Rumors, Part 5

May 1311

A Stay of Execution

posted May 03 2019

Two stablehands in the ducal stables are clustered around a newly arrived horse, making much of it as another prepares a feed of oats and bran for it.

"It was her, the Lady Deserae and Lord Cyriel what brought 'im in," says one to another as he rubs at the sweating animal's coat with a handful of straw.

"But you're sure that it's him?" says the other, hanging on the first one's words.

"It is!" comes the grim reply. "An' such a fine animal too. Ordered to be butchered because someone can't take a loss with good grace."

"Not a sportsman then…"

"Not a sportsman, no."

"So what will she do with it now?"

"Don't know." the first says, tossing aside the straw as the bucket of oats and bran is brought through.

--

Word spreads like wildfire that a certain young heiress, whilst in the company of a Kusheline nobleman, liberated a horse from the butcher's knife. Why, is something that many will ruminate and debate about, whether it was a feeling of indignation at the unfairness of such an action, or perhaps it was simply the fact that the young woman despises slaughter for slaughter's sake.


Arrangement Dissolved

posted May 06 2019

Two young ladies can be overheard as they are taking a stroll about the Jardins d'Eisheth.

"Sweet Elua! There is mercy in Her Grace. I heard, she finally caved in."

"How do you mean?", asks the brunette lady the blonde.

"Lady Phaenne. I heard an announcement was made. Dissolving the betrothal to Lord Timothée de Somerville."

"Oh? How so? She was intended to be a match linking House Mereliot to the provincial duchy of Somerville. It was a political arrangement."

"True. But. Lady Phaenne hasn't left her room in the past month. She was never seen with Lord Timothée, while he was busy socializing with everyone else. Perhaps… perhaps with what happened after the horse race… Lady Armandine preferred to bow out of the arrangement."

"I can't imagine. But isn't Lady Phaenne of rather sickly health?"

"She used to be a very charming and lively girl, but now that you mention it… That fall off a horse that occurred two months ago. I don't recall her recovering fully from it."

"So perhaps that is the reason?"

"Maybe?"


A Body on the Shores

posted May 13 2019

"Oh by the angels, oh by the angels…" A very old woman is grumbling while cleaning the path that leads to the Infirmary.

"What's wrong?" A young lad asks while carrying a bucket of water to the Infirmary. "Do you need any assistance?"

"No no no…" The woman shakes her head. "I only pray that it would not be a sign of a dark future. You better carry that bucket than a thick sword!"

"What do you mean?" The boy seems to be confused. He sets the bucket on the ground. "Why would I need to carry a sword?"

"Sometimes such young men as yourself are called to a war!" The woman waves at the boy's feet with her broom.

"Are you insane?" The lad laughs. "Why would I be called to a war?"

"Well, today a Skaldi warrior has been brought to our infirmary! I hear her body was brought in by the waves. Why would a Skaldi warrior be washed onto our shores?" She frowns and eyes the man in front of her.

"Because her ship sunk?" The man shrugs.

"But why would there be a ship of Skaldi warriors at our shores?!!"

"Why would I know?" He shrugs it off, raises the bucket of water and moves along shaking his head.


A Miracle!

posted May 19 2019

Word has it that a miracle was worked at Eisheth's Temple, two days ago.

The young lord Oliver de Basilisque was seen being escorted into the Temple, accompanied by his attendant Henri. Lord Oliver was relying on that assistance, it is known that he is blind. And yet. He emerged some time after, on his own, in conversation with an attendant that was no longer guiding his steps, and a young lovely lady of an Eisandine House, Cerise d'Eresse.

Some people venturing into the temple, curious about what had occurred, found that the Priestess of Eisheth, Sister Gwenaelle, was unavailable. They were told she had fallen unconscious and had been brought to her chambers to recover - after working a notable miracle by calling down upon her the help of Eisheth.

