(1312-05-27) Bad Weather
Summary: A downpour sends a ducal heir into Le Coquelicot. Awkwardness ensues.
RL Date: 2020-05-27
Related: Wallowing in Grief
hugo soleil 

Le Coquelicot — Night Court

Tiles of fine beige colored marble cover the floor in an ever repetitive pattern that is only broken by the circle of inlay work in its center, where through the use of white marble and dark red obsidian a likeness of the poppy flower comes to life, informing the visitor which salon it is he has entered. Long white drapes embroidered with a line of similar earthy dark red to the obsidian used in the floor are arranged to frame the windows, through which the parlour will be generously lighted through the day. Scattered about the room are comfortable chairs, light rattan fletching topped off with comfortable, cream-colored cushions, beside small tables where long slender flagons of wine stand at the ready beside goblets made of clay, glazed in warm earthy tones.

The air is that of relaxation, on more levels than just the physical; this extends to the mind, the soul, and the heart as well. An effect that is enhanced by the soothing melodies played by a lutist in a corner, by the pleasant subtle scents emanating from clay bowls filled with aromatic oils sitting on the tables; the warm lighting of oil lamps through glass shades painted with soothing patterns of waves in orange and dark red. Enhanced further by the soft laughter rippling through these halls where the visitor for once is allowed to take a break from his everyday trials and tribulations, from fears and worries, from tenseness in muscles and sometimes just loneliness.

Archways in old Tiberian style lead onwards to three areas, where patrons can find soothing in the way they wish to. Whereas a stairway at the back curves all the way up to the upper floor, where private quarters of courtesans and adepts can be found.

When looking out of the windows, you see: It is a spring morning. The weather is cool and stormy.

It's a dreary day, with the weather being utterly uncooperative and unreasonable. There's a small fire lit, just for a bit of warmth, and the firelight glitters off of Soleil's golden dress, making her a pleasant ray of sunshine. The fabric drapes low in the front, lower in the back, and clings everywhere else before falling in waves around her legs. The petite blonde turns when she hears someone enter, and she smiles warmly. "Lord Hugo," she greats pleasantly, offering the man a little curtsey.

"Mademoiselle Soleil," comes the littlest Trevalion's response, along with a glimmer of a smile. The young man is, as ever, in his uniform, with a wide black crepe band around his arm in deference to the mourning period demanded of him. "Bit of an odd request, do you mind if I hide in here out of the weather for a bit? It's apparently the only place where Frederic doesn't consider it his sworn duty not to let me out of his sight." He pauses, glances around, and realises his misstep as soon as he's spoken. "Not, of course, that I'm not alwways very pleased to come and see you anyway."

"Come stand by the fire and dry off, won't you? I'll be happy to fetch you a glass of wine and discuss with you how dream analysis can lead to greater awareness of fears, concerns, and anxieties, allowing for therapeutic counseling," Soleil suggests, motioning for him to come closer with a charmed laugh. An orange kitten of some renown peeks out from under a chair, peering at the ducal heir curiously.

Hugo straightens his jacket and brushes ineffectually at the water soaking through his shoulders as he makes his way over, giving her a relieved and grateful smile. "Brilliant, I didn't think of that!" he admits, considering for a moment then peeling himself out of the wet jacket entirely so he can hold it up before the fire. Some part of his mind reminds him that Frederic is dutifully waiting outside in the rain, but then a passing wickedness impresses on him just this once not to care. The valet can fend for himself, he's sure. "Although I don't actually have a standing bankers draft with this salon. Um. Will you take my word that I'm good for it?"

"As a Second of the salon, I think I am willing to take Lord Trevalion's word," Soleil says with a laugh as she steps to intercept a novice with a tray containing two wine goblets, taking them both and then returning to Hugo to offer him one. "I can also probably offer you somewhere more private to strip down, if you'd like to get out of your wet clothing. But that's entirely up to you. We do prefer our guests be comfortable here, after all."

"What?" Hugo queries, guileless. "Oh… oh! No, no, I didn't mean to… I was just taking off my coat, see?" he attempts to explain, gesturing to it with one hand while it hangs on the other. "I didn't mean to presume anything. Honestly, I promise you I'm not that arrogant!" He hesitates, then just turns on his best, dazzling smile, as though maybe that'll do a better job than any number of badly worded excuses. And then there's a blessed glass of wine which he gladly takes up with a murmur of thanks. "Oh, wait… you're the Second? Oh, goodness, I'm so sorry, I didn't know. Wait. Not sorry. I'm pleased. I… Oh you know what I mean?" he pleads.

