(1312-05-16) Sausage Trading
Summary: Over a selection of their various regional specialties, Philomène and Aurore and Zéphyrine plot a fruitful exchange. Oh, and there’s some horse talk.
RL Date: 16/05/2020
Related: Previous scenes with these characters.
aurore philomene zephyrine 

Wine Cellar — Noble District

Stairs lead down to the heavy oak door, above which the sign of the place, the likeness of a Hellene amphora spilling over with wine painted upon wood, swings lazily in the occasional breeze. Beyond that door the entrance hall comes into view, where various kegs and casks of differing sizes are arranged in oenological allure before the roughly hewn walls of ancient stone. There is a chill down here on hot summer days, that will be efficiently battled in the colder months through the heating of a giant hearth to the back. The place has a decidedly cavernous character, alcoves to the left and right offering seating at small tables for two or three. Lamps are dangling by chains from the ceiling, shades of milky glass work from La Serenissima offering sufficient lighting. There are no visible windows, which means lamps will be in use even during the day.

Further to the back there is a small hallway branching off from the main area, leading to a medium sized chamber where the bigger barrels are stored. Here, a larger group of up to eight people can sit about a round table of heavy oak, while they are being served the rarer vintages or even the heavier spirits that are stored in a wooden cabinet to the back. Staff is mostly male, clad in black breeches and white shirts with dark red vests, knowledgeable sommeliers of superior training that will be glad to wait on guests in person and offer insight into the variety of wines, red and white, not only d'Angeline but a variety of specialties from abroad, that are available here.

Zéphyrine has claimed one of the alcove tables for her own. She has snacks and a bottle of wine she's just started on. Also a book in Caerdicci that she's reading. Her dress is relatively simple, today and her hair back in a simple plait. Just a noblewoman idling away an afternoon in a wine bar. Her guard is seated not far away, but where he has a better view of the entrance.

Aurore is looking over her shoulder as she enters telling her companion, "He really is a handsome devil and so biddable. He really is the perfect gentleman in all ways." She's in shades of blue today, fashionable as always, braids up under a really lovely velvet and lace headdress.

The combination of the steps down to the Wine Cellar which have raised a little sweat on Philomène's brow, dust and horsehair from a ride, along with a deep scratch along her jaw and a bruise just beginning to show around her eye, mean she raises a few eyebrows as she follows her cousin in. Where Aurore is all understated fashionable grace, Philomène is embracing 'commoner chic' with a hint of 'thug'. "He's only biddable because he's only after one thing," she warns, short of breath but apparently in a good mood regardless. "What are you drinking, coz? My shout today, I think."

Zéphyrine looks up as she hears that voice and smiles brightly. "Might I suggest a Corsican white?" she asks with a little laugh. Then the rest of the statements seem to filter through her attention. "Wait, who's biddable and only after one thing?" She marks her place in her book and grins. "Would you two care to join me?"

Aurore laughs "Well… Men. Thinking with their stomachs and nethers…. Something different perhaps? I do like trying new things. What sort of wine says adventure and spring?" She gives Zéphyrine a bright smile, "That might very well do the trick! Is that what you're having?”

"I like your marketing technique, Lady Zéphyrine," Philomène announces, touching Aurore's elbow and nodding towards the alcove as the pair limp over to join the Rousse. "And a plate of Corsican olives, Corsican oranges, and Corsican cheese?" she adds with an amused grin. "Well, I can't say I don't extol the virtues of our pigs often enough. Fair's fair." She waits for Aurore to sit, for her to claim Zéphyrine's attention, then sets her hand flat on the table for support, steels her expression to a mask of careful neutrality, and lowers herself into the seat opposite.

Zéphyrine laughs and sets her book aside, now that she has company. "I was actually drinking our rose, but I happen to know they carry most of our wines here." There's a little sparkly grin to Philomène at her comment about marketing. "But of course. Though we could see if they have some of the sausages Lady Aurore was discussing last time we met, just to spread around the marketing." She smiles at Aurore. "Which do you think, white or rose? It's a little early for the muscat, I think."

