(1312-04-25) Sights Worth Seeing
Summary: Newly arrived in Marsilikos, Zéphyrine Rousse stables her horse and makes a few new acquaintances, who enlighten her as to some of the sights to be seen around town.
RL Date: 26/04/2020 - 25/04/2020
Related: Nothing in particular.
andrei aurore philomene zephyrine 

Stables — Marsilikos

Grand and spacious are the stables of Marsilikos, a flat building built and rebuilt over the years, with windows located further up the walls allowing the rays of the sun to enter during warm summer days. When shutters are drawn in the colder months or when it is too dark outside, a number of oil lamps will shed a cozy and comparatively safe light in the stables. A thick wall runs through the building and divides it into two separate parts, only connected through a portal of double doors that are open during the day and barred at night — and watched by Mereliot palace guards at all times.

The part facing the Rue du Palace has public boxes to use for visiting nobles or merchants, whereas the other part within the walls of the palace is where members of the Mereliot family will keep their horses, with a few boxes spared for visitors lodging in the guest tower.

The ground is covered with straw that is changed out regularly. Buckets of water are provided and refilled by the stable hands, as well as generous sacks of hay and grain, offering appropriate nourishment for even the most excellent and spoiled breeds of horses.

As the evening draws on and most people head off to their various entertainments, or to bed, depending on class, one sole noblewoman remains in the palace stables. Dressed in a nondescript chocolate brown riding jacket, embroidered at seams, cuffs and buttonholes with a subtle but intricate selection of vines and leaves, over practical dark breeches and a set of tall riding boots, what makes this particular woman stand out is more an attitude thing than anything else. Every time the tall blonde straightens with a fork full of dirty straw — is she really mucking out her own horse? — there's a dangerous look in her eye that keeps people at bay, lest she choose to stick that fork somewhere entirely less pleasant than the barrow she's filling. And then once the barrow is full and she's thrown down the fork, that distinctive limp as she pushes it gives her away as Philomène d'Aiglemort de Chalasse.

Zéphyrine rides in on her horse. It's not one Philomène would have seen recently. Neither is the one ridden by the guard behind her. Fairly nice horses, but not exceptional. She's wearing a green riding dress trimmed with blue, and smiling like she can not think of a better thing to have been doing. Though she glances over her shoulder at her guard and laughs. "Yes, yes, I know. We should have been in half an hour ago, if not an hour. The evening's entertainment will just have to wait. I need to rub down Knot. Find a groom so I can make sure she has some oats and fresh water." And then she's dismounting and leading her horse towards one of the free stalls.

Philomène pauses with her cart of shit, lingering long enough to appraise the pair of horses that just came in. The riders are fairly well ignored, but new horses? Of course she's interested. After a moment to make her decision, she abandons the cart to become Future Philo's Problem and limps heavily over to the stall where she can lean across the half door, resting on both elbows. It's only when she's interrupted by the guard, who demands of her oats and water, that she even acknowledges there are human beings there. She looks incredulous for a moment to have even been asked, a fist forms, but somehow she keeps herself from the usual string of blue language and instead just dips her head obediently and limps off to find a bucket or two. Oats. Water. Sorted.

Zéphyrine collects a brush and starts currying her horse - a medium-sized chestnut mare. When Philomène returns with the buckets, she looks up with a smile and a quick, alomst chirpy "Thank you!" Then her eyes go wide. She looks past the other woman towards her guard. "Jaques… I… don't think this is a groom." And then back to Philomène. "I'm so sorry. We just arrived in town. But I've heard stor… umm. Anyway. Thank you so much. I like to make sure she's taken care of before I leave."

"Don't be sorry," Philomène responds, setting down the water so she can hook up the oats for the horse, apparently as versed in this as any groom. "If you don't look after your horse, how can you be trusted to look after anything?" She gestures briefly. "Privy is down there on the left, there's tack and equipment to the right if you need anything. Shit pile is outside, across the courtyard and to the right. Fresh straw other side. Pay the grooms well, they're damn good at what they do."

Zéphyrine bobs her head and smiles brightly. She's just a little ray of sunshine. "I'm Zéphyrine… Or I should say Baronne de Filitosa, now." She keeps working on brushing down her horse and gives her guard a look which causes him to go to the next stall and take care of his own, though he keeps an eye on his charge. "Oh. I will. And it's good to hear you vouch for them. I do worry. And I'd be upset if anything happened to Knot here. I've had her since she was a foal. Thank your for your help."

"Filitosa?" Philomène queries, setting that rather magnificent jaw as she steels herself to lift the bucket of water and see that Zéphyrine's horse has plenty to drink. If ever one wondered how Philo stays in shape, this is becoming abundantly clear now. "I don't know it. What do you grow? Or make? Or export?" She does not give her name. Either she's known or she's not. It's not important. What's important is that the horses are cared for.

