(1311-11-30) Culture Shock
Summary: Saoirse meets Hugo and Soleil (who also meet one another, and Le Chat is there, too), and the conversation turns awkward.
RL Date: 2019-11-30
Related: None
hugo saoirse soleil 

La Perle Noire

The face this establishment shows to the Grand Plaza is a window display of coffee beans in a fantastic blown-glass vase, against figured silk which changes with the seasons; and a pair of heavy oaken doors guarded by a swarthy, bearded, well-muscled man in Ephesian costume, who bows patrons out of Terre d'Ange and into a foreign land redolent of fine coffee and cinnamon and tobacco, lit by countless candles suspended each in a gleaming glass lantern from a ceiling that billows with ruby-red silk and cloth of gold. Layered carpets of many colours, intricately woven and warmed in winter by a hypocaust, soften the music of pipes and drums and mandolins that filters through this sanctuary of civilised pleasures. Here a friendship might be forged or renewed, a deal struck, or a day simply whiled away in Eastern opulence and ease, amidst the red and the gold and the smoke.

In the middle of the main lounge is a raised circular stage upon which an horologist's glass marks the lapse of two hours between performances by Ephesian dancing girls, or minstrels singing joyously in the tongue of that land, or even a local d'Angeline bard telling tall tales. Low tables of dark wood radiate therefrom, surrounded by lounging cushions and richly-upholstered divans; the outermost are set in alcoves which may for privacy's sake be screened by shimmering silken curtains. If one desires amusement, one may summon at any hour alluring dancers whose brass finger-cymbals chime to accent the undulations of their hips. If one wishes to smoke, one may command a water pipe. But the true business of the house is the coffee. Perfumed young men in loose trousers and embroidered tunics move to and fro like angels dispensing this liquid mercy: strong, fragrant, frothing kahve, brewed cup by cup from the fine-ground black pearls of Ephesium, served in elaborate copper vessels beside tall glasses of pure spring water and plates of esoteric and delectable foreign sweetmeats.

Several sets of doors at the rear of the lounge lead away to the kitchens; to a stairway ascending toward smaller chambers which may be reserved for private parties; and outside into a courtyard, open in fair weather.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a fall morning. The weather is freezing and fair.

With precious little else to do in the daytime but fritter away his inheritance, chase pretty girls, drink, fish and generally act in the same way as any young noble from good family with secure prospects, it's really a wonder that Hugo de Trevalion isn't drinking his allowance and pissing it up against a wall somewhere on a day to day basis. But no, most days he's found himself with a different vice. Having discovered the genuine Ephesian coffee served by a genuine Ephesian in Marsilikos, it's a rare morning that he can't be found in a back corner here at the Perle, copper coffee pot in front of him. Today he's sprawled out on cushions, and with no dancer currently entertaining him, nor the proprietor there to cater to his conversational whims, he's quite comfortably just lounging, drinking good coffee, and reading a dog eared book.

A pretty girl who enjoys being chased, and for good coin, too, Soleil makes her way into the coffee shop with regal elegance, clad in a lovely gold dress that is covered by a fine wool cloak which has been lined with golden furs. She has a basket on her arm, and she pauses to consider the menu. While she is doing this, her passenger escapes his basket, and her little ginger kitten jumps to the floor with a muted thud, for he is a small if bold fellow, and goes strutting over towards Hugo to investigate the man, his book, and his coffee, having no compunctions about interrupting, for he is a cat.

Soleil knows he's gone the moment she feels the basket lighten, and she glances around worriedly. "Le Chat Roux!" she scolds, heading after him swiftly.

With the combination of being engrossed in his book and kittens notoriously having little concept of the idea of personal space, the first Hugo is aware of the cat is when a small weight leaps onto his back and a soft, furry nose inquisitively finds the back of his ear. One hand goes up automatically and he wrenches his head away, only to learn exactly who is piggybacking and the look of surprise turns to an easy, dimpled grin. "Hello, little fella," he greets the animal, sliding a bookmark to note his place in the book then turning to allow the creature to clamber down his shoulder and explore the coffee in front of him.

