(1310-07-09) Blood on Cobblestones
Summary: A duel has Arsène and Frida encounter one-another again, and they are later joined by Jacqueline and, later on, her husband Roche. After Frida's departure, Vira arrives on the scene!
RL Date: Mon Jul 09, 1310
Related: None
vira roche jacqueline frida arsene 

Grand Plaza

No humble, cobbled, crowded town square, this: the grand plaza of Marsilikos gleams, a true centerpiece of a wealthy, international port city. The marble tiles of the square itself are fitted smoothly together, alternating white and greyish-blue with obsidian equal-armed crosses inset at the intersections. Four raised planters, ten meters square, offer cool travertine seating around swaths of raised ground, grassy and tended in all seasons with foliage best beautiful and suiting to the weather, positioned in each of the corner quadrants of the square, and, in the center, a concrete-laid pool is lined with marble, into which four ichthyocentaurs are pouring cool, clean water from carved vases of striking white marble. On a pedestal half-hidden by the winding tails of the ichthyocentaurs is an ancient obelisk, one solid piece of red granite, imported with great expense from Menekhet, mounting twenty one meters into the sky and casting a winding shadow around the corners of the plaza as the day progresses.%r%rOn the western edge of the square a grand marble stairwell overlooks the port and the harbor below; to the north, two strips of marble extend far between the stoate pillars of the marketplace, embracing a well-cultivated spina of greenery.

Today, the Grand Plaza is the scene of a little drama. Nothing outrageous, simply two men who apparently really want to kill each other. Or at least, one does. The other simply looks bored. While curious watchers have managed to make a circle, one enforced by each combatant's second, it does not seem like the fighting is in any danger of spilling out. One man is angrily flailing about, attempting without succeeding to land a hit upon Arsène, while the Vicomte steps aside whenever he truly needs it, unless he simply parries the sword blow with his own. "Is that the righteous smithing I was promised? You call me a villain, a monster and a fiend, and you, self-appointed avenger, can do so little to avenge your cousin's honour? How low must she have crawled, to find a champion such as you?" Another scream of outrage from his opponent, one cut short into a pained cry when the Trevalion violently cuts at his legs. The man, a youth of eighteen, early twenties at most, falls, hamstrung, blood soon blooming upon his trousers. "Oops. I suppose that counts for first blood, yes?" Arsène asks, while his second, his faithful guard, gives him a piece of cloth to clean his sword. The crowd disperses, while the youth is carried away by his second, the duel over. "Pathetic. Even a barbarian would fight better than this fool." he shakes his head, though adressing no one in particular.

The circle draws folks from all over, and among them is a certain blonde Skald, leading her big grey courser behind her. Clad in her armor, with the full kit out of a skjalmaer that expects trouble, she swings up onto the gelding to get a better view of the fighting. Despite the weight of her armor and weaponry, the motion is smooth and easy - strength in her lean form.

Spying the man she owes a boon to, she watches as he taunts and ridicules, then lays low the youth - frowning faintly as it could be a crippling blow. The man young to be dealt with so callously. "It is not nice to ruin a man." she says, picking her words with care to form a full sentence.

Arsène glances back to the voice, and rolls his eyes. "I did him a service. He exhibited no talent nor skill, and acted stupidly by challenging me, of all people. Who knows, perhaps a young woman such as yourself will take pity on the poor hero, laid low so cruelly. Nurse him back to health, perhaps they'll marry, and he'll find himself a better trade. Somewhere one sits." the Vicomte answers with no hint of remorse nor concern. "Besides, little sellsword, it is who I am." He tilts his head to the side, observing her. "You had no idea what kind of man you would owe when you accepted my challenge, did you?"

Jacqueline arrives from the Place des Mains.

Jacqueline has arrived.

"Do not." No past tense needed. Shifting her weight on Ehre, Frida considers the arrogant man. "Did not. Men are like dogs. Get kick, turn mean." She straightens her posture on the big lavender-grey courser, enjoying being taller than someone for a change. "Who kick you?" she asks, looking smug as she asks the question, the crowd dispersing and a trail of blood and puddle on the cobblestones.

