(1866-11-19) What Do You Believe?
What Do You Believe?
Summary: Talia summons Philippe…and inquires what exactly Philippe has faith in.
Date: 11-19-1866
Related: None
Players:
Talia  Philippe  

Study - t'Corbeau Manse
In Scene Set
19th of Novembre, 1866

The hour is late, and Talia is up. This is not, particularly, unusual. Talia does keep hours; both of her own hungers as well as the dual hats she wears as both Viscountess and head of the Syndicate. This evening finds her again in her study, but she is not, as the last time Philippe found her, going over books. Instead, she is seated and reading a leather bound journal when Sophia shows Philippe in. She offers the bard a very sincere smile, nothing of amusement. More - this time? Curiosity. And then she tells him good evening, and leaves.

Talia looks up, her face serious. There is no play about her, this evening. No impish games from the Mistress of the house. "Philippe," she greets, pleasently enough to let the bard know this is not an unpleasant sort of meeting.

The hour may be late…but even then, it does not prevent Philippe from making the journey to the t'Corbeau manse. For he has learned, rather quickly, that there is no such thing as 'down time' for one in the Viscountess' circle. At least, not if he wanted to remain in her good graces. The exchange with Sophia upon his arrival is normal enough…though the more sincere smile upon the handmaiden draws a somewhat curious expression…brief, before it is glossed over with his usual demeanor for Talia.

But first…it needs to be determined in what manner to treat the visit. A quick inspection with those bright blue eyes tell Philippe that Talia is not in one of her more flirtatious moods. Yet…the pleasant tone would imply that she is not angered by any one thing. So, with a bow, Philippe adopts a similar manner. Nothing flashy, but certainly warm and cordial. His default mode. "Greetings, Mistress Talia. To what do I know the distinct pleasure of being summoned to your presence?" An honest inquiry presented.

Talia's response, perhaps, is - odd. Even for her. She sets the book down, and settles one hand on her belly which is only now just beginning to show the barest slight of bulge. If one didn't know she was pregnant, it would be a thing yet she could likely easily hide. But not for very much longer. "Honesty," is her answer, simple, and plain. "Honesty brings you to me, Philippe. I am curious, and I wish your thoughts on things. And, I wish your honest opinion. Nothing more. Do not," she says gently, but sternly, "Attempt to sway me with what you -think- I wish to hear. For what I wish to hear is what comes from your heart. Your mind. Your instinct. Are we of an accord?"

Honesty. A simple enough task for Philippe. However, with Talia asking for Philippe's unhampered response? That…is unusual. Still, it is clear what Talia is asking for from the bard. The response is simple. A nod and an abandonment of the usual frivolities that Philippe would use. "I believe that we are, Mistress. The plain truth is not usually a commodity we trade in with others. But, between us, I have always been truthful. This I can do." The minstrel does not ask what exactly he needs to offer his thoughts on. Not yet. He knows that will soon be coming.

Talia smiles, then. Cryptic. Apparently she wishes to start out by fielding Philippe's comfort? Or, perhaps his willingness to engage her in this little game. She asks, with a nod of her head, "What do you think of me, Philippe?"

"I think you are as beautiful as you are deadly, Mistress." The answer is swift…hardly any pause at all. Philippe was told to be honest…and honesty is what Talia shall receive. "I think that you do tease me when it suits you, knowing that it will spur me onwards. And…I know that we are both aware that the tease shall be nothing more than such, to which I accept." Besides…he's came to terms a while ago. Still…there is that respect. And a new-found appreciation of the talents Talia has instilled that was not there before.

Talia smiles. Patiently. "Yes. Those things are true. But what do you -think- of me, Philippe?" Talia inquires, further, pressing. Apparently the 'easy' answers are not going to be ones she's going to accept, tonight. "I told you I wished to get to the heart of you. Not things I already was aware of. You've told me nothing you did not already realize I knew. No. I want to know what you truly, deeply, feel about me, Philippe. Am I a monster? Am I a terrible person? Do you despise me for the creature I've made you? Do you aspire to be as I, instead? Did I awake some shadow within your heart? Tell me, Philippe. What you think of me."

