(1312-06-27) She Showed 'Em
Summary: But showed ‘em what? Honoured by a visit from the Dowager Vicomtesse de Gueret, the barkeep of the Kraken’s Den finds himself forced to call in a most uncommon clean-up crew… (Warning: Some blood and other regrettable bodily effusions.)
RL Date: 27/06/2020
Related: None really.
philomene andrei raphael 

The Kraken’s Den — Port of Marsilikos

A tall-tottering inn with a variety of rooms to let on the upper floors, from three fine suites just above the main floor to a collection of ramshackle one-cot rooms that sway with the harder gusts of wind in off of the sea in the upper levels. It has seen its share of fires and renovations, and every time it falls in ashes it seems to rise higher in the aftermath. Outside, proudly burnt-carved signage displays a huge black-tentacled kraken winding its limbs about in repetitive knotwork patterns. It hangs from a post on four links of bronze chain, and creaks when the wind hits it.

The main floor is part restaurant, part lobby, with a warm hearth next to a counter at which guests in the rooms above can pay their bills or ask after vacancies, many fine chairs and some a little less fine to fill out the number. Small tables amid all the seating provide room just enough to have a tea or a beverage and maybe play a game of cards with your mates. A low bannister-fence separates off the dining area from the lobby, to keep some semblance of order among the diners and to keep out the riff-raff.

Riff-raff, of course, is welcome to make its way downstairs, or else to descend into the alleyway behind the tavern and find the rear entrance into the half-basement, where a bar slings some of the hardest-scorching liquor known in Port Marsilikos, and attracts some of the roughest elements of society. It's dimly lit, with rough stonework walls and flooring and sturdy oaken furniture which must have been built in order to best resist any effort to shatter said furniture over someone's head. Fights are the nightly norm here, black eyes and sopping intoxication, and for those without the coin to attract the contract of a proper courtesan, some affable ladies are usually present in the evenings in case any gentleman wants to buy one a drink.

Some people arrange flowers as a hobby. Some paint. Some spend their coin in the Night Court, or in the less reputable cat houses along the docks. Philomène starts fights.

It's hardly the first time she's been in the Kraken's Den of an evening — if we're honest, the bartender knows exactly who she is, what she drinks, and would worry if a week went by where she hadn't come in, got herself nine tenths blotto, and swung a few punches with the best of them — and usually there are a few locals on hand who match her drink for drink and lend a fist where it's needed. Tonight, though, with a crew of rowdy sailors from Menekhet in, there's been a distinct mismatch in numbers, and when knives came out and blood started being spilled in earnest, the bartender had to step in with a heavy bat and an even heavier hand to encourage the Menekhetans to move on. Left with a belligerent but well and truly battered noblewoman on his hands, or more accurately half sprawled across a table with a two black eyes, a torn shirt, blood seeping from a wound somewhere on her thigh, and still mumbling and cackling to herself as the booze makes her invincible, he's decided that as advertising goes, she's a poor ploy. Thus a pot boy was sent out, first to find Raphael, and if he couldn't be found, to knock on the neighbour to the Dowager Vicomtesse to see if somebody, please anybody, would come and collect the bruised and bleeding sot cluttering up his respectable (cough) establishment.

One comes prepared for such occasions. A few handkerchiefs of no special provenance. A knife sheathed on the belt. Not one's best boots. Raphael is prompt on the summons and not one to be shocked by what he sees. He enters, takes things in, and goes to meet Philomène where she sprawls. "You've had a successful evening."

If Andrei Anghelescu had been doing what he should have been doing on a night like this — i.e. reading some trade arrangement or eating candied dormice off the tummy of some nubile servant girl or whatever the heck men in his position actually do — he'd probably have scoffed and sent some people in livery to Deal With This.

He hasn't acted within the frame of expectations for his position for nearly six months now, though, and tonight is no exception. There is trade to discuss and bargains to be met all right — it's just that he happened to be discussing and meeting aboard some foreign vessel somewhere on the piers, and he's dressed the part — in the simple and plain black of somebody's accountant or clerk, an inconspicuous look for walking the less prestigious parts of the city unnoticed while still able to explain why his hands bear no calluses.

He wanders in, looking perhaps a little concerned and then a little relieved when somebody else is already addressing the drunk vicomtesse. Perhaps his presence — and the attention it might draw to himself — is actually not needed? Wouldn't that just be convenient?

