(1312-04-23) Good Little Noblewomen
Summary: Having won the horse race in the spring tournament, Philomène comes in for a somewhat extraordinary prize…
RL Date: 23/04/2020
Related: Takes place later in the same day as the Horse Race; also refers to Fun With Fondue and The Storm and the Calm.
aurore philomene 

Maison aux Herbes

In contrast to the gaily painted yellow door with its fragrant pots of vibrant green herbs which guard either side, the interior of this house is austere to the point of severe. The whitewashed walls bear little to no decoration, if one precludes the single, almost full length mirror in the main room, and the tiny, framed pencil sketch of a pair of horses beside the door. The front door enters directly into a spartan salon, equipped with a single dark leather sofa and a comfortable chair in front of the fire, where a square section of the rugged brown carpet has been stripped away to facilitate drying out firewood or cleaning out the grate with minimal upkeep.

To one side of the room, an opening leads through to an equally minimalist dining room, containing no more than half a dozen stiff backed wooden chairs and a table that could comfortably fit only four of them, and from there a door leads to the small kitchen and on to simple quarters for a single servant. On the other, a plain staircase leads upwards, the carpet laid in a strip down the centre, with bare, unpolished floorboards visible to either side, to a pair of small bedrooms and a cramped privy. Where furniture has been placed, it is mismatched and looks more as though it's been bought and dumped in the closest available spot than that any sort of thought to interior design has been paid.

Aurore turns up with provisions in a basket and a fine bottle of uisghe. She is fashionable as always and grinning her delight at the outcome of the horse race.

Philomène isn't long back in, herself, and the door is still propped open to let in a breeze and a little fresh air to help counteract the overwhelming smell of horse that she's brought back with her. Caroline notices it even if Philo doesn't. The Chalasse is explaining in great and boring detail, complete with hand gestures and the occasional use of a salt cellar as a prop, exactly how every inch of the race went down, while Caroline does her best to look interested and get on with her work. The maid gives Aurore a look of relief as she makes her way in and gives Philomène somebody else to inflict her play by play on.

"Cousin!" Philomène calls out, turning on her a dazzling smile. Horses and competition. The things that make Philo happiest. And look! Then the third thing, too! Booze! "Come on in, I'll get us some glasses. How the fuck are you?"

Aurore strides in, "Wonderful! I doubled my money betting on you! You were marvelous!"

"Hirondelle outshone herself," Philomène corrects, always ready to praise her horse. "You should have laid more money on her." She grins widely, offering Aurore first her hand to clasp, and then a glass which she exchanges for the bottle so she can pour out a couple of generous measures. Yes. She just helps herself to the bottle. Of course she does.

Aurore gives a bark of laughter, "I laid rather a lot on her, but I fear many had the exact same idea so no better odds could be had." She clasp the hand heartily enough. The bottle is Philomène's now in any case and so she raises no objection. "How are you these days anyway?"

"Far too sober," decides the woman, tucking the bottle under her arm so she can take up her own glass without letting go of Aurore's hand. "I'm hoping you've come to help with that. We should steal Raphael and go and set the town on fire again one of these nights. Although," Philomène admits with a half smile, leading the way over towards the hearth and the couch there, "I'm under caution by the Lady that I'm not to set any foreign ambassadors on fire. Even if they do fucking deserve it."

Aurore grins, "Well, clearly we have an easy remedy for that at hand, and I'm certainly happy to help." She laughs again, "What was the story behind that particular fire lighting anyway?"

Philomène takes a swig from her drink, pulling a face as she lowers herself to the seat and tugging Aurore down with her. Apparently she's beyond trying to hide the pain of sitting when it comes to Aurore. "The Flatlander brought that little savage shit here who stabbed me. And now he's back - you'd think they had some other idiot they could send as ambassador, but no, apparently just that little blonde cunt. Presumably just to get on my tits, and I tell you now it's fucking worked."

