Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle.   Posted by Zag.Group: 0
Zag
 GM, 258 posts
Thu 14 Jul 2022
at 18:50
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Hmmm.  Bluffing a high-WIS NPC.  I was more thinking you might go to the cleaning women, and make sure that they get to Alyssa's room early.
I will grant you that the target wants to believe you, which gets you +5 on the competing skills.
11:32, Today: Zag, on behalf of Scarlet d'Ardelle, rolled 18 using 1d20+10.  Bluff Maryann
11:34, Today: Zag, for the NPC Maryann, rolled 19 using 1d20.  Sense Motive.
With the +5, this is a (qualified) success.


Lady Maranno greets Scarlet with a huge smile, "It's so nice to see you, Sweetie."  Her apartment still has the scent of fresh oil paint, and Scarlet can see that there is a new painting underway, this one a landscape with an angry-looking sky.  She ushers Scarlet in, but then looks closely at her face.  "You look upset.  What is it?"

Scarlet explains her concerns, and Maryann tries to calm her.  "I'm sure it's just a coincidence.  Probably one of the workers was there late, or maybe checking on that Mama cat that just had kittens, I heard.  And there are plenty of cats in the castle; you're probably just getting yourself worked up over nothing.  But we can ask around, just to be sure.  Which residence did you say you heard  it in?"

"The section a flight down and ..." Scarlet turns around to orient herself, then points, "that way.  Where the maidens in waiting live."

Lady Maranno purses her lips and nods, then reaches for her bell pull.  "I'll send a message.  Do you have time for a cup of tea?  It's no problem."
Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 102 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Thu 14 Jul 2022
at 19:06
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
"Of course, my lady. Your ladyship is most generous with her time," Scarlet beams.

Partially, because she is genuinely delighted to count the lady Maranno as a friend.

But also because she has seen that little twitch of her lips, and knows it means she is a little concerned that the telltale meowing sounds should come from that particular corridor.

"Did I tell your ladyship I have taken up fencing lessons? It is truly exhilarating!" she enthuses, for small talk.
Zag
 GM, 260 posts
Thu 14 Jul 2022
at 21:35
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
"Oh!  Exciting!" she says, "But first, you have to stop this 'ladyship' nonsense.  You can call me Moranno, if you must, or, please, just Maryann.  You are my friend, and that's what my friends call me."

The serving girl enters and Maryann turns and greets the girl with a smile, "Oh, lovely, Camille, is that a new ribbon?"  The girl curtseys and nods,  beaming with the compliment.  Lady Moranno continues, "would you please get us some tea and some cakes or biscuits, whatever they have available.  And please ask one of the pages to stop by; I have a message to send."

The two chat amiably, Maryann seems genuinely interested in the fencing lessons.  "Oh, but don't tell Etan about them, or he'll be pushing me to take lessons, as well.  They are great for you, and I love to hear about them, but I'll stick with my paints."

When the page arrives, she goes to a desk to write a note, then hands it to the page along with a silver piece.  "For Sir Fishbacher.  Try the kennel, or his apartment, or ... I don't know."  She hands him another silver, "Please do what you can to make sure this gets to him."

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:36, Thu 14 July 2022.

Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 103 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Thu 14 Jul 2022
at 21:45
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
"Oh, but of course! One should definitely exercise those talents one is the most gifted with, and your skill with the brush, your lad-- I mean, uhm, Maryann? Your gift for painting is obviously great. Your husband must surely have realized that!"

When the page comes in and Scarlet hears the command the lady gives him, she allows herself a little worried frown.

"Maryann, what do you think? I do not know what to think about it myself. I would be loath to cause anyone any embarrassing trouble..."
Zag
 GM, 262 posts
Fri 15 Jul 2022
at 04:00
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
You're laying it on a little thick, there, for someone who nearly failed the previous bluff roll.  :-)

After a half hour, there is a heavy knocking on the door.  She opens it to reveal Sir Fishbacher, red in the face and already reaching to knock again.  "What do you know about this, Moranno?"

"About?  Oh, the girl leaving the kennel?  My friend here told me she spotted some girl leaving the kennel late last night.  She didn't think much of it until she heard a mewing this morning."

