(1312-01-21) The Great Big Blue Sea
Summary: A man from a landlocked mountain region gets his first look at the ocean.
RL Date: (1312-01-21)
Related: None
antoine andrei 


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 whatever 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 southern fleet of the d'Angeline Royal 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.

A tall, fair-haired man stands on the pier, leaning one hand on a silver-tipped walking stick, watching the ships. Nothing too unusual in that except that anyone native to the city likely has seen those ships every other day for all of their lives and thus don't think the sight all that fascinating. To a foreigner though, the Marsilikan fleet well might be — and a foreigner the man is, if one judges by his apparel. A long, black coat trimmed in silver fox fur is in a style that is certainly elegant enough but very much identifies him as hailing from somewhere not here. From the expression of his pale face, one could get the impression that the ocean itself is new to his sight, and that he is as fascinated by the waves as by the tall ships docked in port.

Having spoken with someone, Antoine is making his way back along the pier, pausing to glance around every now and then. That's when he notices the foreigner, studying the man carefully for a few moments. There's a brief pause as he sees the man's expression, and he glance out at the sea itself, briefly. "Looks nice out there, doesn't it?" he asks, after a few moments of pause.

"It's certainly beautiful," The other man cedes and glances over his shoulder at the interruption, then turns around, speaking with an accent pronounced enough to be noticed but not enough to be ridiculous. He inclines his head politely in the fashion of someone who is not entirely certain of the social standing of the other person present. "I've never seen anything quite like it. Is the air here always so crisp, I wonder?"

"Not always, but often, at least," Antoine replies, offering the other man a polite nod. "You're new to our fine city, then?" There's a brief glance around again, then back to the man.

"Quite so," the foreigner agrees. "Came in by carriage last night, at that. Still getting my bearings, trying to sort out when to bow and when to stand aside, figuratively speaking — and learning that apparently, in Marsilikos, it is not unusual for ladies to buy strong liquor for gentlemen." He offers a crooked little smile at the last observation, seemingly a bit amused by the idea. From his bearing, he's no farmhand or clodhopper; a merchant, perhaps, one with enough money to trim his coat in fine fur.

Antoine nods as he hears that. "Then welcome to Marsilikos. I hope you enjoy your stay," he replies, before he studies the man a bit carefully for now. "If I may ask, what brings you here?" There's another brief pause, as he tries to decide on something.

"Thank you." With another wistful glance at the sea the foreigner replies, "I came here most of all because I am told that Marsilikos is a hub of very skilled healers, and I certainly have need of one. But I'll admit to being curious as well — your country has quite a reputation elsewhere, monsieur, of decadence and debauchery. I think a part of me wanted to see what kind of people you actually are; and so far, I am not as shocked as I expected to be."

Antoine nods a little as he hears that. "There are some very fine healers here, that's true," he replies, before he is unable to hold back a chuckle at those last words. "Sorry to disappoint," he remarks, lightly. He looks a bit curious, though. "Where would 'elsewhere' be, if I may ask?" A brief pause again, before he adds, "And I must have forgotten my manners. I'm Antoine Valais, Vicomte de Marcoux. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Goodness. I had no idea I was speaking to gentry," the other man says, quirking an eyebrow over the monocle. "Andrei Anghelescu, at your service, monsieur. I am from a small valley in the Chowat that I would not expect anyone to have heard of unless they have a particular fondness for spruce trees and cuckoo clocks."

"Then I'm fairly certain I don't know the place, I'm afraid my knowledge of the Chowat is rather limited," Antoine replies, letting out a bit of a breath.

"As is my knowledge of Terre d'Ange and the city of Marsilikos," Anghelescu suggests with a small smile, leaning lightly on his silver-tipped walking stick. "A lady warned me earlier to bow if I saw people sporting coat-of-arms with fish on. Apart from that little tidbit, all I know about your beautiful city is the stories — you're all the children of gods, that sort of thing, monsieur."

Antoine nods as he hears that. "Good advice," he offers after a few moments of pause, before he nods a bit as he hears the last part. "As always with the stories, it's best to experience a place to find out how true they may be," he offers, after a few brief moments of pause.

"I plan to, monsieur," the other man smiles, returning his blue gaze to the ocean and the waves and the ships that rock gently upon them like so many very large ducks in a very large pond. "Pray tell — in your language, what is the proper way to address a Vicomte? I mean no offence but I am genuinely not quite certain. Do I call you my lord?"

"That is the correct form of address," Antoine replies, offering the man another brief smile. "How about you? What is it that you do back home?"