Aurore about 30ish. She is tall and slender. Her chestnut hair is long with gentle curls when loose, though it is usually up in elaborate braids. Her face and nose are long, with strong cheekbones and full lips. Her features are more handsome than pretty, with the kind of looks that suit a woman far better than they likely did when she was a girl. She strides in, dressed in extremely fashionable riding clothes in shades of green. She starts to smile on seeing Philomène, then notices the stranger, whom she looks over as if trying to decide the quality of a strange horse.

Zéphyrine laughs. "Chestnuts, olives, grapes for wine and sailors, mostly. We're one of the baronies on Corsica. And I'm a Rousse, so… ships and sailors and trade." She's young and smiles like a ray of sunshine, but she's also brushing down her own horse and apparently making sure that her guard does the same for his horse, next stall over, though the guard does take a moment to study the new comer. Meanwhile, the young baronne turns her sunny smile on the new arrival. "Greetings."

"Ah, an islander," Philomène pronounces, pursing her lips for a moment before nodding. She may be a southerner, this new woman here, but she is at least looking after her horse and that immediately puts her significantly higher in the dowager vicomtesse's estimation. "I'll bear it in mind if I'm in the market for nuts and olives." It's only when the smile is turned away and Aurore greeted that the woman looks up, at once suspicious, but the expression turns immediately into something more pleasant for her cousin. "Aurore! Here to ride?"

Aurore perks up at the stranger’s list of exports, "Sailors… I don't suppose you'd be interested in cured meats? My people make a fine array of saucisson including peppered and spiced versions." She strides over to Philomène, "Coz! I was indeed and I would love some company." She turns intelligent eyes back to the Rousse, "I'm Aurore de Chalasse, Vicomtesse Regent of Ferrand."

Zéphyrine beams. "We do make some of our own, but variety is good on long voyages. I'll have to check with the quartermasters, but probably. I'm Zéphyrine Rousse, Baronne de Filitosa. It's a pleasure to meet you." Then she grins at Philomène. "I was taught that it's important to take care of one's charges. And horses are just as much charges as anything else. Especially since they have a harder time speaking up for themselves when they need to." She frowns a little, "Not that they can't manage to let you know they're unhappy, but they have a more difficult time telling you what they're unhappy about."

A groom hurries out into the yard to take the reins of a grey mare arriving with its rider; from the looks of things, some gentleman wealthy enough to board his horse here but not quite posh enough to warrant all the attention, is returning from a quiet, lonely ride. The mare herself is a fine animal, but perhaps not as young she once was — perhaps the exact kind of horse that is perfectly content to canter along the riverbank and then find somewhere peaceful to graze for an hour or two while its rider watches the water and enjoys the quiet.

Andrei Anghelescu turns her over to the groom with an encouraging pat on the neck and then looks around. He nods at Philomène — the one face he recognises, and brushes grey hair off his well tailored blue riding coat. If he leans a little against the half-wall circling the yard, it's surely coincidental; the man is only in his early thirties, what's he got to be tired about.

"I find humans equally if not more baffling," Philomène admits, briefly touching Aurore's elbow to move her aside so she can limp back over to the narrow passageway between the stalls where her fragrant cart still waits. "I'm just bedding Hirondelle in for the night, but if you want to double up on Greta, we could take a leisurely ride out towards the river?"

Aurore smiles at Zéphyrine, "I'd be happy to treat you to a selection to try." She nods, "Proper tending and attention tends to be rewarded in most endeavours." She moves lightly in response to the touch. "Oh that does sound quite fine." She studies the new arrival, trying to place him, but quickly giving up.

Zéphyrine moves to the other side of her horse to continue brushing her down, then beams at Aurore. "That's true. I just finished a ride of my own. I've just arrived in the city, so I'm still getting settled in, but… horses get restless if you don't take them out every few days. And Knot, here, needs some extra attention since I made her ride on a ship." Her guard is finishing up his own brushing job being, perhaps, not quite as thorough as his charge. He studies Andrei a little more carefully than the women. Which is probably a mistake in priorities, all things considered. Zéphyrine grins. "Let me get a little more settled in and then we can have a sausage tasting and discuss deals."

Catching his breath a little, the tall blond eventually makes his way across the yard; maybe he's conscientious enough a rider to want to be certain that his horse is properly cared for. Maybe he just needs an excuse to go sit on that bench. From a guard's point of view he's certainly no threat — just some short of breath merchant or higher middle class citizen (who nonetheless must be of some wealth, to board a horse here). He carries no visible weapons, nor is he escorted by any guards of his own — and perhaps uncharacteristically for the peacocks of this court, he doesn't stroll into the middle of everything in order to allow the three ladies to admire him, either. Must be foreign.

