(1310-08-30) No Introductions
Summary: …are given, when Isabelle rides to Cabries to receive a delivery.
RL Date: 30/08/2018
Related: Thy Will Be Done
isabelle esekiel_npc 

Cabriès — Eisande

The village of Cabriès is located on the rising terrain of a hill amidst the forest to the North of Marsilikos, halfway in fact along the road that leads to Aix. A road branches off there, leading up towards the center, flanked by a number of smaller houses. There is an inn, La Grenouille, but only few people will be encountered here at this hour. It is early afternoon. Most villagers seem to be out and busy with their daily chores.

The innkeep is a man in his mid-forties, busy currently with wiping off a few tables with a damp cloth while humming a low little tune to himself.


Before arriving in Cabries, Isabelle de Valais had left specific instructions to the group of half-a-dozen guards that she has brought with her, all dressed differently with no distinguishing marks that would denote them as belonging to a particular house. If nothing else, they looked nothing more than traveling adventurers and they do not arrive at the same time. One by one they take their positions around Le Grenouille's perimeter, with two of them entering the inn themselves at different times, ordering different things.

It's only when they're positioned that Isabelle herself arrives, clad in a dark, forest-green coat with an oversized hood, and a black scarf that is wrapped around her neck and pulled up to obscure the lower half of her face. Nothing of her signature finery or unique designs mark her out today; her coat is worn and with little embellishment, her trousers are leather, snug on her legs and bearing the signs of wear and tear - enough to make them comfortable, but little else, tucked in high boots with modest heels. Gloves are on her hands, and she wears no visible armaments, not even a sword, though she is certainly not without protection upon her person - there is a dagger in a sheath at the small of her back, and another hidden in the high hem of her left boot.

Eyes sweep in the interior of the inn, making note of the innkeeper and where the two guards inside have positioned themselves, waiting for whatever libations or food they have tasked the proprietor to bring them. It is largely empty, given the hour.

She approaches the innkeeper with quick, confident strides. "Good day, monsieur," she murmurs. "If I could trouble you with a question?"


Foreign faces would be a common sight in Cabriès, given that a lot of people travelling between the cities would elect to stay here overnight, at La Grenouille. And so Isabelle's men, unobtrusively clad as they are, will not draw very much the eye. Were it not, that it is still comparatively early in the day, for travellers to seek out the inn.

The innkeep is quick to provide those arriving with food and drink. There is some of the local wine, of course, rather modest fare, and bread and cheese to go along with it. When Isabelle steps into the common room of the inn, the man approaches her more reverently. Her posture and attire will clearly give her away of not being of common origin. "Good day, my lady, and welcome to La Grenouille! What can I serve you?" He raises his brows at the question, before he replies with a smile, "What is it that you want to know?"


Her posture she keeps, even if she has eschewed her usual finery today. These are all deliberate, for when the innkeeper approaches her, she smiles through the scarf covering half her face, and lowers her lashes to make her appear slightly embarrassed. She feigns nervousness when she looks at the sparsely populated interior of the room, before taking several steps closer to the innkeeper and lowers her voice further.

"I'm supposed to meet my paramour here in Cabries, but it's only now that I managed to get away from my minders," Isabelle whispers. "They do not approve, so I implore you, good monsieur, whether you know of a stranger that settled here in this village in the last few days? Perhaps a guest here, or taken room and board in some of the private residences? He must be waiting for me, and I would feel so dreadfully forlorn if I somehow missed him."

According to the missive she received, the informant was male - gender, location and purpose are the only things she has to go by. She will have to improvise on the rest.

<FS3> Isabelle rolls Perception: Success. (4 6 3 4 6 4 7 3)


The innkeep has resumed his place behind the counter, after shooing a young lass out to serve the wine and food to the current patrons of the inn, scattered as they are. Isabella might note, however, that the serving girl slows her steps just so in the moment the lady addresses her story to the innkeep. The man gives Isabelle a glance, and it is far from judgmental of course, but not without a hint of amused empathy. "My lady. There are no guests currently at the inn. Our guests stay one night and then move on, come morning."


"Ah, a pity. Then perhaps he has left." Isabelle takes a deep breath. "Still it was a long ride, and I'm famished. I hope you will not mind me imposing upon your hospitality further, monsieur, and have a brief repast before I return to my minders." She dips her head to him at that, and once the innkeeper has moved onto his business, she moves further towards the inn's common room, to take a seat at one of the tables, and lifts a hand to flag down the serving girl that the man has entreated to go see to the patrons.

While she waits for the serving girl to tend to her, she withdraws a small pouch from the interior of her coat, to loosen the drawstring and let her fingers slip within it, to draw out a pair of gold coins, and a small, but pretty jeweled pin. She rolls it between her fingers in absent thought.


"We have bread and fine cheese, m'lady," the innkeep assures, rubbing his hands as he considers. "Ah. Some fruit? I can bring you a bowl of fruit as well. Wine. From Cabriès. Three years old. Only the best for our noble guest," he smiles a toothy grin. He gestures for the lass to come over and hands her a bottle he has stored away somewhere below the counter. A goblet as well. A tilt of his head in the direction of where Isabelle is seated. Oh, that glint of gold did probably not escape his greedy eyes.

