2.4 Mercer Business

A tall, reed-thin woman appears on the landscape in a puff of blue smoke. Long hands brush imaginary dust off of her immaculately clean black trousers, as she adjusts a jaunty red hat on her head and treks across the grounds to the manor house.

She raps three times on the doors to the main entrance. "Mercere representative, official Order business!" she calls out in Latin, in a startlingly commanding voice. She pauses for a moment, then calls out in Portuguese, "Hermetic business for Ser Jaime Lannister, or his official representative!"

So, same thing mostly: Gerard is near the gates, but no one sees Azura teleport.

The well-endowed widow sees her approach, though, and signal her to gerard, who is, to tell the truth, slightly annoyed by the distraction.
He recognises the red cap, but a cap is just a cap, so he is warry, this could be a trap or an infiltrator. He'll grab a child, and, in castillan, whisper him "Go fetch Raoudha. Or that fati old guy. Or Claudia. Or better, yet, a magus"

So, he'll address Azura in castillan "Welcome to Cijara Manor. Who are you exactly, and what do you want? If you're a mercere, you'll understand that we can't disturb the one you seek like this. We'll settle you as befits your rank, but you'll probably have to wait"

(More and more, as I write suspicious dialogue after suspicious dialogue, I realize how much a pain in the ass the gift really is :open_mouth: )

She popped into appearance some ways away and then walked to the covenant. Should have only drawn undue attention to herself if someone's got REALLY good eyesight.

C'mon, this isn't her first gig :wink:

Sorry, it wasn't clear to me, and, well, not all magi care, or even act smartly :laughing: (I know Hiems probably wouldn't have)

I'll retcon, but I had fun writing this (I'll keep the original post as a quote for the curious)

EDIT: Retconned! :smiley:

(I don't think there's a Castillian or a Catalan language yet-- I think both are still speaking base Occitan. Portuguese is already a separate language, though I expect that there's a certain degree of mutual intelligibility between them.)

(5 Perception check...) "Quod the hell?" Azura spurts in Latin. She screws up her face in uncertainty for a moment as she picks out a few words of the unfamiliar, yet similar, Spanish. "Eo não sei Espanol... Fala Português?" She leans in closer to the man and whispers, "Português é língua dos amantes... What a shame you don't understand." (4 + 4Com + 3Charm -3Gift = 8 to flirt with Gerard. Ah well, everybody has off days.) She clears her throat and straightens. "Mercere!" she exclaims, pointing to her red hat; "Business!" she further explains, pointing to her messenger bag. Noting that the woman has left, ostensibly to fetch a magus or at least a Latin speaker, Azura tosses her bag carelessly onto the ground and leans against a wall. "Warm day," she muses to herself, loosening the top laces of her purple tunic and fanning herself with one hand... mostly for the grog's benefit.

(I know veeeery little about this. I know Catalan is a specialty of Occitan in LotH, and that's all. We talked about this and it seems castillan is the langage of the place, so we adopted it, but that's all for me. Hum... According to wikipedia -for what it's worth- Castillan began around the 9th century, so it must be okay. Portugese, I absolutely don't know, but you must be right about compatibility)

:laughing: excellent :laughing:

Gerard laughs loudly. Well, at least, she knows how to speak to men, although she's just not her type. Oh, he would probably spend a good night, but wake up robbed of everything.
Yet, he's not as dumb as one may think, and he perfectly understands what she pretends to be, although she looks more like an impostor than any redcap he's ever seen (In fact, the only recap he ever say were non-gifted). Maybe she's a crook trying to live on the covenant's generosity?

Whatever. He should bring her to a latin-speaker, but who? Raoudha is... Somewhere, all the magi have disappeared...Hiems!!! He's in that tower of him, he hasn't left it since he settled there. And he'll surely be able to deal with that woman, be her a genuine redcap or something else. And seeing them together should be fun. But he's send a child fetch someone, so what if he comes back with a magi and there's no one here? Aaargh, he doesn't know!!!
He must wait, at least a little. Hopefully, something will happen to help him, like, she'll speak a proper language, a latin-speaker will come, or she'll grow fangs and attack.

He'll approach the woman (in order to keep an eye -or 2- on her), and, gesturing (and eyeing):
Errr... Lady? Someone will come. I hope. I am Gerard. You are?

(Sounds about right. I speak a bit of Portuguese and I know that native Spanish speakers can usually figure out the jist of what I'm saying if I speak it. And that when I don't know how to say something in Portuguese, I take the French words and then say it with a Brasilian accent and it tends to be right more often than not :slight_smile: )

Oh, he's more right than you realize :wink:

Azura smiles, thinking "Yo esta" sounds a lot like "I am" in Portuguese, and ventures a guess... "I am Azura," she says, pointing at her eyes when she says her name, which means 'blue' in Latin, Portuguese, and Spanish alike :slight_smile: "Nao lady... Maga."

(Come to think, I did some years of spanish. They are all but forgotten now)

Okay... Sure... Maga...

