(1311-02-01) Foreign Customs
Summary: A chance meeting of two foreigners in Marsilikos
RL Date: Sat Feb 02, 1311
Related: None
farah tancred 

Jardins d'Eisheth — Marsilikos

Tranquility and beauty of nature is what those coming to the gardens of Eisheth usually seek. There is a playfulness in the arrangement of paths through the greenery, and the way four of them wind to the center, where there is a pond surrounded by a few elm trees, beside an area with wooden benches and tables beneath an arbor, where ivy winds about wooden posts, and a roof of colorfully glazed tiles offers shelter from the sun but also moderate rain.

Bushes are trimmed, and the green is kept short, so that people coming here can enjoy the dramatic view over the coast all the way to the sea, with the harbor and the citadel slightly to the north. Slightly towards the south and close by is the infirmary with the herb garden beside, where a variety of plants used for healing and treating certain illness are grown under the immaculate care of the healers. Towards the east, a path leads towards the temple district, where the dominant structure of the Temple of Eisheth looms, the white marble shimmering almost otherwordly on late afternoons, when it catches the warm, orange light of the setting sun.


It is afternoon, moving towards early evening. The winter chill has managed to bring forth an ethereal beauty in the gardens of Eisheth, twigs and branches of the trees dusted white from recent snowfall. And white is the snow that hides away the green that is usually to be found here, during the other seasons of the year. It may be a sight, Farah is not used to. The woman seems quite the contrast, in that dark hooded cloak she wears. Insets of fox pelts show her to be someone wealthy, or at least of standing. Her features that are visible, are of a slightly foreign, duskier complexion, even if there is that certain quality of d'Angeline beauty. Her feet are outfitted as befits the winter chill, in warm boots.

She is not alone, in her wake follows a handmaiden and a guard. The latter obviously some of her home country, whereas the maid seems to be from Terre d*Ange.

Another person of lesser status seems to have found himself in the garden for a similar purpose. He's alone, however. Though clad in maille and nasal helm, he only has a woolen cloak - denoting his status - thrown atop to shield from the chill, not that it appears to bother him much. He cuts an impressive, if not terribly wide figure, given his height. He's hard not to notice, even as he has bent to examine some of the bush.

The man of impressive height is noted.

Farah pauses in her steps, eyes widening slightly as she studies the warrior, inhaling a small huff of breath.

The maid places her hand on Farah's arm, as if to reassure her.

The guard wrinkles his brows and straightens, pulling himself up to his full height, which may still not be enough to match Tancred's. His hand goes to the pommel of his saber — resting there casually, almost. A guard on his guard, as he should be.

He likely doesn't. Tancred is seven feet of Skaldic blood, though young enough in the face to suggest that there's a bit more filling-out-of-frame to do. Unlike the public perception of his countrymen, he is also clean-shaven. The retainer reaches for his helm to undo the strap, take it off, and bow his head to Farah regardless, eyeing the maid and then the guard - the latter a little longer, assessing threat-for-threat, then greets, "My lady." His d'Angeline is not that rough, but the accent further confirms his origin.

It is the greeting. It does two things. Revealing that the man is of foreign origin, just like Farah herself. Also, it requires the young woman to react in some way. She ponders, electing finally the proper and courteous way. "Good afternoon.", she says. An accent there as well, even if it is just these two words she addresses to him. Holding his gaze for a moment, her chin lifts just so, and she straightens as well, with the confidence of her upbringing. "I am residing in the palace." A gesture in the general direction of the Dome of the Lady. "A guest of Her Grace, the Duchesse." A pause there, and her dark eyes narrow just so, before she adds her introduction. "I am Farah Shamabarsin. Niece to the khalif of Khebbel-im-Akkad."

"I am Tancred." He likely has a last name, even a profession-related one, but he seems to decide he doesn't need to mention it. "I serve House Baphinol." The house's colors are indeed the theme of his clothing, though he wears no surcoat and most of the fabric is covered with maille along with that cloak atop. He moves with ease in the temperature, even given his somewhat lighter layers than Farah. His gaze shifts between the three, then, back on the 'lady'. "You are … a new guest?"