"Showed 'em!" Philomène insists through a fat lip, peering up at Raphael before slumping back, quite satisfied with herself. The bartender makes his opinion of this… unique take on the events of the evening known with a little snort. "Rafe, Rafe, have a little drink with me, then we'll go see the dancing girls," she insists, pawing with one bloodied hand at the Thorn's sleeve.

"I'm afraid one can't go to the dancing girls with blood and black eyes," Raphael says gently. "It tends to frighten them. But we can have a drink. Only we'll have it at your place, don't you think? You can have a change of clothes and soak your shirt." His eyes flick up to note Andrei and he gives a subtle nod.

The fair-haired man nods back and walks over. He's not entirely sure what the situation here is (well, the 'Phil is face planted drunk again' bit does seem familiar). "One assumes that the lady might require somebody for her other arm as well," he notes drily in that decidedly foreign accent. "And possibly somebody to hold her hair. Might I offer my assistance?"

"They do say," Philomène insists in the solemn tone of the absolutely sozzled, "that girls like scars, but it's not actually true, you know. Aha! Angus-cue!" she greets delightedly, then winces as the effort of lifting a hand to greet him reminds her that she's at the very least pulled something, bruised something or cracked something, and the hand rapidly lowers. "You'll come and have a drink with us? And you can dance, hm?"

"That would be most convenient," Raphael agrees to the man in black, glad of the help. "Come on," he encourages Philomène. "The three of us will walk back together. We'll have a drink somewhere you can also get a clean, cold rag for that eye.” Of course, both eyes look equally bad, but it doesn't do to make the situation sound too dire when coaxing a drunk to a new location.

‘Angus-cue’ hoists an arm under Philomène's. "I'm sure somebody will dance if you pay them enough," he says amicably, in a tone so very reminiscent of Raphael's. One could get the impression it's not the first time for him, either. "And you can tell us all about why you decided that — whoever you were fighting with — had to die. Let me guess, they were Flatlanders?"

"I don't need your damn help," Philomène insists as she's dragged vaguely upright, an arm around the shoulders of either man rather proving her completely wrong. With the patch of blood soaking through her breeches on the right hand side, having left a little smear on the table behind her, and without a chance she could use her left to support her weight instead, she's absolutely relying on the men to keep her up. It's a good thing that despite her height, she eats like a bird, and there's nothing but bile and spite holding together her bones. "They were idiots," she snorts huffily. "And they were rude." Not actually denying they were Flatlanders, but frankly they could have been martians and she'd still have picked a fight. It is her nature.

Raphael slips under the other arm. He takes a handkerchief from a pocket and presses it against her side where blood may be coming out. Just in case. "Come on," he says, and starts moving to see if the momentum will take and carry the three of them toward the door. "How many were there?"

Anghelescu eyes the cut and does his best to support the woman's weight; it's probably a good thing that she is such a slender thing because he himself is too. "How serious is it?" he says, glancing down but also scoping the room — and the street outside, because a tongue like Philo's definitely might invoke people with enough of a grudge to wait for her outside, and he is currently armed with a pen knife and a sharp wit. Handy enough weapons but, as far as advanced physical negotiation goes, perhaps not the best choices.

As though anyone would bear sweet little Philomène a grudge! But no, as they negotiate the way through the door with their charge hanging between them, it would appear that any Menekhetan sailors have long since found new places to drink the night away rather than wait to jump an old cripple, and thus Andrei's wit can remain unbloodied. Unlike Raphael's handkerchief, which is slowly blooming a rather worrying shade of pinkish red as the wound in Philomène's side oozes stubbornly, no doubt aided in its flow by the percentage of which it is currently pure alcohol. "Dozen of 'em, can't trust them you know," she insists haughtily. So probably three or four then - enough to give her a good kicking, but not enough that they couldn't be discouraged when the barman stepped up. "Angus-cue, you've got pretty eyes," she mentions as though this is a vital revelation.

"One of them brought something sharp to the fight," Raphael confirms. "You have a way of bringing out the best in strangers." But he walks patiently on. Better to patch her up at home than in a dirty dive.

The Carpathian blinks and then shakes his head with amusement as he carries his half of the not considerable weight. "You are sloshed beyond your wits, my lady. I believe you just paid me a compliment. Somebody needs to circle the date on the calendar." If he is the lady's servant, he's not a very reverent one such.