Whatever the consequences of such daring act might be for Sister Gwenaelle, it seems that Lord Oliver's eyesight has been fully restored.


Baphinol Delegation

posted May 20 2019

With not much in the way of advance public notice or fuss, a delegation from House Baphinol has this day boarded the carrack Pelasges (commonly known as Les Pelles) in order to cross to Tiberium. The delegation, while small, was notable in its counting in its rank both the Baroness of Monteaux and the heir to the County itself, sparking many a bout of speculation as to its purpose, especially given the general sense in and about Marsilikos that the County had come up rather short on funds after the laying up of this year's tax to the Duchesse.


June 1311

Stripey horses, oh my!

posted Jun 10 2019

My, does the news travel quick around Marsilikos about the cargo delivered by one ship flying the flag of Bhodistan.

Not only did the ship carry three foreigners who were greeted by the Bhodistan Ambassador, Princess Rajiya along with her betrothed, Viscomte Drake Rousse, but there were several very exotic animals that also were spied by those around the docks, and the streets leading to the Rousse estates.

"Two birds of bright green coloring in a cage. They were very pretty!" So says a laundress to another.

"Did you see the strange animal on her shoulder?" A sailor says to a dockhand who answers, "A monkey, though never seen a white one before. Seen them in Tiberium when a boat stopped there once."

But the biggest gossip would be about the odd black and white striped horses that were led to the stables at Rousse estates. Never has such patterns been seen before! "I heard they came from beyond Menekhet." Says one sailor, though another looks confused, "But did they not come from Bhodistan??" A shrug is passed, "From Menekhet by way of Bhodistan?" Which doesn't makes sense, and just confuses the second sailor more.

As for the guests? It would appear the parents of Princess Rajiya have arrived in time for the wedding, along with a cousin who will be taking up her position as Ambassador of Bhodistan once she marries.


The Akkadian Delegation Arrives

posted Jun 19 2019

Word is travelling through Marsilikos, about a delegation having arrived from the City of Elua. Among them, Prince Adashir Shamabarsin, Ambassador of Khebbel-im-Akkad and emissary of the Khalif. Also, another member of the Akkadian royal family, Prince Fouzan, father to the bride-to-be. They have come to attend the wedding that will take place in a few days, at the Ducal Palace in Marsilikos.


Bad News from Aix

posted Jun 19 2019

Two ladies can be overheard chatting at the Golden Harbour.

"Companions! Do the trials and tribulations of the Comtesse Delaunay never end?", asks the older lady, her Eisandine accent apparent.

"What do you mean?", asks the other with Siovalese rationality. "You cannot be referring to the announced match between that Delaunay and a Rousse?"

"No, I am not," the older lady assures. "But you did hear of how a nephew of hers got killed under mysterious circumstances? Poor Lord Victor. And now… I heard that her own daughter has perished as well!"

"You don't say! Poor Lady Yseult! But her daughter, Lady Gabrielle was so lovely, and yet so young! Recently married to Lord Belmont! What happened?"

"Lord Belmont had been seen leaving a few weeks after that incident with Lord Victor. I take it, he has gone home to spend time with his wife. So unfortunate. I hear she was with child and due soon! Hah! Recently married? Long enough ago for her to be pregnant with an heir or heiress!"

"Pregnant? Oh!" The Siovalese lady's eyes go wide as she holds her breath, eager to hear more.

"Bad days have come to haunt House Delaunay. Lady Gabrielle came down too early with a stillbirth. And she didn't survive the child by more than a few days."

"Can it be witchcraft? An evil curse?", the younger lady wonders. "Some evil befell the Chavaise branch of House Mereliot, and now House Delaunay is next?"

"Who can tell for sure?", the older lady counters, giving the younger woman an ominous look. "But fact is… this new situation makes Lord Belmont a widower, and very likely to lose a title he gained merely by marriage. There is no issue, no heir, that would legitimize his regency."

"What ill fortune! Indeed."


