1228: So Many Books, So Little Time...

Early that morning, Tranquillina dispatched Atrio on horseback towards Autun, taking a hair from him as she gave him his instructions. During the day, she asked around the covenant (starting with Moire), trying to find out about Renaud's personality and any information about him that might be useful. The Redcap doesn't seem to have made much of an impression on the covenfolk she asked. ((Com 3 + Intrigue 2+2 + fucking simple die 1 = 8.))

Two minutes after sunset, Atrio is waiting in a copse of trees outside Autun, out of view. Tranquillina appears beside him, dressed like a lady from a minor noble family, and magically disguised to look about 35 years old. She has also cast Aura of Ennobled Presence upon herself using her cloak.

Together, they enter Autun and find Le Ram et l'If. Atrio goes up to the bar to place his order, while Tranquillina tries to avoid the suspicious gazes of the proprietor and the other guests. "Salve, Renaud," she greets the Redcap softly, "it is I, Tranquillina. May I join you?" Assuming he assents, she sits down next to him and gestures her hand towards his arm, meeting his eyes. With his permission, she spreads her Parma Magica over him.

Renaud has a slight look of surprise but it quickly disappears behind a smile. Of course my dear Tranquillina. Rare beauty, scholar, magus and uhmm, keeper of the accounts. Tis exceptional when any save Korvin come to visit Renaud in Autun. Perhaps you have come to hear a song? (In a stage whisper) Perhaps you have come to hunt more than food and spirits. He holds out a hand and if to tell Tranquillina to stop. I do not know how these foul rumors were started about poor Renaud. An honorable and gentle soul is he yet others would have it be thought that Renaud would know of such things. No matter what you might have heard from those who might be jealous have used other advice give by Renaud in times of weakness. NO! I tell you. Let not Fiona's tales lead you to believe what could not possibly be true of the amiable and gracious Renaud.

A stout woman, who looks as though she could be a bouncer or a serving woman comes to the table. Hands on her hips she stares at Renaud and does not look very friendly. Mathilde! What fortuitous timing. Bring us a pitcher of your best ale and perhaps some cheese and apples. Mathilde looks to Renaud and back to Tranquillina, shakes her head, and goes to the back room.

Tranquillina looks down and away as Mathilde stands briefly by the table, hoping that she seems like an entitled lady who has matters other than the tavern on her mind; but probably her Gift makes her come across as condescending and suspicious. She exhales with minor relief when the stout woman walks back to the kitchens. Atrio does spare a long look at the server - why not take in all he can while he's off the covenant grounds, he figures - but resumes his attentiveness thereafter, keeping an eye on anyone who might be keeping an eye on the maga's table.

Tranquillina has the good sense to blush slightly at Renaud's compliments. "You are too kind, my friend," she smiles, keeping her voice low enough not to carry to other parts of the room. "And I will vouch for your honorable soul, for otherwise I would not have sought you out on this occasion. You see, you are correct, in troth: I do seek other than food and spirits."

She laughs kindly as she gets to hold out a forestalling hand back at the Redcap. "Nay, neither that which you refer to - and reveal not to me the full content of Fiona's tales ... I am a lady, after all," she teases, motioning to her upper-class dress. "But I am on a hunt, of sorts: I am hunting books. And I am hopeful that you, with your vast connections and worldly knowledge - as well, not to repeat what has already been established, as your amiable nature - that you might be the one to join my hunt."

((Can you guys clue the SG in here, as to what exactly is being done?))

((I think Renaud is setting Tranquillina up on a date or getting her some action or something :smiley: Or it is something about getting those none magical books she wants. I'm hoping for the former.))

((Non-magical book acquisition. Although, nobody ever says no to a little Autun action :wink: ))

((Renaud, whether this is known to to Tranquillina or not, as a Lone Redcap doesn't have good access to resources, so when going for him, he has to also deal with his House, and eek out a profit... Makes sense that Tranquillina would seek out Renaud, but it probably needs to be determined if she knows of his standing and how. I can honestly see magi not knowing about his status, so it might be a difficult OoH Lore check or he comes out and tells Tranquillina, or Renaud uses this as an impetus to get back into the good graces of the House, or something... Lots of angles to be worked here.))

((I made a pretty crappy Intrigue roll above, so I'm content with assuming that Tranquillina doesn't know about Renaud's less-than-stellar reputation within Mercere.))

((Until something changes in Cunfin, I think Renaud will avoid that part of the House.))

((Well, all Renaud should know is that he and his brother don't see eye to eye, and of course, his father is up there, so I'm not so sure.))

