(1310-05-08) On Water
Summary: {$summary}
RL Date: Tue May 08, 1310
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
tybalt carenza 

Port

Fortune laid the foundation for the grand port of Marsilikos; look how the arms of the land spread wide to embrace the setting of the sun, welcoming a bay of still waters rendered all the more peaceful by the presence of a small island to the south, on the flanks of which the waves cut themselves into powerless ripples as they move in from the sea. But what Fortune gave the D'Angelines their cunning and craft has improved to a hum of efficiency and culture. The natural bay has had its curved shores sharpened into straight edges bolstered with ridges of heavy stones on which the tides have left long mark when the waters are low, algae and barnacles hung onto the rugged stones. Then stone foundations have been piled out into the harbor to hold up wide wooden pillars and the great treated slats of the piers and boardwalks which extend into the bay, now at wider intervals for massive trading vessels, now at shorter intervals for private fishing and pleasure yachts.%r%rThe southern arm of the bay is reserved for the great sourthern fleet of the Terre D'Angan Navy, which is headquartered here in Marsilikos, and is ever a hub of activity, the giant slips outfitted to haul the massive warships up into the air for repairs, while further inland on the southern peninsula a forest of masts rises into the air where new ships are being built and old ones repaired in full drydock. Between the naval slips and the drydock rises the stately edifice of the Southern Naval Headquarters, glistening with huge latticed windows on the upper floors. Beyond the headquarters rises the massive fortified promontory of the Citadel, with bleached-white parapets and fluttering banners.%r%rMarkets and vendors throng the plaza at the innermost fold of the harbor where civilian and military seamen alike might find a bite to eat, supplies for their next mission, a good drink or a little bit of companionship. Far in the bay, that little isle sports a lofty lighthouse to guide the ships in by night.


Marsilikos is a city full of beauty. The beautiful Dome of the Lady, the gorgeous women in its salons, the lovely sights at sunset and all the other very pretty, perfect things wrapped in their delicate wrappings. D'Angelines can become drunk on such abundance and luxury. Betimes they become literally inebriated, albeit usually in winsome company of either sex.

Is it wrong to aspire to find something flawed, imperfect? The ravages of time weather the port's piers in a fascinating way, gnawing at the hulls of sleek ships. Foaming waves shatter themselves on the breakwater, and occasionally odd logs wash up onto the shore. For that reason there's a young woman perched upon a pillar, peering down at the mess of masts bobbing about with the turning of the tide. Whatever lunar pull on the water exerts its force, they are hopeless to resist the damning rise and fall. Someone surely might find reason to complain for a girl roosting atop said sawed off plinth of old, but not much. Her siren-song is that of tugging on a rope somehow entangled to a spar and rigging, with no telling how on earth that happened but for a good gust of wind.

That or she fully intends to try something foolishly acrobatic. Either way, her position is superior for any sort of sightseeing, watching the activity with mute curiosity. For her part, Carenza's deep amber skin marks her at any distance as one thing: a Mereliot. Their heritage is well-known and celebrated in their home province, and her complexion is their hallmark as much as Somervilles have their apple perfume.

*

If there is a place in Marsilikos to go for imperfection this certainly is it. Not just for the ravages of time and travel, not just for the battered hulls and tattered sails, but for the men - and women too, surely - who dwell in this corridor, where common stock and foreign blood mingle in most every way.

It's busy most of the day and into the evening, but as the sun settles in the west and bleeds copper across the blue-green water some of that is waning. The tides of traffic are shifting as some forms of commerce close up shop while others open up their doors. The wine shops, taverns, and places that cater to those with more coin than culinary prowess gear up to accept those winding down from hauling cargo and selling fish. But most everyone seems to have a destination.

Most. Everyone.

Yon lady up the pole is an exception, yes, but so is the man strolling down the boardwalk, with less a destination in mind than than the mere act of travel. He's a breath taller than much of the throng, owing in part to the wide-brimmed hat with exceptionally floofy feather that covers his head, an affectation which is as much a statement as the Bhodistani silk around his midsection. That same setting sun gilds his skin, or what's visible of it, turning it a bronze color uncommon in most quarters.