"Mm. Usually a correct assumption, but incorrect in my case. Close, however. For one of limited vocabulary, you have this common level of wisdom… Charming, in its plebian way." Arsène remarks to Frida atop her horse. Does he seem to mind the height difference? Not quite. He doesn't even seem to pay much attention at all as he sheathes his blade. "A wrong guess, no matter how close, one I shall not reward with the correct answer. Keep digging, if you so wish." He waves it aside. "I'll assume you got all that. And in case it's on your mind, no, I've not yet decided on what the boon shall be. Something fun and amusing. Mmm… Perhaps I can get an idea from someone else." he muses.

"…not a good idea, my lady. Perhaps we should return to…" Part of the dispersing crowd is going to part around a grey stone that has appeared in the market place. A tall, sandy-haired man in very conspicuous grey. Steel vambraces. Daggers. A large sword strapped to his back. You can pick out a Cassiline brother a mile away. He has a foot and change in height on his charge, who is short enough that she isn't easily seen, immediately, but as he follows damnably close to Jacqueline, as if afraid she's going to end up leaving a puddle of her own on the cobbles, she'll be obvious soon enough. It's funny that this trail of blood leads right up to the big grey horse. And the scarred woman on it. See, it leads Jacqueline right that direction, and when she does stop, just there, it is to frown at the sight. "I suppose we have learned something about Marsilikos today. The guards are exquisitely injudicious."

The answer itself is revealing, the Skald not put off in the least. "Some born mean. Go be Mandrake." she says with a laugh, leaning forward to affectionately slap the warhorse on the neck. "Mandrake tongue is sharper than your sword. You want to hurt feeling? Try harder." She's been practicing that thin-skin thing, and Mandrakes are excellent instructors in verbal wounding.

Ehre shifts his weight, swinging his thick rear to the side, drawing Frida's attention to the new arrivals. "Guard run far, come to see. Will be here soon. Tell guard to bring bucket to wash blood away."

At that, Arsène sighs. "Simple barbarian minds can be so vexing sometimes." He shakes his head. "No, not born mean either. Two wrong answers. At this rate you'll have to owe me another boon just from wasting both our times with these guesses. Not to mention, a Mandrake is, usually, motivated by the wish to serve, and know better than to leave any permanent wounds. A bad fit on two counts. Make one more guess and I'll consider the boon doubled." he adds casually, before the mountain of grey catches his eye. "Mm… And who…" His black gaze falls upon Jacqueline then. "And who…" He tilts his head to the side, observing, till… "Ah, an Aiglemort. And given the Cassiline… little cousin Jacqueline it is."

"And are you the Jarl of Fúllthorp that you might tell the city guard to do anything?" It sounds like such a lovely word when a d'Angeline says it. Too bad it's the Skaldi word for Stink Village. Jacqueline is not a Mandrake. She actually sounds curious about this, as if expecting this suspicion of hers to be confirmed. Who knows. Maybe she was distracted by Frida; she pays Arsène no mind until he addresses her, whereupon her attention shifts to him. There's no blank look at all, but her own recognition is slower. Almost a cautious thing, spun out slowly as she offers him her hand, fingertips pointed down with utmost delicacy, the silver eagle of her signet ring on display. "And you… are… no. My cousin Arsène is much taller, I'm certain of it."

"Can not double what is not known. Two of nothing, is nothing." Frida says, still smirking, then shrugging. "I ask cousin here what made you mean." But the cousin if tossing out a Skaldic word and the blonde tilts her head, <"Maybe. But I've no interest in ruling. That's a job for people afraid to get their own hands dirty in war."> She says, motioning with her hand as she settles her weight and relaxes in the saddle - the new tack finally nicely broken in and starting to show the slight discolorations on the leather from use.

"I am shocked that you do not see everyone as giant from where you stand, cousin. I suppose unless that one carries you around on his shoulder." Arsène motions to the Cassiline, an amused smirk upon his face. "I had heard the rumours, but had dismissed them." The offered hand is given a polite kiss, courtly etiquette on display in a gesture that comes as naturally as breathing. "I hope the southern air provides an improvement." And oddly enough, he sounds sincere. What a strange day. "Your husband has come along too, then?" he asks. Then Frida speaks, part he understands, part he has no idea. "So what DID make you mean, cousin?" he prefers to ask, glancing at Jacqueline, amused.