It was an easy answer, wasn't it? As Talia expounds on what exactly she is looking for, Philippe tilts his head to one side, considering the request. And…it is with this thoughtful inflection that he responds with. "At first, I thought you cruel. To have me step so far beyond my normal existence, as pitiful as it was, to do unspeakable horrors to others. But, instead, I grew to find that it was not cruelity to me that prompted such. It was something within that you saw when I didn't. A darkness within my being that you were able to draw out. A darkness you managed to instruct me to be able to use, for both of our benefits."

Philippe pauses…then offers more. "Are you a monster? Yes. But, I am as well. We are all monsters. It is a matter of knowing this and harnessing it that allows us to succeed. To be better. We are all terrible people. Only a fool thinks otherwise." Finally…a parting offering. "And yes. I do aspire to be as you are. For, if I did not, I would not be standing here now…or anywhere else."

Talia nods, slowly, accepting this answer. She does not give away whether she is of the opinion this revelation is either good or bad, but she accepts it. Then she asks, "And, does that conflict with your beliefs, Philippe? You and I have ever truly only spoken of business. And, of course, in some mild manner of jest." A faint, half-flirtatious smile with no real meaning, no real effort, behind it follows that statement as if to indicate what she means. "But never of your - beliefs. Your tenants. What -do- you believe, Philippe? I would know you more. You have proven yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt. And I need to know more aptly where to place you in future endeavors." Hinting, perhaps, some sort of reward? Promotion? Something, is in her mind.

Another question…in regarding his beliefs? That is unheard of normally for the minstrel. The reaction to it upon Philippe's face is enough proof of that. Still, this is Talia doing the asking. And, so, Philippe does the answering. "To be truthful? No. it does not conflict with my beliefs. I was of the mindset that your way is what you make of it…that there isn't some lone solitary mystical being out there guiding my life for his or her or its purpose. Whatever it is. There is too many aspects of a person for one single entity to encompass." He pauses…turning an inquisitive eye towards Talia. "I pay lip service to the One, merely for appearances' sake. For it is foolish not to within this kingdom. But…do I believe that the One is solely the guide of my life? No. If it were so, then I would not be deriving the enjoyment I had notice growing within me of certain dark deeds."

"It is curious how some people invest all their hope and faith in the One, and yet … they're so quick to kill each other. Berate each other. Hate each other. Plot against each other. I wonder how many of them are - truly loyal to their faith." Talia shrugs, admitting, quietly, "Yet, a Viscountess must set an example, for her people. And, it is expected. So, we play the role." She watches the man for a long, thoughtful moment. And she nods, then. Afterall, it is not a hard guess for those who know Talia well to know she does not sincerely believe in the One. The Syndicate shows that clearly enough.

Philippe is no fool. Of that much, he is certain Talia knows. Therefore, this line of questioning has him rather curious. That inquisitive nature overtakes him as he ventures a question forth. "Mistress, may I ask what it is you are searching for? You have not shown interest in what drives me before. Merely the fact that I was driven in your favored direction was merely enough. I see this in your interactions with Gastogne…and even somewhat with your own husband. Yet…there is intent behind your words this evening when regarding myself. Why is that?"

Talia shows Philippe a patient smile again. "Because I believe you are - unique, Philippe. Moreso than I originally prospected when I assessed you," she answers, truthfully enough. "I only have one final query, ere I set you away for the evening. If you do not believe in the One, what -do- you believe in?"

Another moment's consideration…then an answer that may or may not be what Talia is seeking. "I believe in absolutes. In death. In life. Darkness and light. I believe that, while there very well may be gods and goddesses, there is no One True deity. For, if there was, then He is sorely lax in his duties. I believe that the Church of the One has more to do with guidance of its followers than the One itself….and that a god that would allow such corruption within its followers is not one worthy to follow."

"An interesting mind you have, Philippe. I, however, would advise you against speaking openly - outside of these walls, of such. Some might consider such thoughts dangerous," she warns, as if concerned. And, again she gives no real hint if she perceives these thoughts either good, or ill. She merely nods, "But, I thank you for indulging me. We will speak again, soon, Philippe. Do not wander too far." She half-smiles, then. "Good eve."

Philippe allows himself a smile, offering a bow to Talia before he turns to go. "Good eve, Mistress Talia. Until the next encounter. Shall it be as intriguing for you then as this was now." Then…with that, he vacates the study, leaving his patron to her thoughts.

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