(1311-09-14) Great Exhibition: Illyrian Exhibit
Summary: Illyrians — cheese — goat jumping.
RL Date: Sat Sep 14, 1311
Related: The Great Exhibition plot.
alphesiboe fiora marco marisela philomene 

Countryside — Eisande

The road that leads from the city winds its way through lush countryside. Drenched by the sun in summer months, it provides a fertile ground for fruits and crops, with well-tended vineyards that produce some of the finest grapes for summer wines. To the south, a rocky coastline slopes down to the silver sands of beaches, and where coves and inlets are littered with fishing boats that plumb the depths of the sea for the fish and seafood that makes up the traditional Eisandine diet. Small stone buildings crouch in the fields to provide shelter from the sun for those that work the land during the heat of the summer months, and there's an open-fronted wooden stall set back from the road where produce such as melons, peaches and a variety of other fruits might be bought when in season. %r%rTrees line the banks of a river where it cuts along dividing fields towards the end of its journey that started somewhere in the Camaeline mountains. Swallowed by a rocky gorge to the south it disappears from view, though a well-trodden path that follows alongside allows a person to track its course towards the ocean.

Rustic simplicity is here paired with bright, festive colors in a celebration of Illyrian style: the poles of the canopy are almost rough-hewn branches, with knobs rounded off and polished with olive oil until they glisten dark brown for a look of country elegance; from the boughs stretches a bright blue tapestry with a countryside tableau woven into it in hues of midnight blues and rosy pinks; maidens dancing and a shepherd at his pipe, two goats butting heads while the nannies look on with heads coyly turned and the ewes at lamb with full udders lick the ears of their nurselings.

Beneath the canopy, three of its sides are set with long tables of the same rusticated wood as the poles of the canopy itself The fourth side is left open for easy come and go of visitors for the sampling of the dairy goods there on offer.

The whole scene is rendered festive, in a rustic Illyrian fashion, with the goats and sheep from whom this feast was made running around with copper bells at their necks, kept in check by two Illyrian Shepherd dogs with brown and black points. Still, be careful where you step.

Out front there stretches a great stone circle with tall rocks set on the earth in the cardinal directions, shorter ones at the mid-points and even smaller ones at the mid-points of the mid-points, creating an archaic dancing-floor outside of the grand canopy.

Marco makes his way into the festival like atmosphere with a faint smile. The Viscomte is attended by a mid-sized contingent from the palace. He lets his eyes meander and he grins as he looks at the well prepared canopies and the bevy of creatures and their tenders. He grins nudging one of the aides who rolls their eyes but can't help but laugh. Marco seems in a good mood as his eyes wander He makes his way along the animals but when he sees a pair of shepherd dogs he heads towards them perhaps searching someone in particular out.

If it's Bo and Nea Marco is looking for, they're just on the further side of the stone dancing-circle, having a cheery-looking conversation with a gentleman in Delaunay colors who returns to his horse and rides away, leaving one of the shepherds at Bo's heel with her ears half-cocked in interest until Bo turns herself around and spots Marco on the prowl, giving him a playfully reproving smile from across the way, eyes alit with mischief and shepherd's crook in her hand.

Marco grins as he makes his way up and he smiles giving a bow, "Your Highness, enjoying yourself I hope?" HE asks as he flicks a glance to Nea and winking as he lets her translate. He pauses and then adds, "I thank you for giving us this…delicious taste of Illyrian sweetness."

Alphesiboe balances herself on her crook and lowers herself into a deeper curtsey than she's managed so far— she's been practicing, and having a staff on hand allows her extra balance to be bold. She smiles, too, to Nea when she delivers her messages. "Na, Nas Merelioides, all…" And Nea, having, perhaps, picked up some tricks of what must be to her a new trade, begins translating alongside and slightly over Bo's husky-voiced, deep Illyrian rumble. "Of course, Lord of Mereliot. And yet it is not our pleasure we are here for today, but yours, and all of Marsilikos'. You have tasted our samples, then?"

Marco smiles at that bow watching and probably letting his eyes drop to the front of her dress. He grins, "Oh? You are here for my pleasure?" He asks brightly, "I could not think of anything more delightful." He shakes his head, "I haven't tasted anything yet. What shall I begin with?"

