(1312-04-10) Fun With Fondue
Summary: Marsilikos' pastry chef Audrialla Mallet hosts an afternoon of delicious dipped foods in melted cheese and chocolates. The event starts off fine, but soon threatens to derail and then escalates.
RL Date: Fri Apr 10, 2020
Related: Sweet Treats and Sourness and The Storm and the Calm.
audrialla andre philomene justine sido tancred 

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.

The springtime air is fresh and fragrant with the scent of melting cheeses and chocolates. Colorful banners criss-cross the square and gently sway in the breeze. Nestled all around the red granite obelisk at the center of the plaza are tall white-linen draped tables with high standing chairs. At the heart of each table bubbles a small cauldron with a steady burning flame underneath. Some of the cauldrons have melted gruyere and emmentaler, with a touch of wine for flavor. Flatlands cheese bubbles in another few. The rest have chocolate in either dark or light. Each table holds a different delicious cauldron, encouraging people to circulate to find the delight they are searching for.

Around each cheesy pot are trays full of dippable treats and long slender two-pronged forks. There are different kinds of crusty breads, squares of steak and small meatballs, apples, and an assortment of vegetables. Surrounding the chocolate are strawberries, cherries, raspberries, slices of exotic plantains and oranges, short-bread cookies, and marshmallows known as guimauve. Complimentary white wines sit alongside for the thirsty.

Hostess Audrialla Malet has dressed up for the occasion, wearing pale sky blue silk with a high waistline designed to accent her bust. Embroidered cherry blossoms and pink ribbon give it a springtime air. She waits by the plaza entrance to welcome the guests to the event.

Prince Andre van Westerlo is back - to everyone's greatest joy (except one). As is the Flatlandish prince's wont, he checks out events to try and get to know the local customs. Having heard of the planned fondue, he was happy to contribute some of his homeland's finest cheeses and chocolates. Dang, by rights the Flatlands should have invented THIS event. And now he's here, dressed splendidly in red and yellow, blonde hair a golden shine. He's accompanied by two guards in the same colours and looks at the food on offer. It sure looks impressive.

Melting cheeses and chocolates provide quite the singular olfactory sensation. And as it is, Lady Justine Chalasse de la Courcel has found herself drawn to the market promenade, having heard of the special undertaking that is about to happen there. The young blonde lady is dressed in whites and greens, a dress prone to attract stains if its wearer proves herself to be careless. A light cape sits on her shoulders, occasionally prey to a gust of wind here and there. A pair of Chalasse guards trail after her, making sure the future Comtesse de Brioude stays safe. She may not be acquainted yet with Prince André van Westerlo, but oh how delighted she looks when she spots the handsome Flatlander. "Good day," she offers in polite curiosity.

It's a rare day that Philomene d'Aiglemort de Chalasse is not glowering at the world, clad in her dark brown riding jacket with the careful embroidery that disguises a lifetime of wear and tear. Today is a rare day, clearly. Perhaps in deference to the warmth of the day, she's clad in a long, pale silk robe, giving her a less militant and more ethereal air than usual, albeit the occasional glimpse of a sword belt and a pair of hilts, one practical and one heavily encrusted with jewels, implies that she's still Philomene and has not been replaced by a pod person. And, of course, the glowering, which appears the moment she spots a particular Flatlandish mop of hair somewhere over by the cheeses. No matter how nice a day it might be, it's good to know she can still throw a cloud over the atmosphere. Some things never change.

With the first guests trickling into the plaza, Audrialla puts on her sunniest smile and starts to offer greetings.

"Your highness," she says happily to the prince. "You must go to the second table on the right, that's where the cheese you gave me has been set up. And the one nearest to the center has some of that delicious chocolate. Thank you so much for contributing. I hope you enjoy what I've done with it."

Justine isn't quite as familiar so she offers a deep curtsey for the young woman and her guards. "My lady, welcome, welcome. We have so many delights today. I am your host, Audrilla Malet, pâtissière by trade, and gourmande by choice."

