(1311-07-10) A Game Worth Having
Summary: Aurore and Raphael enjoy a night on the seedy side of town.
RL Date: 08/07/2019 - 10/07/2019
Related: Opening Afternoon at Le Requin.
raphael aurore 

A Completely Made-Up Place

Aurore arranged for an outing as nobles, for the least popular night for assignations. She is dressed as she was on the previous occasion, well disguised as a man, ready to play the rakish younger son with a fat purse and a penchant for gaming.

Raphael also wears what he wore the last time: midnight blue and azure with square silver-colored buttons. Which puts them both in dangerously fine attire for slumming in a disreputable gambling den. But that is half the fun, surely. Raphael lets Aurore lead the way, as surely a rakish young gambler would prefer to. "We'll want to drink too, I imagine," he is saying as they step into the den.

Aurore grins up at him. "Odds are we will. I'm apt to be sparing. I hope you can fight if this gets messy.”

"I was just about to ask you whether you're protecting me tonight or I'm protecting you," Raphael returns with a wry twist of the mouth. "Rest assured I'm not afraid of a fight nor prone to start an unnecessary one." He carries with him a fine walking-stick topped with a silver rose. A clue to his identity, perhaps, but a courtesan can only own so many fine walking sticks, after all.

Aurore says, "I fear you're protecting me. I'm better at talking my way out of trouble than fighting my way out. That's a lovely stick, by the way. A gift?"

"Ages ago," Raphael says. "No doubt my benefactor thought I could use a bit of gravitas in my greener days. And for some unfathomable reason I hung on to it for years. A souvenir, I suppose. But useful in its way." The silver topper must make it heavy, after all. Raphael holds it in one hand, approaching the disreputable gambling den's counter, where liquor is dispensed. "The better of whatever you've got," he requests. A couple of glances are drawn. "You understand," he says, lowering his voice to be heard only by Aurore, "I've no skill in gambling whatever. The sport is all yours." But he sounds game, as it were.

Aurore nods, understanding its value entirely. Under her breath as they approach the bar man she says, "I'm a light weight. I sip and feign most of the effects. I stake you, you guard me. We'll manage." She does a fine imitation of a jaded wastrel, eyeing those around them with a bored arrogance.

Raphael laughs softly as though they had shared some private joke, and turns his eye back to the barkeep. His expression suggests arrogance, the thought that it is good for the barkeep's sake that he was no slower in serving up the ale he provides in a couple of tankards. "Do you suppose there's a game worth having in a place like this, then?" he asks, now audible to the others.

Aurore yawns and draws, "I do rather fancy a few hands of cards if play of any sort can be had."

"I don't suppose there would be anyone with a deck at hand— ah," says Raphael in the Pierre persona, tilting his head slightly as not one but two men who by all appearances are no better than they ought to be produce decks. "Well, friends," he says, "You are both welcome, but I think we'll only need one set of cards. Will you come to blows over it?" That dry question is phrased lightly and the two men eye one another before one pockets his deck and the other takes his to an open table.

Aurore slopes on over, drink in hand to see what sort of action is to be had. "What shall we play? My friend and I may need a little refreshing on the rules."

One of the card sharps, the one whose deck it isn't, sets the game with a very smooth patter of the rules. The two of them are not attired shabbily but rather too flashily, especially as they are obviously no nobles. "Now, you lads are surely honest?" Raphael inquires with a smile, and assurances are made that they are only middling enthusiasts of a beautiful game.

Aurore does her very best not particularly bright or sober upper class twit trying to follow complex directions face.

Raphael meanwhile radiates the dignity of an older man of high station who is quite out of his depth. The sharps share a glance. It's plain to them that one of them shall win, but which? Or will they divide up the two plump purses? Cards are dealt. "I doubt I have played at cards with strangers since the night before my brother's second marriage," Raphael comments. "Quite a treat, really." He drinks a mouthful of the ale.