Saoirse steps into the unfamiliar coffeehouse, a girl who..is probably used to being chased…by her aunt, for skipping out on chores or such things. Unlike the woman of flashy fancy, she wears simpler things, wiggling out of her fur long coat and tossing it over an arm. As she walks in the unfamiliar woman is in a unfamiliar place. Resting a free hand on her hip she looks about. "So…coffee…"

"My deepest apologies, my lord. Le Chat is a baby, and like all babies, wants to be places that he is not supposed to be," Soleil offers apologetically as she chases down the kitten, who has perched on Hugo and is investigating him like he has never seen such magical things before. Because he is a kitten and kittens must kitten. He sticks his nose rudely in Hugo's coffee cup, but does not taste it, perhaps warned off by the bitter aroma.

Saoirse hovers out of the main conversation, but watches the cat with curiosity interested in what's oing to happen and what's going on. What's going to happen with the cat? And why would someone bring a cat into a coffee house?

Hugo puts a hand in his pocket, withdrawing a tatty length of string, which he flicks carelessly just in front of the kitten. It's just about enough distraction to rescue his coffee, praise be to God, and the cup is scooped up cleanly with the other hand. It's as neat a magic trick as one could ever hope for. He switches his attention to the cat's owner, turning up that guileless smile. "He's very welcome here, provided he doesn't steal all my coffee. He's yours? Or, more accurately, you're his human being?"

"Indeed, my lord. I am Le Chat Roux's ride about town and general servant," Soleil replies as she moves to sit down nearby Hugo, laughing as the ginger kitten falls all over himself trying to get the tatty length of string. The cat looks confused as to where it went, and circles about to give it another pounce. He is not particularly graceful, being only about two months old, with a long marmalade tail and little cream paws. "My name is Soleil L'Envers no Coquelicot, and I am of the Gentian canon. Le Chat and I are fairly new arrivals in town."

Saoirse tilts her head "Isn't it a bit cold to have a cat outside?" Her voice is heavily slanted to Eirian and there's no mistaking it. "Wouldn't it be more comfortable in a nice barn with other cats to curl up with?"

Hugo jerks the string again to play with the kitten, then drops it to give the animal his reward. That done, he wipes his hand on his jacket, then offers it over to Soleil. "Hugo de Trevalion, good to meet you and Le Chat, both." He takes a sip from his coffee, then looks over to the other voice, both brows rising. "Are cats particularly susceptible to the cold, then?"

The kitten seems perfectly happy to 'kill' the little bit of string, poking it and pawing it to get it to dance so that he can pounce it again. "Le Chat Roux is a pet, not a barn cat. He is for laps and baskets," Soleil says to the foreign girl with a little shake of her head, pursing her lips together. "He certainly likes to curl up by the fire, or at the foot of the bed. The Coquelicot novices adore him and beg to have him stay overnight in their dormitory. And he is a social animal, content to be out and about with people." She sets the basket that she was carrying the cat in to one side, and it is clear that it is designed to be a little kitty bed, if a little large for his current size, for the cat to curl up in to be taken places. She motions for a server to bring her coffee.

Saoirse hmmns. "Well..they seem to do very well in groups in barns. I haven't seen one that wasn't a barn cat. Though I guess I had a horse but I wouldn't bring them in for petting. It's probably because it's much larger though." She watches the cat's owner order, then orders a coffee with a fair bit of cream for herself.

"And I imagine you need a slightly bigger basket for your horse," Hugo reasons, adjusting the cushions on which he's propped, and pulling out one to offer over to Soleil. "Also, and this is purely a selfish request, please don't let your horse leap on my back and investigate my coffee. I like having unbroken ribs, I know, I know. Selfish."

"I am not interested in barns. I am not particularly interested in horses. I am a bit afraid of them, truth be told, and have no interest in riding," Soleil admits, nodding politely as Hugo offers her a cushion, and she settles on it at a comfortable angle after removing her cloak. It is good that it is a thick cloak, for her dress has a wide open back to show off her marque, which is absolutely exquisite, with the vibrant purple of the Gentian violets. The kitten takes his new toy and goes to curl up in his basket, finally content to be in it.

