Diablotin 2 session 25

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[Narrator] It is the third week of Ninth-month, and since the recent bread riot, the city has been relatively quiet, if not calm. [Narrator] Reports vary, but it seems as though somewhere between ten and twenty people were killed in the riot, including two guards and the baker whose shop the incident began in. [Narrator] Increased guard patrols on the streets, particularly in the market districts, has kept things under control so far. [Narrator] Also, emergency shipments of grain are now coming in by rail from Colwyn Bay and Urmia, which is easing the prices (and tensions) somewhat.

[Narrator] Ilphere, preparations are by now deeply underway for the engagement party your parents are hosting for you and Menard. You have been asked to draw up a list of friends you wish to invite. [Narrator] Your parents have somehow found the funds to refurbish the ballroom, and so workers are engaged in polishing the marble floors, replacing crystals in the chandeliers, touching up the paintings on the ceiling, and so forth. [Narrator] Your great-grandmother actually seems more cheerful than usual these days - perhaps the place looking more like its former glory is heartening to her. [Narrator] It seems as good a time as any for you to take Ysabeau to try and speak with her about the portrait. [Ilphere] . o O ( Well I suppose...! )

  • Ysabeau will be on her best behaviour.

[Ysabeau] So, what's the proper form of address for her? Your Grace? [Ilphere] (where are we starting, locationwise?) [Ilphere] Well she is a countess... [Ilphere] But just 'lady' should suffice...! [Ysabeau] You're sure? From someone as low-ranking as me? [Ilphere] I usually call her Grand-Mère

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Well, I probably shouldn't be so familiar with her, myself. ;) [Ilphere] Probably...!

  • Ysabeau follows you around, hopeful that this won't end up being yet another dead end in the mystery of Dessa's life and death.

[Ilphere] You must be quite patient with her... and she may not wish to be helpful...!

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ilphere] I do love my Grand-Mère, but she can be very stubborn... [Ysabeau] I understand. [Ilphere] SHe is in a good mood lately though...! [Ysabeau] Your household must be busy these days! [Ilphere] Oh yes, it is like a hive of bees...! [Ysabeau] Maybe she likes that. [Ilphere] So many people coming and going... [Ilphere] I think it reminds her of when she was younger...!

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] Maybe. [Ysabeau] Is there anything I shouldn't do at all if I hope to ask her for help with this? [Ysabeau] I have had such poor luck; I'd hate to ruin my chances. [Ilphere] Well... I would not argue with her... that does not work well for my father

  • Ysabeau laughs.

[Ysabeau] I wouldn't think of it to begin with. [Ilphere] But don't... how should I say it? Don't patronize her either, she hates that...

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ilphere guides you through the house to find her great grandmother...
  • Cordovera is to be found in her rooms.
  • Cordovera is a very elderly woman, small and thin, with long, wispy white hair tied back in a simple bun.
  • Ysabeau manages to look like she isn't totally out of place here.
  • Ilphere taps on the door if it's closed, the frame if it isn't...

[Ilphere] Grand-Mère...? [Cordovera] Hm? What's that, dear? [Ilphere] How are you this afternoon...? [Cordovera] Oh, not too poorly. [Ilphere] I have brought a friend from school, Ysabeau... she wanted to meet you...!

  • Ysabeau smiles and curtseys politely.
  • Cordovera peers at the newcomer.

[Cordovera] Who is this? One of the Arguelles girls? [Ilphere] Non, non... she is a musician...! [Ilphere] And a student at the Castalia. [Cordovera] Ah. Enchanted to meet you, Miss...? [Ysabeau] Miss Chanuier, my lady. [Cordovera] Miss Chanuier.

  • Ysabeau smiles winningly.

[Ysabeau] How are you today? [Ilphere] I thought perhaps we could have a drink or some tea, and chat a while if you would like that... [Cordovera] There is such a racket downstairs, I think a drink would soothe my nerves. [Ilphere] Wonderful...! The new maid is bringing up a tray I believe...! [Cordovera] Always a new maid - how is one to keep them straight, I ask you! [Ilphere] Oh I know...! [Ilphere] I will just make sure she isn't lost, if you'll excuse me one moment...! [Ysabeau] I suspect it must get trying after a while. And everything must be so busy in preparation for Ilphere's engagement and wedding...

  • Ilphere will go to intercept the tray and bring it in, thus sparing Julie having to bring in another npc

[Cordovera] Oh, yes. I'm certain it will be very grand.

  • Ysabeau is a little alarmed at the prospect of being left alone with your grandmother but covers it up decently.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Ilphere has been telling me about some of the goings-on. And she speaks often of you with fondness.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Cordovera] It has been so busy lately.

  • Cordovera smiles at that.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Cordovera] One can hardly keep up with all the changes. [Ilphere] Here we are...!

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ilphere brings in a tray with glasses and a bottle and sets it down on a little table.
  • Ysabeau is relieved that Ilphere is back. Small talk with nobles is all right but asking them for help is still a bit awkward for her.

[Ysabeau] It looks lovely, Ilphere.

  • Cordovera will accept a small glass of sherry.
  • Ilphere will pour everyone a glass, serving her grandmother first...

[Ysabeau] Thank you, Ilphere. [Ysabeau] My lady, the reason I hoped to meet you is that I hoped you might be able to help me identify the subject of a portrait. I think he may have been a Kizer, perhaps a Duke of Friaul. Ilphere thought you might recognize him. [Cordovera] oh?

  • Ysabeau nods and carefully removes the wrapped portrait from her purse, unwraps it, and passes it to Lady Cordovera.

[Ilphere] Yes... it's a bit of a mystery...!

  • Cordovera examines the miniature with hands that shake slightly.
  • Ysabeau waits patiently, sipping her sherry and shooting a small grateful smile towards Ilphere.

[Cordovera] Handsome devil, isn't he. [Ysabeau] He has nice eyes.

  • Ysabeau agrees.

[Ysabeau] Though others I've shown this to have called them 'tricksy'.

  • Cordovera laughs at that.

[Cordovera] He danced with me at my sister Deneza's fifteeth birthday. I was only a little girl, but he let me stand on his feet and took me for a turn about the room anyhow. [Ilphere] You do recognize him...? Who is he...?

  • Ilphere asks eagerly...

[Cordovera] Martan Kizer - the Duke of Friaul that was... [Ilphere] Goodness...! [Ilphere] How fascinating...! [Ysabeau] Did you know him well, in spite of the age gap? [Cordovera] Oh no - he died when I was quite young. [Ysabeau] Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. [Ysabeau] Did he ever marry? [Cordovera] Well, it was such a very long time ago... [Ysabeau] Or have a girlfriend at least.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Cordovera] He was married. I forget his wife's name... [Cordovera] But there was some sort of scandal... [Ysabeau] With another woman? [Cordovera] Well, it was hardly something the adults talked about with me! But I suppose it must have been.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] This portrait was among the belongings a Mrs. Underdown passed to her granddaughter. [Cordovera] Underdown?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Does the name ring any bells? [Cordovera] I don't know... I don't think so. [Ysabeau] Well, thank you anyway. You've at least given me a name to chase down now.

  • Cordovera passes you back the miniature.

[Ysabeau] I very much appreciate it.

  • Ysabeau takes it gently and carefully wraps it back up.

[Cordovera] Is he here? I would so like to see him again.

  • Ysabeau glances at Ilphere with a questioning look. She means Martan Kizer?

[Ilphere] I'm sorry Grand-Mère... He's gone away... :( [Cordovera] Oh. Perhaps another day, then. [Ilphere] Would you care for another glass...? [Cordovera] Oh, well, I shouldn't... but all right.

  • Ilphere pours everyone another round and raises her glass to her grandmother.

[Ilphere] Santé!

  • Ysabeau raises hers as well.

[Ysabeau] Santé!

  • Cordovera will start to nod off after her second glass.

[Ysabeau] (Can I have a K:N roll on Martan Kizer? Ysa mightn't know if he's directly in the emperor's ancestral line or not... I just want to see if she can find out)

  • Ilphere will tuck a blanket under her chin and make sure she is comfortable...

[Narrator] (sure) [Ysabeau] (21) [Narrator] So far as you know he had no direct descendants - the current line of Kizers are descended from his brother or cousin or something like that. [Ysabeau] (ok, thanks)

  • Ysabeau quietly finishes off her sherry so as not to wake the Lady, then leaves with Ilphere.

