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Seas Of Erin > Cnoch-na-Niall > Build it up with iron bars
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 02:15 AM
" . . . please, Moira." She held her trailing plaid skirts up from the mouldy rushes with one hand; the other pressed to her temple, as if she had a terrific headache. The headache, however, had a name: Moira, who had been pestering her ever since rooting her out of the kitchens. "I do not yet consider the matter closed. If I let it go it will go on and on--you've witnessed the last example. We none of us can afford the strain, after this winter. The matter must end."
Abandoning her bard at the doorway arch, Niabheara swept, distracted, between the flanking guards and into the judgment hall, chosen by virtue of its sheltered position out of the main thrust of the wind and its lower ceiling. With its ranks of low benches and lack of windows, which left the room to be illuminated by smudgy torchlamps, it was hardly as impressive as she would like. This would, she thought, be the first generation of Nialls to be completely undone by a need for comfort over formality. Her long braid swung like a pendulum as she flopped into the deep wooden chair. "Next."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 02:27 AM
The man who approached gave a rather impressive, flourishing bow-- perhaps a little too impressive and flourishing for this setting, but then, he was rather too tall and too much arms-and-legs for this setting as well. His close-cropped black hair was speckled with gray, and his tan skin looked like a rough hide that had been left too long in the sun, although his eyes and his physique made him out to be quite a bit younger than a first glance would say
He was dressed well, but his clothing...left something to be desired after what had clearly been an arduous journey.
"My lady," he said, the picture of courtly manners as he kept his eyes deferentially on the floor. "I bring you a letter of some importance from your honored associates on the mainland."
He produced a sealed bit of parchment. "And I was told to bring you the message that the sand moves quickly in the hourglass." He repeated these words by rote, as if he had said them over and over to himself during his journey.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 02:36 AM
Niabheara, sallow and listless from too many days indoors, looked on the man's vigourous complexion and travel-worn clothing with a look verging on longing. Then the shades snapped down behind her eyes, her expression melting back into a courtly mask. She laid her hand to her breastbone and bowed her head deeply in greeting. She waved down the guard who was moving to fetch the letter and instead stood and stepped forward herself to take the parchment. "Good neighbour, sir."
She pulled her small bronze claw from her sleeve, slit the seal, and read without expression. Only when she reached the end of the short message did she permit herself a small smile. "Someone," she said archly, "has been up to bad business. Can you tell me whom?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 02:47 AM
The young man-- for he was indeed, young-- seemed taken aback by the inquiry, and lost a bit of his polish, as if he had rehearsed a part for a play, and his fellow actor had given him the wrong line.
His fingers went to the small gold hoop that adorned his ear. "I'm afraid I'm only the messenger," he said apologetically. "I know...that the message was urgent, milady." His brow creased, the lines in it rough, like a piece of sandpaper. "Nothing more. You..." He looked about the room, as if they might be watched by spies from every angle. "You know who this is from?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 02:56 AM
Niabheara tipped her head to her shoulder, tucking the letter behind her and taking a step backwards as she continued to smile at him. With a crook of her finger, the two guardsmen moved, nearly silently, to stand at her shoulders. "I know the man," she admitted, "although I do not pretend to understand he would send me such . . . "
She took the letter out again, rereading it as she shook her head in disbelief. " . . . such a presumptuous order. Nonetheless, I shall take him at his word." She looked back at her left-hand guard. "Secure this man in the west tower. Is there straw put down, or did we take it all back for the sheep?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 03:03 AM
The young man, who had been waiting for some kind of dismissal and maybe a few coins, blinked at first, and then stepped in, cautiously polite, to object. "It's really too kind, but I don't require any lod--"
Then he realized that she had said secure and not show, and his posture went stiff. "But-- what--" He blinked, backing away from the woman, trying to walk backward as quickly as possible toward the doors. "I meant no harm! I-- I'm only the messenger!"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 03:11 AM
As well-coordinated as any dance, a second pair of guards had already moved around to the main doors of the judgement hall, while one of the pair already surrounding the lady bend to whisper something in her ear. "Ah. Well then."
