1229.3 To Live and Lie in Normandy

Stultus recieves a letter in the late spring, nearly by midsummer.


You may not know me, but I know something of you. You'll excuse this method of introduction, I hope, but it is with some urgency that I seek you out. I have decided, in the interests of balance, that if we are to maintain two Primuses, that we must maintain two Tratiors. Cumhachd didn't think you would be up to the task, but I decided to try, in any event. I'm inviting you and some select others to Confluensis to take part in a competition of sorts to determine who will be the second Traitor. Come, if you think you are capable.


((The two primuses of House Tytalus was tabled, for Grand Tribunal, with no pressing matters requiring the vote of the Primuses of a House, it was deferred until the next Tribunal. No one seemed to care, the Tytali present cared least of all.))

Stultus snorts quietly as he reads the letter. "Cumhachd didn't think you would be up to the task" indeed. In-very-deed. The last time he fell for that sort of emotional manipulation was ... mumble years ago -- entirely too many. Does Augustina think she's dealing with a tyro?

Accordingly, he heads off to find Korvin... or whoever is wearing the Princeps hat. (Who IS scheduled to wear the Princeps hat in 1229?)

((There is no more Princeps rotation, at this time. Korvin is Princeps. He may or may not be available, as I haven't nailed down the exact timing of his story. Assume for whatever reason that Korvin isn't available.
We can say with some surety that Fiona is available, since her story takes place in 1228.2 :smiley:
There is also your House brother Marcus out and about. My intent, and it is reasonable for Stultus to jump to this conclusion is that Augustina is reporting what was said to her as the truth, and that it is Cumhachd that is doing the manipulating.))

(( All right then. Got the note about Marcus. ))

Stultus walks up to Fiona's cottage, unhurriedly -- in the middle of summer, the garden around the Ex Miscellanea's cottage is a true treat for the senses. He stops in several places to admire the flowers and listen to the humming of bees, wondering idly whether this upcoming trip counts as walking down the primrose path, or the garden path.

Once he makes it to the door, he knocks, requesting politely to see Fiona.

((1229 already? My how time flies! :laughing: ))

Moire invites Stultus into the foyer. "Make yourself comfortable, I'll see if the maga is free," she says, then goes through a door opposite the main door and closes it behind her. Looking around the foyer, there's not much comfort to be made: a couple of chairs (one substantially larger than the other), a set of cloak hooks on the wall, and a small table with a wash-stand on it.

It's not long at all before Fiona comes in one of the other doors, one that leads into the dining room, and invites him in. [color=blue]"If I had knows you'd be coming to call as often as you do, I would have done something to make your visits more comfortable. Alas, all I have to offer is wine and the pleasure of my company," she says with a smile. Moire pours two mugs of wine and sets them on the table, then curtsies and leaves the room.

[color=blue]"So, what brings you to my little corner of heaven, sodalis?" Fiona takes a sip of her wine as she looks at the Tytalus.

Stultus smiles, replying gallantly "The pleasure of your company is all the comfort, and more, than any man may require." He clambers into the offered chair, reaches for the wine with a grateful nod... and stops. "This is wine, correct, and not your special brew? That stuff..." He shakes his head, sounding half-pained and half-admiring. "It should be saved for special occasions. Goes down smooth as silk, hits like a silk-wrapped lead weight."

After a few more pleasantries, he pulls a sheet of vellum out of his belt pouch. "The reason I came to you has, alas, little to do with the charm of your company. Put on your deputy Princeps hat. I got this letter..."

(( Cue other Tytalus. :slight_smile: ))

Marcus is snoring in the corner, apparently done in by Fiona's brew...

Fiona reads the letter, then reads again, and yet a third time. [color=blue]"Augustina," she says thoughtfully. [color=blue]"A Tytalus Quaesitor, aye? Caused a bit of a commotion at our Tribunal, as I recall," she smiles.

She looks at Stultus. [color=blue]"She wants you to betray your House?" She taps her chin. [color=blue]"No, that's not it...it sounds more like a title. A scapegoat of some kind? Any time something goes wrong in your House and they don't know whose fault it is, they blame it on you?"

"Mmmm. Not precisely correct. Or rather, precisely not correct." Stultus steeples his fingers. "Imagine, if you will, a large wheel, with several people standing on it. The wheel is spinning, so people are having trouble keeping their balance, and they whack at each other with long sticks. The one who is left standing is the winner."

"Sounds like a fun game, right? Except if the wheel should slow down or stop entirely, the game becomes much less challenging for all participants. Much less fun. So someone needs to climb off and get it going again, but anyone who climbs off automatically loses the game, so no one is real eager to do that. Everyone just stands there pouting and wishing someone would spin the wheel again."

"That's the function of the Traitor. She has climbed down from the wheel. Voluntarily withdrawn herself from the game: lost it once and for all, sacrificed all the cachet she could ever have with the other players.... just so that when the wheel comes to a stop, she can start it spinning again and let everyone else have fun."

He looks over at the form snoring in the corner. "Do I have that right, Marcus? ... Marcus? Oh, buggeration." He stretches his hand towards a plant pot in the corner (don't tell me Fiona wouldn't have a plant pot, I won't believe you), extracts a small clump of earth, and tosses it at the other Tytalus. "Wake up, Marcus, there's skullduggery afoot."

