(1310-07-15) A Meeting in the Market
Summary: Ophelia, Arsène and Ligeia meet at the market and nice, pleasant discussion follows. No really.
RL Date: Sun Jul 15, 1310
Related: None.
ligeia arsene ophelia 

Market Promenade

Two massive promenades, separated by a narrow row of alternating planters and plinths supporting marble statues from all over the known world, make up a marketplace that extends in a narrow space far to the north of the grand plaza to the south. Each walkway is two two-meter marble slabs wide, one gleaming white, the other greyish-blue, and they alternate to and fro in coloration all the way down each promenade, their intersections marked with a series of equal-armed crosses in shimmering black stone. While there is plenty of space for vendors to set up ad-hoc establishments to hawk their wares, to each side of the double promenade are stoa of fluted marble, holding up a terra-cotta tiled roof over a shady, cool walkway, punctuated here and there with doorways and windows open to a long series of indoor shops, each marked with a hanging sign outside the door.%r%rEvery twenty meters or so, five stairs lift the level of the promenade as the marketplace works its way uphill, to a smaller plaza at the northern end where all the most exclusive and expensive shops are established. This smaller plaza also has an obelisk of red granite in the middle; it's shorter, and more slender, but when the change in elevation is taken into account, its tip is at the exact same height as the massive obelisk in the town square to the south.


Ligeia arrives from the Grand Plaza.

Ligeia has arrived.

There's been a break in the weather, the drizzle that has been coming down on and of throughout the day cleared up, temporarily, and thus the main part of the market sees a sudden rush in traffic as people scurry from one spot to another. At least some of them do. Ophelia might be incapable of it. The unwary soul might mistake her for some young Kusheline woman out at the market, elegant in a gown of rainsoaked grey, murky blue, and golden thread. The platinum length of her hair is braided but left otherwise loose, draped over one shoulder, carrying the theme of blue and gold in a wrap of ribbons and fine golden chains, and she protects herself from sun and rain both with an old silk parasol, lace-trimmed but probably lethally tipped. She is under escort, a guard in the colors of Rose Sauvage in tow, because angels forbid someone attempt to hurt the thorn. The Burning Rose is shopping, but probably not for ribbons and pastries. Under the bored expression, her gaze is sharp, skimming individual elements of the crowd as she makes her way from one shop to the next.

Arsène is likewise out shopping, clad in the dark blue hues of Trevalion, a shoulder cape the notable addition to his otherwise standard style. Armed, of course, and accompanied by the guard that more often serves as his second than he does actual protector. But such is one's fate when attached to the Vicomte de Dreux. He wanders among the various shops, his eyes upon the wares of weaponsmiths, local or exotic, for the rare pearl. It is as he leaves one such shop that he sees Ophelia, and smiles. "Ah, the Burning Rose. Here for the latest in accelerant, or are you perhaps looking to expand your collection of sharp implements?" he asks, as way of greetings. Apparently, to outsider eyes, they seem to have met before.

The weather has been no deterrent to Ligeia, in fact she seems to relish the dreary rain for her usual hair covering is gone to leave her dark locks exposed to the elements. A black silk ribbon keeps it half up, half down and pulled back from her pale face with features set in an expression of the utmost determination. The mission today? It probably has something to do with her guard who has been tasked with hauling along her lyre, the Lady snaking her way between stalls and being finicky as she compares the quality of strings. Nothing seems to suit and she is left vexed, obviously so as her search brings her walking past the pair on the way to the next stall. The Basilisque pauses mid-stride, a serpentine smile paired with a quirk of a brow to greet them. "Why, if it isn't the Duelist? Though I do not know the other." She pauses and smoothes out the skirt of her black gown, its fitted bodice embroidered richly with faint gray but otherwise modesty is maintained through its voluminous skirts and belled sleeves.