As the sellsword shifts, so does the Cassiline. He has an easy enough posture but a raptor's gaze, and for one reason or another has decided Frida might be the most immediate threat. As for Jacqueline? "Not even a Jarl." She sounds disappointed first, and then nothing else in that direction, as if the horse and its rider had simply ceased to exist. She has a warm smile, which sparks readily as her hand is kissed. "It is the hope," she answers Arsène. "Though I find said southern air to be rather sticky." The corners of the smile edge a bit higher, almost playfully. "Roche is here. He's been in the city a few extra days. He had something to attend at the house but I imagine he might be along shortly. Either way you must come and see us. Dinner tomorrow, perhaps? We've had no company yet at all." Mean? Is she mean? She has that incandescent smile, which doesn't lose anything at all as she answers the final question. "Oh, about five hundred years of dead kin."

Frida has partially disconnected.

Roche arrives from the Place des Mains.

Roche has arrived.

Frida runs her tongue along her teeth, then smirks. <"Funny, my family enjoys those outings. Maybe you should breed stronger kin."> Inclining her head, she glances to the Cassiline. "I not want fuck pretty lady, leave tiny knife in pocket, hmm?" She taunts, leaving the knotted reins around Ehre's neck and using a shift in weight combing with her knees to start the big courser turning as tight as he can. He's a good boy, but he IS a big, heavy bodied warhorse. There's only so tight a turn can go.

"The downside of being so near the sea, I fear." Arsène remarks with dry amusement. "But I would be delighted to join you for dinner. Tomorrow would be easily done." he nods. "There's been a distressing lack of entertainment in this city lately." He always says this. As to the dead kin? He laughs, clearly delighted. "Ah, if it is a hint of the kind of conversation that awaits for dinner, it sounds like a fine time indeed." And then his attention shifts to Frida, and her speech to the Cassiline. "Well, perhaps entertainment HAS come after all. Or it's leaving, depending." he remarks.

It may not be wise to taunt a Cassiline. Especially when one's horse might suddenly be thought of as a potential hazardous weapon. Especially when his charge is unlikely to move, even the slightest, out of what might be the horse's path. It's right there, clear from the way that one of his hands strays minutely in the direction of his side, like he's thinking through the math in a serious hurry. Jacqueline continues her conversation with her cousin. "We might be able to provide some conversation of that sort. I imagine we have a great deal to talk about. A lot to catch up on. Not the least of which is whether you finally exhausted every scrap of entertainment in Azzalle and why you have been so absent from Lyon."

The Grand Plaza seems like the place to be. And it is where he knows that Jacqueline is. Her entourage is probably quite chatty and it's likely no secret where the lady of the house is going. And so at some point, her husband joins hers. It takes him some time to find her, but the horse draws some attention and so he heads that way. Something just smells like trouble and that means Jacqueline is around somewhere and probably needs saving. When Roche sees what sort of thing is riding atop the horse, his pace quickens and he loosens his sword at his side, "What is that thing doing here?" he asks as he comes to stand by Jacqueline's side. A gesture indicates he's not talking about the horse. "Remove your beast from the vicomtesse's vicinity, animal, or I'll cut it's throat." must be another Camaeline. There isn't anything witty or smarmy about his accosting of the woman, just angry and demanding. Unsubtle.

Trying to back the horse up is likely more trouble than just going the direction he is already turning in, is. He's not moving fast, just turning. Easily sidestepped away from, or there's a chance of frothy bit-chew spit getting smeared on someone. Ehre literally cannot scrunch smaller - he's a big fat warhorse.

Hands on her thighs, Frida finds herself accosted on another front and shakes her head, knees tightening slightly along the horse's ribs, encouraging him to finish the tight turn and start moving out. There's already blood on the cobblestones and guards likely on the way.

"I did. I thought it wise to leave the coast alone and recover for a while. Bandits are distressingly inactive. As to Lyon, frankly, it was going to be my destination after Marsilikos, especially should I fail to find any entertainment here. Ports have the ability to take one far and meddle in conflicts far, far away… Not, of course, that I would scorn the opportunity to combine pleasure to duty and supply myself to defeating the delusional warlords from crossing over the border." Arsène answers Jacqueline, while watching the horse, and the Cassiline, and possibly evaluating the odds of fresh horsemeat making it on the market stalls in a hurry. "Ah, speaking of husband." Black eyes turn to Roche as the man makes his unsubtle entrance. "Your knight in shining armor has arrived." he informs his cousin, amusement far from faded. He watches as the horse tries to move out, amidst the usual crowds of the plaza, doing little to impede it, an entertained spectator now, rather than active participant.

