01 Homecomings

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Cavalier
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01 Homecomings

Post by Cavalier » December 17th, 2017, 7:38 pm

The sky had darkened from the days light and a lone traveler appeared from the forest, fading in from the fog. The rider and steed moved ghostly, stopping in front of the small inn on the edge of town. The rider dismounted, tying the reins to the hitching post then stood aside her steed, she looked up to the building and pulled her hood back. With a pat on the shoulder of her horse, she pulled off her leather gauntlets. “Well Sooth, this looks as good a place as any."

As she pushed open the door and stepped inside, the noise and conversations stopped. Chauni Bontecou gazed around at those gathered, some were alone, some in small groups and others in pairs. She gave a smile to the pair of Musketeers conversing at a corner table They raised their steins to her in kind. She then nodded to the innkeeper and stepped to the bar. “Can a long since absent citizen get a drink?”

"Sure, what's your poison?" the bargirl joked.

The occupants of the room eyed her with suspicion. Some shifted, making their hidden weapons more accessible.

“Meade, make it warm if you can,” Chauni said. She removed her cloak and took a seat on one of the stools. Her sword made a soft ting as she moved, brushing against the iron brace on a stool leg. She looked around, taking note of the weapons made visible.

The bar-girl ignored it. If they fought, they fought. She would still be cleaning up, no matter what. She placed the stein on the bar.

Chauni removed something from her small hip pouch and flipped it into the air towards the girl. “Run a tab for me, I may be here a while. I’m expecting someone.”

"Yes ma'am," She leaned over the bar, showing her cleavage as her breasts were pressed against the wood. She spoke softly. "Whatever you do, watch out for those men in the right corner. They're always spoiling for a fight," the bargirl pocketed the silver piece and went to wait on another customer.

Chauni glanced over her mug at the brood, watching them carefully. With a thoughtful smirk, she lifted her mug towards the Musketeers then she focused on her drink. Cupping it in her hands she let the steam warm her face.

Feeling the warm drink coat smoothly down her throat, Chauni let the ale relax her. There was a twinge of thought on the edge of her mind that made her turn towards the door.

It swung open and there he stood, clad in darkness, his eyes glowed from the flash of lightning that struck behind him. She swerved off her stool, taking a defensive stance as her sword was drawn from her side and thrown across the room. Men sprung to their feet, chairs falling over or pushed aside. Each man stood ready with hands on their own swords while the Musketeers drew theirs.

The man laughed. “Did you really think you could hide from me?”

“Well, it was worth a try.” Chauni shrugged. Flexing her hands, she glanced at the broods, then the Musketeers and then back to her nemesis.

Watching him raise his hands up, she was prepared. The strike happened in a split second, lightning bolted from his fingers and she dove aside, somersaulting across the floor towards the fireplace. As she came up, she drew from its heat and flashed out her hand, a small fireball shot forth towards him.

The two Musketeers decided to take advantage of the direction and attempted to flank the woman. They were drunk and did not care that an unnatural fight was going on. The other patrons in the bar scattered for cover, crossing themselves and praying to God to get rid of the devil's own.

“This isn’t exactly the homecoming I had in mind.” Chauni wasn’t interested in the games her nemesis was always playing. She had had enough of his antics. In a swift move, she bolted off the floor, using a table to change her direction and flew at the man with one foot out in front. Her foot planted on his chest, sending him backward to the post near the door. She then back-flipped away, coming up in a fighting stance with a fireball floating above her hand. She was ready and willing to fight. “Care to take another shot?”

Chauni unleashed the ball onto her nemesis before he could react. His wail of pain filled the air as he burned. “This is not over Cavalier!” With that, he swished his cape and vanished in a puff of black smoke.

“And I’ll be waiting.” Chauni brushed her hands together and returned to her stool. From her pouch, she tossed the bargirl three gold coins. “That should take care of the damage.”

The bargirl's eyes went wide as she scooped up the coins and placed another mug of Meade before Chauni.