Aurore laughs, and glances at her kinswoman, "You must admit they do sound good after a long ride." She gives every appearance of not noticing Philomène's pain, as she arranges her skirts to prevent wrinkles and look elegant while seated. "Saucisson do go very well with cheese and wine. White, I think. It's been a good day for light and sunshine."

Philomène hooks her arm casually over the back of her chair. "You're only saying it's a good day because Hercule's taken a shine to you," she accuses Aurore with a grin, then nods and flags a server with the other hand. "Couple of bottles of the Corsican white, please. And can you send somebody out for some Ferrand saucisson and a plate of cheese?" The look she gets from the server is little short of incredulous, but nonetheless, off he goes with a little bob of acknowledgement. She's something of a regular here — it sells booze, of course she is — but it's unheard of for her to want food to water down her liquid lunch.

Zéphyrine ahhs in understanding. "Hercule is quite stunning, yes. So I suppose the thing he was wanting was carrots or apples?" She takes one of the olives from the little dish already there and then nudges it a little closer to the other two. "It sounds like you both had a lovely ride today. I'd gotten up early to consult with one of our captains on how this last voyage went and what cargo we're looking at."

Aurore grins at Philomène, "Oh, I've taken a shine right back. Who wouldn't want such a handsome devil between her thighs." Aurore has been building a cellar and so is rather a known face here, though she does like nibbles with her wine tasting. She grins at Zéphyrine and purrs, "Sugared almonds and who could blame him?" She selects an almond and pops it in her mouth. "Should we celebrate or commiserate on your consultation?"

Philomène claims an olive in the meantime, chewing quite happily then discreetly spitting the pit into her fist and disposing of it in the side of the dish meant for it. "Just try not to spoil him too much," she warns amiably. "He'll end up looking like one of my sausage-with-legs drawings." She snaffles another olive, nodding to Aurore's question and waiting for an answer.

Zéphyrine laughs again. "Oh, well, sugared almonds are a treat not to be missed." She considers. "More celebration than commiseration. We're doing well, but didn't have any extraordinary good luck." She sips at her wine and then gives the server a bright smile as he brings the wine and glasses for the other two as well as the plates of sausage and cheese.

Aurore smiles warmly at Philomène, "I like your sausage with legs drawings!" She discreetly sets her pit in the dish. Once she has her glass she lifts it, "To good trade and fair weather then, whether for grain or pigs or sails."

Philomène lifts her wine. "To good trade and fair weather," she agrees, then takes a long sip from her glass. "And to sausages. With legs or otherwise."

Zéphyrine lifts her glass. "Good trade and fair weather. And yes, sausages." She laughs and then takes a drink of her own. And then snags one of the slices of sausage to nibble on. "Oh, these really are very nice."

Aurore laughs, at the addendums, then drinks, savouring the taste. The saucisson is slender and well cured with peppers and other spices mixed in. The exterior is white. They are complexly flavoured enough to be really enjoyable without being so spicy as to put off a delicate traveler. "And so is your wine."

"We were… excuse me, Aurore was… hoping to arrange something with the Royal Navy, to act as supplier to the fleet," Philomène notes with apparent casualness, but with just a hint of a terrier underneath. "It's good, long lasting meat that'd keep well and not take up much space. I suppose you don't have the ear of the Admiral, Lady Zéphyrine, do you?" She extends a leg beneath the table, nudging Aurore with a toe. Subtle.

Zéphyrine laughs. "I could probably arrange a meeting. It might take a little while. I am new in my position. But I could certainly use some for my own ships and possibly take some on as cargo for transport and sale in Caerdicca Unitas and Aragonia and possibly further afield. We can discuss whether that would be on a commission basis."

Aurore flashes her kinswoman a somewhat bemused smile then asks Zéphyrine, "I wonder if naval gentlemen like bacon?" She smiles at Zéphyrine, "I should like that. Do I deal with you directly or some factor or such of yours? I could bring papers with contract options, inventory, and work out the numbers with you or your representative." She smiles like someone who actually enjoys both accounting and contract writing.

Philomène carefully slices off a sliver of cheese, folding it over and popping that into her mouth then washing it down with more of the fine wine. "All trade is good trade," she opines, "but I do like the bigger numbers best, hm? It might not be the most heroic or thrilling adventure story to tell, but economic growth protects this country as much as any Camaeline on the border."

