(1310-07-12) Of Bards and Duelists
Summary: Old 'friends' meet, and through verbal exchange, truce and even a future gathering is arranged.
RL Date: Thu Jul 12, 1310
Related: None
arsene ligeia 

Basilisque Residence

This is a temporary description.


It is a hot summer day outside, yet it is not to seek refuge from the heat that Arsène steps within the Basilisque Residence. Clad in the dark blue hues of Trevalion, complete with black leather boots and belt, the Vicomte de Dreux remains as darkly stylish as ever, and armed with a longsword. His nature as a duelist is exhibited in more than simply being armed, however, for the way he moves, his walk, is the one of a man confident and in control of his every move. Yet he does not step within with any proprietary attitude, he is a guest, here to inquire with his cousin's intended, possibly. It's not as if he knows many of the Basilisque. Save that bard of theirs, but she's no doubt in some foreign place, having fun, and far, far from Marsilikos. Just another source of entertainment out of his reach.

The weather has allotted retreats within for the vast majority of Basilisque, nobility and those in their employ alike. The occasional sound of footsteps can be heard seeing to some task or another in distant chambers as he enters. The ornate and lavish study Arsene has been led to wait in does not want for quiet - that is until a door opposite from the one he entered slams inwards, the doorknob certain to leave a dent in the plaster of the wall alongside it. With an impish peal of laughter comes sprinting in none other than that Basilisque bardic Lady, chased by a -very- irate looking guard. Her deep emerald, empire-waisted gown has its skirts hiked up with fabric bunched in her hands as long, pale legs race just out of his reach. "It isn't -my- fault you can't take a jest! I thought the ballad…fitting, not in the least bit out of place." She taunts before the guard, seeing Arsene, suddenly snaps to attention and bows a greeting - albeit still red in the face from whatever embarrassment the Lady has caused him. "Whatever are you…oh." Ligeia quirks a brow and blowing a stray curl out of her face, turns to face Arsene. "Someone here to admire the boots of my cousin I suppose…or lick them. Who knows…." her words drift off, dark eyes narrowing before widening just as quickly in recognition. "YOU!" she accuses, dismissing the guard with a pointed snap of her fingers which he quickly, and gladly, obeys.

Arsène watches the entire scene with an amused smirk, an arched brow joining the expression when Ligeia turns her attention to him. "If I wished to thus charm your cousin, I would have brought pastries. From what I've seen, she'd much rather have those than her boots cleaned." he reamrks idly, showing not a hint of offense. He doesn't reveal who he is, though he remembers her face, if not quite her name. When she does… He grins. "The Bardling remembers! Yes, me. Curious to find you here, but I suppose given your cousin's arrival, you were bound to appear eventually. Still getting chased by guards, I see. What did you do this time?"

Her retort is spoken slow, the cadence of when one is instructing a child. "It was an idiom, the implication being to fawn needlessly for approval or gain." Ligeia's acerbic tone is softened by the humored smile playing at the edge of her lips. The cadence follows suit and becomes more casual, rather than corrective. "And an entirely, uneffective way to clean boots to boot. The tongue? It would take ages and I have places to be, people to kick." With an inquisitive glance over him, sizing him up with a single sweep of the eyes, she asks, "Is that what you're here for? Come to get in line for a swift one?" She rolls her eyes. "And yes, the Bardling has a name and yes I remember. How can I forget -you-, the cause of my adventure cut short. You owe me" She points a single, graceful finger at him and then retreats verbally. Momentarily. "The guard's ego is fragile and could not stand a blow in front of the pretty maid." she explains briefly, tone already bored of that brief distraction turned chasing disaster. "What has brought you here? Trying to get me chased out of a town again….Duelist?" She doesn't seem to remember his name either.

