat yet, as I have not been getting helpful presents to try to feed me. So I just feed him and dote on him and watch potential patrons love on him instead of me." She laughs again, quite lovely, then turns slightly to address the butcher. "Monsieur Dupuis, might I have some bacon, a measure of scraps, and some organ meats?" She keeps the kitten quite in the Vicomtesse's range.

"Perhaps I ought to pay more attention to friendly ducs," Philomène muses, smile flickering with genuine pleasure as she plays with the cat and is in turn fussed with a little bumping of a furry head. She glances up to the courtesan, noting apologetically, "I'm afraid I'm no potential patron, but you will allow me to treat Monsieur Percival, at least?" A look and a raised eyebrow to the butcher, which apparently must mean something as the meats are bundled up and no request is made to Soleil for money.

"As a Gentian, most people are not, in fact, potential patrons. I am glad that I was able to make my marque in the City of Elua, on Mont Nuit," Soleil admits with a pleasant smile, laughing lightly, clearly perfectly content to not have the other woman as a patron. "But it would be lovely to consider you a friend, my lady. Le Chat and I both thank you, from the bottom of our hearts." The little kitten swats at Philomène playfully with one golden paw before his arms go all stripy with orange marmalade and gold.

"Well, I doubt that very much," Philomène notes drily, drawing her hand back for a moment before going back in to scratch the creature behind the ears. "Very few of my friends would ever describe the experience as 'lovely'. You're fully marqued?" she asks, quirking a brow and lifting her chin to look the woman over. "As a Gentian?"

Soleil takes her package of meats and tucks them away into a pocket that doesn't have a cat in it, then turns to lift her cloak to one side to show off the open back of her dress. A very excellent marquist has done the work, showing the Gentian violets in an almost dreamy way, all along her spine in a lovely marque that shows her to be fully Gentian. And her accent is the refined one of Mont Nuit, all perfectly elocuted vowels. Her back is a rather impressive thing, truth be told, and whoever did the work was a master at his or her craft. "Five years," she says. "It took five years to make. I was so impatient by the end of it."

The artwork, no matter how impressive, is given barely a glance. Instead, the Chalasse's eyes narrow a little in thought. "And you work now from Le Coquelicot? Perhaps we might yet be able to come to some sort of useful arrangement. If only so I might continue to offer my tribute to Lord Percival here, as he no doubt expects is his right."

"I do," Soleil agrees, letting the cloak drop, for the weather is too unpleasant to wander around with so much exposed skin. "I would be happy to receive you there. I feel that it would be a sin to deny my talents to the world, as I feel far too young to retire just yet, and working is a pleasant distraction."

"I'm afraid I don't dream, so I'll be of little use to you there, but I would appreciate a friend within the salon who might help state my case," Philomène decides to explain, her eyes drawn back to the cat, who does indeed demand more petting. He is obliged. "For various reasons I won't go into, there are times, particularly during the colder months, when sleep is particularly hard to come by and I would much appreciate a little assistance from the poppy. Persuading the gatekeepers that I know my own body more than they, and no, a massage is not an equivalent alternative is… exhausting."

"Oh, I am given to believe that everyone dreams, but some never remember their dreams, and this is quite alright," Soleil replies sedately, watching Philomène love on her kitten as he so richly deserves. "But I could probably see to it that you are given appropriate doses at the right time. And I am happy to try to soothe you to sleep. I am not particularly one for massage, but I can be very relaxing company."

"A small supply to see me through the winter would certainly be appreciated," Philomène insists, running her fingertips along the cat's spine until she can smooth her hand around his tail. "I see no reason to take up your time when I'm quite aware of exactly how much I need on any one day. An old injury," she explains briefly. "Of almost thirty years. If I've not learned how to ameliorate it by now without a babysitter to ration it out for me I must be completely obtuse."

"No, no, I certainly trust you to know your own body. After all, I have many patrons to take care of; you have just the one: yourself," Soleil offers gently and with a genuine smile. "My additional offer was just a little bonus for you to consider. I was asked recently if Le Chat is permitted on assignations, and I had to reply that it is entirely up to the patron in question."

"Wild animals sounds more like an Orchis thing," comes the Vicomtesse's response, along with a little amused snort. "Remind me one day to tell you about the donkey. We had one hell of a time removing the damn thing from the house."

"I think that Le Chat gets more attention than I do at this point," laughs Soleil, peeking at the little orange fellow fondly. He lounges in his basket like a bored little prince now, occasionally flicking his long tail at Philomène and looking perfectly content to be The Cat. "The donkey? That does sound like a bit of an adventure, hmm?"

"I had, for some months, a pair of Orchis house guests," Philomène explains, glancing up to the sky. "Friends of the family… I'm sorry to say I don't think I shall have time for the full story today. It'll rain in a few minutes, and I don't intend to get caught in it. Perhaps I might catch you at a quiet time at your salon?"

"Oh, yes. That would be lovely, yes," Soleil agrees with a laugh and a little shake of her head. "You're welcome to visit any time you like. I am often there. Do dodge the raindrops!"

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