Chapter Two: Kriegspiel.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
Annais de la Tour D'Emeraude
 player, 62 posts
Fri 2 Aug 2019
at 08:11
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
"I would rather not assume treachery before we have solid evidence for it." She had only met the staff of the manor this very day but she had not sensed any particular ill-intent from them, and excessive mistrust in others was something that reflected thoughts of betrayal in one's own heart. "It seems foolhardy to me to immediately go against a man who could have such so many men prepared on what must have been short notice; most likely he would guard himself with at least as many, or ones of higher talents, and in a location far less beneficial for us than this chase was. Would it not be safer and wiser to report to the Viscount, so that the information we have acquired is not lost, and to hear his opinion?"

Gazing outside of the cart, she confirms that no one appears to have been hurt by their short but heart-pounding chase before returning to her awkward sitting stance.

"Besides even if we started our search now it seems unlikely to me that we would be able to locate him before our ambushers regroup and report, and I do not fancy facing them on even ground alongside whatever personal guards he keeps. That is if we manage to find him at all." The words of caution might have seemed odd coming from the amazonian noble but she had nothing to prove as far as she was concerned; her prime concern was avoiding unfortunate outcomes. "Unless one of you has some mean to locate him quickly and accurately."

This message was last edited by the player at 08:15, Fri 02 Aug 2019.

Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 701 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I WANT to!
Fri 2 Aug 2019
at 19:25
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Sitting in the same carriage as Annais; crammed together in close proximity; the size disparity between Serafyna's tiny, waif-like frame and that of the majestic warrior woman was all the more pronounced.

Nevertheless, whilst Serafyna sat alongside Nonna's old armchair as a child, waiting for another tale of her grandmother's travels, the old woman had always reinforced to her that it wasn't about the size of the dog in the fight. The urchin's barely-controllable mouth was quick to react, albeit not sharply.

"Just to be clear, miss," she replied, "I'm not assuming anything. I don't assume treachery in the household, and I don't rule it out. I don't make assumptions. Life has a funny way of tearing those down and sticking them where the sun doesn't shine. I prefer to assess all options and try to prepare for them all as best I can."

The girl shrugged and smiled wryly.

"That's probably why I'm still alive, when in truth I have no right to be."

She stood her ground silently for a moment, and then she felt her voice waver a little, as she realised her position wasn't exactly wholly rock-solid.

"But no..." she mumbled more quietly, averting her gaze and nervously fidgeting with a lock of her hair, "... I've... err... I've no way of... umm... finding him. Sorry. Not unless he's really, REALLY close. So... ah... yes. Back to the Viscount is probably the... err... the right call."
GM
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Wed 7 Aug 2019
at 01:06
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Carel waits expectantly, finally sighing when Serafyna makes her position clear.  “Very well; I did say I would heed the words of those around me, and my own decisions have brought my family nothing but grief.  To the House of Rosselle, then.”  With a snap of the reins, he urges the carriage forward.  Naturally, it is stopped at the gates, but it really takes nothing more than a few hard words from the man to urge the guards from his path, the soldiers seeing no reason to detain nobility for what amounts to a few moments of entertainment for most of the crowd.

The fact that a pair of ruffians lie dead down the road seems to have little concern for them; this is nobility against peasantry, and the bandits are already being dragged away by bystanders, presumably to be searched and divested of any valuables.

Once through the gates, Fisher stands, rock-steady on the wobbling floor.  “I believe we shall take our leave of you, good people.”  Pluma glances up from where she has been fiddling with the soiled hem of her outsized skirts, and heaves a silent but heavy sigh.  “None of that,” the man remonstrates.  “These people have business, and we are only in their way.  I thank you for your warning,” he continues to the group.  “We shall be certain to avoid the household of Senor Alvarado.  Perhaps I might procure us a decent inn…” A wry smile touches his broad features for an instant, and he sketches a bow.  “I am certain Chaville has at least one, somewhere.”

“I shall drop you on the way, monsieur,” Carel calls back over his shoulder; he sounds almost amused.  Perhaps playing the carriage driver touches his fancy.

“I appreciate your thought, my lord, but no need.”  Showing considerable grace, Fisher hops from the carriage, holding out his arms.  Without hesitation -- but with considerable more awkwardness -- Pluma leaps out in a spray of fluffy lace; oddly enough, her eyes are firmly closed.  Turning, Fisher catches her in a single, well-timed motion, his large hands closing practically around her waist, and he smoothly slows her fall to set the girl on her feet; the albino girl wobbles once, then smiles, opening her parasol above her head.

“Or…you could do that,” Carel mutters, blinking in surprise.  “Mad foreigners, to be sure.”

OOC – Fisher HAS left the carriage, but it wouldn’t be a problem to ask Carel to stop for further conversation.  Otherwise, we will continue to the manor….

Short post to get things rolling.
Genevieve Galatea
 player, 118 posts
Sat 24 Aug 2019
at 02:44
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
In reply to GM (msg # 156):

Genevieve rode hard, the hooves of her horse galloping upon the cobblestones till she was well and truly satisfied her pursuers had lost her scent. Her path had diverted from that of the carriage, and now she sought to rejoin her new acquaintances. Last she'd seen they'd been doing quite well for themselves fending off their own problems, so hopefully they all still had enough blood in them to draw breath.

And so they did. She arrived just in time to witness Pluma disembark the carriage in her...alarmingly eccentric yet somehow charming fashion, saved from a painful landing only by her guardians' reliable hands.

"Signore Fisher, before you go, pray point me in the right direction. Would you recommend a reliable merchant? Someone who has their finger on the pulse of this city's commerce? To further our inquiries, I require some information."