[Ilphere] Well that was interesting... I really didn't think it was Martan Kizer, but Grand-Mère would know, she saw him firsthand...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ilphere] I hope that was helpful...! [Ysabeau] I'll have to look into him now. I wonder if he had a relationship with Mrs. Underdown and Dessa is descended from him. It seems less likely that someone would want her dead for being a threat, now... but not completely out of the realm of possibility. [Ilphere] He is somewhat famous, or infamous...! [Ysabeau] Oh? [Ysabeau] What do you know about him? [Ilphere] Oh yes... [Ilphere] Well for starters, his aunt was an Empress, who died under mysterious circumstances, I think I told you before...!

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I think I might have to track down Vescan again.

  • Ysabeau sighs, not looking forward to it.

[Ysabeau] Hopefully I can catch him without his friend, this time. [Ilphere] I hope you will have some luck... [Ysabeau] Thank you, Ilphere. I'll tell Merrow what I learned. Hopefully we can get a little closer to uncovering the truth. Muri so wants to understand *why*. [Ysabeau] So do I. :/ [Ilphere] (anyway you can assume I tell you the commonly known stuff about Martan) [Ysabeau] (ok, thanks)

[Narrator] Guillame, Aden sends a note to let you know that he's been granted an audience with the Emperor to discuss the food shortage, and promises to let you know what happens as soon as he can. [Narrator] Meanwhile, you've been thinking it might be good to pay a visit to Aure, just to make sure that he's all right and has enough food given the current circumstances. [Guillame] (Actually, I have been thinking that! Awesome!) [Narrator] (|I am so smart, smrt :) [Narrator] Before you can leave, however, your sister Silvia accosts you. [Silvia_] Are you going out? [Guillame] Yes - I'm meeting someone to talk about our family history [Silvia_] Who? [Guillame] An elderly man - he's called Aure [Silvia_] Oh. Can I come too? [Guillame] Are you not busy? [Silvia_] No... there's no school today. [Guillame] Well, if Mother hasn't made any plans for you... maybe that would be ok.

  • Silvia_ seems excited by the prospect.

[Guillame] He's not a patient man, though - if he takes a dislike to you, we'd have to leave. [Guillame] Maybe we should ask Mother?

  • Silvia_ looks unimpressed.
  • Guillame does too

[Silvia_] I think she's out anyway. [Silvia_] We don't need to ask her *everything*, do we? [Guillame] Well, I'm sure she wouldn't mind me taking you with me on research.

  • Guillame winks
  • Silvia_ smiles.

[Narrator] You and your sister make your way cautiously into the Shambles. The narrow, winding streets are crowded with people, the dregs of the city. [Narrator] Vendors of used clothing and furniture call out to you as you pass, trying to persuade you to buy their shabby wares, while men without work simply loiter and watch you with suspicion. [Narrator] A costermonger pushes a wheelbarrow holding a meagre selection of fruits and vegetables, and a nearby fishmonger's stall smells as though it contains the catch of a few days past.

  • Guillame keeps a sharp eye out, mindful of his sister's safety

[Narrator] A scrawny horse pulls a cart loaded high with refuse. Clotheslines stretched across the street drip water onto your heads from time to time. [Narrator] There are almost no beggars, and few whores - they tend to go to areas of the city where there are more likely to be people with money to give them - but the alehouses seem to be doing a brisk business. [Narrator] There are ragged children everywhere, though, and they mill about you, pestering you for coins or food.

  • Silvia_ keeps close to you, watching with wary eyes.

[Silvia_] I've never been to the Shambles before... [Silvia_] But if I'm to be a priest, I shall have to at some point, shan't I? [Guillame] Well, maybe if Mother asks we shaln't tell her you came this time! [Guillame] But yes, it's important to know how all people live, not just the wealthy ones.

  • Silvia_ nods.

[Silvia_] We must be careful... [Guillame] That's right. [Narrator] You take the turn that should lead you to Aure's house, only to find the road is blocked. [Narrator] A cart carrying barrels of ale has fallen over and the mob as people try to make off with the barrels and the cartman tries to salvage his wares makes the narrow street impassable.

  • Guillame stops himself from going to help, and tries to remember the route he took when following Aure's son

[Narrator] You think you know your way around this area well enough to try an alternate route. [Narrator] The route takes you down an alleyway so narrow you could touch both walls if you stretched out your arms. [Guillame] Come on, Silvia - we'll go around

  • Guillame does so
  • Silvia_ follows you closely.

[Narrator] You are about halfway down the alleyway when a stocky, dark-haired man with a skinny, snarling dog steps out from a shadowed doorway just in front of you.

  • Man and his dog are effectively blocking the alley.

[Man] Well, newcomers.

  • Guillame drops his hand close to his sword, and stops short
  • Man has a long, thin dagger in his hand, you notice.

[Guillame] Is that what you think? [Man] I know everyone in these parts, and I don't know you. [Man] But pay your toll to pass, and we'll have no trouble. [Narrator] The way back is also blocked, you realize, as another figure (an accomplice, no doubt) has moved in to prevent your exit. [Guillame] What's your price? I'm not averse to helping a fellow out. [Man] Let's say the rates are flexible. [Man] We'll just take it all.

  • Guillame draws his sword
  • Silvia_ gives a tiny gasp and steps closer to you.
  • Man readies his grip on the dagger in case you're going to fight back. The dog snarls.

[Guillame] Well, the only thing I have of any value is this blade, and I'm pretty reluctant to part with it. It's served me pretty well over the years... [Man] Just toss it over.

  • Man seems to be growing antsy.

[Guillame] You see, if I do that, you have no reason not to just kill me right here. Maybe you want to convince me you'll let me pass if I give it to you?

  • Guillame moves to the side, to let Silvia between him and the wall
  • Silvia_ begins whispering quietly to herself.

[Man] Hand over the girl's specs too, they'd fetch some good coin. [Guillame] Silvia, the man wants your glasses - shall I let him have them? [Silvia_] I.. yes, of course.

  • Silvia_ will take them off.
  • Man takes them warily.
  • Guillame takes them from her, and holds them out for the man to take
  • Man lowers his blade.
  • Guillame does not

[Narrator] The dog, which had been snapping and snarling, quiets and approaches Silvia. [Man] Hey!

  • Silvia_ reaches down to pet it. It licks her hand.
  • Man looks confused at his hound's desertion, and steps back into the doorway he emerged from.
  • Guillame tries to keep an eye on the men in front and behind.
  • Guillame follows to the doorway

[Guillame] Stay close, Silvia... [Man] Leave my dog alone, girl. [Silvia_] I didn't do anything to him. [Guillame] It looks like your dog's taken a liking to her. Maybe he'd like it if she had her glasses back?

  • Man frowns.

[Man] You're joking, right?

  • Man has his knife up again.
  • Guillame raises the sword a little

[Man] Maybe you need a lesson after all.

  • Man steps up to stab you. We can roll init to see who gets to go first ;)
  • Guillame moves himself and Silvia past the doorway, trying to pin the man there

[Guillame] (ok, sure) [Guillame] (20) [Narrator] Okay - it'll be you, him, then the dog. The other guy behind you will take a round to get there. [Narrator] What will you do? [Guillame] OK - well, I wanted to try and do as above, and if he's moved into sword range I'll take a swing at him, too. [Narrator] Okay, you can attack as you try to move past. [Guillame] (22) [Narrator] That'll hit. [Guillame] (2 damage)

  • Man winces slightly, but doesn't seem too hurt.
  • Man swings back at you with the dagger.

[Guillame] (AC 14 :/) [Narrator] You are hit for 5 damage.

  • Silvia_ murmurs something to the dog, which promptly attacks its former master. The distraction will allow you to get away if you wish.
  • Guillame takes the opportunity
  • Silvia_ runs after you.

[Silvia_] Are you all right?

  • Silvia_ asks as you're out of the alleyway.

[Guillame] Yes - I'll be fine. I just wish we hadn't had to give them your glasses - you need those. [Silvia_] I can get others.

  • Silvia_ lays her hands on your wound, eyes screwed shut and mouth moving in a whisper. You feel slightly better.
  • Guillame nods

[Silvia_] (Cure minor, 1 hp healed ;) [Guillame] Ah!

