(1311-04-03) Night Patrol
Summary: A sergeant of the city watch has a nightly encounter with the madame of the brothel.
RL Date: 03-05/04/2019
Related: None
jacquet delilah 

Market Promenade — Marsilikos

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.

Every 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.

A spring night, comparatively cool but dry it is. Most of the market promenade is hidden in shadows, with only a few oil lanterns on posts shedding meagre light. It is the hour of those with hidden agenda, while the righteous citizens are all asleep as they should be. A bit hollow is the noise of footfalls, resounding from the facades of the various shops, all closed for the night. And yet, from the determined even gait, one can tell the night watch from the furtive dealings of thieves and cutthroats, so there he comes — cloak of blue, emblazoned with the sigil of the city, a stylized version of the Dome of the Lady in white and yellow, fluttering faintly in the night breeze over an armor of light maille, steps of heavy boots on the cobblestone making sure they will get heard, because here he comes, Sergeant Jacquet of the city watch. A scar is visible on one side of his face, features that have seen battle and are weathered from many years of experiences are that of a man in his early to mid forties. He wears a helmet offering enough vision for him to not be at a disadvantage. A broadsword is stowed away in the scabbard dangling from his belt, and his right hand curls about a spear, while his other holds an oil lantern to light the way.

“Anyone there?”, Jacquet barks, with a voice that matches his looks, gruff and raspy, as his dark eyes scan the darkness about him attentively, and he comes to a halt. Did he just hear something move in the shadows?

A short but tastefully rounded feminine figure comes out from the shadow of one of the empty merchant's stalls. Her hand gently brushes across the wooden wall providing some support. Another hand rubs what seems to be a tired or a bit dizzy head. She rubs it and tangles those very long and very curly dark hair. It's hard to see her features since the foreign woman has a milky chocolate skin. Though, her eyes are glimmering in the night like two stars above the Market Promenade. She pauses to lean against the stall and her lips let out a tired exhalation.

She wears once quite expensive silks but worn for many days by now. But the emerald gown is still kept in a best form. It tightly circles around the woman's forms and the black leather corset squeezes the waist making her chest pop out quite alluringly. Fake but still shiny as if real silver pendant lays on her wide cleavage. A soft voice with a heavy accent speaks out into the night. "That's alright, sir. It's only me. I got slightly dizzy while making my way to L'Amour Méchant," Delilah explains.

His senses are alert, Delilah will be able to see it in the way Jacquet’s stance shifts, from straightened to slightly more flexible, knees bending just a touch, as he lifts the spear off the ground and points it instinctively in the direction of where the woman enters the circle of dim light; light of the lantern he holds a bit higher as he squints into the darkness.

“Who goes there?”

A frown forms on his features as he notes the woman’s attire, so telling of her profession, and perhaps he recognizes her even before she gives him the name of the brothel in the harbour area. The city guard narrows his eyes, keeping his spear pointed towards her for a bit longer. “You’ve no business here,” Jacquet tells her then with a glare. “Not at night.”, he adds, a bit thoughtfully perhaps, after a moment. “Are you alright?”

“Oh, good sir, there is no need to stress…” She waves the man off. “Do you think I have a wish to wander in the market at such an hour? I was merely coming home from a visit.” The woman’s lips curve into a grin. She glances at the light in the man’s hand. Delilah frowns and slides a little bit away, “Do you mind?” Her fingers run in an air suggesting that the man should move the light source away. “My eyes are not used to such a brightness. As I was saying, I felt weak for a moment…”

As if remembering her state, Delilah leans back against the wall again and her legs bend just a little bit making the woman become even more shorter. The touch of annoyance fades from her tone and she softly speaks up again. “Do you have a sip of water by any chance? It should help me quite a bit.” Her gaze briefly wanders into the night, approximately to the direction she has come from but then suddenly she stumbles again. “Oh, I really do not feel well!” She brings her hand to her forehead as if in a dangerous condition to faint in less than a few seconds.

Jacquet notes her gesture, but instead of obliging her, he swings his arm holding the lantern even more in her direction to study her in its light. Nevermind that this seems to annoy her. It is her request for water, however that makes him lower his arm and set down the lantern onto the cobblestone, for a moment, so that he can shift the spear into his left hand and fidget for the waterskin at his belt with the right. Stepping forth in time, as Delilah appears to be a bit wobbly on her feet, he holds out the wineskin for her to take. “There. Drink.”, Jacquet tells her quietly, dark eyes looking even darker now that they are less exposed to the light. “Where were you visiting?” The question seems to come out of nowhere, as if the city guard were trying to keep a conversation going. Only there is that slightly authoritative undertone in his voice, a faint modicum of distrust there, as he assesses her, now from closer proximity.

Delilah rolls her eyes when the man brings that light even closer. She was about to burst out at him but then her feet failed a young Madame and she spilled out her request for a sip instead. At least that saved her from the bright light. Her delicate fingers reach out for the waterskin and she takes a small sip. Not much of an eagerness for the refreshments asked, tho. Then she offers it back to the man and once it is taken, she starts to adjust her own clothes a little bit. “Well… You know, sir… You know very well,” She speaks while doing so. Soon Delilah turns toward the guard and combs her messy curls quite professionally with a few touches of her fingers.