She glanced backwards, as if thinking of their recent brush with danger.

"And perhaps insurance."
Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 705 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I WANT to!
Mon 26 Aug 2019
at 21:18
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
“Oh, umm... right.” Serafyna stammered, taken aback by the pair’s sudden egress from the carriage.

There is something very singular about that girl. Something more than meets the eye. Even mine.

Still... she seems fun. There’s not a lot of that about in Chaville.


She smiled, a silent half-laugh escaping her nostrils in a puff of air as she leaned out of the carriage to call to them.

“Take care of yourselves.” she chirped brightly, waving. “Both of you. And if you need anything or hear anything, you know where to find us.”

As Genevieve rode into view, the waif slumped back into her seat, reflecting on what they’d encountered. She’d always known the city was inhabited by some very unpleasant people, but that had always been just a general distaste for the amoral scumbags of Gabriel society, rather than anything more tangible. Direct assaults on life and limb probably fell under the ‘tangible’ heading.

And she hadn’t even opened her mouth this time!

She briefly considered attempting to mask the group from those who might wish to track them, but ultimately it seemed a little redundant. If they’d been able to plan an assault like that, then they already knew in which household she and her colleagues could be found.

But why? That was the big question. And how had they known they’d even be there, if indeed they’d known at all?

Serafyna made a note to herself to talk to Elaine alone when they returned. Janus not be the culprit here, but something was going on with that boy, and they really didn’t need any more secrets, did they?
GM
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Sat 31 Aug 2019
at 01:45
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
"Regretfully, madamoiselle," Fisher replies to Genevieve, "I have no knowledge of such.  Pluma and I are new to Chaville...had I more experience with the city, I might be able to point you in the correct direction.  As it stands?"

Pluma looks disgusted and pokes him in the ribs with one finger.  Fisher shoots her a quick, irked glance.  "There is little I can do," he states, clearly both for her benefit and Genevieve's.  "Perhaps we will meet each other later, and I might provide you with something of use...after I have more knowledge of Gabriel.  Madamouiselle Wiselzjka, I will be certain to let you know as well."

With the carriage continuing, the pair vanish into the city, Pluma's waving kerchief the final glimpse anyone catches.

The trip through the city is accomplished without a single issue, other than the occasional irked passer-by needing to jump out of the way of Carel's somewhat reckless driving.  After the fourth such angered cry, the man eases off on the reins somewhat, a thoughtful expression on his face.  Still, in short order the carriage turns through the open gates of the Du Rosselle mansion.  Unsurprisingly, it finds a sullen, sour expression awaiting it.

"Well.  Been through the wars, haven't you?" Janus mutters as the carriage pulls to a halt.  He surveys the mud-spattered coach with some exasperation.  "I suppose I'll have to clean you off," he finishes...in a not-quite whisper.
Genevieve Galatea
 player, 120 posts
Sat 14 Sep 2019
at 22:01
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
In reply to GM (msg # 159):

Genevieve nodded in appreciation towards Fisher. A tentative offer of future cooperation from a steadfast man in his position was better than nothing.

"I wish you good fortune in the struggles to come, Monsieur Fisher. Alvarado is dangerous, but his purpose may be a touch clearer to glean than most, and he likely remains a few steps ahead of us in seeing the whole painting here. Stay out of his way, and get out alive."

With that, she rode off to rejoin the others. She would want to procure a pistol, preferably before plunging herself into the next potential hot spot. But for now, she was better served returning to a stronghold and consolidating what they knew.

___________________________________________________

Without further incident, they made their way through the city to return to the Du Rosselle residence. They were making a habit of coming back rather worse for wear than when they left.

Genevieve dismounted from her horse, entrusting it to Janus. With the danger passed, it was time for one of those small gestures of conscientiousness one ought to make to demonstrate trustworthy character to others. She reached for the scabbard secured to her saddle, pausing a moment when she found her hands shaking. Lingering fear, again. She felt her brow tighten momentarily. There was no time for a breakdown, not now! Let the nightmares come and be done with it.

Such thoughts did little to calm her hands, however. So she took a deep breath, then another, and she managed to steady herself enough to pass the notice of the casual observer. Pulling the scabbard free, along with the rapier within, she presented both to their owner.

"Thank you once again, Monsieur Carel, for your courage and selflessness. A fine blade for, as you have demonstrated today, a fine man."

She sighed, her eyes softening slightly, a mixture of exasperation and amusement in her voice.

"My path in our nation requires that my hands show only velvet, never steel." She cracked a small smile, leaving plenty of room to interpret her next sentence as a joke.

"Should you have to accompany me into danger again, perhaps you'll bring a spare?"

This message was last edited by the player at 22:02, Sat 14 Sept 2019.

GM
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Sat 21 Sep 2019
at 11:21
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Ignoring Janus, Carel bows slightly as Genevieve proffers the rapier; he smoothly reclaims it, hanging it in its customary place at his belt.  "I am learning a few things these days, it seems," he remarks.  "Things of which neither Church nor society would approve...I wonder how many women I pass on the street have a surprising knowledge of horsemanship and swordplay?"  One corner of his mouth twists in a wry expression as he considers for a moment.  "I do not think I could properly style myself with two rapier, my lady, but perhaps there is something I might manage."

Janus' muttering cuts off as Sterling -- appearing a tad harried and weary, despite his perfectly pressed clothing -- rounds the corner of the stable.  He pauses a moment, taking in the people and their windblown appearances, then hurries forward, composing himself.  "Mademoiselles...monsieur...is there something I can help with?"  His eyes flick past the carriage, toward the front gate, with some concern evident.
Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 707 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I WANT to!
Fri 27 Sep 2019
at 16:55
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
She knew full well she wasn’t being directly addressed herself, but then she cared very little for the niceties of such things.