  • Guillame looks at Silvia

[Silvia_] Did that help?

  • Silvia_ asks anxiously.

[Guillame] Come on, we'd better get moving in case they try to follow us. [Narrator] Looking around, you can see where you are now - not too far from Aure's house. [Guillame] Yes, it did, thanks. [Silvia_] Are we lost?

  • Guillame takes Silvia toward the house, checking that they're not followed

[Guillame] No, we're not - I just don't want them to know where we're going, in case they try to hurt my friend here.

  • Silvia_ nods.

[Aure] What happened to you?

  • Aure asks when you arrive, bleeding.

[Guillame] We were mugged - I suppose it's not unusual. [Aure] Tsk. Lucky you weren't killed. [Guillame] Aure, this is my sister Silvia. [Guillame] Indeed we were. [Aure] Is it, now.

  • Aure takes Silvia's chin in one gnarled hand and looks her in the eyes.

[Aure] She's a seer. [Guillame] Silvia, this is Aure. He used to live in the city below.

  • Aure says with some surprise.
  • Silvia_ blinks.

[Guillame] I can't say I didn't wonder a little, after your stories. Maybe you could explain what that means to her? [Guillame] I had all but forgotten, though. [Aure] I can try. [Aure] You have dreams? You hear things? Things that come true, or that you couldn't know?

  • Silvia_ nods uncertainly.

[Silvia_] Sometimes. [Silvia_] Mother tells me not to talk about them. [Aure] Then your mother's a ... hmph. She's not doing you any favours.

  • Aure amends whatever he was going to say for your sister's ears ;)

[Guillame] Well... I think she may be right for the most part. But I don't think you should ignore them.

  • Aure nods.

[Aure] You can't. They'll only get stronger.

  • Aure turns to you.

[Aure] Things are bad around here right now. You'd best get going. I'll patch you up before you leave, though. Bring her back another time, when it's quieter maybe. [Guillame] Do you want to come here again, Silvia?

  • Silvia_ nods.

[Silvia_] Yes, please. [Guillame] Then I shall do my best. We'd best try and replace those glasses without Mother noticing, though!

  • Silvia_ nods.
  • Aure lays his hands on you, speaking softly in his native language, and you feel your wound heal itself.

[Guillame] Thank you, Aure [Guillame] I'm glad you're well

  • Aure grumbles his farewells.
  • Guillame will take Silvia back on more open roads

[Narrator] Dom, your sister seems quite eager for you to pursue the assignment she gave you. She comes by to deliver the money, and issue some final instructions. [Zivia] I don't know exactly how this works, but if you're going to find out who's retiring, maybe it would be best to pick one who's older - you know, thirty or so. Practically over the hill ;) [Dominik] I could just ask [Zivia] Well, yes. But in case they don't tell you. [Dominik] right [Zivia] And I hope I don't need to tell you to comport yourself appropriately? The last thing I need is for you to cause a scandal. [Dominik] I'll try to be the perfect customer

  • Dominik smiles wryly

[Zivia] You know where it is, don't you?

  • Zivia says with a smile back.
  • Dominik thinks.. do I?

[Zivia] It's just over into the Place d'Iena, on Delphian Court.

  • Zivia says before you have a chance to answer.

[Dominik] if I didn't I do now [Zivia] Good luck! [Dominik] Did you want to dress me first before I go as well? [Zivia] Oh... do you want me to? [Dominik] I think I can manage. [Zivia] I assumed you could pick out something appropriate yourself. [Dominik] I'll give you a full accounting when I return... since it is your money.

  • Dominik jingles the purse

[Zivia] All the juicy details? ^-^

  • Dominik chuckles but doesnt answer as he leave
  • Dominik will dress as appropriately as he feels he should and head off on this little adventure

[Narrator] The building on Delphian Court is elegant but not showy. From the outside, it could be the home of any wealthy merchant. [Narrator] Only a tasteful copper plate beside the door announces the establishment's name - The Jewelbox. [Dominik] . o O (not hard to find at all)

  • Dominik will head on in

[Narrator] You are escorted into a small parlour by a uniformed servant, where you are offered a selection of drinks. [Narrator] At one end of the room is a delicate screen.

  • Dominik picks a weak but flavorful wine.
  • Dominik will glance around while he waits

[Narrator] The room is tastefully decorated, though perhaps with a few more nudes than would be appropriate in, say, your mother's parlour. [Narrator] After a short wait, you hear the sound of a door opening and closing again behind the screen. [Narrator] A woman's voice speaks from behind it. You can make out a vague silhouette, no more. [Lapidary] Good afternoon, monsieur. [Dominik] Good afternoon [Lapidary] As you are a first-time visitor here, it is my pleasure to welcome you. [Dominik] Why thank you. [Lapidary] ...And also to ensure that we shall remain on good terms, of course. [Dominik] of course [Lapidary] We have only a few simple rules here.

  • Dominik nods listening while taking a drink

[Lapidary] Foremost among them: no names should ever be requested. [Lapidary] Discretion is my paramount concern. The privacy of my guests, of course, but also the privacy of my Jewels. [Dominik] So I shall refer to you as... Lapidary? [Lapidary] That is acceptable, yes.

  • Lapidary says with perhaps a hint of amusement in her voice.

[Lapidary] Rest assured that I am far from alone in valuing our confidentiality so highly. There are a great many people who have a vested interest in ensuring that lips remain tightly sealed. [Dominik] I understand [Lapidary] Finally, everyone here will be treated with respect. The precise form that respect will take may vary, depending on your... interests, but suffice it to say that guests who abuse my hospitality are not welcome to return.

  • Dominik nods again.

[Dominik] I have a few questions of my own, assuming that is allowed. [Lapidary] But of course, I will answer them, assuming I can. [Dominik] I've always been curious about the history of this place... how it started, how the Jewels come here. I know, no names, but could you tell me the story briefly? [Lapidary] The house was founded some sixteen years ago, as an alternative to the less savoury establishments found elsewhere. None of the original Jewels still work here from those days, however - only I remain. [Dominik] Moved on to a different kind of life, I take it. [Lapidary] Most, yes. Many have left in order to marry, have families... [Lapidary] As to how they came here, I suppose in the same way I did - as a diversion, not expecting it to endure. [Dominik] With all that you talk of privacy, its not like they came up to the front door and knocked.

  • Dominik chuckles at little at his own humor

[Lapidary] No. I approached some myself, and they referred others... [Dominik] I'm glad to hear that your Jewels have such good references even before they join you. [Lapidary] Impeccable credentials, I assure you. [Dominik] Now on to the more businesslike questions... how is this transaction to proceed? [Lapidary] Well, you could tell me a little about yourself, if you will. There is no need for names, naturally. I merely hope to learn enough about your interests to match you with an appropriate Jewel.

  • Dominik smiles

[Dominik] I'm a strong and fit young gentleman, as you can probably tell through your screen [Lapidary] I can tell that much, certainly. [Dominik] If all I was looking for was a simple trist, I could easily manage on my own. [Lapidary] But of cours.e [Dominik] I am looking for... experience. [Dominik] I appreciate skill [Lapidary] I begin to see... [Lapidary] If I may ask, are you more interested in comfort, or a more... bracing experience? [Dominik] Comfort? I don't seek to laze about in pleasure. [Dominik] I want to be involved. [Lapidary] Of course. [Dominik] Do you have an understanding of what I am looking for, or do you need more? [Lapidary] All of my Jewels are bright, of course, but some are particularly brilliant. Do you hope for intellectual stimulation, or is that not among your concerns?

  • Dominik is begining to pace having finished his wine

[Dominik] I don't need a philosipher, but I good head would make her even more desirable.

  • Lapidary chuckles slightly at that.

[Lapidary] Very well. [Lapidary] I think I have sufficient information to proceed, then. [Lapidary] You may return in three days' time for your rendez-vous with Opal. [Dominik] three days? [Dominik] Is that your typical practice? [Lapidary] It is. Most of our customers find the wait worthwhile :) [Dominik] very well

  • Dominik has mixed emotions

[Narrator] The servant can show you out again.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] . o O (could have done this 3 days ago)

[Narrator] Alma, since Felise's disappearance you've not been able to find hide nor hair of her. She left a few possessions (some clothing, mainly) at your home, but otherwise it's as if she was never there. [Narrator] You have consequently arranged to meet with her great-uncle, the Duke D'Olonne, Adrius Valenze, to discuss the matter with him.

