[Story] Summer 1220 - Faire

[Brother's Vezzini]

Antonio considers Mathius' words, nodding almost imperceptibly. "We will, of course, have to appraise the book, a process that takes a few days at most, to determine a suitable price. Still, we pay in kind. We also renumerate you for copies made as well, usually at one part in ten, to avoid any problems with 'Cow and Calf' agreements in many tribunals. In return for letting us copy your text, we agree to pay you annually for the privilege."

"As for minor items, we have a few here. The typical apprentice projects, immediately useful, with tactical application. Or not, in the case of the enchanted butter churn. Why, I even have a flying carpet from the Levant... Well, more like a flying door mat, but the lad who made it was justifiably proud of his work..."

"Drinking? No, he would have said so. ALso, it was a woman that turned into a fox, which he wouldn't have made up, even if he was drunk. Would you mind keeping it for a season and finding out if it's magical?"

Azaelle looks over the aftermath of the contest with wide eyes.

"You must have a great immunity to... something. I'm not even sure what."

Mab smiles brightly, then burps in a most unladylike fashion; The smell of alcohol almost knocks Azaelle to her knees. "Drinking contests with the Fae have given me lots of practice, and lots of tolerance. Like everyone else, I'll have a hangover in the morning. I'll look at your flute for a season, and try not to break it..."


"Thank you." Azaelle bows graciously, trying to mask her reaction to Mab's offensive odor. She regains her ability to breathe and continues.

"If there's anything I can do for you in return, let me know.Oh and one other thing. I ran into some tiny little creatures at the quarry. Drow, I believe. Are they dangerous? There are no such beings where I am from."

[back at the Covenant]

The shutters to the convalescent labs, still unclaimed as yet but serving the same role as infirmary, had been thrown open, and Dierdre all but ordered Daggin to "get yourself down to the faire!" While he had been working on his labs, his convalescence from almost a full season in twilight had not yet run its course, and he still slept, late, in the infirmary rather than his still-cold and spartan sanctum. Daggin made to protest until she mentioned the widely varied and enlightened interests that were represented by some of the merchants.

"Books, you say? And alchemists? Well... with an eye to the future, no such opportunity should be missed. Altho' these eyes may not be ready for the full force of the sun, I doubt if they'll be much more so without I get myself outdoors at some time. Very well..."

The chittering chide of the ermine Juliette sealed the deal, even while Dierdre fought to repress any amusement that might undermine her present success at persuasion and authority.

With some effort, Daggin levered himself up on unsteady legs, and found himself surprised at the purse Dierdre flung on the table in her wake, an added incentive that she had not mentioned beforehand, perhaps one last card she had not needed to play.

"I expect to see you there...", she had called in her wake...


[at the Faire]

The walk to town alone had left him far wearier than he had expected, and even his ever-present cloak was a burden on his unpracticed shoulders. He had sat by the roadside, a ways off the public way to avoid disturbing passers-by, feeling markedly pale, weak and shaky, and watched the collection of high and low, local and pilgrim, all moving as one toward the pan-call of the faire.

Once arrived, he understood what he had forgotten from the time he was a child- the magic of the merchant's row, the call and promise of the hawkers, and the occasional promise kept in the wonders that they had on display. Venetian glassware, spices from beyond the Mediterranean, ivory from the Skandic lands and furs from the Novgorod- he avoided that last category, for he was sure he saw the telltale black-tipped snow of ermine, and at the moment Juliette, tucked within his cloak, had been nosing toward some grilled lamb that wafted from a different direction, and, admittedly, had an attraction all its own.

Fortifying himself and his companion with an oaken skewer of the well-seasoned meat (and judiciously avoiding the furriers), he wound his way to a seller of gemstones, and haggled over a small handful of semiprecious rounds, amber, rock crystals and quartz, opals, a piece of rare turquoise from beyond the Levant, and inquired as to jade, or one piece at least, his purse not unlimited.

His meandering followed his interests as they interests rove over the glassware, with an eye to labwares for his own current task back at the covenant. Then to the booksellers, within a large tent whose dark maw promised relief from the sun and mundanes for himself as well as the manuscripts.

