(1312-04-10) Joyful News
Summary: Farah meets Jehan-Pascal, and talk about babies ensues!
RL Date: Fri Apr 10, 2020
Related: None
farah jehan-pascal isolde 

La Perle Noire — Market Promenade

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.

The weather is as pleasant as it can be on a spring morning, warm and only slightly overcast. The sort of weather that lures people out of their homes, out to the grand plaza and the market promenade, for a first round of spring shopping. And how tempting it is, to use the opportunity to pop in at an inn or similar establishment afterwards, to enjoy a beverage and the view over the bustling marketplace. Farah has entered La Perle Noire just a moment ago, and truth be told, it must be her first visit to this venue of rather exotic scents and looks. She blends in quite well, given her slightly dusky complexion, heritage from her father in Khebbel-im-Akkad. But her dress is a fine one, befitting of d'Angeline nobility. Dark hair has been twirled and arranged in a fashionable manner, and the peach color of her gown stresses somewhat her foreign looks, in a way. The cut of the dress is a little unusual, perhaps, as it sports a rather high waist. Her company, of a guard and a maid have retreated to the side, while Farah de Mereliot has found herself a table with a view. And a mug of hot chocolate.

Another soul out and about this morning is Isolde d'Eltoine. The giant amazon of a woman with her pale skin and pitch black hair stands out easily in the crowds. She is on her way to train, or perhaps coming back from training, clad in dark leathers and carrying her blade at her hip. Her hair is pinned up carefully to keep it out of the way. Stepping into the shop she peers around curiously arching a brow and letting those violet eyes sweep the area with interest. Stepping towards a table she draws in a slow breath, inhaling the scent of coffee and hot chocolate with a faint smile on her lips.

Jehan-Pascal ambles along to his most recently favored haunt, though he may be behind the times a season or two in not having patronized the place when it was just coming into its popularity. But coffee may be even a better enticement to action than his usual cup or two of morning wine, and if he can get some with a drop of something keen mixed in with it, all the better. He's venturing a new color palette for the spring, a fine, rich, boyish collection of tans, duns and fawns with dark grey-brown trim and silver embellishment. It's a fine, subdued backdrop for his pale amethyst pendant, and an opportunity to try something rather exciting in terms of hosiery: today, a pair of particolor stockings, pale sky blue on the outer half and pale shoot green on the inner half, and a pair of silver slippers with a dark wooden heel that effortlessly compels his shapely calf to fill out that stocking. Thus attired, and also with his glass silver-bound lenses sitting tidily upon his nose, he enters with a charming leather case held against his hip with a bend over his opposite shoulder. His attention is first drawn by the blade-bearing form in the training leathers, if for no other reason than the novelty, but soon he's found Farah and he bounces up just slightly onto the balls of his feet, holding his bag's strap with one hand and lifting the other to engage her attention with a wave.

Any new arrival to La Perle Noire is bound to draw attention, and so Farah looks up when the martial looking lady arrives. Her dark eyes retain that faintly curious and friendly expression as she studies the woman — not exactly staring, just considering her for a moment or two, before she lowers her gaze. The tables at this place are fairly low, and yet Farah lounges there with ease on a divan, peach colored skirts spilling about her. Should Isolde look her way, Farah will meet that look with a smile and a polite nod of her head in the lady's direction. But there is movement she notes in the corner of her vision, and Farah turns her head, lifting her chin just so to get a better view — and there is that belated moment of recognition, a hand raised with only slight delay to return the greeting.

Jehan-Pascal loiters where he is for the off moment between his greeting and its return, then dips his shoulders forward in a jaunty slice of a bow, and, "Would you mind the company, my Lady de Mereliot?" he asks her, from a distance, yet, nor exactly foisting his presence upon her on this fine spring morning. He is no doubt recognized by the staff by now, having just in the last few weeks become something of a fixture, and someone is just waiting for him to land somewhere before they begin preparing.