But oh dear, there is Philomene. Audrialla's smile falters a little as she looks from the Flatlander to the tall glowering woman. "Ah, my lady… Always a pleasure to have you," she says, a touch intimidated already. "Do find a table, there's bound to be something you'll enjoy nibbling on." One far away from Andre, she prays silently.

Andre smiles when Audrialla greets him. "Oh I will be sure to do that. But I am also very curious to try the other cheeses from this fair realm." He starts moving on when Justine approaches and he offers the young woman a perfectly smooth bow. "Mylady. I think the day has just got a little brighter with your appearance." Has he seen the -other- arrival? Apparently not. Whew.

"My lord." Clearly, Justine can guess his station from André's attire, at least to some degree. His compliment does not fail to have the desired effect, as she inclines her head with a light chuckle and dips into a curtsey. "Justine Chalasse de la Courcel," the same introduces herself smoothly. "I cannot boast to have made your acquaintance before… But… your accent sounds delightful, and foreign!"

Philomène gives a small mm in response to being greeted, lifting her chin briefly in recognition to the baker. She limps a few paces over towards one of the tables, claims a glass of wine with one hand, and takes up one of the small, pointed fondue forks with the other. She considers this implement for a moment or two, lifting it, turning it this way and that, and testing the sharpness of the prongs on the back of her opposite wrist. It'll do. It's claimed as hers now and she spins it to rest tines down on the table while she takes a sip from her wine and casts a wary eye over the various others gathered.

A bubble of laughter and the easy padding of fur-lined buskins below a long, unstructured velveteen robe foreshadow the arrival of a Sizzle no Coquelicot. She strolls along from the north, and pat-pat-pats down the stairs to the level of straightaway before the baker's shop where all of the goodies have been set up. Fortunately, she's introduced to the proceedings on the cheese end of things, or she would skip directly to dessert. Audrialla gains an open-mouthed grin and an eager wave.

Audrialla spends a few minutes circulating around the tables to welcome other attendees. It's clearly an upper-crust oriented event because a few of the poorer-looking sorts are politely escorted away from the plaza by burly looking men who look accustomed to slinging bags of heavy flour and kneading dough with their knuckles. Nonetheless, the hungry are given a baguette to take home, even if they are politely denied cheesy goodness.
Sido's arrival is met with a return wave of hello from the bakeress. "You're just in time to start, I was about to open up the festivities!"

"A pleasure, Lady Justine.", Andre smiles warmly. That's the first one who doesn't sharpen a dagger at hearing his foreign accent. "I am Prince Andre van Westerlo, newly appointed ambassador of the Flatlands to this fair city. Madame Audrialla accepted a humble contribution from my homelands to her festivity."

No, because some people are prepared and keep their daggers sharp as a matter of course. Namely the suspicious old Camaeline bat currently considering alternate uses for fondue forks. Philomene takes another sip of wine, apparently intending to survive wholly on grapes and grape subsidiaries despite the array of cheese and chocolate, and takes her eyes off the foreigner long enough to consider the latest velveteen clad arrival. Sido gets an appraising look, then a slow nod. There. Greeting. And for Philo, a polite one too.

Sido floats to Audrialla's side when she is greeted, even fluttering her lashes closed and standing on one toe to lean in and give her a sweet kiss on the cheek. "I could eat you up, you sweet!" she grins. "I leave you to your opening, but will say this is a delight." And, as promised, she drifts off again, dipping into a curtsey when Philomene gives her that momentary appraisal, then bobbing upward again and moving to skirt the periphery of the cheese, one long, languorous step at a time, savoring with the eye and nostril first.

