(1311-04-23) Perils of Beauty
Summary: An Akkadian half-blood encounters a Tsingano.
RL Date: 23-25/04/2019
Related: None
farah abraham 

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.

Finally. Spring has arrived and driven away the chill of winter. Not everyone is used to the low temperatures of that season, least of all the Akkadian pawn in the game of politics, the recently betrothed Farah Shamabarsin. She is attired in a fine dress of d’Angeline fashion, light green with wide skirts, and sleeves that reach to the elbow only to flare out there, the color contrasting to the slightly dusky tone of her skin. Farah’s features show traces of d’Angeline beauty though, and she holds her head with a certain pride, with black tresses gathered into a fashionable courtly hairdo. A light cape sits on her shoulders, as she strolls about the stalls at the market promenade, a maid and a tall Akkadian guard following in her wake. There is so much to see, and so her gaze seems to be a bit flighty, darting here and there, whenever she spots something that draws of her attention.

"And what about the emerald pendant from the Flatlands itself?" A young man steps right in front of a lady Shamabarsin. "People say that it actually can heal every broken heart if it's carried close to it for at least a few weeks." A man of a darker skin and curly hair smiles broadly and dangles an old pendant in the air. It does look like a relic of an important noble family. He gives a quick scan of the general appearance of a lady and then adds, "Though, you do not look like your heart would be broken!"

He brings forward his other hand from which at least a dozen of other jewels are hanging. Both of his hands seem to be overcrowded by rings but instead of offering one of those, he points at a well made bronze choker adorned by some obsidian gems, be it fake or real. Hard to say. "Perhaps this would catch your interest. You know, it comes from Hellas. I received it from an old shamaness who placed a spell on this choker. Wearing it, you will have any man laying under your feet. Not that you can't have it with such a beautiful eyes right now but, m'lady, one can never be too careful!"

When a man so suddenly steps in Farah’s way, her guard reacts instinctively, moving swiftly between the Tsingano and his charge. Giving Abraham a glare, the guard obeys then to a mumured order of the Akkadian lady. When she obviously seems already interested in the jewelry Abraham is presenting to her. “Monsieur.”, she addresses the man, “you’re not d’Angeline, are you?” Her own speech is showing the harsh accent of her origin. Those dark eyes of hers narrow a little. “Where are you from? Hellas? And from where did you acquire these fine pieces.” The bronze choker seems to draw her attention especially, and she reaches out to take it into her hand. “Is that so?”, Farah drawls as she inspects the obsidian, a fine smile curving her lips as her eyes glitter. “I can have any man laying at my feet?”

Abraham flashes a victorious smile at the guard when he is asked to step aside. Then Tsingano’s attention focuses on the curious potential customer. “M’lady, I come from all the corners of the world. My home is a land under the beautiful sky!” He looks up and makes a gesture with his left hand. He takes it up and down making all trinkets dangle in the wind. “I have been fathered by the wind and my mother was a sun herself hence my skin has this gentle shade left by a kiss of a ray!”

“Correct me if I am wrong, m’lady, but you must be from a different land than the one you are standing on right now as well?” He lets to take that choker from his hand and nods confirming his theory about the spell. “You know, I am a trader. Once I had a coin which brought luck to any man of a pure heart. I must say that I have my own demons. It was not of use to me and so I traded it with some pirates who have a desire for anything what had a glitter of gold. And so they gave me this mirror…” He digs into his shoulder bag with a free hand and withdraws a silver hand mirror which has ornaments of various birds carved in quite vivid details. “It’s not a simple mirror. It actually heals one from a homesick. You only need to look at it longer. But I heard some rumors back in Vralia that this mirror drove some careless men to madness. Though, if you are a brave soul who misses her home… I might offer it to you as well.”

Farah’s eyes glitter as she considers the various pieces of jewelry dangling from Abraham’s hands. “You sound more like a poet and storyteller than a seller of bracelets and necklaces,” she observes, smiling then with her lips pressed together. “I am Farah, a princess of Khebbel-im-Akkad. My father is brother to the ruler of the land, the khalif…” Her gaze brightens when Abraham presents the mirror to her. “Are you serious? You are offering this to me and telling me in the same breath that I might lose my mind if I look into it…?” This seems to baffle her and she takes it into her hand, not avoiding to look into it at all. On the contrary. There is a slightly stubborn flicker in her dark eyes as she beholds the reflection of her face in the mirror. “How much?”, she asks. “For the mirror, and the choker?”

