(1312-06-22) Lavender Has Soothing Properties
Summary: But when the Flatlandish Ambassador accidentally gets climbs into the bath with the Dowager Vicomtesse de Gueret, soap simply isn’t enough. (Warning: Philo needs her mouth washed out.)
RL Date: 22/06/2020
Related: Joy, or Some Such Rot and Three Shades of Rose.
andre andrei farah perpetua philomene 

Temple Baths — Temple of Naamah

A large circular window of colorful stained-glass depicting Naamah is framed by two crescent shaped ones, sitting further up the wall as to allow for generous lighting during the day, with the shades of the glass used in the center painting the interior of the Temple Baths in colorful hues. The light beige tiles of the stone floor are arranged in a pattern, spaces between filled with darker shade mosaic stones. The changing area is divided into two spaces, hidden away behind semi-opaque drapes. Here, visitors can leave their clothing and move over towards the pools that are filled with the warm waters of a hot well, a faint layer of steam lingering occasionally in the air directly above the waterline. A larger pool of white marble is in the center, between two smaller pools that offer room enough for two or three people each. At the edge of the pools, trays are provided at regular intervals, some holding various flagons of bathing oils while others hold bars of flowery soap and other bath implements.

Acolytes of Naamah, clad in the red flowing robes of the temple stand at the ready, to provide towels or robes when needed and make sure a peaceful atmosphere is maintained within the baths.

Summer has arrived in Marsilikos, and one could think that the warmth outside might keep people from seeking out the temples, or more explicitly, the temple baths. But in fact there is a pleasant refreshing lower temperature, in the air at least, where thick temple walls manage to keep the heat outside. The pools, however have warm water. Someone who hasn't visited the temple baths in a while is Farah de Mereliot. She is a lady of slightly dusky complexion, speaking of a certain foreign heritage in her blood, even if her features have d'Angeline traits. The wife of the infamous Vicomte de Toulon is in certain circumstances, which becomes even more obvious when she steps out of the changing area, clad in a thin bathing dress. The curve of her belly speaks of pregnancy already moving towards the last three months before hopefully childbirth will occur. The young lady has twirled her dark hair into a practical knot, and with a towel in hand, she seeks out one of the bigger pools. Depositing said towel at a safe distance from the pool, before she elects to slip inside of the water.

Somebody else who has not visited the baths for some time is Andrei Anghelescu, a man whose titles in a faraway country are numerous but in Marsilikos pretty much boils down to 'that foreign merchant or whatever that the Second of one of the Salons utilises as arm candy'. Oh, and 'for some reason Philo hasn't murdered him yet'.

Today, he must have decided to remedy this. At least he arrives alone, and, like the lady before him, seeks a place safe from splashes for his towel before sliding into the deep end of one of the pools. He's a tall, thin man — too thin, one might argue, and sporting numerous scars from slashing and stabbing weapons alike — fair haired and blue-eyed; inclining his head politely to the lady already occupying one corner he says, "I hope that I am not intruding. My bath at home serves for cleanliness but not quite for these levels of comfort." The accent is pronounced; he's definitely not a local.

One might be forgiven for not having spotted, in one of the smaller pools out of the way of any direct sunlight (which can't help but corroborate certain vicious rumours spreading like wildfire among the city's children), the slender figure of the dowager Vicomtesse de Gueret. Submerged to her chin so only the shock of mostly blonde hair, with one or two impertinent gray ones stubbornly refusing to follow the majority, can really be seen, and with her pointedly acerbic tongue still for now, she's just another shape in the water. Most of the new arrivals don't even warrant her opening her eyes with every little splash, but that accent is one she certainly recognises. An eye cracks open, one arm emerges from the water, dripping, to extend along the edge of the bath as she turns to squint over at the sound. No need to embarrass him yet, but she'll lie in wait for the opportunity.

"You are not," Farah assures Andrei in all gentle politeness. "I know you." This said as she straightens a little in her spot at the edge of the pool. Dark brows arch as she places him, with a slowly blossoming triumphant smile. "Monsieur Andrei Anghelescu. The merchant." Her hand comes out of the water, a bit of damp sleeve clinging to her skin and she makes an inviting gesture. "These baths serve other purposes than cleanliness," she observes with a smile. "It seems you are lingering in our fair city, so you must have found a taste for our ways, have you not?"