He turns on Scarlet, a terrified fury rising up in his face.  "Where?  Where did you hear this?"  He swallows, his overly large voice box moving visibly as he is trying to bring his emotions under control.  "This is very important, young miss.  Please tell me what you know.  Take me to where you heard this kitten."
Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 104 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Fri 15 Jul 2022
at 19:04
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Gotta enjoy it to the fullest ;)

Scarlet makes a show of being slightly intimidated, as a good coy girl is supposed to.

"I only... my lord, I just heard some meowling, in the corridor, the one in... I can show you, if you would follow me?" she offers. If Sir Fischbacher agrees, she takes him to the corridor where Alyssa's chambers are located, but not straight to her door. That would be too blatant.

"It came from somewhere around here, my lord."
Zag
 GM, 263 posts
Sat 16 Jul 2022
at 05:51
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
00:33, Today: Zag, on behalf of Scarlet d'Ardelle, rolled 18 using 1d20.  luck roll
Oh, that could have gone poorly.  :-)  You can't be sure if the maintenance guy could recognize you.


"Yes.  Take me there, right now!" he demands.

Scarlet leads the now growing group, which includes Sir Fischbacher, Maryann, one clerk-looking man with ink stained fingers, two pages, and four people who just seem to be following along as spectators, to the hallway where the unmarried ladies in waiting live.  "It came from somewhere around here, my lord."

Fischbacher points at one of the pages, "You.  Go get the head of maintenance -- what's his name?  Hurry!  No, wait, tell him to bring ..."

Before he finishes his sentence, a chamber maid comes out of the first room, just behind where the group has paused, the room where Scarlet saw Lady Ypirétria just a few days ago.  The chamber maid gasps at the crowd and at the frantically gesticulating Sir Fischbacher, who abandons the page to move on her.

"You have keys to get in these rooms.  Open them up, immediately!  This one right here."  He is pointing to the room directly opposite the hall from Alyssa's.

The poor girl looks like a rabbit caught in a trap.  Maryann steps forward, "It's OK, Bertie, dear.  It seems something happened to one of the cats," she looks at Fishbacher, "one of the kittens, I'm guessing?"  The frantic man nods and gestures for the girl to start unlocking.  "We have a reason to think that it might have made its way to one of these rooms.  I'll make sure, dearie, that you won't get in any trouble.  Please just unlock a few doors for us."  Her calming influence and acceptance of the responsibility frees the girl to act.  All of the bystanders are crowding around the door, trying to peek in.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:44, Sun 17 July 2022.

Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 105 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Sat 16 Jul 2022
at 20:54
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet just stands by, trying hard not to smile or look too eager...
Zag
 GM, 264 posts
Sun 17 Jul 2022
at 05:48
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet waits a bit to one side as the door opposite Alyssa's is open.  The others, even Maryann, are crowding around, trying to see what might be revealed in the room.  The crowd and the pressure is obviously getting to the poor chambermaid, because she fumbles the key ring attached to her apron and it falls out of her hand, dangling by a cord.

As she tries to retrieve it, Scarlet sees Idalaiz coming down the hall, leaning heavily on her cane.  She makes eye contact with Scarlet, purses her lips tightly, and bobs her head at the door where everyone waits.  "Proponitís," she calls out, "Is there any news?  I've heard one of your kittens has gone missing.  Why are you looking here?"

Sir Fishbacher turns and sees her just as the Bertie has the door open.  "We, ahh, no, damn."  The room is empty, with only a table and a chair, but no furnishings, nothing that would indicate anyone lives there, and he turns back to Idalaiz, realizing his manners and blushing furiously.  He bows to the old woman.  "My Lady, this girl here heard a mewing down in this area, so we are searching the rooms.  If you will excuse me a moment."  Without waiting for an answer, he strides into the room and does a thorough search.  With almost nothing in either room in this apartment, his inspection takes only a few seconds.

When he returns to the hallway, he very quietly asks the chambermaid to open the opposite door, the one to Alyssa's room.  The crowd dutifully shuffles over and forms up around this door.
Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 106 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Sun 17 Jul 2022
at 07:01
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet curtsies to Idalaiz as soon as the old lady appears, spotting the silent displeasure in her eyes. Yes, the Spymistress probably did not want her to steal one of the cats and restrict herself to the plan as agreed, and Scarlet knows full well she has gone on a tangent of her own - but isn't this an even better way for Idalaiz to win her bet with Fischbacher? Not only are his cats tame enough for a young maid to hold, they are also tame enough to steal from her very mother! And the master key under Alyssa's pillow will do all the explanation needed as to the how. As to why, well, who cares about motive?