A sliver of that boredom sublimates. Or perhaps the sun has shifted, some of the clouds cleared up. Ophelia is not brighter; she is already brilliant, blade sharp, as evidenced by the way her gaze narrows down to blue razors upon spotting the vicomte. "Something of that nature. I have found it to be advantageous to be opportunistic, and the salon waxes dull betimes." There is no smile for him. Nor for the Basilisque who happens upon them, who is after a breath the recipient of this same broken bottle glass attention. She examines the other woman with passing little expression, as if to decide what to make of her before picking a demeanor other than porcelain calm. "You are acquainted with the Lord Trevalion? My condolences." Her voice is velvety. Soft, a little smokey, which does nothing to disguise the garrote of sarcasm twisted around the words. "I am Ophelia Shahrizai nó Rose Sauvage."

"Quite. A port city certainly has its advantages, when it comes to foreign trade. I've not yet been disappointed by the blades on offer." Because of course Arsène would be focused on that. Does anyone expect him to have anything else on his mind than swords? preposterous. And then Ligeia arrives, and his attention shifts to her. "Bardling. Have you not spent time at the Rose Sauvage? Or perhaps you two simply missed each other." He motions to Ophelia as she makes her own presentations. "And this is Lady Ligeia de Basilisque, bard, with a tongue she likes to keep as sharp as any blade. I'm sure you two will get along just fine." he smirks. The remark of condolences apparently ony amuse him.

"Condolences are appropriate given the vapid nature of his acquintance." The Lady agrees with a nod to the Thorn. "I am Ligeia de Basilisque, or Bardling as our thoroughly original companion has coined." A pale hand waves vaguely in Arsene's general direction. "Actually, I have just today visisted the Rose Sauvage and shared the company of Evangeline. Sadly, a blight on the meeting was some Lord that thought an appropriate manner of greeting was a slobbered kiss on the hand of each poor woman within the vicinity." She tightens her jaw and her nose crinkles in unmasked disgust. "A bath was pertinent to follow once I departed. But, another sharp tongue? Splendid. Are you as good of sport as he?" she compliments Arsene in her own fashion.

Something about Arsene's statement has Ophelia's attention drawn back to him for a very long moment. It's subtle, the way her head tilts, the way it almost colors her expression beyond that default coolness. After a moment she allows, "I prefer d'Angeline craftsmanship. The Rose Sauvage has a very short list of mastersmiths that craft our instruments for us." But Ligeia offers a different element, and possibly an easier conversation, and she is the one that finally wins an expression. Specifically a slight curl of her mouth into what is almost a smile. "I hope you do not think ill of the house for that. Alas, we seem to have had a blight of ill-mannered lordlings come through our doors of late. They slobber, they drool, they simper, they lose their tempers and break things like children who have been told they cannot have a sweet. Am I as good a sport as he?" Again that cool blue stare returns to Arsene. "About the only thing he and I have in common is that we enjoy hurting people."

"There are few who can match d'Angeline quality, yet quality is not the sole criteria for what makes a blade interesting. Or useful, given the right situation." Arsène remarks to Ophelia's comment. But like the Burning Rose, his attention shifts to Ligeia and the tale of her woes. "Did you now? How interesting." he smirks, on the subject of the Lord. "By all means, should you take offense at his behaviour, I would be too happy to champion your cause." As to Ophelia's remark, it is ignored, save perhaps for the smirk to fade somewhat. When she speaks of enjoying hurting people, however… "Accurate enough. Or rather, it is those that waste my time that I enjoy hurting most."

"My thoughts are of nothing but approval for the Rose Sauvage thus far." Ligeia allows. "While the lordlings are their own…problem, it is a reflection on them and not the house itself. His offense was that he could not be more offensive than that. He was positively dull, lacking all subtlety and possessing all the depth of a dewdrop." Her dark doe eyes drift slowly to Arsene. "I would almost consider that offer sweet if I did not know how you chomp at the bit for a chance to stab someone. You'd bore of him. Easily. As for the commonalities, then that makes us three? I think my brand differs slightly though."

"Instruments, Lord Trevalion. If the only one you can think of to use is a blade… if the -first- one that you think of, instinctively, is a blade… Ah, there it is. That razor wire of sarcasm twists, becomes what sounds like sympathy. Or like disappointment. Or like mockery. Ophelia smiles at Arsene now but the smile is without humor, without sweetness to temper it. Maybe she takes note of the fading of his smirk. Maybe she absorbs it, as her attention drifts back to Ligeia. "Some favor that look. They think it fetching to have someone like that kneeling on the floor, absorbing every crumb of cutting wit you care to cast down. Some relish being ignored, in fact, which is probably a mercy because some of them have naught behind the eyes but sheep wool."