Zéphyrine grins at Aurore with the smile of someone who equally enjoys just such things. "Well, I will want to consult with my factor, double check what contracts we already have in place, but I do like being involved in the discussions when other duties don't get in my way." She laughs, then. "Yes, I think we all like bigger numbers, unless they are supply or upkeep costs."

Aurore folds a slice of cheese around a circle of cured pork and starts eating it delicately. "And full stomachs are always important, whether farmers or sailors or butchers." She sees that grin and says, "Oh! I think this will be fun." she lifts her glass, "To big numbers."

"You two," Philomène insists, jabbing a finger towards each in turn, "talk business. I'll be back in a minute." With which she steels her face into that oddly neutral expression again, pulls herself to her feet, and begins limping heavily over towards a small door in the back of the Wine Cellar. We shall assume the details of her visit to such a small room can remain unsaid.

Zéphyrine laughs and raises her glass. "To big numbers." Then she watches Philomène go, a touch of concern on her face. "I'd need to have access to my books to really discuss much. You'll have to come visit at Rousse House sometime after I've consulted with my factor."

Aurore looks away as if busy selecting an olive as the other dowager rises, popping it in her mouth. After her kinswomen is safely off she says quietly, "An old wound and she doesn't like it noticed." In a normal tone she says, "I can do that. My rooms are in the same quarter."

Zéphyrine glances back to Aurore and nods. "I will keep that in mind." She takes a bit of the cheese and considers. "Any other products you wish to trade? Anything you need from further afield?"

Aurore sips, considering, "I think I'd like a couple of cases of this, but I'm more interested in your oranges. Do you people make marmalade or have some other method of preservation for winter?"

They don't get long to plot, and Philomène is limping back to her seat within a few minutes. She flashes both an apologetic smile, then fixes the smile in place as she resumes her seat and rather more hurriedly than strictly necessary takes up her wine again.

Zéphyrine grins. "We do make marmalade of both the oranges and the lemons, yes. Though, honestly, there is usually fruit in winter. It's high summer through fall when the oranges are a bit harder to come by, but they blossom and fruit all year round."

Once Philomène has her wine in hand, Aurore touches her arm lightly in greeting, a quick gesture, but with warmth to her eyes. "I was thinking marmalade might travel better. We're mountain people and it might help if we had a way to use your oranges as a sort of remedy."

Philomène flashes Aurore a quick, dazzling smile, barely long enough to be registered, before she reaches for another olive. "I didn't know oranges were a remedy for anything," she admits, once again lifting her fist to her mouth to dispose of the olive pit. "I wonder if they'd grow in l'Agnace?"

Zéphyrine nods solemnly. "You can add hot water to the marmalade and drink the result like a tea. It is soothing when one has a cough or certain kinds of bleeding disease." She glances towards Philomène. "Possible. I imagine you'd need to built green houses for them. They are really a tropical fruit from further south and they like warmth and sandy or volcanic soil."

Aurore responds to that smile, a flash of excellent teeth and delight. Then she is talking more seriously, "You see it most often in winter, particularly with the poor, but anyone can get it. Some take it for malingering, but it's not. They'll complain of aches and often take to their bed. Sometimes the legs will swell, but there's no fever or the usual signs of more common sicknesses. If you don't head it off there are sores on the gums, bleeding, and teeth start falling out. Try a fresh orange or lemon or some marmalade and if they start to improve, dole out a spoonful here and there…. we're awfully high up in Clermond."

"Once again I prove that I don't understand the struggles of the poor," Philomène notes, wrinkling her nose. "I like an orange every morning with my cup of tea, and I haven't really ever thought that anyone else wouldn't."

Zéphyrine nods to Aurore. "We have that problem on ships which are at sea for too long, as well. It's a concern." She smiles at Philomène. "It's a question of costs. You have money and oranges are not so difficult to come by, here. Further north, particularly in the mountains, the transportation cost puts them out of the ability of most people to buy."