The foreigner settles on the underwater shelf intended for the purpose and rests one arm on the edge of the pool, letting the heat of the water seep into aching limbs. "A merchant, at least." He closes his eyes in obvious pleasure and smiles. "I am finding that your city keeps me alive, my lady. This is a very attractive trait for a man who was told, six months ago, that he had weeks left at best."

"We all still live in hope," Philomène's voice drifts over towards the pair, "that your physician might yet be proven right, monsieur."

Farah looks up, turning her head so that she can look who had spoken up. Spotting Philomène, she offers her a nod in greeting, that will soon be followed by a verbal one. "Lady Philomène, how lovely to see you," the Mereliot remarks, as if she hadn't heard the jab against the foreign 'merchant' sharing the pool with her. Towards Andrei, she adds, "So your health must have been improving. Which either points to the work of excellent healers, or you finding the climate to your advantage."

"Quite likely a combination of the two. I trust that as long as I don't actually sign the deed to my wine cellar over to Lady Philomène I might even survive the summer." One could get the impression that the banter between the two blondes is not as hostile as it sounds at first; people don't talk like that to each other for long without either becoming fast friends or murdering each other.

Anghelescu offers a smile on thin lips and inclines his head towards the dowager vicomtesse as well. "I'll admit that I have had - a few rough weeks. Haven't really had the awareness of mind to keep up with much of what's been going on in polite society, focused on my own business and, well, staying alive. Pray tell, is the revolution imminent?"

"If it is, I hope it has the common courtesy to wait until we're out of the bath," Philomène decides, smile playing about her lips and stormy grey eyes gleaming in the reflected light from the pool. "Lady Farah, you're an excellent liar, but I appreciate the sentiment nonetheless. Monsieur Anghelescu, I did think the evenings had been tortured cat free for a while. I was beginning to wonder if you'd sold your fiddle."

"I have no reason to wish you ill, my lady," Farah counters smoothly. But her dark eyes cannot help but shoot the blonde lady in the other pool a glance, and there is a faintly bewildered roll of those eyes as they sweep their gaze back towards the Chowati gentleman. "I'm not sure you have missed much," she assesses. "Only few social occasions I have heard of. The Night Court has a new salon, obviously. But then again, I am not sure if you are interested in news of that kind, monsieur."

Anghelescu lets his head fall back and looks at the ceiling a moment. "Not — directly, no. But nothing happens in the Night Court that has no impact on the rest of Marsilikan society at large, and thus I am interested in the ripples it creates. Tell me about it? I am still learning the canons, I fear." With a trace of a smile he adds, "I have learned, for instance, that while a rose is a rose, one should not mistake one who styles himself a thorn with one who calls herself white."

"As far as I can gather, that's very much the reason for the new salon," Philomène notes absently. "In order that none of the little darlings are confused about what they're asking for and what's on offer. This new one is white roses only. Innocent, demure little flowers, unblemished and wide eyed. I don't entirely see the attraction, but they do say it takes all sorts, hm?"

"I wasn't born in these parts," Farah clarifies after a moment, and she lowers her eyes to watch the ripples in the surface of the water in the pool. "So… the Night Court was one of the first few things that I learned about when I came here. I cannot boast to know a lot about Naamah's Service," she looks up and smiles. "But as I understand it, these White Roses have moved out of the Salon that housed all of the roses, just as Lady Philomène says. They are now having their own salon — and to be perfectly honest, I doubt that I will ever pay it a visit." There is a soft sigh that escapes Farah as she hears Philomène's explanation, and for a brief moment, a line appears between her brows. Just a short lapse in her overall aimable facade, that seems to be back in place soon enough. "To each their own," she adds towards the Camaeline born lady, with a faint roll of her eyes.

<FS3> Farah rolls Subterfuge: Great Success. (5 8 2 2 7 8 8 1 5)

"I had a rather pleasant chat with one of these white roses a week or two hence," Anghelescu murmurs inanely. "Lovely young girl — and as you say, unblemished and wide eyed. I rather enjoyed the conversation but I will agree that to a foreign eye it seems very curious — how does one stay unblemished and wide eyed in such a trade?" He shakes his head. "But that is one of those uniquely d'Angeline things that I might never quite manage to grasp. Suffice it to say, she played better chess than I expected, and I would not object to sharing a table at the Perle Noire another time."

Then he leans forwards a little and stage whispers to his fellow foreigner, "If our lady Philomène was to make regular calls to a garden of white roses, I suspect they should all be crimson within the week. Or on a fast ship out of the city."