“Thanks for the offer, Sterling.” she piped up as she suddenly emerged, leaping from the carriage in a flurry of energy. “If you wouldn’t mind letting the Viscount know we’re back, and that we’d like to update him when he can spare a few minutes, please, that would be fantastic.”

She slapped the valet heartily on the back as she rushed past him, jacket flaring out behind her, then stopped just short of the door to the house and turned back.

“Oh, and if you bump into Elaine at all...”, she glanced briefly over Sterling’s shoulder at Janus, before returning her gaze to the more upright member of staff, “... could you possibly let her know that I’d quite like a quick chinwag in the kitchen, please? I’m heading there now for a much-needed cuppa. I’m gasping!”

And with that, the urchin flounced quickly into the house.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:56, Fri 27 Sept 2019.

Genevieve Galatea
 player, 122 posts
Tue 1 Oct 2019
at 07:30
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
In reply to GM (msg # 161):

Genevieve dipped her head as she smiled a rosy smile, not entirely sure how much of her action was performance. In this case, it hardly mattered.

"Perhaps more than you suspected, Monsieur Carel. More able women at arms than me surely live and breathe among us. I merely wish to do more than look indignant when danger bares its fangs at me."

Even as Genevieve spoke, Serafyna moved off as quickly as she had come. The girl was quite the flighty one, even among the more mobile princedoms of the world. There were always uses for feathers who wouldn't get caught, so long as the wielder didn't hold on too tight herself.
GM
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Wed 9 Oct 2019
at 01:42
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Carel purses his lips in thought, and finally nods in reply.  “No doubt.  And no doubt they keep themselves well-hidden.”  He sighs, turning to offer Giovanna assistance from the carriage.  “Understandably so,” the nobleman murmurs. "But you seem to do well-enough, my lady," he offers to Genevieve over his shoulder.

Sterling raises an eyebrow as Serafyna bounces past him, seemingly more bemused than offended.  He opens his mouth to reply, but the small woman beats him to the punch, continuing her short litany of requests.  “I’ll be sure to inform his Grace,” he replies as the small red-head disappears into the house.  “And Elaine,” he continues more quietly before turning toward the others.  “I am certain his grace would be more than happy to speak with you in the study,” the butler continues.  “If you will follow me?”  His eyes spear into Janus for an instant, and the foul expression on that man’s features disappears; he continues his inspection of the carriage in blank-visaged silence.

“Well, then.”  Carel sucks in a breath.  “Time to speak with my host.”  The smile slips slightly.  “And now, benefactor I imagine.  I must find a way to clear my home of…”  The smile disappears, pain twisting his lips.  “Of my sister’s maid and friend,” he finishes.  “And then, find a way to live there again."  He motions toward the door.  "Shall we?"

* * *

Hurrying through the servants' entrance, Serafyna finds herself immediately in the kitchen.  There, amidst the hustle and bustle of the kitchen staff, stands a somewhat distraught looking Sadler, eyeing a rather industrious looking Simone.  The youngest daughter of the Viscount currently seems to be making a sandwich, while the kitchen staff does their level best to ignore her.  "My lady," Sadler hesitantly begins before espying Serafyna and offering her a panicked look.  "Would it not be better to have one of the cooks do that for you?"  he plaintively continues.

"Nonsense Sadler," Simone fires back.  "We didn't have this kind of staff on the country estate.  Ridiculous.  Why should I..."  She trails off, espying Serafyna.  "Madamoiselle Wiselzjka!" The young woman smiles.  "What news?"

Reaching out, Sadler tries to sneak the sandwich away.  Her knife stabs down into the cutting board...close enough to threaten, though not nearly close enough to harm, and the footman yanks his fingers back.
Genevieve Galatea
 player, 123 posts
Tue 29 Oct 2019
at 15:49
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
In reply to GM (msg # 164):

"We shall." Genevieve replied, stepping through the doorway as if she were simply paying the Viscount a social call.
GM
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Fri 22 Nov 2019
at 03:27
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
It’s a short walk for some to the study – with Serafyna off in the kitchen, the group follows Sterling through the manor.  It’s not hard to pinpoint where the Viscount could be found, as sharply raised voices cut through the peace of the dark hallways.  For an instant, the volume shoots upward, then back down again as a door opens and closes ahead.  Moments later, Elaine hurries past, her face a touch pale; Sterling raises an eyebrow, and she offers him an near-imperceptible shrug in reply before going on her way.

Ahead, the door to the study, nearly vibrating beneath the argument it dams.

“ – not the time for a war between houses –“

“By heaven, Alais!  He gloated over almost killing you --”

“Father, you don’t know he spoke of –“

“Father, lacking proof –“

Two men, one woman, and one of those men clearly the Viscount, his iron-hard tones as distinct as a blade.

With a small sigh, Sterling raps on the door.  Instantly the argument ceases, and he works the latch.  “Your guests, your Grace,” he announces, opening the door with polished ease.

Inside, the Viscount Du Rosselle stands in the center of the room, his face forged of iron, his annealed gaze sharpening itself upon those entering.  Past him, his eldest daughter – Baroness Alais Du Rosselle – sits upon an embroidered settee, her normally sharp features like whetted stone, carven hard by both emotion and recent injury.  Standing behind her, the Du Rosselle heir – Baron Clovis Du Rosselle – leans past his sister, hands upon her shoulders, his own golden hair twin in shade to her longer locks, his deep blue eyes like cool pools in the face of his father’s agitation.

