(1866-11-05) Not Discreet Enough
Not Discreet Enough
Summary: Philippe and Gastogne report to Talia the results of their investigation into her husband.
Date: 11/05/1866
Related: A Need to Fill and The Measure of a Man
Talia  Philippe  Gastogne  

Study - t'Corbeau Manor - Couviere
In scene set
5th of Novembre, 1866

Sitting in her study, Talia t'Corbeau is tabulating her books and balancing the levies and taxes brought in, checking over everything to make certain everything checks out perfectly. The rest of the castle goes about it's business, of course, leaving Talia to her business. The door to the study is open, a subtle invitation or acknowledgement that she can be approached without fear.

The invitation is certainly noted…and taken advantaged off. With little to no hesitation, Philippe walks in, with that lute upon his back as usual. His companion, Gastogne? Not so eager. There is a pause, followed only by a sharp glance from the bard to get Gastogne to enter the room.

With a soft clearing of the throat, Philippe takes the opportunity to speak. "Mistress Talia, a moment of your time? My counterpart and I have some information to relay to you, if you are free." Of course, just because the invitation is there doesn't mean that decorum should be thrown to the side…

Talia does not look up, placing a finger on the ledger as she copies a few numbers down. She recognizes the voice, perhaps the noises of multiple people and the fact that Philippe stated 'counterpart' she can deduce Gastogne is with the man. "Enter," she allows. "And close the door behind you if you need to speak." She knows Philippe well enough to determine, too, he would not interrupt with some minor issue.

A jerk of the head, and both Philippe and Gastogne enter, with Gastogne closing the door behind them. As the door closes, Philippe shifts to his usual cordial mannerisms. "Thank you, Mistress." There is a pause, only long enough for the door to close, before the bard continues. "I have completed my evaluation of Gastogne….and Gastogne has completed the task I had set forth for him. The one we discussed previously." That…was an interesting discussion. In the middle of the night, in the privacy of Talia's personal bath. Hardly a scene Philippe could forget easily…if he was one to forget. "What Gastogne was able to uncover may be of some concern to you."

Another glance towards Gastogne…with a tilt of Philippe's head towards Talia, and Gastogne gets the point. It is time for him to report. "Well…Philippe told me to dig up as…as much as I could on your husband. He told me he wanted to know what…what kind of man he was. To find anything that might be used against you, Viscountess. And…I did find information that could be damaging."

Aware, in part, of the history of Dominic's family - after all, the choices of families that Talia had where she would not have to hide the more sordid details of the Syndicate as well as to retain proper social status, at the very least were few in number - Talia does not seem overtly concerned with the prospect of what Gastogne may have found. Still, she inquires, "Truly? He impressed you?" These words asked of Philippe. The quill finishes it's mark and she sets the ledger aside to allow the ink to dry.

Her attention then focuses to Gastogne. The woman leans back in her chair to hear this news, still not showing anything more than slight curiosity at what might have impressed her favorite bard.

"Indeed, Mistress Talia." Philippe is rather candid in his response. "The amount of detail that Gastogne was able to uncover was quite unexpected." However, he doesn't speak any further. Instead, he looks on over to Gastogne, giving him the floor to offer what he knows.

And offer, he does, though the man looks decidedly nervous. "Viscountess, Lord Dominic has….has been carrying on an affair. To…to his credit, he has been carrying it on discreetly. However….not good enough. I…I know who. I know when. And, err, I know where. Philippe's concern is that this information could be used to damage you. Leverage like this would…would be bad for business. Both legitimate and non." He then adds as a quick aside. "Well….that's what the Bard says." The man doesn't come right out and give everything at once….he is definitely not all that comfortable telling the head of the Syndicate house that her husband is unfaithful.

Philippe? He looks quite at ease himself. Certainly the difference due to experience.

The fact that her husband may be carrying on an affair is not necessarily news to Talia. After all, she'd told him she did not expect him to be faithful to her, and as long as he -was- discreet, he could sow his oats elsewhere. The latter information that Gastogne provides, however, does cause the slightest frown, an almost miniscule line of tension to draw itself across her brow as a result.

"I trust much in Philippe's estimation of events," Talia begins, directing her words at Gastogne. She looks towards Philippe then, measuring the bard with a more intense look, before looking back to Gastogne. "Well? Out with it, then."

Gastogne pales at that look. If it wasn't for the fact that both Philippe and Talia are both here, watching him, he might have just broken down at that point. However, the slightest of nods from the minstrel is all the indication given to just get it out there and don't dawdle. "He has been seeing a Wraith, your Excellency. Angelique." Another stall….the fear present as Gastogne offers the full name. "Lady Angelique t'Corbeau."