Audrialla claps her hands as she stands next to the crimson obelisk at the heart of the plaza. She stands on her tip-toes so she can better be seen. "My lords and ladies, gathered friends, welcome! We have quite the delights to dip today, to savoury cheese, and sweet chocolate. My thanks to Prince Andre van Westerlo for contributing some of his homeland's fine foods to share with us." She motions to the tables where the Flatlander cheeses have been prepared. She avoids looking in Philomene's direction. "Find a table which bests meets your preferences, cheese or chocolate. Mingle between them, dip and dab, savor and sip. Do enjoy, and bon appetite."

Tancred does not wear steel and iron today; he isn't interested in any more attention than he normally gets, and he's difficult to ignore to begin with. But, amongst his sturdy clothes of lower-class d'Angeline fashion, he does still carry his sword with him. The smell of molten cheese and chocolate is enough to draw the attention of anyone closer. He parks himself by one corner of the gathering, already with a plate in hand.

"Ah. Prince André of the Flatlands. I am delighted," Justine replies. "An ambassador too. How are you finding Marsilikos so far? I for my part find it to be very hospitable. I've stayed here for a few months now." And finally, with the mention of Audrialla, the blonde lady diverts her attention towards the same and addresses her with a smile, "What a lovely occasion. I am pondering to try out the molten chocolate. How do I go about it? With a fork? Such as this one?" She reaches for one of those long forks and uses it to impale a strawberry.

Andre pauses when Audrialla speechifies and mentions him by name. He offers her a warm smile and a little bow, then lets his gaze drift across the assembled people. Which finally makes him spot Philomene among them. Eep. He is glad when Justine asks him questions and he can turn his back to everyone. "Yes… it's very easy…" He picks up a fondue fork and sticks it into a strawberry, then dips that into the chocolate. "We do this at home too.", he smiles, "It's Heaven on cold winter nights."

Philomène drains her wine and sets the glass down, before taking up one more glass and limping back a few paces to a position from where she can more easily view the entire gathering, a few feet over to Audrialla's left. The fork remains in her hand and she idly spins it to rest on her shoulder as one might a sword on a parade ground. At rest. Ready. Well, the Skaldi did just make an appearance, as though to compound the horrific foreignness of this already far too exotic event. "Are you aware," she notes towards the baker in worryingly pleasant tones, "that Terre d'Ange has very many great cheeses of her own? We are beholden to the Flatlander why, precisely?"

Audrialla gives Tancred a wave and a smile as she spies him. "It's been ages," she tells the tall figure of a man. "Enjoy the chocolates!" Justine's question is met with a curtsey and a nod. "You spear it, then dip it. It's considered impolite to dip after you've already taken a bite out of it, so make sure you dip as deep as you desire." The alliteration makes her chuckle. "And then you eat it off the fork, or push it off onto a plate and eat it off there."

And here it comes. The baker looks quite worried despite the 'pleasant' tones. "He simply donated a little of his homeland's food, my lady. Just one pot. The rest," she says with a wave to the grounds, "are all good Terre d'Ange cheeses locally made. Comte, mostly."

"Hello. It has been." Tancred doesn't have to load up on styles for Audrialla, so the greeting is fairly at-ease. "It is easy to get sick of chocolate - I think I will enjoy the cheeses." And while the Skaldi does not inject himself into the conversation of which cheese is from where, one may notice he goes first for the Flatlander cheese to dunk in a fully loaded skewer.

"Delightful," Justine observes, as she follows instructions from both André and Audrialla, and dips her own speared strawberry deep into the bowl with molten chocolate. Turning the fork a little, as she pulls it out and assesses the delicious product, she waits a moment before she enjoys her first bite of the treat. "Mmhmmm. This is… wonderful," she sighs. "As for the cheese… I'll try it in a moment. After finishing this one… Oh, Companions! Such a delight."

"Would you like to try some cheese from my homelands?", Andre suggests to Justine with a smile and starts walking to the pot of Gouda nearby, just to see what they have done with it. He takes some bread, spears it and dips it into the liquid hot goodness. He hasn't noticed that the poor baker has ended up in hot water already.

