(1867-10-20) Keeping a Close Eye
Keeping A Close Eye
Summary: Philippe is summoned to Talia's presence the moment he returns to Three Rivers, wherein he reports on his observations in Lonnaire and is asked to keep a watch out for various things, the pending plague and Talia's husband being chief amongst them.
Date: 10/20/1867
Related: Masque stuff and the growing plague
Talia  Philippe  

Viscountess' Bedroom - Three Rivers - Couviere
In Scene Set
20th of Octobre, 1867

Talia, of course, had eyes everywhere. At least, in Three Rivers. Other places, too, no doubt. She may not be the Master Spy, but … that's why she had her own Syndicate. Why do the work yourself when you can have others do it for you, after all? And so she'd gotten word that Philippe was near returning, and set a servant, waiting, to tell him to meet the Viscountess in her bedroom.

When Philippe arrives, he is greeted with the sight he is not entirely unused to within by his experiences with Talia. Sophia is finishing dressing, pulling the dress over her shoulders, facing Talia - who is facing the door. "Leave us," she tells Sophia, gently, and with a rather satiated smile.

The Viscountess, seated in her chair and warmed by the thick robe about her person turns to face Philippe, Sophia in her mind already gone, having so been dismissed. "Welcome home, my lovely bard. Tell me, was the Masque as grand as it ever has been?"

"Not nearly as grand without your presence, Mistress Talia." It is true that Philippe is not all that flustered by the current state of dress of the Viscountess…which is why his words come out nearly conversational. There is only a minor shift as the bard levels his gaze upon Talia, allowing Sophia to depart without further attention given. "I will freely admit, it seemed much the same as previous ones I have attended. Of course, for all occasions, I was performing, so my experiences may be different from what a guest might experience." With that, Philippe allows himself a small smile. "It is good to see you well and whole once more, Mistress, and ever vigilant. I noticed the servant was waiting for me even before I caught sight of the manse."

It is true…it seems that Philippe only paused momentarily before coming to the bedroom as requested. He looks somewhat freshly cleansed, the dust from the road washed off. His lute…freshly wiped down. He didn't want to soil Talia's bedchambers, it would seem. Such a thoughtful minion.

Talia sighs, "Yes." She frowns, some. "It is the first Masque I've missed in many years. But, given the present political climate, I thought it best." She does not go into further detail, rather presuming that Philippe can put the puzzle together, at least in part. The bard, after all, had proven to have quite the cunning mind. "I created my own entertainment, here. A hard thing, without my bard. But I did manage."

Talia leans over to one side, filling one of the goblets with some in one, a bottle that had been left. She pours another goblet for Philippe, and taking each in hand, extends the goblet to the man before her. She does not seem intent, as she had done on prior occasion, on trying to fluster the bard.

"Still," she ventures, "I doubt you were so taken with playing that your eyes did not find something worth watching." She smiles, faintly, not pressing further, yet, however. She shifts topics, instead.

"And what of our gifts to the Lady and Lord?"

A slight nod is given, even as Philippe offers a small smile. No doubt he can guess as to the manner of entertainment that his patron was able to conjure, if the sight of what he walked into was any indication. "Well now, Mistress, I assure you that I do not have any additional commitments in the near future. I shall see to it that proper entertainment shall be provided at your leisure." As to exactly what sort of entertainment is left unspoken…and could cover a great many things. A fact Philippe knows quite well.

The goblet is taken from Talia with a gesture of appreciation, as that slight smile grows somewhat at mention of finding something to watch. But, it isn't the time to dwell on that, as Talia shifts topics to the gifts given. "Ah yes. I was able to petition Lady Alina a couple of days before the Masque itself. I daresay, the gifts were well received. She certainly appreciated the craftsmanship of the lightsilver daggers for her sons, with the way she was inspecting them." There is a pause, as Philippe considers the details of that day within his thoughts. "The shield was somewhat awkwardly received. Lord Gabriel was not present with her, so it was perhaps partly because neither the Lady Alina nor I really have any sort of experience dealing with shields, physically. However, it was received graciously. The Lady does extend her gratitude towards you for the thoughtful gifts."

After another pause, Philippe offers another tidbit of information. "I do believe my timing perhaps helped the Lady Alina to relax. The petitioner before me did seem to draw the l'Saigner's ire, from the sound of the heated exchange I heard. Nothing solid, for I heard no words…but the tone was certainly not cordial. However, to Lady Alina's credit, she did not betray any hint of distress when I was within her presence."

"Good. I hope to forge as good a relationship with Lady Alina as I've had with her father. But, that will take time, if it ever is to come to pass. But, she must know that I remain loyal to her to all ends. And, it seemed only fitting given more recent events that such loyalty and respect be shown in a measure more than words." Talia then indulges of the wine, closing her eyes with a hearty delight of the flavor of the expensive vintage. "The shield had been a gift of Andre l'Corren to my father. I thought it time such return home, where it's engraving and meaning could have more impact than sitting on my wall," she reveals. "Especially in these times." Her expression thins, briefly as she regards her bard more intently.