"I know, but I thought the idiom so childish that I prefered not to bring further attention upon it, lest you realize the embarassment. But it seems you, once again, are determined to place your foot firmly in that loose mouth of yours." Arsène remarks, his smirk turned to smile. "You? Kick? Please, while you are no doubt mistress of using your tongue, to clean or otherwise, don't pretend you hold a shred of ability of Camlach. It ill becomes you, dear doll." The Bardling's name is waved aside. Unimportant, dismissed. "Hardly the cause. Had I my way, you would have stayed till all entertainment was gone from you. But alas, you had to pack and leave. Scandal upon your family name and so forth. Sad, really." At her question, he laughs. It is not a warm thing, much like his smiles, it is amusement, yes, along with its darker cousin. "While I find utterly adorable that you would think I have come here just for you, Bardling, the truth is that Marsilikos was simply one destination among others that I happened to choose. You have not aroused my interest enough for me to bother with a kingdom-wide chase." Her choice of 'name' does not seem to bother him.

"A good bard can adjust the prose to match the audience." Ligeia quips apathetically. "It is a dainty foot with even daintier lips, do they not make quite the pair? It matches the rest of the visage and I have yet to hear complaint or otherwise." It is then she places a hand over her heart in mockery of being scandalized, the caricature too skilled a performance it might almost convince. "Me clean?! Hardly. It is I who make the messes, leave the cleanup for those who have a care to - physical or emotional wreck, I care not." A tilt of her head and she steps one foot closer. "You do not seem too disheveled, but then again the entertainment of you wore out quickly. That is unless there is more you can offer than just the dribble you stumble over now?" Ligeia's brows raise and her smile blooms, the vulpine curl that seeks the scent of new game.

"Ah, a Lady who thinks herself up to the task. How very novel, I've never seen one who thought her idea of sharp wit would garner any further appeal." Arsène's sarcasm is evident, and no effort is made for performance, he's no need for it. "What you left behind was less a mess, and more unfinished game. Shame you had to take flight, but such is your way, I hear." he shrugs, mockery in every word, every gesture. "I do not aim to be entertainment, Bardling. That is entirely your calling." he adds, taking a step, then another, till he stands in front of her. A distance that might be mistaken for the intimacy of lovers, were they kisses rather than barbs they exchanged. "That I might bore you is no concern of mine, as I would not take heed of the yapping of a puppy at my heels. Bark all you wish, my dear, it amuses me. Bite, and we'll see how long you last." the Vicomte utters with a smile, his voice low, feeling no need for boisterous loudness.

"I do not think, I know. If you truly thought me a bore, novel and trite, you would not still be here speaking of bite." Ligeia's voice finds lilt, a singsong mockery of his assertions. Her eyes lock with his and she…sighs of all things? Content as her cheshire smile remains radiant as ever. No flush of embarrassment graces her cheeks, nor wounded hurt in the wide doe gaze. "The game remains unfinished for we have still to construct the rules. Was it first blood, first tear? First bore? Darling, you do not aim to be entertainment but that is rightly where you have landed. I haven't a care for how well you are with your…" she looks down and gestures vaguely, dismissively. Bored. "..sword." Her gaze finds his again. "You're a game, not a race. I aim to see exactly what hands you have been and can be dealt." Her voice lowers to match his, conspiratorially as she divulges, "You'll have to do better, blows to my looks and and talent of tongue will not find purchase nor wound."

"My, but you've grown dull. You try for a hit, yet leave yourself open to the very same? My dear, it takes two to talk. If you remain, the same can be said of you." Arsène shakes his head, as if deeply disappointed. Almost mournful. "Rules? Till one yields, little doll. First blood, first tear, first bore, all too easy. I've no interest in such stakes, if you can keep up." The comment of sword is ignored, his focus instead on the following words. Ones that cause him to smile. "By all means. Sit down, take the cards, make your bets. We'll see how long you remain in the seat." he smiles, and grins at her last. "Shall I put your worth in question next? Remark on your general uselessness? But that would be a lie, my dear Bardling. You amuse, for a time. Yet even now, it fades. What has happened, to make you lose all edge?"