Aurore makes it look like a long drink, but it's just a sip, "It's such good fun, but I never can keep all the fancy names straight for winning hands. Luckily it's a friendly game, what?" She sets a stack of coin in front of himself and his older acquaintance. She peers at her cards a tad nearsightedly, as if trying to work out which face card is which, "Which one was the second wife? Was she the one with that enormous…”

"I'm afraid so," Raphael intones gravely, leaving their companions in suspense as to just what the matter was. "But I seem to remember I came out a little ahead that evening. May luck favor me again tonight." He boorishly neglects to invite their companions into the talk very much. But then again, what can nobles and commoners talk of meaningfully? The first hand is dealt and the sharps start organizing their cards.

Aurore winces, "How awful for him." Very carefully, she arranges her cards, "Third time’s the charm, what?'

"Time will tell," Raphael answers, eyeing their new acquaintances. "Married, either of you?" he asks. One is, the other isn't, but they seem unsure how much detail about the matter they should really provide to a couple of nobles. One starts a story, but he breaks off as it turns rather ungenteel. Raphael merely laughs and carelessly matches the wager they set.

Aurore barks a laugh and carelessly tosses in a coin, "Go on, go on! we're neither of us wilting lilies!"

The sharps eye their younger opponent and both ante, raising the wager. "That's me out," Raphael says, declining to bet further, but leaving his young 'kinsman' in the game should he wish to continue. In the meantime, the game-chooser is bold enough to continue the tale, which involves a physical altercation over a duck followed by enthusiastic lovemaking later on.

Aurore over bets wildly give the quality of his hand, tittering at the antics involving the duck. He seems to be paying very little attention to the play, and the sharps take his coin easily.

Raphael plays the elder noble only grudgingly enduring the story, glancing across the table at his kinsman who bets lavishly, and watching the hand collapse there, putting money into the pockets of their adversaries. "We can only hope our luck changes on the next hand," he says. "My last hand was very shabby."

Aurore nods and pretends to drink deep of her ale, barely wetting her lips, "Still, it's good sport, isn't it?'

"Well, these fellows seem to know their game all right," Raphael allows, passing an arrogant look over each of their companions, who in turn pass a look between themselves as they shuffle the cards and start to deal. "Much better than playing at home in that regard."

Aurore rolls her eyes, "What, with the same old duffers? It's more exciting here, and you don't hear stories like that at a ladies’ card party!"

"Oh, you like those, do you?" Raphael replies. "Well, what about you? Have a story we can trade them?" he challenges, amusement glinting in his eye.

Aurore narrows her eyes at her companion, but thinks, sipping the ale for real. "I once knew a man who took rooms with one of those foreigners from down south. He was learning the language, right? Only he wasn't that good at it yet. And the friend was one of those ascetics? You know, the ones who pray all the time and reject the blessings of Naamah and have odd notions about sex generally. So one evening they are drinking brandy and are a bit tiddly, what? So my friend asks the foreigner what he's doing tomorrow and he says, 'praying against the temptations of the flesh. What are you doing tomorrow?' So my friend answers 'Fanculo sfogliatella,' which he thinks means make a pastry, but which really means 'Fuck a pastry.' The man choked on his brandy, turned bright red and moved out that night without a word.”

Raphael leans back from the table to tip his head back and let out a hearty laugh. The sharps laugh freely, too, and quaff from their drinks. "Really!" Raphael exclaims. "But as it goes, there are so many worse things one could fuck! Of course, ascetics probably consider pastries to be sinful to begin with."

Aurore laughs along with them, a mindless titter, "Oh certainly. They think all pleasures are sin and those are two of the three greatest pleasures in life, the third being the fairest sex." He bets without properly looking at his cards.

Raphael wagers rather open-handedly as well, and one can see the sharps all but licking their teeth at the feast this evening is sure to provide them. "Although I've heard plenty of stories about what those ascetics get up to in their retreats when they think no one is paying attention."

Aurore snorts, "I bet it's more exciting to them because they pretend it's forbidden." She tosses more coin in, clearly more interested in conversation than cards.