"zzzZZZzzz" and other snorting sounds come out of his mouth. Marcus is passed out, head back in a chair and snoring. He might require some assistance in awakening, at least more than shouting and some gentle prodding.

[color=blue]"Oh, bother," Fiona mutters, then gets up and goes to where Marcus is sleeping the sleep of the "Oh God I wish I were dead."

[color=blue]"Would you get the door, please?" she asks Stultus, indicating the door to her bedroom. She then carefully picks up Marcus and carries him to her bed, tucks him in, then closes the door behind her as she returns to the dining room and sits down again.

[color=blue]"So, basically, this 'Traitor' is someone who...goads the others in the house to action if he thinks they've become complacent or the, and please don't take this the wrong way, the games they play become stale and predictable." She thinks for a minute. [color=blue]"And the 'traitor' is outside the game, so no one has anything to gain by involving him in their schemes? In effect, making him untouchable?"

"Awww," complains Stultus as he goes to get the door. "I was all set to decorate him. Braid some ribbons in his hair... some kohl, some rouge... he'd be a different man when he woke up." His sense of humor can be decidedly juvenile at times.

Stultus makes a face. "Untouchable in the sense that a pile of dog crap is untouchable. You can touch it, but why on earth would you want to? The social implications within the House are extreme." He takes a small sip of his wine, swirling the rest around in his glass and staring moodily into it. "I am not so sure I want the job. I could do it -- I could do almost anything if I had to -- but it's a sacrifice, no question about it. I do want to visit Confluensis, though..."

[color=blue]"So, on the one hand, you would no longer be participating in the little...'games' that your house plays so well. On the other hand...you would no longer be participating in your house's little games." Fiona smiles, then gazes at Stultus through heavy-lidded eyes.

[color=blue]"I suppose it boils down to what you want," she says after an awkwardly long moment.

[color=blue]"But, and perhaps this is part of why I'm not a Tytalus, I'm at a loss as to why you came to me. If anything, this looks like either a House affair or a personal decision you have to make. Why come to the Vice Princeps? What am I missing?"

"Two reasons. I wanted to get your opinion on the letter, because I trust your judgment. And, I wanted to make some arrangements before leaving for Confluensis. I will be leaving Rahere behind..."

>The hell you will!<<< comes an indignant mental message from Rahere. Stultus sighs and holds up a finger. "Wait just a moment, please, Fiona."

Yes, I will. Think about it, Rahere. I will need to know what's going on back at Mons Electi... and I will be walking into the headquarters of House Guernicus in Normandy. If things go pear-shaped, Mons Electi will need to know. I'm sorry to do this to you, I really am. I will miss you sorely. But it's necessary, and not open to discussion.<<<

"Anyway, as I was saying, I will be leaving Rahere behind. If there are any major issues that arise during my absence, I'd like for him to be included in the conversation. I will be able to listen through him, and he can relay any messages if needed." He shrugs, his mouth twisting wryly. "Tranquillina will be livid, of course. I have no idea why she hates Rahere as much as she does, and I've tried my best to minimize their exposure to each other, but right now... the need for communication trumps her tender sensibilities."

Fiona purses her lips thoughtfully.

[color=blue]"Assuming that you win the post as one of the two Traitors, will you be abiding here, or will you have to move elsewhere?

And how long do you expect to be gone?"

"I don't know how long I'll be gone: your guess is as good as mine. But I think I will be returning to Mons Electi -- I am not aware of any requirement for the Traitor to reside at Confluensis."

"I don't know that I want to win the post, to be honest. Might have to take a dive or something." He shrugs. "I considered not going, but I'm Tytalus enough to grab with both hands at a chance to compete, even with the grandmother of all booby prizes as the reward. I can watch myself jumping through hoops like a trained dog, and be disgusted at the sight -- but I can't stop myself from jumping."

He pauses, quirking his head to one side as he reviews what just came out of his mouth -- and leans forward, placing the goblet on the table with a decisive thump. "Right. I'm getting maudlin. No more wine for the shrimp, he can't handle it."

[color=blue]"I'll talk to Korvin, give him a heads up on the situation. Under the circumstances, and given your proven ability to communicate through Rahere, I have no problem with him keeping your seat warm for you."

She leans over, rests her hand on his leg, and gives him a kiss on the cheek, just missing his lips. [color=blue]"Do us proud, sodalis. And win, lose, or draw, you'll always be welcome here."

"Don't you wonder why you were chosen for this, Stultus? Traditionally, the Traitor stays close to House Guernicus, either at Magvillus or at Confluensis. The become a Hoplite or a Quaesitor, eventually. Indeed, Augustina had earned that title, in many respects, already, since Proctor always gave her the most dangerous assignments possible. Do you see yourself being able to be a Hoplite or a Quaesitor?" Marcus asks as he opens the door from the bedroom. "Do you really care what the rest of the House thinks of you, so much?"

Stultus turns to Marcus, silently grateful to the man for giving him an excuse not to deal with Fiona kissing him. "Hah. You WERE awake. Thought so." He shrugs. "Honestly, I'm not that concerned with either possibility. The image of me as a hoplite is a ludicrous notion, and the image of me as a Quaesitor only slightly less so. They'd be fools to give me either job -- greater Fools than me."

"And in that, I think you have found your answer. Think about who the Traitors have been. And think about what the Fool does. Everyone has a part to play, and what part does the Fool play?"