She held up a hand. "I've just been informed that we have taken back all the straw in the tower. I wouldn't lock a dog in that tower with no bedding." Niabheara twisted the parchment between her hands into a tighter coil, looking more thoughtful--troubled, even--than amused now. "Forgive me. Someone has played you a cruel prank . . . and a rather old one, true be known." She smirked at the page again, then raised her level gaze back to the messenger. "For the moment, it would seem you have become our guest. Please don't do anything too foolish."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 03:20 AM
The visitor looked back behind him, his tan going a little bit pale, and he did a little sort of dance-step as he sidled back toward the woman. "I really, ah, must be--"
He eyed the parchment, then raised an eyebrow at the woman. "Whatever it says about me, it's simply not true," he tried hopefully, shooting her what would generally pass for an absolutely disarming smile.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 03:30 AM
From behind the messenger there was a loud clap, as of a heavy door slamming shut. Or, as it turned out, as if a heavy door that had just been there had collapsed out of existence, leaving a smooth expanse of stone wall between a pair of rather surprised house guards.
Niabheara was torn between feeling sorry over the man's confusion and her instinctive appreciation of a good prank--after all, it was an old trick precisely because it was so neat and effective--but she set both emotions aside under the weight of dull diplomacy. The letter patted against her palm as she spoke. "I'm a wee bit offended by the sender, myself, and shall send him word in return. Until then, I am certain we can arrange this as a temporary detainment, if you will but cooperate."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 03:44 AM
The prisoner grinned, the gap between his upper middle teeth very, very obvious. "Cooperation is my middle name," he assured her with a dutiful-- and a bit overwrought-- nod. "You will have no trouble from me. I will be as silent as a mouse and as gentle as a peacock and as polite as a..."
He floundered for the name of a polite animal.
"Polite peacock." He tried smiling to make up for the bad simile. And then he added another bow just for good measure.
"And, ah, I should say that if I'm staying long, you may want to, ah...if you ever need to address me as anything, the name is Basciano. Marcello Basciano, Marchese D'Eilsi."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 03:52 AM
Her sharp brows shot up. "Soothly, you are a menagerie of virtues, sir." She had to bite back another smile.
Niabheara laid her hand on her breast again, dipping slightly. "I am the Lady Niall, countess of Cnoch-na-Niall and servant of my lady the Queen Titania. You have the hospitality of this house." Despite herself, she laughed--only a little bitterly--and wrinkled her nose. "Such as it is." She made another one of those tiny rolls of her hand, and the left-hand guard stepped forward. "And this is Cormac, who shall be your escort."
Cormac gave the lady a quick, surprised look. Niabheara ignored it. Someone had to look after this scruffy tallfolk until they were sure he didn't pocket the silver.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 04:02 AM
The so-called Marchese's eyes lit up at the woman's title. "Well, I would be servant to the Duke of Venice if the Cities could ever agree on who got to stay Duke of Venice and not poison him after two weeks," he informed her, a little resignedly. "I'm just hoping my turn doesn't come up anytime soon."
With that, he nodded to Cormac. "How do, Cormac?" he asked the guard cheerfully, holding a hand to him like he was greeting a friend at the pub.
He looked back to the lady, all earnestness. "Well, the hospitality-without-the-imprisonment is very kind of you," he assured her. "Where should I put my things?"
He gestured to the floor around him, where there were, very clearly, no things.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 04:16 AM
Niabheara caught the little spark at her title, but she was geared to notice it. It was moments like this when she wished she could just have everyone call her 'Nialla' and give up on titles entirely.
"Poisoning dukes seems a very inconvenient system of government," she agreed, with as much sympathy as she could muster. "Not to mention a waste of perfectly good poison. Dukes are like nettles--uproot one, it'll only pop up again the next day." She was only commenting while she wracked her brain to think of somewhere to put this fellow. Some small instinct for survival told her that she did not want him anywhere too near herself or Tristan. Or the quarters where His Majesty would stay for Imbolc. Or probably too close to the serving girls. Or possibly even too close to the livestock. "We will have your things brought up later," she assured him, politely overlooking the fact that there were no things. "Is there, er, something you require before we leave you, sir?"
