(1868-03-03) Cookies Now, Subterfuge Later
Cookies Now, Subterfuge Later
Summary: With the plague subsiding, Talia summons Odilia home to Three Rivers with a need for news and cookies to aid her mourning, in addition to Philippe's sublime music talents.
Date: 1868-03-03
Related: None directly
Philippe  Odilia  Talia  

Study - Three Rivers - Couviere
See scene.

The plague had not entirely left the countryside, but it's cases were - much like numbers of the people of Three Rivers along with the rest of the country - dwindling down. And, with the plague's certainty on the decline and in it's own lasting death throes as it left so many people, Talia had opened up her household again.

Of course, news had gone through the house, first. And then to family - Dominic had not only caught the plague, it had been the Knight's downfall. And likely thereafter to the lips and ears of the members of court and beyond. Talia t'Corbeau was a widow, and her child and soon to be second child, fatherless.

The pregnancy clearly showing now on the Countess leaves her often lounging, relaxing. And, with news of Odilia's recovery, Talia had sent for the woman to discuss familial matters. Catch up. Maybe get some cookies. Mm. Cookies.

Surviving within the most plague ridden city in the Edge had been lucky, or so Odilia counted herself. Many had not been so lucky by far. But Odilia had stayed put within the city even upon recovering, there was really no good place to escape to. But with roads finally opening up again and Talia's summons, Odilia had answered. Though condolences had arrived far earlier, coming shortly after initially recieving the news of the Count having been taken by the plague. All the 'right' words had been put to paper at the time.

But now saw the bastard born woman entering the room where Talia lounged, a platter of cookies balanced loftily, even as she delivers a proper curtsy,"Your Excellency, I have heard that a child mourns their father and has desire for cookies to ease away the pain. I can only hope that this meager gift may aid to that end." There were gloves worn, hiding away the unsightly mix of missing nails upon her hands. A hat would perhaps have been advisable perhaps, her blonde hair having only grown out enough to start at laying down upon its own. (She did shave it after all!).

The lockdown of the manor had done its job moderately well. Those within were, for the most part, untouched by the contagion that had ravaged most of the Edge. It also, however, limited the travel options greatly of those within. And, with travel denied, a certain bard found himself with a substantial amount of free time. Time that Philippe spent writing, composing, and, generally, observing. It is what he does best, after all.

The news of Count t'Corbeau meeting his fate did not surprise the minstrel, of course. There was the appropriate sympathy shown, the proper amount of remorse given. But it was all a performance…another aspect Philippe excells in. It was quite clear, at least to him, that Dominic had served his purpose. There was no further use needed of him and, as such, it made perfect sense to Phil. Why show remorse over that which seems perfectly natural? Of course, with Dominic gone and Talia having need of relaxation, Philippe has made himself available for musical entertainment. Yet another of his talents.

A talent Philippe is currently employing now. He doesn't speak….at least not yet, but he is in the same room with both Talia and Odilia, the lute engaged in a soft melody that is just loud enough to be heard…but not overpowering. Enough to enhance that lounging that his patron so needs.

"You always did know the way to someone's heart, Odilia, my dear. Andrew shall be delighted." Talia smiles, broadly, warmly - hardly a grieving widow. Then again, she's with some of the people closest to her and it's hardly a need for her to put up even the smallest of fronts. A hand moves to rest on her belly, "But at least there are two children left in his wake. His passing was not all for naught, yes? I'm more pleased to see you well, and about. I trust the coin saw you well treated?" And, undoubtedly, the t'Corbeau reputation, bastard or not.

She gestures towards Philippe, "My lovely bard has volunteered to play for our reunion. And, no doubt, offer some of his silver-tongued words for our reunion, even in the shadow of our losses."

She frowns, then thoughtful. Asks, more soberly, "How bad was it." She had her reports, of course. But, it's always best to get an eyewitness account. "I imagine Pacitta got the worst of it."

"And I am sure he shall not mind if his mother might steal one or two," Odilia winking with a warm smile for Talia. Not that Andrew was quite old enough to have much in the way of cookies. Delivering the plate to a resting place within reach of Talia to lazy enjoy as sh emight wish, a small array of her favorites. "Yes, at least he shall have left two children in his wake. Others are not always so fortunate." Odilia nods,"It was quite helpful, you have my and Thomas' thanks for it." Though being a bastard in Pacitta was not quite a hinderance as it was in the more noble centic Kingdoms.

A cheery smile and wink is tossed the bards way. "Oh, I am sure it was such a chore to volunteer for this detail. We are such a bore, aren't we, Philippe. And I such a fright to look at these days. Though I am sure he shall spin it well with that tongue of his."

Odilia shakes her head at the more serious questions. "The reports were true enough. Yet words upon paper cannot nearly tell the true picture and disaster that has befallen. The coin was helpful, but it did reach a point where all the coin in the world could not buy help. I was lucky to have gotten over the worst of it by then. We have suffered many loses, least half the staff in the manor. And many contacts and resources. Though some I have not yet been able to be certain if they have perished or simply gone to ground hoping to wait it out." She draws a breathe before continuing,"But everyone has suffered in kind in Pacitta. The squabbling and dealing has already begun. As many of the seats are now open, power is shifting. Thomas is doing what he can, but I do not know that a clear picture of that political landscape is yet to form."