"Because it's all a damn act," Philomène explains, exhaling wearily and tilting her head back against the edge of the pool. "And I'll have you know, Monsieur Anghelescu, that I heard that. Fast ship out of the city, maybe, but I'm not about to try to insist they fight back. It's not their nature. I wouldn't buy a horse and then complain it won't bark."

Farah shoots Philomène a curious glance, especially after Andrei's remark. "I can't imagine the vicomtesse would take delight in shocking supposedly innocent souls," she declares. "And it is, as you say. An act. A special interpretation of the story of Naamah and King Persis, and how she, in this case, was seduced. How ironic, that the concept of losing innocence is considered something so special among d'Angelines." This must be the foreigner speaking, in her.

"What's the fun of insulting your intelligence if you're not there to hear it?" Anghelescu winks at Philomène in that not at all respectful way he seems to address at least some members of the peerage, and, perhaps more surprisingly, get away with it. "Of course it is an act. One questions the intelligence of the gentlemen who go to indulge in the act of seducing a gentle, fragile flower who must have been performing that same play for half a dozen others before him — but to each their own, and if she is is skilled enough at acting, perhaps it does not matter."

He glances towards Farah and seems to contemplate for a moment whether he wants to speak; and then decides to do so. "My lady, the game of a man seducing a woman, and hence, defiling her innocence, is played out with great passion in some cultures. Much as the logic eludes me, I will yield that it is perhaps better played as a game here, with a willing participant playing the woman whose innocence is defiled."

"In my experience it's rarer here than with foreigners," Philomène notes, although one might wonder exactly what experience she has with foreigners given her notoriously jingoistic attitude. "Perhaps because our culture celebrates all kinds of love, whereas foreigners treat pleasure as though it's some sort of guilty taboo." The lighthearted cynicism is gone from her tone now, and this is all delivered as though she were a touring professor, narrating on the curious habits of the foreigner. "In countries where women have no more status than a piece of furniture for the man, they're more likely to keep score by trying to break a woman, to render her worthless. Like smashing a glass because there are always more where that came from. It's not about love, nor even about sex. It's about self-image."

There is a faint upwards twitch of her brows at Philomène's assessment, but Farah's eyes remain lowered for the moment, very much in the manner of those White Roses they are chatting about, but this may be just coincidence. "I have found the status of women in this country to something I greatly appreciate," the Mereliot lady by marriage confesses after a moment. "And I consider myself fortunate that I was given the opportunity to marry into House Mereliot." She looks towards Andrei. "I have heard of those games that indulge in defiling, and I have to agree with you. It is not something I would expect to see happening in Terre d'Ange."

"I do not indulge in seduction," the foreigner says simply. "Hence, at least for me, the point is moot. In a wider sense? One needs not be a charitable soul to recognise that surely it is preferable to play the victim than to be one. I imagine that the ladies of the white rose are quite good at it, at that."

"As long as the fine line between acting and real isn't crossed," Philomène mentions, lips pursing. "Every one of those women should have a knife and know how to use it. But then I'm of the opinion that every woman in the world should be able to defend herself if it comes to it. Comes of growing up Camaeline."

"I don't know how to wield a blade," Farah admits with a chuckle, lifting her hands out of the water as if to confirm her words. "I never was required to know, so I wasn't taught. Besides, there are always guards looking after me."

The foreigner glances at the Camaeline. "One should hope that such does not happen often, and particularly not in this country where men are raised to respect the sanctity and honour of women who might be scorned elsewhere. Or are you telling me that perhaps the sacred rites of Namaah are not held in as high regard by d'Angeline men as I have been told until now?"

"I'd lay good money that it's more prevalent a problem with foreigners here to sample the Night Court than with our home grown men," Philomène defends immediately, lifting her chin stubbornly so her magnificent cheekbones catch the light. "But, sad to say, there are evil men everywhere, no matter how tiny a percentage they are. There are men who steal, who murder and who rape. I'd like to think that those twisted individuals are rare cases, and not a reflection of the country on the whole. And those evil men will burn in hell, all the sooner if I get my hands, and my blades, on them first."

Farah's eyes move in a slow blink, her gaze distant but not without a vague dark flicker as she listens to exchange between Andrei and Philomène. "These evil men with depraved souls," she confirms, "will receive their punishment, if not here, then in the Terre d'Ange beyond, when they will have to answer to far higher authorities."