“Enter,” the Viscount states, controlling himself with ruthless efficiency.  His eyes pass over the group, noting their wind-blown condition and the spatters of muck that adorn their vestments.  “A tale, it seems, must be told.”
Giovanna D'Agostino
 player, 560 posts
 Your mind is but an open
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Mon 25 Nov 2019
at 04:46
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Giovanna had been quite uncharacteristically silent in the midst of the discussions for the duration of the ride back to the Rosselle manor. She had been twisting the events of the past moments in her mind, attempting to make heads or tails of the predicament they suddenly found themselves knee-deep in. What had originally started off as a mission to gather information from two of their former fellow patrons at the inn of horror and murder turned into a struggle and chase that would have most certainly ended with their deaths had they slowed even an iota.

It was a harrowing experience that left her heart racing. The sounds and sensations of the horses' hooves beating against the cobblestone street, the carriage wheels creaking precariously as they spun at insurmountable speeds, the shouts of innocent bystanders diving out of the way lest they be run down and trampled underhoof; it left her bereft of word and energy to search for them.

It was, thankfully, behind them. They were safe. She was safe. Her blindness made her a liability. If this was to be anywhere close to the norm going forward, perhaps it would have been best for her to pack her meager belongings -- essentially her violin and some food -- and leave.

No! I shall not give in simply because I have a higher disadvantage than the others. I can still be of use in other areas.

And she could hold her own easily enough.

Back to the matter at hand. The matter of the assassins had been a curious and suspicion-arousing one. Murmurs of a mole within this very manor had risen; though, not murmurs Giovanna took much, if any, stock in. There was no traitor within the Rosselle household. At least... she hoped not. Once her wits were back within her, she would properly quash these suspicions in her own discreet way. She would have to take her time, lest she attract undue attention, but it would be done.

The manor itself was not without activity, even beyond the usual ho-hum goings-on of the household servants. There seemed to be a... disagreement between Signore Rosselle and his children. An intriguing circumstance to suddenly walk into. Perhaps it had to do with whoever orchestrated the attack on their caravan some days ago?

Hm.

"Pardon the interruption, Signori e Signorina," she apologized with a careful curtsy. "I am afraid events did not transpire as we hoped. We managed to find Signore Fisher and Signorina Pluma as planned, and even managed to inquire of any information they had. Unfortunately, it appeared they had none and were just as much in the dark as we are. Though, there was one thing I found curious. He stated that there was another young woman he believed to be from our party that came down after the... incident at the inn to ask questions. Given the description, it could not have been anyone else but Simone, for one reason or another.

"However, before we could inquire any further, we were attacked by a band of brigands. We are unsure of what they wanted, other than our deaths. We escaped their clutches with nary an injury, but the mystery of their intentions... remains murky." Her inflection when speaking about the mystery would indicate that she knew more than she was letting on.

That, of course, was true. The name Deschamps and the orders he relayed to the brigands were still fresh in their minds. They're intentions were to kill Pluma and Signore Fisher. Damnation! Why did I not warn them?! I let them leave certain safety because I was too busy thinking. Damn it!

She sighed and touched her forehead. "I fear that is all we as a group know so far."
GM
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Wed 4 Dec 2019
at 02:31
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Giovanna opens with an impressive summation of the recent, desperate events.  The viscount listens, stone-faced, but confusion is the first expression on the features of his eldest children.  Still, neither interrupt in search of clarification, choosing rather to await a dawning of understanding.  When the blind Remano mentions Simone, brother and sister exchange looks, both with furrowed brows.  For his part, the viscount only sighs, his granite visage crumbling into rue.  Even so, the trio remain quiet, hearkening to the tale until its end.

And the end arrives.

“As a group,” Clovis muses.  Alais shoots him a swift glance, nodding slightly, before turning her own gaze to her father.  She remains silent, however, preferring observation and judgement to commentary.

Du Rosselle, for his part, has clearly not missed Giovanna’s slight stress, and accepts her story’s finish with a nod of his own.  “Glad am I that you escaped injury to all save your clothing,” he quietly states.  “Putting me even further in your debts; you have risked life and limb for me, once again.”

Carel bows.  “I see no debt, myself, your grace; I struggle to pay off my own, to you and your people.”

“Consider it paid in full, then,” the viscount grants him.  “Perhaps you will honor me by remaining?”

Carel’s eyes flick to the side, and a wry smile crosses his face.  “If only we may leave debts to the side, your grace.  I have no house fit to live in, and my sister requires aid.  Whatever help I can give is barely recompense for your generosity.  Also…I would not leave now, had I a stately manor, safe of all evil.  I have reasons of my own; curiosity is not the least of them.”  His voice drops to a quiet, thoughtful murmur.  “Not the least at all, but not the greatest.”

“Good, then.”  Never one to refuse an asset, the viscount accepts.  “Sterling?  Find Simone.”  Movement at the door, the butler no-doubt disappearing in search.  “Come in, all.  Come in and sit.”  Alais makes to rise, but Clovis stays her.  However, Du Rosselle nods.  “I'm sorry, Clovis.  I need to speak with them alone."  HIs elder son's face darkens slightly, and his bow is stiff, but he and Alais slip out of the room without protest.  With a sigh, the viscount fixes his gaze on his ‘guests’.  “Now speak in detail, if you would, and tell me your opinions, as well.  You were the people there – I value your perceptions, not merely facts.”  His brows draw together.  “And where,” he inquires, “is Madamoiselle Wiselzjka?”

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:33, Wed 04 Dec 2019.

Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 709 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I WANT to!
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 21:55
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
GM:
Hurrying through the servants' entrance, Serafyna finds herself immediately in the kitchen.  There, amidst the hustle and bustle of the kitchen staff, stands a somewhat distraught looking Sadler, eyeing a rather industrious looking Simone.  The youngest daughter of the Viscount currently seems to be making a sandwich, while the kitchen staff does their level best to ignore her.  "My lady," Sadler hesitantly begins before espying Serafyna and offering her a panicked look.  "Would it not be better to have one of the cooks do that for you?"  he plaintively continues.

"Nonsense Sadler," Simone fires back.  "We didn't have this kind of staff on the country estate.  Ridiculous.  Why should I..."  She trails off, espying Serafyna.  "Madamoiselle Wiselzjka!" The young woman smiles.  "What news?"

Reaching out, Sadler tries to sneak the sandwich away.  Her knife stabs down into the cutting board...close enough to threaten, though not nearly close enough to harm, and the footman yanks his fingers back.

A smirk spread across the girl’s face as she stood in the entrance to the kitchen, amusedly watching the unfolding scene before her.

Heh. It’s a refreshing change not to be the blackest sheep in the flock.

“I shouldn’t worry overly, Sadler.” Serafyna interjected, stifling a chuckle and attempting reassurance. “I suspect her ladyship knows her way around a blade well enough to safely cut bread and cheese without costing herself any fingers. And in any case, I might be entirely mistaken but I think I heard the Viscount calling for you.”

She stood aside to allow Sadler to hurry to his master’s side, then strode to grab the kettle, fill it and place it upon the hob.

“Tea, my lady.” the waif eventually replied, before turning toward Simone and beaming. “I’m absolutely gasping.”

As she began to root around in the various pots and vessels to locate some tea leaves and a mug, she added, casually, “Oh, and we’ve survived yet another attempt on our lives at that inn. I’m tempted to write quite the scathing review of the establishment. The ambience is certainly less than welcoming. But anyway, I’m being rude - how’re things with you, my lady?”
GM
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Wed 8 Jan 2020
at 02:39
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Sadler stops dead at Serafyna’s words, his eyes rolling upward slightly.  One can almost see him straining.  But try as he might, no shouted orders or ringing of bells come to his ears.  He opens his mouth to speak…eyes Simone with an uncertain eye…and clamps his jaw shut, choosing the better part of valour and hurrying from the room.  As excuses to leave his noble employer’s daughter to her business in the kitchen, it’s likely a good one.

“Well, we have some tea ready,” Simone murmurs, tugging the knife free and tapping another small pot – sitting in front of her – with the tip (the cooks, still pretending to ignore her, nonetheless keep a wary eye on the blade).  “But it’s rather well-aged, and…attacked you say?”  Her voice tightens, rising in a roil of anger and excitement, both.  “An attempt on your life?  And how am I, you ask?”  Sweep, goes the knife through the air, and the cooks shuffle a trifle more space between them and the incensed young woman.  “I’m outraged!  That such deviltry would...we ought to return, in force, and question these brutes at the tip of a sword!”

That said, she snatches up the sandwich and devours half in four bites, clearly in a hurry to put some energy into her veins.  “What manner of men were they?” comes the muffled question as she chews, somehow managing not to spew crumbs*.  “More of Du Tallier’s jackals?”

* Decent style roll.

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:27, Mon 20 Jan 2020.

Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 710 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I WANT to!
Sat 18 Jan 2020
at 04:02
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
In reply to GM (msg # 170):

“Well-aged is no problem at all.”

Serafyna grabbed the pot and poured herself a cup - Simone’s words proven correct by the sheen of over-stewing floating on the surface like a small oil slick.

“I’m not exactly a connoisseur. ‘Brown’ and ‘wet’ are the limits of my expectations,” she explained, grinning broadly, “and even those’re more of a guideline.”

“Assuming you mean Alvarado’s men;” she went on, leaning back against the kitchen worktop and slurping more loudly from her mug than one might perhaps expect in the presence of noble blood, “Monsieur Tallier being, like us, among the wronged; then yes, we assume so. Or at least thugs acting on his instruction in the employ of another.”

Serafyna’s eyebrow raised imperceptibly at the vociferousness of Simone’s outrage, both in surprise and concern.

“Oh, they’ll certainly feel our righteous indignation though, your ladyship.” the girl asserted calmly. “But in time. When we’re rested up a little, perhaps, and when our quarry has lowered their guard, assuming that ultimately we are unaware of the source of our assailants.”

Emerald eyes flashed and sparkled through the light haze of steam above the mug, which was clasped in both hands.

“Revenge,...” she paused, glancing down at her drink, “unlike tea... is a beverage that is oft-times sweeter with age.”

This message was last edited by the player at 04:09, Sat 18 Jan 2020.

GM
 GM, 1142 posts
 Helping to
 guide the story.
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 01:45
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Simone chews thoughtfully as Serafyna speaks.  Once the mouthful is swallowed, she waves off the shorter woman's correction, fierce amusement sparking for an instant.  "I misspoke," the youngest Rosselle daughter explains, "but not as you thought.  I meant Du Tariquet, not Tallier.  But you feel these are thugs who take the coin of Señor Alvarado?"  She pops another bite of the sandwich into her mouth, chewing.  "Hang cold revenge," the young woman finally decides.  "We should denounce him publicly.  That would certainly put him on his back foot."

Her smile widens.  "Oh, yes.  Perfect, actually.  For once this...stupid customs of men and women of this country will run against the man."  One finger taps against her lips, carefully; a crumb spoils the perfect picture, but Simone doesn't seem to care.  "I denounce him, then what can he do?  Duel me?"  A snort follows.  "If only.  At best, he might laugh it off, but people will always mutter about smoke and fire."

