(1311-07-31) Where is the Citadel?
Summary: Lady Inesse de Baphinol meets Prince André Cornelis Montfort van Westerlo in the Port. He was looking for the Citadel but changed his plans quite fast.
RL Date: Wed Jul 31, 1311
Related: None
inesse andre 

Port — Marsilikos

Fortune laid the foundation for the grand port of Marsilikos; look how the arms of the land spread wide to embrace the setting of the sun, welcoming a bay of still waters rendered all the more peaceful by the presence of a small island to the south, on the flanks of which the waves cut themselves into powerless ripples as they move in from the sea. But what Fortune gave the D'Angelines their cunning and craft has improved to a hum of efficiency and culture. The natural bay has had its curved shores sharpened into straight edges bolstered with ridges of heavy stones on which the tides have left long mark when the waters are low, algae and barnacles hung onto the rugged stones. Then stone foundations have been piled out into the harbor to hold up wide wooden pillars and the great treated slats of the piers and boardwalks which extend into the bay, now at wider intervals for massive trading vessels, now at shorter intervals for private fishing and pleasure yachts.The southern arm of the bay is reserved for the great sourthern fleet of the Terre D'Angan Navy, which is headquartered here in Marsilikos, and is ever a hub of activity, the giant slips outfitted to haul the massive warships up into the air for repairs, while further inland on the southern peninsula a forest of masts rises into the air where new ships are being built and old ones repaired in full drydock. Between the naval slips and the drydock rises the stately edifice of the Southern Naval Headquarters, glistening with huge latticed windows on the upper floors. Beyond the headquarters rises the massive fortified promontory of the Citadel, with bleached-white parapets and fluttering banners.Markets and vendors throng the plaza at the innermost fold of the harbor where civilian and military seamen alike might find a bite to eat, supplies for their next mission, a good drink or a little bit of companionship. Far in the bay, that little isle sports a lofty lighthouse to guide the ships in by night. For a list of currently in the harbor please type.

Among the many people contributing to the buttle of the harbour is a young blonde man, presently standing around with the lost look of a tourist on his face. For some reason he's only wearing a green doublet over his bare chest, but no shirt underneath. There are also speckles of blood on the doublet and his bare arms. "Excuse me -", he tries to stop passing people, but they prefer to hurry past.

"You have to be a very good dancer if you want to slip through such a crowd!" A slightly high-pitched girly voice suggests behind Andre. "I learned it through all those years. You just need to imagine that all those people are changing partners. Two steps right, a swirl, two more steps left and another swirl. At the end, they do not even notice that you have been around them!" A giggle leaves Inesse's throat as she nervously nips on the edges of her white skirt. A few silver rings are glinting on her fingers and all those gemstones on her bracelet are successfully catching the sun rays. Her dress is a true beaded beauty! The beaded illusion bodice features a deep V-neckline and is paired with a circular cut silk skirt. The chapel length train finishes off this ethereal look. Though, that short train is already a bit muddy from sweeping all the dusts on her way to the Port. A young woman holds her hair tied into a braid which is adorned by live white flowers.

"Mylady.", Andre greets the young woman politely when she suddenly appears behind him and speaks to him in the refined speech of a noble person. He offers her a warm smile when he turns around. "Could I trouble you with an inquiry? I seek the Citadel of this fair city."

"BY THE ANGELS!" Inesse exclaims when the man turns to her and she lands dark, almost black eyes on the blood. "M'lord, I do not think that my feet can hold me. I can not handle the sight of blood and I might faint in a few seconds! So, I apologize in advance." Her voice starts to shiver and she is very quick to cast her look away. Her hand raises and gently touches a pendant which is dangling around her neck. "However, are you hurt, m'lord, and you need a healer?"

Andre guiltily looks down his front on the spattered blood, which is dry and almost brownish now. "Think of it as tomato sauce?", he suggests lightly, before he quickly becomes serious again. "I apologize for the offense my appearance causes your eyes. I am not hurt myself. I helped a woman who was seriously hurt and took her to the healers at the temple. I haven't had a chance yet to get changed."

"Tomato sauce. It's just a tomato sauce. Quite spicy with red peppers, perhaps. A pinch of salt as well. Oh, and it has to be not fully smashed. You need to feel actual pieces of tomato. Yes, a tasty tomate sauce which leaves a trace of fire on a tip of your tongue…" Inesse tries to convince herself slowly and sucessfully manages to look back at the man. Though, she tries to keep her eyes focused on his. Just in case. "A woman has been hurt? Perhaps, a robbery? But in the middle of a day?! That's not possible. The city of Marsilikos is one of the safest cities in… everywhere!" She chuckles. "I hope she will be fine? It was so brave of you to escort her to the hospital, m'lord!"