Chauni glanced at her with a nod then the brood and smirked as she raised her mug with a vague toast. She gulped down the drink in one shot and set the mug down. “I really hate that guy.”

One of the Musketeers chanced an approach as the other retrieved Chauni’s sword from the wall. He leaned on the bar beside her, signaling the bar-wench to refresh his drink. “He called you Cavalier,” He spoke calmly then sipped. “And from that display of firepower that can mean only one thing.” With a sly smirk, he looked at her with pleasure. “Chauni Bontecou has returned home.”

“My thanks,” She smiled and blushed to his attention. “Augustin, it’s been a long time old friends.”

“A toast,” Augustin turned to the room and raised his mug. “To Lady Chauni Bontecou, whose timing of homecoming is as perfect as her beauty is flawless.” As he spoke, he returned to her with a bow of his head and a smile of lustful intent.

“Here, here,” The crowd responded.

As everyone drank, the two became serious and turned their attention to Chauni. The second Musketeer held out her saber and whispered sternly. “You do know that rainy weather was meant only for those with fiery souls?”

Chauni smiled over her fresh mug of warm Meade, she knew the line well. “And it is a mother’s milk that best warms those souls.” She gave the coded response then sipped her drink.

Augustin drew close to her and whispered. “My lady, we must speak in private on concerns of your father.”

“So, you are my contact?” She nodded, grabbed her cloak and joined them at their table in the corner.

“Unfortunately no,” Augustin said as he settled down. “We had the misfortune of meeting him before he died.”

“So, the Truth-Seekers know of my return. You serve the king well.” Chauni held in her emotions, aware that certain risks and dangers existed for her kind in the area. She looked at each of them. “What news do you have of my father?"

"What we know is that your true-father bids you hard riding for the truth-seekers are out and word has it they are seeking inquisition against The Gifted."

“What else is new?” It was more of rhetorical sarcasm than seeking an answer. “My thanks, old friends,” she gripped Augustin by the wrist and forced a smile. “It's not the homecoming I desired but it is still good to be home.”

As they stood, each embraced her as a brother might with a pat on the back from Augustin. “As it is good to have you home.” He said.

“Tell me something,” She looked up to him. “Has Beau-?“

He placed a hand on her shoulder with a gentle grip. “Your betrothed waits for you at your uncle’s place,” He smiled with friendship and stepped away. “And now seeing you in your return, I can truly say that he will become the envy of all men.”

“Always the charmer Augustin,” She made her gesture quickly, standing on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek. As she did, he leaned close to accept her gesture. Then, in finishing her Meade, Chauni grabbed her cloak, swinging it over her shoulders and securing it, She pulled on her gloves as she walked out of the inn. As tired as she was, she could have stayed there but she wanted to be home, between the sheets of her own bed. She mounted Sooth and made her way into the night.
Last edited by Cavalier on December 20th, 2017, 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Homecomings

Post by Lord Curran » December 18th, 2017, 9:53 pm

Beyond the passage from Des Versailles, the trails lead the way towards a thickened forest. Deep within, the foliage breaks to the clearing of the Bontecou Chateau. Surrounded by a deep mote then a wall for security, the home was noted among the gifted ones as the safest in the region.

The Bontecou family had resided here for as long as most could remember. The Land Baron Curran Bontecou had been born here. He strove to earn and maintain his reputation as a man to be respected, well-liked and admired among the community. He was best known for his kindness and generosity to take in stragglers. Curran was seen as a visionary, a man worthy of his title and position who usually kept some deal of his mind on the future. He enjoyed his reputation and his life.

On this night, he walked the gardens his wife had designed and admired in her life. It was nearing the night of her passing which reminded him every year of the promise he made to her. He paused at the gardenia bushes, cupping his fingers gently around one of the blossoms and took in its scent. He could not help but be reminded of his brother and his dear sister-in-law with her own passing.

