(1311-08-01) Permission to Visit is Granted
Summary: A breakfast has been brought to a foreign prisoner and she was visited by a friend while a very watchful guard was keeping his eyes on them.
RL Date: Thu Aug 01, 1311
Related: This and This, and This
gal andre kalisha 

The Citadel

High on a promontory on the southern peninsula of Marsilikos, the Citadel stands tall and firm against the winds whipping in from the sea. Its only approach is from the north, a set of stairs carved in a coil directly into the granite of the mount, wide enough for only two to pass shoulder to shoulder, rising to meet the single gate room between the inner and outer walls of the citadel, both of travertine, white against the dark grey bedrock that rises high over the port, studded with guardposts, each flying the billowing blue banner of Marsilikos.%r%rWithin the twin walls of the citadel the granite has been leveled into a flat rectangular surface, atop which a variety of buildings have been built. The most well-fortified of these is the great octagonal watchtower, crafted in grey granite blocks which match the terrain, rising ten stories higher than the top of the citadel itself, in the top belfry of which is kept a wide array of spyglasses, alarums and masive flags to haul aloft to warn the town below of the arrival of various ships from sea. On the other side of the courtyard are two shorter granite buildings with big bronze doors, under guard all day and all night: the Treasury and Armory, respectively, of Marsilikos. There is also a wooden barracks-building to house the troops which staff the citadel, and the bulk of the citadel floor is open and used for military drills and exercises.

It's a very early morning. A noice of an awakening city comes through a small barred hole in the wall which is suppose to be a window but provides very little light to the prison cell. A woman with so many names such as a rat, a dog, a skunk, a northern bitch, a vernim, is sitting on an old wooden bed. She does have a blanket but it has been used before so much that it has way too many strange stains that even Kalisha is not brave enough to touch it.

Kalisha is a very slim women with a teenager's face. But, perhaps, this youth is just an effect created by so much dark blue ink used to color her skin. There are not only circles around her arms and strange symbols going around her neck and down to her chest but the ink has been used to create an effect that she is wearing a band over her eyes. She is still in her native clothes: old leather and a lot of furs. Though, she has no weapons since all of that has been taken. But her head holds a leather belt as a crown adorning her head. It's decorated by stones and carvings of unfamiliar nature. This belt holds her thick long dreadlocks.

Her neck and arms have bruises. Her eyes are red betraying that she did not sleep whole night. It gives even more strangeness to her general gaze which simply keeps staring at the wall no matter who passes by the bars of her cell.

Given the summer heat, the blanket is probably less than needful anyhow— an extra item to take up room and stink when the room begins to swelter, is all. A guardsman is in before that, though, while the dawn is still gathering its strength to pack behind the punch of the heat of the day. He can't have more than a year or two of service; he's just a kid, really, with eyes that read almost black-irised in the dark of the corridor, with a curly mop of hair that must need to get trimmed sometime soon. But he's no servant of the place, he's in the light uniform jacket the recruits and underlings of the guard wear when on service detail on the Citadel. Unarmed but for a short dagger-blade at his hip. And there's a round tray of meal and bread in one hand, in the other an earthen mug of water laced with just enough wine to disinfect it, but not to taste good or lend the relief of intoxication. The round tray, fortuitously, fits in the gap between the bottom of the bars and the stone floor of the cell, and here Gal squats down and sets it with care, nudging it along below and to the prisoner, keeping his eyes lowered in doing so.

"Serve yourself," Kalisha suggests in a heavy accent. "I am not going to eat that. What did you actually do for this meal?" She suddenly flashes a look to the young guardsman. She is not angry. She is not sad. She is not scared. There are no emotions in her eyes. They are just a deep endless ocean. "Did you spit in it like a previous guard? Oh, wait…" She laughs. "You pissed on it! Or, perhaps, you just poisoned it because you desire to be the one who takes my life!" She keeps her attention focused on the man. "I heard that there will be quite a competition but this pretty little white handed lady still has no guts to deal with me herself."