"I am… pleasantly merry," Philomène argues, although the cool night air is all too rapidly making her painfully aware of the blows she's taken tonight, and it's somewhat less merry a tone, interspersed with the occasional sharp intake of breath as she tires and fails to help carry her own weight and succeeds only in jarring one leg or the other. "But pulling a knife, though… it's not sporting, is it? Foreigners! No sense of fair play."

"Unfortunate," Raphael agrees. "But we'll see you mended. No doubt they have their own wounds to lick." He glances across at Andrei, curious. "And you'll have to introduce me properly to your friend."

"Very amateurish. Didn't even finish the job." Anghelescu, with his pronounced foreign accent, keeps a straight face; it's probably not the first time he's heard Philomène rag on foreigners. There's probably no living soul in Marsilikos who has not heard her rag on foreigners, and possibly a few dead ones still having nightmares in their mausoleums about it too. "Perhaps we should make proper introductions once we've convinced the lady to stop bleeding all over us, yes. I like this coat. Very selfish."

"Rafe, this is Anghelskew," Philomène just about manages. "He's foreign but don't hold it against…" She trails off, hand flapping rather urgently at Raphael's collar as some kind of warning, before she just lurches forward and with a distinctly unpleasant sound, not to mention the smell, empties her stomach onto the cobbles.

Raphael is responsive to this signal, shifting his grip to help pitch Philomène safely forward. Safe for her so she doesn't choke, and as safe as possible for her companions' trousers and shoes. "That's probably for the best," he comments.

Anghelescu makes certain that his boots are not where tonight's supply of wine is destined to end. "At least it's not far to her house. Mine is a while further up the road — and surely her maid knows her well enough to be up and ready with the first aid kit."

Philomène spits as best she can. "Making room for more, s'all," she insists groggily, giving a short laugh. "Raphael, are you bringing dancing girls to mine? There might not be space."

"We can take measurements once we get there," Raphael replies dryly, lifting Philomène upright again. "I'm sure your maid will be cleverer than all of us together."

"If not cleverer, then at least more accustomed to making the best of a bad situation," Anghelescu murmurs with a small wince as if remembering some past event that might be better left undiscussed. "Although I am tempted to send for a healer, perhaps we should assess the damage first. Mostly because the vicomtesse will complain for a year ahead if we summoned one for an inconsequential scrape — it takes effort to uphold her reputation of being made from fire, brimstone, and spite, after all."

"Not," Philomène jabs at Andrei's shoulder with one bony finger, "Her. Don't need one. Where's my fucking flask?" she grumbles, as though it ought to be in her hand. "Bastards stole my flask! Get the damn guards out!" Yes, she's going to be very popular along the Rue de Port in the morning, as she makes a racket as she nears her home in the wee hours that's enough to have lamps flickering in windows and unimpressed looking faces glaring out and in at least one case calling down to keep the noise down. Philomène makes her opinion of that particular man known very vocally and very colourfully.

"Alllll right," Raphael says in his best respectfully soothing voice. "The flask will be found tomorrow, but it won't be needed tonight. We'll have you in momentarily and look at that slash.” He's glad to see her door now, getting closer.

Anghelescu is not that sorry, either. Do the guards of Marsilikos know the dowager vicomtesse? Of this he is certain. Would some of them delight in making her and any accomplices spend the night in the drunk tank? Of this he is unfortunately also quite certain. He lets Raphael shoulder a bit more of Philomène's weight as he raps on the door, hoping to summon the much harried maid.

And when the door does eventually open, revealing a surprising number of bright flowers in bunches on every available surface as well as the bleary eyed maid who takes one look at the trio, then ushers them inside and clears off the small sofa for the invalid in what is a worryingly unsurprised and practiced movement. Caroline at least is familiar with both of the gentlemen assisting her mistress this evening, and she's not afraid to direct them both. "You, put her down here. You, get a full bottle." A nod towards the kitchen and an exaggerated wink. It's not the first time she's had to deal with Philomène in this state, and it's far easier to persuade her to stay quiet and pliable if she's comforted with a security schnapps. "And," she adds, with an eye for the vomit crusting at the corner of the old battleaxe's mouth, "a bucket."

For her part, Philomène is relatively easily manhandled, the cool air, the walk, and the booze having eventually robbed her of her fighting stamina if not her fighting spirit.