The guard, for his part, gave the stranger a look that, if properly focused, could sour milk. He stared at Marcello's outstretched hand as if he had never heard of a handshake. He hadn't.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 04:27 AM
And Marcello kept standing with his hand outstretched and his eyes eager, as if he were completely oblivious to the guard's reaction.
And with the other hand, he rubbed his chin, then gave the woman a hopeful look. "Would you mind telling me what that message said, exactly?" he asked her earnestly. "That is, if it incriminates me for something?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 04:35 AM
Her fine chin came up swiftly. "You have not been long as a messenger. Either you peel the seal and read the letter before you deliver it, or you go forever without knowing. In this case you must deal with disappointment." She smiled, showing her dimples, to soften her words.
Cormac, meanwhile, broke posture to tilt his head enough to look at one side of Marcello's extended hand, then the other. Finding it empty on both sides, he finally felt awkward enough to mutter a question, in Tuathailli, to his lady, who sighed aloud and delivered an explanation. The guard nodded solemnly and gave Marcello a look of pure dislike. He still didn't shake hands.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 04:40 AM
Marcello waited a moment longer, then lifted his hand and looked at it, peering at his fingers with a frown.
"It's clean," he said, looking a bit hurt, as he looked back to Niabheara, bowing his head reverently. "I understand," he said obediently. "I would very much have liked to unseal the letter and read it, but, you see, there is a little difficulty in doing that when one is illiterate."
He gave her a wistful smile, bouncing on the balls of his feet as if he hoped this would change her mind.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 04:49 AM
"Then you are unfortunate," she said kindly while dealing with an urge to nod her head along with his bouncing. Lugh'us Dannan, it was like giving Tristan cake before bedtime. This time she had to bite the inside of her cheek not to burst out laughing, at the same time feeling a roiling anger. What had the man saddled her with? Why lay Marcello on her?
Another small hand gesture, and she turned her back to the man, scooping up the front of her skirt again. "Come, then, I shall show you up. Cormac, bring his things."
Cormac looked baffled at the empty floor around the stranger, then stared hard at his lady's back. He really wasn't getting paid enough for this.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 04:54 AM
Marcello raised an eyebrow at the woman. "Good lady, I have heard enough poetry read aloud to never believe in my life that illiteracy is a misfortune," he informed her cheerfully.
He stepped springily behind her. "Much obliged," he said, before turning to the guard. "Good fellow. My thanks."
He contemplated whether he should give the man a coin for carrying up all his things.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 05:00 AM
"Nonsense," Niabheara replied cheerfully. "You've only never met a decent poet."
Now Cormac was really glaring daggers at the messenger. With a sweeping motion, he let all the invisible packages drop and refused to budge an inch, folding his arms across his stout chest and planting his boots firmly in the middle of the room. Already to the door with her right-hand guard, Niabheara paused, throwing Cormac a confused, yet penetrating glare. The guard raised his brow again at Marcello, and Niabheara suddenly caught on.
"Try not to thank anyone else," Niabheara told Marcello, gently as always. Her words were starting to fray a bit at the edges.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 05:06 AM
"We don't have decent poets in Italy," Marcello was informing the woman. "Only decent drunk--"
He frowned at her, then at the guard, then back at the woman, then touched his earring.
"Don't thank anyone?" he asked, puzzled. "Ah. All right, if you say so," he agreed, starting to walk again. "Thank yo-- Ah, I mean. You're wel-- Plea-- It was very helpful of you to suggest that," he finally settled, crossing his arms awkwardly over his chest, clearly ill-at-ease.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 05:13 AM
"Dear Lady's name." Niabheara arched another smile at Marcello, shaking her head. "He really sent you naked into the bramble, didn't he?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 05:21 AM
"No, Lady," the Italian man answered amiably. "That was my brother. He had to sit on a cushion for days and days. We do resemble each other, though. Do you know him?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 05:26 AM
"I've not had the pleasure," Niabheara replied smoothly, tucking her hands behind her back once more. "Is he your equal in wit, or only good looks?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 05:34 AM
Marcello looked a bit taken aback, with the sort of look one gets when one has received a compliment that one is certain must have been directed at someone else.
