1229.3 To Live and Lie in Normandy

[color=blue]"Yes, it's me. I just got in last night, on my way to Confluensis. I didn't find out you were here until this morning, or I would have come sooner. I hope I'm not bothering you. May I come in?" Seeing Alips again brings a smile to Fiona's face, and she can't help but think how beautiful she is, or ignore how tingly she makes her feel.

Alips demurs. "Let me freshen up a bit, and go through my morning ritual, and I'll be down in a moment, Fiona." Fiona can see she looks rather tired, as if she hasn't slept well or for very long.

[color=blue]"Of course. I'll wait here for you," Fiona says, and stands in the hallway. After the door closes, Fiona frowns thoughtfully, a little bothered by the phrase "morning ritual." She thinks back, trying to remember if she had a morning ritual when she was at Mons Electi. ((Int 1 + die roll of 6 = 7))

She also feels concern about how Alips looks, and how tired she seems, and for the first time feels a niggling doubt about whether she was right in protesting Alips's innocence...at least with regards to the demons.

Fiona doesn't recall anything from the last time she was with Alips in the morning. Fiona can hear Alips humming to herself, and the sound of water being sloshed. About 10 minutes later Alips comes out looking a little bit better, at least refreshed. She and Fiona head down stairs where she goes up to Mathieus and kisses him on the cheek. "Thank you for surprising me with Fiona, Mathieus." She says it and sounds depressed, not as happy as Fiona would expect. "Who is our, I mean your, other guest?"
"Alips, allow me to introduce a giant among magi. Stultus of House Tytalus." he says with some mirth. "Stultus, this is, he pauses looking for the correct word, "my daughter, after a fashion."

Stultus watches Fiona's back as it disappears behind the door. (Okay, perhaps he was watching someplace a bit lower than her back, but if so, he's the only one who knows about it.)

"Mathieus..." He turns his attention back to the Jerbiton. "While she's talking to Allips, I've had an idea I wanted to run past you. This is a long-term plan, for perhaps a year or so from now." The Tytalus leans back in his chair, stroking his chin thoughtfully as he talks. "See, I was thinking about the state of the theatre in the modern world, and comparing it to that of the ancients. The Greeks and Romans had grand tragedies and grand comedies, prolific playwrights whose works would fill entire libraries. We've lost a great deal of that. I'd like to see the ancient arts of Melpomene and Thalia restored... and I think I know where to start."

"And your seeking a patron, something expected of a nobleman in exile?" Mathieus says getting to the point. It is more a statement than a question, but it is still a question.

Stultus smiles. "You are, as usual, three steps ahead of me, Archmagus. Whether it is your obvious patronage, or merely you exercising your influence to smooth the path for the project somewhat, your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Naturally, I wouldn't expect you to do it without recom...." He breaks off as Allips and Fiona arrive downstairs.

Stultus hops off his chair. "Mathieus does me an injustice," he claims, smiling brightly up at Allips, his considerable charm turned on full-blast. "Not only am I a giant among magi, I am a giant in my own mind." He bends over Allips' hand, brushing the back of it with his lips in the best, most courtly bow he can muster. "It is a true pleasure to meet you, mademoiselle."

(Stultus knows full well that the proper form of address for Allips is 'madame', but 'mademoiselle' implies youth, and is thus a harmless bit of flattery.)

"And you." After a moment Alips notices something isn't right, or more correctly notices the lack of annoyance she normally feels around a Gifted individual, and stares at Stultus's face. She soon breaks into tears and retreats to a divan. Fiona can see it a bit, there is a very slight resemblance to Praxiteles in the face. The nose is quite a bit larger, but there is something there reminiscent of Praxiteles.
"I was hoping she wouldn't see it. Probably if you were not Gently Gifted she wouldn't have given it another thought. I was thinking that because you were Gently Gifted, she wouldn't give it another thought, but she's been around magi for so long, she has learned to recognize the effects of the Gift for what it is, and acts around it. When she doesn't have to is when she notices the most. I never told you, Stultus, because I never thought it mattered, but you have a quality in your face that is reminiscent of Praxiteles."

Fiona looks askance at Alips as she walks with her, standing slightly behind Alips as she speaks. She grows more and more concerned...this is a far cry from the warm, moist, sticky reunion she had been expecting (and fantasizing about).

Fiona now looks at Mathieus, surprise on her face[sup][size=85]1[/size][/sup].

Fiona rushes to Alips's side, sitting beside her on the divan and wrapping her arms around her, holding her if she lets her. She doesn't say anything, just lets Alips know that she's not alone. She looks at Stultus, wondering if he's related to Praxiteles and wondering if that's why she wanted to jump his bones.

