(1310-05-08) Inspiration Granted
Summary: A chance encounter on a very hot day leads to a meeting of the minds.
RL Date: Tuesday May 8 2018
Related: None
carenza gauge 

The Citadel

High on a promontory on the southern peninsula of Marsilikos, the Citadel stands tall and firm against the winds whipping in from the sea. Its only approach is from the north, a set of stairs carved in a coil directly into the granite of the mount, wide enough for only two to pass shoulder to shoulder, rising to meet the single gate room between the inner and outer walls of the citadel, both of travertine, white against the dark grey bedrock that rises high over the port, studded with guardposts, each flying the billowing blue banner of Marsilikos.

Within the twin walls of the citadel the granite has been leveled into a flat rectangular surface, atop which a variety of buildings have been built. The most well-fortified of these is the great octagonal watchtower, crafted in grey granite blocks which match the terrain, rising ten stories higher than the top of the citadel itself, in the top belfry of which is kept a wide array of spyglasses, alarums and masive flags to haul aloft to warn the town below of the arrival of various ships from sea. On the other side of the courtyard are two shorter granite buildings with big bronze doors, under guard all day and all night: the Treasury and Armory, respectively, of Marsilikos. There is also a wooden barracks-building to house the troops which staff the citadel, and the bulk of the citadel floor is open and used for military drills and exercises.

It is a spring day. The weather is warm and overcast.

Whatever happened to the clear skies for which Marsilikos is famed? Waiting to show up in the summer, more than not. The smudged sky leaves the wiser folk of the city hovering around awnings and away from open spaces, all too aware that the miserably fickle winds bring raindrops and a great number of showers at this time of year. They also bring relief from the muggy heat stirred up by the worst of the weather; not impossible to surmise that, at the very least, a downpour might be worth risking a good place for a glass of wine, a bit of writing, a spot of isolation from the crush of the marketplace. At least that may explain Carenza's whereabouts.

She sits on her lushly embroidered coat, knees drawn up to support a pad upon which she writes her dreams and ideas in rapt repose. Her pen flies over the parchment, ink swallowed up as though she made paper from a desert's heart, and wove ink from the essence of a spring. Loose hair falls down her back, the gemstones scattered throughout sparkling. Diligent writing is well and good, but she maintains a distance from guards or bureaucrats.

They've their own reasons to mind her, considering that her skin alone tells them exactly her provenance; only the Mereliots have gold complexions like that, a tint said to be Eisheth's own. Though the violet eyes, no, those are far more northerly, a L'Envers byproduct that she turns dreamily towards the sea. "Inspiration, any time now. Just feel free to settle in," she murmurs to no one in particular. "Send me a sign. Or a pastry."

Inspiration has sent a sign! Most likely not a pastry. Or inspiration really. Either way Gauge comes wandering down the causeway right next to the wall so he can look down over it to the sea. As for the rain, he does not seem to be one who huddles just on the offchance of it happening. Half-sitting on the edge of the building he finishes the last swallow of his glass of wine and then goes to refill the glass from the bottle he is also carrying. After the glass gets filled he sets the bottle on the stone wall next to him. His expression is faintly grim, faintly sad, but more than anything else, /annoyed/ like someone's got thirty seven hundred and two burrs in his tail.

Pastries may be better for the young woman if they exist in a shop, not in front of her. The nourishment she seeks lies beyond the pen, more than likely, and the gracious hand of providence delivers something different. Something well-suited or acquainted with wine, at that. Her bright eyes alight on the bottle 'ere the man, curiosity splintering on double fronts. First to Gauge, then back to the glass, as though she might decipher purpose from a glimmer. Her lips round, eyebrows aloft by a centimeter or so. "Should anyone insist you owe them for that," she calls out blithely, "you can claim your innocence and hide behind me. For whatever that might do for you, at any rate."

"Owe them for my wine?" Gauge asks in a gravelly deep voice without looking over towards Carenza after a few moments as he looks down over the edge again. Finally he takes another drink of his wine, swallowing it down and he finally looks at Carenza. His gaze flicks down, then up, then to her eyes and his lips twist in a bit of a wry smile. "I promise that the one thing I would be doing if I were behind you, is most definitely not hiding." He tilts his head to the side, "I also doubt anyone would feel I was innocent of anything at all."

"They might have disapproved of its presence, or you hied off with that remarkable vintage, charming all who dared stand in your way." Pure innocence she lacks, but the mirth of mischief crackles in her brilliant eyes. From the dark-eyed maiden comes a sonnet of laughter, her pen tilted sideways. "You would not hide behind me? More than fair. A disadvantage of height not precisely between us, you yet have breadth to be seen. I might have to find a veil of some sort or a cloak to flap about with remarkable candor." Her vivid eyes crinkle at the corners, detailing that sunburst smile come to her lips. "Some might lend you the benefit of the doubt. Particularly if the bottle started to leak. We account it no sin to drink the wine to prevent its untimely waste. One never knows how many stories might be spun out of those possibilities."