There is a nod and a slight smile as Philippe greets Odilia. There isn't even a pause in the song as he steps over closer to the pair. "Oh, you do look positively dreadful, dear Odilia." He tips a wink, showing that he is indeed joking, in his unique way, as he speaks more plainly. "Oh, I wouldn't say that you are a bore at all. I would much rather spend my time in such company. I could certainly think of worse ways to occupy myself."

"No doubt," Talia says, grimly, "The bastard," and of course, she can only mean one man, "Will try and take this to his advantage, gain further foothold. We will," she measures, slowly, "Have to work to prevent that. I am content to maintain our hold we had in Pacitta, but if the t'Rannis gain further foothold and an edge, it could spell disaster. For many beyond our scope. That man has an unhealthy thirst for power."

The frown remains on her lips, and she turns to Philippe. "You enjoy Odilia's company that much do you, my dear bard?" Her tone sounds as ominious as it does curious.

Odilia smirks at Philippe. "Oh, it is refreshing to know you can speak the plain and dreadful truth with a lack of sugar coating." Clearly amused by the light banter. But it is with ease that she returns to the serious nature of Pacitta, with the seriousness it deserves. "It is true, he moves to take advantage of it. And there are no doubt ways he is moving to that end that remain unknown and unseen. I doubt he is the only one at that, but the one most likely cause greater chaos then order. And while you seek no greater power, it may be well be required to expand if possible simply to keep it from him. I do not know all that may or may not be possible, Thomas is better at seeing and knowing those aspects." Which is why that particular t'Corbeau bastard served in the council seat. And Odilia did the killing..and cookies.

Talia's question however did draw Odilia's attention back to the bard, half curious at what his answer to be. And the other half….wondering the what and why behind Talia asking the question.

The frown is noted. The minstrel stiffens, but only slightly, as Philippe answers Talia as he has always answered her. Honestly. "I do enjoy her company, Your Excellency. However, I also know that my place is where you wish it to be." It is plain to see that Philippe recognized the dark tone of his Mistress's voice and is taking great care to tread lightly.

Yet, there is a curiosity to Philippe's mien, as well. The same wonder plays through his mind. Why would Talia ask the question? It…isn't something that Philippe is going to just come out and ask, though.

"Mm." Talia nods once, venturing, thoughtfully. She looks back to Odilia, and whatever thoughts might've been running through her head are kept to herself, unshared with either her bard, or the bearer of the sublime baked goods. "There is time yet for plotting, and subterfuge. And I believe that an alliance, of sorts, might be worked out for the interim, if it comes to that. Still, with our own numbers reduced - and I would have to conclude that t'Rannis's Syndicate numbers and losses were far worse than ours - it will not be something resolved anytime soon. And coin, for a brief while, will not be the ultimate entry into such means. We can speak on that later, Odilia."

She turns back to Philippe, measuring, "Perhaps when she goes, you ought to join her. See to your warehouse, and your woman I gave you. If she's still alive?" Talia hadn't kept tabs on her. "But more, to see what your eyes see. Perhaps even take Gastgone with you. The little rat has proven useful before, and may again. We shall see."

"Everyone has suffered great losses, especially those with assets in Pacitta." Though to the actual losses the t'Rannis took, Odilia does not seek to speculate upon at the moment. "You are quite correct, it is a matter that we can discuss further later. And I know you will wish to to read over the letters Thomas sent with me," amongst other dispatches. It was always safest to send those sorts with a trusted person rather than a bird.

It was such a honest and yet measured answer Philippe gave, which amused Odilia on some level. Not that just what Talia might have in mind was clear. "It would not hurt to have more eyes about the city, everyone is working to recruit to replace those lost. Perhaps Gastgone could do well as someone's stable-hand or kitchen boy? It is," this now being directed back to Talia,"an opening that is watched as well as taken advantage of." A smile coming,"But as you said, we can consider matters of subterfuge later. Now is perhaps the time for more music and a taste of something sweet?" A mild incline to the plate of cookies, yet untouched.

"If that is what you wish, your Excellency, then I will do as you desire." It isn't just lip service for Talia to hear, as so many others. There is a sense of weight in Philippe's words. He means what he says. Always…with Talia. With the mention of Gast, Philippe returns to a sense of his usual bardic self, putting on an air of ease as he steps back. "Ah…my little mouse? Oh, I am sure he would be perfectly willing to scout for us. After all, he is rather eager to please…and so easily manipulated."

The mention of music causes a slight smirk to curl the corners of Phil's lips. "more music, I hear? Now…that is something I can easily provide." And, with that, the song changes…a somewhat lighter affair. One could say….something sweeter. Obviously to complement the offered sweets.

Talia nods, considering, "I'd even consider you spying for t'Rannis, but you're a bit too famous for that, my dear Philippe." Talia smiles, gently, and then rests a hand on her belly. "Away with the both of you, for the evening. Get some rest. Think about what I've said. I'll be more interested in thoughts and ideas in the morning. Breakfast is late. This little one does drain the energy, so."

Slowly, Talia rises, taking the cookies with her. It is unlikely they will survive the night.

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