"No, no, rest assured that the city is safe, Mylady.", Andre tries to assure her quickly, dimpled smile still in place, "It was a… confrontation… between two high-spirited women. I took one to the healers, the other was taken to the Citadel by the guards. I would like to find out what happened to her. I've never visited the Citadel before though, so I'm not sure which way", he explains his present problem.

"M'lord, rest assured that if the city guards took that other woman away to the Citadel, that means she commited a crime and she will be properly punished. Our city guards are almost like angels! They keep us safe, they know things and they take care of the problem. So, you shall not worry. Your lady and yourself are both safe now!" Inesse explains. A smile grows in her features and now she seems quite calm again. Even joyful. "I think you need a good glass of wine. When my mother is worried or had a tense day, she always takes a glass of wine. My family has our own two brands we produce and export to all over Terre d'Ange. There is the white sparkling Baiser de Naamah, and the rose wine called Le Rougir Timide. Both are quite popular in the Namarrese Capital of Troyes-le-Mont." She provides a noble companion with details and then introduces herself. "I am lady Inesse de Baphinol."

"She is not my lady -", Andre begins to explain, but the girl is already going on and a glass of wine suddenly does appear to be a spledid idea. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Inesse.", he says and takes her hand for a perfectly measured air-kiss. "I'm Andre van Westerlo, a Prince of Brabant", he introduces himself as well. "I would not mind a cup of wine, were you to suggest a place where we could have one. The morning was rather tense indeed."

Inesse's cheeks bloom in fresh rosy petals when the man places that air-kiss to her knuckles. "I was actually going to…" She makes a vague gesture with her hand towards the east, but then she pauses. "Amm… Hmmm… Well, that can wait. You know, there is this Golden place. I can show you where it can be found. Perhaps, one glass of watered wine will be a perfect refreshment for this early evening. Prince, you say?" She sounds quite curious now. A young woman turns around and this time gestures for the man to follow her. "I mean no offense but I thought that Brabarians have… how you say… Chief of a Tribe not a Prince? And…" She laughs while her blush deepens. "I thought you all have many drawings on your skin."

"Gladly.", Andre agrees to the suggestion of a cup of wine and is ready to follow her wherever she will lead him. Her last remark makes him chuckly softly. "Oh no, not Barbary, Mylady. Brabant.", he clarifies, "It's a Duchy, the southwestern part of the Flatlands just north of Terre d'Ange. We have Dukes and other rulers just like you and I'm afraid, no one is creative enough to put drawings on skins. Shall we?" He offers an arm to walk on if she wishes.

"Oh? Oooooh!.. Oh, I am so sorry, m'lord!" Inesse laughs wrapping her arm around Andre's. "That's so silly of me. I thought that Brabant is like the main city of Skaldia and that is why we call you all Brabarians. It kinda became a term of lack of manners, you know." She starts speaking a little bit faster and her voice grows to be once more high-picthed. "So, when you said who you are, I was so confused. I thought we are at war and I was not sure what are you doing here. Well, unless you would be here for a peace treaty? But then your looks were just kinda shouting - NO. NO NO. I AM NOT BRABARIAN!" She laughs and shyly looks away. "But aren't you like related to them because you are in the north?" Her eyes are scanning the waves now while they walk along the port to the Grand Plaza.

"We share borders with Skaldia and Terre d'Ange both.", Andre explains, "And with Alba as well, if you consider the water between us as a border - which it is. We are not at war with anyone. In fact we remain neutral to engage in trade. Flatlandish merchants have been present here for a while, bringing Flatlandish goods like tapestries and lace to Eisande. Perhaps you have tried our beer or cheese sometime?", he wonders, "I'd be happy to send you some samples."

"Oh, I see!" Inesse nods but then also shakes her head. "I do not like beer. It tastes strange. Almost like something old. I also think that beer leaves this smell which is so common to old men and sailors who spend time in Kraken's Den. Once again, I mean no offense but I do not consider it a lady's drink. While I do like cheese, I do not think I should eat it. I try to eat as little as possible. I would like to keep my figure in shape. After all, my family obviously expects to find a perfect match to me. I have to look pleasing to the eyes. Currently, I need to loose a bit more weight. But if you will send it to me, I can give it to my mother. She might know someone, who knows someone, who might be interested in the business? This why I would be of help to my family and yours!"

"Mylady, if you lost any more weight, there would be too little of your beauty left to admire.", Andre smiles, "But yes, I am always interested in trade opportunities. I will be staying here until the Great Exhibition to help promote my country and our goods in Terre d'Ange. And our beer against your wine sounds like a very good idea."