Saoirse shakes her head "I've not seen a basket large enough to fit a horse, I don't think one reasonably exsits." She quickly shakes her head "Oh, I didn't bring my horse with me, on a boat for that time isn't fair to the horse. Not wanting to have a horse on you or grevious injury isn't something that one could deem Selfish." The sarcasim seems to go right over the curvy blonde's head.

"I think," Hugo muses, curving both hands around his coffee cup and relaxing back with it now, "that I'm supposed to make some sort of risque innuendo about riding now, then we all laugh awkwardly and nobody ever mentions it again, to be polite. Can we just assume I've done so and skip to the awkwardness?" Again he flashes that easy, dimpled smile and enjoys a sip from his cup.

"Something about enjoying the feeling of having all that muscle moving between your legs giving you a feeling of heady power?" Soleil inquires with a measure of amusement, mischief twinkling in her blue eyes as she gives him an amused look. "Or something about how you could mount and then ride hard all day long? Or perhaps something stamina related? It's fine. We'll be awkward now." She takes a cautious sip of her coffee to ascertain that it is not too hot to drink. Meanwhile, the kitten yawns and tucks his nose under his paw in his basket.

Saoirse shakes her head "Well it's a horse, your supposed to ride the horse to get to places faster than you would just by walking or running there. You shouldn't ride a horse all day though because that's very hard on the horse. The horse needs to stop to rest just like people." She looks rather confused shaking her head "Why would things be awkward? Did you fall off a horse once and have feelings of embarassment from an inability to ride?"

Hugo settles a long, bemused look on Saoirse. "…this isn't your first language, is it?" he hazards. "It was a metaphor for sex. We were talking about sex. Rumpy pumpy. The bedroom tango. Hide the sausage. And, at least I hope, no actual horses were involved into the metaphor."

"Yes. It is much easier for me to make jokes about sex that are horse related than to deal with actual horses. My fiancé was killed in a riding accident, and I have chosen to stay in the Service of Naamah for that reason," Soleil explains somewhat mildly, sounding unruffled, but reaching up to touch her pearl earrings with a measure of sentimentality. "I am Gentian canon. I practice oneiromancy. That is to say, dream walking. My patrons relax with me, and I help them get rest by entering their dreams and analyzing them."

Saoirse hmms. "It is, however it is not the one which I am most fluent in. I was born in Terre d'Ange, but raised in Eire." She blinks a moment "Oh, Metaphor? I'm not very fond of those because I do not understand them." She gets a sudden 'Oooooooooh!' expression. "Oh sex, I see! I've had that, the sex, before!" She listens to the descriptions "Rumpy…bedroom dancing? Hide the sausage? I like sausages, they can be really tasty! But it seems counterproductive to hide them, because then how are people going to eat them? That seems kind of rude and cruel." She looks over to the courtesan "I'm sorry to hear about your fiance. It sounds like things are going well, but sometimes the things that hurt us in the heart still linger. I hope your doing well." She flits to confused "What's a Gentian canon? Patrons? Oh! You must be one of those courtesan's! I met a white one yesterday, we're friends! Well..she was more tan, she was wearing white though."

Hugo flicks Soleil a look of sympathy, but then Saoirse is talking… and talking… and he just settles back to listen and enjoy his coffee. He doesn't open his book again, however, content to watch the ongoing scene in place of returning to the dry prose of Tiberian scholars. Another sip from his cup, then another glance to Soleil at this torrent, a brow raising as though querying if she needs him to step in and tag team this not-quite-foreigner. Chivalry is not dead.

"Yes, the cat was a gift from his brother, the duc de Toulard," Soleil replies a bit cautiously, nodding slowly to Saoirse as if she's not entirely sure what to make of this. She gives Hugo a sideways look to suggest that perhaps she's unsure how to handle the foreign girl. "As to 'hide the sausage,' the comment is made because the phallus is sausage shaped, and thus, to hide it somewhere in one's partner's body would indicate sexual congress. It's not actual sausage. 'Meat' is often a euphemism for the phallus." She takes a deep breath, patient but quizzical. "Gentian means that I help my patrons with their dreams. Most sleep better when they engage my services. Did you go to the Rose Sauvage? You'd have probably met a White Rose there."