Her lips curl up into a smile. She leans in closer to the guard whom she might have seen now and then around the market or the port. She gives him a wave of one finger, inviting the man to lean down closer to her since she decided that the answer to his question shall be whispered.

Jacquet looks at Delilah and his brows furrow, as he is accepting the waterskin back from the woman. “Do I?”, he asks, one corner of his mouth lifting, but there is little mirth in that wry grin. When she leans forward, he straightens, not at all leaning into her as her gesture had beckoned him to. “A whore’s business,” the guard plainly states, and his features harden. “In that case, perhaps I don’t want to know. But if you want to share, tell it to me openly. Perhaps you want to put in a complaint? That is, if you were mistreated, Mademoiselle?”

His gaze darts to the left and then to the right, as if to check if there are any other people about. Not so much witnesses, but villains and cutthroats. The longer this exchange lasts, the more Jacquet’s instincts are alerting him. As if he were smelling a trap of sorts…

When the man does not follow Delilah’s invitation but instead starts looking around, she chooses to show her absolute displeasure in the lack of manners of this… guard. “WHAT?!” She shouts out and firmly leans her fists into her own hips. “What do you mean a whore’s business?! Are you calling me a whore? I am many things but not a whore! Look at me!” She seems to be quite demanding and even traps her feet into the ground. “I am an honorable and devoted business woman. More than half of your men wouldn’t know what to do with their free time if not L'Amour Méchant.” She snorts.

Her eyes grow much wider suddenly, “Oh, no. I know what all this is about. I am a foreigner and you the same like a half of those illiterate… How do you call yourself… Terre d’Angians? You think that if I am a foreigner I am not that good for your angel’s blood and if noble blood is not running in my veins I am nothing more but a whore? YES. I want to write a complaint. About your behaviour.”

She daggers the man quite theatrically with her gaze.

<FS3> Jacquet rolls Composure: Success. (4 8 6 5)
<FS3> Jacquet rolls Intimidation: Good Success. (6 5 4 1 8 8 2 4)

“Illiterate, hmm?”

The demeanor of the city guard darkens considerably, as he finally lowers his head far enough as to trap her gaze. And for a moment, there is an even deeper darkness there, in his eyes. As if the situation were about to tip over, and turn into something utterly unpleasant. But it seems, Jacquet remembers his place, and his office too in this wonderful city of Marsilikos. And so, with his nostrils widening slightly in a snort, he narrows his eyes on Delilah. Before the ghost of a smile curls his lips and he straightens, he a good deal taller than she.

“It is… d’Angelines.”, Jacquet corrects her quietly. “And you’ll find nowhere in the world more acceptance and sometimes even admiration for your trade, than here. I know who you are. The Madame of that brothel. I’ve been there once or twice, but it’s not my cup of tea.” He considers her. “You obviously have learned how to write, or you wouldn’t know how to write a complaint.”, he states then, matter-of-factly. “You can write to the Commander. My name’s Jacquet.”

Another moment passes, before he gives her another look. “Now. What was it that you wanted to tell me, Madame Delilah?”

Delilah takes a step back when the man finally leans in closer. Unfortunately, he is in a quite different mood than a young madame would desire. And so she slightly rolls her eyes and then dabs them to the ground. She fixes up her hair one more time before letting out a sigh with a touch of frail shiness. “I didn’t want to tell you a thing, sir. I also didn’t mean to offend. While you believe that there is quite a lot of acceptance in this beautiful country, there are also quite many people who look down upon my kind. They all expect worse or expect a… how you say that in your tongue… trouble?”

She straightens up and smiles at Jacquet. “It’s a pleasure to learn a name of a man who keeps us safe. I am Delilah. But you already mentioned it. At some point, I feel honored. After all, I could be simply one of the many common folks. Yet, you know my name!” She grins with a playful pout following that smile. “Though, I feel a bit disappointed that you did not enjoy our services. Would you like to let us know what L'Amour Méchant is lacking? Are we too soft and such a man as yourself prefers something more rough?”

<FS3> Jacquet rolls Perception: Amazing Success. (5 8 8 7 7 3 7 8 4)

There is a high-pitched shriek, followed by the sounds of wings flapping, as a falcon rises from a roof nearby into the night air. The guard turns his head just so, attention diverted only a moment to acknowledge that it was merely a bird. His senses have attuned to their surroundings, lending some confidence to the man who had just moments ago suspected an ambush.

“Trouble would look different,” Jacquet tells her, returning to his usual curt way of speech. How odd, that he had flashed some glimpses of eloquence to her just before. “You’re the madame. You’re not unknown to the city guard.” Because the city watch has to know certain things. “And it wasn’t the service. It was me.”

Leaving it at that, he evades her question. Or he just ignores it, not going into personal preferences, if he has indeed any.

Fastening the waterskin to his belt, the guard lifts his gaze, and then picks up the lantern from the ground where he had left it.

“You want me to escort you to the port? These streets are safe at night, but you never know.”