But Scarlet keeps her eyes low, knowing she id probably in for a reprimand anyway.

This message was last edited by the player at 07:01, Sun 17 July 2022.

Zag
 GM, 265 posts
Sun 17 Jul 2022
at 14:16
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Idalaiz barely acknowledges the curtsey and minces forward into the growing crowd, which parts for her.  One page is, unfortunately, more interested in what is going on than in one of the ducal family coming up behind him.  This lad receives a sharp knock on his head from her cane.

Bertie is even more nervous at this door, probably because she knows that this apartment is occupied.  However, having resigned herself to her own powerlessness, she opens it, then gasps.  Sitting on the bed is a tiny kitten, its eyes still shut.  Sir Fishbacher shoves his way past the girl and races forward to cradle the kitten gently.  He comes back out, the strain in his face oddly more obvious now that it has been relieved.

He points at the page who is still rubbing his head. "You!  Stand in this doorway.  No one goes in."  Pointing to another page, as there are now four hanging about, "You!  Go get the head of security.  He needs to bring a team here, immediately."  Scarlet wonders why he did not have a security person with him already.

"Proponitís," the Lady Idalaiz calls out, "do let me see."

"Certainly, my lady."  He brings the kitten to Idalaiz, who is, once again, leaning heavily on her cane.  "But only for a moment, if you please.  I must get this kitt back to its mother."

"Of course, of course," she says, as she holds on to his arm and coos a bit at the kitten.  "And you said a girl led you here.  What a little heroine!  Which one?"  She looks around, but does not release her grip on his arm.  He points to Scarlet, who is still keeping her eyes low.  Idalaiz waves Scarlet forward and tugs Fishbacher's arm down so that Scarlet can have a good look at the kitten.
Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 107 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Mon 18 Jul 2022
at 08:06
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet finds it harder and harder to contain her glee as Fischbacher gets closer and closer to his goal, and then blam, finds the kitten in Alyssa's room. Bells of dark jubilation are ringing in her ears by the time she's called forward by the Spymistress.

"By your leave, my lady, I am no heroine, I was just lucky or unlucky enough to be passing by and hear this little thing. My, it is so cute! But I hear they are deadly, these Savantic cats?" she asks, wide-eyed, a hand raised and stopped mid-air as she hesitates to touch it.
Zag
 GM, 266 posts
Mon 18 Jul 2022
at 20:30
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Fishbacher pulls the kitten away so abruptly that Idalaiz is thrown a bit off balance.  She has to catch herself with one hand on Scarlet's shoulder and the other leaning heavily on her cane.  She lets out a tiny squeak of surprise which Fishbacher completely ignores as he starts to walk away briskly.

As the elderly woman keeps a grip on Scarlet, Maryann curtseys, then moves protectively beside the girl.  Idalaiz release Scarlet's shoulder and puts both hands on her cane, as if needing the support.  "Well.  I guess patting the little thing was out of the question, then," she says with a chuckle.  "Tell me, child, what is your name?"

Scarlet curtseys again.  "Scarlet d'Ardelle, my Lady."

"Oh, yes.  Of course, of course.  My, you're getting big, almost all grown up.  It seems it was just months ago that we had that little ceremony where you were declared Scarlet Fitzbarton.  You've kept the epithet d'Ardelle, though."  She nods thoughtfully, "a good choice, I imagine.  Become your own woman."

Maryann continues to hover nearby.  She seems concerned, for some reason, but she does not speak.

Three men in Rheams livery arrive, all fully armed.  The man in the lead, who wears the fanciest uniform, bows to Lady Idalaiz.  "My Lady, I understand that there has been a development."

"Yes, captain" Idalaiz replies, obviously quite comfortable with the man's assumption that she is in charge.  "This charming young miss has rescued the lost kitten!  The tiny thing seems no worse for its adventure; Sir Fishbacher has already taken it away.  It was found in that room, there.  You should go through every inch, figure out how the woman who lives there could have stolen the kitten in the first place.  Who has those chambers?  It must be ... ?"  She trails off.

The captain turns to the shorter of his assistants; the man is already consulting a map which he holds out unrolled.  "Alyssa of Travis, daughter of Count Gaubern Ranteson Travis," the man announces in an oddly high-pitched voice.