"Then perhaps it is best I don't, lest I leave him a cripple out of pique. I'm told it's not nice. Granted, the one that claimed such was some Skaldi sellsword." Arsène shrugs dismissively. His attention is taken, however, when a messenger arrives and hands him a letter. Once opened, it reveals both a message, but also a pressed Mandrake flower in way of signature. He reads the letter quite openly, dark gaze moving through till they reach the end. And on his face? A quiet smile, as he considers the flower, and then places it within his jacket. "Now where were we?" he asks, his gaze returning to the two women, and more immediately, Ophelia. "Ah yes, instruments. No, it's rather far from the only one I can think of. The quill, for instance, is a wonderful one." And he grins.

"I shall keep you in mind if I ever the need for a sword and given my history? It may be sooner rather than later." Ligeia leaves Arsene to the reading of his letter to remark to the Thorn. "It is all manners of the same vein, just varying recipients for varying abuses. The spectrum is vast of what can be offered, but my taste is more precise in what I will actively pursue." The bard dances about it, but does not divulge it explicitly. "I did meet the Valerian 'Denise', who was rather adamant that many found her most fetching when she is on her knees. She flitted out as quickly as she flitted in however, so I had not the chance to see if there was anything worth a verbal barb." A beat. "The quill would be my preferred."

"Do you favor Valeriens, then?" Ophelia tilts her head again so that she might study Ligeia anew, head to toe and back again, like some tailor might someone about to be fitted for a new gown. "The Rose is a house of blended canons. None of us is quite like one another in any respect, and I do not say that out of any false sense of modesty. We have different interests, different offerings. Denise is… mmm… flitting, yes. I dare say not worth your darts, if that is indeed what you seek, but." Thin shoulders lift and fall in the laziest of shrugs, as if it is not, at the end of the day, her concern. She looks back at Arsene in time to spot the flower being put into his jacket and her eyes narrow again. "What, do you favor yourself a poet now? As mighty with ink as you are in blood? Angels save us all from men who think themselves clever."

And what does the nobleman do when thus attacked by the pale flower? He laughs. "Dear little Mandrake, I hold no such delusion. My strength lies in the wielding of swords, of that I make no secret. Yet even a swordsman might come to use the quill, as the wordsmith might take up the sword should necessity arise. Or you, 'Burning Rose, who might use flame or whip. I wonder what you'll do, when the unexpected occurs, and neither might save you. Will you scorn other means on principle? One can hardly be the master of all." His attention shifts then to Ligeia, as he adds. "When the quill fails to cow them properly, or instead infuriates them, I'd be happy for the diversion." he nods. "I would even offer you the same, yet I imagine you would prefer to take care of such business yourself, wouldn't you?" he asks Ophelia.

"I favor the company of Thorns, truth be told. I have not the interest of seeking a contract currently, so Denise will have to survive without me. Alas." Ligeia affirms with no lack of a sardonic drawl at the tail end of the sentiment. "And angels save us from the men who would seek to play cunningly coy only to accloy with their clumsy methodology." The bard flexes her long, pale fingers, slowly curling and uncurling them as her jaw tightens at some private thought. Soon she is all smiles again, albeit a venomous one. "I am vain but not vain enough to claim I have strengths I do not. I envy you both that ability with blade, or whip."

"Alas, Lord Trevalion, it is rare that I find anything novel or interesting enough to be so unexpected that I am unprepared to deal with it. As you may possibly have noticed, I am quite adept at improvisation; one need not be the master of every tool if one is canny enough to pay attention to her surroundings." There is an edge in these words as fine as a flechette, hidden under the velvet of Ophelia's tone. It sharpens up a bit more as she goes on. "Unfortunately the few things that temporarily prove novel soon turn ordinary, and thus I am cursed to wander places like this, forever seeking newer, better things." Like Ligeia, perhaps. She takes note of the sardony, the venom, even the flex of fingers. "In truth, my lady, I find those who can at least hold their own with Thorns more interesting, more engaging. Too many are so thin skinned that the moment they are pricked they bleed one thing or another, most of it utterly disappointing. "I imagine there should be no envy. If I were to pick up yonder lyre, I would probably end up using it to bludgeon someone and then all of us would be disappointed."