Leaning forward, Simone places both hands upon the table.  "Mademoiselle, I implore you - what proof do you have, thus far?"

One hand rises; flick flick goes the finger, and the crumbs disappear.  Clearly Simone has spent too much time in the country for the tastes of Gabrielense High Society.
Genevieve Galatea
 player, 129 posts
Wed 29 Jan 2020
at 21:21
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
“By the time I joined the rest of this party, the sun was already high and they were just outside the inn by the city gates, the one in which the murders took place. An inn which, I would guess, is quickly rising to infamy.” Genevieve remarked dryly.

“There we met with the young Lady Pluma Corvini, of Caoria, and her guardian, a Signore Fisher. They were preparing to embark, or so I surmised from the baggage being loaded upon a small buggy. We spoke briefly, receiving introductions and discussing the night of the murder. We did not get further before we noticed we were surrounded by would-be ambushers.”
Genevieve steeled her nerves to recount what followed clearly and  succinctly.

“Our assailants were lightly-equipped, dressed as workers in the area. Only one bore a ranged weapon. Through quick action, we managed to withdraw without casualties. Some of their number were not so fortunate, and may yet bleed upon the streets along our path. During the chase, one attacker who clambered onto our carriage was launched through the air quite theatrically, by what I could not tell.“ She shook her head, . “I mention it only because of the inexplicable events we witnessed just recently. Perhaps it was merely my poor angle, but I would swear he was hit by an invisible force.”

She steepled her fingers, properly collecting her thoughts for the first time since the skirmish.

“The worker-ambushers were already in place by the time we arrived, and did not seem properly outfitted to take on a party including the likes of Madamoiselle Annais and Monsieur Carel, at least not without suffering several deaths themselves. Unless word leaked from this manse last night of our intentions, I’d guess the ambush was meant for young Lady Pluma. And given the location, I find myself skeptical of any inn operator capable of making a living in Chaville who would fail to notice so many people masquerading as staff. We may wish to investigate the inn once again, as quickly as we are able.”

Genevieve gestured to the rest of those gathered in the room.

“If anyone has anything further to add before I speak briefly of my morning, please feel free to chime in.”
Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 712 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I want to!
Fri 7 Feb 2020
at 21:45
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
In reply to GM (msg # 172):

It was a very rare occasion upon which Serafyna had found that she could actually feel her eyes widening. Of course they had widened before - she was far from immune to surprise. But to actually feel them... straining at the sinews as if they were trying their best to fold entirely back across her head...? This was at best an extreme rarity.

She’s... wow. I mean, really, she’s just... wow.

A warm but pacifying smile spread over her face. It wasn’t a case of her being particularly pleased with the discussion, but more as though she were attempting to keep an unpredictable mother lynx calm to prevent a sudden face-full of teeth and claw.

It’s not often I feel like the rational, reasonable voice in the room. Impulsive is good. I like impulsive.

But... wow. She’s almost feral in her thirst for vengeance.</i>


Giving them even the slightest moment to let the intense heat in Simone’s ire cool just a smidgen, Serafyna took a mouthful of her tea before it instead cooled.

“Not enough, my lady.” she eventually replied, peering over the top of her mug. “At least not yet.”

The grin faded a touch, and the emerald eyes became more steely as she continued.

“I understand the zeal for justice here. Believe me - none are more keen than I to rub Alvarado’s sins in his face and then punch that same face through the back of his skull.”

There was not even the barest hint of exaggeration in the statement.

“But as artful a weapon as rumour-mongering might be here in Chaville; and I do not doubt in any way its efficacy; if one’s lunge is parried by a more practiced opponent, the counter-strike can pierce deeper and truer, and it often proves fatal.”

The girl paused, taking yet another sip before drawing breath and resuming.

“Alvarado has friends, your ladyship. Powerful friends. This I know, but I’ve yet to uncover where they sit within Gabrielense society. If we were to launch a broadside of accusations, it’s true that these slanders might linger and undermine him. But if he can swiftly quash them, it might instead be yourself that stands accused. Of deluded ravings and madness. And if those rumours find purchase, they will not leave. Ever. They will remain and they will prevent your opinions, accusations and statement  from ever being believed.”

A final sip followed, before the mug was carefully and purposefully placed on the kitchen worktop beside her.

“Let us find that evidence, my lady, before we call out the murderer. We need that time. Now,...”

She said, turning back toward the door from which she’d entered.

“This time I honestly believe I have heard your father trying to find you. Should we join him, now? I’m of a mind to do so.” and she indicated the door, hinting that Simone should lead the way.
GM
 GM, 1143 posts
 Helping to
 guide the story.
Wed 12 Feb 2020
at 02:31
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
The Viscount pays heed to Genevieve’s tale, his hands comfortable, his cold-iron eyes faraway, as if rendering her words into pictures…or memories.  Occasionally he nods, or makes a slight grunt to demonstrate he continues to listen.  Finally, the story comes to an end, and his eyes flicker across the group, in search of further knowledge.  It is not long in coming.

“You spoke of a man named Deschamps, signorina,” Carel quietly adds, turning to face Giovanna.  “I…do not know how you came across that name, but you said you believed our attackers moved in his name.  My brothers spoke of such a man, recently; he had some connection, I believe, to their scheme, though I know not what.”  His face darkens.  “They correctly read me, I suspect, and sought to keep me out of their mad plan as much as possible, knowing I would object.”  The anger fades, replaced by sorrow.  “It…perhaps bought their deaths, that choice; I might have dissuaded them, and they may have yet been alive.”  Falling silent, the man rubs a hand across his brow for an instant, covering his face.