Saoirse nods her head "Oh, I see! That isn't very accurate, the phallus is connected to a male, and a sausage is not. You eat a sausage, you do not eat a phallus. Though hiding it by having sex with the phallus makes more sense to me." She nods to the point of the White Rose "Ah, yes, that's right!" She looks from Hugo, to Soleil "I'm not very socially adept with Terre d'Angers, or really at all, but really not Terre d'Angers. Am I disrupting you two? I do that sometimes. My aunt said that my head is empty because all the words that were in it come flowing out all the time."

"And now I'm not sure if I've been more put off sausages or sex," Hugo muses, nodding thanks as one of the servers comes by with fresh coffee. Apparently he's regular enough that they know to just keep it coming as long as he's sitting there. "My aunt once told me that we are made with two ears and one mouth, because the good lord wanted us to listen twice as much as we speak. And who are we to second guess His divine will?"

"It's not about accuracy," Soleil explains patiently to Saoirse. "It is about humans being human and making references to phalluses and sex at every chance they get. It is part of human nature. For thousands of years, we have been obsessed with sex, and rightly so, for that is how we end up with more of us, is it not?" She laughs softly, then nods to Hugo. "Love as Thou Wilt, hmm?" she adds lightly. She sighs in a very mild sort of way. "It's quite fine, my dear. If anything, your head is full, and you must get all of the words out sometimes. Lord Hugo and I will be patient and drink our coffee."

Saoirse hmmns. "If I don't get them out you don't think my head will explode do you?" She tilts her head with a curious query "Love as thou wilt? Is that something important?"

Hugo stretches his legs out in front of him, settling into an easy slouch against the cushions, with one hand behind his head to pillow it. "Love as thou wilt is probably the most important thing you'll ever learn," he tells Saoirse with a lazy smile. "That and the universal commandment of 'try not to be a complete bellend'. It's the philosophy behind all of D'Angeline life. Love is the greatest commandment of all, and whenever we love, we honour the one true God, we honour Elua, and we honour His Companions." He pauses, then clarifies, "I might be paraphrasing a bit with the 'don't be a bellend'. I'm a sailor, not a priest, after all."

"It's one of the reasons that courtesans are held in such high regard, as Servants of Naamah," Soleil points out gently to Saoirse, reaching out to scritch her sleeping kitty behind the ears. He stirs a bit but sleeps like a baby, which is to say, quite solidly in a loud coffee shop with a conversation going around him. "If it is appropriate to the situation of helping a patron relax so that they can get to a dreamlike state, I may use the intimacy of lovemaking to ease them into bliss."

Saoirse nods "We don't have courtesans in Eire, or anything quite like that. It's not that I do not respect the position we just..don't have anything quite like it. Lovemaking could be fine, I think that the courtesan houses do things like that a lot. Though you would know more about that than I do." She looks over to Hugo "Well, if you are attempting to not be a bellend, whom is it that you love then? Is it a lady? Is it the sea? I think it's probably a lady."

"Why not both?" Hugo queries, gesturing vaguely with one hand around the entire coffee house. "And why limit myself to one lady?"

"Love as Thou Wilt means to not limit yourself to loving just one person but many. To show that love both through kindness and generosity, as well as physical actions. We cannot limit love to just lovers, after all," Soleil suggests, almost dreamily, as she sips her coffee.

Saoirse hmms. "Well, for lovers wouldn't there be jealousy? As for to love others and love those around your surroundings - I've always done that. Isn't it better to love others than to be hateful or spiteful? I've overheard some people calling me simple because that's how I feel."

"The thing about love," Hugo explains, brow wrinkling as he endeavours to impart his philosophy to the coffee house in general, "is that it's infinite. It's not a set, finite quantity. It's not like… this coffee, for example. If I gave you my cup of coffee, I couldn't then give… uh… I'm sorry, I can't remember your name," he apologises towards Soleil, "but anyway, I couldn't give her my coffee too, because you've got it. I could split my coffee and give half to each of you, but then you'd both lose out on a full cup of coffee. Love, though, if I give you a cup of love, not only do I still have a cup of love to give away, I've actually got more because of it. It's unlimited, and it just increases the more you give. The only thing that's limited is time."

