This is the start of the side story for the magi who will be wandering about in Iberia (Carmen, Estaban, and Laetitia).
Carmen and Estaban are at the Mercere Qyarter, drinking some wine, hanging out with the Goliards, and planning their expedition.
Then a stranger arrives, a visiting maga named Laetitia. Carmen eyes her suspiciously, then greets her.
[color=red]Hail wanderer, and well met.
(still eyeing her with suspicion)
Spotting a man who matches the description given her by the Merceris, Laetitia waves and smiles warmly. "Esteban, I presume?" She pulls down her hood and bows gracefully. "I am Laetitia filia Iudicium scholae Guernicus, doctrinae Liberatus; Quaesitor et advocata ab Magvillus. It is my great pleasure to make your acquaintance." (Charm (first impression): invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2682926/ 5 + 3 + 3 skill, Total 11.)
The lovely Italian removes her cloak, revealing a handsome mink curled about her left arm. She hands the cloak to Carmen, mistaking the maga for hired help. "Thank you, ma'am. I believe I should like to see if a Spanish Rioja can compare to the vines of Salerno," she declares as she takes a seat by Esteban.
((Mark... you asked for catfight... just don't kill me! :p))
Carmen just looks at you, not taking the cloak. [color=red]What, is this a gift you are offering me?
Then one of the Redcaps walks up to you and offers you a glass...
This isn't Spanish, though I do admit they make a mighty fine wine in Andalusia. Those Moors drink more than they will admit to, hoho!
This is Andorran mountain wine, our own special vintage made here in Arans.
Laetitia, not being a total idiot, realizes her error and backpedals. "A gift, of course! For none who speak of the valiant Esteban Jerbitonis without a kind word for his lovely consort! The silk hails from Crintera, and its blue hue is not a dye at all, but is a result of the process by which the moths are magically raised." (Zero Guile, invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2682944/ roll of 3, 2 com == I'm so not fooling anyone.) Regardless of the plausibility of her lie, she continues to smile (albeit with deeply reddening cheeks) and presses the very valuable "gift" into the hands of its new owner.
Glad for the distraction, she accepts the glass from the Redcap and thanks him.
Carmen smirks, and accepts the gift.
[color=red]I thank you. I am in the midst of rebuilding my wardrobe, sinde I had lost a lot of clothing when my sanctum exploded
Carmen isn't fooled, but a free mink is a free mink
No no no, the cloak is blue silk. The mink is my familiar
Laetitia can't help but snicker when the other maga mentions blowing up her sanctum. "Is this why you seek to wander the countryside, sodalis Esteban? Refuge from the local volatile elements?" Feeling provoked, she takes special care to sit with perfect posture, accenting her figure and, perhaps, acting a bit more flirtatious with Esteban than she might otherwise.
Esteban is taken aback by the attractiveness of this Quaesitor and inwardly thanks himself for responding to her request. "Esteban de Barbastro at your service, Milday," he says, and kisses her offered hand. Then, with a gaze into her eyes, he adds in a low voice, "I assure you, the pleasure is mine."
Esteban laughs his manly, carefree laugh, Erroll Flynn style. "Hahaha! Oh no, soldalis! My home is the highway, my domain the open sky! I am a fighting man who lives for adventure! Never could I cloister myself in some dreary laboratory or spend seasons poring over some dusty book. Not when the road beckons, when adventure awaits!"
Esteban seems to be responding well to that. He's trying to look nonchalant but his glances do linger a bit.
Laetitia blushes and seems to forget Carmen's presence with Esteban's smoooooves. "Open roads and open skies? I am afraid I have seen very little of either. Truth be told, when I am not serving my official capacity, I am a few miles under the ground. I know most have a fear of such places, but I feel content... strong... in the Mother's embrace. I must say, however, that I am thrilled for the prospect of dancing across Her skin." She sips at her wine, and arches one eyebrow. "Interesting, and not at all what I expected..." she muses, being deliberately ambiguous as to whether she refers to the wine, or to her new companions.
Having already decided she dislikes the Flambeau, Laetitia nods at the introduction, nearly imperceptibly. "Indeed. Two, actually. My friend and guardian, Siana; she dislikes the city and is roaming about, getting the lay of the land. And of course, my familiar, Rhadamanthus." She looks down at the mink curled about her arm, snoring softly. "You'll have to excuse him. He's had a trying journey, what with the strain of sleeping curled up beneath my bosom while we made the arduous journey through the Portal." She shakes the "sleeping" weasel with each sarcastically stressed word, yet his snoring only gets louder. She rolls her eyes and then laughs. "He can be very stubborn, as you can see. But we love each other, and that is everything." She scritches behind one gently flicking ear affectionately, and then her smile vanishes as she glances warily at Carmen. "And the two of you, do you travel together for... practical purposes?"
Esteban briefly entertains leaving it to Carmen to answer that but decides he's not that evil. "Well, not exclusively. She's good company, and she loves adventure as much as I do. Though it is sometimes a comfort, to have a maga who has mastered Incantation of Lightning by my side."
Laetitia shrugs and tries to look nonplussed. "The Guernici tend to opt for the velvet glove, over the steel gauntlet; I am no exception. But, of course, I can see the..." - an appraising eye evaluates Carmen - "usefulness of a blunt weapon. For what is a Quaesitor's judgment without the Hoplites?"
Carmen: [color=red]Time enough for the earth when we are in the grave. Humanity has but one parent, God the Father.
Laetitia smiles patronisingly. "Perhaps if you'd spent more of your apprenticeship on Latin and the Artes Liberales, you would not be so confused by figurative language. No one expects a Flambonis to have a poet's soul, but really, you SHOULD be able to carry on a conversation with your sodales without stumbling over every metaphor."
"I can forgive your ignorance once again, but know that the language of the Hermetic Order is not French, but Latin. Your Founder may have been French, but when speaking in Latin, one of Flambeau would thus be "Flambonis." As for your bigotry, again, a proper education could resolve your problems. Should you open a book some time, you'll find that Greek civilisation (and thus the tradition of metaphorically personifying the Earth as a motherly figure) vastly predates that of any barbaric tribes of Britannia."