"How very astute of you, why -yes- it does! It does take two to talk." Ligeia laughs brightly, clapping her hands together once with her amusement. "But if I remain does that reveal a masochistic streak? Can the same be said for you? Do we both play at sadist and masochist, simply switching between?" The rules set, she extends a hand to shake and seal the deal. "But just as we play at such roles, this is how you play at danger is it not? This is the most, the best you can do? Duels of sword and of tongue? A privileged life of duty rather than destruction, so while you are tied to the former you can only play at the latter. You will not go to war, will not revel in its…" the bard's euphonic voice lowers even further, a purr of syllables to make the sentiment all the more delectable for her own silver palette. "…delicious destruction, see its gory glories." Her voice returns to the soft tones of before. "Unproven as you are, I daresay you are not in a place capable of judging my worth, nevertheless not having a place in my songs either."

"Ah, another one. Is that all you are in the end? Another would-be Mandrake thinking she can wield knife and whip against me?" And indeed, the disinterest is not faked as the amusement fades from his face and eyes. He even turns to walk away, taking the first few steps, when she speaks of war and destruction. And his steps? Pause. His back is to her, and for a moment, how he might react, what he might do, is unclear. Will he keep walking silently? Will he turn and shoot back? Or will he draw his sword in wrath and run her through, and damn the consequences? Yet in the end, none of the choices are taken, and instead laughter is heard from de Trevalion. Laughter where glee, triumph, eagerness and even, oddly, pride, are heard. "Perhaps not after all. A well aimed blow at long last." He glances back to her, black gaze meeting her own. "You made me angry. Not so much as to need to prove myself with your corpse at my feet, but angry nonetheless. Bravo. Only the second one in recent memory, and the first stumbled upon it by mistake."

"Knives and whips bore me. They are the tools for those who have no subtlety, no tact. No talent." Ligeia opines with a haughty smirk. She does not move to give chase nor frown at what appears to be momentarily failure. When he turns to face her again it is only unadulterated, impish and twisted glee writ across her beautiful features. The porcelain doll facade has cracked, allowing the Duelist a glimpse of the cruel Bardling NO beneath once again. Therein lies the game they started and never finished so long ago. "Is your anger my only prize? Are you yielding already? Accolades are apropos, but this was no stumble. No mistake. Are certain as you may wield that sword, I wield my tongue. Have no doubts that I will find my mark again." she warns fairly.

*As certain as you may wield that sword

"A good touch may be saluted in an opponent without the duel, or game, yielded. Do not mistake appreciation for capitulation, dear Bardling. This was no killing blow, and targeting the same shall offer you nothing." Arsène answers, smiling. "And it seems it was not done without showing your hand. Not a Mandrake, but something closer to myself. Odd, I did not imagine there were many. How did you become such, I wonder. Birth or life? Mmm…" he muses, watching her curiously, as one would study a particular beast.

"A turned back is easily mistaken for capitulation, dear Duelist. You could have played it off, shielded the anger but you let it show. A riposte even, a deflection to trick me into a weaker attack my next go around? Lead me into playing the role of a fool?" Ligeia suddenly finds some dirt under her nails very interesting, staring down at her raised right hand with a quirked brow. She pauses pensively until her inspection is done and looking back up at him, continues. "Your weakness was the reaction, not the retort. I could answer your questiong but I wager that you would rather play at the answer yourself? Was it cage or freedom that allowed me to roam so? To resent or relish, did I do this out of anger or pleasure? Or is my pleasure in anger?" She leans back against the closest table of the study, pale fingers curling about the surface's edge as her backside only half-sits. A repose, but only partially so. Her sharp eyes betray how on alert she is, contradicting the lackadaisical lounge. "Would me, Duelist. If you're good I'll return the favor, but you have to earn my barb."

*Wound me, Duelist.