"I cannot imagine that many foreigners to Marsilikos can afford the Night Court," Anghelescu observes. "But in less prestigious establishment along the harbour front? I have the impression that it is perhaps not as uncommon as one might want to think, for some sailor or trader to find himself possessed of a few interesting new injuries after having failed to treat a local working woman with the respect her brothers and cousins feel she deserves. One might call this a healthy lesson in local customs, perhaps."

He smiles lightly at Farah's words though. "As a Catholic I must share that sentiment. We all will reap what we sow — if not in this life, then in the hereafter. But indifference, too, is a sin. I am far from a saint, but there are thresholds I will not cross. I am proud to say that though I am a foreigner and a soldier at that, I have never laid a hand on a woman who did not ask me to put it there."

"You'd have to more clearly define 'laid a hand on'," Philomène notes drily, absently running wet fingers through her hair. "I've swung at many women who might not have asked as such, but it's always been a fair fight. That much is important."

Farah's demeanor has dimmed slightly. She sinks a bit deeper into the warm water which will cause her bathing gown to float a little. "One can expect in a society as this one," she states softly after a moment, "that lines will be clearly defined and respected." Adding her own train of thought here, even as she seems to drift away from the topic of conversation, not really following along more closely.

Anghelescu's smile turns wider and somewhat wry. "You want to hear me say that I have never forced my desire on a woman? One should hope that most men you encounter will be able to make such a statement and speak truthfully."

He too relaxes, perhaps a little too comfortable in the hot water to really engage in an argument over the bad habits of foreigners in foreign countries. Or perhaps he simply does not feel responsible for the wrong doings of other men.

"One, I don't believe you have any desire," Philomène drawls, exhaling upwards. "And two, I'll note that you haven't once denied laying a hand on a man instead."

"Would you excuse me?" Farah straightens and moves to climb out of the pool, which will cause the bathing dress to cling to her frame. "Time has flown faster than I would have thought… And I am expected to return and see to some pressing arrangements." The Vicomtesse de Toulon half-turns as she stands, for long enough to cast Andrei a truly amused glance, caused by Philomène's verbal jab at him. "There would be nothing wrong with that," she declares, with a bit of more lightness to her tone and bearing. Whatever had been bearing down on her mood, it seems to be vague enough to dissipate easily at this turn of conversation. "My Lady Philomène. Monsieur Anghelescu. I wish you a good day."

"You haven't heard me say that I haven't laid a hand on a woman either, only asking you if you wanted to hear me say it," Anghelescu points out. "But if it please you — I have never forced my attentions on man, woman, goat, or sheep dog. Do not ask about the cats."

He raises a hand in a lazy wave to the woman getting up. "A pleasure, my lady. I hope our arguments are not what drives you away."

"Be well, Lady Farah," Philomène responds with a light nod, before turning her full attention back on ribbing Andrei where she can. "Ah, well, cats have a master plan all their own. I don't doubt that any attention on a cat is premeditated by them. Always plotting, cats."

Anghelescu waits for the other woman to depart. Only then does he scoot over to sit nearer his frenemy and speaks in a somewhat lower voice. "What prompted this little speech from you, then? Should I be concerned that you make it in the wake of what seems to be a major paradigm shift in the Night Court?"

Philomène purses her lips, eyeing the man speculatively for a moment. "There are rumours, but it's not my story to tell, Anghelescu. If I do ever find out which gentleman overpowered one of the young ladies, there'll be another murder by morning and I'll be doing the angels' work. They might not be my cup of tea, but I don't have to want to fuck a sheep to want to protect them from wolves."

The foreigner nods. "I wondered if it was something along those lines. It is easier to protect the most fragile flowers if they are in a garden of their own; it's not that difficult to add up." He looks up at the ceiling. "Human nature overcomes, it seems, even in the land of angels. I expect such things on the docks. I did not expect them among those who possess divine blood."

"You can't begin to imagine the depth of my absolute abhorrence for whichever depraved individual it was," Philomène insists, tone dangerously soft. "You might expect it where you're from, but to see it happen here. It's more than just an assault, or a crime. It's a mortal sin. There is none worse. I'd pardon a hundred murderers before I let a rapist live."