"I don't suppose that 'as little as possible' would be the proper response to that inquiry, my lord?" Anghelescu watches as a dinghy glides across the harbour, ferrying somebody from a galleon to the pier. "I oversee the affairs of a small estate, though I suspect that most such in the Carpathians quite pale in comparison with anything you're accustomed to. Everything seems very… golden here in the Terre d'Ange, from what I've seen. I am not going to say decadent because I do not know enough about your country — but very pleasant."

Antoine is unable to hold back a brief chuckle as he hears that first answer. "Sometimes, I have a feeling that everyone wants to be doing that from time to time," he replies, words kept rather light for the moment. As he hears the longer version, he nods again, along with a brief smile. "Not every place here is as grand as the main cities, though. But I think most of them are rather pleasant, that's true."

"Ah, but your country is beautiful and fertile," the other man notes. "And flat. Mine is a region of mountains and trees, quite unpassable in many areas and certainly not friendly to the plough, my lord. We trade in lumber, because spruce and hornbeam will grow anywhere, if they have to shove the rocks out of the way first with their roots." Judging from his appearance, those soft black kidskin gloves in particular, he's never put his hands on the reins of a pair of oxen or indeed helped push a plough through the dirt, though.

Antoinesmiles, "Ah, but lands are diverse. Some regions are flatter and more fertile, some are the opposite. I have always liked mountain areas myself, though. Although everything should probably be up to a certain point, right?" Another brief moments of pause, before he adds, "And the differences between areas are why people invented things like trade, right?" It's said with a smile, as he glances out to the sea again.

"Quite so, my lord. Do you perhaps dabble in trade yourself?" Anghelescu's tone implies the possibility, at least, that men of such esteemed rank might simply take the easy route and employ other men of less high birth to look after their financial affairs, freeing them up to live lives of idle pleasure. "I find myself better at finding opportunities than at negotiating the exact rates and exchanges, I'll readily admit."

"Not too much directly in trade, I don't have that much in that particular skill," Antoine replies, before he adds, "So I guess, like you say, finding the oportunities and making the broader agreements." He offers a brief smile, before he adds, "But while enjoying the pleasures of life is never wrong, I feel I wouldn't be able to leave my affairs to have other people running them. I feel that if I don't care, things would not go well."

Anghelescu returns his blue gaze to the tall ships; he is obviously fascinated by them — about as fascinated as one might expect someone from a completely landlocked region of forest-covered mountains to be. "In my experience, my lord, there are two kinds of gentry in the world — those who prefer to leave such matters to hired men, and those who prefer to know what is being said and done in their name."

Antoine nods again as he hears that, offering another smile. "True. And I believe I find myself in that second group there. And, of course, for the first, it's far easier to have someone take away what you have if you let others handle them." Another look to the ships, before he smiles, "I had a bit of the same reaction the first time I came down to the coast." It's offered a bit quietly.

"Not a native to the coastal city either, my lord?" The foreigner keeps looking at the sails, the sailors, the seagulls. "I wonder if I have sea legs. Would be terribly embarrassing to get the opportunity to sail on one of those ships only to spend the entire trip hanging over the railing, emptying my insides."

"Not a native, no. Although I've spent so much time in the city that it feels like home these days," Antoine replies. "My lands are a little more inland, not too far, but far enough that heading to the coast took some time." As for the part about the sea legs, he is unable to hold back a brief chuckle. "Most people have been there, hanging over the railing," he replies. "But it's true, such things might seem quite a bit embarrassing."

"I do hope to get to test myself on the matter," Anghelescu nods. "I have been asked to look into whether it might prove worthwhile to try to establish a sea route — through Illyria, that is, and up north through the mountaineous regions. If I am to ever test out that trip, though, I rather hope to not spend it miserable — they say the Illyrian ocean is the bluest of them all, and I'd hate to miss that."

Antoine smiles, nodding a bit as he hears those words. "Sounds like taking a few shorter trips when you are here sounds like an excellent idea to test your sea legs, and get more used to them," he offers. "And I have read that they say that about the Illyrian ocean too."

"I may do so, should the opportunity arise, my lord." The Chowatti gentleman nods with some conviction. "Ah, well. I suppose I should take care not to stand in the open wind too long; my health is indeed quite poor, and I'd hate to have to visit those healers prematurely. It is very kind of you to spend words on a traveller and a foreigner — I suspect that not all lords would."

Antoine nods as he hears that, offering the other man a smile. "It was a pleasure to meet you. Hopefully we will meet again at some point," he offers.

"Perhaps we will, my lord," says the foreigner. "Although I doubt I shall be spending much time at court, but then, it was not at court we met. A good day to you, I hope, and I shall strive for the same!" On that note, he pulls his fox fur trimmed coat up around his ears — odd on such a hot day, at that — and strolls off along the pier, headed towards the part of the harbour where cheaper lodgings are found. Perhaps he's not quite so posh after all.

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