Aurore settles next to her easy enough. "You'd think they'd have learned their lesson and sent someone more… diplomatic. Clearly it's their fault if he ends up on fire a second time."

Philomène laughs, tipping her head back to look up at the ceiling. "Well, I haven't set him on fire yet, but if I do you'll give me an alibi, right?"

Aurore presses shoulder to shoulder, "Oh certainly. A subtle poison might be a more diplomatic solution, though less emotionally satisfying."

Philomène leans forward to set the bottle down on the table, then loops her arm companionably around Aurore's shoulder. "That wasn't banned by Her Grace specifically," she notes speculatively, then flicks another grin sideways at her friend and cousin. "But it's not my style. If everyone doesn't know about it, it's not really me."

Aurore curls her own arm around Philomène's waist in response, "True. You are a truly admirable character, you know." She sips her drink, "If I try to keep up with you, odds are I'll end up asleep under your table, but shall we get properly ramsqaddled to celebrate your victory?"

"I'm not sure 'admirable' is the word you mean," Philomène insists cheerfully, lifting her drink towards the woman before knocking back another good swig. "But getting absolutely ratarsed is something I can get behind in a big way. If you are going to fall asleep, though, the spare room is way more comfortable. Trust me. This couch might feel comfy now, but it's a killer when you wake up."

Aurore grins at her all wicked charm, "Oh, it is the word I meant. I do admire you very much." She takes a bolder drink, "Ratarsed it is. I'll do my best to remember about the spare room." She studies her, "Realy, how have you been these last months?"

Philomène considers the question for a moment, letting her uisghe swirl in her glass. "I think," she admits honestly, "on the whole I've been a whole lot better than I deserve. I'm more myself, although it's been odd suddenly being so idle. Good thing I've got Hirondelle to take out as often as I can. You've got to wonder how some of the useless youngsters fill their days, haven't you?"

Aurore is suddenly fierce, "Not better than you deserve." Then she's smiling again, "Oh I suspect they are filling their hours with drink and gambling and sex. Hasn't that ever been the way with the young?"

"And you?" Philomène queries, leaning back a little so she can better look the woman over. Appraising.

Aurore smiles a tight smile, "Well enough. It is good being back here with you and Rafe again, but it's better if I'm there for planting time. The older I get, the more I value true friends."

"I've told Eleanor to ask if she needs help, but… well, she's my daughter," Philomène admits with a laugh. "I'm not expecting a call for help any time soon, short of a natural disaster, and even then it would probably be just to ride out and check the barns while she gets on with fixing it."

Aurore laughs a long with her, "So stubborn and wanting to make her own way. It's funny, I'm nothing like my mother was. I both hope and fear my son will be like me."

"He could certainly do a lot worse," Philomène opines, taking another drink before settling her glass on her knee. "He's bright, he's loyal and he's honest. What more could anyone ask?"

Aurore lowers her lashes, studying Philomène through them, "That is my hope for him, yes. I want him to be… all those things. I really do think you'd be a good influence."

Philomène smirks. "I'd be a good influence as long as you don't want to teach him patience. Or common sense. Impulsiveness and flying off the handle, though and I'm your woman."

Aurore shakes her head, "I think I have patience and common sense covered, but it's more than that that makes a man."

"Riding," Philomène suggests with an amiable grin. "Drinking. Making a tit of yourself with women. I see why you came to me now."

Aurore says, "Loyalty, bravery, grit, honesty, the warrior ethic. I can give him brains and a work ethic, but you… are better than a man."

Philomène unfolds her arm from around Aurore so she can lean forward and top up her glass, then waggles the bottle in her cousin's direction, a brow raised. "I'm not sure it's a great virtue to want to fight everything. Even for an Aiglemort. A little more?" she offers, then grins. "You're going to have to keep up if you want to be blotto by the end of the night. I've had a few years practice on you. Look, you don't want him fighting everything. He'll get himself killed, or injured, and spend the rest of his life miserable. Look at the rest of us. Name one Aiglemort who's made it unscathed to old age."

