1228.4 The Mistress Always Spanks Twice

(( Wait, what? That's not the way I've ever played it. Mind you, I could very well be wrong, because I do not remember anywhere it's stated explicitly one way or the other... ))

"My, my, so many magi to come and greet me. I am either an honored guest or, given the armed magi, she indicates Roberto and Alexei, "a grave threat." Marcus, who comes out of his cottage not far away from the entrance, looks about and then spies Cumhachd at about the same time she spies him. While looking at Marcus, and far louder than she needs to be for those nearby, but loud enough for Marcus to hear, "How quaint, you have a trained guard dog.". She looks around, and says to no one in particular, and without any sincerity, "This covenant is full of surprises. I can't wait to see what comes next. Maybe I can talk to that giant who consorts with diabolists? Or the messenger with his illegitimate trainee?". Her tone is sweet, al,oat loving as she hurls out a description of the Magi of Mons Electi. "Who ami I missing? Oh, the actul Bonisagus, who will likely not contribute anything close to what The Founder actually did, and what he does offer will be acclaimed as a vaunted feat of research by his fellow members of his House." And lastly, where is the benefactor on whose largesse you all feed?"

Alexei keeps a wary eye on the older maga and her retinue as he is brought up to speed on who the guest is. After a few tense moments he nods at both Tranquillina and Stultus.

"The Mater of Stultus ((He' still not sure of the relationship with Tranquillina)) is welcome of course. Please, accompany me to our guest quarters. We shall get it warmed and ready for you, the responsibilities of host and guest are well known to all of us I'm sure." he looks meaningfully at Stultus, Tranquillina and finally Cumhachd. He nods to one of the grogs who runs off to get the servants of the cottage ready. "Let this be a peaceful and productive reunion."

After Alexei offers the invitation to her, she says, somewhat conspiratorially to Stultus, He must really be good at fightin' a few too many bonks on the head though. Surely something Eskil should've been able to fix, I would think.". Although she made all the effort to lean in and look like she was whispering to Stultus, she in fact said it loud enough for everyone to hear.
"Let me explain, and I'll try and use small words, so you understand. Me go across Aegis, no problem." she says while smiling sweetly at Alexei. She continues to speak, while pointing at her retinue, "They have might, can't cross powerful Aegis. What they supposed to do? Where they supposed to go? Who give me bath, comb hair? You?" I need hot bath."
She turns back to,Stultus and asks with fake sincerity, "Do you think he understood, filius carus?"

Alexei turns to Stultus, there is a vein throbbing in his forehead and the smile is more like a grimace at this point. "Perhaps your mater did not see my arrival after any such conditions were brought up?" he turns to regard her and her retinue. "So an invitation to them as well eh? What is their nature before any such invitation is extended. And let us not be coy, if your intent is to have hospitality, contriteness might work better. Unless..." he turns to Stultus and Traquillina "...you can vouch for them?"

Tranquillina cannot remember a day that she wishes more had never happened. Even worse than Cumhachd sneaking into her life again is this botched parade the encounter has turned into. While her emotions are still dampened by the spell, she is not above calculating a little dig at the visitor to save face. "Despite this maga's insulting manner, these, men, do look to need assistance in their ill state. And their behavior shall be considered as directly ordered by Cumhachd: should they cause trouble, it is she who shall be held accountable. So the real question is: do we vouch for the maga?" She turns to her former mater, skillfully concealing all of the nervousness she feels at venturing this gambit. ((Prs 2 + Guile 3 + stress die 1 / exploder 1 / 2nd exploder 5 = 25.)) "I shall certainly vouch for her good behavior, and by extension that of her retinue ... once she addresses me properly: by Hermetic name, House, and lineage." She meets Cumhachd's gaze without flinching, for once.

Stultus' lips silently shape the words "Oh, bravo!" at that line.

Roberto scowls (the cat is nowhere around, too cold outside).
You come requesting hospitality, yet you mock us and insult us? You decry how weak our Aegis is and imply you can walk in overus any time you choose. You want us to lodge these nine men for you, like we were an inn of some sort. Why do they require Tokens into our Aegis? Who are they and what is there nature? If all they require is warmth, I am well able to provide that :smiling_imp:
I suggest you start again, using the right foot, and conduct yourself more affably.

"Very well, Eskil, we will take shelter in the "tribunal city.". Whereupon she proceed to walk directly and with purpose towards the regio boundary which leads to the Tribunal facilities.
"The cub has teeth, but there is little force behind the bite."
From behind everyone, Marcus lets out an "So that's why she didn't care about a token for herself."
Apparently it was loud enough for Cumhachd to hear because she responds with a "Woof, woof. That's a good boy!"

This, unfortunately, is far from the first thing that Cumhachd has said about Tranquillina that is hurtful but also pretty accurate. The slight stings much less than it normally would; Tranquillina is growing quite happy that she cast Enchantment of Detachment upon herself before the meeting. (Well, only mildly happy - for the same reason.)

((Can I ask for a further clarification on the Aegis boundary? From her action, I take it it doesn't encompass the entrance to the regio? And does the Aegis cover the regio-side mansion at all?))

