1229.3 To Live and Lie in Normandy

((Even though the player missed this, and will be facepalming for quite a while, I'm going to stay Stultus didn't.))

"That's... not really the issue, Marcus. Let me answer your question with a question." (Yay, rhetoric duel.) "What is it that makes the Fool so effective in his chosen role? How does he get away with so much?"

"Don't care. That's my role. I have bigger problems, as I'm an actual contestant. This will be the challenge you have to overcome. You know how we are when we're together, normally. Honest, unfailingly polite, with the occasional sarcastic comment dropped, because, well, it's true. This will be much different. People will lie to you. All the time. But they will believe the lies, because they've lied to themselves. Everyone who shows up to compete has successfully lied to themselves that they don't want to be the Traitor, or a second Traitor, including myself. But what is appealing about this to many, is that this is possibly a limited time endeavor, that a second traitor will only last so long as the House has two Primuses. Augustina worked up something with me which culminated at Tribunal. The only reason I agreed is because it was on someone outside of the House. This is so very different. This could be her trick on the entire House, on every Tytalus. That she doesn't trust herself enough to be the judge says quite a bit."

Stultus compresses his lips. "You know Augustina far better than I do, and you know her situation. Is it tradition that makes the Traitor stay close to the Quaesitors? Or is it the Quaesitors who like to keep the Traitor on a short leash?"

"Yes. Since the Corruption, it has been this way. Of course, was the corruption a tool used by House Guernicus to weaken the House? I suspect that fewer in the House were consorting with Demons than House Guernicus would have you believe. Their method has been simple and effective. Use the truth, to tell a lie, because the truth will make it go down a little bit easier. But, that's beside the point." And then considers, "Maybe."
"Bilera is a bitch, and effective at what she does. Could she have played me through Augustina? Would she so publicly humiliate her own filius?" Marcus gets lost in though, thinking through the possibilities of what Stultus suggested.

"Depends on what she wanted -- she struck me as someone who'd cast anyone to the dogs without a second thought if it was to her benefit. Here's the thing, though. Let's say I get past you in the competition. Let's say I win. Now, I can flout...." Stultus breaks off in mid-sentence, his eyes growing huge. "Oh, wait a second...." he breathes, staring at nothing in particular with an expression of utter awe on his face. "That could work. Would be like balancing barefoot on a knife blade, but that could actually work!"

He blinks thoughtfully, still staring into space. "Marcus," he says in an absent tone, "you've heard the rumors of the secret Guernicus rituals. You know anything more about them than rumors?"

Marcus glances at Fiona, and says simply, "They're not rumors." He doesn't say anymore, but Stultus should get the sense that Fiona might know more.
"But I think you misunderstand me. I don't think she wants you to be the second Traitor. You play The Fool in mundane society, it's much harder to do that in Hermetic Society, and many of us Tytalus already do that function. So, I think you're role here is to judge who should be the second Traitor."

"Well," says Stultus. "Well, well, well. Deep subject." He taps his lips with his fingertips thoughtfully. "Interesting idea, if so, although I'm not sold on your interpretation."

He shrugs. "I guess we'll find out, one way or the other. You want a ride to Confluensis? I'd love some company on the road."

"Ride on what?" Marcus looks on suspiciously.

Stultus grins. "Why, the Palindromedary, of course. Stick your head out the door and take a look if you want: it's sitting right under the lilac bush. You too, Fiona: I just finished enchanting the thing, and I'm rather proud of it."

Marcus takes a look outside. Marcus appears to be holding something back, and then says with a perfectly straight face, "Thanks all the same, but I think I'd rather ride my dragon."

The dwarf humphs. "Well FINE. Go right ahead, Marcus, one-up me. I don't mind, really."

"If it makes you feel better, he doesn't like it when I do that," offers, trying to make up for any feelings that might have been hurt. "I just find that I need to start calling him a dragon before I try and convince him to take me somewhere."

Stultus chuckles, waving off the apology. "Don't worry about it, sodalis. No harm done." (It's pretty hard to hurt Stultus' feelings. In his time at Mons Electi, there's only been one person who managed to accomplish that feat, and that only once.)

Fiona opens her mouth to speak, then closes again with a smile.

Fiona looks at it and grins, obviously impressed. [color=blue]"Very nice. I would love to go riding with you on it sometime...but probably in my mascarade."

She circles around and starts asking questions about its construction and enchantment.

"Fiona, are you coming to watch?

Stultus answers the questions (as mentioned before, he's rather proud of it) and then (unless Fiona or Marcus have something else to say) heads off to make other preparations and pack.

The other magi receive a note saying that he's going to Confluensis. He's also going to stop at Eboris, and while he has no plans to do so at the moment, he can also divert to Montverte or Dragon's Rest without too much trouble, so if there's any messages people want him to carry, please let him know. (He's going to take a couple of bottles of Sobran's wine and maybe a sheaf of the very best vellum as presents for Mathieus.)

[color=blue]"I would love to. I don't know why I assumed it was a Tytalus-only event."

Stultus peers at Fiona. "Oh. Well, in that case, assuming your masquerade is not prone to wearing off unexpectedly in midair, you'd be welcome to ride with me." He smirks. "Unless you'd rather ride Marcus's .... dragon, of course." He also resigns himself to being groped all the way to Confluensis, but all things considered, there are probably worse ways to spend time.

"No, it's fine. When we select a primus or an apprentice gauntlet, we welcome anyone who might be interested. Augustina may have different plans, but I don't really care."