  • Alma will arrive promptly in her carriage.
  • Adrius lives in a charming home in the Grand.
  • Adrius is an older gentleman, perhaps around seventy or so, slim and dapper, with wavy grey hair.

[Adrius] Welcome, Lady Alma - or do you prefer Sister? [Alma] (Is this immediately after, sortof?) [Narrator] (probably within 4-5 days?) [Alma] Either would be fine, Your Grace.

  • Alma looks anxious.
  • Adrius is somewhat shorter than you, but offers you his arm quite gallantly to escort you into the salon.
  • Alma lets herself be escorted.

[Adrius] Can I offer you some refreshment? [Alma] Ah... water would be fine.

  • Adrius pours you a glass of water.

[Alma] Thank you. [Adrius] Now, is there something I can help you with, Sister? [Alma] :o [Alma] I wanted to make sure everything is alright. [Adrius] All right? [Alma] Well... [Alma] Would it be alright for me to speak openly, Your Grace? [Adrius] But of course. [Alma] I'm concerned that your neice, Felise Lozada, appears missing. [Adrius] Missing? [Adrius] Are you a friend of Felise? [Alma] I would say so, Your Grace.

  • Alma looks agitated.

[Alma] Are you acquainted with a M. Renaud? [Adrius] Renaud... No, I can't say that I am. [Adrius] Lady Alma... I don't know how much you know about Felise's situation... [Alma] Well, you see it seems that Felise was spotted at my house, and word made it back to Mme. Lozada-Boyne. [Adrius] She was at your house? [Alma] I was hoping perhaps Felise's next stop was here.

  • Adrius looks worried now.

[Alma] I was a fool for thinking that your delay was for appearances D: [Alma] I even tried a scroll of Sending... [Adrius] I haven't seen my niece since she left home - though I have told certain parties who have been inquiring about her that she is at my estate on the coast. [Adrius] I don't know how much you've been told about the situation. [Alma] I'm so sorry Your Grace, but my foolish younger brother had a crowd over to my home when I was gone and she was seen. [Adrius] Ah. [Adrius] And to locate her by magical means will be... well, I intended for it to be impossible :/ [Alma] I know :( [Adrius] Perhaps she will have the opportunity to remove the protection I gave her... [Alma] Are you concerned that you are being watched? [Adrius] I don't believe that I am, but one can never be certain.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] I apologise for my vagueness, as that was my concern. [Adrius] I understand. [Alma] If I can be of any assistance... [Adrius] The Sending was of no effect? [Alma] I received no reply.

  • Adrius nods.

[Alma] I can think of no reason she would have chosen not to reply, if she received the message. [Alma] Should it have arrived, considering her protection? [Adrius] We must hope, then, that for some reason she did not receive it. [Adrius] I think it should have - it does not, so far as I know, reveal her location, merely delivers a message to her. [Alma] Indeed. : [Alma] :| [Alma] (SM) [Alma] (30) [Alma] (Could he maybe know where she is? ;_;)

  • Adrius seems genuinely concerned about his niece and her safety - you don't think he knows where she is and is deceiving you.

[Adrius] Did her mother take her back with her, then? [Alma] I don't know. I spoke with her, and hoped I'd convinced her that I would let her know if I learned anything. [Alma] It seems the idea of going home was unbearable to her :(

  • Adrius nods.

[Adrius] I believe it would have been, yes. [Alma] I am at your disposal if I can be of any assistance, with Felise, or Viviane. [Adrius] Are you ... Sister, you have spoken with her more recently than I. Do you fear that she may have taken her own life? [Alma] She was worried but... [Alma] She seemed frightened, not hopeless. [Alma] I think she fled. [Adrius] I am relieved to hear that, at least. [Alma] But, I thought she must have come here. [Alma] I'm worried though, if the Sending didn't arrive... [Adrius] Perhaps she did not reply if she feared her mother might be able to read your thoughts. [Alma] Perhaps. [Alma] I was a little concerned of what she might be capable of myself. [Adrius] You're right to have been cautious. [Alma] ' [Alma] Apparently not enough :( [Adrius] From what you've told me, it doesn't sound as though there was anything more you could have done. I appreciate your aid to my family, Lady Alma, and if there is anything further you can do, I'll be certain to contact you.

  • Alma nods.

[Adrius] But I fear I must proceed now on the assumption that she has been recaptured by her ... parents. [Alma] Is it perhaps time to involve the church? [Adrius] Are you willing to take on that responsibility? [Alma] I am, if you do not believe it will put them in any more danger. [Adrius] I fail to see how it possibly could. [Adrius] In that case, I think that is the best way you could help at the present time. [Alma] I'd thought of it before, but since we thought it best not to speak with you at the time, I didn't feel it appropriate, in case it would endanger Viviane.

  • Adrius nods.

[Alma] I will do what I can in that case. [Adrius] Thank you, Sister. [Alma] It's nothing, Your Grace. I hate to think of them with that man... [Adrius] As do I. [Alma] I would be willing, as well, to stand witness to what I was told about how he has taken advantage of Viviane. [Alma] I don't know if there's a legal recourse there... [Alma] Just let me know. [Adrius] Thank you - if it comes to that.

  • Alma nods

[Alma] Thank you for the water. [Adrius] Not at all.

  • Adrius will show you out personally.

[Narrator] Seth, you feel as though you're beginning to settle into the palace, inasmuch as that's possible for someone like you.

  • Seth will be making an effort to buy some nicer clothes to the extent that he can afford it.

[Narrator] You get to see more of Menard, though he's often busy with the seemingly never-ending round of luncheons, teas, and other gatherings, frivolous things which leave you cold.

  • Seth wonders whether organizing the stag party is one of his responsibilities as Secretary to the Prince-Imperial :)

[Narrator] (lol) [Narrator] You receive a message from the Duke of Friaul, suggesting that you meet with him at your earliest opportunity.

  • Seth will dutifully head off to the Kizer estate.

[Leonien] Good afternoon, Seth. [Seth] Good afternoon, Your Grace. [Leonien] How are you doing? [Seth] I'm well enough, thank you.

  • Seth decides not to mention the crazy sewer statue ...

[Leonien] Finding life in the palace to your liking? [Seth] Yes, although I'm looking forward to these weddings being over with, so the social schedule can settle down. [Leonien] Well, it may slow down somewhat after that, but it never completely settles, in my experience.

  • Seth nods.

[Seth] I heard of the Count of Desperee's unfortunate passing. Very sad. [Leonien] Yes, most unexpected. [Leonien] Still, don't take it to heart. [Seth] I assure you I shall not, Your Grace. [Leonien] Good. [Leonien] I have some ...concerns. Not about your work so far, you've done as well as can be expected. [Seth] Ah ... thank you.

  • Seth says uncertainly.

[Leonien] My concerns are more about the range of your skills. [Seth] How so? [Leonien] Well... Your manners are very good. Very proper, very formal. [Seth] Thank you, sir. [Leonien] It's not a compliment. They make it clear you're from the middling ranks of society. You have to learn to shed those manners when necessary, or at least to adopt a different set, if you're going to blend in at court. [Seth] Ah. Well, sir, what would you have me do? [Leonien] You and my grandson are close, I understand, and you can no doubt learn some of how to behave like a young gentleman from Menard - though in certain respects I think you could both use some practice. [Seth] Ah, of course you are correct. I will endeavour to emulate the Prince-Imperial, if that is your desire.

  • Leonien smiles slightly at that.

[Leonien] Perhaps I have someone else who can help.

  • Leonien stands and indicates you should follow him.
  • Seth follows.
  • Leonien escorts you into the manor's library.

[Narrator] A woman is seated in a deep armchair, reading, but she looks up as you enter. [Leonien] M. Argo, may I present my eldest grand-daughter, Livianne Kizer.

  • Livianne looks to be around thirty, with intricately-braided long chestnut hair and sharp green eyes. She is not a great beauty, but she looks intelligent.

[Seth] Good afternoon, my lady. [Livianne] A pleasure, M. Argo. I've heard a great deal about you.

  • Leonien clears his throat.

[Leonien] Well, I'll presume I can trust you to behave yourselves, then, and leave you to it.

  • Leonien departs.

[Seth] Thank you, Your Grace. [Livianne] ... [Livianne] Shall I call you Seth? [Seth] Certainly, if it pleases you.