Idalaiz gasps, "She's with the duchess right now!  Captain, take a man and go pick her up.  Leave your other man here to guard the room and keep everyone out of it.  You can investigate here once the treacherous little viper is safely under lock and key.  Only Dolos knows what other plots she might have underway."  The guards react immediately, one positioned at attention in front of the door, and the other two striding off.

Idalaiz turns to Scarlet again.  "You, uhh...  What did you say your name was?"

"Scarlet d'Ardelle, my Lady."

"Yes, yes.  Of course.  You simply MUST come tell me all about how you saved the kitten."  She turns to a page who is waiting nearby, looking alert.  "Arrange for some tea for two in the Kítrino room, and have the room prepared.  Run now."  She leads Scarlet to the main hall, then to one of the small rooms just off of it that are used for private conversations.  She moves slowly, making heavy use of the cane, and by the time they have arrived the same page is standing outside the room and the lamps in the room are glowing merrily.  By the time she is settled in, a serving girl with a tray of tea and cakes arrives.  After pouring the tea, the girl leaves and Idalaiz closes the door.

She is grinning, but her tone is a bit harsh.  She keeps her voice low, knowing that the page is still waiting just outside the door.  "So, what did you do wrong?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:32, Mon 18 July 2022.

Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 108 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Mon 18 Jul 2022
at 20:49
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet almost protests against her being painted as a heroine or kitten-savior (she just happened to be passing by, after all) and she barely contains her laughter while putting on a shocked face as the name of Alyssa surfaces.

"But! I know her, she danced in the same ballet as I..." she murmurs, and pretends to choke emotionally on her words, but she's really on the verge of a guffaw. But nobody is listening, as the grown-ups go about their grown-up business and the cogs keep moving.

Presently that machinery drags her towards lady Idalaiz's chambers, and she follows meekly, not in triumph, but as someone shocked, even a little bit frightened, by the portentuous wheels she has set in motion.

She relaxes once alone with the Spymistress; probably more than is advisable, for the lady is not completely pleased with her, but there is only so long she can contain her glee, which finally erupts into a lustful, dark laugh, like a dam bursting.

"Oh, my lady! I must ask your pardon, I suppose, for changing the... way in which your wager has been won? But, begging your forgiveness, is this not a fuller triumph for your ladyship, a more blatant indication that Sir Fischbacher was wrong and you were right, than a mere demonstrative pat on that kitten's little head? But in all honesty, I much rather would not have involved the lady Maranno: she is clever, and she might have suspected something. In my defense, if I may, my lady: that snake Alyssa tried to kill me once, and she was keen on trying again. I can scarcely serve you as a corpse, your ladyship, or a social pariah. I have done my best to serve your interests while I kept mine, and may the gods forgive me if I have not."

Yes, there is a touch of arrogance there. She has earned it, she thinks, or she will pay for it if she hasn't, but today triumph is all that matters.
Zag
 GM, 267 posts
Tue 19 Jul 2022
at 00:13
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Idalaiz laughs, "Oh, no.  This thing with the cat in Alyssa's room, that was hilarious!  It was beautiful.  The little bitch will be lucky only to be sent home.  I don't really care about that stuck up Maranno; she's clever, but powerless.  No, I'm talking about your acting skills.  I'm sure nobody noticed, but you failed to stay in character.  Someday I might be sending you undercover somewhere, where getting caught could mean very serious consequences, and you have to remember to stay in character, only knowing what your character knows.

"As I was walking up, what was every person in that hallway doing, other than you?  Trying to peer into that room to see if the kitten was there.  You knew there wasn't anything to see, so you didn't look.  You were just hanging out on the side trying not to look smug.  Not completely succeeding, I might add, but nobody saw THAT but me.  If you want to be seen as an innocent person, you have to do what an innocent person -- one who doesn't know what you know -- would do.  If you're not sure what an innocent person would be doing, glance at an innocent person and copy.

"Remember this for when you're on the other side of the situation, as well.  When you suspect that there is an inside agent, or someone who knows more than they're telling, look for the lack of curiosity about something that might be a big reveal.  There's your agent.  You can even set this up -- you tell everyone that this or that will explain everything, just make something up that seems plausible.  The person who is not watching intently, that's the guilty one.