"Older curiosities mostly", he answered in response to the other's predictable inquiry, as he gently turned a leaf or two of a Greek treatise as if merely by concentrating he could penetrate the language. "I'm a bit of an eclectic - I don't know what I'll like until I see it. Texts on alchemy and theories of magic are often amusing... have you anything a bit more dated, perhaps?..."


"I've some older works, good master," said the elderly merchant, "though none on the subjects of Alchemy or Theories of Magic - you'd have to see the Brother's Vezzini for that. I might have a couple of tractati on Natural Philosophiae, and I've some works in the Greek and Araby that I've been looking for a translator for. " He goes back to rummage in a locked chest for a bit, and pulls out a couple of well preserved texts, and a couple of tubes. "I'd wager a ha-pence that none of these would be of any use to you, but I'm not the judge of one's wisdom."

The 2 tractati, are as advertised, works on Natural Philosophiae, and are a bit old, but well preserved. Written in Latin, they are somewhat of a chore to read, because the writing is smaller than one would expect. However, it is written in a clean, strong hand, and just enough illumination. "a quarter pound each for copies, delivered in the fall, or 1 pound each for the texts themselves," he says, noting Daggin's scrutiny of the text.

Inside the 2 blackened tubes are scrolls of some unknown writing material, on which is written line after line of greek, in a small, crabbed hand. The edges of the scrolls are scorched, as if the works had been in a great fire. The inside of the tubes, Daggin notes, are the creamy yellow white of aged ivory. "These came to me from a fellow who had gotten them in Venice, who had gotten them from someone in Constantinople, who had gotten them from a fellow in Damascus, who had gotten them from a merchant in Alexandria..." The elderly man takes a moment to catch his breath.

"These I'd let go for a quarter pound for the pair, on the condition I can get a translation of them, either from you, or someone you hire to do it..."

Daggin peruses the texts on natural philosophy with a critical eye, but also remembers his surprise when hearing that the covenant library contained a translation of a complete work by Aristotle himself, with annotations by successive notables- a prize work in and of itself. He cannot help but turn up his nose a bit as he says,

"These works on philosophy would be a prize in most libraries, but they don't run to my tastes... but I'll mention you if I meet any I know may be interested... the Brothers Vezzini, you say? Where would I find them?..."

Daggin stays and listens with some skepticism to the history as narrated-

"A fine pedigree... if you can believe a Venetian merchant, or a Constantine..."

Or any merchant, he failed to add. He takes a closer look, and sees the tell-tale signs of age, and can't help but notice the signs of fire, all too obvious...

Alexandria? Could this seller be so painfully ignorant of the greatest story of libraries of the ancient world? One of the seven Wonders? What better way to flog an old greek dog of a text. But if this is what it appears to be...

He glances up at the bookseller, looking him in the eye and considering the variety of effects at his disposal... and silently bemoans the lower magnitude spells he had disdained to study in his over-pride as an apprentice.

Add another season to the ever-growing list, for a questioning spell of a magnitude that can be cast subtly... Greek, Hebrew, among others... how did my Parens find the time?...

He looks around for something that could distract the merchant, get him to turn his back for just a second -

"Do you have a stool or such for these tired bones?", and, under the guise of examining the proffered items, utters a few muttered "let's see now" and "what do we have here?", allowing those to slide into less intelligible utterances, and then attempts several subtle Intellego spells of low magnitude. Unless those reveal these to be the fakes he more than half expects, he makes his best face of distaste and disinterest, and begins the dance...

"Well, these are worthless to me unless I could find a translator, and who knows what that would cost, or what's contained within these... relics." He utters that last word with dubiousness, as one observing the bones of an ancient shipwreck or a verdigris token to a forgotten time.

"And I could not say when I could find such a scribe, nor how long that process would take, nor what my expenses would be... toss in one of the philosophia texts, so that I know I'm getting something for my value, and give me, oh, 3 years, and you have a deal..."

As the haggling continues, Daggin knows that, for him, the risk is worth the price asked, so any concession on the part of the seller would be acceptable, but he also knows that no merchant asks the lowest they'd take, and that he does not care to allow any such to have the better of him...