"My lord, you are drenched," Soleil points out with a very amused and yet very reasonable smile. "You needn't presume anything," she says, and a novice comes along with a basket of folded towels, one of which is promptly thrown at the floor at Hugo's feet, likely so that he won't slip on the wet floor and meet a tragic end. "I am really just trying to make you more comfortable."

The novice claims Hugo's jacket from his hand, too, and replaces that with a towel, all the while as the Trevalion heir just rather bemusedly lets this go on around him. "Skin's waterproof," he protests weakly, before finally giving in and giving his wet hair a good rub dry until it stands on end like a lost porcupine. "Fine… yes, yes. Where should I go and take all this off?"

"Would you like an escort? There are several adepts who are quite skilled at massage and could help you relax while you dry off," Soleil suggests helpfully, smiling warmly at Hugo with a measure of delight. "Otherwise, I suppose I can send you to a private room and have someone bring you a fuzzy bathrobe."

Hugo hesitates, but only for a moment before he glances to the door. "I tell you what," he suggests earnestly. "Do you think somebody might come and sit with me for a bit and say nice things, and not ask me about my sister, if that's all right. But," and here he pauses, running his tongue over his teeth, "is it possible to let Frederic come and sit by the fire while he waits? I mean I know he's not really supposed to but it's really very wet out there and he's an old man." By which Hugo means he's almost 35. Ancient.

"Yes, I'm sure that'll be fine. But perhaps he might like to join the servants in the back of the house. There are fires there, too, and he can get warm and dry and perhaps get a bit of something to drink," Soleil suggests, then sighs faintly at Hugo. "I suppose I will come sit with you for a bit, then, and we can chat. I know that you're in mourning, and you'd like a bit of something to cheer you up. Do you want to come upstairs with me? I'll have the servants aid your man."

"That's really very kind of you," Hugo replies, breaking into his natural, dimpled smile without thinking. "If they could? I don't really want him catching his death of cold out there. And we can talk, and… look, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but do you mind if we don't have sex? It's nothing personal, I promise. I'd love to another time, maybe, but just maybe not today? Wait, is that really rude of me to ask? If it is, then I suppose we could. I can try, I mean."

Soleil is trying very hard not to burst out laughing as she hooks an arm into Hugo's to lead him upstairs, mirth shining in her violet-blue eyes. "Come, my lord. No one will ask you to have any sex you do not want," she assures him, grinning now as they move towards the stairs. "You can have a cuddle, if you like. Or your own private armchair. We can talk with or without clothes on, in any configuration you like. I prefer getting to know patrons anyway, before getting into the sex part, which is, again, optional."

"I'm a lot better at talking," Hugo admits, beginning to lightly steam in the warmth as he's led along with her. "Um. Not that I'm bad at sex. I didn't mean that, either. I'm perfectly adequate at sex, thank you. I… look, do you like maths?"

"Yes, I've… heard good things about the prowess of Trevalion men," Soleil replies as they head upstairs, her smile particularly impish for a moment, though that may just be to fluster him a little. "Maths? Yes, I suppose so. I'm reasonably good at maths, I think. Why do you ask?"

Soleil's Chamber — Le Coquelicot

This is an airy room with a high ceiling and long layered curtains on the windows. The walls are painted a deep navy blue, yet the color is not overpowering for the windows are large and spaciously placed. Each window is hung with thick dark curtains that can shut out all of the light, along with several layers of gold sheer curtains to helpfully let in the light and give the room a warm glow.

At the center of the room is a huge and spacious four-poster bed that is also heavily curtained, made up otherwise with piles of white and gold pillows and layers of thick plush blankets, coverlets, and comforters. The furniture in the room matches the bed and is all fairly light in color, including a small desk, a handy bookcase, and a padlocked trunk that runs the entire length of the bed. There's a mirror on the dresser and the doors of the armoire are mirrored as well.

Hugo looks pained for a moment, imploring her, "Please tell me you're not talking about my father?" Even as she opens the door, though, he hangs back, gesturing for her to go first. "Maths… well, specifically navigation. It's what I've been spending most of my time on. I just wondered if you were interested is all. You're allowed to say no. Not everyone thinks it's as fascinating as I do. We can talk about whatever you like to do in your spare time instead, if you want?"

"Ah, no, your father is not one of the ducs whom I have had the privilege of associating with," Soleil replies with a soft laugh as she leads the way into a very comfortable room which is lit fairly brightly and has several cozy chairs in it, as well as a bed that looks utterly delightful. "I have taken more interest in navigation of late, although I am not really one who has spent much time on ships. Still, it's a very clever way of doing things and I would like to learn more. May I help you with your wet clothes?"