Aurore says, "It can turn good tenants into invalids and it's rough on children." She grins at Philomène, "Oh I adore a fresh orange or marmalade on toast, but it's useful to have enough for more people just in case." She looks sideways at Philomène, "I grew up near the sea. Sometimes a boat would come in and they'd stumble ashore bleeding from old wounds and their gums after a long bad trip." She nods, "A good supply of marmalade is a way to look after people when that winter sickness comes." She lifts her chin, "I may have had to learn most of my pig farming from books, but I do take it all seriously." The hint of challenge is for the younger woman, not the older.

"And the mountains have always been home to me," Philomène points out, straightening a little and fixing Zéphyrine with a scrutinising gaze. "I'm no southerner. But you might be surprised what you can grow in the valleys. It's an effect of the weather coming over the mountains… I could bore you with all the detail about relative humidity, pressure and cloud formation, but I suspect you'd rather just enjoy the sausage and the wine and leave the science out of it."

Zéphyrine nods to Aurore. "Exactly. It comes of not having fresh greens and fruit, from what we can tell, but some work better than others." She gives Aurore a serious nod of acknowledgment. "I had the advantage of a father and mother to instruct me, but books are quite useful as well." Then she tilts her head and studies Philomène. "Would I? I'm a sailor, the weather is always of interest, even if we're discussing how it works far from the shore." She smiles brightly, then. "I like learning things. I'll take my knowledge where I can get it."

Aurore's shoulders relax at Zephrine's response. "I take mine where I can get it too." She studies her wine, thinking about it, "We could try it. Maybe a small, experimental greenhouse. We could research it, coz, and see. There are some herbs that grow best in warmth too…. I'm interested." She flashes Philomène a smile, "I don't think I've seen this side of you before."

"At sea you're looking at the great ocean currents, too," Philomène notes, warming to her subject now she's established that for once she might not be boring her audience. "In general, the air over the sea is cooler than the air over the land, and wetter. I mean, it's gone over the sea. It makes sense it's wetter. So then it comes in over the land and it rises, and as it rises it cools, and the cooler it gets, the less water it can hold. With me so far?"

She takes the wine bottle and sets it between them, and moves the plate of cheese and meats beside it. "So here, the cool, wet air comes in and hits the mountain. It has to go upwards because it can't go through the mountain, right? So up it goes, and it cools, and the rain starts to form. This side of the mountain, then, is wet. Rainy. Good for crops. But then as the air hits the top of the mountain, it's fully saturated, it's carrying as much water as it possibly can. Over it goes to the other side, and starts to go back down the mountain, warming up as it goes. But it's already dumped all its rain, so this side of the mountain?" She taps the lee side of the bottle. "Won't grow shit. But it's great for cavalry."

Zéphyrine watches with rapt attention. "Oh, yes, I do see. That makes a great deal of sense. Also why the lee of most islands is the drier side. On a smaller scale, at least." She sips from her wine glass and nods. "It's always important to know the currents. We keep careful maps of how they tend to run, though they will shift on you sometimes."

Aurore nods, "That matches with the way the air feels in various places." She swirls her glass thinking of water and air currents. She's not used to thinking this way at all, her expertise being elsewhere, but she is very clearly taking it in and interested.

Philomène taps the side of the bottle again. "This side is also going to be warmer. This valley here will be warmer than the other side, because the dry air heats more quickly the further down the mountain you come, compared with the wet air on the other side." She shrugs. "So if you're growing crops, you want to grow on the windward side, anything that likes the wet and the cool, and the leeward side is where you'll get deserts form. Warm and dry. Your greenhouse, though," she adds with a little grin. "Well, that keeps the heat and the moisture in. So tomatoes, or oranges, or anything that likes a warm, wet place to be. And frankly don't we all?"

Zéphyrine laughs. "I did quite enjoy my trip to the baths, yes. Though at a certain point warm and wet turns muggy and then it's just unpleasant. Especially if there's no wind."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=Perception Vs Zéphyrine=Composure
< Aurore: Great Success (7 7 5 8 1 5 7 5 1 3 2) Zéphyrine: Good Success (7 7 5 3 5 8)
< Net Result: Aurore wins - Marginal Victory

Aurore gives Philomène a very wicked grin, "Oh aye. I think that's something we can all agree on. If we do this we should plan it together. You know the land up there best and we can have fun picking what to try the first year. Oranges growing with snow all around. Won't that be a seven days wonder?" She eyes Zéphyrine, trying to work out what exactly is going on in her head.