"Contrarily to duels of the sword, the ones of tongues is one I am free, and happy, to walk away from when one reveals to be boring. And you, Bardling, are boring me. I recognize enough of me in you to know what you crave, enough to know what you want. And you are a complete and utter fool, through no effort of my own, if you think I would then give you what you want. Say whatever you wish, spin your webs however long you might want, but you showed your hand. Best find another tool, lest it breaks." As to wounding her, he rolls his eyes. "Again, you make the mistake that I care. Enough to bother with remembering you beyond the brief amusement you offered. Enough that I might somehow be moved to act at the thought of proving worthy to… what exactly? A bard, the likes of which the Night Court produces in quantity every generation? A fly may annoy the lion, but in the end, it remains a fly." And he shrugs, unconcerned.

"To walk yet still to remain here, standing. The feet began but the laughter and admittance of anger stayed them." Ligeia begins, a distinct tightening in her jaw as anger is riled. For all the brimstone and ash in her gaze, there is a brief, cold laugh at his expense - her own as well. "Now you have my anger and my nod, but the praise shall halt there for I find you fitting of no more. There is nothing to prove, nothing of worth. 'Tis nothing more than a caged beast for us to look at as it prances, as it performs. You lack many things, but never the cage. You can snarl and snap as you wish but for all the destruction you may seek, it will never rust your shackles. A caged lion may roar, but in the end it is still caged. I don't need to best you, only simply walk to the end of your limited leash. You can't break me." she remarks defiantly, tilting her chin up to look down at her nose at him in silent challenge now.

"Caged? Perhaps. Yet you err, if you think us similar in that regard. I do not perform for others. I do not crave the attention, my amusement a private thing that I find no special appeal in sharing. Err again, if you think duels to be a show for me. They are a distraction, one to whom I favour true battle, but alas, too few in lands at peace, once bandits have been exterminated." And indeed, he does not speak metaphorically. His tone makes it clear, he's gone past first blood more than once. And then she speaks of his leash, and how easily it might trap him. And he smiles with mirth. "And I, merely walk out of this room, and your difference be answered with indifferent silence. We seem to be at an impasse."

"All perform and all are judged. I was simply wise enough to see it and make a talent, a strategim out of it. If your actions were to displease then your performance could be cut short, but is that why you aim to displease? To break and destroy? Do you want the role and your current performance to be redefined, to end and start anew?" Ligeia muses, her lilt now more inquiry than on the offensive. "I'll simply have to find another way to cage you then, another leash. Do you play cards, my darling Duelist? Indulge me in a gamble and a tale of one of your broken things." The bard asks for a tale, go figure.

"What lion desires the leash?" Arsène arches a brow. "You have the answer already, who'd want such an ill-fitting role?" the nobleman answers directly, without artifice nor mockery. He moves to lean against the wall, his posture casual, though not necessarily disrespectful. A truce of sorts. Though at her talk of cage and leash, he chuckles. "You almost make it sound like marriage." he points out, amused, though far from serious. He knows better. "I do. Though I fear I cannot stay long enough to play a good game. Perhaps when we next meet. And then you might have your tale, though I expect you can find a dozen. It's not as if the stories did not repeat themselves, after a time. Perhaps you've lived the same, with those who would seduce you." he shrugs, and leaves the wall he'd been leaning on to walk towards the door. "A tale for a tale, we can organize something fun."

It is near comical how quickly her eyes widen at even the word, or threat, of the responsibility of marriage. Ligeia's lips even start to curl into a sneer of revulsion before she catches herself and recomposes, a single nod of agreement. "No lion desires the leash, no. Fine. Here at the very least you'll not have to carry a concern for it. There is no fun in leashing you. I'd much rather relish the full extent of your cruelty. Who knows, you may get me chased out of town and the title I don't want?" She laughs brightly and waves a hand dismissively. "Fine, cards another time. It is perhaps too early for me to take your wealth just yet. Another time then, tales for tales. Webs for webs, two spiders comparing flies."

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