<FS3> Farah rolls Politics-2: Success. (4 5 3 8 1 5)

"Yes, I am." Farah lowers her gaze. "I… arrived some weeks ago, with the Duchesse. From Elua." Tilting her head a little to the side then, she looks up. "House Baphinol? But you are… not from here. Why would you take up service?" There is curiosity in her eyes. Even as she cannot help but shiver a little, from temperatures she obviously is not used to.

"It is a tale of length," Tancred elects to answer after a pregnant pause, expression not shifting much, "It is best over wine." He shakes his head just slightly, and though his enunciation is awkward, he does not seem uncomfortable with conversing with someone above his station. Comes with the job, after all. "The Baroness hired me and is having me trained to ride."

"Is it?" Farah smiles faintly, and her gaze flickers a little, at his suggestion, subtle as it is. A quick glance towards her maid and the guard. Then her eyes meet his gaze again, and she considers. "I see. I don't ride. It has not been necessary for me to be able to." Leaving it at that, she considers further. Looking towards the temple of Eisheth, she bites her lip, and then obviously makes up her mind. "I may like a mug of mulled wine, Monsieur Tancred. But I wonder where I could get some, here in the city."

"I do not think it is that interesting," Tancred voices, either being honest or downplaying it, though it may be a little hard to tell. He fits his nasal helm back onto his head, though keeps it unstrapped and tilted back so there's less obstruction to his face. "There are many places with wine like this, in the snow. I visit those by the port, but they are not of your class. There are some in the market."

"The market?" Farah seems to like the idea, even if her maid gives her a slightly alarmed look. "Is there an inn perhaps, or a tavern?" Her hand keeps the cloak pulled about her, and her faintly dusky skin shows a flush in her cheeks from the chill. "Perhaps you could show me how to get there?" 'Me' meaning 'us', Farah and her small retinue.

"It is a port and a big city. There are many taverns, inns, bordellos, and brothels," Tancred elects to mention in a rather plain voice to Farah. He shrugs once, lifting his head, and begins to turn to look towards the closest exit out of the garden. "I may show you a big inn near the square if you like."

<FS3> Farah rolls Composure: Failure. (2 3 6 3 1 2 3)

The word 'brothel' may have hit a nerve. Farah looks down, and a line appears between her brows, fighting down an expression of distaste or at least needing a moment to regain her composure. "I would prefer… an inn. The one you mention, by the square.", she finally states. Lifting her chin again, she gives Tancred a faint glare. "And we should better get going, before I freeze to death."

"As you wish." Tancred forgoes an apology to make up for it by leading the way - if he even feels bad about it. His steps are brisk, but not so much that Farah-and-company would struggle to keep up, his large hand resting lightly on the pommel of his sword. "Let us be on our way."


Leaping Fish Inn

The Main Room of the Leaping Fish is tidy and well-kept - and warmed by a fire in the hearth to one side on colder days and evenings. An old tapestry depicting a pair of two leaping fish is adorning the opposite wall - a reference to both the ruling House of Mereliot and the name of the inn. The common room has five tables of sturdy oak with chairs and benches, between which two serving maids move to take orders or bring food and beverages. The air is filled with tasty smells of freshly cooked meals, and murmurs of conversation - and occasionally even melodies rippling through the room, when a lute player is around to provide entertainment. The fare is of good quality that even would not disappoint noble tastes.

There are stairs leading upstairs towards a number of comfortable and well kept rooms the inn has to offer.


"Here is the inn." The warmth of the inn's fire is welcome, and it is well-kept and large. Tancred has to duck, but he does keep the door open once he has passed to allow Farah and company passage. Only then does he let it shut, and he meanders over to find them a table near the fire, pulling out seats and waiting for them, as is expected given his duties. "The Leaping Fish. I lived here before I worked for the House."