"I do not want you going to Pacitta anytime soon. Odilia has told me the city is growing rife with illness. She has returned there, and will be eyes enough apart those we have already there."

The surprise of illness spreading through Pacitta is prevalent upon Philippe's face, even as he, too, takes a sip of the wine offered him. "I was not fully aware of the situation in Pacitta. It has been some time since I last have been seen within its walls." The beginnings of a frown touches his countenance as he considers. "That will not bode well for Couviere, I would imagine. So much trade flows through Pacitta. If the city falls to an affliction, I can only presume that it will spread." It looks like Philippe may be somewhat concerned…but only slightly. Talia has been rather diligent in her teaching the bard, which shows in how casual he regards the news.

"She's stated that there have been several deaths in the poorer quarters, and it shows little sign of subsiding. As a precautionary tact, I have given her coin enough to secure a talented healer for any of our people, as well as herself should it come to that," Talia relays to one of her more trusted members. She taps a nail on the counter, "But you are correct. We shall keep a close eye on it, and the t'Rannis in the meantime. Keep a close ear to the ground. You hear things I do not." Of course, everything usually filters back to her at some point.

"But of course." Philippe's eyes lower, as the bard seems to dwell on a particular thought within himself. Fingers tap upon a thigh, while the goblet, still partially full of wine, is placed down. "I will certainly see to it that any information I have is relayed as soon as possible." The bard shifts, the thought pushed aside for now, as he lifts his eyes to meet Talia's. "I will also send correspondence to ensure that our storefront in Pacitta is secured. If the illness is as bad as Odilia says, then it might prompt other issues as well…such as disturbances in the always fragile peace of Pacitta." Riots, Philippe means without saying. Especially if the poor are sick and the wealthy merchants are not. It is a volatile cocktail.

The bard shifts on his feet once more. "In the meantime, Mistress, is there any other tasks you wish of me? I have been without these walls for some time and have a great desire to return to be of use to you, in whatever manner pleases you."

That earnest willingness to serve elicits a sincere smile from Talia, "And that, my dear Philippe, is why you have done so well here. I was commenting to Odilia upon her departure that sparing you was one of my better decisions I've made in regards to the family business."

Talia makes no comment as a portion of the wine is returned, but she does finish hers. "My sister and her husband shall be coming to stay, perhaps until Winter Court renews. You will treat her with the same courtesy as you do I, and indulge her just as much." An order Talia had not given the bard previously, which may tell him much in regards to what esteem she holds her younger sister. "And I may call you to play for us when she does arrive. In the meantime, keep an eye on my husband when I cannot." Doubtless, Talia has the entire household staff already doing that. But one more set of eyes cannot hurt. "And keep me informed of your securement of our items in Pacitta, of course. Perhaps, if needed, I will send Dominic there to finish such with Odilia. That should be a simple enough task for him."

Philippe allows himself a slight concession…a wry grin…at the mention of himself from Talia. Not a grand gesture, by any stretch of the imagination, but enough to signify that he is pleased that Talia herself is content with him. That grin shifts, disappear into a momentary expression of mild surprise as Talia tells him to treat her sister as he would Talia herself. "As…you wish." It is an unusual order, leastwise for Philippe. Talia is not known for sharing her toys, at least in the minstrel's mind. Another nod is given as the Viscountess warns of the possible need of his services when her sister does arrive. "I will be honoured to play for you both, Mistress."

The bard grows silent as the request is made to keep a close watch on the Count. A thought springs to life, prompting Philippe to intone the unbidden idea to his patron. "I am sure I would be able to ensure our assets are well protected. However, it seems to me that sending an individual to Pacitta, in the midst of a potential plague, may prove to be an effective means of eliminating said person, should his usefulness has expired, without lifting a finger." Philippe's shoulders shrug mildly, as if it is perfectly normal to be discussing such a vile concept. "At the very least, it would certainly provide a test of strength for one. Though, do forgive me of such musings. It was just something that sprung to mind." Of course, Philippe was certainly careful enough to not implicate Dominic directly. He wouldn't do that so blatantly. "But yes, Your Excellency. I will certainly keep an eye upon your husband. Two, even, for as often as I can spare them."

With that, Philippe offers a bow…the first of the evening, and intones. "Is there anything else, Mistress? I look forward to providing you with proper accompaniment for diversions…and further education in other manners." No doubt a reference to the recent introduction to some of the family secrets.

"My husband is a Knight, Philippe, and in far better health than you or I. He would be better suited to any work needed doing there, should it come to it," Talia returns, but there is no rebuke that comes to her if Philippe's musings find disfavor with her. And, as if that were the end of the discussion, Talia shakes her head. "Nothing else, this evening. Your attention to detail, as always, is welcome, Philippe. Rest. I will call you when I've next need for you." And with that, the bard, as Sophia, is dismissed.

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