Aurore takes a long drink and offers her glass for refilling. "His father's line isn't all that promising on that account. Still my husband lived to be quite old, so there's hope." She studies her, "There are virtues I can't give him that you have in quantity. I want him to have everything. The world." Her eyes are wide and serious.

<FS3> Aurore rolls Carousing: Success. (2 3 6 8)

Philomène lets the amber liquid glug contentedly into the offered glass, hanging on to the bottle in case she needs it again rather than setting it down. "Well, if I could give him that you know I would," she insists softly. "But me, I'm more likely to set the world on fire than I am to preserve it for the lad."

Aurore lightly touches Philomène's hair, "I bet you'd do it for the right reasons."

Philomène just looks amused, lifting the bottle. "Because I was drunk, angry, and it seemed like a good idea at the time?"

Aurore laughs and drinks, her long pale throat shown off to effect, "I trust your instincts even if they do lead to duels and flaming ambassadors.”

"You're a fucking idiot," Philomène tells her fondly, looping her arm, bottle and all, back around the woman's neck. She pulls her in close, leaving a brief kiss on the top of her head. "My instincts will get us all killed sooner or later."

Aurore laughs softly and leans against her, arm around Philomène's waist again, "It'll be fun right up until the end, I suspect." She is flushed already with the uisghe, being more the wine with dinner sort, but she is trying to keep up as best she can, watching her kinswoman's face as she drinks, "I worry about you getting bored and leveling the town, I admit."

"But if I do," Philomène counters, smile still playing about her lips, "you'll be there beside me, cackling and encouraging me, and we'll go down together. I think there are worse fates. You know, I'm really awfully glad you married into this stupid bloody family too."

Aurore laughs again, frank and real, "Oh definitely. I'll hold the horses so we can make our escape after, too."

Philomène knocks back another swig of the uisghe, apparently suffering not a single effect from the potent stuff. Either that or it's just impossible to distinguish drunk Philo from normal Philo. "Hold my drink," she insists, shoving her glass at Aurore, although with which hand she's expected to do that is anyone's guess. So it's awkwardly balanced somewhere in the woman's lap for now, while Philomène fidgets to unfasten her sword belt from her waist, unhooking it with a bit of effort and fumbling then resting it up against the arm of the couch instead so it's no longer impudently poking her or Aurore where they sit. "The thing is," she explains solemnly, "I actually like this town. I like the Duchesse. I've even got used to the damn seagulls now. I don't know if I really want to escape somewhere else. It's comfortable here. Besides, all my stuff's here." All her stuff. Like she ought to be proud of her selection of mismatched and outdated auctioned furniture with which she's haphazardly filled her modest home.

Aurore was drinking at the time, and spills a bit as she moves to corral the drinks on her lap. "I like it here too. I fear I get rather bored with the entertainment the mountains have to offer. I'm a city person. Always have been and the more cosmopolitan the better. Still, if you ever need someone to hold your getaway horse."

"I know where to come," Philomène finishes, nodding solemnly as she takes up her drink again, spillage unremarked upon for now. "So what is your idea of entertainment? Other than dressing up and hitting dive bars for pleasure and profit?"

Aurore lowers her lashes, "Gaming, music, dance, conversation, good food, watching acrobats and the like… I enjoy variety really. I should probably learn to hawk. I do like a ride now and then, but I never really learned most of the… I came to the country late in life and study only takes one so far." She drinks again, dark eyes fixed on her kinswoman, "What do you like to do in the city?"

"Ride," Philomène responds, wryly echoing her previous words. "Drink. Make a tit of myself with women. It's a fairly niche idiom but I'm good at it, so I might as well keep going."

Aurore smiles softly, "Do you? Make a tit of yourself with women?"