Anghelescu's blue eyes narrow slightly. "What I might expect and what I will tolerate are two very different issues. Rape is a capital offence in my country. Are there men who nonetheless manage to take advantage of their station or outright lie, in order to obstruct justice? Yes. It seems there is here as well:"

Philomène takes a breath, running her hand through her hair again. "I tend to jump very quickly to conclusions about people, you know. Yes, I know, this will come as a shock to you, do try not to have a heart attack. But I tend, on the whole, to be right. I wouldn't for one instant expect you, even as a foreigner, to condone it, because underneath all your denial and affectations you're a good man. Sometimes you're wrong, and often you're as pig-headed as an Aiglemort, but it comes from conviction in your morals. There is a line that marks what is good and what is evil, and you're aware of exactly where that line is drawn."

"And sometimes I cross it," Anghelescu says bluntly. "But — yes. This is a line that I will not cross, and I will not watch it crossed. From what I have seen of you so far your gut instinct does tend to be pretty accurate. So tell me what I am missing, and save me the trouble of finding out for myself."

"No, sometimes it's necessary to do things that are not always legal, or are morally grey, but the moment you do these things with no purpose in mind but your own gratification it strays into evil," Philomène argues. "A murder is wrong, but an execution is just. Theft is wrong, but to take something with no other choice is justified." She exhales sharply, setting both elbows on the edge of the pool behind her, the better to sit up instead of slouching in the water, which traces the lines of a dozen scars and dents that mar her shoulders and upper arms as it drains back into the bath. "I don't know. What are you missing? The whole thing leaves me uneasy. There's some evil bastard out there and in deference to the wishes of the woman in question, he's remaining anonymous. I don't like it, but I also don't like the idea of making her life any fucking worse right now."

If only he had known who was presently occupying the baths, Andre would have chosen another place or time. Or both. But he definitely wouldn't have entered and shedded his clothes. By the time he steps into the baths with only a towel around his most precious parts and the mists thin enough to reveal the other visitors it's too late. A foreign curse slips from the princely lips.

Anghelescu closes his eyes and steeps. "One must hope that she was compensated enough to make her silence worth it."

The tall, thin foreigner glances up as somebody else enters the pool and nods politely in their general direction; he has no idea who the other man is supposed to be — and let's be honest here, towels and water and nothing else are indeed the great equalisers.

Philomène follows the Carpathian's gaze, her own grey eyes narrowing a little when she sees who's come to disturb her soak. Still, it's enough to change the subject. "We've another of my cousins in town," she states more brightly. "Or cousins by marriage, technically. You should drop by the Chalasse place some time and meet her. I'm sure you'll detest one another. It'll be perfect."

"Detesting people for no good reason is a Chalasse family trait then?", Andre asks lightly and drops his towel before he enters the wonderfully warm bath. "With other people I might worry to be disturbing an intimate moment, but in this case I assume I am welcome?"

Anghelescu glances from one to the other, quirking one eyebrow. This suddenly turned interesting. He's suddenly not the only person in the vicinity with a foreign accent, and Philomène has that reputation of hers for a reason — a lesser man might say, them's fightin' words.

“Oh no, I assure you we have very good reasons for detesting people," Philomène insists, eyeing the young Flatlander as one might eye a stain on a favourite shirt. "And I assure you that under no circumstances whatsoever, ambassador, will you ever be welcome."

"Oh rest assured, I have no desire whatsoever to visit your place. One never knows what may be in the drinks, right?" He eyes the stranger curiously. "I assume this man can prove to be pure-blood d'Angeline for at least ten generations because you haven't yet tried to drown him?"

It's not that often that a white rose is to be found in the Temple of Naamah's bathing pools, for assuredly their salon has its own bathing facilities, has it not? A quiet and serene place where there's little to no chance that modesty might, angels forbid, be compromised. And yet…

"Thank you, no that's fine." It'd take a keen ear to hear the words spoken by the drifting figure in white as she makes her way from the robing alcoves to the edge of the pool, especially if words are about to get heated between any of the patrons currently submerged in the pools. Two adepts of the temple flank the courtesan, sheer panels of gauze thrown over their arms in readiness to be stretched, draped and hung about her to afford some degree of privacy once the water is entered. And enter it she does, close to where Philomène holds court with Andrei and Andre. Eyes dip low as the water creeps up her legs, her knees and then thus to her waist, those panels of gauze being lifted before her bathing dress commits the unthinkable act of turning sheer before everyone's eyes. Her gaze does lift once she's settled, to find the eyes of both Andre and Andrei. "Excellency. Monsieur…" she murmurs her presence, eyes flitting briefly in Philomène's direction before falling away. Seemingly theres conversation in progress, so says no more.