The odds are good. Still. Possibly increasing with Roche's arrival, which neither causes the Cassiline Brother to relax nor amps up his level of concern. The vicomte is not his problem. Jacqueline is and she just isn't going to move, beyond turning halfway toward the other man when he comes storming onto the scene. "Roche," she greets, and as she presented her hand to one man turns up her cheek toward the second, clearly expecting a similar sort of outcome. "We are learning all sorts of things about the city. Good." A gesture at Arsène. "And bad." No further explanation given. Then she blinks once, almost lazily. "Have you met my cousin? I have to wonder which of the three of you would be quicker to gut that beast."

Vira arrives from the Place des Mains.

Vira has arrived.

Vira leaves, heading towards the Market Promenade [N].

Vira has left.

Vira arrives from the Market Promenade.

Vira has arrived.

"Skaldi playing amongst the civilized. Riding horses so brazenly in public. Flaunting themselves before the good people of this city. I understand why one would want to leave their godless lands and live amongst the angelic, but dogs are to be kept out of the house." Roche remains on edge as Frida continues turning her horse, one hand up as if to push the beast away should it get a little frisky while trying to depart. "Don't let me see you around her again, animal." since Frida already seems to have gotten into it with the group and is on her way out, Roche seems content to let the matter rest as it stands. With a sniff and a distasteful expression, he turns to Jacqueline and shakes his head, "Why has that thing not yet been put down? This is not our province. It would be rude to do it ourselves." his attention eventually shifts over to Arsene, whom he does not recognize. Either due to time or because he doesn't know the man.

The big horse finishes his turn and the Skald leaves. Yay.

Frida has left.

Coming down the grand walkways of the plaza Vira holds a basket of freshly gathered herbs under one arm as she prances along. The doll faced Tsingani woman with her golden coin jewelry and wisp like white gown makes quite the sight, not to mention she is shockingly barefooted. Stepping lightly along she wanders having to pause breifly to gracefully dodge the skaldi's passing horse which just so happens to position her somewhat near the group of nobles.

"I've no horse in this fight." Ha! Hilarious. But one way or another, the horse is gone, and the trouble over with. Arsène listens idly to Roche's rather passionate statement, but does not comment, till Jacqueline introduces him as cousin. "I think I'm going to stick with my guess that you're her husband." he nods. Not that Jacqueline's reaction to his presence was any indicator, of course. "Arsène de Trevalion, Vicomte de Dreux, a cousin of your wife through my mother." he introduces himself. And then? Poor Vira catches his attention, black eyes on her. "Ah, the doll-maker. Have you any new ones to show, or have you moved to other crafts?" he asks Vira.

"Roche," murmurs Jacqueline, like she's trying to reprimand him, but there's too much warmth and amusement in her voice for it to be anywhere near effective. She offers him her arm instead. "You guessed correctly," she allows Arsène after he's made that deduction. "I suppose you two can get properly acquainted tomorrow night. I'll arrange to have my chirugeon on hand in case one of you cuts something important off, though that might make dinner a little more complicated." She doesn't appear to notice Vira until the Trevalion does, though her Cassiline has. He takes in the doll-maker and appraises her and maybe almost dismisses her, as there is no horse involved.

Honey colored eyes flick over and lock with Arsene's black ones as Vira hears him speak to her. She arches a brow. "I am in indeed crafting a new doll though my work on it is currently on hold, and no I have not moved on to new crafts. This is an older craft of mine in fact." She studies him intently a long moment no fear and barely any expression at all save for a sliver of curiousity visible before her eyes drift over to the other two nobles nearby. Then she offers a graceful and low curtsey for all three of them smiling softly. The Cassiline is also noticed and gets a nod of polite acknowledgement as well.