He clipped the flower free of the bush, giving it a long stem and made his way back to the manor house. As he strolled, he decided that this would be the night Chauni learned the truth. It was not with regret but remorse that he carried the burden and having Chauni in his home all those years serving as his reminder. It was his belief that the woman she had become deserved to know the truth of her birth. He was the only one present and bonded to her enough to tell her without recourse. If only she would return this night.

He left the flower on the table in the front room of her chambers. Then, he stepped to the windows and held back the drapes as he looked out across the front grounds.

“I miss her as well.” Young Beau Austin Alastair emerged from the shadows.

Curran turned to see him become visible. The man had a story to his own history and Curran admired him for his strength in courage. It was by his truth in character that earned his friendship and the man’s devotion which earned Curran’s approval and betrothal to Chauni. “Six months is far too long for her to be gone.”

“I have been meaning to speak with her,” Beau stood to his side looking out as well. “I agree that she needs to keep to home more.”

“Good luck with that,” Curran dropped a hand to Beau’s shoulder. “She’s much like her mother, a free and fiery spirit.”

“An ideal way to describe her,” Beau chuckled. “And that fire in her spirit is one of the reasons I love her.”

“Come,” Curran allowed the drapes to fall closed missing the scene of Chauni crossing the mote and entering the courtyard. “I believe Cook has dinner ready.”

“Perhaps, as she has in the past, Chauni will arrive just as we are being seated,” Beau said.

"Perhaps," Curran agreed.

Leaving the chamber, they moved through the massive hallways decorated with marvels from across the world. Their footfalls tromped as they descended the main stairs to the foyer.

As if by cue, the moment their feet landed on the main floor, the front door flew open. Chauni burst into the foyer. Her cloak fell from her shoulders as she stepped into Beau’s arms.

“Perfect timing, as usual, my dear,” Curran greeted her with a hug after she had released her betrothed. “Come, dinner waits.”

With hearty moods and healthy appetites, they ventured into the dining room where the cook was setting out the evening meal.
Last edited by Lord Curran on December 20th, 2017, 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Homecomings

Post by Archivist » December 19th, 2017, 5:02 pm

OOC- originally posted by Aquilon

Back at the Inn.

"Antonio! Get back to work!” the innkeeper shouted. “The food doesn’t make itself!”

Hearing the yelling, Antonio snapped out of his trance. He had spent so long trying to find another like himself; he started to doubt that they existed. Now, to watch one in action, it was as though a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

He had been traveling across Europe, following the rumors, looking for some proof that he was not alone. Early on, he discovered that trying to travel in his usual circles was a recipe for disaster. News traveled fast amongst the nobles and rumors of his powers traveled faster than he could. Everywhere he went, people had heard about his icy abilities and everyone shunned him, either from hate or from fear. He learned quickly that the only place to hide was in plain sight amongst the lower classes. He also discovered that what little money he had did not last long so he tried to find work. There was little someone like he could do until he found a job at an inn cooking.

Growing up, he had spent many an afternoon sitting in the kitchen watching the cooks prepare dinner. It was a way he could keep out of the way of whatever nobleman happened to be visiting at the time and apparently enough of it rubbed off on him so that he could do a fairly good job with the type of simple meals that were served at most inns and taverns.

More importantly, wherever he worked, the meat was always fresh and, of course tasted better. This was because Antonio made a habit of covering any meat with a thin layer of ice to keep it cold. He rarely stayed in one place for long, but whenever he found a job, he had it as long as he wanted it. He’d stay in one place until he either learned a new piece to the puzzle or until he realized that there was no information to be found and then he’d move on. Of course, work was not always easy to come by, so in the winter months he took on a second line of work, that of a highway thief.

The trick was simple. In the winter months, he would use his gift of ice to freeze over a section of road. He’d then extend a field of ice so it appeared the road made a turn and travelers would end up stuck at a dead end in the forest. In the rare occasion the traveler was poor, he’d pretend to play the part of the Good Samaritan and send them back the way they came, not stealing from them but certainly not letting them know of the trap they had nearly been caught in.