His hand went to his earring again. "Ah, oh, no, Lady," he answered politely, bowing his head to her again. "Although I th-- I mean I don't thank you for saying so. They always called me the lackwit of the two, I'm sorry to say. He's the much brighter by far. But they say he looks like a goat. I say it's the beard."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 05:48 AM
Niabheara gave the air of one amused enough to overlook a lack of tact. She took up a handful of skirt again and proceed to lead Marcello out of the room. Cormac, most unwillingly, brought up the rear of the train; Niabheara didn't check to see if he was balancing an armload of invisible luggage. There was only so far to take a joke before it ceased being funny.
"You will excuse us," she said, by way of polite banter. "These musty old halls." She scraped her foot through a pile of leets that should have been composted months before. "We are preferable when the weather warms, and when we haven't been living on top of one another for . . . months." No good telling him it had been winter for two years running.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 05:59 AM
"Oh, no," the Italian man assured her. "You've been very hospitable already, and I'm sure the prospect of living on top of someone ne--"
He stopped. "That sounded terribly wrong," he informed her-- and himself, with a frown. "What I mean to say is, I find the accommodations and the hostess much more charming than the ones I was imprisoned in-- with--"
Again, he frowned at his unfortunate choice of words and scratched the back of his head. "The last time I was imprisoned," he corrected. "They weren't nearly as nice as you are here."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 04:15 PM
Niabheara stayed silent, as the only thing relevant to reply was that it was current Court fashion to kill prisoners with kindness. "Oh? And have you been imprisoned often?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 07:42 PM
The Italian frowned for a moment.
"Not...lately," he answered, glancing up as if he were trying to recall. "But I suppose that depends on your definition of often. Or lately. The current Duke doesn't find me half as offensive as the last fellow, or maybe that's because he's trying to quell the revolution."
He looked thoughtful. "The fellow before this, though, he had me in prison. Until your friend got me out, but I don't really pretend to understand politics. I really should," he added, nodding. "Because it seems like I always end up offending someone. Like that Englishwoman. I had no idea that she wouldn't find my remarks about her considerable girth to be insulting."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 08:12 PM
"Perhaps, then," Niabheara said, trying to sound innocent about it, "you should not mettle in the affairs of nobility. Really, we're nothing but a pack of trouble."
She turned a corner, the whole train turning behind her, into a slightly more civilised section of the castle, the long narrow room she had always called the primping hall, as it appeared to have no other purpose: the slender windows were blocks of greenish glass, letting in thin, watery light; the floors were the wonderful pale-green marble from Ebhot, and the whole room was lined in enough mirrors to ransom the keep with silverweight, if need be. It seemed to take a too-long moment for one's reflection to appear from one mirror to another--an effect eerie enough that Niabheara averted her eyes to the floor.
"And now your friend has sent you to another prison, so to speak. What did you do to him?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 08:21 PM
"I, err, really have no choice in the matter," the young man informed Niabheara sadly. "Seeing as I'm one of you. And since the third-Duke-back killed my father and my brother-- the smart-but-unattractive-brother I mentioned before-- is nowhere to be found, I've been stuck managing the es--"
He stopped, looking around at all the mirrors, impressed.
"tate. Which is nothing compared to what you have here, really, it's just the manor-house and four cows..."
He glanced in the closest miror, frowning at his worn appearance, and tried to straighten his jacket. "And I'm afraid I'm really not sure, Milady. I don't know what I did to have him release me from prison to start with, but apparently I'm on the outs again, is that it?"
He didn't sound too bothered by it. "What did you do to be given the honor of imprisoning me?"
Posted by: Fortuna Apr 14 2007, 08:36 PM
As Marcello looked into the mirror, his reflection showed a second figure standing just behind him: a small, imperious draped woman--made shorter still by the fact that she was headless.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 08:40 PM
Marcello jumped, letting out a bit of a cry, which he muffled with one hand as he stumbled back, spinning around to locate the reflection's source--
"My god, lady, there is a--"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 08:44 PM
"'Tis a dubious honour, if--what?" Niabheara spun around, eyes narrowing. Frantically, she waved down Cormac, who upon hearing her alarm had immediately drawn his short sword and appeared to be moments from spearing Marcello. "What, what is it?"