Philomène picks up her mountain to top up all three glasses, then moves on to the next bottle. There's a reason she always orders two at a time. It doesn't get a chance to get warm. "The Ferrand land," she clarifies, a brow raised. "I'm not about to go and tread on Eleanor's toes."

Zéphyrine is an open book, honestly. She's not stupid, but she's also not really bothering to hide anything. Mostly this just seems to be fascinating to her, but she's also not trying to send secret messages in what she's saying. "I could possibly invest some of my personal money in that. It's a little outside the barony's interest, especially if you would otherwise be a client, but… we could figure out a way to make it profitable for all, I'm sure."

Aurore is still on her first glass, though making progress, "I was assuming Ferrand. It can be hard enough to establish authority those first few years. When my son is of age, I'll likely go travelling a bit and let him spread his wings properly." Her tone turns softer, "It'd be a more cheerful reason to travel together to the mountains, setting up the orangerie." Her eyebrows go up, "Certainly, you'd know more about an orange tree’s needs than we would.”

"Or," Philomène proposes, eyeing Zéphyrine keenly, "you could have a word with the Admiral, as your share of the Ferrand orangerie venture? The funds from a regular and reliable contract for sausages with the navy would make excellent capital." She leans back in her seat, thumb absently running along the rim of her glass. "You know, Aurore, you're always welcome with me, when Thierry needs his space to shine. You did the same for me. My house is somewhat less impressive, but it's clean, and I'd never object to the company."

Zéphyrine laughs delightedly. "Well possibly. I shall do what I can to secure you a meeting with the Admiral, though I can't promise anything in that regard." She looks between the two for a moment and then takes a drink from her wine and another piece of the excellent sausage and some cheese.

Aurore gives Philomène one of her brightest smiles, "Oh, I'm counting on it, but there is plenty of time left." She drains her glass, “Speaking of which, I should really go check on him. His governess had a cold this morning." She rises and addresses Zéphyrine, "It truly was a pleasure talking to you again. I'll be by in a few days." She bends to breathe something in Philomène's ear.

Philomène lifts a hand to touch Aurore's hair, flashing her a warm smile and a nod. "Look forward to it," she insists, watching the woman every step of the way to the exit before she returns her attention to Zéphyrine and, crucially, the cheese, meats and olives.

Zéphyrine watches Aurore go and takes another sip of her wine. She starts to say something and then stops and instead eats a few more olives, letting the silence linger.

Aurore's hand brushes the fingers touching her hair, and flashes Philomène, a quick, utterly genuine smile. And then she's gone.

Philomène takes up another slice of the cheese, folding it in two and popping it into her mouth. "Now, you and I should talk horses some time. I'll introduce you to the marvellous Hercule, and you can show me your… Knot, is she?"

Zéphyrine grins. "I would love to be introduced to Hercule sometime. And yes, Knot. I'd love to introduce you to her. We've moved her back to the Rousse house stables, now that they've cleared out a bit as people have gone home, but you can come visit us. Or we can make arrangements to meet up at the city stables." She takes a few nuts, eating them one by one. "I shall even keep to only bribing Hercule with apples and carrots instead of sugared almonds."

Philomène laughs. "He's very easily swayed. Not an ounce of loyalty when sugared almonds are involved. And you've met Hirondelle, my old lady?"

Zéphyrine grins. "Only briefly, and I would love a better acquaintance with her. She seemed quite gracious." She sips her wine and then blinks. "Oh, dear. What is the time, anyway? I think I'm supposed to be home for dinner and I really must change before then. I just didn't want to wear anything too fancy down to the docks."

Philomène braces herself, sets her jaw, and moves to rise, regardless the effort it takes. "It's been a pleasure, Lady Zéphyrine. I'll call on you some time and we can go riding.”

Zéphyrine beams. "I would adore that!" She rises as well and nods to her guard, then leaves some coins on the table. "It's been a pleasure and I look forward to finding out what else I can learn from you." That said, she heads towards the door, and presumably, home thereafter.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License