The fact that Cumhachd backed down from her request to take sanctuary in their home feels like a victory to Tranquillina, despite the maga's refusal to address her properly. Of course, any victory where a Tytalus is concerned makes her wonder whether she is being led into a bigger defeat....
Tranquillina certainly hopes the visitors aren't allowed into the regio, but she's not sure what they can do about that, letting others take the lead. If they do in fact enter the regio, she turns to Roberto: "Imperator*, please make sure there is a double guard on the long bridge, and again at the ground-floor entrance to the regio mansion, at all times."

  • ((Stultus addressed Alexei as Imperator, and he certainly used to fill that post; but as of the start of 1228, it's Roberto - Alexei being too busy with Hoplite duties.))

Roberto, El Imperitor, shall escort the miscreant and her entourage to the Tribunal villiage :imp:

Alexei shakes his head, the Lord knew that all of the Houses had their customs.

"Well, I believe this is in hand now. If I'm not needed, I have other things to take care of. Roberto's capable hands shall be more than enough. Adieu." rather than disappearing Alexei begins the walk back. He stops to briefly speak with Roberto. "I...did not mean to pre-empt you, it is habit of mine to respond to alarms. Please keep up the good work Imperator, and let me know if you need me."

Before she's through the regio, and Alexei is out of sight with the men arrayed around her, preventing Roberto from getting too close, she pauses and calls out to Alexei, "Oh, that reminds me, I was asked to deliver a message to Alexei. Valerian sends his regards, and hopes you are doing well, that he hopes you don't find the demands of office to be overwhelming. And he can be at your service with but a moment's notice." She looks at Stultus, "Although, I don't think he meant a word of it. He's not a very nice person. I hear he likes men, spent a lot of time sharpening his sword with the covenfolk of Confluensis, if you know what I mean." She pauses as if she's gone too far, "Not that there's anything wrong with that. People can do what they want."

Stultus plants himself in front of Tranquillina, looking up at the maga. As soon as she looks down on him (like she usually does) he silently mouths "Nicely done!" and scampers off after Cumhachd and Roberto without waiting for a response.

Once he catches up, he calls out "Roberto! A word with you, if I may."

The muscles in Tranquillina's shoulders start to relinquish their tension as Cumhachd's band moves away from her. She is slow to process Stultus's praise (she can't figure out what's going on, but in the year and a half since he took up residence at Mons Electi, there has been little to support her suspicions about him), and he scurries off before she can respond. With a sigh, she turns to the two Flambeau magi and thanks them for their support; she catches Marcus's eye as well, but doesn't really know what to say to him. She gives everyone around her a final reassurance that she is fine, but pretends not to hear their questions about what caused her to black out. Taking the kerchief from her pouch, she casts Leap of Homecoming and appears suddenly near the guest quarters of the mansion, startling Loys and Choiniere.

"The visitors will be staying in the Tribunal city on the plateau," she announces without preamble. "Have the food for Cumhachd and her men brought out there across the bridge. And - I do not know whether she will want you to remain there to wait on her, but offer graciously to do so. If not, she can relay requests via the guards on the bridge." She tosses a puzzled look at Loys. "You do own a jacket, do you not?"

((Assuming nothing else happens before nightfall:)) Tranquillina has trouble going to sleep ... thoughts and emotions are gusting around her head like leaves in a storm, despite the continuing Enchantment of Detachment. ((Both that spell and her Disguise will end at dawn, as it happens.)) She has Atrio from the turb standing watch right outside her bedroom door inside her sanctum - three grogs will rotate through the night so that someone is always awake there. (She does not put up the Ward Against the Curious Scullion: it would not bother Cumhachd, and would only hinder any mundane help she might need.) One unlucky servant has also been stationed in the hallway outside her receiving room, one of its comfortable chairs moved there to allow some possibility of sleep. Tranquillina removes the chip of tile from her pouch and places it alone on the small table beside her bed, so that she can get a message to that servant on a moment's notice if necessary.

It takes her hours to get to sleep; when she finally does, foggy images of a giant hand thrusting out of a northern moor haunt her dreams.

(( Making a quick back-timed roll here, to see whether Stultus can identify Tranquillina's flat affect as the result of Enchantment of Detachment. Per 1, Magic Theory 5, Mentem specialization +1, roll of 6=13. ))

((I'm going to let gerg adjudicate the results, you guys have a much better idea of how well you know each other than I do, as i'm still getting caught up on your interactions.))

Walk with me as we talk. Roberto will follow the miscreant at enough of a distance that it is difficult to overhear Stultus and himself speaking.
Before you start in with the "It's a Tytalus thing", allow me to point out that she caused the alarm to be raised, she insulted a brother Flambeau, and she made veiled threats against the security and sanctity of the covenant I am charged with protecting.
Who is this person and why does she harras you and Tranquilla the way she does?

((Hard to say. Of course Stultus would know that Mentem magic could cause such a personality manifestation. By this point he's lived with her long enough to probably know that she's usually really volatile in the face of criticism. My best guess, given your roll and the fact that he's thinking about it anyway, is that he could have some reasonable degree of confidence that some Mentem magic was affecting her during the Cumhachd encounter. He's probably heard of EoD ... at this point we're at how much info would he want before making certain deductions. Is that the actual spell used? Did she cast it herself? You're playing poker at this point :slight_smile: ))

I will always need you brother :slight_smile: You did not pre-empt me. You were the first to arrive on the scene. You acted responsibly. I would expect nothing less.