Raphael establishes himself again as cautious after the first bet, hesitating a little before he tosses the next bid in. The sharps happily meet the next bet. "Yes, we d'Angelines sometimes want for forbidden fruit," he agrees.

Aurore shrugs and tosses yet more money in, "So you have any good stories, nuncle?" She never rearranged the cards, took no replacements and still has barely glanced at them, "This ale's not so bad.”

"A ribald story?" Raphael asks. "To put them in our debt? Now, where do you think I should pick up talk like that?" This is in jest, surely. Again he gives up on the hand and declines to bet further. "I once knew a man whose children were thin and a little prone to illness, whereas his neighbor's children were stocky and hearty. His neighbor, a soldier often away from home, asked one day why my friend's children were so much like reeds, while the neighbor's were such strapping specimens. 'The reason is easily given,' my friend said. 'I work alone at manufacturing my children, but when you are away, you have quite a number of assistants in the making of yours.' I understand that they did not speak again for many years," Raphael relates with a quirk of a smile.

Aurore barks a laugh at the story, tosses in more money to call and when all have paid in, reveals a ridiculously good hand. She smiles goofily at the sharps, "I've not seen all those hearts and face cards in one hand before!"

As if in a comic play, the sharps both lean in close to get a look at those treacherous cards, but they are indisputable. They eye this young nobleman suspiciously, mirth having dried up. At the same time, Raphael looks delighted with his kinsman's good fortune. "Ah, a fine hand!"

Aurore gives another brainless titter, "Good sport, didn't I say?" She reaches to rake in her winnings, "Better luck next time, chaps, what?"

One of them mutters something under his breath and throws down his cards, but the other says nothing. They both get up and sidle off toward a table. "Uncommonly poor form," Raphael tuts as they leave. "But I suppose that's the end of our hazards for the evening."

Aurore sniffs, "Poor sportsmen. What can one expect of the lower classes though." She scoops up the money and tips it into her pouch, waving a hand to let Rafe know his coins are his. She means his eyes and her expression suggests trouble, "Shall we off to a better class of tavern, or were you in the mood for something more piquant?"

"More piquant?" Raphael asks, eyes glittering in the gloom of the tavern. "And fleecing a couple of lowlives wasn't enough for you?" He drinks from his ale. "Is it more excitement you're looking for?" The sharps, meanwhile, have tossed back cheap cups of something and are just now moving for the door.

Aurore her eyes cut to the sharps and back to him, "I am suggesting leaving for a more salubrious climate before they have time to summon friends."

Raphael smiles easily. "Then we won't tarry," he replies and, grasping the head of his walking stick, rises. "But it was well played indeed." He gestures toward the door.

Aurore flashes him a grin, "It was. I had to wait for my deal." She rises and slouches towards the door in a way that looks relaxed, tossing the barkeep an extra coin on the way, without looking to see if he catches it.

If he doesn't, he'll surely get to it in his own time. As they leave the place, Raphael changes his grip on the stick. Instead of tapping it on the ground with every other stick, he catches it about the middle. But there is no one in immediate evidence to threaten them as they emerge.

Aurore talks quietly barely moving her lips, "What's the closest populated place that doesn't require us to cut through alleys?"

"This way," Raphael says softly, walking a step ahead toward the busiest street at hand, where they will take a right. "There is a more suitable tavern around the corner," he promises.

Aurore looks casual, but her eyes are alert, "Lead on. You know this city better than I ever will."

The fact that Raphael is listening very carefully is evidenced only when there is a sudden rustle nearby and he turns his head towards it with a snap. But it is only a stray cat hunting mice by moonlight. And so he is free to lead to a space where there are more lights in windows, and soon to where some merry singing can be heard from a tavern more accustomed to receiving nobles.

Aurore's head moves in unison with his. She doesn't make the amateur mistake of relaxing vigilance after it turns out to be an errant puss. She does give him a quick smile when she hears the music and sees the light.

They are so close to their destination, but the next thing to pop out of a shadow is no cat, but a man — one of their playmates from before. Perhaps he didn't have time to gather confederates, but he at least has kept pace with them down parallel alleys, and now blocks their path with his knife glinting in his hand. "I'll be having my money back and any other coin."