If it was someone of wealth, however, he’d rob them, but would only take a portion of their money. He was doing this to survive, not to get rich and certainly not to make another poor. It was ironic that most people appreciated his generosity of not taking all their money more than they were upset that they were getting robbed in the first place. He’d send them on there way with a smile and a wish for a healthy life and disappear into the snow. He didn’t enjoy stealing, but he enjoyed starving even less.

He had felt that his time in this particular town was up, that the rumors that had said that the gifted were seen in this part of France were false or exaggerated. Instead, he found one and was able to witness her gift being used. He even heard her name announced and it shouldn’t be hard to find out where she lived. She looked to be of the noble class so the only way he could be sure to get to speak with her would be to drop the peasant act and return to his roots.

“Sorry,” he said to the innkeeper. “I can work here no longer. It’s time for me to go.”

Antonio took off his apron and walked out into the room to the Musketeers. “Good sir, where does Lady Chauni Bontecou live?” He asked. “I have need to speak with her.”

The second Musketeer pulled out a dagger and held it to Antonio’s throat. “What reason do you have to speak with her? There is no truth for you to find here!"

“I know the truth and it is that I have a gift to show her,” Antonio answered, hoping they’d understand what he meant. He held out his hand so that only they could see it and caused a small ice statue of a woman to form.

Augustin looked him in the eyes, trying to take the measure of him. “I know someone who may want to see this gift of yours. Return here in two days and if he is willing, I will bring you to him. Do you have a name I can share with him?”

“My name is Antonio Frigerio of Milan,” he answered, “You may call me Aquilon.”

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Re: Homecomings

Post by Cavalier » December 19th, 2017, 5:33 pm

The rising sun casts its light through the sheer drapes that hung over the windows to Chauni’s room. She was already up and on the balcony with her staff practicing her physical maneuvers. She flipped the staff over her shoulders swinging it around her body, then struck out and thrust it forward. Then, in a swift move, she separated it at the center point, tossed one side into the air, twirled the second half and back flipped onto the stone banister. Then she caught the first piece as it came down.

Every move she made was focused, calculated and intentional. Chauni was far from dependent on her abilities as she had been taught from their onset. She was proud of this.

There had been times she wanted to use her abilities but resorted to using her mind instead. It was as if her pyrokinetic talents were an extension of whom she was and that was ideal for her. Accepting them as part of herself helped her control her talents which, too many, made her a formidable opponent, especially her nemesis.

She came to her favorite part of her exercise. Dropping into a summersault, she left her staff on the ground as she came up. Landing on her knees, she thrust her hands forward and shot two fireballs towards her marker. The bail of hay went up in the flash of smoke and fire. The second ball shot through to smack against the stone wall. “Damn,” She dropped back, her ass on the stone terrace and ran her fingers through her hair.

“Still shooting out too soon, I see,” Curran said

She looked over her shoulder to find him standing in the doorway with the doors wide open. “I’ll get it… One of these days, I’ll get it right.”

“And that stack of hay will go up from one flaming sphere.” He added.

“Yes Uncle, one sphere.” She chuckled. Standing, she moved to the table and poured them each a glass of orange juice. “I am confident that I will indeed strike with one blow instead of two.”

“It takes time, my dear niece,” He smiled warmly, taking a seat and picking up his mug. "We need to talk. I was hoping to last night."

"We will, soon." Setting her foot on a bench, she adjusted her bootlace then rested her arm on her knee as she gulped down her juice. “Now, I must be off… It is time to search the countryside some more.” She laughingly tapped her leather gauntlets against her uncle’s shoulder and left him.

During her ride, she reached the summit of the hill range, taking in the sight of a man encountering a band of robbers. She watched from her distance, smiling to see the man’s triumph and ride off. As he disappeared, she approached the villagers she knew well.

Upon approaching them, she dismounted and greeted the man with a hug of friendship. “Thomas, how fare thee today?” She asked.

“We fare well My Lady.” He gave her a hug with a pat on the back. “Did you see the good sir…? Truly, he must be a knight.”