  • Livianne chuckles.

[Livianne] It amuses me. [Seth] And what shall I call you, m'lady? [Livianne] We'll address that shortly. [Livianne] It's my understanding Grand-pere wishes me to help you learn how to appear less ...obviously bourgeois. [Seth] If that is his wish, then that is my wish also. [Livianne] This isn't charm school, Seth. It's far more practical, for one thing, and for another thing, I doubt I can teach you how to be charming. [Seth] I understand. [Livianne] Manners are like sets of clothing. The more you have, the greater range of situations you can adapt yourself to.

  • Seth nods.

[Livianne] You'd do well as an interrogator, no doubt, and that's a useful skill, but sometimes persuasion can be more flexible. [Livianne] Are you catching my drift here? [Seth] Yes, although I admit to some dubiety regarding my potential as a charming and graceful diplomat. [Livianne] Grand-pere wishes you to learn to persuade. To entice. To seduce. [Livianne] And he's permitting you to practice with me, because he knows I won't be easily convinced. [Seth] Very well ... where do we begin? [Livianne] We could begin with what you'll call me. [Livianne] What do you think would be appropriate? [Seth] Would you like me to call you Livianne? [Livianne] I'd prefer if you didn't ask my permission. You may assume familiarity, until it's taken away from you. Even if it is, they may well be flattered. [Seth] Very well, Livianne.

  • Livianne slaps your hand - not too hard, though, and smiling as she does it.

[Livianne] Sir, you presume too much! [Livianne] Now you may safely retreat to calling me Miss Kizer. [Seth] My apologies.

  • Livianne adds helpfully.

[Seth] Thank you, Miss Kizer. [Livianne] Try not to sound too chastened. [Seth] Hmm ... yes. [Livianne] Oh, my goodness, this is going to be a trial, isn't it. [Seth] You know, Miss Kizer, I'm not obtuse. [Livianne] I don't believe you are, Seth. [Livianne] You are, however, uncomfortable. [Seth] I would say, rather, that formality is a great source of comfort for me. [Livianne] Yes... It is comforting to know one's place, isn't it. [Seth] You don't agree? [Livianne] No, I do, absolutely. [Livianne] But I also know that you must be prepared to leave that... comfortable place, if you are going to be of any use to us. [Seth] You are quite unlike the Prince-Imperial, Miss Kizer. [Livianne] My cousin? He is a sweet boy. [Seth] I wonder what he will tell me of you, when I speak to him of this conversation?

  • Livianne smiles.

[Livianne] Nothing but good, I hope. [Seth] You are a Kizer ... is that possible?

  • Livianne laughs.

[Livianne] Oh, but there are some of us. [Seth] My father always insisted that your family was tainted irretrievably by untold deceptions and evils. But I have never been much obedient to paternal authority.

  • Seth smiles.
  • Livianne smiles back.

[Livianne] Whose authority *are* you obedient to, then? [Seth] At the moment, to His Grace Leonien, of course. [Livianne] And to mine? [Seth] Insofar as you are obedient to him, then yes, I suppose so. But no, not simply to Kizers as Kizers. [Livianne] Good. [Seth] And you understand, Menard and I, we have been friends since infancy.

  • Livianne nods.

[Seth] We have no relationship of obedience, even though I am his, err, secretary. [Livianne] What relationship *do* you have? [Seth] Why does everyone ask that question in that way?

  • Seth asks, exasperated.

[Livianne] Oh, sore point? [Seth] Some people find it difficult to believe that our friendship could be just that. [Livianne] I see. [Seth] Perhaps because of the difference in our rank.

  • Livianne nods.

[Livianne] I take your word for it that it is simply friendship, then. [Seth] Thank you. [Livianne] It will make my job easier, no doubt. [Seth] How so? [Livianne] Well, if you are in fact *interested* in women, it's easier to pretend to be interested in them, if you see what I mean. [Seth] Ah, yes, of course.

  • Livianne smiles.

[Livianne] Don't worry, Seth. At least he didn't suggest that your aunt might teach you these particular lessons ;) [Seth] One can only thank the gods for his mercy in that regard.

  • Livianne chuckles and sees you out, then.

[Narrator] The End, for now.


  • Symon will arrive slightly later than the appointed time.
  • Ysabeau is busily transcribing some ancient musical notations into a modern form, the convention of which is more recognizable by current musicians.

[Symon] Sorry I'm late, Ysa :)

  • Symon will look over your shoulder to see what you're doing.

[Symon] Ah, one you hope for us to play? [Ysabeau] Hi Symon. Yeah, or something.

  • Symon smiles

[Ysabeau] We'd have to work on the arrangement because it used different instruments than what we've got. [Symon] So a little bit of work :) [Ysabeau] Maybe someday we should put together a bunch of these and sell a book of ancient music. [Ysabeau] I suppose it would be a niche market though, so probably not very lucrative. [Symon] Come now, how do you think these libraries get filled?

  • Symon pats your shoulder

[Symon] It's books like those that get to be cracked and musty in libraries so that the next folks can rearrange the notes :) [Ysabeau] The whole TWO or THREE libraries in town. So let's see, two or three books. Knowing what printing costs are, I think we'd definitely take a loss. [Ysabeau] I'm not counting all the private libraries. [Ysabeau] Because they're a good deal smaller and their owners must be judicious in the acquirement of books because of the limited shelf space. [Symon] Well, ok, maybe it's not railway cars. :P [Ysabeau] We might sell a handful to private collectors... still not breaking even. [Symon] We'll have to make it into a fad then :) [Ysabeau] Now there's an idea. We should develop a musical railcar. [Ysabeau] To entertain the first class on their long and tedious journeys. [Symon] You know, there might be something to that... [Symon] I mean, not really the railcar itself... [Symon] But it'd be a way to see a part of the empire, I bet. [Ysabeau] Why not? You could harness the excess kinetic energy produced by the wheels to run a musical machine or something. But that's probably best left to someone from House Wolf to invent. [Ysabeau] I know I wouldn't have the first clue where to begin. [Ysabeau] Weren't trains invented by someone from House Wolf? [Symon] I suppose? [Symon] I do my best to ignore what my father tells me about trains. :P [Symon] Think about it though... entertainment on a passenger car! [Ysabeau] I'd have loved to listen to my father talk about trains, or anything for that matter. [Symon] We could travel to Colwyn Bay and back... [Ysabeau] But yes, entertainment on a train isn't a bad idea.

  • Symon looks a little conciliatory at how quickly he dismissed his father when you've not exactly the same privilege.

[Ysabeau] So what were we actually supposed to do today? I'm gotten completely derailed. [Symon] I was just thinking we could look for more ideas here amongst the books. [Symon] You know, get inspired? :) [Symon] You know, the book idea might still be salvageable. We might just have to make it more exciting and less ... scholastic. [Symon] Wrap it in an exciting veneer. [Symon] Have you done much looking into tales and songs about dragons? [Ysabeau] Not recently, no. [Symon] Maybe the city is primed for something like that, what with what happened at the Hall of Worthies [Ysabeau] I pestered various people about them a while back to see if I could learn anything about the Coronation Dragon but the only conclusion I could draw is that since it's extraplanar, there is likely not a lot to be learned about it in songs from this plane. [Symon] Really? Wow. [Ysabeau] And the city we visited was devoid of life and very little in the way of documents to be had, so in my quest to find extraplanar music, i was thwarted. [Symon] You sound so discouraged, Ysa :( [Ysabeau] I am discouraged. [Symon] Is it your studies? [Ysabeau] No. My personal life. Murder investigations and the like. I don't know. I'm just not looking in the right places, or not looking for the right things.

  • Symon nods.

[Symon] I'm sorry. [Ysabeau] And sometimes I feel so useless at helping Murienne. I've tried to do my best but in the end, I'm really not much older or wiser than she is. I'm not really like a mother.

  • Symon isn't sure what to say to that...

[Symon] Well, you can't let it consume your whole day, Ysa. You need time to yourself. Maybe a new project would be good? [Symon] We could try working on a book like this together?

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Symon] Maybe there's enough things about dragons we could find to tantalise the public into buying it in droves ;) [Ysabeau] Maybe. [Symon] Most of the public won't have any clue the dragon was from another plane anyway ;)

  • Ysabeau leans her head against him briefly.