*

Time carries her weight heavily here. The sea, changeable mistress over the unsuspecting souls of the world, shows many faces, from pristine to wrathful, maiden to hag. If D'Angeline blood flows strongest in the great houses, it may be muddied in the salt of the earth and ocean. For that reason, perhaps like no other, there is a special allure to the multitudes gathered in Marsilikos' harbour. For this is the world in miniature, a microcosm of those greater, wider places.

She can drink up the patois as much as the wild variations in colour, duns and roughspun cloth alongside silks and damasks in the brightest shades. A few sailors look up in curiosity her way, but they might be disappointed for she has neither violin to play while the city burns, nor a skirt flashing generous slices of flesh under the hem. Maybe a song for the right coin, or a sharp word. Nonesuch at the present drown out the ribald laughs or drowning squall of the water lapping around the mighty stone pillars.

"I approve of that hat." Compliments instead may carry her half a world farther, amusement sprinkled liberally around the mellifluous, restrained voice. Wholly cosmopolitan, with that diction.

*

It might be the compliment that finally wins a stop. It might be the voice that carries the compliment. Which hardly matters at the end of the day; what is important here is that something draws the hat - and the man wearing it - to a complete stop, the sort that makes of him a stone dropped into the current of people, forcing them to flow around him.

"The hat, or the feather?" Challenge posed as question, this. His voice is low, bass notes in a rich baritone well used to carrying across space and noise like thunder. To punctuate it, he removes the hat with a dramatic sort of flourish and tucks it under an arm, which frees him to not really have to look up exactly to inspect the she-creature perched up there.

And he does, with a slight tilt of his head and narrowing of eyes the same fire-licked shade as the water in the harbor. He could almost pass for a noble, but for the shadow of whiskers darkening his jaw, and the color of his skin, shades deeper thanks to sun and salt than even the Mereliot cast. And a smile like a reaper's sickle, sharp and toothsome. Possibly, very distantly, familiar.

*

A floating note lingering upon the air, a yawning pause for other sounds to fill. Open the gateway and in rush the providential alignments of chance for a conversation. The perched noblewoman on high swings her feet lightly, that light bounce of her booted heel narrowly avoiding a rebound upon the weathered strut rammed vertically to support Carenza. A few glimmering beads catch the restless arrows shot from a dying sun, carnelian transformed to a drop of bronze among her loose coppery curls. Wrought poems could be spun from metal and gems strung through her hair, or rather the flickers of fire visible.

"Both, I should think. Why would I restrain myself to appreciation of one, not the other?" Casual lift of those shoulders displaces a distance enough to present a shrug, and she casts a smile on low. She-creature, is it? Then the man-beast receives that benediction of a laugh.

Only one of all the gaggle of Mereliots in the city shares that particular eye colour, bruised darker violet than the deepening twilight. Her smile flashes wider still, fearless, the mountain river in full flood. Tempered? Not for an instant. "Though the feather does require a certain panache to pull off."

*

Even now the tide of dock traffic begins to ebb. There's fewer people to arc around where he stands, and those that do find it easy to just go wide around him, and though he's far from the only person left standing on the weathered wood there is now, betimes, the illusion of solitude. Almost.

"Most of those I encounter seem to prefer one or the other. The hat is almost a necessity; the feather is simply an invitation to an argument." Such as might perhaps be settled by the steel hanging from his hip, but he doesn't go quite so far as to mention that.

Instead, at last, he turns a few degrees so that he might triangulate her and the sea, or what is visible of it through the forest of masts and rigging yonder. "Waiting, or watching?"

*

Fewer souls to interrupt allows her to focus more upon the windward merchant of fortune thrown upon a course to her shore. Concentration is a relative thing; up there, the young woman pays heed to her balance and the wind's direction as much as anything else. Soles of her tough leather boots press to the worn wood, the cracks and grooves textured deeply enough to afford further purchase if she needed to make a sudden descent. No gathering lightning or water spouts just offshore require a dash for shelter.

Solitude for two amongst the proof of commerce and international relations, a curious commodity not without considerable value. She flexes her toes anyways, gauging what she can. "Pity. I hope the arguments should be for the possession of the feather. At least that carries the prospect of a story. The hat is perfectly suitable, and any unappreciative of its use don't deserve it."

Another roll of her heel marks about the only movement, but for the breeze stirrings of her loose hair. "Both, as it transpires. For those who watch properly wait, and those who wait oft watch."

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