"Yes yes yes! Let's leave it to my mother. In fact, she is lady Delphine Marylene le Blanc de Baphinol. You can definitely find her in our manor or in one of the Night Courts. You should discuss that with her. I am not much of a business person. Suddenly, I just grew like really bored and my mind is just like screaming - GIVE ME A BREAK!" She chuckles. "It's not like you are boring, m'lord. You are definitely fine! Quite an interesting man drenched in a spicy tomatoe sauce. It's just that business talk… I kinda would like to go home and rest but I promissed a glass of wine to you. So, lets make a turn right here!" She leans him into one of the side streets which leads to the Golden Inn, a young lady has in mind.

"I would not wish to keep you if you rather rest.", Andre replies politely, but she's already on her way to the Golden Inn and so he follows, holding the door open for her and pulling out a chair at a free table for her. "Trade is not necessarily a lady's burden.", he assures her, "One of my sisters is very interested in figures, the other not at all. But as the heir to my father's title, it is my duty and obligation to pursue trade and assure a prosperous future for my country.", he explains a little formally.

The Golden Harbor — Noble District

Situated close to the Opera and upon the famous wine cellars below, the Golden Harbour Restaurant offers the same refinement it expects in turn from its clientele. The name has influenced the choice of interior, where walls have been painted in sea green with golden ornaments, and one wall features the outline of this city's harbor in gilded painting that will catch the warm light of candles and oil lamps. Candelabras made of brass show the likenesses of mermaids and seasnakes. Tables and seating are of dark mahogany, cushions and upholstery done in dark green velvet, heavy drapes of similar color set into the ceiling that can be drawn to allow a certain privacy when such is wished for. Staff is attentive and discreet, and up to the standards of high nobility in their quality of service. They are clad in the unique livery of the place, sea green gowns, chemises and trousers, always tidy and well kept.

Meals served here are mostly local seafood dishes prepared from sophisticated recipes with inspired seasoning. Finest wines are available, both red and white, a supply never ceasing as they have the wine cellars below, to acquire even the most exquisite and costly vintages if requested. High windows offer a view over the city, especially where it slopes down to the harbor, with masts and sails of ships moored there visible in the distance.

"Oho!" Inesse explaims while taking a seat. "You are an heir? Do you know who is also an heir? MY BROTHER! My lil bunny face! Well, that's how I called him when I was a child and I wanted to annoy him. His real name is Boniface. He is amazing! he is absolutely handsome, and clever, and funny. I think, that you both could become friends. My brother is also very brave like you. He is not afraid of that tomato sauce either. Once, he actually saved a lady from three bandits!" She states proudly but then waves it off. "But enough about me. How do you find Marsilikos?"

Andre smiles at the information and nods. "I would be happy to meet your brother as well, Mylady.", he says and when the waiter appears to take the order, he lets the local lady choose whatever wine she thinks is best. That done, he leans back in his chair, pulling hte doublet tight over his bare chest. "It is a very charming place. I've received nothing but hospitality and friendliness from the people here.", he assures her, "And I'm still learning new things ever yday."

Inesse engages into a long conversation with the waitress about the wine. She is quite disappointed that a wine of her family is not sold here at the moment but she picks something else at the end. Kinda at the moment when the waitress was almost ready to loose her patience. She was quite happy to leave the table. But Inesse doesn't seem to be bothered by it. She focuses back at her newly met lord. "Except that you had to take care of a poor injured woman who has been attacked by a bandint in the middle of a clear day. I wouldn't say that it is a friendly and hospital experience but if you say so, m'lord! Probably, you country is quite dangerous, isn't it?"

"Well, people have… differences. Cultural animosities. It is quite normal.", Andre smiles, "I am glad to know that the injured lady will make a full recovery and I will inquiry at the Citadel as to the attacker's fate. My country though?" He leans back again and considers this for a moment, then chuckles. "I believe the greatest dangers are encountering an irritated cow in the pastures and falling drunk into a canal of the cities. It's all rather quiet and unexciting, I'm afraid."

"Oh, woow! You have cows in the middle of a city?" She seems to be honestly surprised. "Well, I know that I rarely leave my room but I have not seen many cows wandering in the middle of Marsilikos. Are your cities very small? Do you have castles? Are they made out from wood? Like, if you will become a King will you have a throne?" Her eyes grow wide. Not because of the greed. It's a childish curiosity. Nothing more. "Do you have brothers? Sisters? What kind of a father and mother do you have? Do people like your family? How you ended up in Marsilikos?"