It is perhaps a sign of their friendship that as Philomène limps out with her cart of manure she aims in Andrei's direction, probably hoping to spill some on him. "Evening, Monsieur Anghelescu," she greets with a lazy smirk. "Still not dead yet, then? Go in there and entertain, would you? My cousin and one of the islander Rousses. Try not to be a dickhead for once, if you can. I like these people. And if you're up for a ride out in a bit, I'm sure you can join us."

Aurore studies the horse, "They definitely don't enjoy that." It is a subtle thing. her accent sounds like l’Agnace for the most part, and of the better circles, but it's a little too careful, though what it's covering has been thoroughly obliterated. She raises her eyebrows at the blond lord, then gives a bark of a laugh at Philomène's address to him.

Zéphyrine blinks, startled, looking between Philomène and the new man and Aurore. But she recovers and nods. "If there were another way to get a horse off an island, I would have considered it, but… I'd miss Knot if she weren't here. So… a ship." She continues carefuly checking her horse. "She seems to have managed well enough, though." Finally she finishes her grooming and leaves the horse to eating her oats. Then she smiles at Aurore. "I was asking others earlier, so I suppose I ought to ask you - is there anything you recommend visiting for someone new to town?"

Anghelescu winces lightly at Philomène's address as she walks past. "Do I not look exhausted enough already? Give me a moment to catch my breath at least."

His curiosity must be piqued, though; or perhaps he is someone in a position to obey the lady, however grudgingly. One way or another, he stands, and walks towards the other two women, dropping into a short bow the sort of which one might expect from someone not a member of the court to people who presumably are. "Ladies," he says politely in an accent that is decidedly not d'Angeline. "I am told to go not be a dickhead at you. Who am I to argue? Andrei Anghelescu, at your service."

Aurore nods to Zéphyrine, "A ship…. Depends on your ideas of amusement I fear. You’ll be wanting the Glycine if you like gaming or the Lis d'Or if you are interested in fine performance. If you are interested in this new craze for bean juice there is La Perle Noire. It's quite interesting really, like traveling without traveling. The Wine Cellar has fine vintages and noble company. The Leaping Fish if you are looking for a more… mixed crowd." His accent and his bow get her attention in the way his person didn't. "Aurore de Chalasse, Vicomtesse Regent de Ferrand."

"The gardens by the temple are a good spot," Philomène offers as she returns with straw to begin emptying into her Hirondelle's stall. "If you'd rather enjoy the plants than the people. Or if people are more your thing, head down to the docks and see where the real business of Marsilikos goes down."

Zéphyrine nods. "I was at La Perle Noire earlier. I blame my father. He'd imported some of the kahve years ago and I developed a taste for it. And they have lokum and sweet sujuk, as well." She gives Andrei a sunny smile. "Zéphyrine Rousse, Baronne de Filitosa. It's a pleasure to meet you." She frowns a little in concentration. "Are you from Illyria? Or… the Chowat?" Then she nods to Philomène, apparently still trying to figure out where Andrei would be from. "I was told the gardens are lovely. I may stop by there tomorrow. The docks… while more or less feeling like home to me, are probably not where I need to be right now. I'm afraid my family expects me to be more concerned with court and society for the moment than with ships. Though… I am sure I shall have to return to concerning myself with ships before too long."

"The Chowat, yes." Anghelescu smiles lightly. "I am of that — mixed company one might find at the Leaping Fish. Lady Philomène seems to consider it her duty to introduce me to the Marsilikan gentry. Perhaps it is simply her very refined form of revenge — but whether on you or I remains to be determined."

Aurore cocks her head to hear the answer to Zéphyrine's question. Then she laughs again, open and frank, "I fear you've already fallen among disreputable company, but suspect we are more fun." She warms a little to Andrei, "It is a pleasure to meat you whether victim or vengeance."

"And who says it can't be vengeance on both?" Philomène calls over from her stall, where she's hefting straw with the practiced ease of somebody who's been doing this all her life, and the enthusiasm of somebody who's been doing it only a week. "Look, if you're looking for high society, posh frocks and polite bows, then you've found yourself the wrong crowd here, Lady Zéphyrine. Court and society can go hang as far as I'm concerned. What exactly have they ever done for me?"

Zéphyrine laughs and smiles like the little ray of sunshine she clearly is. "Oh, well. I don't have to only concern myself with high society. And you all like horses. Or at least you're in a stables and *you* clearly like horses. So, I can indulge my love of horses with you. And then go ingratiate myself at court. As for what they've done or not done… I can't precisely say. But…" She turns her smile on Andrei. "We can subvert her plans by being delighted in one another. And you can tell me stories of the Chowat. I've never gotten to visit there."