((When your boss hates you ( read not see eye-to-eye), how often would you report to him if you did not have to... :smiley: ))

((Yes, but your foster father, who has never said a discouraging word? Still, what's entailed here doesn't necessarily have to go through Cunfin...))

Ahh, you know Renaud well as he is well known for his vast worldly knowledge almost as much as his songs and good looks. He reaches down to pick up his lute and strum a few cords. A hunt for books? Tis better you find another unless you seek books that deal with more earthly chattels. Renaud's association with books of more ethereal knowledge is lacking.

"Ah, it seems that Fortune smiles upon this meeting then," Tranquillina warmly responds, smiling as well. "For that is precisely what I hoped to discuss with Ren - er, discuss with you." She stops for a minute, still smiling but looking towards the wall again, as Mathilde returns with the beverages and refreshments that Renaud had ordered; she makes a show of nodding encouragingly at his lute-playing until the server departs. Leaning towards the table to take a piece of cheese, she stays forward as she continues the conversation.

"I am seeking two books on non-supernatural topics: one on Medicine, the other on Chirurgy. My hope is that both books would be to the point, taking less than a year to read fully even for a neophyte, but still able to provide a moderate level of skill in their respective fields." Tranquillina washes down the cheese with a modest sip of ale and reaches for another slice. "Unfortunately, my specialized training has not permitted me the knowledge of what books of this type might exist, nor where in particular to locate them, save perhaps near the medical schools of the Roman Tribunal. This, my friend, is exactly why I am grateful for your worldliness."

((Seems like time for a Charm roll. Com 3 + Charm 2 + stress die 9 = 14 - that's more like it :slight_smile: ))

Renaud strums the lute for a moment. Of course, Renaud would be happy to tell you where you can get some vade mecum like this. If your Arabic is up to it, Renaud could tell you of a physician in Toledo that Master Korvin knows. Or if Paris is more your peculiarity... He winks at Tranquillina as if to convey much. Renaud pauses to pour himself a tankard of ale and takes a bite of cheese.

"Ah yes, well, that is rather the point, is it not," Tranquillina responds cryptically. She sips her own drink daintily and clears her throat before continuing. "Like many magi, I am perceived as less than trustworthy by those I encounter not enlightened by Parma Magica." The last two words were but a whisper. "Else I would be enrolling myself directly in some great medical school or other, or striding those urban streets in whatever guise I wished. But for transactions with the mundane," she shoots a sidelong glance at the rest of the room, where Atrio was pretending not to have any concern for her table, "it is less than ideal for me to conduct them in person."

"And so I have come to entreat you, sodalis," she smiles at Renaud, "to agree to carry out this task for me. And do not think I consider this some mere favor, to be offset by a pat on the back. Nay, rather I would count it upon my honor to compensate you for your time and trouble. The books themselves cost simple silver coins - and the knowledge of where to find them, and the means to travel there, both of which are already in your possession, storied Redcap - but there are modes of currency available to you and to me that have nothing to do with mundane transactions."

Hmmm. Renaud eats some more cheese and takes a long drink of ale. This will be quite a Herculean task to accommodate into my workload. Renaud's schedule and obligations require copious amounts of time to plan and execute. Pray, has your resplendent mind considered asking Master Korvin and Paion to teach you these skills? It would conserve Renaud's precious time and allow you to learn the skills more mercurial.

It's possible that Renaud might see a slight wince or mild shudder from Tranquillina when he mentions Paion. "Sadly, our Princeps is quite occupied with his research and his administrative duties. It would be too much for him to spend half a year teaching me what I might read for myself without interrupting his magical advancement."

When Renaud is finished describing how busy he is, Tranquillina indulges in a few moments of silence: lingering on each in turn, she looks first at his face, then at the red cap lying unworn beside him, then at the ale on the table, then at Renaud again, then at his lute, and all around the lazy tavern, before finishing her grand tour back in eye contact with him. "You have a gift, worthy Renaud, of giving off the appearance of one who has all obligations well in hand. Surely it must bring you much trouble, emboldening those rather unknown to you to approach you with cloying requests. Yet I myself admire your sense of being one step ahead of your tasks; it speaks to your potency as a doer of deeds." As she takes another small sip of her ale, the upturned corners of her mouth peek out from behind the flagon. "This is precisely why I am fortunate to share a covenant with you, and why I am proud to carry out my duties, such as they are, in ways that I pray ease the burdens of your busy life. Indeed, I sense your gratitude for these my contributions - please feel no need to speak them aloud - we are friends after all."

Not sure how much support Renaud really gets from the covenant. He should be working two seasons a year as a Redcap, still, otherwise he risks being declared Orbus...

Oh, yeah, Tranquillina's just blowing smoke there.