Nor has it escaped the attention of the lass. The girl cannot be older than eighteen, blonde hair worn in a braid, dress that of a commoner, skirts and a chemise, somewhat tidy. "Here, m'lady," she says as she pours the goblet for Isabelle. "The best we have." Setting down the bottle on the table, her gaze brushes the coins and the pin that glint from between Isabelle's fingers. She hands the goblet over to the lady, and then seems ready to depart to get the rest.


"That would be lovely, thank you," Isabelle says, ever gracious, though she does nothing to pull the scarf from her face at the present moment, or even remove her coat and its hood. Once she has settled in her seat, she sets the bottle in front of her as well as the goblet and waits to be served.

Her quarry arrives, and after the wine is poured, she reaches for it, closing her fingers around the young lady's own in what seems to be an accidental grasp. "My thanks, mademoiselle." A shift of her eyes moves towards the innkeeper where he mans the counter, before regarding the young woman before her.

"I pose you the question I asked your employer earlier," she murmurs, her other hand setting the pin down on the table, tapping it lightly. Fashioned from yellow gold, it is a small miniature of a rose, with emeralds for leaves and rubies for blossoms. "Would you by any chance have heard word about a stranger who has settled here in Cabries a few days past? He and I have a quiet rendezvous to get to." She slowly retracts the goblet. "You can be assured that I miss him terribly enough to be generous."


The serving girl looks down at her hand that has been caught by the lady's own, and for a moment she looks a little bewildered. A fleeting impression though. When her overall expression shifts into another cast, of curiosity and also a hint of concern. Then, her head moves in a faint nod, eyes alight as the pointedly shift towards the innkeep. "Yes, m'lady. But he's not here. He's staying at a house down by the forest," the girl murmurs, using the pretense of pouring a few drops more of the wine into Isabelle's goblet as an excuse to lean a bit more in to the lady. "He has asked me to keep an eye out for someone looking for him," she adds.


"I am that someone," Isabelle confirms quietly, and once the wine is poured into her glass, she surreptitiously pushes the pin towards her. "Thank you for your assistance on this matter, I will not forget it. What is your name, mademoiselle?"

She will wait until the serving girl gives it. "Do you know his name and what he looks like?" she continues quietly. "For verification, of course." Raising her voice just slightly, enough to be heard by the innkeeper. "The wine is excellent, mademoiselle. If you would be so kind as to fetch me some bread, cheese and a bit of fruit, I would be very grateful. Though only very small portions, please. I do have a long ride ahead of me."


The girl looks towards the pin, Isabelle slides over to her. "Yvette, Madame," she murmurs. "I don't know his name. But he is handsome," she blushes a little. "He has dark hair… and a scar, about here," she lifts a finger and tips it to the area between her upper lip and her nose. "He already paid me." She blinks as she slides the pin back over to Isabelle. "I can show you where it is. Later." The last said in a whisper, before she curtseys and leaves for the kitchen.

"It does not take long before she returns, with a bowl of grapes, bread and cheese. "Do you need anything else?", Yvette asks.


Handsome, she says, and in that singular description coupled by the blush, it is suddenly apparent to the ducal agent just how the mysterious informant managed to get Mademoiselle Yvette to do this favor for her. If nothing else, it speaks of someone well versed in tradecraft similar to her own. Isabelle closes her fingers over the pin when it is returned to her, and a slight nod of her head is her acknowledgment regarding her determination to be her guide to the meeting place by the forest. "I'll meet you in the back of the inn."

She waits for her food, and her eyes smile above her scarf. "A fine platter you have arranged for me, mademoiselle. Thank you, that'll be all."

With Yvette summarily dismissed, there's a glance at the guards posing as the other patrons in the room. As she takes her time with the meal, cheese and wine, drawing down her scarf and bending her hooded head over her small meal, one of her covert companions leaves, followed by another. By the time she has had a few small bites of the offerings on the table, not finishing it - typical of ladies - she sets the appropriate coinage on the table before rising to depart from the common room herself, drawing her scarf back up to obscure the lower half of her face. She exits the premises, to spend some time acquainting herself with the nearby vicinity of the village - and give the serving girl time to do her job before it is time to meet.

Whenever it is time for Yvette to lead the way, she is waiting at the back, just as she said, emerging from behind the tree once she hears the servant's door open.


Yvette appears, ready to lead the way. The hour is meanwhile heading towards late afternoon, the weather is pleasant. The girl leads Isabelle down the hill to where the village ends and the forest begins. "It is not far," Yvette murmurs, before she chooses a path further into the green of trees, following a brook of sorts until they arrive in a clearing. The house that appears to be in the middle of that clearing looks far less well-kept. Truth be told, it looks very much abandoned. The roof is in need of repair in places. Somewhere at the back, the low snort of a horse can be heard.


By all rights, it would appear that they are alone - but they aren't. Her guards are on her tail, and her ears prick at the unmistakable sound of a horse in the premises. "You did well, Yvette. Thank you. I can find my way from here." Isabelle eases away from the serving girl, inclining her head over her shoulder at her. "Best get back to Le Grenouille before your employer thinks he's lost you."