“Well, thank you, Sahib Alsumui. Is that how one addresses one of your ranks back in your Kingdom? I might be wrong,” Abraham laughs before adding. “I must admit that I have spent some time in Khebbel-im-Akkad back in my youth. Tyre - a marvellous city full of fierce men and shy women. I would say even a bit opressed but then again, every culture is different!” When the young princess expects her image in the mirror, Abraham takes a moment to silently observe. Curiosity dances in his gaze as well as a slight amusement.

“You know, I am nor a poet, nor a storyteller. I am simply a merchant who has travelled much and seen many wonders of the world! Some of the things I received can not be valued by coins. It’s precious and has a deep meaning. You know,” he leans forward and if allowed whispers to the princess. “Sometimes having something like such a mirror in your possession may endanger your own life. After all, many desire for those treasures.” Then he leans back and smiles in pride. “But you are a courageous women. I can see that. An adventurous soul. Perhaps, stuck under the veils for too long. One golden coin and three silvers.” He names the price and opens his shoulder bag to securely place the rest of the jewels inside.

Money is not a thing, Farah has ever had to concern herself with. And so the amount he tells her will be accepted at once, with a gesture to her handmaiden to produce the price from her purse. “It is Shahzadeh,” she informs Abraham. “At least my father is Shahzadeh, but in my case…” There is a lapse in her immaculate facade for a moment, then a shrug, “I’m not sure. Just call me Lady Farah, and I believe that will work fine. I am to marry a vicomte.” This she tells him with a glitter in her eye, hinting at a bit of excitement. “The worst vicomte they say there is, but he is young and handsome. So. Who am I to complain?” His remark about veils has her roll her eyes a little, and she shrugs. “Maybe. Hidden away in a seraglio I was, yes. But now I am here, in Marsilikos, and I believe this will be where I stay…” She hands the mirror to Nanette and holds the choker still in her hand, regarding it with a bit of indecision. “Would you help me put this on?”, Farah wonders, lifting her dark eyes to meet the gaze of the Tsingano. “And what is your name, now that you know mine?”

Abraham drops those shiny coins inside his baggy pockets of colorful wide trousers. Without any words, the man agrees to assist. He steps forward taking just a very brief glance at the guard. Then if the princess will allow, Tsingano will brush away her hair and clip a tight choker around her neck. It’s tight but comfortable. It clings right to the young woman’s skin but leaves more than enough space to breathe comfortably. Her size indeed. Then he takes a step back. “It fits very well, m’lady.” His fingers wrap around an old large white fang which dangles on his abdomen on a thick leather string. “Would you like to hear my full name or a nickname more comfortable to a d’Angeline tongue will be enough?” He smiles and then runs with his fingers across the short curly hair, tangling them even more.

The princess will allow. Even if she has to lift her hand and gesture to her guard that he does not interfere. Farah holds still when Abraham brushes a strand of hair aside, that has escaped her hairdo. The choker is set in place, and she smiles, turning her head to look towards Abraham as she inclines her head in a nod of gratitude. “Thank you. And yes. It does.” Her fingers brush over the material, exploring the fit. “I would like to hear both,” Farah replies then. “Your full name and your… d’Angeline name?”

Abraham immediately offers a theatrical referanse with a touch of a well played clumsiness as if caused by shyness which strikes a man in front of a beautiful lady of a high importance. His gesture is followed by a polite bow and a chuckle. After that his true name follows, “I have been named as Aberahama Dodo by my mother but d’Angelines somehow ends up calling me simply Abraham.” The man straightens up. He wraps his hands around the leather of his shoulder bag. He fixes it up and gestures to the direction where a lady has been moving. “Forgive me that I stepped in your way. I am about to go over there. I believe it’s the same direction as yours?”

“Aberahama Dodo,” Farah repeats the name. “That name does sound foreign.” Her eyes glitter with faint amusement. “I’m glad you stepped in my way, after all, you had something to offer.” Her dark eyes flick over to where he points out that he is heading, and she nods. “The same direction, yes. Now tell me, Abraham, you live here in Marsilikos with your family?” She continues on her stroll not minding that the trader falling in beside her.

“No, m’lady Farah,” Abraham shakes his head moving beside the foreign beauty to wherever she is heading. “I live under the blue sky. Be it Marsilikos or any city, village, town of our beautiful and endless world. Currently, yes. We made a quick stop here. Time is also quite endless. Even three years can be just a quick stop.” The man shrugs and chuckles. His eyes scan a few stalls they pass by. “Though, I just came back. I was away. My kumpania stays a bit further away from the city. We prefer a fresh air. By ‘we’ I mean Tsingani. How much do you know about us?”

