(1310-07-06) Two Bottles, Two Pears
Summary: Vespasien meets Gal while doing a favor for an old Navy buddy.
RL Date: Fri Jul 06, 1310
Related: none
vespasien gal 

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.%r%rWithin 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.

The greenest ranks of the Marsilikos City Guard are just disbanding from their evening drills, ambling off in twos or threes, some making to the barracks to change for a night on the town, some scurrying to grab a place over on the ramparts for a game of dice, others just shooting the shit with one another while they cool down in the center court of the wind-swept citadel in the earliest hours of the evening darks. Gal, for his part, has shed his cuirass and left avant-brace, and has plopped himself down on the stairs of the observatory, rummaging in a bag supper he'd left over there. It's not fancy, but nothing about this kid reads fancy, in particular. Just a City Guardsman— most of whom are common-born, tearing at a crusty roll to shove some salted meat and a hank of cheese therein for a supper tough but hearty, a recovery from the long drills.

"I see, and the image is out of focus?" Vespasien is heard before he's seen- walking with a naval captain who seems to know the civilian well enough to get him access to the Citadel. "Yes, I should be able to fix it. It sounds as if the lens has slipped. A simple thing to reset." he assures the Captain- who nods, speaking quietly. "I'll go get it. You know how some of the guards get with these delicate instruments." Vespasien nods, as he stands quietly- not far from where Gal has just mustered out as the Captain steps around Gal and heads up the stairs towards the top of the Observatory.

Gal is just stuffing his maw and tearing at the whole mess like a dog at a hank of meat, shaking his head slightly to get some force behind it. One might imagiine it's fairly tough. But, cheek packed and mouth full, he spies the Captain en route and stands respectfully at a loose attention just out of the way, bitten sandwich hidden tucked behind his back. He waits until the Captain passes to even start chewing, then does so, tipping his head to give Vespasien the eye in the meanwhile. "M'ey," he greets, with his mouth full and the manners of a peasant. He stoops to slink forward, using his free arm to toss his discarded brace in his bag with the rest of his dinner, and to snag his bag and the neckline of his cuirass in one fell swoop and clear them off of the steps, as well. By then, he's swallowed. "Scope is out of whack, huh?" is more rhetorical than actually wanting to know, just striking up a conversation before biiting hungrily into his meal again.

"It sounds that way." Vespasien replies simply. "I won't know for sure until I get into it and do the repair." he says, next. "Do you know Captain LaRue well?" he asks of the soldier. "We apprenticed on the same ships." he says, "Grew up on the same ships. He's a good man." The noble- who is clearly now a civilian- states quietly. He still has the look of a sailor to him, that wiry build. The way he holds himself. The clothing he wears of noble refinement, but with an eye towards utility- the clothing of a sailor with a super nice tailor.

"Who? Oh! Uh— no," if Vespasien hadn't already sussed that answer from Gal's confusion. "Not really, I'm with the City Guard, not the Navy, but— they share headquarters on the hill, so it's usually a good idea to move out the way when you see someone with Captains' insignia on and be on your best behavior," Gal explains with a chuckle. "Better safe than having it get back to you through your own chain of command because you wouldn't move your ass off some steps, right? I'm Gal, by the way. You were a sailor, huh? And now you fiddle with scope lenses?" he goads Vespasien into taking up his end of the conversation again, then, perhaps impressively, if you're impressed by that manner of thing, he crams the rest of the sandwich into his mouth and starts gnawing it down. Almost looks like he might dislocate his jaw like a snake. Drills are hungry work.

"Vespasien de Trevalion." Vespasien replies, giving his name. "I'm an astronomer now. I'm often fiddling with my telescopes. Captain LaRue is looking for a cheap solution to an expensive problem because he knows I'll do this for two bottles of navy issue brandy." he explains, "And out of shared friendship, too, I suppose. Anyways, the telescopes are thousands of ducats a piece and few are particularly good at fixing them." he continues- raising an eyebrow as he watches the young man stuff his face.

"Anyways, I work with telescopes, so I know how to fix them." The quick and dirty version.