Return of Les Pelles

posted Jun 26 2019

Some days ago now the citadel observatory tower flew the flags of Les Pelles, observed on its return to port after a month's absence to the port of Ostia. It retuned not only bearing the heir to the Comte d'Avignon, his Baroness du Monteaux, and their burly entourage, but also a succinct herd of togate figures whom Rumor has generally borne about to be of the medical profession, students and doctors of medicine from Tiberium.

And well it seems that the Lord Baphinol came home so accompanied; not long after his return, which seemed so well timed for him to take part in the weddings of recent, he has taken ill, instead, to his hired rooms in the Rue du Port.


July 1311

Seasoned Advice

posted Jul 10 2019

Is there a better place to catch up on the latest gossip than at court, within the Ducal Palace, on a warm and pleasant summer afternoon? Two of the duchesse's ladies can be overheard chatting as they take a stroll about the gardens.

"I am so relieved that the Akkadian delegation has left," Marguerite utters with a soft sigh. "I mean… Those two Akkadian princes, and their frightening sword dancers!"

"You mean those that performed at the wedding of Lord Marco and Lady Farah? I found their dances quite intriguing! I am sorry they did not meet your particular taste." Is there a hint of sarcasm that laces Yvette's tone? At least she offers a wink along with the words. "It was a lovely feast. With so many in attendance. Even visitors from Kusheth. That Baron de Bardenac, and his Valerian escort for the evening."

Marguerite rolls her eyes just a little. "So very *Kusheline*. I take it, they were in some way related to the bride. At least, that Valerian was seen visiting the Guest Tower, and I have it from a secure source, that she went to the Akkadian Suite."

Yvette grins as she gives Marguerite an intrigued look. "Médard de Morhban introduced her as Fleur nó Morhban. Seems that she is his personal attendant. Perhaps she was acting as a messenger of sorts?"

"Who can tell?", Marguerite replies with a low guttural chuckle. "But even these two, the baron and his courtesan, have left Marsilikos, a few days after the wedding feast. Now everything seems to return to normal everyday life. Ah… as we await the next upcoming marriages…"

"Well. They come and go. But with that said… It was interesting to see young Lord Yves Valliers arriving with two Night Court beauties on his arm! I wonder what this enchanting trio might have had to discuss with the Second of Thorns, Monsieur Raphael?", Yvette counters with one brow lifting. "Perhaps… some seasoned advice on how to end the evening?"

"Who can tell?", her lady companion offers back with a grin. "But I for my part would think that to be highly likely."


Flawed d'Angelinism

posted Jul 10 2019

"What is it with these foreigners? I am not referring to those recently arrived, but those that have lived here in Marsilikos, trying to blend in? I mean…", the older lady clears her throat and her mouth thins into an expression of disapproval. "Is subtlety so unheard of, in Aragonia? The way that Aragonian boasted of his 'conquest' during the Festival of Fire… Made reference to the Servant of Naamah in question without even caring whether he was overheard or not… Tell me, Marie! Is discretion something that isn't valued in his home country?"

"Ah, that Glycine adept that danced a fire dance… That must have been the one Lord Alejandro de Mereliot boasted about," Marie is quick to respond. "Perhaps he was pleased with her performance and wanted a share of that attention. Perhaps he does not *know* that a gentleman — even here in Terre d'Ange — should be content to enjoy a courtesan's skills in private, and not boast of them at a courtly occasion." The woman is younger and certainly more forgiving in manners than the older lady she currently is in conversation with. "We may follow Elua's Precept of 'Love as Thou Wilt' — and perhaps he inferred that stating as much would make him look like more d'Angeline. Like… a statement of accepting our ways and living them on his own."

"Yes. Perhaps," the older lady drawls. "Perhaps you are right. His d'Angelinism is flawed, no doubt. But perhaps we should honor his possible intention of *blending in*."