Philomène raises one blonde eyebrow, plants her fondue fork firmly into a selection of breads, there to stand and quiver as a spectator to this outrage, and thrusts her glass in the direction of the baker. There. Hold. No polite requests, or even a demand, just an expectation. With both hands then free, she makes her very deliberate way over towards the single offending cauldron of Flatlander cheese, bubbling away innocently on its table. Gaze fixed firmly on Andre, she sets her fingertips under the edge of the table and, strain on both biceps visible even through the light cloth of her robes, lifts, heaves, and lends her hip to the effort until the table teeters, shifts, the centre of balance moves ever closer to the edge, and finally with a smash of metal and wood and glass and ceramic, the whole thing comes crashing to the cobbles of the marketplace. Burning hot cheese spatters in a wide, cheesy spilled arc among the ruins of the furniture, broken glass, bread, and the single candle which miraculously remains lit.

Philomene eyes it incredulously, then brings down the heel of her boot to put it out, narrowing her eyes and stating simply, "Whoops. How clumsy of me."

Audrialla is holding a glass. In a combination of shock and fear and awe, she is motionless to stop the display of flying cheese before her. She simply blinks her green eyes as if trying to disbelieve the entire scene before her.

Tancred happens to be savoring this particular cheese, in fact. He's still there when the d'Angeline lady tries to tip it over. In fact, he takes a hand off the plate to attempt to arrest its fall with his free hand. (The other is still holding onto his plate.) While he's not trying nearly as hard as Philomène is, he's also an enormous Skaldi man, at least twice her weight, still in his physical prime, sans debilitating injuries. The desired result ends up being delayed … by only a few seconds. The Skaldi's mistake is to be pressing down on the table; the enormous cauldron itself is not secured. Thus is his predicament - too close, too off-guard to realize what's about to happen, the foreigner gets to experience the exquisite sensation of bathing his lower half in exotic molten cheese, soaking into his light leather boots, staining his hosen from thigh to calf, burning the surface of the skin. Still stuck processing what the hell has happened, he looks down, ankle deep in broken pottery and a puddle of cheese. (It's hard to tell if he'd been cut by any of the shards.)

Andre was approaching the cauldron with Justine in tow to introduce her to the awesomeness of Gouda. But then there's Philomene. What in seven hells is that woman doing? He just stares, wide-eyed, open-mouthed… it's as if it all plays out in slow motion and … beyond comprehension. Countries have gone to war over less.

Philomène swears softly as the big Skaldi makes a nuisance of himself. She reaches for an armful of wine, it being the closest cool liquid available, and limps around the wreckage to the man to begin tossing it, a glass full at a time, over the steaming cheesy mess on his legs. And thus she proves that despite constant declarations to the contrary, she would try to put a Skaldi out if he were on fire. And use good wine to do it after all. The world is upside down.

Sido is just browsing combinations of cheese and morsels, skating past apples with a certain incredulity but finding this bread pairs well with this cheese and that meatball with that cheese and generally playing food-matchmaker quite happily nibble by nibble when she goes to hover near Tancred, patiently and without any urgency, but surely expecting him to soon be done and moving along to let her along with her steak-skewered fork and approach the cheese. But, suddenly, no, things are going terribly wrong. She has the wit, at least, to let go her fork and dance backward and behind Tancred, letting him save her buskins from the immediate spatter, though there is cheese soon oozing after her and she jumps back a few more times, finally hitting the back of her heel on a step up to a shop and falling backward onto her butt, holding her arms out behind her to crab-walk the rest of the way up the stairs and out of flood range.