"Huh?" is the first reaction drawn from Gal when Kalisha suggests that he serve himself… a strange request that lifts his attention from the floor to the prisoner whom he had hardly expected to find in a talkative mood. His eyes meet hers, and remain there while she explains her suggestion. "Uh— no?" he offers up, rather mildly, given the circumstances, letting her vent without seeming to take it personally, at least. He finishes nudging the tray into place just beyond the bars, on the floor, and then he sets the mug in on the floor next to it from in between the bars themselves. "I just brought it in. I mean. I can't swear to what happened to it in the kitchens, but— uh. No."

"I will not eat it." Kalisha firmly states one more time. Though, she raises from to her feet and approaches the bars. Her eyes are always kept locked on the young man. "When?" She asks him when she is close enough. "When are they executing me? How long they will keep me in here like a dog? Can you let them know that I am ready? Like right now. Give me a fucking trail by combat. Let me fight, let me loose and let one of you kill me. Do you want to kill me?" The foreigner looks down at the young man's waist seeking for a sight of his weapon. "Do you want to do it now?"

Gal remains crouched until she approaches, looking up at her from below, then, sliding one foot backward, he rises what he supposes is out of her arms' reach, lifting his shoulders in a helpless shrug, "Sorry, that's all they gave me to bring you. If you don't want it I can take it back, I guess. Or I can just leave it and come get it later. You might… change your mind, or something? I'll tell them, sure, but I don't really know anything, it's a little above my pay grade, y'know?" At that strange last offer, he lifts a hand as though passing up a refill on a drink, "Uh… no, think I'll pass, if it's all the same," he tries to bring a little levity to the situation. "I've only just heard a little of what's happened. You stabbed the Vicomtess de Gueret? That's… pretty ballsy. I mean… you had to know that wasn't going to end well, right?"

"Ballsy?" Kalisha looks confused now. Not only the man's interraction is unfamiliar to her but also his dictionary. "Do you want to hear my side of the story or will you be like that guard Jacquet? He is the one working on my case but he seems to not want to hear what I have to say. His laughter was so loud and he only heard himself, threatening that he will be oh so justful by cutting my head off with his own blade. He doesn't care what actually happened… Do you work to him? You are young. But you might be a good warrior. You have strong arms. You know, they say I am Skaldi and I have to die because of that." She takes a step back as if to let the young man feel less threatened by her.

"Ballsy, like… you know…" Gal goes ahead and grabs himself by the testicles, giving them an artful re-arranging in a 'mannish' fashion. "Got big balls or… something. Big… vagina… power… for girls, I guess," he muddles on through what you would even call it in the ladies, then just shrugs away the thought experiment. "You can talk to me, if you want to… but it's really going to depend on what the witnesses say. I know it's not really fair, people will be biased against you and all, but— the Sarge isn't really that bad a guy. He's on the case and will figure out what happened. If you want to give me your side of things, I'll give him a report, of course."

An underling appears in the cell tract, looking rather worried. "There's someone to see the prisoner.", the youth reports, "I'm not sure it's allowed?"

"I fear that you do not know your Sarge…" Kalisha starts but then she is interrupted by the report. Her eyes grow wider and she springs forward. Her fingers wrap around bars. "Please, it can be only one person. Andre. Please, let him come in!" Her eyes. Big blue eyes. They are pleading now for this young guard to give permission. "I will tell you everything. Just let him come."

"Huh? Oh, hm," Gal considers the matter, then steps back suddenly when Kalisha starts in at the bars and her pleading, which serves for generating more then a mote of suspicion, a vague contraction of his brow. "Alright. I'll supervise the visit, tell him to get no nearer the bars than I am," he tells the recruit, one of the, like… four people here he might actually outrank.