Aurore cocks her head. She tosses a single coin directly at the assailant's face and darts towards the tavern yelling, "Help! Fire!" at the top of her lungs.

<FS3> Raphael rolls Dodge: Great Success. (8 8 5 7 7 8 5 4)

<FS3> Raphael rolls Unarmed: Failure. (5 1 2 4 2 6 4 3 3)

<FS3> Aurore rolls Dodge: Success. (2 3 8 6 6 2)

Raphael spends 1 luck points on Kicking NPC mugger's ass.
<FS3> Raphael rolls Unarmed: Good Success. (2 8 5 8 5 3 2 7 1)

The coin bounces off the attacker's cheek and he flinches slightly. Raphael meanwhile takes a left-handed swipe at the man, but it goes wide. The card sharp seems startled by such a sudden attempt at a weighty haymaker, even though it misses its mark. Hopping back, he makes a stab with the knife, but Raphael throws up both arms and dodges around to the man's right side. A woman sticks her head out of a second-floor window. "Here, did you yell fire?" she wants to know. A light shows in a window of another house.

Aurore dodges an attempt to grab her doublet by a whisker’s breath and flings open the door of the tavern, "Help, help!" She lets the householders decide if it's worth coming out to check.

"Land sakes!" cries the woman and shutters up her window, but there are sounds going on there and elsewhere that suggest some people might turn up to help. But the help isn't instant. When the attacker makes his grab for Aurore, Raphael takes the opportunity to get behind him and yank him back by the shoulder, smashing the silver top of his stick into the sharp's face. Which luckily does not seem to kill the man, but damage is done. He staggers. Raphael wraps the stick in front of the man's throat. One thing a Thorn knows well is how to choke a person to the point of unconsciousness. While usually that is the result they are trying to avoid, they are all educated in the anatomy of the neck and how blood or airflow might be restricted. The sharp flails in this dangerous grasp, catching the blade of the knife in Raphael's thigh. By this point, a man is emerging from the house where the woman appeared at the window, an iron bar in hand that probably has another life as a tool in some trade. A man from the next house also emerges calling to know what the matter is. And from the more lighted street, someone turns up with a bucket of earth, probably intending to help fight the fire.

Aurore eyes Raphael, "Want to leg it, or stay here for the commotion?”

Raphael doesn't answer until his playmate is unconscious. Once he has determined that their would-be robber is out, he drops the sharp with little care as to how he falls. Raphael is somewhat out of breath. He raises his voice to say, "Deliver this man to the city guard." That much commanded, he nods to Aurore. "Let us be elsewhere." Only now does he look down and gather that he has been cut.

Aurore nods, takes his arm and starts hurrying away, "You have good healers at your house, or is there somewhere closer?"

Raphael is not as quick as he might be, given that his leg is somewhat wounded. "Let us stop in somewhere with people, and we can send a message to a friend of mine. Should she be otherwise engaged, the Rose has a chirurgeon. It may not be so grave as all that. I scarcely feel it, yet." Luckily he has the walking stick to help.

Aurore is really worried, "I got you hurt. If the knife was sharp, it'll hurt much worse later." She is looking for an inn or the like. Somewhere she might rent a private room for a bit. A coaching inn would be ideal, but she doesn't know this part of town well.

On the bright street, there is surely such an establishment. "I think the man who stabbed me got me hurt," he replies dryly, but lets her choose the place to go. "You were right about leaving quickly."

Aurore picks the next one up, "But you were only there at all because I wanted a little excitement. I don't have so many friends I can afford to be careless of them." She angles them towards the sign of the Narwal, and once safe inside, she is ordering a private room and their best wine and a basin and clothes and a lad to take a message. She is slender, but she does commanding well, having had much practice.