<FS3> Tancred rolls Composure: Success. (5 4 1 2 8)
<FS3> Audrialla rolls Composure: Good Success. (5 2 7 5 7 1)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Cheese Spilling Shenanigans!: Success. (6 7 4)

Audrialla's able to not break down and cry. No. She's able to keep her face fairly neutral at that. She sets the glass aside and goes to check on Tancred, eyes reflecting the worry that her face doesn't. "Sweet Namaah, are you all right? Do you need a cold compress or something?" She doesn't look at Philomene, oh dear not at the moment. "Sido! Are you hurt," she calls out to the pixie.

<FS3> Sido rolls Body: Good Success. (8 8)

For a man who's getting surface burns from cheese and is about to have the catalyst of a fire dumped on him while there's a still-burning candle at his feet, Tancred is relatively calm. Part of it has to do with him not yet fully realizing what's happening, and part of it is that, right now, the shock overrides the pain. At least until the fire intensifies. Then he drops his plate and starts to panic a little. He stumbles out of the puddle and grabs hold of his cloak to shuck it off and start trying to bat it out with the heavy, semi-resistant wool.

At least until Tancred realizes he is not, in fact, on fire. He quickly stops to hold up his cloak - and realize that he's only worsened the cheesy contamination.

<FS3> Andre rolls Composure: Failure. (5 6 4 6 5 3)

The Flatlandish prince is still just staring at the mess… the cheese-covered Skaldi… the girl falling on her arse… and the distraught baker. He fumes. He fumes A LOT. "This will have consequences!", he yells at Philomene.

It's as though she doesn't even hear the foreigner shout. Well, Philomene's getting on a bit, no doubt her hearing's as dubious as her balance. Running out of wine, she turns back to the next table along, reclaims her fork, spears a piece of bread with it and with an angelic smile dunks it into the cheese.

Sido sits cross-legged up in what she can only hope is a safe perch up here above it all. She draws her hands in front of herself, and, aside from a little dust and grit on her palms, everything is well. So she dusts off, and turns to her side to get back to her feet, nodding reassuringly to Audrialla, then skirting around down to the next shop front and down from there to append herself to Audiralla's side and watch the Prince's declaration. Wait, are we at war with the Flatlands, now?

Audrialla twist her skirt with her hands, looking anxious. Oh dear now. Sido's unharmed so she feels a little better. "I'll buy you a new cloak," she promises Tancred when she sees the mess made of it. "And whatever else you need. I'm so sorry," she says, brow heavy with worry. Oh dear again. "Your highness," she says to Andre, looking him over to ensure there's no cheese on his fine clothes. "I'm sure it's just a… prank. It's only cheese, yes?"

"A fine waste of good cheese," says Tancred, who hangs his cloak back off the left shoulder so it doesn't cover his weapon arm. He bends over to pinch at some of the cooling cheese on his leg, gathering it up into a ball to taste and see if it's any good. Considering that he takes a bite of it and doesn't grimace… looks like it is.

"A prank." Andre's voice is several degrees below zero. "The kind of prank a dimwitted ten-year-old that's fallen onto its head as a baby would pursue. She disrespected me and she disrespected you." He pauses and inhales deeply, nostrils flaring, then regains control over his facial features and manages a smile. "I'm sorry, Madame Audrialla. Some people cannot appreciate kindness. Or good cheese."

"On the contrary," Philomene replies placidly, turning with her forkful of cheesy bread to give Andre a wide, entirely fake smile. "Look at this delicious cheese here? We're fortunate to have so many local cheeses to choose from after yours was so sadly and accidentally spilt, no? I am so terribly clumsy, my apologies, Mademoiselle Audrialla."

"I'm not sure," Justine cuts in, after what appears like ages since André had offered her the fork with bread dipped into Flatlandish cheese. That fork had completely escaped her attention in the moments that followed, moments that had required her to gracefully step aside, to evade a spray of hot cheese. "Actually…" The blonde lady nibbles on the cheese coated morsel of bread, "this Flatlandish cheese is quite delicious, Lady Philomene." Justine insists with a charming smile.

"No it isn't," Philomene shoots back immediately, dismissing the entire concept.