Alphesiboe's lips curl into a smile not unlike a snarl, "Bunolesto," she cheerfully accuses him, and Nea, laughing, returns: "Such a naughty fellow," then follows along with Bo, who gestures with the crooked head of her staff with a sweep in the appropriate direction, "It's as reading an inscription on a tombstone; from the left, to the top, to the right. Everything has been set on purpose. And all made by hand. Her hand, in fact. From the very teat."

Marco beams at the two, "I DO have a reputation to maintain after all." He says and blinks, "All of it was made by her highness? Her productivity is impressive." HE says warmly moving along and tasting item by item, cheese, and creams and milk, and things in between. He smiles, "Such fine handiwork." He says particularly seeming to enjoy the cheese, "We will have to arrange for most of this? I suppose if it's not made by Her Highness it's not so sweet?" He teases.

Fiora arrives on foot, two guards following her as the Vicomtess comes out to observe the goings on. Her dress for today is practical, a simple affair of fine bright blue cotton with white embroidery along the square neckline and wide cuffs of the sleeves. Her boots are a pale grey, equally practical and her golden hair has been secured in a loose single braid. The guards in Rousse colors follow in her wake as she walks towards the canopy with a mildly curious expression. Her aquamarine eyes flit from offering to offering curiously and she approaches one of the types of cheese with a soft smile. The dogs herding sheep get a fond look from her. The sheep themselves get a slightly more wary look. "At least I cannot see any horses…" She murmurs to her guards softly.

Bo laughs low to herself and gives Marco a firm prod to the bottom with her staff, sending him on to the tasting and then turning to watch the new arrival and the wary look she gives her sheer. Strolling bare-footed, long toes gripping the grasses underfoot, she goes to meet her with a gentle, jocular, "Ma pronisei, Nass," with a sideways grin, "Nei sei calekeis," she adds with a laugh. Neaoule, holding hands with the Princess, translates: "Princess Alphesiboe says you have nothing to fear from the sheep, Lady… except possibly for your shoes if you are not careful where you step."

Fiora blushes a touch and nods to the pair. "Thank you for the reassurance. I have never been around sheep. I feared I might have a similar reaction to them as I do to horses." She smiles softly and curtsies politely. "I am Fiora Rousse, Vicomtess de Sartene. Does her Highness have any recommendations on what to try first?"

Where only a few weeks ago, Philomene would have cut a fine, proud figure on arrival on horseback, where her limp can't be seen but her many years of expert riding can, instead today she's borne in a small, unmarked trap, with a young maid at her elbow to fuss and offer a hand (not accepted) and encouraging remarks (accepted with bad grace) as she climbs down. Although technically in recovery now, she looks considerably older than before, her cheeks are thinner, and her footing less sure, and the peculiar gait that makes her stand out is altered to one even more unusual to account for the stresses and strains of her most recent injury. It's with a scowl at the world in general and her maid in particular that she makes her way to the pavilion, pausing to nonchalantly rest up against one of the side poles. Nonchalant, you see. Definitely not because she's tired from walking those few steps. Nope.

Alphesiboe takes a solid moment to simply regard the d'Angeline grace as it's manifested in this new visitor while her companion and interpreter relays her comments. She, too, dips into a curtsey, if a less impressive one than that of the angel-born. When she begins to reply, it's with less vigor and playfulness than that with which she spoke to Lord Marco, a gentle fluidity of low-thrumming syllables which Nea is quick at hand to take up and render into d'Angeline: "Horses are more likely to hurt a person, yes, but only if that person wants something of them. The cuisine is laid out in proper tasting order, if you follow the tables about… but if it is not to your liking to taste everything, then— tell me, how to do you like your cheese? Aggressive or gentle?" While Nea is relaying as much, Bo spots Philomene helping to prop up one of the canopy's legs, but she quickly returns her attention to the Rousse Vicomtesse to see how she replies.

Of course, while Philomene maintains the structural integrity of the tent, her young maid is free to explore, wide eyed and wide-nostrilled, the selection of dairy products. Ostensibly it's to bring her mistress a selection, but she's really very keen to check and double check the flavours first to see what might meet with Philomene's approval. As for the vicomtesse herself, she remains with arms folded across her chest, eyeing the assorted guests more than the cheeses. Still, you can't accuse her of xenophobia today, as the d'Angeline guests are getting exactly the same scrutiny as the Illyrian pair. If anything, her slight lift of the chin toward the peasant-dressed hostess includes a faint smile of approval.