"How could I mind your company, my lord?", Farah counters softly, that smile of hers deepening, as she regards Jehan-Pascal. "You being good friends with my husband. On the contrary, I would be happy if you could join me for a bit. It's been awhile since last we spoke… at the Winter's Delights Ball, I believe?" Her hand lifts in an inviting gesture, beckoning him over. "Marco has some trade negotiations he wanted to see to, so I've decided to go out on my own. But we should invite you over for dinner sometime."

Jehan-Pascal's own smile warms in gracious echo of Farah's own, and, stepping closer, he bows his head and draws the strap of his bag from over the short-shorn curve of his scalp, setting the bag down where it can rest to one side while he settles sideways along near Farah. "It's been a little while, hasn't it? 'Tis the season," he chuckles, at news of Marco's absence. "The contracts must be struck, books managed and tax settled so we can see what we're working with for the year." He sounds a little harried by it, perhaps, but a liquor-laced coffee with honey will soon set all to rights, after he's confirmed his desire for one. "Oh, a dinner sounds lovely, my Lady. Do send me some good evenings in the following weeks and I'll check with my diary. I feel like it's become my second brain, I need to consult it on everything," he laughs.

There is a subtle shift in Farah's smile when Jehan-Pascal joins her. To his remark, she chuckles and shakes her head a little. "Well. Yes. It is the season, and I am glad that he wanted to deal with the numbers on his own. We have a capable steward in Toulon, though. So there is not much math left to do." Her hand sets her cup back onto the table and casually comes to brush over the front of her dress. "Your family is well, I hope? How does it change someone to become a parent, I wonder? This is a question I find myself pondering quite often, these days."

"The twins are in excellent health and growing like weeds already. I remember back to how tiny they were when they were newly born and — gosh, it just goes by, but they really do become an entirely new center of your world, all of a sudden, and —" Jehan-Pascal quite suddenly stops his amiable and oh-so-earnest prattle, taken up sharp by the implication as it finally weaves its way to the center of his brain. "Oh, Lady Farah! You're not — are you — yes?" Look at him, just absolutely as on-edge excited for the news as could be.

Farah listens when JP speaks of the twins, and there is a glint in her dark eyes as she observes his fatherly pride, and something in her countenance and carriage clearly transcends from mere polite interest in his words to so much more, warmth and empathy spilling from her expression, enhanced even further by the usual play of pregnancy hormones. His belated reaction to what her words had implied has that smile of hers deepen, and her hand placed upon a stomach that still looks quite flat and not yet quite telling. "I am," she assures Jehan-Pascal after a moment, looking up. "I am with child. There will be a heir or heiress born to the Vicomté of Toulon. So there is that. Fulfillment of my purpose and… a very disturbing and exciting change in our lives."

And just like that the some-day Comte d'Avignon lets out a sort of high pitched keen of exitement, as if the pair of them were just girls sharing secrets in a garden somewhere. He claps a hand over his mouth, at least, and the server, already at hand, is not sufficiently startled by the sound not to set down the coffee for the Lord after a moment's making sure that nothing is amiss. "Oh my goooshhhhh," he peels his hand free from there to whisper, "That's so awesome! When are you due, how are you feeling— how's MARCO doing? Is he super excited?" he peppers Farah with questions and barely gives her a moment to answer any of them.

"In a little more than five months from now," Farah confides, leaning a touch forward as she lowers her voice just a little. "And yes. He is. I am feeling quite good, now, but I had some weeks earlier in the year when I felt sick in the morning… There will be an official announcement made, these days. Marco insists that we stay here in Marsilikos until I'm due, as there are many skilled midwives and healers here, and priests of Eisheth, should there be any complications."