The shriek of a bird seems to bring a relief to the Madame’s features and her whole demeanor changes into much more lighter and healthier. As if she was not close to fainting at all! “Well, it seems that you have been going that direction anyway, sir Jacquet,” Delilah smiles and steps closer. She tries to slide her arm to be wrapped around the guard’s arm once he comes back with the lantern to her side. Of course, if he allows.

“So, what about those preferences of yours? It’s quite important for me to know what our visitors enjoy and what their hearts would desire to find!” She is not planning to leave that subject aside.

“Sergeant Jacquet,” he corrects her. Technically, the city guard has his hands full with lantern and spear, but if Delilah insists, he won’t refuse her his arm. After all, she had mentioned being dizzy just a moment ago?

“I’m not sure I should tell you of my preferences, madame,” Jacquet counters, his voice a low rumble. “I honestly don’t know…”, he says then, on the more general subject of visitors and what they would find enjoyment in. “Safe, for a nice bed to sleep in perhaps, and the illusion that they have someone, even if it is just for the night.”

“Hmmm… “ Delilah thoughtfully looks around while walking beside the guard and hearing out his personal opinion on the services of her establishment. “I believe that you are on edge, Sergeant.” She states and gently pats his arm. “I can feel that in your muscles. Are you currently on a duty? Perhaps I could offer some entertainments of our delightful Millicent? Unless your preference would be Hugh? They are one of the best and could definitely help you to be more confident in your surrounding, you know…”

She gestures with her hand toward one of the roofs, “I’ve seen how you flinched upon hearing nothing more but a bird in the shadows. It must be incredibly hard, I imagine, to stay on your feet whole day or night, and every night or day, and not being appreciated properly for all what you do for our city. You put your life in danger every day… every night…”

“I’m on edge.”, he repeats as if he were digesting this particular verdict. “I suppose, I have to be. I am on duty right now, doing my rounds. I manage. The city relies on us, so we are keeping watch. It’s not hard. It’s what I know.” Jacquet shrugs one shoulder, half-rolling it. “With that said….” His dark eyes find hers, and he assesses Delilah. “I’m not sure I need a Milicent. Nor a Hugh. I do need a drink sometimes though…” There might be more to the thought, albeit left unspoken. The guard holds the lantern, lighting the way as they head from the market promenade towards the grand plaza and from there towards the port.

“Interesting…” The foreign woman drawls in her heavy accent. Her eyes wander where the man’s gaze shifts to the port. “It’s a little bit… strange per se. A man of your strength and looks is avoiding some intimacy and chooses a glass of a beer instead! Or are you different than majority of your kind and you are simply faithful to your wife?” She glances back at the man with a smile dancing on her lips. Curiosity is shining in her dark large eyes. One of the curls playfully thrown by a gust of wind over her face is tickling the rounded tip of her nose. Her fingers slowly dance on the man’s arm.

It seems as if Jacquet clams up a little when Delilah continues. His features harden and his jaw sets. “I don’t have a wife.” His voice comes out a bit gruff. “I don’t need intimacy.” But somehow, her questions seem to have put some thoughts into motion in his head. His eyes look even darker as they settle on the madame of the brothel. “Look… I’ll get you safely to the l’Amour. I might come by for a drink, once in a while. But that’s all.” And still, the way his gaze lingers on Delilah for a long moment, taking in how the gust of wind plays with her hair, before he looks towards her fingers touching his arm — his gaze grows even darker, but his scarred features remain an unmoving mask.

“Of course, Sergeant. I wouldn’t dare to force you into something your heart does not desire.” Delilah laughs and the late night breeze carries her amusement to the sea where the waves take it off to the far end of the horizon. “I was simply curious. This is… unique, no? I believe you can call it unique in your tongue. Definitely! After all, your whole country is built on a heavy fundament of intimacy, passion, love and desire. Yet, you are a guard almost like carved from marble. A man of a stone and no heart, nor up here,” She gestures towards the man’s chest, where his heart should be beating. “Nor down there,” she chuckles and casually runs her hand across the air innocently gesturing towards the man’s crotch.

“Hmm… Quite a beautiful evening, Sergeant. Isn’t it?” She changes the topic thoughtfully.

“It isn’t unique,” Jacquet contradicts matter-of-factly, looking towards the harbor as Delilah’s attention seems to drift there. “It is what a guard should be like, when on duty. A heart of stone. A cock as soft as his mother’s teats.” His lips twist into a mirthless grin. “Sorry to disappoint you, Madame. But a drink is all I want. Wouldn’t mind sharing a drink with you though, sometime.” To her observation, the guard states, “It’s a dark and quiet night. Another hour for me, to finish my round. Would the l’Amour Méchant have a drink for me ready, an hour from now?”

“Oh, absolutely!” Delilah nods and withdraws from the guard a step away since they reach her establishment. “We will be open for a few more hours. I may not be around but my bartender will service you… well… professionally. You will get a drink or two of your desire. I believe, that we will have a performer tonight to sing. Someone of Tsingani heritage. Will be interesting!” She starts making her way inside. Not even looking back at the man, Delilah speaks, “Thank you for escorting me back and good luck, Sergeant.”

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