(If the spells reveal the text to be contemporary and a sham, he'll lose interest and wander off to find the Vezzinis...)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[color=brown][i]Folk Ken 2 (+1 academicians) + 1 (Percep)
Guile 2 +1 (either Pre or Com +1)

InHe 4 - age of material
Fatiguing, Spont total +13 + aura + etc, Quiet and subtle gestures -7 = d+6+/-etc vs. target 8/2.

InIg 4 - Tale of Ashes, momentary, "how and when the item was burned"
Similar, base +11 -7 = d+4 +/-etc vs/ target 8/2.

[Bargain +1, Pre & Com +1)[/i]

The bookseller was well practiced at this game, far more than Daggin, but engaged in the age old ritual with professional courtesy and patience, as well as the enthusiasm that drives any successful merchant. The haggling went back and forth, with the terms being redefined by the merchant every time Daggin thought he was getting the upper hand, but finally approached a resolution.

"...Ah, would you take food from the mouths of my children? I could not go another ha'penny lower..."

Daggin frowned a bit, in no small part doubting that the merchant had children of any tender age that needed feeding, and pulled out the last tactic in his inferior arsenal.

He drew the purse that Dierdre had provided from his belt, and poured the entire contents rattling onto a wooden plank table top, shaking the upturned bag empty with a flourish. Then, in small stacks, he counted it out to the side as if the act physically pained him. All told, after his purchases of the gems, it came to just over a half-pound - slightly less than the amount last suggested.

"That is the lot, and my belly goes hungry for the rest of the day. I have no more, so my hands are tied..."

Somehow, I had a feeling it would come to this, he thought to himself. A good deal for more than I had originally wanted, but when, how did he convince me that both those Philosophie texts were part of the deal?...

The old merchant weighed the small pile of coins with a glance, and licked his lips in thought- or perhaps unconscious desire - and shrugged.

"Ach, why I make deals where I lose money, I will never understand, but you, I like, and so... agreed."

He handed the texts over, sweeping the coins neatly into his own pouch in a smooth, quick, practiced movement, and bows to the other, sliding one last small copper coin across back to him with a smile.

"The god of my fathers would not see me send a man home hungry- I recommend old Bryan's soda bread, under the alder tree by the south end of the grounds. It's the sea salt that makes them better."

Daggin tucked the scrolls into an inner pocket of his cloak, and held onto the stones and two modern texts, gave a slight nod in return, and moved in the direction indicated for the Brothers Vezzini. He didn't need a translation of the chittering from beneath his cloak- ermines were not, as a rule, bread eaters.

Out the tent and just across the way was a superior encampment, wherein Daggin could see Mathius and Fabrica, and Corvus being away by a darkly beautiful young woman.

"Salve, sodales", he hailed the two, giving the third the privacy that he might prefer, and holding up his trophies. "Some gemstones that could be of use, and two excellent tractatus on Natural Philosophie that were too cheap to pass up, to add to our library, or if not then will make perfect trading material or diplomatic gifts in our wanderings."

He looked around the interior of the stall for samples...

"...So, what have you found, and what more do the brothers of renown have to offer? Anything worth making a trip back to clean out a strongbox?...

Fabrica gives a brief bow to Daggin, then looks at him with a little surprise and a cock of his head.

"...Daggin" as if searching for the name. "I haven't seen you in awhile, where have you been? Well at any rate, I have found a few things of interest with the Vezzini merchant..."

"Wait, did you say books on Natural Philosophaie? They said they didn't have any of note. Well, I'm glad at least someone got it."

"But the Vezzini merchant has more than just trinkets, you might try him."

Meeting the other just outside the brothers' stalls, Daggin pulls himself up a bit, and looks askance at Fabrica.

"Been? While you were focused on your newfound laboratory and the toys within, I was lying in twilight, wasting, in the infirmary upstairs above Sylphie's abandoned sanctum, or so I've been told. New Summer's morn woke me from my bondage, and I've only today found myself strong enough to step outside."