Well, of course she'd be a maga! Redcap are mages of a sort, just not backstabbing liars and prone to showing off like most other mages. Or is she trying to tell him that she's not a redcap but a "normal" maga? That'd sure explain her strange attire, predatory confidence and lack of armed guard. Who sane woman would travel alone, especially dressed like this, especially in a war zone? She'd be robbed, raped and killed. So maybe she really is a redcap or a sorcerer. And maybe she's a demon or a fae. What if she's one? Aaargh!!! Why can't he just bludgeon her? Hum... maybe they should drink something together? This'd maybe make the things better? Or worse? Maybe that's what she wants, so she can rob him while he sleeps. He really should bludgeon her... But if she really is a redcap or a mage? She'll transform him into a frog!!!

These kind of social situations absolutely don't suit Gerard (that, and he's not very bright, in his way)... He's more and more ill-at-ease, a situation only exacerbated by Azura's gift. Finally, out of solutions, he takes a decision: I'll take you to Hiems. He's a magus. He'll know what to do with you.

Assuming Azura walks with him (not behind!!!! And not near, too.), he'll lead her to Hiems Tower.

Unsure of what he said, Azura walks with Gerard anyway, making small talk despite knowing full well he has no idea what she's saying. :wink:

(Oh, they should understand each other at least, due to default, they'll just have to ressort to simple words. Being limited by Gerard's skill, that'd be skill 1-2. Of course, small talk being what it is, he won't understand much, and is probably uneasy enough not to care much)

As gerard brings Azura through Cijara, she is striken by the utter lack of male population: All she sees are women, children, and one elder or two, and all are hiding from her. So far, she has seen no able-bodied man save Gerard. Should this covenant be attacked, it has no hope to resist if magic isn't used.

Going through the buildings, Gerard describes them suscintly ("Mosque", "Church"...), but they soon go past these and into the fields. This is where azura has her first surprise, as she begins to her murmurs everywhere around her, although Gerard doesn't seem troubled (To him, it ain't dangerous, so he can ignore the weirdness). So, she makes up words, as it appears people are talking about Gerard and her. "Who's that?" "are they gonna do some kinda ritual like cersei and jaime?" "She just arrived, she says she's a maga!" and all that.

Further afield, Azura can see a tower whose top appears blown of.

Azura stops at the last murmur, and plants her hands on her hips. "ALL members of House Mercere are magi! Accorded full rights within the Order and at Tribunal. I refuse to tolerate such disrespect to my house from... from a shrubbery!" The Mercere grabs her hat and perches it more prominently on her head, before realizing how very ridiculous it is to argue with the agriculture.

She clears her throat and speaks slowly in her native Portuguese, exaggerating her hand gestures as she speaks. "Des culpe. I knew about the vines, but did not realize they would be so impertinent. Are we headed for that tower?"

Gerard is surprised by Azura's sudden outburst, instinctively putting his hand on his dagger. Is that woman mad? Sure, the vines are strange, but you just gotta ignore them. Luckily, they've reached their destination, as, attractive or not, he doesn't want to spend much more time with that crazy one. As if the others weren't enough already!

Aye, he lives in that ruined tower other here. He shall deal with you. Wait a little, please.

Putting the story a little forward: Gerard will quickly leave azura, enter the tower, and warn Hiems of the presence of Azura. Hiems is bothered, but he shall do what he must do, he just can't send her away.

Azura will thus see a strange vision, as a pale magus exist the tower, his white skin and strange blue hair betraying his inhuman nature. As he approaches her, she notices a slight drop in temperature.
Adressing her in latin, with an emotionless tone that reminds her of snow falling over the landscape.
Salvete, sodales. My name is Hiems ex Miscellanea. My friend Gerard over here tells me you claim to be one of our order. If that is the case, I wish you welcome to Phoenix.
I realize there's a little problem. I would invite you to enter my tower, but must warn you that it is also my sanctum. You might prefer we stay outside, though.

The Mercere does a double-take at the sidhe blooded magus. "Hello there, Magus Heims. I'm Azura Merceris... You've probably not heard of me as I'm new to Iberia, but hopefully we'll get to know each other better in the coming months." She grins rakishly. "I've no problem with entering your sanctum on a personal invitation, but today I'm on an official call. Incidentally, if you're interested in adding an antechamber outside of your sanctum for receiving Hermetic visitors, I know a guy who knows a guy."

Assuming they find someplace to speak semi-privately, she will jump right in. "I've got standard Redcap business: a couple Tribunal bureaucratic notices, some letters, a few texts from parens to filius, et cetera... Seems it's been a while since Phoenix has had Redcap service." She waggles her eyebrows suggestively. "...I could fix that, you know... Speaking of which, I also have some official business on behalf of my house. I was hoping to speak directly with Magus Jaime. I understand he is loath to leave his sanctum these days, so who is the closest thing Phoenix has to an acting Princeps these days?"

Flirting shamelessly: 5+4Com+3Charm=12.

(Ouch... Too much blue! :laughing:)

Having delivered the spider to his master, Gerard will leave them. He knows Hiems can take care of himself, and that he's have perceived any trickery (a false assumption about second sight), so she really must be a maga, and not a faerie or demon. Clearly dangerous, but the kind of danger that the "kid" could use. He? He'll pass his turn, no thanks.