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 08:51 PM
Marcello flailed blindly for a moment, clearly put out by the lack of a decapitated woman behind him. "There was, in the mirror!" he exclaimed, turning back to it. "You see-- a woman...with no head. Exactly like the fourth-Duchess-ago after her husband caught her with the second-assistant pastry chef!"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 08:57 PM
"I cry your pardon, a pastry chef? Guard Cormac, you will put that thing down at once!" She flapped angrily at the guard, then stepped curiously toward the mirror and peered into it, slightly afraid of what she might see. At present, there was nothing more dangerous than her own face.
She looked back at Marcello, embarrassed. "Er, yes. That was probably my late grandmother. You're going to be staying in her old quarters." A pause. "We don't usually put people there anymore." Another pause. "It's nothing dangerous. It's just that the castle still thinks she's here."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 09:03 PM
"I'm sure he was a very nice pastry chef," Marcello mumbled. "Now he's a head on a pike on the bridge."
He spied the mirror suspiciously, then looked around again, as if he were waiting for the headless woman to emerge from behind something to frighten him. "Well, she's very handsome for a beheaded woman. I, ah, I'll try to be on my best behavior."
"We had a rat problem for a while," he added, as if that were similar to having a beheaded-deceased-woman-problem, and he nodded his head sympathetically.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 09:25 PM
"I don't think they ever found my grandmother's head," Niabheara said calmly, avoiding another glance in the mirror. Fond as she was of her grandmother's memory, as a rule she did not like seeing the woman. "We think they must have taken it with them, or else thrown it o'er the cliffs." She paused midstep, looking thoughtful. "They found my grandfather, though. He was easy to find. He was sort of . . . " and she spread her hands to demonstrate, as if drawing out a long piece of yarn " . . . spread out, but all the bits were still attached."
At the end of the hall she held open a door and gestured for the man to pass.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 09:35 PM
The Italian man looked infinitely more comfortable with the new line of conversation, an intrigued expression on his face as he passed by the woman.
"Tha-- er." he muttered, remembering he wasn't supposed to thank anyone.
"May I ask what happened to them?" he asked interestedly. "It wasn't revolution, by any chance?" he asked. "My grandparents were both slaughtered in a revolution. As was my father, although I'm not sure that counts as he was slaughtered on suspicion of being a revolutionary. As were several of my cousins. Who were revolutionaries. And my Aunt Giulia was killed by revolutionaries so they could read her entrails."
He sobered a bit. "Her entrails told them that they were surrounded by the Duke's guards. It was a moment too late, though."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 09:47 PM
"It was a cowardly attack from our enemies, unprovoked, brutally executed," Niabheara said with the tone of a woman reciting a favourite passage from a well-loved book. She continued on, adding casually, "My grandfather's entrails were spread across the field outside the north wall. They tied his hands behind a rock, then tied his entrails to his horse."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 09:57 PM
"Ah, sort of like being drawn-and-quartered," Marcello replied with the kind of happy recognition of one who was discussing one of his favorite subjects. "The Sienese tried to draw-and-quarter me once," he informed them. "After I, ah..."
His voice trailed off rather embarrassedly. "Well, they tried to, until they discovered that the rope was too long and the square was too small."
He illustrated this with his hands. "I slipped away while they were arguing about whether to cut the rope or go to a bigger square."
"My grandfather had his head put on a statue of Saint Anthony and paraded around the town," he added solemnly. "I was too young to understand what was happening, and for the longest time, I was under the impression that he had been turned into stone."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 10:08 PM
Niabheara's mouth fixed itself into a tiny smirk, recognising and responding to a challenge. "My great-great-grandmother's younger sister tried to seduce my great-great-grandmother's soon-to-be husband the month before their wedding. The sister lied and spread the rumour that my great-great-grandmother was a baobhan-sidhe, and nearly had the in-laws call back their son's dowered land. It was a terrible trial to get the mess straightened out, but the wedding commenced, and my great-great-grandmother had her sister's lying tongue cut out, boiled with the soup, and served to her at the wedding feast." Niabheara paused. "Which couldn't have been much a punishment, if you think on it. I mean, she couldn't taste it."
Behind them, Cormac sighed heavily out of his mouth and rolled his eyes.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 10:21 PM
Marcello burst out laughing, tiny lines wrinkling the corners of his eyes. "It isn't really quite the same thing, but our last Duchess kept all these little yipping dogs..."