"It's Soleil, and I am happiest in the sunshine," says the blonde courtesan with a pretty smile for Hugo. Remembering names is part of her training, but she seems completely copacetic when it comes to needing to remind him of hers. Perfectly content. "I would be remiss in my talents if I did not share them with others. I am very skilled at love, and at oneiromancy, and I feel like it would be a general disservice to deny those talents." Which doesn't mean that she works for free, considering the number of pearls that she's wearing at present and the general fineness of her gown. "What was your name?" she wonders of Saoirse kindly.

Saoirse rubs at her cheek. "Finite measurements of a non-finite substance. So your love is equivilent to water, though that might be confusing since you have a love of water and thereby it would not be a best example but it might do for this particular reference? If you remove a little love then it is replenished by a amount so vast it is undefinable?"

Looking to Soleil "Oh! I didn't give my name, I forgot. My name is Lady Saoirse Aoife d'Eresse of clan Ó Ruairc." She dips into a practiced, if late curtsy "A pleasure to make your aquintance."

"An inversely finite substance, I'd argue," Hugo responds with a half smile. "If you don't love, then your capacity for it runs lower and lower, too. Which explains bellends." He lifts a hand at the curtsey, peering with more interest at the woman. "d'Eresse? But… Sirsheefa?" he butchers the given names together. "Sounds more like an Ephesian name than D'Angeline. Family travelled a lot, did they?"

Soleil opens her mouth at that mouthful of a name, then politely closes it, letting Hugo bitcher it for her. "Well, my lady, it is our pleasure to meet you. Welcome to Marsilikos. I hope that you are enjoying your stay here," she says pleasantly.

Saoirse shakes her head "My name is Saoirse, you pronounce it somewhat like sear-shae. Then Aoife is another word, you pronounce it as e-fa. And d'Eresse is pronounce as dah-E-resse. My mother was Eiran and my father had to negotiate with the King of Erie for her hand. They negotiated that since they were taking a daughter of the clan, they would provide a child to grow up there with family to be raised in Erian tradition. So I was sent there at the age of 3 being the one chosen."

"And then you've been sent back here now, with no sort of easing back into D'Angeline culture, or language, or life?" Hugo asks, brow furrowing. "That seems unnecessarily cruel. Did you want to come back here? I genuinely don't understand why you'd be raised there and then expected to return, knowing nothing about D'Angeline life."

"It must be terrible culture shock for you, to know so little about your role and place in society here, nor about what sort of expectations that your new culture will place on you," Soleil observes gently. "If there's anything I can do, please let me know. I mostly work in dreams, but I'm sure I could have something arranged, probably not with me, but with one of the other canons. To help you truly learn D'Angeline life."

Saoirse lips quirk to the left side. "Well..the Queen is someone who is not Erian, like me. The King does not have any ill will…he feels responsible because it was part of his action to bring me into Erian life. I was accepted and loved in my clan, it's like a big big family. There are two bigs in there because it was used for emphasis and being larger than big being used for an emphasatical point. Other clans believe outside influence is bad, and there have been cases of violence and death. They were getting closer to our lands and the King came and apologized to my aunt because of the situation. These are rebels, but very covert. My clan would protect me, but if I stayed then people would be hurt, and I wouldn't want that. I couldn't see the benefit tradeoff being favorable for me wanting to stay and pepole being hurt, or killed. They couldn't guarantee safety. So my brother Hewett came to accompny me back home. I'm welcome to visit any time, but it's just not..safe in the area right now."

Hugo sips from his coffee, then holds up a hand. "I'm going to be honest with you," he admits. "I'm pretty sure I didn't understand about ninety percent of that. But good luck, anyway?"

"Hiring a Cereus from Lis D'Or might actually be a very good move for you. There is wisdom in learning politics and etiquette in that way," Soleil points out, musing thoughtfully. "They would be better equipped to give you the social lay of the land here than I am, at any rate. Though they have few true Cereus, they do make good companions."