It is at this point that Philippe cuts in, smoothly….as practiced as his playing. "Yes. Seems that he has been seeing Lady Angelique off and on. In the keep, somewhere. Gastogne wasn't able to get exact details, but what he got was humbling. Dates and approximate times. The general location, if not the specific rooms used. My fear is that if Gastogne was able to get so much detail for what is supposed to be a secret affair, just how much information would our enemies get should they really put their minds to it?"

With Philippe speaking, Gastogne seems almost relieved. He nods in agreement with what the musician offers as information and insight. Anything to keep that intense expression off of him.

Talia looks towards Gastogne, first, as if the man had grown a third head. Then, as if she might as soon slit his throat as look at him. But, she does not react towards the would-be spy. Still, her expression has significantly changed from something casually intrigued to downright cold anger. The quill, still held in her fingers snaps in half. She doesn't even seem aware of it.

Her next words are cold. Calculated. And, stressed. "You each would swear your lives on this information? I will not hesitate to have either of you killed if this is some joke. Or, some accusation borne by my enemies to sow discord in my house and it is unmerited."

Before Gastogne starts to lose his nerve, Philippe steps before him to speak. His words do not possess the playful banter that they normally would. His inflection is flat…emotionless. Clinical. An eerie echo to Talia's own tone. "I took the liberty to check Gastogne's sources. He is speaking truthfully. As such, we are fully aware of the consequences should the information was false." Without flinching or pausing, Philippe continues. "I swear our lives on this information. This is exactly the reasoning I gave to you before, Mistress. This is why I sought your blessing before initiating the investigation, so that we can be aware of accusations that may prove disastrous before they are made public." The anger is noted by the bard…and is greeted with honesty and the colorless inflection of Philippe's voice. He isn't trying to be eloquent or praising…both of which Talia knows perfectly well Philippe can do easily. He is giving her the unvarnished truth of his convictions.

Gastogne only trembles at the thought of giving up his life. But, Philippe has already offered it up, along with his own, so the only thing the poor soul can do is nod affirmatively and go along for the ride the bard is sending them both on.

"I see." The flat words, no threats, no promises of violence or eloquent inductions of poisons and promises of pain come forth. Instead, Talia stews a moment in that coldfire, seething within. Her thoughts are her own, but such can easily be guessed at because she does not bother to mask the myriad of emotions that ripple through her. Finally, after a few further moments of silence, she nods again, "Very well, then."

She looks down at her hand, to the broken quill. And wordlessly sets it aside. Then, to Gastogne. "Your sources. Now."

The sense of dismay is almost tangible from Gastogne as he scrambles forward, padding his pockets and producing a sheet of parchment, with a list of names written upon it. The parchment paper is a familiar stock….recognizable as the same that Philippe uses for his songwriting, as it becomes apparent that this particular request was foreseen. With more than a little shaking, the paper is passed from Gastogne to Talia, setting it down gently upon her desk. The names look somewhat familiar, as it is a list of some locals, both fair and foul, as well as a few minor servants. "This…this is what I have, Viscountess. I was able to piece together the information by collaborating with witnesses and tying their stories together. Among other things." Gast looks positively ready to faint. He is just not used to seeing the cold fire within Talia.

"Philippe. You may return the poison vial I gave you to deal with Gastogne." She looks, then, to the would-be spy, ventures, "You are forgiven for your infraction. Pray you continue on this path which you are set. I do not forgive a second time." Her ire, at least, is not directed at Gastogne. She picks up a small dagger sitting on the side of her desk; such items were always close by for Talia, and it's edge is thrust into the desk. She leaves it there.

"Philippe. You will - discredit this one." She points to one of the locals, "Completely. When you are through, if he tells someone the forest is green and growing, they should believe him still full of lies or some dark suspicion." Her intent clear. Break the chain so the pieces are even harder, or perhaps even impossible, to put together again. "As for this one," she points to a minor servant's name, "Speak to Angelo and Peter. She has no family. She will disappear. They'll know how to go about it quietly."

She looks to both of them, "You will speak to this of no one else." She makes a dismissive motion with her hands, "Now. Leave. I will summon you again should I have need of either of you." Her tone, at the last, is controlled wroth.

Blue eyes flicker to the list, noting the two names that Talia pointed out. Philippe doesn't bother to write them down, for he already has the names committed to memory. "I swear that it will be done." The response seems to cover everything…the request for the vial, the blackmail and discrediting, the disappearance of the servant.

Both Philippe and Gastogne nod as Talia speaks to both, with Gastogne responding with an 'Yes, Viscountess" to the request for silence. When the dismissal comes, Gastogne is quick for the door while Philippe offers a bow to Talia before turning to leave. The bard parts with no words, for enough have been spoken. He merely shoos Gastogne out the door first, then follows soon afterwards, taking care to close the door behind him.

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