Farah and her maid and guard follow along, trailing behind Tancred as he leads them to the market promenade. "Thank you," this she offers to the Skaldi as she enters the inn, giving him a fleeting glance as she passes him. As they are greeted with the warm coziness brought about by a fire in the hearth, Farah unclasps her cloak and leaves it for the maid to deal with, revealing what she wears below. A dress of dark violet, styled in the manner a d'Angeline lady would wear. Long sleeves and a bodice tied to shape her slender figure, neckline tasteful and yet promising, skirts long and rustling faintly as she turns to regard the table Tancred has chosen for them. Her dark hair has been done in d'Angeline courtly fashion, whirled into a knot, with several hair pins keeping it in place. Hearing his explanation, she sits down on one of the seats he offers, nodding her head. "I see." She gives the interior an appraising glance. "This seems to be a comfortable place to live." Nevermind the slightly haughty tinge of her tone.

"It is better than what came before." Tancred lays his helmet upon the tabletop, seating himself once Farah has gotten settled, briefly looking over the choice of dress, although his eyes don't linger long enough to be inappropriate. He looks at the fire, then raises a hand to call attention of a server. "Those styles of dress are not so good for this weather. It is worse in the north."

Despite the slightly haughty facade, Farah tries to adopt, she catches Tancred's remark and gives him a slightly inquiring look, as if she were eager to hear this rather vague statement explained. Her maid draws one of the chairs further away from the table, sitting down then at a distance that could inspire the illusion of her not overhearing them. The guard, for his part, takes position at the wall, not too far away.

"This dress here?" Farah looks down, shaking her head ever so slightly. "It is not what I am used to wear, but what is expected. So… the north. This is where you come from?"

"I am a daytaler before. I have slept in tents and barns. It comes with the trade." Tancred reveals without any trace of shame and a glance up towards the stairs. Once the server arrives, he places his order of "Soup and ale," but he first waits for Farah to do so as he leans back in his chair. Of local fashions, he argues, "They are more open here about clothes. I have seen many go about in little or nothing. I am curious," he adds, "It is odd in the rest of the world, but in this land they love freely. It is their worship."

"So I hear."

While Farah had merely nodded at Tancred's explanations about his previous life as a daytaler, his next statements about clothing and local customs manage to bring a slightly awkward rosiness to her cheeks. "I am to learn the customs of Terre d'Ange," she continues. "And yet… I think this is an odd concept. That's why I was heading for the temples. To find someone… a priest or priestess that can make me understand the deeper meaning beneath this sort of… worship."

"I do not share their kind of worship, but their custom is not unpleasant," Tancred dips his head, food arriving soon enough, though it's mere soup so he can slurp it up as he converses, washed down with ale - both liquid. He smacks his lips together and observes to Farah, "I think you will find it in the Temple of Naamah. They also have baths. I have not visited them, but I know where it is. I see courtesans and priests and they have told me things."

"Courtesans…" Farah echoes that word thoughtfully. "I came across a courtesan at the palace." She receives a mug of mulled wine, her maid had gotten for her, warming her hands as she holds it with her fingers wrapped about it. "There are… salons here in Marsilikos? These courtesans seem to be seen in a differing light here, compared to anywhere else in the world."

"They are not prostitutes, or so is the word," Tancred explains in a lower voice, gesturing as he downs the cup of soup, focused now on the ale and releasing this satisfied huff to have his hunger a little pushed back until he gets home. "In other lands, yes. But here it is how they serve. There are normal whores by the port who do not associate with the worship, but they are beneath a noble's attention." He straightens, as if to get ready to depart, but doesn't quite do so yet.

Farah is still not quite done with her mulled wine. In fact, she blows a bit of air over the faintly rippling surface of the steaming beverage, content for now to wait with taking a sip, while her fingers slowly recover from the chill outside. "They are not to be considered whores," she affirms, lifting her brows briefly, "here. But back at home, they would." Seeing Trancred straighten, she leans a bit further back, shoulders touching the backrest. "I believe you have some business to see to?", she wonders lightly. "If so… it has been interesting to meet you, Monsieur Tancred." A dismissal of sorts. Or maybe just her attempt to say something kind to someone she hardly knows.

"I must be back to the house," Tancred confesses, and his empty cup is set down next to the bowl, followed by several small coins that are enough to pay for his share. He rises then with a bow of the head before setting his helmet back on. "If you wish, I will show more next we meet." With that, he straightens out all to bid, "Be well."

Farah nods, taking in the tall figure of Tancred as he moves to stand. "You too," she offers in turn, her gaze following the Baphinol retainer as he departs.

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