"Oh, yes, of course you should," Jehan-Pascal will back up his friend, and thinks it a sound bit of advice, to boot. "I'll take him to the temple to make the proper offerings," he adds. Never much of a religious fellow, he at least has felt the hand of Eisheth in his own paternity, and is happy to show Marco the ropes, as it were. "I'll keep it to myself until the announcement, but I'm so blessed you felt to share with me, Lady Farah. May I call you Lady Farah?" he asks, somewhat meekly, having taken the liberty just then, and possibly before, in his excitement. "I know we haven't spent a terrible lot of time together, but Marco is one of my closest friends," see how he simply calls him by his given name? "And I'd like to be friends with you, too, if possible."

"Oh… yes…" The notion of Marco at the temples brings a smile to her face, a curious mixture of memories and considerations. "The mother of your children must have been much more at risk during her pregnancy." Given, that it was twins. And other factors, if one can believe the rumors. "You two have been blessed by Eisheth, that everything has gone well. Oh…" The next request brings a faint blush to her cheeks. "I know, Marco and you are close, my lord. You may even call me Farah. Lady Farah may be far too formal." Her smile deepens, into that warm intensity only pregnancy can bring forth. "I had considered to ride in the horse race of the upcoming tournament… But I won't compete there. Not with this new Mereliot," her hand pats gently her lower abdomen, "in the making. It would be too great a risk. I will attend as a spectator though. And perhaps… try out the archery. It is a new pastime of mine. I found that practicing with the bow and arrow adds to my ability to focus, in general."

Jehan-Pascal's lips tighten a hint at the recollection of Madame's perilous pregnancy, but he only nods his head on that score and agrees. "We are. Very touched by Her," he issues quietly, then cheers substantially at the leave given to use her name freely. "And call me Jehan-Pascal." Both of them, note. Marco still calls him 'Jehan' sometimes but he gets away with it where others would not. Not that Farah has any real way of knowing that, sorry. "Oh, yes, I think horseback riding should be postponed. I don't think I'll be competing, I haven't even had time to apply myself to verse since the twins were born. There's just so much going on. Maybe I'll come out to the archery stands, too. Though I may be a little rusty, I'd gladly stand next to you, and we can cheer each other."

"That would be wonderful," Farah remarks, lifting her mug of hot chocolate to her lips to enjoy another sip. "You are an experienced archer, then? I have hired a tutor of my own. I mean… if I compete, I don't want to look bad, do I?" She chuckles. "I will cheer you on, Jehan-Pascal." Even if using that familiar way of address is not something that happens without that brief moment of pause before it is attempted for the first time. That way, it seems to add even more emphasis to her statement.

"I used to be totally into hunting. You know, every guy goes through that phase when all they want to do is be on a horse with his friends riding around in the woods, drinking and shooting at things. I hit that phase, like… a lot harder than a lot of guys," Jehan-Pascal laughs, then sighs, sipping his honey-rum-coffee. "Man, I miss hunting. Maybe I'll organize a trip or something during the games. Once I get all the tax work back to dad," he stipulates. "It could be a nice way to relax. I could use it, to be honest."

"Many of my half-brothers and cousins in Khebbel-im-Akkad enjoyed the hunt," Farah muses. "I heard some of their tall tales, back then, and yes, I suppose, the hunt must be something that greatly inspires men in general. Would such a hunting trip be open to just men, if you'd organize one?", she wonders lightly, tilting her head a little to the side, not that the look of her dark eyes would be less intense when looking at him in that particular angle.

"Oh—" Jehan-Pascal hadn't quite thought of the possibility of going hunting with Ladies in tow. "I mean, traditionally, but I see no reason why les femmes might not attend, if they see delight in the prospect. But they might be surprised to find how their gentlemen behave when off in the wilderness," Jehan-Pascal warns with a pop of a brow, grinning into his drink and another sip of same.

"Is that so?" Farah meets that look of Jehan-Pascal with a wink. "Ah… thinking about it… I don't think I could be going with you on a hunt. It involves riding, so that's impossible for me to take part in, I fear. And as you say yourself, a woman coming along could cause some awkwardness." She doesn't seem too disappointed, stating the latter with a hint of a wink. "Marco would enjoy such a hunt though, I'm certain."

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