“One can do nothing without knowledge, nor blame oneself,” the Viscount rumbles.  “Though I suspect you yet do.”  Though Giovanna cannot mark his gaze, she almost feels its weight when it returns to her; clearly he knows why she might have omitted specific details while aluding to them in her story.  “So.  Much to think upon, and this Deschamps is at the heart of it.  And what of these two travellers – Corvini and Fisher?  I find it likely you are correct, and the ambush was meant for them.  Either that, or it demonstrates a prescience I do not wish to see in my enemies, given it would take an amazing knowledge of your destination.”  One finger taps the arm of his chair.  “No, the travellers were the target.  I remember…pale girl?  Possibly afflicted with the bleeding sickness?  And a shortish, stocky man?  Yes.”

Again, the tap-tap-tap.  “But why?  Perhaps your decision to investigate the inn again is a wise one, my lady Galatea, though this time I would go in…well, disguise for wont of a better term.”  His lips thin; she can hear it in his voice, tight as a violin string.  “Alvarado.  Deschamps.  And this inn.  You have choices to make, lady and signorina, if you wish to continue on this path.  I will, as always, offer assistance, but…”  And now there’s a hint of a smile in that tension.  “You seem to be proving adept enough without me, leaving me free to concentrate on the more…mundane issues of coming to Chaville.”  A rustle from his clothes, then disgust creeps into his tone.  “And those issues are legion.

Carel shifts in some discomfort.  When it begins, it is not with the angry force of the man Giovanna first met.  Now it is with quiet consideration.  “I, again, offer my own self to…to aid Signorina D’Augustino and the Lady Galatea.  It might be of some use, though I confess myself feeling over my head.”  A smile quirks his lips.  “Though…it seems I have naught but to swim.  Perhaps I shall learn.”

Serafyna

“God curse it,” Simone mutters.  “Not enough evidence?  Faint hearts never won a battle, and I fear not the opinion of the masses.  ‘Second daughter’,” she snorts.  “Of what use am I to the family, save for marriage or a shield?  But I will consider your words, mademoiselle.”

“As for my father, I have no idea how.”  She waves toward the way up the stairs.  “He’s likely in his study.  But say you are right, and lead on…though I must admit, you must really work on your segues and conversational endings.”  Her smile is sharp, holding a hint of disgust, though not for Serafyna.  “You are in the right place, of course; we teach such things here.  Literally.”  Tone of voice gives every indication regarding her opinion of such.

Up the short stairway, and into the hallway, and there comes Sterling, walking purposefully toward the pair.  “Ladies,” he drawls, halting and offering a small bow.  “Madamoiselle Simone, have you been eating with the servants again?”  Ignoring her attempt at looking innocent, he rolls his eyes.  “It discomfits them.”

“It is not right,” Simone objects, a well-worn blade stabbing a return in what seems to be a practiced, familiar dance.

“It is the way of things, and you only make them nervous,” Sterling absently ripostes, turning to Serafyna.  “The Viscount wishes for your presence, mademoiselle…and yours as well, my lady.”  That back to the mildly fuming Simone.  “But not to enter, just yet; he wishes you to find your brother and sister -- elder brother  –“

“Were there any question,” Simone whispers.

“—and prepare yourselves for discussion.  There has been an invitation to a gala.”

If it’s possible, Simone simultaneously brightens and grows more irritated.  “A gala.  Well, that’s….”

Sterling waves toward the study door, down the hallway.  “Madamoiselle?” to Serafyna.  “The Viscount and your associates await.”

OOC – now is a good time to make a persuade roll, Serafyna.  And if you want, feel free to enter the study where everyone – such as is left – happens to be.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:32, Wed 12 Feb 2020.

Serafyna Wiselzjka
 player, 713 posts
 This is MY story, so I'll
 tell it how I want to!
Sun 16 Feb 2020
at 11:06
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Serafyna rolled a frankly underwhelming 47 in Persuasion.

GM:
“God curse it,” Simone mutters.  “Not enough evidence?  Faint hearts never won a battle, and I fear not the opinion of the masses.  ‘Second daughter’,” she snorts.  “Of what use am I to the family, save for marriage or a shield?  But I will consider your words, mademoiselle.”

“As for my father, I have no idea how.”  She waves toward the way up the stairs.  “He’s likely in his study.  But say you are right, and lead on…though I must admit, you must really work on your segues and conversational endings.”  Her smile is sharp, holding a hint of disgust, though not for Serafyna.  “You are in the right place, of course; we teach such things here.  Literally.”  Tone of voice gives every indication regarding her opinion of such.

Upon hearing this, and seeing Simone’s distaste in her expression, a light chuckle escaped Serafyna’s mouth.

“I suspect, my Lady,” she confided, grinning conspiratorially, “that you and I share a sense of disdain at being told how to behave or speak, and certainly at ’knowing where our place is’, do we not?

“Anyway, your ladyship,” she added, indicating their egress from the kitchen, “Please... after you...?”

GM:
Up the short stairway, and into the hallway, and there comes Sterling, walking purposefully toward the pair.  “Ladies,” he drawls, halting and offering a small bow.  “Madamoiselle Simone, have you been eating with the servants again?”  Ignoring her attempt at looking innocent, he rolls his eyes.  “It discomfits them.”

“It is not right,” Simone objects, a well-worn blade stabbing a return in what seems to be a practiced, familiar dance.

Masking her expression from Sterling with a swipe of her hand to her forehead, feigning the need to sweep her wayward locks, the mop-headed trouble-magnet, flashed a smile and a roll of the eyes to her more highly-born conspirator; reiterating her point about knowing their place.