“I did see the deed from the distance upon the hill,” Chauni said. She motioned with a nod of her head. “Do tell if this man is of the gifted?”

“Nye,” Thomas said, shaking his head while slapping his hands on his hips. “His faith is strong true enough but was he gifted, we had not witnessed.”

“Did you see which way he travels?” She asked.

“Towards the East, towards Versailles,” Thomas said.

“My thanks, old friend,” She ruffled the stark red hair of a boy before kissing him on the head. “You are growing bigger every time I see you young Master David.” She laughed, shook his father’s hand and then mounted her steed. She knew the route to Versailles well. There was no soul there she did not know.
Last edited by Cavalier on December 20th, 2017, 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Homecomings

Post by J » December 19th, 2017, 10:43 pm

J sat astride his constant companion, a striking black Shire stallion named Diablo. The two had been inseparable since Diablo was foaled. Diablo was both mount and friend and J would have it no other way.

"Come Diablo. We have a Lord to relieve of his purse," J laughed coldly as he studied the sky which was rapidly becoming lit with the rays of sunrise.

Diablo snorted agreement and broke into an easy canter.

J sat on the giant stallion easily, looking almost tiny on Diablo's back. That was usually people's first mistake. J was no child, contrary to appearance sake. Nor was J naive for life had taught J some brutal lessons at an early age, lessons ingrained in the very marrow of J's bones. J shrugged off the thoughts and cut through the forest to set the trap. Yes, one Lord was about to get a payback and it was going to be a bitch.

Diablo was restless and so was J. Where was he? If J wasted the night for nothing, a certain informant would be found dead in the river. J smiled wolfishly at the thought. Then, the sounds of approaching horses broke the quiet of the early morning.

“Showtime,” J laughed and gently kneed Diablo who snorted and trotted toward the road.

Judging by the sound of the hoof-beats the party was not in a hurry. That was a mark in J’s favor. It would make the riders taking point lazy which would be another mark in J’s favor. He wolfishly smiled at the prospect. Sliding down from Diablo’s back, J landed lightly and softly threaded through the underbrush. He watched through narrow eyes as the carriage and its guards approached. He had to stifle a laugh. Guards? The men seated on the horses looked like they had spent one too many days imbibing of spirits and gorging on a rich man’s plate. Oh, this robbery is going to be too easy.

J made a woofing sound and Diablo burst through the underbrush and onto the highway, bucking, snorting and whinnying.

The two lead horses reared, bucked and neighed, slashing out with their hooves at Diablo who avoided them. He spun around and then kicked out with his hindquarters catching one horse in the neck and downing the poor unfortunate beast. The second horse whinnied in fear and ran down the road as its owner tried to get it to stop.

Inside the carriage, Lord Hubert Dewitt fumed as he watched his escorts get taken out by a horse. “Stay here,” he ordered his companion as he got out of the carriage, a grim determined look on his face. “Show yourself, vagrant!” He challenged.

Diablo snorted but stayed near the fallen horse. J strolled out and gave Hubert a mocking bow.

“You!” Hubert shouted in outraged surprise and drew his sword.

“Oh, I’m flattered you remembered me, sir. You have something that belongs to me and I want it back,” J said calmly, those laughing eyes kept on Hubert’s every move.

“Lord Dewitt, to you, gutter rat. I will have to have a talk with a certain assassin. He failed at his job,” he howled.

J looked bored. “No, he didn’t fail. He just didn’t survive his encounter with me,” he replied calmly.

“Impossible!” Hubert charged J who jumped out of the way, spun mid-air and kicked him in his lower back, sending the blubber packed man sprawling into the dirt.

“Nothing’s impossible when the god of luck is on your side. Now, my money, if you please.” J pulled out the daggers that were kept strategically strapped to the inside of J’s thighs.

“Over…my… dead… body!” Hubert rolled onto his side and wobbled to stand.