<FS3> Farah rolls Politics: Good Success. (6 2 7 8 5 2 1 2)
<FS3> Farah rolls Religion: Success. (3 7 2 3)

“Hmmm…” Farah tilts her head a little to the side, as she considers. “Ah. The Tsingano people… I think I have read something in a book, about Elua and his travels…” Her dark eyes focus on Abraham. “Your ancestors must have lived in Bhodistan. They tried to chase Elua away, throwing stones at Blessed Elua, cursing Him and His Companions to wander earth and never find a spot that they would call their home. How curious, that it is now your people that have become wanderers, while the Companions have settled in Terre d’Ange. It was because Mother Earth cursed them, wasn’t it? As she got angry because they cursed her own son, Elua?” Quite the theological question, but there it is, even if it would probably be better addressed to a priest of Elua.

“You are very well informed, m’lady,” Tsingano nods slowly. It’s hard to say if he actually hears the whole story leaving Farah’s lips. His eyes seem to always wander around. He scans every person which pass them by as well as various buildings, stalls, fountains and even trees. “But was it our pride what made us refuse the shelter to this Elua? The story of why our people did not welcome this man at their home is lost to the time now. Perhaps, there is a different side of this so loved Elua? Angels, Gods or humans - they all are similar to coins. They have two sides and one is always darker than the other.” He brings his shoulder bag to rest on another shoulder. When he does so, all precious items clangs inside. “You know, at the end it’s not about the curse. It’s about happiness. Do you think that people are happy here? When I observe them I see happiness but so often it’s fake. We might be wandering the world but we received a chance to reveal the truth behind happiness because of that. If you would spent at least a day with my kumpania, you would understand.”

“I am sorry, Monsieur Abraham, but I won’t be allowed to spend a day at your kumpania,” Farah tells him with a chuckle. “Even though… I am curious. Perhaps I shall pay it a visit. Perhaps together with my betrothed vicomte.” She seems perfectly at ease though, as they continue their stroll. “It is nice to meet other foreigners here in Marsilikos… But I think you are not as foreign as you try to make me believe. Perhaps I shall ask a priest, whether there are two sides to Elua, but I would be very surprised to hear that He can be other than loving and light. Happiness… well, that is another matter. I think there is unhappiness everywhere to find for those that care to look.”

“I admire your young and noble naivety, m’lady. I mean no offense at all. You definitely did have a life so many people can not enjoy. A care free with no burdens of daily issues such as a crumb of bread,” Abraham pauses for a moment and takes a better look at the princess. “You may try to speak to the priest and, please, let me know if his answer won’t be the same as your thoughts. I will be surprised!” He glances more to the west and ponders there for a moment. “Sometimes I believe that something so pure and innocent, and beautiful, and flawless as those angels and their blood-carriers must be actually quite rotten inside. Do you know, my lady,” he glances at the woman now again, “That the most poisonous animal or a plant in the nature is also the most beautiful? It has bright colors, lures you in with unique shapes and tones… Interesting, isn’t it?”

<FS3> Farah rolls Composure: Success. (6 7 1 5 6 6 3)

“Why do you think that good has to be rotten? Is this your envy speaking?”, Farah asks Abraham, and her smile fades into a cast of bewilderment, while her voice remains soft and her tone polite but not without a certain edge. “And why do you think, that everything has been easy in my life?” She comes to stand, and actually backs a little away from the Tsingano, and her guard is quick to come to her side. “You don’t know me. You compare d’Angelines to poison? Well. Then you should keep away from me. I have that blood flowing in my veins, as my mother hails from Terre d’Ange…”

“My lady, I am not trying to offend nor you, nor your mother. I am simply pointing out the fact that nobody is innocent. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has some poison in their veins. Some more and some less.” Abraham pauses again. The smile still dances on his lips even if he speaks in a serious tone. “I am not a jealous man. I am a wanderer. I have seen so much in my life that I simply wanted to share what I have learned on my journeys. You have to be very careful around pretty things. Perhaps you do not share the same idea yet, m’lady. But this is the main rule of survival. Be it in the nature or in the noble court.” Tsingano takes a step back and offers a polite bow. “I believe that a time for me to leave has come. It was a pleasure meeting you, princess.”

“Innocent. Yes, I see,” Farah replies with a soft sigh. “Innocence seems to be a rare thing here.” She keeps close to her guard, even if her posture relaxes a little. “I shall heed your warning, Monsieur, and make sure to be careful. I see, you meant this as advice, not as an insult.” Pulling her light cape about her frame, the Akkadian lady nods to his bow of goodbye. “And I have to return as well, to the palace,” she says. “Monsieur Abraham, have a good day. You have given me some things to think about.” And with this said, she gestures for her handmaid and her guard, to accompany her as she heads towards the Grand Plaza, a last glance given to the Tsingano over her shoulder, along with a somewhat uncertain smile.

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