And with that, she strides towards the ramshackle house in the middle of the clearing, taking in the state of the house. It would have to be abandoned, if whoever she is meeting intends to commandeer a piece of property in a small village like Cabries, where everyone knows everyone else, and strangers would be noted no matter how many pass through.

She opts for the direct approach - she will have to trust that the guards are keeping an eye on her, regardless of their own subtle positions in the woods. A gloved hand lifts to rap lightly on the door.

"Your message was received," she tells the wooden appendage quietly.


"Indeed?" The voice comes from awfully close behind that door, as if the one it belongs to had been waiting, or at least noted their approach. It is a low baritone, and in that one word the trained ear might already note the cultivated air of a noble.

The door is opened, and standing there in the doorframe is a man in his mid-thirties, dark moderately short hair framing a face of d'Angeline pleasant looks. His eyes are light blue, brightening as they land their gaze upon the pleasant sight that must be Isabelle de Valais. The smile that appears on his features reveals the blemish upon his upper lip, a scar, and his gaze is both appreciative and assessing as he takes in her appearance. "Who sends you?", the man murmurs, gaze flicking from Isabelle to Yvette, a nod offered to the departing commoner lass, before his attention is back on the woman who knocked at the door.


It must be her air, or her eyes - dark save for motes of gold surrounding each pupil like shattered beams of sunlight. With the door opened, long legs and their businesslike stride takes her within the confines of the seemingly abandoned property, closing the door decidedly behind her. Any lady would balk - she does not know this man, save the fact that he is cautious and practiced enough in these situations to know what he should risk and what he shouldn't. It makes him dangerous, despite his affable smile.

Isabelle draws down her hood, loose midnight curls framing her face from the bind pinning the rest to the back of her head, fingers curling into her scarf to pull down her scarf and let it hang around her neck. "A mutual acquaintance, who happens to live in a gleaming white palace with a gilded roof." She inclines her head at him. "I was informed you sent her a message about an item to be delivered?"


The dark-haired nobleman steps aside, as Isabelle moves to enter. A flicker of his gaze, as he looks outside, before the vision is barred by a closing door.

The interior of the house seems to be in a similar state, a little worn. Somewhat tidied up in places, with a little dust here and there. The furniture is of the simple, functional kind.

Her reply seems to put him somewhat at ease, if one can tell from the exhale through his nose. "Very fine then. I have the item here. It has been quiet in the last days, so I don't suppose…" He breaks off, glancing at Isabelle curiously. "I would offer you some wine. But I doubt it is common to exchange introductions in these situations. Nor to share any stories." His eyes narrow a little. "Just see to it, that this here," he pulls out a folded piece of parchment, "reaches my relative safely."


"The less we know about one another, the better off we usually are. Though aristocratic circles are rather small, and I'm certain this will not be the last time we'll encounter one another again. Most likely we'll be introduced formally and when that happens…" Isabelle's lips quirk upwards faintly in a smile, the devil's own mischief in her eyes. "I'll do my best to feign absolute surprise."

An elegant, gloved hand and its long fingers lift to take the parchment from him. She doesn't look at it as she slips it securely within the hidden pocket of her coat. "I understand that your kin is under protection. I'll do my best to get it there." There's a quiet, assessing look levied on the side of the man's handsome profile. "I was going to ask you why you couldn't have just delivered this yourself, but your words are indicative enough that you're not exactly an uninterested party. I take it there are others keeping eyes and ears open for your presence in Marsilikos?"


Her remark about a potential future introduction causes a grin to twist the nobleman's features. "Oh…" His gaze shifts towards one of the windows, "I am not of these parts, my lady." The accent may be faint, perhaps deliberately kept that way, but… Isabelle would certainly notice it as Kusheline. "I've been to the Dome. It's been some months. Just… tell her I'm alright. I'll go back home and make sure I'll stay out of any trouble." A faint roll of his eyes there, as he lets go of the letter, for Isabelle to stow away. "I hope you came not on your own. I ran into some… complications, ever since I acquired this letter. But as I said. Perhaps they will keep to my trail, which should make your return all the safer."


"Are you not?" Isabelle watches him for a moment, her scrutiny one of quiet, but weighty assessment. It is brief, banished by the slightest smile. "A pity, that, but I suppose Time will have to decide whether geography or my personal experience in these matters will win out on this little wager." There's a glance out at one of the windows - she, herself, has taken care to stay close to the door, and away from such viewing surfaces. A hand reaches up to pull her hood over her head.

Word about complications has her sighing. "That's the inconvenient thing about the best laid plans," she tells him. "Hardly ever a one goes according to what is hammered out. If I were given a choice between tactical acumen and prodigious adaptability, I'd choose the latter over the former any day. If said complications head my way, I'll simply have to move along with it the best I can." She draws the scarf back over the lower half of her face.

"Safe travels then, my lord. It wouldn't do for darkness to catch us here, the both of us should leave Cabries as soon as we're able." And with that, if there is nothing else, she'll open the door once again, and step outside - to rendezvous with her guards and Guillermo, and take the horses back two hours east from the village.

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