Daggin indeed looks pale and drawn, and some several dozen pounds lighter than when last seen, the skin hanging on a frame that was never well-padded to begin with. His peace said, he seems to have overtaxed himself in simply inventing and meeting this a challenge, and relaxes to a posture of weariness as he waves the parchments in his off hand.

"I'm not sure how 'of note' these tractatus are, nor how much of an addition to our library, but at this point anything may be useful, so we'll see."

He peers into the tent, intrigued by what may lie within.

"I suppose I'll have to see for myself, then..."

Fabrica certainly looks embarassed that he didn't know what had befallen Daggin for the Season. He scratches his head and has a somewhat shamed half-smile on his mouth.

"Ah...yes well, I'm glad you found your way back to us. But...well, maybe you'll find something worthwhile in there. Meet us later if you have the strength, we'll tell you of things that have transpired while you were...indisposed. Good day. I'm off to find Caleb."

Fabrica bows to them both and heads off to the faire, a hunch and the sounds of raucus laughter leading him on a likely course. Past the drinking and feasting tents he finds the stocks have claimed their latest prize. Not too unexpectedly, Fabrica finds Caleb in its clutch, surrounded by people young and old, pelting him with food.

A buxom young lass seemed to be leading the group on. "Pinch me on me bum will ye? Right in front of me Mum?!" she called to him as the people hooted and jeered. Caleb was foul and besotted with wine and ale, his hair and face covered in slime and food. The lass pulled his face up by a hank of his hair and scooped up some kitchen refuse from a bucket. "Well try this for the squeezin!" and mashed it into his face. A new volley of food and refuse were rained on him, and Fabrica couldn't resist hurling an egg from a bucket. It burst on the wood stocks, splattering egg yolk into his hair. The people were too drunk and laughing to really notice his odious Gift. Fabrica shrugged and pulled an apple out of a basket and took a bite rather than throw it.

"See you back at the Covenant Caleb." he called back as he walked down the road.

As the hours stretch into the evening, the members of the covenant have seen every other member of the covenant, save for 2; Rhiannon, who one would be easy to spot in the crowd, and Deirdre, who could easily be heard over the strident noises of hustle and bustle that goes on at the faire.

When Rhiannon makes her appearance, her countenance is one that is far from pleasant; In fact, it looks like she is ready to kill someone. She says a few brief words to Belle, who has been trying to offer words of comfort and widsom to her lady; Whether or not she is listening, you really can't tell. After that, Rhiannon walks out of the north gate of the faire.

It is Belle who is left with the business of telling the nearest magus, or in this case, magi, where Rhiannon has headed off to. "I beg your pardon, good masters," she says, respectfully (and in perfect latin), "But Lady Rhiannon has headed back to the covenant. She felt that someone should know her whereabouts." With that, she politely bows, and takes charge of Eaghn, and begins to look around for some food.

Sean Dulidh is the next to appear, and it looks like he was run face first into a wall... several times. His left eye had blackened nicely, and his lip is split, though not badly. "Ah, for f***'s sake," he swears, "She didna hafta go an hit me...", dabbing at the bit of blood on his lips. "Once, maybe, but 4 or 5 times? 'Tis the problem with the past, lads ... it can come back to bite you, in the most unexpected ways. Ouch..."

Not soon after, Dierdre makes an appearance, though as is typical, you hear her first. However, it is not her yelling, but singing, and she has a fine, clear voice. It appears she has taken a turn on a harp, and is doing a bit of music.

The words of the song she sings are strange and unfamiliar, as is the harmony woven around the lyrics. It is hauntingly beautiful, yet sad, and somewhat mysterious. There is polite applause, and thoughtful murmuring afterwards, when she gets up at gives the borrowed harp back to the bard who loaned it too her.

She says the rest of the magi, who have congregated together, and walks over to join them. "I'm heading back up to the covenant now; I've got a new arrival to get settled into quarters, you may have met him one Albertus Pictor, ex Bonisagus. If you've got any money left after today, keep it."