Philomène rolls her eyes and groans. "Blessed Elua and all his companions, far too bloody often. I'm a damn awful d'Angeline. You remember I was seeing that Mereliot last year? Before we… went away." Good euphemism. Well done. "Proper tit of myself. I don't do anything half way."

Aurore drinks, "Some things are best done all the way or not at all though." She looks down, "I admit, what interest I have is mostly for our sex. I could happily die without ever touching a man again. I never was the romantic type though. Not really."

"I'm thinking not at all is probably the better option," Philomène admits, wrinkling her nose and taking another drink. "Romance is a stupid fucking story for children, and grown adults should know better."

Aurore nods solemnly, "I'd rather find someone I enjoying talking with and see what goes from there."

"See, this is my issue with the salons," Philomène explains earnestly, turning to watch Aurore as she speaks. "If all you want is the illusion, the physical, somebody to hold as long as your money keeps flowing, then carry on. But it's not for me. I don't want to just hop into bed with someone. It's like wanting a banquet and being fobbed off with a raisin. I don't care if it's the most beautiful, sweet raisin I've had in my life, it's not the joint of good ham I was looking for."

Aurore says earnestly, "It's not for me either. I'll pay for art. the dancing and singing and tumbling and the like. I'll game at their tables. I don't… go upstairs. Not now that I don't have to. I'd rather pleasure myself if that's all it's going to be."

"I'd rather game with the sailors at the docks," Philomène admits. "There's no expectation there. They're not pretentious. Fuck. Drink up," she offers, aiming to tilt the bottle from where she is, a feat that can only go badly. "I enjoy talking with you," she decides, giving a firm nod. "And drinking. And maybe I'll take you out one of these days to the ballet. Those are some girls worth enjoying the view for."

Aurore's smile widens, "And that is why I play dress up with Rafe. I can't really go playing with sailors dressed like this." She's drunk enough now that she can drink up without thinking about it. She leans her whole torso against Philomène, breath on her neck as she holds out her glass, "I would love watching the ballet girls dance with you, Philomène."

"Fuck it, I do, and they can like it or fuck off," Philomène opines with a half smirk, doing her best to pour out more uisghe without making too much mess. "But then I think the town has long since given up on me behaving like a good little noblewoman. But I'm not dancing with the ballet girls, though. Can you imagine it? Me? Trying to fucking dance? Shit, I can't even fucking walk."

Aurore's head is on Philomène's shoulder now, "I like that you're not a good little noblewoman. A real good little noblewoman wouldn't want to be friends with me. A good little noblewoman wouldn't even be a fraction of the fun." Her words are slow and careful.

Philomène drops the bottle, trusting to luck and her own innate ability not to waste booze that it'll fall safely into Aurore's lap, leaving her hand free to stroke the woman's cheek. Well, both glasses are topped up. She can probably manage for a bit before she needs the bottle again. "A good little noblewoman would be a whole lot safer," she reminds her.

Aurore presses her cheek into the touch and starts gently nuzzling her neck, "I'm no good at safe. Not for the long run. Safe bores me."

"I've no interest in raisins," Philomène reminds her obliquely, even as she lifts her rather magnificently sculpted jaw to allow Aurore to settle in closer. "Are you staying for dinner, or…?"

Aurore kisses her very delicately under that jaw, "I'm not offering raisins. I'm offering something entirely different. Neither of us are safe, but I trust you in ways that are… uncharacteristic for me." She laughs, lips to skin, "I'm not convinced I'm in any condition for a walk home just now."

"I'd keep you from falling into a gutter," Philomène allows with a slight smile, letting her fingertips trace the contours of the woman's face. "Or at least come join you in the same one. You can trust in that, at least."

Aurore starts kissing along her jaw, "I'm sure you would, but isn't it cosier right here, right now?" She pauses and then says seriously, "I don't do anything I don't want to do. Not for years now. I don't plan on starting. I know my mind, coz. What happens next is up to you."

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