"Foreigners seem to have been a topic discussed between the Lady of Marsilikos and the Vicomtesse de Gueret," Marie cuts in, changing the subject while outwardly sticking to it. "Lady Philomène was overheard worrying about the treatment of foreigners, in the light of jurisdiction."

"Yes, I heard. How every extraordinary. We should worry more about foreigners infesting our d'Angeline society. Like… these matches made with the justification of politics… They will water down our heritage. And besides… They are ugly and cannot be trusted!" Says the elderly lady with a look of gentle disgust.

"I take it that you will be keeping indoors then, during the weeks of the Great Exhibition," Marie remarks with a fine smile. "As not to see your eyes insulted with the view of those from abroad. I for my part look forward to those days. As I am eager to learn about other cultures. I hear, the first emissaries are already arriving in our city."

"Kushiel have mercy!", the elderly lady crosses her arms before her, as if bracing herself. "I shall make sure to avoid the spots where these foreigners are likely to mingle. I shall be happy to watch them *all* depart, once those dreadful weeks are over."


La Perle Noire

posted Jul 16 2019

In the springtime one of the most magnificent white marble edifices in the Grand Plaza changed hands suddenly. Since then it has been aswarm with workmen — and foreigners in outlandish costumes… More latterly, every door opening or window left ajar has teased passersby with glimpses of coloured silk draperies, fragments of alluring and alien song, and the scent of fine coffee-beans roasting.

This past week or two has seen at last the new establishment's blossoming into a coffee-house in the Ephesian style, called La Perle Noire, after the proverbial black pearls of Ephesium which are its chief stock in trade. Though of course some of the savvy foreign nobles and merchants who have already made it their headquarters, come as well to see the dancing girls, or to nibble exotic treats never before tasted in Marsilikos: such as little cubes of sugar-dusted confectionery already colloquially known in the city as Ephesian Delight. Some are simply flavoured with lemon or orange or roses; others might contain tiny flowers, or whole pistachios or walnuts, or chopped dates held together by that delicious jelly. The house's pâtissier seems to have quite the imagination.

The Pearl's hours are from sunrise to sunset. Private parties are known to stay later, in the smaller chambers upstairs, and even to order lavish suppers from restaurants nearby with whom the proprietress has an understanding.


Another Akkadian Arrival

posted Jul 17 2019

Late in the evening on the sixteenth day of July, 1311, a large ship flying the Royal Standard of the House of Ur of Khebbel-im-Akkad, makes port in Marsilikos. Messengers are despatched, and shortly after an official welcoming party from the ducal palace arrives to oversee the smooth transition of Princess Mirzeta of House Shamabarsin from her ship to the official quarters of the Akkadian Ambassador.

The Princess comes to Marsilikos as an Emissary by invitation of the Duchesse d'Eisande, to attend the Great Exhibition and showcase the culture and beauty of her country. She brings examples of their skillfully crafted and jewel-embellished weapons, and exquisitely woven rugs, carpets and cloths. She also brings a selection of her finest horses with her, along with a large entourage of servants and personal guards.


August 1311

Poet's Progress

posted Aug 27 2019

Jehan-Pascal de Baphinol, the rising young poet and heir to Avignon, was one of the first to take up residence in the rue du Port's charming and commodious bachelor apartments: Les Tanières. However, this summer neighbours accustomed to bumping into and passing the time of day with him, have found themselves bereft— and wondering, perhaps, whether the business of his father's comté has kept him more than usually away from the city and its social life.

Now it seems the flat has been sub-let, well before the end of his lease. And a rumour is circulating that this genial young lord has flung himself headfirst into the lioness's den by taking up residence with Emmanuelle Shahrizai in her family home in the Place des Mains, the notorious Maison Sanglante.

It's the first time the name of the former Dowayne of Mandrake House and half-sister of the Lady of Marsilikos, has ever been so publicly linked with a lover's. But they do say he's a beautiful young man with old links to the Rose Sauvage…


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