There is a brief exchange as she walks by Duildh, looking at his injuries with a critical eye, before she breaks out laughing, and his shoulders slump in defeat. Her mood considerably lightened, she walks out the north gate, and back up the road to Lough Caillte...

Albertus Pictor awaits paitently at the road to the covenant. Once he sees Dierdre he seem rather happy, after all even a bonisagus need company and books don’t talk back to you.

Daggin tires of waiting for the Brothers Vezzini, who it seems have another customer within the canvas walls, with business that will not soon be resolved. He finds the others as the news of Rhiannon is delivered, arriving chewing thoughtfully on a hard lump of biscuit.

"A full day and more for one so recently back from the dead. I think I will take myself in that same direction. Some gems, some texts, a bite of food, and my purse is spent. You may want to try the lamb skewers down that a'way..." he gestures Belle in the direction he had arrived. "They are better than this soda bread, by far..."

He raises an eyebrow in distaste at Dulidh. "Perhaps it is less your past, and more your present conduct that serve you thusly, and with just cause. Of course, one cannot escape the station of one's birth... I return as well to the covenant - anyone care to join me?"

He moves to follow in the wake of Dierdre, pushing himself a bit to catch up with those travellers.

Azaelle has always hated crowds. Too many avenues for trouble to start and too many paths for it to take once it gets started. Mob mentality is infuriating. Speaking of which, Madame Mab is following her. Heaven only knows why. If she wanted something from Azaelle, she could have got it when they were speaking earlier. The more serious concern is that there is a strange man who also has been following her and as the day draws near it's end, the crowd thins out and the man becomes more conspicuous. Azaelle ponders the issue while looking over some poorly written books and deciding not to buy them. She could write better ones herself if her handwriting weren't so awful.

She leaves the shop without a word, keeping the man in sight and tries to find Uza which takes about 2 seconds because her companion is a 7 foot tall woman dressed as a man. They discuss the matter, decide that discression is the better part of valor, and then they throw that plan out the window as Uza turns with animal speed and locks the man into a fierce piercing glare.

As the evening falls, and the twilight begins to become night, they way to the covenant is easily seen; The sky is clear, the stars bright, and the moon nearly full. The path is easily seen, and covenfolk you know are strung out it's entire length, returning from the faire.

The journey of about a hour is uneventful; The standing stones on the isle are limned with a faint glow, and several unusualy boats are beached on the shore nearest to the covenant. From there, the path is lined with torches, all the way up to the covenant.

At the gate, the first sign that anything unusual is a pair of tree branches, stripped of their leaves, crossed over the gate, and painted red. The next sign of anything unusual is a few very old pavillion style tents set up within the circle, where unexpected visitors appear to be staying. There is something unnatural about these visitors; They look alive, but their complexion is sallow, their features drawn, and their arms and armor of an older style. One in particular, dressed in robes, upon seeing Dierdre and Flavius, thinks better of stepping outside his tent and ducks back inside.

Also set up within is a grander tent, almost gaudy, away from the others, closer to the feasthall. Several bear arms similar to those of Mab's Champions, though they do not wear armor. Without any reserve, Mab rushes forward, and catches up the one they all appear to be deferring to in a hug. "Grandmother!" Fortunately, the affection appears to be mutual.

Uza's presence scares off most of the gaggle of young women that have been dogging Asa's footsteps most of the day. He has the most amazing collection of trinkets and flowers with him as well.

Much to Azaelle's consternation, the man that has been following her around all day has also made his way up to the covenant., though he waits at the gate, instead of simply entering, like most would.

And thus many realize that it's going to be a long night indeed...

Normally the hike would have been taken in stride, but after most of a season in a Twilight coma Daggin was winded and whipped, and it had been all he could do to keep up both appearances and the steady pace of the homebound group. As he views the visitors, he becomes overly conscious of his own faerie eyes and other qualities, and pulls the hood of his cloak over his head, moving with purpose toward his newly claimed sanctum.

But once doing that, and long before passing the throng, though, he'll listen for what he can, and, now within the aura of the Covenant, easily casts a subtle and silent spell to extend the range of his hearing to where the visitors are gathered, tho' not immediately in the vicinity of Mab.