"She can't reach me without getting up," Anghelescu returns with obvious amusement and an equally obvious definitely not d'Angeline accent. He nods politely to the courtesan as she steps up. "Mademoiselle."

If the other man in the pool is scrutinised by sharp blue eyes it might be the fact that he was titled ambassador by one and excellency by the other. It's not that hard to do the math.

Philomène barely gives the courtesan a second glance, her attention fully and completely on Andre. She bristles, muscles tensing as she pulls herself further upright in the water. "I will remind you, you long streak of piss, of the consequences of your accusations," she practically hisses at the man. "Are you seriously, in front of witnesses, going to attempt to smear me as some sort of devious poisoner once again? You told me once already that if I put a blade in your heart your country would go to war. How keen are you to see the Flatlands destroyed, exactly?"

Andre quirks a brow. "That's QUITE a response to a joke, Lady Philomène.", he responds, mostly amused by how easy it was to get the woman all riled up. "I think your one-woman-crusade against the Flatlands would lead to the destruction of perhaps one windmill, a flooded field and two dead sheep." He looks up at the newcomer, but having seen Perpetua only once briefly and covered by a veil, doesn't recognize her. At all.

What has she wandered into. Even though she's now submerged to her shoulders in the pool, the mystery of Perpetua remains. Her hair and lower portion of her face remain veiled from view, and startled eyes skitter from Philomène's face, to Andrei's to Andre's. A faint wash of colour paints a slow path across her cheeks, an embarrassment — not for herself — but rather more for those that she's witness to.

Anghelescu taps a slender finger against thin lips and nods ever so slightly to the courtesan. "One gets the impression that there might be a few old grudges in play here," he says to her with a mix of quiet amusement and perhaps a little — let's be blunt here, what the fuck. But in Chowati because we are polite.

"Fuck the Flatlands," Philomène growls, fist bunching subconsciously as she eyes the youngster. "If I hear one single word out of your lazy, good for nothing, flapping pie hole that even dares cast any doubt on my honour again, I will fucking drown you right here and now, and I'll be doing the angels' work. You can earn the right to joke when you've proven yourself more than a puffed up fucking shit stained sack of wind." She glances aside to Andrei, confiding as she gestures to Andre, "This is the smug little gremlin who hired that savage who tried to kill me, and then he has the fucking gall to point the finger at me as some kind of deceitful, underhanded poisoner, thinking his fucking diplomatic status is armour against any repercussion."

Ah, spending time with the Lady Philomène is an excellent opportunity to stock up one's knowledge of foul d'Angeline and colourful insults. Andre seems almost pleased. However, there's one thing that makes him frown and lift a hand. "Hang on a second, Mylady - I didn't hire anyone. And she was no savage. We've been over this about twenty-five times by now and it won't become any truer just from repeating it."

"I think that the Chowat will politely remind either member of the conflict that you're all the way over here, and we're all the way over there, and we're definitely not in the middle. A fact for which we are currently very grateful, and if we had an actual ambassador in town I'd ask him to draw up a very politely worded letter saying in so many flatteries, keep your quarrels on your side of the continent," Anghelescu says with a mix of amusement and caution. Geography is on his side, admittedly. The Chowat really is very far away.

"I will admit that this is by far the most interesting opportunity I have had to meet royalty," the man adds, showing not a whole lot of respect or deference on the whole. Is he amused? Oh yes. He is amused.

That look, along with the tap of that finger to Andrei's lips, isn't missed by Perpetua. Amusement glints in her eyes and they lock with the Chowati's, but it's only for a second or two, no longer no less. Dark eyes lid and lashes descend, and were anyone able to see beneath her veil, then they'd see the delicate wrinkling of the tip of her nose as a smile is supressed. Whether that's due to Andrei's descent into his native tongue, or, more shockingly, due the string of invectives unleashed upon Andre by Philomène, is anyone's guess, but the latter does just have her turning her face from the perpetrator of such foul language; ostensibly to instruct the adept that yes she would like her hair to be tended to, and that the lily-scented soap was preferable over lavender.