J shrugged. “As you wish, sir.” he threw both daggers in quick succession and had the satisfaction of watching one cut Hubert’s left cheek.

With a roar, Hubert charged again only this time he was knocked aside by Diablo’s head and sent flying into the nearest tree. He hit hard and fell to the ground, dazed

J started forward but was stopped by a woman’s scream. He turned around and saw the horrified gaze of Hubert’s companion. “If you tell me where he hid the money, I’ll leave you and him alive.”

The woman nodded, disappeared back into the carriage and emerged a moment later with a purse that she tossed.

J caught the purse and opened it, counted the coins and grinned then bowed. “My thanks, kind lady. May the Good Lord keep you safe.”

The woman gasped and scampered back inside. J only laughed before swinging upon Diablo’s back. “Come, boy, time for a little more adventure.”

Diablo snorted before breaking into a canter as the pair faded back into the forest from which they had emerged.
Last edited by J on December 20th, 2017, 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 01 Homecomings

Post by Cavalier » January 1st, 2018, 3:02 pm

OOC- Cavalier - w Lord Hubert Dewitt - JP

Lord Hubert Dewitt was furious. His guards had not only allowed him to be injured but his money to be stolen as well. The street urchin fiend had been a thorn in Hubert's side for almost a year. How did the brat keep finding him? And besting him every time? Not that Hubert would admit it to anyone. He was going to find the thief and make sure he hung for his crimes. Snarling at his companion and the elderly coachman, he had them head toward the land baron's estate.

Hubert would see justice served or he would find the brat and kill him and take that damnable horse and use it for scraps. Smiling cheerfully at his violent thoughts Hubert started to relax as they got closer to the baron's home.

~^~

Chauni made her way through the forage, taking in the sweet scents of spring as the rain misted down. The gray clouds had moved in with a high ceiling, relinquishing a light dampening rain onto the grounds. It was her favorite kind of rain, calming to the spirit and soothing to the mind. As she and her mount Sooth, cantered through the forest, she raised her face to the air closing her eyes and letting the mist fall gently on her face and neck.

Hearing the calamity of horses ahead, Chauni opened her eyes and sighed in disappointment. Her perfect moment was disturbed. She brought Sooth to a standstill and reined her in. As her steed pranced to a stop, she patted her on the shoulder. Leaning forward, she whispered. “Shall we see who ventures our woods, old friend?” She asked. The horse neighed and scraped her hoof. “I'll take that as an agreement.”

Chauni loosened her grasp on the reins and tapped her heal to the mare's ribs. With a grunt from Sooth, they moved forward, curious as to whom they would meet. Chauni found herself wondering if it would be the stranger they saw saving her dear friends earlier.

~^~

The injured guard was barely managing to hang on to his galloping his horse. He dared not let go, for Lord Hubert had threatened to kill him if he ran off like his friend. He stopped abruptly, letting out a whistle so that the carriage driver slowed the horses to a stop. The man shakily withdrew his sword and hollered, "Who goes there?"

Hubert stuck his head out of the carriage. "Take care of them now! I have business to attend to with the Land Baron," he snapped.

The man turned to look at the woman on her horse. "I said who goes there?"

Hearing the shouts and orders barked Chauni trotted into view of the carriage. “I am Chauni Bontecou, the Land Baron’s niece. What business do you have with my uncle?” She demanded in a calm but confident tone.

Hubert's expression went from angry to smooth and calculating. "I do apologize, Lady Chauni."

She chuckled, recognizing the man. “You’ve no fear of challenge from me Hubert, Lord, and Land Baron.” She had Sooth trot to the carriage. “My uncle is at home, though well occupied; perhaps there is something I can do for you.”

"There is a vagabond, a thief running loose and has stolen my money and scared off my other guard," Hubert said.

“A vagabond you say,” Chauni chuckled as she leaned forward resting her arm on the front of her saddle. “I venture to guess that by what I saw earlier, those vagabonds have been taken care of. A dear old merchant friend encountered several, only to be preserved by a rescuer.”