"Oh it is not that." Gauge says with a soft chuckle, "If I were behind you I doubt I could keep my hands to myself, and then it would be you calling the guards over to arrest me for assaulting you without your permission." His own eyes try to light up but there is still that annoyance in there. "I drink to celebrate my untimely demise." He says with a chuckle, "You see, my future was taken away from me. No longer can I sail the seas for my prey. Now I must remain in this interminable city for the foreseeable future." He grates out in that gravelly voice, "And what greater death can there be for the Captain of a ship, than to be landbound, tidelocked, and unable to court the most dangerous woman of them all?" He takes another drink from his glass of wine, "I am, Gauge d'Eresse." He introduces himself, "Baron de Beaucare." Sketching a bit of a bow afterwards with glass in one hand, bottle in the other. "I would offer to share of course, but you would have to drink from my glass."

Looking towards the sky Gauge smells the air, "Ah… they are liars, these clouds." His gravelly voice says softly, "There is no smell of rain, just more muggy heat in our futures." Looking back towards Carenza he smiles wryly, "Whatever shall we do to survive this sultry heat?"

"Elua's precepts be what they are," murmurs the young woman. She shuts the book where her penmanship is a tidy scrawl, not calligraphy so much as active effort to inscribe her thoughts on the world in a tangible form, somewhat neat and celebratory in their affection for the written word. "Not all mind so much, though I fear you might have a time if the guards asked you what my name was. 'Lady Mereliot' is a bit too obvious." Mischief transmuted into a laugh of her own warms her features and sets her empurpled eyes to crackling brightness, balefires that threaten to overwhelm her other features for their raw vitality. "Your untimely demise." This she deadpans, if barely, the sonnet of her lively voice rolling around the statement with uncharacteristic flatness she probably cannot maintain for long. "Forgive me, but shipwrecks usually transpire three leagues out to sea and not atop the rocks behind the walls. So your demise is rather temporary, unless you imply that your heritage and inheritance were three leagues out, and all you received was a boat anchor of a title for your future to haul about."

Her mouth quirks, and she gestures lightly. "What death can there be? A man forced to watch his crew diminished to exhaustion by insufficient funds and resources, wasting away to certain death in the heart of the snowbound regions north of Alba, perhaps, or on the skeletal coast beyond the rump of a southern continent. The desert offering hope of landfall and not a whit of water or nourishment, but for the fata morgana. I've heard of some missions that ended so." She quirks her lips slightly, hand extended in something of a graceful gesture. "Carenza de Mereliot, mischief maker of Sault, and Vaucluse's favourite topic of gossip on rainy days." Which puts her as a comtesse in waiting, her lands just over the border from Marsilikos.

"Your meteorology may be right. If you favour the fortune-telling of the sky as well as you do wine bottles, you might have a secondary career." Her eyes flicker and she rolls her shoulders. "I took off my coat. You might have to spare your tunic and pour the alcohol over yourself to say cool. Eisheth blesses us to be happy as fish in this weather, no?"

"Tunic." That makes Gauge laugh and he draws his coat off his shoulders that his arms were not even through the sleeves, bare chested and wearing only pants and boots now. "I am a Captain, my untimely demise is that I can no longer /be/ a Captain." He explains, taking another drink from his wine glass. "My first love has always been the sea, and what are we if we cannot share our lives with our loves? We are but mockeries of life, pain and sadness, rage and grief, all given form through our fragile shells but for our want of what we cannot have." He chuckles deeply. "It is a pleasure to meet you Lady Carenza. de Mereliot." He sprawls against the rocks of the battlements he is leaning on draining his glass of wine before he goes to refill it again. He lifts the glass and offers it over towards her, "I suppose if it gets hot enough we might have to spare your corset and douse you in this alcohol." He smiles wryly. "What brings you all the way up here on a day likes this?" He asks curiously, holding out the wine glass towards her even still, the deep crimson of it almost purple.

"The Tiberians proclaimed that a city — or any political entity, really — was a ship of state. Thus you are its captain as you inherit; your helmsman may be a chosen advisor, your navigator the steward, your crew every last soul inside your walls. I realize that may not be exactly the greatest comfort, but an allusion not without some value?" The girl stretches out her legs and those obnoxiously travel-worthy boots shine. No chance they are miserable seed-pearled slippers, not for her. "For your mistress is already the sea, you may have to face the discomfort generations of nobles have. You wed for another reason to produce heirs, and pray that jealous seaborne maid doesn't choose to take her wrath out on you or your coasts. Albeit so much of Eisande is highland, I fear my own realm abuts enough of the sea to admire, respect, and properly dread her as her mood turns." Fingertips spin around the pen and return it once more to a case secreted among the jacket she sits on, a spun confection of embroidery and entirely unusual details. "I would not wish upon you such dissatisfaction all your life. You do know that you can abdicate, yes? The Lady of Marsilikos would not hold you fast to a future you despise. Choose as you will, for that's but an extension of Elua's precepts too." Compassion, a stroke out of the blue, lands true enough as she can. The glass is taken in kind and she salutes Gauge, raising the offering high. Two drops for the ground, the third for her lips. A sip might well pass by. "My corset is perfectly suited to this weather, not something foolishly constructed of satin or leather. I know better." Her lips blotted on glass hum with the notes of her voice lilting to meet the ears. "What brings me forth? Seeking enlightenment, seeking a purpose, and making a wager with the fates. They saw fit to play their hand. I haven't decided whether the Moirai smiled on me or make mock, but I have to think this is a prosperous start."