"By that logic, it is my mother's fault for giving birth to me in the first place, for otherwise I would not be here at all," Raphael returns. Though he maintains a sense of humor, his face is somewhat lined. As they wait for a room, he stands erect with the help of the stick, not wishing to emphasize that he is bleeding lest it put the innkeeper off for fear of stains. They are luckily accommodated and Raphael follows to their private room, where he seeks to sit at once on a rush-bottomed chair.

<FS3> Aurore rolls Medicine: Great Success. (7 8 5 1 2 7 2 8 2 3)

Aurore kneels in front of him, "Right. Unlace the leg, and I'll pull it off. I haven't my poultices here, but I always carry some yarrow on potentially dangerous outings. I have needle and thread as well if it comes to that. Once I get it properly cleaned, I'll see how bad it is." This is an entirely different Aurore, "You'll want to send for a discreet carriage to get you home when ink and paper come for you to write your note. Mine's not discreet, alas, or I'd send for mine."

Raphael does as asked so that his wound might be tended. He watches her face with interest despite the situation. "You seem to be very good in a pinch," he comments with a faint smile. Even before cleaning the wound, it can immediately be told that he is in no danger of excessive blood loss. There is blood, but none of the vital pathways has been pierced.

Aurore pulls of the leg with the efficiency of a healer. The fabric being dark, she folds it neatly and stets it to catch drips. She flashes him a smile, "Hidden talents useful in a variety of situations." She studies his leg and her shoulders relax, "This will hurt rather a lot, for which I'm sorry. It's not deep, but it's awkward, and shallow cuts at that sort of angle hurt far more than the damage would suggest." There is a knock. She meets his eyes as she rises, "I can definitely deal with this for you." She opens the door, all nobleman arrogance again, "Set it all on that table next to him." She drags another chair into position to serve as a prop for the foot, while keeping the wound clear to drip on the folded fabric.

"I can stand up to pain," Raphael replies, nodding his head once. He looks down at this point to get an idea of the wound. And indeed it does not look so terribly grave, which is a relief. He reaches a hand down to help pull up his leg while taking stress off the wound. "I will regret the loss of the trousers; they are quite fine." Perhaps he means that as a joke.

<FS3> Raphael rolls Composure: Success. (6 4 7 6 2 2 3 5 6 3)

Aurore grins, "Oh very fine indeed, though they might be mended like the leg, or I could buy you another similar pair, since I ruined these." She gives him a wink and once the bustling is over, she pours two goblets of wine. One he hands to him. She washes the leg with the warm water to get a better view. Her hands are lady-soft, and she is surprisingly gentle for all the spare efficiency of her movements. She takes a sip of the other half glass of wine, then pours some over the wound. Then she pulls a small pouch from her sleeve and dumps it in with the dregs ad the tail end of the wine in her glass. She washes her hands thoroughly, then starts kneading the mixture with her fingers. "Do you trust me, Rafe?"

Raphael takes the goblet and lifts it in a sort of salute to her, maintaining good humor about the injury though it does pain him somewhat. He watches her procedures both out of curiosity and to take his mind off of the matter. "I do," he replies without hesitation. "Do what you judge best. I'll be still."

Aurore says, "It'll heal faster and cleanly with this, and there is… a soothing quality to it. It's not deep enough for needle work. I can come by tomorrow with more and better poultice, but this should work fine." She rolls a snake of the doughy mixture between her palms, then lays it on the wound, pressing gently to flatten it. She then makes bandages out of the extra clothes, laying padding over poultice, then using the longest to tie it all on, firmly, but not too tight.

It is not initially very soothing to have materials smushed into one's open wound, but Raphael sits still to endure, nodding once. "Very kind," he says. "I regret taking your time. If you find yourself engaged, I can go to the house chirurgeon of course." He lets out a laugh that is soft and deep. "I've gotten terribly out of practice with struggles," he says. "When I was younger, I had a patron who liked to wrestle."

Aurore smiles up at him, "It's good to keep my hand in and it's your time I'm taking with the wound. Why don't I pay you for tomorrow as well, so you could have the day off to rest and do as you like? It's the very least I can do. I'll come around tea time to check it and we can enjoy a visit. The rest of the time will be entirely your own."

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