"Ah yes, the bored teenager who thinks she has seen everything. Why ever does that feel familiar? You can take on the world, for you pay attention. How novel. I wonder what you'll be, twenty years from now. If, of course, you don't set yourself aflame from the sheer boredom of existence in the next… Mm, shall we say six months? Yes, I believe we shall." Arsène replies, smirking. Mocking, or amused, perhaps it is familiar, or perhaps he mocks it because it is." To Ligeia, he shrugs. "It can be learned. I claim neither to be the only one nor the best at what I do. To grab such lofty title invites a most immediate fall. On that matter, I wish my cousin good luck."

"If you were to pick up yonder lyre and proceed to bludgeon someone with it I wouldn't be disappointed. I'd be amused, delighted even. I daresay it would be comical to hear the strings clang as in is snapped in twain over someone's skull. " Ligeia's smile turns cruel, an unsettling shift on the living doll no matter how subtle she may try to make it. "While I have not been blessed with the skill of blade, I do relish its exquisite way of dealing with others. The artwork of the Thorn is very much the same for me. I have no desire to partake, but I can admire." Arsene's offer however gives her pause, dark eyes shifting to meet his. "Is that an offer of lesson? And here I was, utterly convinced you had nothing of value that you could add to my life."

"At least," says Ophelia with striking, sublime gentleness that is almost uncharacteristic for her, "I will have the good sense to put myself out of my misery." Ligeia's commentary is apparently far, far more interesting. "Really?" That may not have been the best thing to say to her, as she takes a few steps toward the man holding the instrument as if she is in fact going to seize it and brain someone with it. Alas, no, she is merely going to inspect it now, albeit from a closer vantage point. "Maybe you should teach him something. Some manners, perhaps," she says, over her shoulder.

Arsène arches a brow at Ligeia, the expression one uses when another has made something exceedinly foolish. "As I've told Reina, you realize of course that training with me implies that I am well within my right to hit you with a blunt sword in the name of practice. Which I will, until you learn to avoid it properly. It is how I learned, and I see no reason to change it. Pain is a most helpful teacher." Let it not be said he gives no warnings. "But if you insist, by all means. I'm told true mastery comes when one teaches another. Even when covering the basics." Ophelia is ignored like the spoiled child she is.

The Basilisque guard luckily has a height advantage over the Thorn. The lyre is lifted up over his head, and dutiful man that he is, he stands there perfectly still. It is only his gaze that darts nervously between Ophelia and then to Ligeia. Oh, the bards narrowed eye look is one he knows and fears all too well.

"Physical anything with you, Duelist, is not altogether appealing to me at the moment. Neither your proverbial or literal blade tickles my fancy. I'm far more interested in the hunt I am still on to find the mark of your skills. Once we have that seen to, then we can talk of lessons. The pain that may follow is of little consequence or concern to me." With a cheshire's grin she tilts her head to regard Ophelia from the corner of her eye. "But would he be as fun had he manners and a guarded tongue?"

Poor guard. He's such an easy target. Ophelia smiles at him, and it is the kind of smile that suggests she is in fact considering trying to retrieve the item. Fortunately for him she evidently decides against it, and after another moment or so turns back toward Ligeia. "In truth, I find that I do not particularly care." The snark is entirely gone, and her amusement over the lyre. Completely vanished, as if it had never been there at all. "If you will excuse me, my lady, I do believe I will continue my shopping. Should you find yourself in need of more engaging company on your next visit to the Rose, inquire and I shall endeavor to make it a rather more memorable occasion."

"Ah yes, the fabled perfect test. Do tell when you find someone, we'll see if they're worth the trouble." Arsène remarks to the Basilisque. "But the hour grows late, and I've other smiths to see. Good luck on your hunt." he adds, before he walks away, back to the shops approaching their closing, and the wares they display.

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