"Fucking coward," Philomène notes with considerably less rancour towards the Chowatti. "This faithless son of a mangy goat lies with every breath. The facts stand for themselves. He hired a savage bodyguard. Said bodyguard went for her sword. Said savage bodyguard," she continues, drawing herself further out of the water and casually cupping one breast to better reveal the odd leaf shaped scar beneath, "put a blade in me, here, damn close to killing me outright. And then this weapons grade shitweasel stood up and called me liar. These are all established facts, and if you insist on calling me untruthful, ambassador, then I'll see you at dawn, and the hell with my attempts to be diplomatic."

Andre winces a bit. Put them away! "Lady Philomène drew first.", he tells Andrei and Perpetua then, just in case they might care. Then he looks evenly at Philomène. "If you spent less time spouting vicious hatred against everyone you for some reason decide is too foreign for your liking, people might be less inclined wanting to run sharp objects through you."

"I wonder if that makes me less of a foreigner than a Flatlander," the Carpathian murmurs softly to the courtesan. "Maybe there are degrees to this."

Then he looks back and loses the small, wry smile. In a somewhat more serious tone he says, "I am not in any position to pass judgement on a situation that happened before my arrival in Marsilikos. From what little I do know, I am given to understand that hatreds and grudges run deep. I will not attempt to establish guilt; as a guest in the city and someone not at all involved in d'Angeline — or Flatlandish — politics, I am by no means qualified to do so."

By accident, or by design, Perpetua manages to navigate herself closer to Andrei as opposed to either Philomène or Andre. Glued to her side, the adepts shadow her every move, the veils in their hands ready to be lifted should proprietory demand it of them. "I believe you told me in the coffee house that you were Chowati, monsieur," she answers quietly, and though she speaks to him, her eyes are drawn to the heated conversation between Philomène and Andre. It's no accident that she's placed herself where she has, for Andrei makes a very fetching shield between herself and any potential eruption of tempers.

"Do you honestly think I detest you because you're foreign, Andre van Westerlo?" Philomène retorts scathingly as she lowers herself back down into the water, once again letting the water hide her angelic boobs, the scar in question, and any number of other marks and a few more recent looking bruises. "It's your flapping gums that move to deprive me of my honour that make you detestable. I'd hire a band to play on your grave, but don't you dare insinuate I'd lie or cheat to put you there."

“You hated me last year, when I first came here, a stranger, washed upon the shore, being kindly received by the Duchesse and everyone else in town - most everyone. Even some who were distrustful of foreigners by nature gave me a chance. Only you've kept parading your hatred of me like a banner across town. But fear not, I shall remove myself from your sight. This is not place where relaxation can be had, obviously."

Anghelescu wisely decides to not comment; there is such a thing as being a little too smart mouthed or a little too diplomatic. Much as the man is accustomed to saying whatever the hell he wants on basis of being the autonomous ruler of a (very very small) independent country, he's not quite lacking enough in political savvy to risk ticking off a prince. Nor does he particularly care to side with one; in fact, now is a really great time to lean over and ask one of those courtesan's aides, "I don't suppose you might tell me where you've found that lavender? It does smell divine."

Soft brown eyes observe Andre from behind a veil of lashes, and a small frown briefly etches a line on Perpetua's brow. He might not have recognised her, but she certainly recognises him. A slow intake of breath sees the veil that guards her face mould to the contours of her lips. "Oh…" Whatever her thoughts might be, they're lost to everyone but her, and it's one of her cheerful, if slightly embarrassed adepts, that turns a brilliant smile upon Andrei. "A tablet of the lavender, monsieur? Of course. It is delightful, is it not?" She passes the cloth veil she holds into the care of her counterpart and makes her way to the edge of the pool, beckoning across another adept to acquire the requested for soap.

"And yet some foreigners, Monsieur Anghelescu being one, are perfectly charming," Philomène points out, waving one damp hand in the direction of the Chowatti. "No, ambassador, I hate you for who you are, not just what backwater shithole you represent. The sooner you return there and stop taking advantage of d'Angeline hospitality the better. And when you're back with your windmills and your clogs, then you can enjoy as much relaxation as you want."

Andre just rolls his eyes and doesn't respond. "May your Gods bestow some grace upon you eventually, Mylady.", he simply says and nods to the other two, whose entertainment now sadly ends. "Good day, Sir. Miss." And he climbs out of the pool to go seen relaxation elsewhere.