"Mine is a country of tall mountains, deep forests, and bloody feuds, my lady." Anghelescu smiles, a small lopsided affair that seems a little wry. "Our courts tend to be significantly smaller and less formal than what you will find here — not counting a few blokes who fancy themselves princes, but it's not as if the rest of us take them very seriously. We are a pragmatic people — and I for one, am finding that on the whole, horses make better conversationalists than courtiers."

Aurore gives another of those mannish laughs in response to Philomène, "That sounds like you, coz." She turns her wicked smile on Andrei, "That sounds like it might be fun, if the music is good."

Apparently that's enough straw for now, or some was already done, or Philomène works faster than the flash, but regardless, the older blonde woman limps her way back out into the passage, take a moment to smear something unpleasant from her boot up the side of the uprights that help divide the stalls, and finally goes to lean over the door of Zéphyrine's horse's stall once more. She looks content enough, taking in the view, leant over with her chin resting on her hands and her forearms on the half door. "Monsieur Anghelescu plays the violin, he assures me. So the music can't be that good."

Zéphyrine checks over everything in her horse's stall. She's not mucking out or loading in hay like Philomène, but most of the other work, she's doing. And she checks her horse in a manner that says she's knows what she's doing on that front. That done she gives Knot's nose one last rub and steps out. She does check over the other horse as well, but more briefly. "Well… I must admit that I've more experience with horses than with courtiers, but… I rather like the violin. And music in general."

"I've little experience with Marsilikan courtiers, and I am trying rather hard to keep it that way," Anghelescu murmurs with a wry glance to Philomène. "I would not consider myself an equestrian to any great extent either. I can ride, but I tire easily, and my homeland is not friendly to horses in the way that the plains of Terre d'Ange seems to be. If one does find a strange urge to drink poor wine in a harbour tavern, though, I find myself more in my depth."

Aurore laughs again, softer this time, "Perhaps you'll play for us some time." She eyes Andrei, "You'd be surprised."

"I'm up for the drinking, but count me out for the fiddle playing," Philomène decides firmly. "Now, are we riding out tonight, or do you want to go get a drink and start a fight somewhere instead?"

Zéphyrine hmmms. "Well… I AM a Rouse. Though I suppose we usually drink servicable wine in a harbour tavern, even if we have to bring it ourselves." She looks to the others. "I think it would probably be bad for me to get into a tavern brawl my first week in town. Especially since Jaques, there, would have to wade in." She nods towards her guard who is… trying very hard to look stoic at the thought of following the young baronne into a dockside tavern. "And I've just put my horse away. But… please do whatever you wish. I should probably find my rooms and make sure I've unpacked."

"I fear I may have to perhaps ask for a few hours' worth of restitution first," the foreigner says with a slightly self-deprecating smile. "Much as I like the idea of laying waste to some seedy tavern in the company of three women who seem possessed of the ability to talk about things not dresses and weddings, my health is not good and I fear I may have exhausted myself riding — in spite of asking for the calmest horse available, at that."

He doesn't look all that impressed with himself as he adds, "Perhaps I might have the honour at some other time where I am slightly less prone to take one sip of wine and then pass out in a corner in a most undignified fashion."

Aurore's smile turns warm and uncharacteristically soft at the suggestion. She steps close, "I'll go where you go, coz. I was looking forward to that ride though." She tosses her head, "I should hope I'm done with weddings."

"But I so wanted to bore you about dresses, Anghelescu," Philomène insists drily, then touches Aurore on the shoulder and tilts her head a little towards another stall, one in which a docile looking bay mare is happily chomping on something and blithely ignoring the human beings. "We'll ride, then. I've got schnapps." Of course she's got schnapps. She's always got schnapps. "I've been meaning to show you some of the glades out in the forest anyway. You'll appreciate them by moonlight, I'm sure."

Zéphyrine frowns a little thoughtfully. "I will probably have to wed sooner than later. The succession isn't entirely clear after me if I don't produce an heir. But I suspect I will have a fair amount of latitude in my choice." She sighs deeply. "That is part of why I really do need to ingratiate myself at court. I can avoid the subject when you're around, though. And dresses are nice, but… there are many other subjects to discuss." She gives the other women a little nod and a sunny smile, and then a slightly smaller nod, but equally bright smile for Andrei. Finally, she looks towards Jaques. "Yes, yes, I'm heading for my rooms, now." Though she stops by the grooms to give them some instructions on the horses and a tip before she heads out.

Aurore snorts at the idea of Philomène boring people with dress talk. But then she's smiling at Philomène with unaccustomed softness, "I am sure I will. I am still learning the country hereabouts and am looking forward to discovering its most beautiful views and secret places." She eyes Zéphyrine, "Choose well then and best of luck." She laughs, "Oh yes. That is a sight worth seeing."

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