Raphael lays Philo down with a fresh handkerchief to her wound, angling her body as best he can that she might not bleed on the sofa. "We may or may not have need of a healer," he warns Caroline. "Let's see. I'm going to lift the shirt a bit," he warns Philomène.

The Carpathian meanwhile descends on the kitchen area as directed, returning shortly with the requested bottle, a couple of glasses (some people have manners), and several of Caroline's perfectly good and clean towels picked up from the linen drawer in the hallway. Bucket? Yes, he's got one of those too.

"Apparently she decided to go to war against the enemies of the kingdom. Alone. Again." He nods to Caroline. "And I believe that we're expected to provide dancing girls as well, though unless you wish to volunteer, mademoiselle, perhaps we can talk her out of this idea."

When the shirt is lifted, and the smears of blood wiped away to better see the cause of it all, it's a long but thankfully shallow slice into the woman's flesh, but there are a number of red and purple bruises beginning to blossom on the limited exposed skin. No worse than Raphael has no doubt seen before. Or caused before. The patch of blood on her thigh is still worrying, but it does at least seem to have stopped oozing and the cloth of her breeches is well and truly stuck down to the wound. "They were rude!" Philomène insists again, this clearly being enough reason to kick off against multiple larger, stronger men. "Fuck, I'm getting too old and slow… did you know that one girl can hold herself up on the toes of one foot?"

Raphael just presses the handkerchief on firmly with a flat palm. "She'll be all right," he pronounces. "No healer unless blood comes up in the vomit." He eyes the blood on the trousers. "Come and bring one of those towels, my lord." He's worked out Andrei's standing by now, given his residence nearby. "Which girl?" he asks Philomène.

Anghelescu is no barber surgeon and doesn't pretend to be one, either. He does as instructed, providing Raphael with the towel and Phil with the bottle, then standing by to fetch anything else that might need to be fetched. If he has issues with the address he must be deciding that now is not the time; or maybe the self-proclaimed cynic is in fact worried enough to not pay proper attention. "We're going to have to cut those breeches off her, I suspect. I don't like the amount of bleeding she's been doing."

"Well, I don't like your face," comes the ever so mature response, along with a wave of the security schnapps towards the Chowati, despite any praise she may have given his eyes earlier. "And the dancing girl," Philomène adds to Raphael, with a roll of her eyes. Duh. Because of course he should have been following her meandering train of thought. "She's called… Ana? Ania? Very pretty. She should dance for us and then come to bed with me, hm?"

Raphael makes a mental note of the name. "I'll see what I can do," he says. "Just as soon as we keep the blood from flowing. And you'll have to drink some water." He looks to Andrei and lifts a brow. "If you think it's necessary, be my guest." He's not cutting any noblewomen's trousers off. For free.

"Caroline, do you have a sharp knife?" Anghelescu may be missing out on an opportunity to make a buck on the side here but let's be honest: he's probably not Phil's first choice for a nocturnal companion anyhow. "My lady, I need to make certain that you are not severely injured. If you can take off your breeches yourself in the company of your maid, all the better. If not, you will have to let me help you do it."

"Don't drink water, fish fuck in it," Philomène mumbles, clutching her bottle all the tighter. "And you leave my breeches alone. Fuck's sake, I'm a married woman." Conveniently forgetting that she's been widowed six months, yes. And that she just admitted to perving over one of the ballet's dancers. Shh.

Raphael absolutely has a sharp knife, but he doesn't volunteer. "Give me your hand," he requests from Philomène. "Hold the handkerchief for me until it closes up."

Anghelescu is either a braver man or a suicidal man. Whichever's the case he finds himself attempting to cut those breeches — though perhaps he likes living enough that rather than cut through the belt, he attempts to make an incision around the cut itself. Provided, of course, that the not-quite-sleeping dragon even lets him close enough. "And I am not a dancing girl so I imagine that in spite of my staring at your thigh I will in fact manage to escape this house with my virtue unmolested." The Carpathian's tone is dry enough that you could probably preserve those fish on it once they're done multiplying.

The sleepy dragon certainly takes a swipe at him, grabbing for Andrei's collar until she's distracted by Raphael's instruction to hold the handkerchief in place. And the other hand is clearly occupied with vital bottle holding duties, and so the Carpathian's collar gets away with it for now and he can content himself with ruining her good breeches instead. This cut is a little deeper, more of a stab wound than a slash, but it does, apart from the fact that peeling away the cloth from it starts it bleeding again, seem to be clotting over. Nothing major nicked, then. She will live to terrorise another day. "Where's Aurore?" Philomène asks, or rather demands, again just expecting the gents to keep up with her train of thought.