Alphesiboe would hardly consider herself dressed like a peasant. The colors of dye used in her hand-woven tunic are quite expensive, a mark of status where she's from, and, besides, she wears diamonds in her hair. But perhaps all Illyrians look somewhat backwater to their refined d'Angeline counterparts; still, it makes for an entertaining morning's gawk at the princess whose exhibition grounds are scattered with … scat. Having explained the layout of the fare to Fiora and sent her on to her gustatory wanderings, she beckons for Nea to follow her sidelong to the woman holding up the pole. "Kai," she greets with a quiet smile, "Em anapate," she holds up both hands to the level of her shoulders, giving Phil a glimpse of both palms while tucking her shepherd's crook in against her shoulder. Nea gapes slightly at Bo, as though affronted to have to translate such a thing, but, shyly, she puts it in rather delicate terms: "Princess Alphesiboe greets you, and bids you know she does not carry a blade."

Philomène actually laughs at that, either the mortified expression on Nea's face or the concept as a whole, and gestures to her belt where today at least there is only a single dagger. "Kai," she hazards by way of return, guessing this to be some sort of greeting. "And you can tell her that mine today is hopefully for nothing more than your fine cheeses. Are you able to tell me the breed of sheep, though? And you keep goats as well?" She pauses to allow for translation before adding, "Or if you're really too busy perhaps we can discuss raising livestock another time. In Gueret it's primarily pigs, of course," as though anybody might not have heard of the delicious Gueret Old Spot and their meat, foreign or not.

Laughter is always a good sign, and Bo, though briefly silenced at the flashing of a blade on Philo's own person, returns the jocular sound when Nea explains its intent. "Na," she nods, "mei wanas Chaonie, Propeideis, mei trages Boutroades am bures," she rambles on easily, leaning on her shepherd's crook as Philo leans on the knobby canopy post, mirroring her posture with an easy cross of her bare ankles together. "The sheep here are of Chaonian stock, a breed pure as far back as the reign of King Propeos. And the goats are of a breed from Boutroas, one of our northern reaches." As Nea is translating, Bo goes on, and Nea tacks on to the end, "If you'd like to discuss an exchange of stock before our return home, we'd be happy to— after our exhibition has ended."

A tall red-haired commoner woman, looking fairly d'Angeline in appearance, enters from the path heading towards the rustic canopy. She's not fancy. Not at all. Marisela wears a simple skirt, belt with pouches, underbust corset, and white blouse. Her hair washed, as is the rest of her, and braided down her back. Though messily done, she still holds that beauty of angels, though she herself seems not to care in that respect to show it in what she wears; or is it she can't afford to do that? Whatever it is, she's here enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of this exhibit in the warm countryside. She tucks her way into the canopy to the tables, directly to the cornucopia of pleasures on display to decide just what pleasure she'd like to try first.

Philomène lifts a hand, nodding once in understanding. "Oh, of course. Perhaps tomorrow or later in the week." Because when it is not a good time to arrange a trade deal with a sympathetic nation? "And once Caroline has finished filling her face where she thinks I can't see and comes back to me with samples of your cheeses to try," she adds a little drily as her maid, completely oblivious, is indeed continuing to sample at great length the selection on offer.

"Risai," grins Alphesiboe, bringing out her free hand to clasp at Philomene's upper arm in some manner of agreement or solidarity. "Nuni ge tupetei," she finishes with a soft squeeze and a glance to Neaboule with a brow raised, who, in turn, nods three times very quickly, "Excellent," she reports. "We're staying in guest quarters at the palace, where you may find us or leave word." By now Bo is off on another thread of conversation, to which Neaboule adapts with more of a smile. "All of our cheeses and butters are works of the Princess herself. She takes great pride in handling the product from the teat to the table, and hopes it suits you as well as it is suiting your maiden. If she does not bring you a plate, Bo— the Princess will have some brought; soon the entertainment will begin, and you should have something to nibble while you see it."

Marisela overhears the conversation around her regarding the food, and keeps that in mind for her experience here. She picks up a few items, looking it over, smelling it, smiling with eyes closed to savor the sight and scent of it, before she pops it into mouth to savor the taste, eating slowly with a soft moan of appreciation. "Delicious," she comments, as she browses the tables for some other delicacy to excite her senses.