Andre looks amused by all the questions and lifts a hand to try and get a word in with some answers. "No, the cows live outside the cities. The north is a very flat and wide open country, so it's excellent for farming. The south is hilly and has large forests. We do have some proper cities as well. I'd say Antwerp and Bruges are about the size of Marsilikos each. And our castles are made of stone, much like yours. But I will not become a king, I will become the Duke and ruler of Brabant in good time. Throne included.", he jokes, "I do hope my family is popular among the people. I think we are.", he decides somewhat optimistically and pauses when their wine arrives. "I have one brother and three sisters. My oldest sister recently got betrothed to the prince of Jutland to form a bond with that province of Skaldia.", he explains.

"Hmm… So, technically, you are taking side afterall? You said you are not but now your sister is marrying to a Brabarian. That means you will be at peace with them but not with us?" Inesse raises an eyebrow. Once again, she is more curious than upset or angry, or judgemental. "I wish my sister could be married off to some sort of a lord of far lands and I would never see her again. She is incredibly rude to me. Can you imagine, she keeps calling me stupid." She rolls her eyes and takes a sip of the wine. "Do you like it? It's sweet but not too sweet. You can feel strawberries, can't you?" But then the Baphinol lady is quick to get back to her questions. "Will your sister have to grow beard or at least mustaches like all of the Skaldia women do? I wonder if this is only in their blood or can we also have facial hair?"

"No no, we're not taking sides.", Andre assures her with a bemused expression, "We're neutral. My sister may marry a Skaldian, but I might marry a D'Angeline lady who will rule Brabant with me. Perhaps they will also marry me to a lady from Aragonia or Alba or…" He laughs softly, "Chi'in? We're open to everything." He sips on his wine slowly and samples with it delight. "It is excellent.", he assures her, "I like wine but our climate is too harsh for tender grapes unfortunately." He arches a brow. "I don't think all Skaldian women have moustaches? I've met a few from the Jutlandish delegation and they looked rather delightful. Lots of golden hair and eyes like the summer sky."

"Hmm…" Inesse drowns into her own thoughts now. She takes a sip after a sip. Probably, she is trying to decide if the man is lying or not about those other foreign women. Especially, Skaldians. However, she is soon to just shrug it off. The silence is not that pleasant after all. So, she parts her lips to break it but then no words leave her mouth. She leans back in her seat. Her fingers circle the wine glass on her lap. Inesse looks down and then up at the man. She smiles. Then looks down again. Then to the wall, and then to the ceilings. Is she lacking words?

Andre is a man and such the silence doesn't worry him at all. He just focuses on the enjoyment of the wine, savouring each drop. But when the girl's look keeps wandering this way and that way, he finally cocks his head a little. "Did I say something to offend you, Mylady?", he inquires politely.

"Oh, no. Not at all, m'lord. I just remembered what my sister used to say. That I may become quite annoying with my questions and it's sometimes better to stay quiet, and let others lead the conversation. So, I am kinda doing it now. But I do not think it is working. Perhaps, you actually do not want to talk to me and your mind is still trying to figure out where to find the Citadel since you were so keen on trying to see what will happen to the criminal. Have you seen that biggest, largest building in the Port? The one which takes half of the place? That was a Citadel. I should have told you sooner. It was so impolite of me."

"Oh, no, no!", Andre says quickly, "I appreciate the interest in my country and my family. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. And I am honoured that you chose to grant me an hour of your time to take me here. The Citadel can wait. In fact, I think I will return to my lodgings first to dress properly before I go there. I was… it all happened so fast, you know?", he explains, "The wine and your pleasant company help very much to calm down and steady my nerves."

"Well, then I am very happy to assist you, m'lord. Indeed, it wouldn't have been wise to walk in to the Citadel while covered in all this tomatoe sauce. Guards might have thought that you were involved in the fight. I wouldn't want that you would have to experience any other unpleasant moments during your stay. After all, the Great Exhibition will come soon, it will be over and you will leave. It would be upsetting if your short stay in Marsilikos would have stains." Inesse takes another sip of her drink. "However, I actually might need to leave you. I was on my way to visit my beloved Adrien. I haven't seen him in a few weeks. I was not feeling well and now all I can think of is that I do not look good enough. What if he will become disappointed for coming to Marsilikos only for me? What if I will no longer inspire him?" She sighs. "I shall not bother you with my own concerns. You are always welcomed at our Manor, m'lord. You can find it in the Noble District. My family will definitely be interested in discussing business with you."

"A man who would not appreciate your beauty would not be worthy of you, Mylady.", Andre assures her warmly and when she announces her intention to leave, he quickly gets to his feet to pull her chair out for her. "I do not wish to keep you from your beloved. It was a pleasure to meet you and I will be happy to call on your family at the Manor."

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