"OK.  We'll have to play this a little different than I planned, but it will still work.  Go put on your best dress and wait outside the family residence.  I'm going to go collect Dearest and we'll be "investigating" what might have gone wrong at the kennel.  When I send you to go confront Zenobia, remember to be terrified.  It's a killer cat that you have NEVER MET BEFORE.  You need to be as surprised as anyone that she doesn't attack you.

"Go very easy on the catnip, too, barely a dusting.  If Fishbacher smells it or sees it, then the game is up, and the cat will smell the tiniest trace."  She stands easily from the table, and takes the two steps to the door without using her cane.  However, by the time the door is open, she is once again bowed over the cane, leaning on it heavily.  She turns back, "ten minutes, at the residence."

With this lesson, you get a free +4 to Sense Motive in this specific scenario, where you are trying to detect someone who knows more than they should and you put together a show to trap them.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:15, Tue 19 July 2022.

Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 109 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Tue 19 Jul 2022
at 10:52
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
"Oh. I see, your ladyship," Scarlet says, blinking in surprise. Yes, she has much to learn about intrigue, but she is obviously in the right hands to become a true master. She smiles in gratiutude, relieved that she is not being told off for deviating from the original plan.

If only Mother was more like the lady Idalaiz...

"I shall remember your wise advice, my lady. But -- just a word, my lady. The girl at the kennels might remember me, I blagged my way into the kennels once. And if the boy, Erikus, is present... well, he is a friend of mine, and completely unable to lie effectively even if you told him to. I fear they might jeopardize my showing there."

Zag
 GM, 270 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2022
at 20:53
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet runs back to her apartment to change.  Anne is there and wants to talk, making Scarlet groan inwardly.  "Did you hear that the big mother cat -- you know, those cats that the Duchess likes to much -- she had babies, and one of them was stolen!"

Scarlet rushes to pull on her finest dress and simply ignores her mother.  Anne is not daunted by the cold shoulder and wants to know what's going on.  "Why are you putting that on now?  What is happening?"  Scarlet manages to divert her by asking for help with buttons while she pulls a brush through her hair.  In record time she is back out the door and racing to the family residence, Anne left behind, still pleading for information.

It has been about 12 minutes when she arrives at the entrance to the Residence, which feels pretty heroic to Scarlet.  The guard confirms that Idalaiz is expecting her, has not come out yet, and wants her just to wait here.  In only a few minutes, the doorway is opened and Dearest comes out, followed immediately by Idalaiz and then several assistants, including Pax, Idalaiz's butler.  The man is uncharacteristically quiet.

"Here she is," Idalaiz gestures towards Scarlet, who is already performing her best curtsey, "our little heroine, the first Fitzbarton girl ... Scarlet Fitzbarton."

"So lovely to see you again, Scarlet," says the duchess.

Scarlet can feel the sting of being barely recognized by this woman, her own grandmother, but she maintains decorum.  "Thank you, your grace.  I am deeply honored."

Idalaiz says, "You will come with us, and tell us what you saw."  She starts to lead the way, with her slow pace, and the walk is further slowed by the many people genuflecting to the duchess, who has to stop to acknowledge them.  Eventually the group arrives at the door to the kennel.  Idalaiz continues as if there were no pause, "You said that you were heading to the kitchen and saw the Travis girl coming out.  Where were you exactly?  Did you get a good look?  Were you sure it was her at the time, or did you merely suspect?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:24, Thu 21 July 2022.

Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 110 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Thu 21 Jul 2022
at 09:18
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
How unexpectedly has this little prank of hers brought her so close to her august family on her father's side! Scarlet wasn't expected that, so she does not need to feign being nonplussed when she curtsies to the Duchess. Sure, she looks like she barely remembers her, but then again, it's not hers but her father's recognition that Scarlet has always craved. A step closer, anyway, she wants to think, while her heart flutters.

"Your ladyship, I did not get a good look, and for the life of mine, I couldn't swear it was the daughter of the count of Travis," she corrects Idalaiz gently. "I was drowsy and the light was dim and I did not stop to get a better look. I was here," she says, standing at the other side of the corridor, "and then I saw a well-dressed girl coming out of that door," she says, pointing towards the door to the kennels, "She was clutching something to her breast. She stopped to lock the door and I moved along, thinking to myself it was odd for a noblelady to be wandering around these parts at those ungodly hours. But then again, so was I," she smiles apologetically, casting her eyes down demurely. "I... find it hard to sleep sometimes, your ladyship. My mother, she... snores? And I wanted to be alone with my thoughts for a minute, so I went for a walk after I got a bite from the kitchen," she confesses coyly, almost in a whisper, before she resumes her story.

