(1312-06-19) Joy, or Some Such Rot
Summary: Philomène makes a compassionate visit to an ailing enemy on his couch of pain. Sort of.
RL Date: 19/06/2020
Related: Koningsdag and other scenes with these characters.
philomene andre 

Flatlands Suite — Guest Tower

Grumpy old bat. Stairs. Swearing.

Guards cross pikes in front of suite. Eyeball the arrival. They may have been on alert to not let a certain vicomtesse in.

"Put those damn things away before you have somebody's eye out," is the old bag's scathing comment to the pikes. The old bag who, rather unusually, is bereft of her blades (apparently it's polite to leave those at the door when entering the ducal palace), but is instead the bearer of several unfeasibly large bunches of large, yellow daisies. "And will somebody find me a bloody chair? Whose damn fool idea was it to put these people at the very top of the tower, anyway?"

The guards exchange a look. "You are the Vicomtesse de Gueret, no?", one of them asks in a thick Flatlandish accent. Maybe they've had a description of a sweary hag with a wonky leg. "The Prince told us you are not welcome." No offer of a chair is forthcoming. But the speaker does eye the bunches of daisies, trying to figure out what this is about. "Shall I, um, pass the flowers on?"

"No, I am not," Philomène points out steadily, which has the advantage of being true, fixing the young guardsman with her very best in scrutinising looks. "The young man is, to my belief, unwell, and it is traditional in Terre d'Ange to deliver flowers to the sick. Now, I've spent as much energy as I am willing to spare climbing these damn stairs, and intend to deliver these without wasting any further breath. Thank you," she insists, drawing herself to her full height and instilling those words with the kind of confident expectation that she will be obeyed.

<FS3> Philomène rolls Leadership: Great Success. (5 8 5 7 2 8 5 3 6 7 4 5)

The guards exchange another look. They aren't unsure what to do about this and the woman is rather formidable. "What's your name then?", the first guard asks, apparently ready to move inside to announce her.

Philomène sets her sights on the door, shoulders back and chin lifted as she waits for it to be opened for her. "Lady Philomène d'Aiglemort de Chalasse, and it is customary, mijnheer, to greet a lady of station in this country with the honorific 'my lady'. He is not expecting me."

"It IS you.", the guard realizes. But by now the door is open and he isn't about to risk a diplomatic incident. Still he clears his throat to announce loudly "The Lady Philomène d'Aiglemort de Chalasse to see Prince Andre van Westerlo." There's a not very sympathetic outburst in Flatlandish to be heard somewhere and then a rather gruff "She may enter"in d'Angeline. At least the Prince is properly dressed, sitting in his armchair by the window. When the lady is admitted to the main room, he even rises to his feet.

As is only right, as a mark of respect and common decency. Philomène inclines her head sharply by way of greeting, extending the flowers sideways to the startled looking guard, and just expects him to take them. "I assume," she launches, without bothering with the usual hello, how are you, lovely weather, are you here to kill me, no, splendids, "that your illness was more severe than originally intimated to me. It's customary to provide flowers for invalids, and so here are flowers." Hands now empty, she folds them behind her back, pacing over with that peculiar limp towards the window to look out of it. "In d'Angeline we know these as marguerites. I believe they are thought to signify joy or some such rot."

The guard does accept the flowers, a little surprised, then hands them to Andre's valet so the man can go find a receptacle for them. "I am recovered.", Andre explains stiffly and gestures to the second chair at the small table, "Please do take a seat, Victomesse. Will you have a drink?", he asks politely. "I must say, I am rather surprised by your appearance here. Have you come to finish off what did not succeed the first time?"

"I assumed," Philomène notes, glancing back over her shoulder which, with the light in the window behind her and her fair hair, gives her an unfairly angelic look, "that you must still be unwell, and that is the reason I've yet to receive an apology for your insulting accusations, your highness. A young guardsman came to see me, who told me, rather apologetically, that you had accused me of all people of somehow being the cause of your illness. Thank you, schnapps if you have it?" she adds aside to the valet, dipping her head towards him in thanks.

If the valet is surprised, he's too well-trained to show it. He just bows and withdraws briefly. Andre arches a brow at the woman. "My dear Lady Philomène, you've made your antipathy towards me well known all over the town. You have been heard saying you wished me gone. Who else but you would have ANY - absolutely ANY - reason to try and poison me?"

Philomène turns to face the man, eyeing him for a length of time just long enough to be uncomfortable. "If you were on fire, I'd bring out a toasting fork," she agrees simply. "But I would never stoop to underhand tricks. Let us be absolutely clear on this, if you die by my hand, it'll be on the point of a sword in a fair fight. It's no secret at all that I'd rather you went back to your precious Flatlands, but I have too much self respect to lower myself to such an undignified and duplicitous way in which to ensure it." She takes a pace closer to him, then brings her heels together again, every inch the old soldier (gammy leg notwithstanding). "I have many faults, but dishonesty is not one. I am here for your apology."

"You may be here for some time then.", Andre replies dryly. Which is perhaps the cue for the valet to return with a tablet on which he carries an earthenware bottle and a small glas. He sets the glass down on the table, the fills it with nearly clear liquid from the bottle. He sets the bottle down, bows and withdraws. "Finest jenever from my home.", Andre explains proudly, giving her an even look. "However I do accept that you make good and valid points. Indeed, for all your faults, of which pigheaded stubbornness is just one, duplicity and backhanding are not among them. Can you think of anyone else who might wish me ill? Someone who happily agreed with you when you said, you'd rather see me gone?", he muses.

"You seem to be of the misguided opinion that I give a shit about you or your bowels," Philomène notes sharply, claiming the glass and lifting it to her lips. Without breaking eye contact with the young man, she knocks it back in one. No fear here of poisoning. "You have insulted my honour, Prince Andre van Westerlo, and tradition dictates two acceptable outcomes. Either you should apologise, or you should find a second and decide with which weapon you intend to face me."