The young recruit dashes off and returns a few minutes later with Andre, who has made an effort to dress up properly in fine clothing that radiates nobility. "Thank you.", he tells the guard very politely and nods to him to indicate that he is dismissed. His eyes seek the glum prison cells until he finds Kalisha, but he turns to Gal instead first. "Thank you for letting me visit the prisoner. I feel that… I have a certain responsibility. I'm Andre van Westerlo, of House Brabant in the Flatlands.", he introduces himself formally.

While the men have a chance to get to know each other, Kalisha grabs the pendant which has been hanging on her neck. She firmly tugs it and the leather chord tears apart. She squeezes the pendant in her palm and extends her arm forward through the metal bars. Leather laces are dangling in the air. "Andre, they are going to execute me," She states as if a matter of fact. "I know that. That's fine. I am not afraid. However, take this. I have a huge request. I think this pendant might help you find my roots. I do not want my grave to be nameless. I know that I am a nobody to you but it's only you who can actually care to find my family if I have one and let them know where my remains are. I just want to be burried by my traditions that I could meet my gods at the end! Take this, please. That's my last request."

<FS3> Gal rolls Perception: Good Success. (6 8 2 4 2 6 7 1 3)

Gal steps to intercept Andre on his way to the cell. He doesn't frisk him, but takes more than a moment to give him a visual once-over with a steady mien. The name, the house… almost the country itself means very little to him, as evidenced, but the fancy clothes do have a little bit of an effect. "Alright; stay out toward the far wall of the corridor. Don't approach the bars or attempt to give anything to or take anything from the prisoner," he lays down the ground rules, as it were. And it's a good thing, too, because then Kalisha is waving the pendant at him. Gal draws his lips into a thin line and, taking the middle space between Kalisha and Andre, he asks, "May I?" Not taking the pendant from her, but asking permission to do so.

All of this is a bit more than Andre bargained for and he lifts a hand. "I'd think people won't get executed all that fast.", he tries to reassure Kalisha, but then the pendant is offered and Gal interferes. "It's her only request.", he says softly to the man, pointedly avoiding the word 'last', "Surely…"

Kalisha opens her palm for the young guard to take the pendant, "If you promise to give it to Andre. I am not playing any games here. I've lost my memory. I do not know who am I. I only know that people are calling me Skaldi. All I know is that I was on a battlefield and I've seen my own mother pierced by the blade, then trampled by a scared horse and left for the crows to have a feast. I've seen so many dead people. I've seen it in a flash of memory. The sergeant said that he hopes it was his sword which killed my mother. I have no chances of getting out if such a man is investigating my case. I only want to meet my mother when I die. This is important that I would be burried by my traditions but for that people have to know who am I. It's just a pendant but maybe it can lead somewhere." And indeed, it's just a very old pebble with an arrow carved in it. (https://i.etsystatic.com/7307068/r/il/197084/677004539/il_fullxfull.677004539_dekv.jpg)

Gal takes the pendant in both hands, one hand cradling the pebble, the other making sure the cord is held straight, carrying it with the respect such a token deserves, but he looks to Andre when he complains of his intervention. "Look, you know, I don't know you… I don't know your house… I'd be hard pressed to put the Flatlands on a map if it wasn't labeled for me. I don't know what kind of… secret message or… seal, maybe? This could be. It would be irresponsible of me to just hand it over to be carried out of here and used for who knows what kind of purpose, wouldn't it? I mean… just look at it from my point of view, OK? Let me hold onto it, and I'll investigate it with you. And when the case is finished, I promise," he turns his eyes back to Kalisha, "I'll give it back to you. Or, you know, to your friend. If…" he doesn't say if what.

Andre pulls his brows together at the guard's word. "Your lack of geography lessons and ignorance is not my fault. You see it's an arrow. How mysterious and secret can an arrow be?", he asks, getting annoyed. But he catches himself and takes a deep breath to turn to Kalisha next to point out the obvious flaw in her words. "You say, you don't know if you are Skaldic, so how do you know what your traditions for burying people are? What if you are not?"