Saoirse hmmns. She moves a little closer to put a finger on Hugo's nose and explain "It means I was very happy being just a small part of my community, but it was dangerous to stay so I left to come here instead of putting those that I loved in danger." Finger recalled (if it ever landed in the first place.). "What is a cereus? And well..I know a little on politics..your supposed to curtsy, and not punch people, and such things. I just didn't think I would ever really need to use those sorts of things."

"That's good manners you're thinking of," Hugo corrects, amused by the finger to his nose. "Politics is all about promises, but it'll probably take more than a few evenings at Lis D'Or to pick up on the subtleties. Some of us have been learning our whole lives and we're still novices when it comes to the political landscape of even a single city, let alone entire duchies or countries. Give them a go, though, if you have the coin. You won't get a better teacher than a Cereus."

"It's… a type of flower. But that's not the point. Those with Cereus inclinations are courtesans who specialize in politics. Now, you don't have to hire a courtesan for …well, sex. It's not even expected, unless you desire it to be. Now, a Lis D'Or is a local salon, and so it won't have Cereus, per se, but it will have courtesans who specialize in politics and music and companionship. And what you need is a good companion who can teach you the ropes," Soleil points out with an easy smile. The kitten in the basket stretches his little orange body and rises, strutting out of the basket to go sniff Saoirse.

Saoirse draws to one knee to hold out her fingers to the kitten "It's best if you let them get your scent, then they can decide if they want to approach you. If so, you can pet then on the top of the head, or a little firmer with the fir on the back of the head and the neck which feels like a mother licking or cleaning the kitten, which is usually calm and soothing for them if they are not startled or upset." She looks over to Soleil "What kind of rope will we be making, and how are we going to use the rope?"

Hugo puts his hand over the top of his coffee pot as a server comes to offer a fresh one, shaking his head. "Not actual rope," he helps. "Another metaphor. However, if you ladies will both excuse me? I hope to see you and your cat again soon," he adds to Soleil with a half smile, dimples showing. "And I wish you," this to Saoirse, "the very best of luck fitting in."

"You should come visit me at Le Coquelicot," Soleil recommends to Hugo with a charming smile that suggests her Scion of Naamah ancestry. And then she looks at Saoirse and shakes her head gently. "Oh, you are a bit hopeless, aren't you?" The kitten is very friendly, though, butting his head against the girl's hand.

Saoirse smiles "Maybe? I'm not sure if I am qualified to make that determination?" She looks to Hugo "I think she's trying to retain you for a client! You should consider that. I heard she works with dreams, and relaxes clients, and sometimes she might even have sex with them to get them to relax and calm down. It would be in your best interests to consider becoming a client." she cants her head down, rubbing softly behind the kitten's ears with her thumb "They rub thier head against things they like. It's like saying this is mine. If they nuzzle you that means they really like you."

"I very much appreciate your guidance in the matter," Hugo agrees, amused, "without which I would have thought perhaps she wanted me to visit to show her my collection of art. Although," he adds, levering himself with surprising grace to his feet, "if you do want to see some of my art, Soleil, you're welcome to. Some of it is even marginally more aesthetic than a six year old's crayon drawings. The majority, though?" He wrinkles his nose, throwing up his hands to indicate a 'what can you do?', "Definitely in crayon drawing territory."

"I'm sure that I'd love to see your art," Soleil replies to Hugo with an amused smile, nodding politely. To Saoirse, she notes, "It's relatively niche what I do, so I would not necessarily want to retain him as a patron unless he needs my services, for it could get quite expensive. But I'm sure he'll keep your advice in mind." She seems amused about the kitten though. "That one claims everything, then. But Le Chat and I probably ought to get going as well, as pleasant and not awkward at all as this conversation has been."

Saoirse nods "Happy kittens usually do try to claim everything they like." Looking between the two she waves to Hugo first, then Soleil "If your heading out maybe you should both go together?" She muses to herself "It seems that Courtesans have very specific specialties. And also seem very critical and special to society. I should try to learn more about them."

Hugo shrugs a shoulder, offers his arm and an easy smile. "I will never refuse the option to walk with a pretty girl on my arm. Mademoiselle, shall we?"

"Thank you, my lord," Soleil replies with a gracious nod, packing her kitten into his basket and putting on her cloak before taking Hugo's arm so that they might depart together.

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