GM:
“It is the way of things, and you only make them nervous,” Sterling absently ripostes, turning to Serafyna.  “The Viscount wishes for your presence, mademoiselle

Serafyna curtsied onstentatiously, but her warm, beaming grin left no doubt that there was no malice intended in the gentle teasing.

GM:
…and yours as well, my lady.”  That back to the mildly fuming Simone.  “But not to enter, just yet; he wishes you to find your brother and sister -- elder brother  –“

“Were there any question,” Simone whispers.

“—and prepare yourselves for discussion.  There has been an invitation to a gala.”

Well, that was a lucky guess! she thought, recalling the flimsy pretence upon which she had contrived to extricate herself from Simone’s interrogation.

Nevertheless, not being one to gaze at a gift horse’s molars, she once more turned to Simone and shrugged with a wry smile that without gloating conveyed the message that “I told you I’d heard him.”, even though she’d clearly done no such thing.

GM:
If it’s possible, Simone simultaneously brightens and grows more irritated.  “A gala.  Well, that’s….”

Sterling waves toward the study door, down the hallway.  “Madamoiselle?” to Serafyna.  “The Viscount and your associates await.”

OOC – now is a good time to make a persuade roll, Serafyna.  And if you want, feel free to enter the study where everyone – such as is left – happens to be.

She nodded and smiled to Sterling and Simone in turn, wheeled round on her heels and headed in the direction of the study.

Upon arriving, she knocked briefly on the heavy wooden door and then, without waiting for a further invitation, she opened it. Peering around the door she did her best to seem demure and seemly; though her heart was far from in that appearance; and enquired politely, “My Lord..? Sterling mentioned you sought my presence...?”

Honestly... , she thought, If I don’t get out of this crinoline cage of etiquette and pretension that is Gabriel before too long, I might just lose my mind.
GM
 GM, 1148 posts
 Helping to
 guide the story.
Wed 11 Mar 2020
at 01:33
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Sterling merely offers a small smile in return to Serafyna's exaggerated response, but it's clear the man isn't exactly the epitome of a polished butler.  Oh, he has some of the skill, and some of the smoothness, but one cannot take the soldier out of the man so easily.  The best butlers are born to the post; clearly, he's merely trained.

Simone offers a nod and a smile of her own to Serafyna's farewell.  Once both she and Sterling have vanished into the study, the smile vanishes, and the young woman taps a fingertip on her lips, considering, before heading off down the hallway, a determined bounce to her step.

In the study, all eyes turn toward Serafyna she enters.  The viscount merely gestures.  "Enter, enter...ceremony boots nothing coming from one who cares little for it, and we discuss serious issues here, not the latest social gaffe."  Clearly he has read Serafyna sufficiently well to see this, though the young woman has made no secret of her distaste for etiquette.  "Your associates are struggling with the next step.  There seem a trio of choices: investigate Alvarado, re-visit this inn, or seek out Deschamps."  Leaning back in his chair, he offers a small shrug.  "I have my own opinions, of course, but if there is one thing I learned in my time in the army, it is 'leave scouting to the scouts'.  Rather, I trust the people with their boots -- or shoes -- on the ground, rather than my own distant observations.  If I am...requesting you to assist, so to speak, I should trust your assistance.  Else, I have wasted time -- yours and mine -- by not merely hiring cheap, brainless idiots to follow my own orders precisely."

Now he leans forward, almost looming...if that's possible from an overstuffed lounge chair.  "NOT what I desire.  What I am hoping for is the sagacity and perceptiveness I have seen in all of you to unwind this knot...preferably without needing to take a pair of shears to it, if I have not mangled the metaphor too much."
Giovanna D'Agostino
 player, 562 posts
 Your mind is but an open
 book
Sun 12 Apr 2020
at 03:19
Re: Chapter Two: Kriegspiel
Giovanna fell silent as the options were laid out plainly before them. They could either investigate Alvarado, seek out and investigate this mysterious Deschamps, or return to the inn once more. She was disinclined to do the latter, which left the first two.

Her nerves were still wary when it came to Alvarado. She had no forgotten her vision of his actions that led directly to the deaths of Signore Tallier's two brothers. Such was as graceful as it was gruesome, poetic brutality that would have left any of them as naught more than smears streaked across the floor.

However, the introduction of this Deschamps character was beginning to change her view of Alvarado's actions in her mind. She would never voice her thoughts on the matter aloud, out of fear of upsetting the still grieving Signore, but depending on the nature of his brothers' relationship with Deschamps -- and indeed the nature of his intentions -- Alvardo's murderous actions may have been for the greater good. Naturally, she did not intend on believing such a stretch until she had sufficient evidence, but it was something to think about certainly.

Having thought on all of that, the only real answer was to find Deschamps. Her thinking on this portion of the discussion was two fold. He was the root cause of the attack on their party mere moments ago. Someone wanted Signore Fisher and/orSignorina Pluma dead, and perhaps they themselves as well. Regardless, that attack failed; without doubt, those failed assassins would be returning to Deschamps, tails between their legs like dogs desperate for their master's forgiveness. Then would be the moment they could garner information and the answers they so desperately needed.

With all this in mind, she spoke.

"My Lord, I believe the best move to make at the moment is to track down Deschamps and obtain some much needed answers directly from the source. I... still feel uncomfortable engaging Alvarado at the moment, at least until I know for sure that he will not feel threatened by our presence." She cleared her throat nervously. "Ah, Signore Tallier, I could think of nothing else but to accept your offer once again. I can only hope that your expertise as a carriage driver will not be necessary this time."