Andre offers Justine a grateful smile for her words. "I'll be happy to have some delivered to your house, Mylady.", he tells the young woman, "Some people's world unfortunately ends at their garden fences." He'll swamp the town with Flatlandish cheese. House by house.

Audrialla's eyes flutter as she tries to salvage the event, while Tancred salvages cheese. "We, ah, have plenty of chocolates on sample too. Local." She doesn't mention or remind anyone of the Flatland chocolate bubbling away merrily at another table. "If everyone still wants dessert." Her voice waivers as she tries to keep fake cheer in it.

"I think I am going to sample the other cheeses first." Tancred does not salvage every bit of cheese, so when he ceases this clean-up he starts to walk around on his dangerously dairy boots to continue eating as if nothing had happened. Well, perhaps he slants annoyed looks at the fallen cauldron here and then, but there's nothing to be done about that now, is there?

"Lady Justine, let me put you in touch with some excellent suppliers of d'Angeline cheese," Philomene offers as she nibbles on her bread. "Everything from cow to sheep to goat to buffalo, blue, white, creamy, soft, hard, and everything in between. I do think it's important to support our local dairy farmers, don't you?"

"I am supporting the diary farmers of l'Agnace," Justine insists, "but I love variety, and fresh… inspiration, such as foreign scents and tastes." To André, she nods, "thank you, Prince André, I truly appreciate the gesture."

Andre looks rather smug at Justine's reply to Philomene. That's her told. "I quite like foreign scents and tastes, too.", he informs Justine, "Why don't you introduce me to your favourite local cheese?" Surely it's in one of the cauldrons.

Audrialla motions to one of her nephews or perhaps a little brother to help clean up the mess. "The marshmallows are especially tasty in the chocolate," she chirps, trying to restore a little bit of composure. "Or the broccoli in the cheese sauce is quite delightful."

Philomène points her bread-laden fork at Andre, narrowing her eyes. "I think we're all aware of the sorts of foreign tastes you have, young man. I have a scar that proves your sort of foreign taste. Who are you hiring these days? Upping your game a little, maybe? A minor demon from the pits of hell, perhaps? Or are you sticking with enemy spies, given that you have so much practice already?"

"Actually…" Justine walks over to the other table, taking in the scent of one of the bowls of cheese. "This one over here smells like there is some Brioude in there. Wait." She spears one piece of bread with her fork and dips it into the bowl, then offering it up to André. "Have a taste, sweet prince."

"The only minor demon from the pits of hell I know, Mylady, are you.", Andre replies as politely as coolly. "I see you have spent all winter embroidering your own little conspiracy theory that has nothing whatsoever to do with reality." Ah, Justine to the rescue with cheese. He turns to her with a smile and leaves forward to take the cheesy bread frm her fork directly with his lips.

Audrialla fears more flying food. Her hands start to wring again as she tries to distract herself with other guests, demonstrating how to dip and snack.

"I assure you, your highness, there's nothing minor about me," Philomene insists, biting off the piece of bread, then pointing the fork, albeit briefly, back in his direction. "Lady Justine. Cousin. Don't trust that one. I've spent my life protecting this country and my family from enemies. The good shepherd doesn't open the gate wide and let the wolf right in just because he brings cheese."

"No, why be a minor idiot, when you can be a major idiot instead.", Andre mutters. It isn't directly spoken to Philomene but loud enough to overhear. He then tries to pretend she doesn't exist and dips some more bread into the cheese. But the woman is carrying on. COUSIN?! "The wolf that brings cheese and chocolate and lace and tapestries… yea, must be a terrifying beast.", he grumps.

Audrialla facepalms a little. She starts to encourage the other guests towards dessert and away from the tables where there may be flying chocolate, if she's not careful.