"I can't say I'll be bringing a horse to dinner, so on that account, we'll be quite safe." Arsène remarks towards Jacqueline. "Though I would never say no to a good duel. They're hard enough to find as it is." he adds, till his attention turns to Vira. "Indeed? And what be this old craft? Herbs, cooking? Or possibly brewing something?" he asks, apparently curious. "Ah, cousin, might I present you… I actually don't recall if you told me your name." He shrugs. "Doll-maker, and herb-gatherer, apparently. A woman of many crafts."

As Roche leans down to murmur something, Jacqueline leans up onto her toes, as if to meet him somewhere in the middle. Then the vicomte will be off, leaving the little vicomtesse with the softly radiant smile. "He's been here four days and already thinks he's getting soft," she tells Arsène, as if it is some kind of secret. Maybe not a good one. But then she's being introduced and her attention does finally shift, and while her expression doesn't change, exactly, her head does tilt slowly to the side as if she were presented with some unusual specimen of bird. "A doll-maker and an herb-gatherer," she echoes. "How quaint."

"My name is Vira my Lord. I would have been quite surprised had you remembered it anyway." Replies the soft faced Tsingani woman to Arsene with a faint amused quirk of her lips. "As for the herbs? I gather them yes but I also use them to make teas and various remedies." She tilts her head as she explains further, her voice soft. "I have an interest in medicine but finding someone to teach me such has not always been possible so I studied herblore meanwhile. Many plants have extrodinary properties, they can be both harmful and helpful and depending on how they are used sometimes those properties can shift…"

"Tsk, well we can't have that, can we? Especially as he's still needed to provide an heir to the heir." Arsène remarks to Jacqueline. "Ah, yes. I never was much with names anyway." he waves it aside when Vira offers her own. "Doll-maker you shall remain, until I have two who make enough of an impression to be remembered. The odds are low, I'll grant you." As to the herbs, and their healing properties… He turns his gaze to Jacqueline, thoughtful. "Mmm…. Helpful herbs, you say?" he asks Vira. "And would you say they improve one's physical health, should one be of particularly feeble state?" he continues seemingly out of genuine curiosity, yet there's this amused look in his black eyes… why?

Jacqueline further studies Vira through the long veil of her lashes. Vira, who has the unusual distinction here as being the first person in the immediate vicinity in the recent past who she doesn't have to look up at. "Why, cousin, I do believe she fancies you," she says after some of this has passed, until long after Arsène has laid in his odds about the remembering of names. The gaze becomes a slow blink at him after, as her head turns, as if the effort of opening her eyes entirely was tremendous. She doesn't even say anything further. Just stares at him, gaze almost as dark as his own.

A faint dismissive shrug is given to Arsene. "I could certainly be called much worse my Lord." Vira muses before she blinks at Jacqueline in surprise. Her expression is calm and her tone unwaveringly polite but its clear by the slight narrowing of her honey colored eyes she is shocked and perhaps just a touch annoyed. "And what pray tell gave you that outlandish idea my Lady?" She asks calmly before looking back to Arsene. "That depends on the ailment my Lord. Certain herbs can be turned into ointments to be appled to cuts to prevent scarring and to bruises to help them heal. Some teas can give the drinker more energy for a time or enable a restful sleep that aids the body in recovery. Do herbs cure everything by themselves? No. They merely assist the body in its natural course." Her eyes lock with his as she continues. "Its the human nature and the nature of the body to want to survive and I find healing herbs help augment that nature however past a certain point when the body can no longer fight properly herbs can only be used to ease ones pain before…the will and ability to fight the ailment has to naturally be present."

"Many people fancy me. Usually the ones that know nothing of me. Or the ones that know enough to think they can change me. Though I suppose there are the occasional exceptions, but they're rare and few between. And inevitably fail like the rest." Arsène replies to Jacqueline, waving such fancies aside. Vira's mention of outlandish ideas is ignored. Whether her subsequent stare is noticed or not is hard to say, the nobleman shows no sign of having done so, yet his amusement only seems to grow. "Mm… Interesting. Truly, I'll have to pursue this conversation with you another time, for I've to take my leave. It seems the guards have finally figured out the basic principles of following a trail of blood. Doll-maker, cousin, a pleasant evening to you both." he smiles charmingly, and with no further ado, takes his leave.

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