[sup][size=85]1[/size][/sup] ((Com 2 + Guile (Hiding true feelings) 3 + (die roll of 0, but not a botch(4)) = 5.))

"I am sorry my appearance caused you pain," Stultus says to Allips, his voice quiet and solemn. "Please rest assured that this was not my intention. I am very sorry for your loss." He takes a few steps back, letting Fiona comfort the woman as best she can.

After a while, he leans over to Mathieus, inquiring quietly "Out of pure curiosity, where did you find Praxiteles before you took him on as an apprentice?"

Alips just nods at Stultus, and takes some comfort from Fiona.

Mathieus turns to Sultus, "The Theban Tribunal. I doubt you are related, your face just has a similar quality to Praxiteles. It's an unfortunate coincidence right now, but I don't think this has anything to do with your ancestry."

Stultus nods, smiling. "All right. Like I said, idle curiosity, no more." He would have liked to locate his mundane family, but was never quite successful -- and he doesn't know what he'd ask his parents if he ever met them. "Did you lose a bet with God," perhaps.

((I don't have anything else here, really, we can move onto Confluensis, if you'd like, cunningrat1. I'm presuming that you didn't leave yourself a lot of time to stay at Eboris and mess around...))

(( Nah, a day or so, no more. Only thing I'd like to say was done is Stultus telling Mathieus more details about his playhouse idea (laid out in detail here and the two posts immediately following). Gloss over much mention of it serving as intelligence central, emphasize the possible artistic and monetary benefits. Other than that, Confluensis Ho![sup][1][/sup]))

[sup][1][/sup](( No, that expression does NOT refer to Fiona.))

Stultus, Fiona and Alips manage to make it to Confluensis without any difficulty. Upon arrival at Confluensis you're greeted by one of the grogs guarding the entrance onto the lily pads comprising the covenant's buildings.
"Ahh, master Stultus, I presume. Marcus informed of us of your pending arrival. Augustina has secured quarters for you and your retinue. She indicates you can join her for dinner, or take it in your quarters, as you'd like." The grog, who never bothers to introduce himself details another grog to escort the three to one of the lily pads and a hut surrounded by a beautiful garden.

((I did say Fiona was going to try to behave herself...and if that's not inner conflict, I don't know what is! :wink: ))

"I do believe we shall join Augustina for dinner. This should be absolutely fascinating. If that is all right with you, ladies?"

Fiona is/has been watching Alips as closely as she can without being obvious or rude about, trying to gauge her feelings, her interest in her, and anything she can pick up[sup]1[/sup]. She doesn't try anything on the flight down, just holds onto Alips tightly to keep her from falling off.

Once they arrive, she stays at the size she had made her and Alips, and tries to keep up with the grog as best she can. At one point, she stage-whispers to Stultus, [color=blue]"Please don't take this the wrong way, my love, but isn't this incredibly frustrating for you, all the time?"

However, she does stop at the hut and look around at the beautiful garden, almost awestruck, and wanders over to examine it intently, oo-ing and ah-ing.

[color=blue]"I would be delighted," Fiona says as she pulls herself away from the garden. [color=blue]"What about you?" she asks Alips.

[sup]1[/sup] ((Per 0 + Folk Ken 1 + (die roll of 0, but not a botch (6)) = 1. So, pretty clueless.

(( I suppose I should get in on this too... Per 1, Folk Ken 4, [1d10] = 6 = 11))

Stultus blinks at Fiona for a moment in confusion, since he doesn't understand for a minute what she's getting at. "Oh. That. Yeah. I'm used to it, though."

At the appointed time a page comes to escort everyone to dinner. Alips begs off, though, and wants to sleep. She's been generally listless and unanimated since leaving Paris, not that she was particularly animated in Paris. She does look rather tired, though. And while she hasn't been unreceptive to Fiona, she hasn't been particularly demonstrative in showing affection back to her. There is something wrong wit her, but whether it's some kind of possession or just a form of melancholia is difficult for Fiona to ascertain.

Fiona and Stultus are escorted to the dining hall, where a lavish feast is laid out, delicious smells of roasted game birds, a full boar roasted, and the sweet smell of spiced wine and desserts. Augustina is seated at the head of the table, with the other end left vacant, there are 9 other magi in attendance, 4 on one side of the table and 5 on the other. "Stultus, so good of you to come. Please take your seat opposite me, and Fiona can set at your side. We can now begin hosting this feast." The way she says 'we' is a bit inclusive sounding. A Folk Ken of 6 will indicate that she is actually saying she considers you her co-host.