<FS3> Gal rolls Perception: Failure. (4 2 4 6 6 6 4 5 4)

"That's why I am asking you, Andre. To figure out who am I and just let my family know. They will do things. If I have no family then probably you can figure out what burial traditions I have. I know it's a lot to ask, but I need this…" Then she looks back at the young guard. "As long as you will make sure that this pendant ends up in the hands of Andre. I trust you. You were the second person I've met who did not call me names, who did not spit at me, did not punch me and, actually, cared a little bit. Cared that I would at least eat." She then withdraws from the bars taking few steps backwards. "Andre, but if by any chance my gods will smile upon me and I will survive in this place, I promise that nothing bad will happen to you while I breath. You have a friend for life." Kalisha then quite instinctively goes down to her one knee. Her hand raises as if she would hold a sword stabbed into the ground. She lowers her head and whispers quite a few long sentences or words. This is once again an unknown language. But it's finished with a simple "I swear." Then she raises to her feet adding, "Thank you for coming. Did they already questioned you?"

Gal is investigating the pendant, in the meanwhile, letting the insults to his intelligence roll from his back. The more his head spirals into conspiracies, the more he's convinced he'll find some secret code in the piece, and, unable to find it, "An arrow is just an arrow, unless it has a context we don't know about. An arrow by itself could be code… brought to people outside waiting for the signal to attack." He pauses, maybe even realizing, himself, what a stretch that is. "I mean, I'm not saying that it is. I'm just saying that as a member of the City Guard I can't in good conscience ignore that it might be and take all due precaution." He nods his affirmation to Kalisha. "I'll hold it for you, as long as it takes. And see if there's anything we can find out about it. Don't give up all hope just yet, or ask for it to be over with, OK?" he asks of her.

Andre looks genuinely moved by Kalisha's words and actions and smiles gently. "I appreciate it. And don't give up hope. There is a chance that they will be prepared to show clemency and just make you leave the country.", he tries to cheer her up, then shakes his head to her question. "No, they have not. I thought someone would come and see me…" He side-eyes Gal with thin lips. "But apparently they are too busy indulging in mad theories about arrows. It.Is.An.Arrow.", he reiterates helpfully.

Kalisha lowers her gaze down to hide a chuckle which is so easily brought to her features by Andre. But then she looks back at the guard. "You can become a great warrior. Most importantly, you walk into the prison without any prejudgements. You act like any guard should. I hope they will not ruin you. I can see you in the seat of a Sergeant" She compliments the boy. Her lips part as if she is ready to continue but then Kalisha suddenly flinches and jumps to turn around almost like a cat who hears something unexpected. She looks back into the depth of her own cell. Her long dreadlocks are still swaying around her waist area from a sudden movement. Then she cautiously starts moving closer and closer to the darkest corner of her cell. Though, she stops before reaching it. Her head leans to the side. She is scanning it.

As much compassion as Gal has been showing to Kalisha, his patience with her visitor is just about wearing thin. "I know. It's an arrow," he begins. "The Sarge is questioning the Vicomtesse right now. He'll get to you when he gets to you, OK?" It's just a little snippy. He's coaxed down again by Kalisha's flatteries, even if he doesn't really believe them, himself, glancing down to the pendant once more with a slight headshake— and about to say something else when Kalisha is hunting ghosts in the corner of her cell. "Is there something in there? A rat or something?"

<FS3> Gal rolls Perception: Success. (4 1 2 3 5 4 3 7 5)

Andre decides he doesn't need to start another diplomatic incident on top of the one they are already dealing with and inhales deeply to steady his nerves. "Make sure that pendant reaches me, if…", he just tells the guard quietly then squints into the cell and whatever ghosts Kalisha may be seeing. "Kalisha? I cannot linger long as I expect the Sergeant to come and see me in the guest quarters of the palace. I just wanted to check if there is anything you need, I could bring?", he asks.

"That's fine, Andre. You did more than enough. Both of you. Now I will just wait." She simply says not even turning back at the men. Instead, she settles down on the ground. She sits up straight even if her shoulder twitches now and then. Her attention is focused on that empty corner.

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