He motioned down, to show about the size of the yipping dogs. "She used to give them as prizes to people who showed extremely devout loyalty. Although I think in reality, she gave them as punishments, because their barks were like so--"
And he let out an ear-splitting yip.
"She gave one to my mother, shortly before they forced her to take poison. And my father-- after a week of getting no sleep from all the yip, yip!--"
He shot the woman a gap-toothed grin.
"--Had Mipsy baked in a pie and served to my mother at supper. She thought Mipsy was delicious until she found out what she was eating Mipsy-pie and not mince pie."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 10:29 PM
"This must've been before the third-duke-back had your father executed." The girl's eyes twinkled merrily as she tried to drag something comparable out of the bloody reams of family history. "I don't think I have anything quite like that one. There was that time the second Earl of Cnoch-na-Niall was turned into a deer and his brother shot him and cooked him over a campfire. That was sad, though. The brother hanged himself once he realised what he had done."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 10:35 PM
"Did I say last?" Marcello asked. "Maybe I meant third-back. I have trouble remembering," he admitted. "Venice goes through Dukes like a third-rate whorehou--"
He cleared his throat. That wasn't really the best comparison to be making to a lady of noble blood. "Like a mason goes through mortar," he amended, giving her a rather easy smile.
He quickly changed his expression to match the solemnity of a hanging-due-to-shooting-a-deer-person. "I'm sorry to hear it," he said, and he truly sounded sorry. "Fortunately, I don't think people in Italy have a habit of turning into deer. I knew a woman who ate the cinghiale that ate her baby, though."
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 10:46 PM
"A most suitable vengeance," Niabheara agreed. She stopped before a single door, painted white in contrast to the plain wooden doors or open archways along the rest of the passage. The white showed, all too clearly, the splintered holes where nails had been driven in and later pried out. "We've come."
The room was small, built very low--the tops of the windows came just over the top of Niabheara's head, and Marcello might have reached up and laid his hand flat on one of the beams--and thick with dust. As the door flew open, something black, furry, and unidentified fled its home in the empty peat-box and squeezed through a gap in the stonework.
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 10:53 PM
"Delightful!" Marcello replied, ducking his head self-consciously as he entered the room.
He peered around suspiciously, looking for his hostess' grandmother, then pulled a few coins from his purse to hand to Cormac. "You can set my things on the, ah, oh the bed," he told the guard. "Thank-- ah, anyone but you."
He then gave the woman a grateful nod, before his eyes gave the room another skeptical once-over. "Your hospitality is most appreciated," he assured her. "And you must commend your housekeeping staff on their excellent upkeep. Do we dress for dinner?" he asked her.
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 11:05 PM
"Someone will bring up your dinner," Niabheara assured him. She stepped back out of the doorway and into the hall. "And I will send up a lad to help you clean." She sniffed the stale air, and her nose wrinkled. Fresh linens would be in order as well. Perhaps even bathwater. "Cormac shall stay in this hall should you require anything in the meantime. You have the freedom of this wing, sir. Nothing here shall do you harm."
In a low voice, in Tuathailli, she said to Cormac, "I am so sorry about this."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 11:10 PM
"I'll, ah, I'll remember not to expect that of the other wings?" Marcello answered cheerfully, prodding at the bed as if to see if any more black, fuzzy things would come out.
He stopped, looking up at the ceiling. "May I ask you what I should say, instead of thank you? Or do I get skewered for that, too?"
Posted by: Niabheara ni Dowd Apr 14 2007, 11:14 PM
On the verge of leaving, Niabheara stopped--then burst out laughing. "If good neighbour you call me, then it's good neighbour I will be." She placed her hand on her breast once more and nodded, rattled and completely delighted. "We shall see to you shortly, sir. Fare thee well."
Posted by: Marcello Basciano Apr 14 2007, 11:19 PM
"Fare thee the same!" Marcello answered, finally sitting down on the bed, where he began bouncing his feet up and down again. "And, ah, good neighbour to you, Milady," he added, tossing in a very dignified salute for good measure before he checked under the bed for grandma.
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