Andre eyes her for a long moment. "That rumour had been conveyed to me before.", Andre says softly, "I did not think you were foolish enough to pursue this. I cannot duel you, Lady Philomène. Nobody might care if you die out of misguided pride, but I am heir to an important throne. My death would throw the country in disarray and potentially provoke a war between our countries. I cannot take this risk."

"Which leaves only one option open to you, does it not?" Philomène notes drily. "If it came to war between our countries, I hardly think Terre d'Ange would walk away the worse off. I don't care for flashy displays, I don't require you to grovel, or offer monetary recompense, or even to acknowledge your error in public, ambassador. I am here to save your own pride, so you can offer your apology in private, in person, and we can both walk away with our honour intact. Look me in the eye and tell me, truly, that you regret your accusation of dishonesty." She sets the glass back down on the tray, goes to pick up the bottle and raises a brow at him. "A drink for you, too?"

Andre nods to the offer of a drink - his own glass was a wine glass, but it's empty now and he isn't fussy about things - and mulls this over for a bit. "I suppose that is not an unreasonable request.", he finally agrees and he does look her in the eye. "I do not apologize for my suspicions or for thinking you are a misguided, ill-humoured, prejudice-ridden old harridan, but I DO apologize for accusing you of dishonesty."

"I object to the 'old'," Philomène insists, topping up first her own, then Andre's glass from the bottle, almost to the brim. Apparently she expects everyone to drink with the same enthusiasm she displays. "But I will accept your apology nonetheless. I do not like you here. I don't like your culture, your naivete, or your attitude. Therefore I will drink to your safe, and above all soon, return home."

"And why is that, Mylady?", Andre asks politely, after lifting his glass carefully to sip enough off the brim to prevent spillage, "Let's start with my culture. What's so horrendous about my culture?"

Philomène is not a sipper. She knocks back her second glass as easily as the first, then sets the glass back down on the small tray with an audible 'thunk'. "Shall we begin with your ownership of women and patriarchal lineage?" she suggests, a gleam in her eye. "Or would you rather begin with the way in which you treat love as though it were a great sin to be hidden away? Or we could focus on your trading with our enemies."

Andre blinks a little at that. "Nobody 'owns' a woman in the Flatlands, in fact our women very much have their own minds.", he finally responds, "There has to be SOME lineage, so if it's not the one it's the other, I don't see a problem with that. As for trading with your enemies… well, they are not OUR enemies and we share a very long border with them, so I believe it's wiser to not antagonize them, lest they start thinking a long shore and with many ports to the North Sea may be a nice addition to their lands."

"And yet by not denying them trade, you give them access to those ports anyway without a fight," Philomène points out. "Starve them of supplies and with Terre d'Ange's teeth to back you up they would have no ability to threaten you, us, or our northern neighbours. Boycott their goods and weaken them and they can't continue to encroach on our borders or yours. You're here as ambassador, are you not? Then do your damn job and work with us to keep the whole continent safe from them. We continue to stand up to their aggression, but you undermine our efforts with every wheel of cheese you send them."

Andre stares at her. "They have some excellent cheeses there, they don't need ours.", he points out helpfully, then leans back in his chair. "I don't know how else to put it to you, Mylady, but… we are not at war with Skaldia. We have no beef with them. In fact, were I to sit here with a Skaldic lady, she would say pretty much the same about Terre d'Ange. My job here is not to protect you from Skaldia or to… get in any way involved in your conflict wth them. My job here is to further trade between our nations. You like this, don't you?", he asks, nodding towards the jenever, "I can give you a good price for a delivery to your mansion."

"I would rather buy from a hardworking d'Angeline distiller," Philomène replies, fixing him with a long look. "Who does not support our enemies. I would rather they had a fair price for their skill and loyalty. If your sister were an artist, would you commission your neighbour to paint pictures for you?"

"If my neighbour was a better painter and offered me a good price, then yes, of course.", Andre replies evenly, "It would encourage my sister to become better, so that next time she may be chosen again. And if I like the taste of a particulary spicy smoked Skaldic sausage (try saying that when pissed), I shall be buying that rather than the not so tasty local sausage. Would you forego a delightful meal just because the pig was not raised in your own backyard?"

"Too damn right I would!" Philomène shoots back, chin lifting a little. "And this lack of loyalty is why I will never approve of your culture. You're swayed by a fucking sausage."

Andre bites his lower lip. Must… not… laugh. "Mylady…", he begins, trying hard to keep a straight face, "Entire kingdoms have been swayed by the right sausage at the right time." He takes another sip of his jenever to steady himself. "Well, I guess we shall to agree to disagree then on whether it makes more sense to hold on to rigid loyalty or show some flexibility and openness. Now, what were the other things you disapprove of… my naivete?"

"No," Philomène states flatly. "We shall not agree to disagree. That implies that your view is equal and valid, and I will remind you that you are in Terre d'Ange as an outsider with no experience of the Skaldi. Beyond hiring them and buying their goods rather than your own, of course. I will fight for my country to my dying breath. I gave up half my leg to serving my country. You won't even give up a smoked sausage." She shakes her head. "I think our business here is concluded. I am not here for your company. I have your apology, and I will see myself out."

"No, I shall not give up my smoked sausage just because you nurse your hatred for the Skaldi, Mylady.", Andre replies. He looks half disappointed that she is not going to answer the other questions and half relieved to see the back of her. "As you wish, Mylady." He politely rises to his feet.

"I'd say get well soon, but," and here Philomène pauses, already half turned to the door, to look back at him witheringly. "Don't get well. Get better."

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