"Mmh," Gal makes a muffled noise that almost sounds intruiged by Vespasien's profession, though he's otherwise content to listen past the sound of his own chewing and bob his head with an amused, knowing squint of his eyes when Vespasien says he's working for booze. Once he swallows, again, "Astronomer. Wow. What kind of bread does that bring in? Heh! Well, at least it brings in the brandy, right?" he goes on to laugh. "No, that's, like, legitimately really neat, though. Do you, like, predict eclipses and stuff like that?"

"Primarily I study the angular distances between stars and the transits of the wandering stars. I've also begun mapping the moon." Vespasien explains, "As for money, it makes very little. However, I have access to funds all the same through various small business interests and personal savings, as well as the allowance afforded me by my family." he seems to have no issue explaining where his money comes from. "I'm particularly good with numbers, so, sometimes I go to a gambling house and clean up." he continues, "When one knows the odds, they can manipulate them."

"The angular distances between the stars?" Gal asks, stooping to his bag and pulling out a couple of pears, one of which he offers over to Vespasien, "Like… what do those do?" he wonders. "Heh, counting cards does sound a lot more lucrative. Even if it's also a good way to get your face knocked in by a drunkard who decides it counts as cheating," he continues conversing affably enough. "And you're making a map of the moon? What, in case someone decides to go conquer it or something?"

"Because I'm curious about it. The night sky is something that holds my interest, and has since I learned to navigate as a child." Vespasien says, "As for the angular distances of stars it is of use to charts. To better understand where all the stars sit in the sky. This, in turn, is of great use to celestial navigators. As for the moon- I'm curious, as I said. It seems to always face the same way. I am also curious why there is no visible parallax in the stars." he takes a slow, quiet breath. "I believe it means they must be very, very far away, but I have to do more math to prove it."

"So, like… the distance of the stars… from one another? From the horizon? From us?" Gal is a curious one, too, it looks like. At the very least he's game enough to figure out what the heck the guy is talking about, instead of dismissing it all as nonsense. He does a quick one-two juggle of the pears in each hand and offers the other one out to Vespasien, in case it's better tempting than the first one. "Want one?" he also asks, verbally. Maybe it's too dark already for the guy to notice the gesture. "What's a parallax?"

"Parallax is the displacement- the difference- in the apparent position of a stationary object viewed along two different lines of sight. For instance…" Vespasien reaches into his bag, pulling out pad of paper and some charcoal. "You have an object- here." he puts a circle in the center of the paper. "And you and I are here- and here-" he puts dots behind the 'object' one to the left and the other to the right. "And in the distance are other items- here and here." he draws a pair of squares.

"So. As we move you see this object as if it were in front of this one here- he draws a diagonal line through the object to the opposite 'background item'. "And I see it in front of the opposite. Here." he points then. "This is parallax. The further the object away is, though, the more likely we are to see it in the same place."

Gal takes a bit of his first pear, a crisp crunch echoing off of the quiet stones as he steps around to hand out at Vespasien's side and a little bit behind him, looking over his shoulder while he draws, listening to the explanation of the figures as they get drawn. "Oh, yeah, sure, that makes sense. It's like riding a horse, and the trees all look like they're moving past you, but the mountains way back there kinda look like they're stalking you over the treetops 'cause they're not moving as fast." He pauses, takes another thoughtful bite of his pear, chews. "Hey, the moon does that, too. Just kind of follows you as you go, no matter where you are."

"The moon is close, relative to the stars. However, this is not the reason why the Moon seems to follow you. It is because there is nothing in the way of seeing it, typically." Vespasien explains, "However, it does have a greater parallax than the stars do. The stars exhibit almost none at all- so, they must be very, very far away. At least, that is my theory." he takes a slow breath, quiet as the Captain returns from the long climb, carrying one of the larger telescopes with him. "Ah, my friend- here it is." Captain LaRue offers the telescope out, which Vespasien takes after he's returned his pad of paper into his bag. He holds it very carefully- almost like it were a baby. "A very nice piece. I'll have it back for you tomorrow."

The Captain grins, "You are a life-saver, my friend. We are likely to be inspected before too long, and if this piece is fuzzy when the Admirals come through… Well, you know."

Vespasien nods, "Yes. My father is particularly strict about equipment." The former sailor says, as he bows his head towards the other two men. "I'll leave you to it, Gal." he says, "I would like to open this up and get to work as quickly as possible. Too cloudy this evening to measure the stars as I desire, so, I must find other entertainment." he gives the telescope a fond pat.

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