"Oh, no, no, you sit yourself down and make yourself comfortable," Hugo insists, apparently forgetting entirely whose room this is anyway as he begins to unbutton his shirt and peel out of the sodden garment. "I'll have to take you out to sea some day," he suggests casually as he frees up his arms and looks around for a good place to hang it. "So, you know how we can use an octant, or a sextant, and that'll tell us our latitude, right? How far north or south of the equator we are. Don't get me wrong, that's massively important for knowing the prevailing winds and so on, but the real issue we've got is longitude. How far west we are."

Soleil fetches a basket for laundry from a corner to put the damp clothes in, only to be interrupted by a demanding MEOW and a little golden paw under the door of the room. "Oh, honestly, Le Chat," she sighs as she heads to the door, opening it just wide enough to let the kitten in. He streaks in with an orange flash, leaps upon the bed, and then sits there, pretending to be as dignified as possible. "So. How far west. What have you got to solve that problem?" she wonders, trying to listen attentively after she picks up after the young lord and serves the demands of the cat.

"Well, that's the thing," Hugo admits, unbuttoning his trousers but then being distracted by the cat, and crouching a little to rub his fingers together and make 'pspspsps' noises to encourage the lord and master of this bedroom to acknowledge him. "I mean… there isn't a solution. It's one of the biggest problems the Royal Navy have. We can guess on course made good, and we can take fixes off known points when we can see land and recognise which land it is, but for long journeys, out to the New World, for example, we can end up hundreds of miles out. Add in poor weather and it could be thousands. But," he adds, raising one finger, which immediately attracts the attention of the cat, "There's the moon!"

"Because when the moon is visible, you can make a guess at the hour based on its shape and position in the sky?" Soleil wonders curiously as she finally settles in a chair, watching Hugo undress without any sort of sexual expectation. The cat, who was perfectly content to ignore the nobleman, suddenly takes interest, and immediately goes prancing over to inspect him up close, sniffing at his legs curiously.

Hugo kicks off his shoes and steps clear of his trousers, then sits there, damp and in nothing but socks - it's never a good look for anyone - and fusses the cat. "Not the hour exactly, although if we could take a chronometer to sea that'd fix the problem too. But a chronometer can't handle the way the ship rolls and the salt water, so that's out. The moon, though, if you know the latitude, and you can take a bearing on it at sunset and you know the expected trajectory for that day and that latitude, you can work out how many lunar minutes west you are. The trick is getting the maths right so the books of tables to look it up are right. I've been working on it every night I've been ashore, and it works, I promise. I just need to take more readings from further north and further south, and make sure it's right for next year, too, and I swear I've found the answer that's going to make our Navy the greatest in the world!"

"But the moon rises at different times depending on its phase," Soleil muses thoughtfully, crossing her legs as she watches Hugo play with the cat with interest. "What will you do to compensate when the moon is new, or has not risen yet at dusk?" The kitten rolls about and frolics and plays as Hugo pays attention to him, having no personal interest in the moon or astronomy or anything of the sort.

"Well, I'm hoping I'll have all the numbers I need if I keep taking measurements," Hugo admits, scritching the little ginger cat behind his wide ears. "Taking account of phases and seasons and all. And when the moon is full or we can't see it, same as if you're shooting the sun in the daytime but it's too cloudy or raining, you just have to rely on course made good for an estimate until you can next get a fix." He glances over to Soleil. "There will still be days when you can't get the longitude, but if you can get an accurate fix one day in three, that's a whole lot better than no days at all. It's still revolutionary, if it works!"

The ginger kitten is all over Hugo. He is purring and rubbing and generally making it known that he is to be the center of attention. Soleil rises for a moment, collects the laundry basket, and sets it outside the door for a servant to pick up and deal with the cleaning and drying part of it. "Would you like a robe?" she inquires as she heads back to her seat, smiling contentedly. "And I would love to see your work in action someday. It sounds very exciting."

Hugo looks up guiltily as his attention drifted back to the cat. "A… oh, right. Yes. Yes, please. Thank you. Sorry, I got distracted. Look, I know it all sounds a bit dull, but it really is exciting. Think how many ships would avoid wrecking on an unexpected reef! How many sailors would make it home safely again! Once the boring maths bit is out of the way, the effect of solving the longitude problem can't be understated!" He runs his hand through his hair, looking over to her, then gives an awkward smile. "Sorry. I get a bit carried away."

"Well, it is exciting," Soleil notes, fetching a robe from an armoire and bringing it over to him, smiling at him easily enough. "Even the boring maths bits are interesting, I may note. It's just a matter of working them out smoothly and accurately, right?" She makes an effort to help him put on the robe, which is usually more difficult for her, for she is quite petite, but Hugo is not terribly tall.