"Mmmm I could at that, but then I would be dropping it all on my little brother." Gauge says with a shrug, "It has fallen on me, I will have to prove that these shoulders of mine can bear it." He chuckles softly, "At least in this I now get to consider other things…" He looks thoughtful for a few moments, "There are advantages to being landed after all, compared to being simply a token marriage alliance." He considers that further and then looks over towards her again, "It is still a rather fetching garment, Lady Carenza. Or perhaps it is you that makes it so." He chuckles softly, "It is hard to say one way or the other without a more intimate examination of both though I doubt this is the time or the place for such." He smiles wryly at her, "The thing about the fates, is that even when you think you have been blessed by them, eventually it always turns into a curse. When we have what we think we want most, that is when we find we are dissatisfied."

A measurement taken with a wine glass is bound to be very inaccurate, unless measuring actual liquid volumes intended to be consumed. She tilts it this way and that. "I do believe your shoulders suspiciously broad. There must be a Camaeline maxim about shoulders broad enough to bear burdens and loads to speak of." She hands the glass back, luxuriating in the shared heat of the grape and the sunshine. Thus far, its impact proves somewhat negligible for the purposes of destroying composure or undermining the natural temperature of her body. "I daresay you're flirting with me on the manner of a corset. Now I could strike quite a grace note with a barrel, a fishing net, and probably fourteen yards of sail, no? I do lament that fortune never smiled on that particular look. It would amuse to see the courtesans of the city draped in hemp and sun-bleached canvas, hoisted up. Buoys as the adornment all the rage." Those violet eyes crackle with abundant kinetic energy, and she threatens to tilt sidelong. "You would have the fates dislike you, the sea misses you, the earth spurns you. At least the sun and moon give their favour?" She shares that wry smile and shakes her head. "I make a point to be grateful even as I strive onwards, my personal curse. The wind 'neath the wings angels saw fit not to give us propels me to seek answers and harbour too many contemplative questions about the world. I ought to drink more and stop that, maybe."

"Or perhaps I just admire what is underneath the corset." Gauge says with a soft chuckle and he closes his eyes, resting them as he lifts his head towards the sky. He takes a deep breath and then exhales slowly, "Perhaps this is a blessing wrapped up in a curse. That the Fates have seen to do me kindly." He smiles pleasantly though before he lifts his head again and looks back over towards her. "The real question is this: All of this conversation, does it inspire, or does it fill the air? Are questions well and truly answered, or are they just small bits of information. Are they true? Are they false?" He chuckles and his gravelly voice seems to grate and rumble. "Then again… the question also becomes just what destination is intended… or is one intended at all?"

"A hint: the fates dispense bad luck along with the good, and never stop a man or woman from achieving their goals if they wish. I do not believe that a person is foreordained, helplessly struggling against the weight of their destiny." She shakes her head, the sparkling hints of jewels strung among those brazen locks flashing with their own hue of fire. Quartz, carnelian, and spots of white jade for the day make for an interesting dappled rainfall on her locks, even as the sky darkens a shade. "I would like to think myself a blessing, though that smacks of arrogance. You provided a lovely diversion from contemplation, and allow me to chatter on without preamble." Her lips form that wicked grin once again, sharp as a knife, and altogether amused. "Yes, the conversation inspires. I learn from others. Their experiences embellish and enrich my own. They test my ideas and give me inspiration to learn more, understand more, and at least get outside my own garden as it would. Questions are well enough answered; have you been satisfied, or has this been merely the start of a feast for which you have to satiate yourself on multiple courses rather than just one?" That tips the balance, as it would, and she steps up from her coat, slipping her hands down her sides. "What destination indeed. You're the captain. Do you assume I am climbed up into the crows nest with that fine, long-seeing view? Ah, my lord, that remains much to be seen. I look forward to discovering what path this journey takes us on. But as much as I adore the destination, the journey matters. You're a man of the sea, you know that."

"Not at all Lady Carenza," Gauge says with a chuckle, "I am merely a log adrift on the ocean, a bit of flotsam being tossed about at her mercy. If anything you are the wind that guides my course and that which sends me this way, or that." He smiles wryly, "Or maybe you are the tide, sweeping me back and forth, on gentle current only to be sucked into a vortex and down to the bottom of the sea." He stands up and offers a polite bow, "I would not even try to define a woman, and never make any such attempt as to try and define a woman as lovely as yourself. For such things are a travesty in the binding, words capture and contain, instead of letting what is free… be free." He smiles, "Every moment matters, no matter where you are, even if you are not travelling a journey at all. It was a pleasure, Lady Carenza."

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