[Ysabeau] Probably not.

  • Symon smiles and brushes your hair comfortingly.

[Symon] (strokes, I guess, not like, with a brush I had hidden in my jacket)

  • Ysabeau straightens up again and feigns concentrating on her transcription again... possibly a bit flustered.

[Symon] I'll... see what I can find from that era. [Symon] Uh... which era is that? [Ysabeau] This piece doesn't have anything to do with dragons, but it'd be good to get it finished.

  • Symon tries to think.

[Symon] Didn't an Emperor die looking for dragons? [Ysabeau] From the early 1600s... Amaransia's reign. Oh, sorry - you mean dragon songs. Um... I don't rightly remember. [Symon] I'll just scan the spines, I guess :) [Ysabeau] I think you're right but I don't remember who it was, Symon. Sorry. [Symon] No matter.

  • Symon looks around until he can find something appropriate.
  • Ysabeau is having trouble concentrating on her work, and allows herself to be distracted by Symon's movements.

[Ysabeau] Do you know anything about Martan Kizer?

  • Ysabeau asks out of the blue.

[Symon] Hm? [Symon] No, I've never heard of him. [Ysabeau] Oh well. [Symon] Is he alive? [Ysabeau] No, he died like 80 years ago or something. [Symon] Was he a dragon? :) [Ysabeau] He was a House Wolf nob, and I think he might have been Dessa's grandfather, or great-grandfather. [Symon] Really? [Symon] How'd you figure that out? [Ysabeau] Well, I don't know why else Dessa's grandmother would have had a miniature portrait of him. The kind that's a locket, so you can stick like a lock of hair in it or something and give it to your lover. [Ysabeau] Only the lock of hair was stolen. [Ysabeau] If that's what it was. [Symon] So Dessa was a noble, in a way... [Ysabeau] If bastards are noble, I guess so. [Symon] Would something so far in the past have to do with what happened to Dessa? [Ysabeau] I'm still trying to figure that out.

  • Symon comes back and sits with you with a few books to try to pinpoint the right era.

[Ysabeau] Is there any reason why someone would want to raise some guy from 80 years ago back to life? [Symon] To ... get revenge on his soul? [Ysabeau] It doesn't sound like he did much. He was involved in some scandals that people still remember. [Ysabeau] I think he might have been something of a ladies' man. [Ysabeau] And while I've often heard that vengeance is a a dish best served cold, and that a woman slighted is a force to be reckoned with, I can't imagine any of the women he slighted would still be around today. [Symon] Does the Guard know all this? [Ysabeau] I've been keeping Merrow informed. [Symon] Merrow? [Ysabeau] My friend. He's a guard. [Symon] That's good. [Symon] It seems like more than a person can handle alone, all these ... connections.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] So what have you been up to lately? [Symon] Same ol', really. [Ysabeau] Hooked any ladyfriends with that mop of blond hair and charming smile?

  • Symon blushes a little.

[Symon] Well, Stefan did drag me out to a party the other night, but I behaved myself like a gentleman :) [Ysabeau] Oh Symon, you've got to live it up a little. [Symon] I did! I made the acquaintance of a number of ladies. [Symon] You don't rush out and buy any old viola you see, you need to make sure it's the right one :)

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] You have a stereotype to live up to, you know!

  • Ysabeau teases.

[Symon] Ah ah ah. I certainly do. A reputation of charm and gallantry -_- [Ysabeau] Some might call it that. [Symon] :| [Symon] I don't... have a bad reputation do I?

  • Symon looks a little concerned all of a sudden.

[Ysabeau] None that I know of, Symon. [Symon] Oh, ok. Heh [Ysabeau] All right, all right, don't indulge me in some vicarious living. I am, after all, the wrong gender. I should have asked a girl. [Ysabeau] I am a bad person! ;) [Symon] Oh hardly! [Symon] What fun is there to learn about trysts anyway :P [Symon] None of the great songs are about that sort of thing! [Ysabeau] Oh no, none at all. [Symon] Well, maybe a few :P [Symon] The rest are all about love; strong, powerful, binding love. [Symon] No one wants to hear about the hero who saves the princess from the tower so they can have a shag. [Ysabeau] Well, the songs are more polite about it, but what do you think the hero and the princess do when they inevitably get married? [Symon] Love each other dearly for the rest of their lives :) [Ysabeau] Is this possible? You're such an innocent. ;) [Symon] Surely there'll be children eventually, but that's hardly the point! [Ysabeau] I rather think it is. Children are the whole point. [Ysabeau] Got to continue the blood of heroes and princesses into the next generation! [Symon] No, that's what makes these songs and stories persevere. If it was all about the bawdy stuff, you'd sing it in a tavern for some fun and laughs. If it was just about the children they'd never have any adversity, they'd just marry whoever politics said.

  • Ysabeau smiles mysteriously.

[Symon] What? [Symon] It's true! [Ysabeau] The songs are about happiness. [Symon] Happiness which comes from true love! [Symon] There's other ones for other kinds of happiness, like saving the Empire and getting all the treasure :P [Ysabeau] Yeah, I guess so. [Symon] Isn't it what everyone wants, really? [Ysabeau] Happiness is.

  • Ysabeau agrees.

[Ysabeau] I think the rest is all just cherries on the cake. [Symon] I think everyone wants someone to be with, someone who understands them.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Because that would make them happy. [Ysabeau] I hear people say all the time "Oh, I'm so happy!" [Ysabeau] I don't think I've ever heard someone say "Oh, I'm so in love!" [Ysabeau] Even though love is a big part of why they're feeling good, why they're feeling happy. [Ysabeau] Have you ever noticed that, Symon? [Symon] I've read stories where they say "Oh, I'm so in love!" [Symon] But perhaps I can't place it, off the page. [Symon] I guess I haven't really spent much time around people in the throes of romance :) [Ysabeau] Awwww... poor Symon. [Ysabeau] :/ [Symon] No, don't worry. I'm sure they're insufferable to be around anyway :P [Ysabeau] They're not so bad, really. [Symon] Ah, speaking of your friend, the soon to be rich and powerful Lady Ilphere? :) [Ysabeau] Perhaps.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Symon] What sort of smile is that? Have you found someone special? [Symon] ?? [Ysabeau] Me? No. [Ysabeau] Well, I mean not anyone new. [Ysabeau] No, no new gossip on this front. [Ysabeau] That's why I was asking you. ;) [Symon] Nah, no real candidates lately :) [Ysabeau] Look at us, moderately famous musicians both, young and attractive - yet no gossip to be had about us! Maybe we ought to start a few rumours, increase our cachet. [Symon] We could all get seen at the worst brothel in town! [Ysabeau] How about one of the better brothels instead? [Symon] Where's the fun in that? [Ysabeau] People might not invite us to play at their parties if they thought we were carrying lice or something. [Symon] D: [Symon] Ok, point resoundingly made.

  • Ysabeau laughs.

[Symon] Well, maybe we'd better stick to doing some shows :P [Ysabeau] Oh, pooh. Where's the gossip in that? The Society column is not the most thrilling read. "Baron and Baroness Gorgeprofond held a delightful soirée. In attendance were the Bourgeois, M. et Mme. Délit, and Soeur Marie du Vache. Music was provided by the Vallon Consort." [Symon] Well if our gossip is too awful then the Baron and Baroness Gorgeprofond won't want to hire us at all :P [Ysabeau] That's why we must be judicious in our rumour-spreading. [Ysabeau] Ah well, your heart's not in it tonight. Let's back to work collecting songs. [Symon] Dragons are pretty exciting :P

  • Ysabeau smiles fondly.

[Symon] Well, you know, if you want to work on a book, let me know. I've time to help right now. I bet if we do a good enough job we could find support for publishing it. [Ysabeau] Symon, I have so much on my plate right now, I am not really sure I can take on a book as well. [Ysabeau] But if you would like to write one, I'd be happy to assist you in whatever way I can. [Symon] Nah, things like books can wait for me :) I just thought you might need something to focus on in your time away from home, and I wanted to let you know I wasn't just joking around. [Ysabeau] Well, duly noted then, and thank you. [Ysabeau] Seriously my problem is not so much that I have so little to focus on, but so much, and it's dragging me off in different directions. [Ysabeau] Sometimes I feel as though I'm being drawn and quartered! [Ysabeau] I think I need to downsize but I can't justify dropping anything I'm working on right now. [Ysabeau] So I'm afraid you'll just have to bear with me a while longer!