The robe is clearly designed for a taller man, trailing around Hugo's ankles as it does, but it is at least a good fit across the shoulders. And, rather more to the point, it means he's not sitting there in just his socks any more. "I've got a telescope, and notebook upon notebook full of observations. You're welcome to come and have a squint through it one night if you like? I can show you the constellations we use at sea, too."

Soleil brushes a hand across his shoulders to smooth the robe then motions for him to sit down in a chair or on the bed, though even the latter has no implications. It just looks very comfortable. "I would like that very much, my lord," she replies as she smiles at him. "It sounds like a very interesting problem, and I'm not sure that there's anything that I can do to help, but I do like learning about it."

"You're very kind," Hugo insists, flashing her that dazzling smile again as he settles back in the armchair offered, and tries to encourage the cat, who having failed to be petted for more than three seconds has now lost interest in Hugo and haughtily stalked off to Soleil instead in search of the appropriate adoration. The traitor. "If you're ever not busy of an evening, drop by," he offers. "But I imagine you're mostly in demand here, are you?"

"Fairly often, though I do take nights to myself from time to time," Soleil replies as she scoops up her wayward kitten, scritches him behind the ears, and then promptly dumps him on the arm of Hugo's chair before taking a seat in a nearby chair. "I will have to find something to wear that isn't so… easily removed." Though she is fairly artful about keeping her clothing on, it seems.

At which encouragement, Hugo fusses with the kitten with both hands, face the picture of joy. "Something warm," he recommends, between making appropriately sickening noises of effection towards the cat. "But I'll get Frederic to bring out some hot soup to keep us going." He pauses, then suddenly remembers something from etiquette lessons from long ago. "Sorry, I'm doing nothing but talk about myself again. No, what do you do when you're not here, then?"

"I am a trained Gentian, having made my marque on Mont Nuit," Soleil points out with an soft smile as she watches him play with the cat. "I spend a lot of time listening to my patrons tell me about themselves. It helps a great deal towards dream analysis. More, really, than sexual intimacy, though of course that is pleasant." She folds her hands in her lap, somewhat amused. "I have an interest in plants, and I enjoy playing the lute from time to time, though I am not particularly skilled. I also occasionally write my own musical composition."

"So what brought you to Marsilikos?" Hugo asks, grinning widely as the cat goes snuffling up his sleeve, in search of who knows what at his wrist.

"I was going to retire to get married, but my fiance was killed in an accident, and my grandmother the baronne de Vezelay decided to move to Marsilikos for her health. So I have accompanied her, though she resides at the L'Envers estate, and I often spend what free time I have there visiting her. She is a delight, if you are not a servant tasked with moving furniture for her," Soleil explains with a contented smile. "The kitten was a gift from my fiance's brother."

The grin on Hugo's face freezes, then immediately switches to concern, brows furrowing. "Oh, I'm so sorry, I had no idea. Please allow me to offer House Trevalion's condolences on behalf of my father and I just realised I did exactly what I hate everyone doing to me," he switches smoothly mid sentence, rolling his eyes.

"Ah, I have had some time to mourn, and the move was fairly serendipitous, and I have been rather quickly promoted here, so my career is going well," Soleil replies with a gentle and fairly content smile. "But I thank you for your concern and appreciate the political muscle memory involved in you offering condolences."

Hugo nods uncertainly, then considers, "Do you think I can get some of these bloody wellwishers to buy me a cat?"

"Absolutely. Get your future sister-in-law to do it," Soleil recommends with a sudden impish grin, licking her lips at the thought of it. "That you'd be able to recover from your mourning so much more easily if only you had a kitten to cheer you up. And then, when you're more cheered, obviously, then you can properly think about weddings. To her charming and beautiful sister." She laughs softly.

"Do you honestly think that might work?" Hugo asks, settling back to apparently seriously consider this. "I mean, a cat would cheer me up. And I don't want to think about weddings and all that rot until I'm much more cheerful, it's true."

"Look, what can it hurt to ask? You're giving her something to do for you, you might get a cat out of it, plus you'll be able to get her to stop badgering you about the wedding a bit," Soleil points out with a little shrug.

Hugo nods slowly. "It's a fair point, and actually, much as she terrifies me, I've got all the cards, right? Worst she can do is say no."

"Don't let her terrify you. She cannot force you to get married. She can attempt to manipulate your father to pressure you into doing her will, but that's not going to look good for proper diplomatic relations, especially while your father is mourning his dear daughter. You have time," Soleil murmurs, almost a purr, like her kitten. "You don't need to acquiesce to her sense of urgency. Her sister won't be an old maid at twenty-two, or however old she is. Take your time and do it at your own speed."

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