"I did not think much of it until later, your ladyship, until I heard that cute meowing on the maid's corridor. I don't recall any of my girl friends having a kitten, and then I remembered the girl from the previous night. I was thinking of paying the lady Maranno a visit anyway -- she has been kindly mentoring me, my lady, most generously helping me polish my manners and courtly demeanor -- and because the thought that girl might have been, mmmm, borrowing a kitten without permission, it troubled me, so I mentioned it to the lady Maranno, because I did not know whether I had actually witnessed a... something, or I was just being silly."

This message was last edited by the player at 09:20, Thu 21 July 2022.

Zag
 GM, 272 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2022
at 14:12
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
I'm not sure how you're correcting her, there.  Alyssa is known as Alyssa of Travis, and she's from Travis, of course, so the phrase "the Travis girl" is correct.  Among nobility, only other nobility matter, so she might be the only Travis girl there is.  Or was it something else you were referring to?


Ugh.  Work is distracting me.  The nerve.  I'll have a post this evening.


Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 111 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Thu 21 Jul 2022
at 14:21
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
No, the correction is that Scarlet never said she had seen Alyssa there, what she told lady Maranno was that she had seen *some girl* there. That's what she's reiterating here, and thus correcting the Duchess because she has said
quote:
"You said that you were heading to the kitchen and saw the Travis girl coming out.
To say she recognized Alyssa that night would be a bit too much, and since she didn't tell lady Maranno she had recognized her, this would have been a big gotcha if she states so now.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:23, Thu 21 July 2022.

Zag
 GM, 273 posts
Thu 21 Jul 2022
at 23:03
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Oh, that.  That was quite intentional.  She wants that fact -- that Alyssa took the kitten -- stuck in Dearest's mind before she gets around to thinking about any other possibilities.  She was also giving you an out if Dearest started to wonder why you happened to be hanging around Alyssa's room this morning being quiet enough to hear a tiny kitten mewing.  You wouldn't really be able to hear the kitten from outside the room unless you were silent and had your ear to the door.  If she were to bring that up, then you could always say that you thought it was Alyssa you saw the night before, but didn't feel sure enough to say anything until you at least went and talked to her yourself.  Maybe it wasn't her, or maybe she had a legitimate reason to be there.  Remember that, at the time, you didn't even know about the kittens, so seeing her coming out of the kennel was more curious than suspicious.

Some time in the near future (but during our 2-year gap), Idalaiz is going to give you a lecture about "less is more" when you are lying.  Adding those additional details explaining why you were at the kitchen is the sign of a person lying about why they were at the kitchen.  When it's an incidental aspect of the story (if your story were true) it wouldn't even occur to you to explain why you were there until someone asked.  You'd be too interested in getting on with the interesting part of the story.


Dearest walks over to the point where Scarlet said she had been standing and looks back towards the kennel, probably evaluating lighting conditions, but she doesn't say anything.  She returns and gestures to one of her servants to open the door, which he unlocks with a set of keys not unlike the ones that are probably just now being discovered in Alyssa's bed.  Dearest enters, then Idalaiz waves Scarlet into the room ahead of herself.

Entering and walking a way inside the kennel, the group finds Sir Fishbacher standing at the cage with Zenobia and her kittens.  They are in the middle cage in the set to the north, and the cages to either side are now empty.  Seeing the duchess, he bows formally and says, "Your Grace."  Scarlet notices Erikus cleaning out one of the cages on the far wall, but he seems focused on his task.

Duchess Dearest's voice is sharp, "How is it that someone was able to break in here and steal one of my kittens, Fishbacher?"

"I, ummm, I, ...  Your grace, I have no idea how anyone could get in here.  I just had that lock changed, to, umm, to tighten up security.  As for the kittens, I can't imagine how anyone, especially a young woman like this Alyssa person, could even have approached the cats."  It occurs to Scarlet that Fishbacher wasn't even there when Alyssa's name came up.  The man continues, "these are, as you know, your grace, powerful and dangerous animals, not pets.  Perhaps, she, umm, perhaps she has some sort of training in moving silently?  She could have snuck in and grabbed a kitten when the mother was asleep?  Otherwise, I have no ..."