  • Ysabeau smiles apologetically.

[Symon] It's okay, Ysa. I'm sorry I can't help straighten things out for you. [Ysabeau] No need to apologize, Symon. [Ysabeau] It's not really your job anyway, is it! :) [Symon] Yeah, it is. That's what friends are for.

  • Symon smiles.
  • Ysabeau smiles back.

[Ysabeau] Thanks, Symon.

  • Symon flips through a book looking for some dramatic tales.
  • Ysabeau bends her head back to the song she was transcribing.

[Symon] Guess I don't need to look for the most dramatic dragon tales if we're not going to be padding out a book :) [Ysabeau] Well, you could look for fun, for yourself.

  • Symon finds a passage and begins to read.

  • Ilphere will find Seth at the Society...
  • Seth can be found researching crazy demon statues, most likely.

[Ilphere] M. Argo...? [Seth] Ah! Mlle de Quessenet! How fortuitous!

  • Alma has been searching the Society, asking who knows about what happened the other night...

[Ilphere] Are you terribly busy at the moment...? [Seth] Well ... yes and no.

  • Alma is directed to the room Seth is in...

[Seth] How can I be of assistance? [Ilphere] I understand that you were present during the... unfortunate event which happened involving M. Orecalo, and I hoped you would discuss it with me...?

  • Alma knocks politely, having approached in a hurry and not heard the muffled voices. "Mr. Argo?"

[Alma] Oh... sorry. [Ilphere] Oh... bonjour sister... [Alma] Good day Mlle. deQuessenet [Alma] I was also hoping to hear what happened with M. Orecalo... [Seth] I am at the very moment trying to shed some light on that most infelicitous episode. [Ilphere] I had heard he was examining the statue when it occurred...? [Seth] That appears to be the case. When I arrived on the scene, it had already become animate and was shedding some sort of ichor. [Alma] Animate? D: [Ilphere] Describe the ichor...?

  • Ilphere takes out a leather bound notebook and pencil.

[Seth] It was black and ... ichorous? It had a tendency to evaporate or sublimate rapidly, leaving only a residual stain behind. [Ilphere] Was there any particular smell..? [Seth] It had a ferrous odour, as of blood or metal.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] What happened, then...? [Alma] So, the statue is indeed /gone/, and of its own volition? [Seth] Yes, quite right. I attempted to entrap it in the cellar, but it escaped through a grate that leads to the sewers, where presumably, it lies still. [Seth] Surely if it had emerged we would have heard tell. [Ilphere] What happened to cause M. Orecalo's... difficulties...? [Seth] It was apparently caused by the statue, although precisely what, I cannot say, not being an expert on such matters. [Ilphere] Can you describe his interactions with it before it escaped...?

  • Ilphere is taking notes throughout.

[Seth] I will try ... it was complicated, made moreso by the fact that when I arrived on the scene, apparently the entity was communicating telepathically with him. [Ilphere] Telepathically...!

  • Ilphere raises her eyebrows, and waits for you to continue...

[Seth] It apparently told him that it was upset because its master was dead. [Seth] And that it felt betrayed. [Ilphere] I see... [Ilphere] Perhaps its master was the woman we discovered, or one of her followers... [Seth] Then it informed him that it was hungry for some sustenance. [Alma] It is possible that M. Orecalo was already delusional at that point? [Seth] It is possible. It is hard to say because when he was speaking to the entity it was in a tongue that I do not know - presumably that of the Shadar-kai? [Alma] :| [Ilphere] Almost certainly... [Alma] \ [Alma] Did M. Orecalo have anyone in attendence with him when he was doing this? [Ilphere] I am working on my own understanding of it, but without Sanadhil's assistance it is now more difficult...! [Ilphere] He *should* have waited for me to examine it. [Ilphere] We were *supposed* to be collaborating...! [Seth] He certainly was intending to show it to you. Why he thought it would be wise to examine the object alone, I cannot say.

  • Alma frowns

[Ilphere] Anyhow... do go on... [Alma] .oO( Mutter mutter mutter. ) [Seth] When M. Orecalo clearly became affected by the entity, he was holding it in his arms, and then it struck him with its fists. As far as I could tell, however, it did no physical harm to him. [Seth] But it could just as easily have been a purely mental effect, or something that was a result of the ichor. [Alma] Is there any of this substance left? [Seth] Yes, or at least, its residues. [Seth] It was on my clothing, and all over the room, as well as in the cellar. [Alma] Do you know if anyone has attempted to divine the location of this ... thing? [Seth] Not to my knowledge, no. [Ilphere] I would like to get a sample if that is possible... [Ilphere] I also feel strongly that we should find the statue...

  • Alma looks heavenwards in disbelief.

[Alma] (At Seth) [Seth] Yes, I agree. Divining its location may be fairly challenging, though. [Ilphere] It is dangerous, clearly, and should be kept somewhere *safe* to be studied... [Ilphere] How so...? [Alma] Is it an item, or a creature? How far below the city has it gone? There are all sorts of complications now. [Seth] Indeed, indeed. [Alma] And in all honesty, it was never really a question that the item might be dangerous.

  • Alma gesticulates!

[Ilphere] I agree... [Ilphere] It was very foolish of M. Orecalo to examine it alone/ [Ilphere] I must say I am still stunned that he would do such a thing...! [Alma] I'm stunned he was given the opportunity! [Ilphere] Stunned, I say! [Seth] I'm not sure how that transpired. By the time I entered the room, he was alone and already engaged in his ... research. [Alma] This is the *second time* the Society has had some sort of vile creature in its possession and has lost it. [Ilphere] Do you think that it is a construct, M. Argo? [Seth] Yes, I believe that it is, although its exact nature remains obscure to me. [Seth] Because it is not of this world, my expertise in architecture and engineered devices is of limited assistance in my search. [Ilphere] It was said to have fled into the sewers, isn't that right...? [Alma] I don't believe the typical intermediate spells for finding objects will locate a creature such as this. [Alma] At least while mobile. Perhaps it would revert to its stationary state after time. [Alma] I suppose it would be worth the time. [Ilphere] If we were to attempt to track it there, your knowledge of the city;'s understructure would be invaluable in navigating them.... [Seth] Certainly I would be willing to make the effort, if an expedition were to be launched. [Ilphere] If it is a construct it is more likely that we need a spell for locating *creatures*... [Seth] I have also considered the possibility that Nell could be of use, since she comes from the same realm as the entity. [Ilphere] That spell lies outside my expertise but surely we could find someone within the society... [Ilphere] Oh, that is an intriguing possibility...!

  • Alma looks frustrated as she feels so close to being able to Scry -_-

[Alma] I believe that bards are most proficient at scrying...

  • Alma thinks

[Ilphere] Perhaps Vianca would be able to assist us in this...? [Alma] Well this is certainly an issue for the entire society. [Seth] I agree. [Ilphere] What do you think, M. Argo... Shall we make a go of it...? [Seth] I am most willing! [Seth] Ahh ... there is a small but potentially crucial issue, however. [Ilphere] I can have Dominik join us should we make a foray down below... For the time being at least, he is still in my parents' employ...! [Ilphere] What is that..? [Seth] Is there likely to be any objection from your betrothed or his family? [Ilphere] He did not object when I went to the Plane of Shadows...!

  • Ilphere sniffs

[Alma] We don't need to be thinking about an expedition quite yet, it may come to surface somewhere in the city and hide. [Seth] No indeed ... but we are now dealing with an entity known to be dangerous. [Ilphere] I do retain a measure of independence, you know! [Seth] Of course, m'lady. I did not mean to imply otherwise. [Seth] I am sure that the Prince-Imperial will be most respectful of your intentions.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Ilphere] Shall we go and find Vianca, then..? [Alma] She doesn't appear to be in today. [Ilphere] Drat.

  • Alma nods in agreement.

[Ilphere] (brb bio) [Seth] Well, this is not the sort of matter to be undertaken rapidly, in any case.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Ilphere] True enough... [Ilphere] (are we basically done then? to be continued perhaps in a non-solo scene, with guns and explosions?) [Seth] (heh, sure) [Ilphere] (k :)

  • Ysabeau has finished her studies for the day and is leaving campus on her way to buy some flowers.
  • Dominik will catch up to her

[Dominik] Ysabeau, how are you today?