But back to our magi, as Hiems ponders Azura's words a little.

I understand your objections. I would have had the same. I intend to add something, but, to tell the truth, it's a little far down my list of priorities, at the moment.
Anyway, we can walk a little. The place is nice, if you except the occasionnal vines, and the weather is clement enough.

As they discuss some more...
I can take my own letters, of course, but my sodales... I do not even know what they're doing, nor do I particularly want to. Their affairs are their own. I've seen viscaria, but that's all. So I fear you may be on your own here.
Sadly, the same goes for Jaime. And we have no princeps. Really, we haven't decided much: As far as I know, everyone, myself included, is busy settling in. I guess the biggest autority figure you could find these days would be our autocrat, and she only handles mundane matters, so that won't help you much.
I guess... As a full-fledged magus of Phoenix, you may probably speak to me, and maybe I'll be able to advise you, but I won't be able to take any decision binding the covenant.

As azura flirts, she'll notice several things:

  • Hiems doesn't seem to notice most flirting, or to ignore it. It feels a little like talking to a woman, save that he's quite attractive (In truth, he's so wrapped up and detached, he doesn't notice anything that is not glaringly obvious, viscaria style)
  • If she gets to touch his skin, it is cold, like a corpse, despite the fact that he is clearly a living, breathing, and very beautiful young man.
  • I guess your rolll will also mean Azura's conversation to be quite pleasant. He'll speak nicely with her, will appear to follow her conversation and be interested in what topics she may bring up, but won't appear to be particularly enjoyed or bored. That is, until he suddenly clams shut. He'll also increase the physical distance between them a little, without realizing it.
    1d10=9 + Guile 2 + 1 hiding his emotions + Attribute? + Cool-tempered trait??? = 12 + ? If she can perceive it, Azura will notice, right before that happens, the first hint of emotion she sees in him, and that is pain and sadness.
    What happens, in short: For a moment, he takes some pleasure in Azura's company and conversation. Which reminds him of another lady, in another time. Which hurts. Which causes him to shut down.

Her brow knits in thought. "Well.. My House is interested in establishing a Mercer House here. We understand that Phoenix has been seeing very little Redcap traffic, and that it has been without an Aegis of the Hearth for some time. In exchange for right to establish a Mercer House here, and the protection and support of the covenant to said Mercer House, the House is prepared to offer your covenant the services of a Mercurian mage to maintain a sixth magnitude Aegis." She pauses for a moment, then smiles charmingly. "...Me. And of course, I don't have to point out the obvious benefits of having a Mercer House here-- increased Redcap traffic, ease of vis trade, quicker letter delivery, political clout..."

Awwwwww.... :frowning: 6+ 2 Folk Ken + 1 opposite sex + 2 Per = 11. Pretty sure your Guile would use Communication, so I think it's actually a 12. Azura has no idea why Hiems clams up. She just assumes he's not interested (or gay-- can never tell with the fae-blooded), so she takes care to continue being cute and endearing, while ditching the sexual undertones.

Putting some physical distance between himself and Azura, and pondering (which as the added benefit of allowing him to slightly ignore her and regain his inner composure). He has no need to lie, so he'll be open about things:

This is very interesting. Both of your offers. I don't like going without an Aegis at all, especially in a supernatural war zone, and having a mercer house would help ensure Phoenix remains a neutral ground.
The problem is that, for the moment, admission to the covenant is tied to us lending your sigils to Jaime for the next tribunal, and nothing else. I don't care if you're accepted without doing it, but maybe you'll have to. Really, this doesn't matter to me, our home do, but you should be warned, since you seemed to ignore that point. I know some magi would be unwilling to do this.

Anyway, should you chose not to surrender your sigil and Jaime not accept you, I would lend you my support nonetheless for you to stay and establish your mercer house. You'd probably be a guest for a time, but once we're the masters of the covenant, we could bring you in. As, by then, everyone would probably be unwilling to see your house go, I can't see you not being accepted. But his may take some time, probably until the next tribunal.

Well, it's too late for him now, in that he'll be very uneasy (Azura's company reminds him that he feels love ain't for him) and feel sad (Azura's conversation reminds him about his lost love). He'll remain polite, but will try to be alone as soon as possible.

(Which gives me a problem: We need amul to keep up with Azura's story, and he ain't here. So, if we want to continue to play, I need to delay this... which would be against Hiems mood...)

(Where is amul, anyway? Anyone know when he'll be back?)

I think he said that he was out of town on business, but I just checked and he hasn't posted anything to the forums in about two weeks, which makes me worry a little ('cause that's how I roll).

Hopefully he'll be back soon and give us the info we need to get started again.

(Yeah, sorry about that. I was on the road since my last post, got sick while travelling, which meant anytime I wasn't on the clock, I was doped up on Nyquil. Made the screen vibrate. Maybe it was my eyes.)

(No worries, welcome back :slight_smile:)

Azura will request that Hiems let Ser Jaime know that a Mercere has House business to discuss with him at his earliest convenience. "And please make sure to let him know, I've brought cake."