"Asleep," Raphael tells Philomène. "But if you write her a message in the morning, perhaps she'll come and pay a call on you." He looks at the wound, but it doesn't seem to alarm him. He passes Andrei the towel.

Anghelescu doesn't seem particularly concerned either now that he has established that there is no vein quietly emptying the woman's life out into her sofa; arteries do you the favour of spurting but veins are sneaky little bastards like that. He uses the towel to clean off the worst and then glances to Caroline again. "Your mistress will probably need a good soak and somebody handy with balms and bandages come the morning, but for now she'll live. Besides, she's too bloody stubborn to die like this — when she goes out, it will be on somebody's sword. Or possibly at the age of a hundred and twenty, stabbed by a jealous husband."

Caroline offers the appropriate assurances, finally even remembering to give Andrei the honorifics so helpfully prompted by Raphael, while Philomène continues to brandish her bottle and mumble to herself, before finally settling in, cuddling her schnapps to herself with bruised knuckles and bruised pride, but still stubbornly alive.

Raphael makes sure Philomène is appropriately placed on her side, then produces a coin to tip Caroline for her trouble. "Thank you for receiving us so efficiently."

The Carpathian gets to his feet, shaking his head. "Should we be flattered that the owner of the Kraken knows to send for us, I wonder? It feels almost like a formal admission into whatever passes for society in these parts." He chuckles lightly and uses another towel to clean vicomtessial blood from his gloves. "I wish she wouldn't endanger herself like that. But I suppose I might as well wish that the moon was in fact made from Flatlandish cheese."

Raphael seems amused by the question. "I don't mind. Her ladyship has been kind to me." He nods at the concern. "Most people have some vice with which they endanger themselves," he opines. But that is just like a man of his salon.

"Most of them perhaps a bit more subtly. But then, I made the lady's acquaintance in that very tavern, when she decided to try to beat up a group of sailors in front of me." Anghelescu shakes his head. "Andrei Anghelescu. Apparently one half of the designated team Get the Vicomtesse Home Safely Before Somebody Burns My Tavern. Glad to not be the only member, considering that I could probably not carry her if I tried."

"Mm," Raphael rumbles. "It's best to have two or more. I'm called Raphael nó Rose Sauvage. I don't suppose you've visited our salon. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

"I am not very acquainted with the salons and their canons, I fear." Anghelescu glances back towards the woman now not quite elegantly snoring with her bottle and her slashed breeches; the great Marsilikian still life with blonde woman it might not be exactly. "I rarely move in such elevated circles when I can avoid it. I'd almost dare to assume that you are a friend of the vicomtesse's?"

"Not so elevated," Raphael replies with a pleasant enough smile. "I'm the son of a butcher." He turns his head, looking at Philomène to make sure she hasn't shifted her position. Then he looks back. "Yes indeed," he confirms. "And I assume you are too. I'm glad."

"She'd probably rather kiss the Flatlandish prince than admit it, but I do like to think so. The lady is not known for her fondness of visitors from abroad." Anghelescu can't help a lopsided smile. "We speak the same language, though — we are both old soldiers sitting about with not much purpose these days."

"The lady is also not over-fond of domestic visitors. But she makes her friends against the grain of her tastes at times." He smiles, too, seeming equally fond.

“I will come by in the morning and see how she is doing," Anghelescu half-smiles. "Or, in case of the hangover that I imagine she will be having, to ask Caroline how she is doing. Perhaps we should do her dignity the honour of retreating. Surely she still possesses some." But for the man's sharp tongue, his tone is kind enough. "She's even better at getting herself into a pointless argument than I am. Have to admire that."

"I'm sure she might like a sympathetic presence to help her through a rough morning," Raphael says, not offering his own presence. Courtesans are not often up so early. "The Vicomtesse does not like to let her blood grow stagnant."

"By which you mean she will threaten to drown a prince in a public bath and somehow get away with it, yes." Anghelescu nods. "I will check on her, and if my health fails, I will send my trusted man to do so. She can't tell us apart anyhow." Do all Chowati look alike? It's Philomène, they probably do if you ask her.

Raphael smiles and shrugs, declining to comment more pointedly on the noblewoman's habits. "That is fair enough, my lord. Thank you for taking the trouble."

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