  • Ysabeau looks up as she feels his looming presence and gets a whiff of his oil-and-metal scent.

[Ysabeau] Hi Dominik! You startled me. [Ysabeau] I'm doing all right. How about you? [Dominik] suffering through the weather, mostly.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I'm glad they're finally getting some shipments of grain in. That riot was frightening. [Dominik] help after all the trouble has started is help a little too late. [Ysabeau] I agree. He should have done something earlier. [Ysabeau] But at the same time, it's better late than never. [Dominik] I was going to head to a cafe, care to join me? [Ysabeau] Um, sure. I was going to buy some flowers, and... Um. But I could take a little detour to a café.

  • Dominik smiles

[Dominik] good [Ysabeau] So, which one did you have in mind?

  • Dominik leads the way

[Dominik] I know a quiet one just down this way. I read there sometimes. [Ysabeau] More of your poetry?

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Dominik] this and that... I tried looking into some family histories, but I find the subject becomes tedious too quickly. [Ysabeau] Oh! Speaking of which. Do you know anything about Martan Kizer? Not that he's really part of YOUR family, but I am asking just about everyone so bear with me. [Dominik] It wasn't my family history I was looking into anyway, but no, I don't know anything about him. [Ysabeau] Ok, thanks. [Ysabeau] Whose family history WERE you looking up? [Dominik] the Silveria's actually. [Dominik] I didn't have much luck. [Dominik] Too many books [Ysabeau] House Cat, huh? No wonder. Their family trees must be especially branching. [Dominik] I'd heard that some families have interesting heirlooms. One name that I had heard is Silveira. [Dominik] I was just trying to learn if the rumor was true. [Ysabeau] What sort of heirloom?

  • Ysabeau asks curiously.

[Dominik] It was a ring. Have you ever heard of anything like that? [Ysabeau] (sec, I think I could maybe do a Bardic Knowledge roll) [Ysabeau] No, I'm afraid not...

  • Ysabeau looks apologetic.
  • Dominik shrugs

[Dominik] probably doesnt matter [Ysabeau] Where did you hear about it? [Dominik] I was talking to someone and they happened to mention that Loick Silviera was using a ring, a family heirloom, to gather influence back when the emperor was chosen. [Ysabeau] Oh... [Dominik] I was curious about it. Wonder if it was magic, or if it just represented some long owed debt.

  • Ysabeau 's brow wrinkles slightly in a cute frown and she sounds pensive.

[Ysabeau] I don't know. I'll keep it in mind, though. [Dominik] With all that happened when Marl was chosen, some other strange story struck me as odd, even though this one doesn't really amount to much. [Dominik] considering how things turned out.

  • Ysabeau orders a hot chocolate from a waitress who stops by our table.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] There are so many loose threads we're chasing down! [Ysabeau] I wish we could catch even the smallest glimpse of the full tapestry. [Dominik] the whole things strikes me so large that unless your looking at it from far away, its just a jumble of coloured threads meaning nothing.

  • Ysabeau nods,

[Ysabeau] I guess we need to get on that dragon's back and fly! So we can look down.

  • Dominik smiles enjoying the though

[Dominik] Might make for a tradgic fall, but would be quite a ride.

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Ysabeau 's eyes light up when the hot chocolate is put down in front of her... It has a lovely rosette of whipped cream on top!

[Ysabeau] Yummy! [Ysabeau] So what else have you been filling your time with lately? [Ysabeau] Aside from mouldy old tomes and shadowed mysteries? [Dominik] Keeping my arms skills up... shadowing Isa now and then when asked. Less so these days thanks to Menard [Dominik] I will be out of a job soon. [Ysabeau] Shadowing me?

  • Ysabeau winks; aloud that name sounds like hers.

[Dominik] I meant Ilphere... slip of the tongue

  • Ysabeau raises an eyebrow archly.

[Dominik] shadowing you would likely be a little more exciting [Ysabeau] Slip of the tongue or a truth, hmm? [Ysabeau] Oh, doubtful. [Ysabeau] I spend most of my days reading mouldy old tomes just like her.

  • Dominik gives a noncommittal shrug to Ysa's question

[Ysabeau] And I’m not engaged to a Prince Imperial and madly getting ready for my engagement party and wedding. [Ysabeau] My life is really quite quiet for the most part. [Ysabeau] I think you'd be disappointed by how dull I am, really. [Dominik] I think you can be quite exciting.

  • Ysabeau smiles, a bit regretfully perhaps.
  • Dominik swirls his coffee idly

[Dominik] really I could use more excitement

  • Ysabeau takes another sip of her hot chocolate.

[Ysabeau] Um, Dominik? [Dominik] since the battle with the shadow creatures... everything has been a letdown [Dominik] yes? [Ysabeau] (SM: what do you mean by *that*? the mention of the battle, etc) [Ysabeau] (I rolled a 20)\ [Dominik] (he is feeling let down because things that he thought were going to be exciting, haven't been) [Ysabeau] I'm sorry that you feel that way. [Ysabeau] Well, what I was going to say... it wouldn't be very exciting either. [Ysabeau] But I was going to go visit a grave. That's why I was on my way to get some flowers. [Dominik] why are you appologizing? It's not your fault. Who's grave? [Ysabeau] Usually Murienne comes with me but she is busy this afternoon. If you'd like to come, I'd welcome the company. [Ysabeau] Well. It would have been my daughter's, I suppose.

  • Ysabeau replies quietly.

[Ysabeau] At least when I dream of that child, she's always a girl.

  • Dominik puts his hand on Ysabeau's

[Dominik] sure, ill come with you.

  • Ysabeau lays her other hand on top of his covering hers.

[Ysabeau] Thank you.

  • Ysabeau will lead you to the Firefly Gardens, then.
  • Ysabeau stops to buy some flowers on the way, and makes idle chitchat with you.
  • Dominik is not sure what to say but tries his best

[Ysabeau] (When we get to the gardens, she'll lead you into a thicket of magnolias after looking around to make sure no one notices us climbing into the flower patches which are probably mostly off-limits to anyone but the gardeners)

  • Ysabeau moves through the foliage for a bit.
  • Ysabeau looks around as if reconciling the place with an image burned into her memory.

[Ysabeau] This is it. I don't think it's legal to bury people here, and at the time I couldn't afford a headstone either. [Ysabeau] But this was the most lovely place I could think of for her...

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] Better than any graveyard, anyway.

  • Ysabeau lays the roses on a bare patch of earth at the base of an ancient magnolia bush.
  • Ysabeau pauses over them to say a silent prayer, then smiles up at you.

[Ysabeau] I was only 14 at the time, and I could barely afford to keep Muri and myself fed and housed, let alone an infant. [Ysabeau] Not to mention how difficult that would have made my job... [Ysabeau] I... I hope you can understand.

  • Dominik will put an arm around her
  • Ysabeau leans into him.

[Ysabeau] I have always regretted that... but I didn't know what other choice I had. [Dominik] Life can give you shit choices. [Dominik] Not everyone has money and power to make the choice that they truely want. [Dominik] And even then, they end up paying for it for years to come.

  • Ysabeau nods and slips an arm around his waist.

[Ysabeau] Sometimes I feel like she was it... my only chance to be a mother, ever. And I did that to her. To us. [Dominik] Is Muri happy? Is she better than she was when you were 14?

  • Ysabeau tries to hold the tears in.
  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I think so... [Dominik] You're a mother to her, even if you're her sister. [Ysabeau] I suppose. But it's not quite the same, is it... [Dominik] maybe not, but you had to make choices as a mother. Hard choices. In a year you'll be able to make more choices for you. [Dominik] If your own family, your own children is one that you want, make it. [Ysabeau] That is what I want. [Dominik] But right now... if you want to stay here and be sad for what may have been... thats ok too. [Dominik] nobody is going to bother us with me here.

  • Ysabeau can't hold the tears in any longer. She stands up on her tiptoes and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

[Ysabeau] Thank you, Dominik. Again.

  • Ysabeau whispers.
  • Dominik says nothing but holders her close while she cries
  • Ysabeau does, for a while.
  • Ysabeau eventually pulls herself together, though.

[Ysabeau] She would have been three years old now. She would have been lovely.

  • Dominik nods in agreement and leads her away from the gravesite.