After feeding André some molten l'Agnacite cheese on bread, Justine turns to lend her ears and eyes to Philomène, and she raises a brow. "Cousin, as we are both Chalasse by marriage, but I can't say that I see Prince André is a wolf, nor is he a Skaldi. And even if he were…" She looks around, and her eyes come to linger on the huge frame of Tancred. "Even then, it seems ill-advised to insult or accuse an ambassador, unless there is some sort of proof. I can't say he's done worse than advertise some cheese of his own country, and it is delicious. Why are you so tense?" Here, she waves for an attendant to bring more wine, "Prince André is not your enemy, nor is he one of Eisande or Terre d'Ange as a whole, when he has been sent here as ambassador of his country?"

Though eavesdropping, Tancred seems content not to interject, even when Justine pointedly looks his way at 'Skaldi'. It turns out d'Angeline cheeses are also delicious; he's sitting down with several empty plates next to him and another in his grip still laden with skewers.

Philomène turns her attention on Justine fully. "My dear lady, the last time I saw this young man, he had hired a savage foreign spy to his retinue who put a knife in my lung and but for the grace of Elua and his blessed Companions, would have killed me. He then, while I was still in the infirmary and on a knife edge between life and death, proceeded to defend the animal, going as far as to insist that I ought to change my story to protect her. Furthermore his appearance back in this city, without even a single word of apology for his actions…? Perhaps you might excuse me if I eschew the fireworks and marching band for his return visit to this city."

With eyes wide with alarm, Audrialla starts to thank the other guests and has them escorted away. Fondue is over, everyone go home before a war breaks out. Thank you for coming. She moves closer to the tables where the conflict resides and offers a smile, hesitant through it is. "C-can I fetch anyone wine, or something perhaps to take home?"

Andre looks almost amused now. "My dear Lady Philomene, I see you have used the dark cold winter months to indulge in fantasies and spun them further." He turns to Justine then. "Perhaps, Mylady, you would like to join me some time to try more specialities from the Flatlands and … hear the true matter of what occured last year?" He offers Audrialla an apologetic smile. "I am very sorry, Madame, that a gift meant generously and peacefully, caused such an incident. I'm sure most people enjoyed the festivity anyway." And they have gossip to share for weeks to come.

<FS3> Justine rolls Composure: Good Success. (4 8 4 1 1 5 1 7)
<FS3> Justine rolls Politics: Good Success. (2 6 7 3 1 8 8 5)

Justine's eyes widen just a fraction when she hears Philomène's words. "These are grave accusations, and I shall insist on hearing more on the matter, next time we meet." In a probably less public location when they are not surrounded by curious eyes and ears. A faint encouraging smile plays about her lips, an expression that intensifies a little, as the blonde lady turns her attention towards André. "I would like that, to try some more of your specialties," she replies to him. And finally, her grey-blue eyes look towards Audrialla, and in realizing what has just happened, and how it must affect the poor woman, Justine adds, "I believe I shall visit your bakery soon. I think I would like to have some of that chocolate fondue soon for a party of select friends. I found the treats offered here quite inspiring and intriguing, Mademoiselle Audrialla."

"I've spent the winter months burying my husband," Philomene states flatly. "Sadly that rather took up all of my time and my capacity to fantasize. Nor, your highness, do I stand for accusations of untruth. I'll take that apology."

Audrialla curtsies to Justine and offers a small smile. She's trying to ignore the drama like a good commoner. "I would be happy to set up a personal experience, my lady. With whatever choices you and your guests prefer."

Andre arches a brow. He somehow manages to not make a tasteless joke. "May he rest in peace, Mylady.", he offers instead. The poor man can't have had much peace in his lifetime. "I think our interpretation of 'untruth' differ. But then I am only a humble foreigner with an imperfect grasp of your language." He bows to Justine. "I look forward to receiving you, Mylady. And I thank you for a very…. interesting experience, Madame Audrialla. I shall call upon you again soon. But now, if you'd excuse me…" He bows to her as well and goes to find his guards who have been stuffing their faces elsewhere.

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