Philomène allows the Illyrian hostess another small smile and an inclination of her head, but makes no move to approach the table or reproach her maid. She'll get her cheese samples when Caroline is good and ready, and in the meantime she's content to rest where she stands and settle her gaze on those other here enjoying themselves. Sickening.

Alphesiboe briefly scans the small crowd of people coming and going amongst the various delights of the dairyland, offering the rather moderately decorated Marisela a curious smile should she catch her eye. But the time has come for her and Nea to be ready for their demonstration. Nea, first, gathers her rustic pipe, wax and string binding reeds of descending length into an instrument held to her lips in both hands. Her lower lip she dampens with her tongue in strolling outward to the center of the dancing-circle, beginning to play a keening processional as she does so— loud enough to call for attention as she takes her position in the center and turns to face the crowd under and around the canopy, weight on her left foot, right foot poised until she begins a rhythmic sort of hopping dance, nothing spectacular, but certainly sprightly and iconically bucolic.

Marisela noted that smile from Alphesiboe, and returned it with a smile of her own. There's a brief lick of tongue to her lips, before she takes another few delicacies from the table to snack on while she enjoys the entertainment.

The meanwhile, not to detract from the nymph-like apparition of Nea dancing at mid-circle, Bo is treading the exterior of the circle, striding to the beat from stone to stone, beating her crook on the earth in time with her right foot and clapping her left hand against her forearm to mark the beat. When she comes to the stone marking the northwestern corner, curling around toward the back of the circle from the crowd, she gives a sharp yell and Nea begins spinning in a circle while, with a bark, one of the shepherd dogs chases a line of four ewes into the circle. And just when it looks like that might be a terrible problem for the performance, the dog chases the sheep about in a circle counter to Nea's spinning, making it appear as though she's whirling like a whirlwind in comparison. When Bo reaches the southeast point, a whistle sends the dog chasing their wards off in the opposite direction of their entrance, and, from that same quarter, with a shout, the other dog chases on stage four goats; Nea begins to spin in the other direction, and the goats to circle her opposite-wise once more.

"Ooo," Mariesela makes the soft noise of appreciation as she watches the demonstration, smiling as the dog and ewes come around. She chuckles softly, noticing how cute they are and just wanting to ruffle hands through their fluffy coats, and pet the dogs, too. Then the goats, and she looks a little more weirded out. Those eyes. Those goat eyes. There's a press of her lips together watching them come on. She watches all the fascinating movement of this dance, unable to take her eyes off it all.

When Bo reaches the southeastern stone marker, another whistle calls the second dog to bring the goats out the opposite direction of their entrance… toward her, in fact. Nea resumes her tuneful hopping, and Bo takes a position at the eastern stone, with the sheep at the northeast and the goats at the southeast. "Ya!" she calls, and the shepherd dog chases one of her charges out into the circle, dashing fast at Neaboule in a straight pass through the center of the circle; Neaboule, in turn, leaps high into the air and lets the sheep pass directly under her before she lands. "Yo!" bids the goatherd dog to send one of its charges in a course crossing that of the ewe, which Nea dodges with equal nimbleness. The next sheep she dives over into an armless somersault, jumping back up to her feet before she does a backward one-handed handspring over the next goat, and Bo, for her part, sends the sheep and goats past with increasing frequency of beat, until eight full acrobatic tricks in a row have left Neaboule gleaming with sweat and poised with arms wide and chest heaving at the center of the circle, the sheep and goats falling in to graze peaceably behind her. Bo marches straight into the circle at the conclusion and lifts Nea's hand into the air in a pose of victory.

Marisela claps for Nea and Bo, happily entertained by the dancing. She's enthusiastic in her clapping, letting the performers know her delight through it. "Beautiful," she comments, smiling warmly.

Alphesiboe grasps Nea's hand in a different position and swings it back down between them, and Nea, clearly tired, brings her pipe up to hold over her heart and bumps her shoulder into Bo's as they stroll back toward the crowd and the applause. "Oh, thank you," Nea dips her head graciously toward Marisela for her praise, then explaining the interaction to Bo.

"You're welcome," Marisela says back, watching the performers leave. She steps back in case there is space needed, making sure not to bump into people or objects. As a barmaid, and sailor, she has some excellent visual-spatial ability. Marisela lingers a bit for more nibbles, before making her way back to the city.

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