"… You challenged me to a duel for being an arrogant foreign cunt once," the Carpathian murmurs against his own better judgement. "So, if memory does not fail me, lavender has soothing properties, does it not?"

He accepts the bar of soap from Perpetua's veiled attendant before adding, to Andre, "Good evening, Your Highness." Then he hands the soap bar to Philomène. "Breathe."

If you've nothing nice to say, well, it's best to say nothing at all. Or so some would say. Perhaps that's why Perpetua doesn't say anything at this point. The delicate scent of lilies drifts as she turns the tablet of soap within her hands, and she nods to what Andrei says to Philomène. A pause before she appends, "Lavender is soothing, but my lady is probably in need of something a little stronger than that."

"Oh, shove it up your arse," Philomène exhales, with her antagonist no longer there to fuel her rage suddenly looking very tired. She rubs at her face, mask only allowed to slip for an instant before she lifts her chin defiantly, sets her jaw and very deliberately sets both arms back along the edge of the pool to affect a nonchalant pose. "You'll recall, Anghelescu, how I tend to judge people very quickly and usually with a startling degree of accuracy. That one should have been fucking smothered at birth."

"I'll make a note to bring a flask of strong alcohol whenever I decide to bathe," Anghelescu murmurs and settles back, relaxing slightly now that the situation is somewhat defused. "I knew there was tension between yourself and the prince, Philomène, but I did not realise you gave serious thought to drowning him in your bathwater. I'll take your word for it as I do in fact respect your judgement. I am fortunately not a person of interest to Flatlandish royalty."

Perpetua murmurs something very quietly to Andrei then, bathing apparently concluded, turns to make her way towards the shallow steps that lead out of the waters.

"I admit that getting completely and utterly smashed right now does seem like an excellent plan," Philomène muses. "I might just take a wander down to the docks and see if there's any sort of entertainment to partake in."

"I think I shall for once in my life heed the call of wisdom and go home to rest instead." Anghelescu smiles lightly. "Much as I'd like to, I don't think I'm up for getting tangled up in fisticuffs with three sailors, a rent boy, and the family mastiff."

Sheer linens sodden with water cling briefly about Perpetua's figure as she climbs the steps from the pool. Her hands lift to wring the water from veiled tresses, but not so quickly as the adepts at her side raise the swathes of shielding fabric about her. An amused glance is cast back over her shoulder to those she leaves behind her in the pool, but she's already being swept away on a tide of good intentions and an entirely more appropriate wardrobe.

Philomène allows herself the quiet pleasure of watching Perpetua rise from the waves like Venus, even hidden mostly from view as she is, before she turns back to Andrei. "Well, if I end up in a ditch with the rent boy, come and find me and put me in a ditch with somebody I'd like better, hm? It's the least a friend can do."

The foreigner nods solemnly. "I do live nearby and I've slept in your bed. I suppose it's only fair if I let you sleep it off in mine sometime. I'll have Szimfonia hold your hair when you need."

“I said somebody I'd like better, not you," Philomène insists, finally cracking a slight smile. "Drag me back to the Chalasse place."

"You also said ditch, not bed, but I decided to be generous." Anghelescu glances in the direction that prince and courtesan both departed. "That was the white rose I played chess with, by the way. I like her, as much as it's possible to like somebody you've met twice. At least she has a sense of humour."

Philomène peers over towards the exit, as though she might be able to see through walls. "Elua alone knows how you recognised her through all that. You should have introduced us. Now I'll just have to stare at every veiled ghostly figure drifting in and out of that new salon and demand to know if they were in the bath with me."

Anghelescu says simply, "Her voice. And the tilt of her head. I observe people."

"Well, don't observe me," Philomène decides, heaving herself up with a grunt of effort until she's sitting on the edge of the pool, and from there she fixes her expression in that odd way she has while she struggles to her feet, for once the reason for all the struggle right there, white and purple and twisted and gruesome for anyone to see. "Maybe I'll go drink at the Chalasse place so I don't have so far to stumble when I can't see straight, and they can hold my hair while I redecorate the privy."

The Carpathian smiles — with genuine warmth — as she hauls herself up. "I'll steep a little longer. While I am tempted to add sugar and a dash of lemon, the heat actually does help my breathing. Perhaps we might go beat up that rent boy and those sailors together, later in the week."

“We'll go admire the dancing girls first," Philomène promises. "And then the punch up and the inevitable throwing up in a ditch with the rent boys."

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