"Falderdash," says Idalaiz.  "These cats cannot be snuck up on, their hearing is too sharp.  No, You've turned them soft Fishbacher.  You have probably been allowing guests to come in, showing off your charges to anyone you want to impress, and they're now accustomed to all sorts of people being around."

Dearest takes the initiative to test Idalaiz's theory by approaching the large mother cat and presenting the back of her hand.  The cat hisses and stands protectively over her kittens, hackles rising.

"I'm sure the girl had a piece of meat or some treat for the animal, and I think, Dearest, that your new perfume is putting the cat off.  We need someone else to perform a test."  She looks around as if searching for the perfect person.  Her aide, Pax, does his best to sink quietly into the background, clearly afraid that he might be chosen.  Then her eyes alight on Scarlet.  "The little heroine, Scarlet; she can do it.  What do you say, Proponitís, if you give this girl a piece of beef, will she be able to approach Zenobia and pick up one of her kittens?"

"Absolutely not.  Of course not.  I would be loathe to see the poor girl receive scars or lose a hand.  These cats are very dangerous."

"Would you make a little wager on it, then?  Say, 100 gold pieces?"

The man blanches a bit at the price, but then agrees.  Idalaiz turns to the duchess, whose eyes have lit up in excitement.  It's not clear if it is the wager or the possibility of seeing the girl mauled that has excited her, but there is clearly something.  Idalaiz says, "Dearest, you're the witness, 100 gold.  And I think we should put up something for the girl -- she is your granddaughter, after all.  If she succeeds, she should receive some of her birthright, and be given ownership of the kitten of her choice.  What say you?"

Dearest is almost in a trance, "Yes.  Yes, that sounds acceptable.  Fishbacher, get her a treat that the cat would like."  She turns to Scarlet, "can you do this, granddaughter?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:13, Thu 21 July 2022.

Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 113 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Tue 26 Jul 2022
at 15:44
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet witnesses the whole conversation in silence, mirth growing inside like mellow sunshine. She is hugely grateful to the Spymistress for talking her up in front of the Duchess like that, the way Mother would never, and even if one day she tried, she could never. Eyes shining, she gasps at what is required of her and nods, summoning her courage; trying to touch a savannah cat, after all, is a risky task -- hahahaha.

"Of course, for your sake I shall do my best, Your Grace," she says, allegedly marshalling her courage to face the 'fearsome' cat. "Good kitty, please stay calm..." she whispers, gingerly picking it up...
Zag
 GM, 280 posts
Tue 26 Jul 2022
at 16:15
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
Scarlet approaches Zenobia, which is still standing protectively over her kittens from the time that the duchess tried to approach.  However, rather than raising her hackles and hissing, as she did with the duchess, the cat leans forward into Scarlet's hand, alternately rubbing her cheek against the girl and licking the hand.  When Scarlet reaches slowly to take a kitten, the big cat offers no resistance, continuing to caress and lick Scarlet.

Duchess Dearest is beaming with joy and excitement.  It is not clear what the motivation is that has her in such a state, but she is clearly thrilled that Scarlet has succeeded.  Scarlet turns the kitten over to determine its gender and to see that its umbilical scar is healing nicely, which it is.  She announces her kitten's name to be ...
Scarlet d'Ardelle
 player, 114 posts
 Age:12 | Barton's bastard
 Court lady in training
Tue 26 Jul 2022
at 16:46
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
"Tigris, by your leave."
Zag
 GM, 281 posts
Wed 27 Jul 2022
at 19:58
Chapter 1: Scarlet d'Ardelle
After her successes saving the kitten and charming the cat, Scarlet finds herself suddenly quite a bit more popular.  Word has gotten around that Duchess Darling has gifted her granddaughter one of the savannah cats, and obviously is a rising star at court, at least the junior court.

This seems especially true in the power vacuum left behind by the sudden, hushed-up departure of the former maiden-in-waiting, Alyssa of Travis.  The stories are murky and sometimes contradictory, but it seems that there is some connection to the disastrous betrothal announcement at the midsummer celebration, where several people were so horrified by the news that they had to leave, retching in disgust.  The other rumor is that she tried to kill the kitten that had been given to Scarlet d'Ardelle, but was caught in the act and kicked out of the castle by the duchess.  In any case, the betrothal is annulled, and Xavin is once more considered to be one of the more eligible bachelors in the region.