"Vagabonds, no, there is only one. He is a slip of a youth on a black stallion and has plagued me for over a year," Hubert said. "I come to enlist your uncle's help and to deliver a message."

Chauni shook her head with half a smile. “My uncle cannot be disturbed, he is tooling in his lab and if you well recall; when he is there he cannot be bothered. So I ask you again, perhaps I may be of some help?”

"You can take this letter." He held up an envelope towards her. "All I want from you is some men to help me find the thief. I promise to remove the problem from your lands," Hubert said.

Chauni took the letter, tucking it inside her tunic. She pulled gently on the reins of her steed and urged her back. “If there is a problem on my family’s lands than let us tend to it. It is not your place Hubert. These are our lands and we will see too any thieves or vagabonds.”

Hubert's eyes narrowed and spoke through gritted teeth, "But of course. I didn't mean to overstep." He knew he would say what he needed to placate her then he would find his street urchin and torture him before finally granting him death.

“Overstep indeed,” She nodded. “Mind your place Hubert or I will speak to the Lord Prince of the region on a complaint of such.”

"But of course Lady Chauni," he said, he had wanted to insult her but she had ignored the barb.

His companion glared at Chauni with unfriendly eyes. She had heard rooms about the Lady that spoke with Hubert. She wondered how many of them were true.

Chauni was certain that once she left, he would continue on his way to the chateau. She knew his kind and wanted nothing to do with him. She turned her horse towards Versailles and the stranger she wanted to follow. “Good day Hubert,” she looked towards the sunless sky. “Hard to say the time but I wager that by the time you reach the chateau my uncle should be taking lunch.”

"Thank you. Good journey, Lady Chauni." Hubert tapped the side of the carriage and they started forward.

On that, Chauni tugged on the reins with a tap to Sooth’s side. The mare took the signal and reared up fully, kicking her front hooves. Coming down, the horse broke into a canter which turned into a full gallop. Before long, they were gone from the scene.
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Re: 01 Homecomings

Post by Lord Havenport » January 1st, 2018, 9:04 pm

Lord Hubert Dewitt w Curran - JP

Hubert sat in his carriage and fumed. Chauni was the one lady who had managed to slip through his fingers. He would bide his time with her as well. All things come to those who wait.

A couple of hours later they arrived at the chateau. Hubert greedily stared at the lush land and the ivy-covered walls that surrounded the home. One day it would be his. He nodded and the carriage rumbled forward and into the courtyard. The driver got down and opened the door, bowing low as he did so. Hubert gave him a passing irritated gaze before walking up the steps toward the door.

Lord Curran Bontecou had sat down and was placing the cloth napkin on his lap when his butler entered. The man’s arms were held behind him in a formal manner as he bowed his head. “My Lord Baron, Lord Hubert Dewitt, and Countess Sedgwick to see you.”

Curran froze with his fork halfway to his lips. Slowly lowering his hand the fork made a ting sound against the plate, he sighed and looked at the man. “Very well, if I must see them, send them in.”

The man bowed and left. Moments later he ushered in Hubert who wore that usual arrogant look on his face. "Lord Bontecou, a pleasure to see you again. It has been a while since you were in the Lord Prince's courts."

Hubert believed Bontecou hated him as much as Chauni but that too did not matter. Although he did admire the class and self-restraint the Land Baron held. The man was not a part of his plans.

"Oh, I've been there, I tend to make my presence unnoticed except for the Prince Regent." Curran remained in his seat at the head of the table; he looked at the man with scrutinizing eyes. Settling back in with an elbow on the arm he raised that hand to his chin. “What brings you to my lands?”

"I came to deliver a message which your niece was kind to relieve me of. I am also hunting for a thief whom I have been tracking for a year now."

Curran picked up his fork, taking a small bite of the brightly colorful tropical chicken dish before him. “If there is a thief on my lands, then speak with Liam the sheriff. That is his job. I see no reason for coming to me directly.”

Hubert moved to the side of the table and stepped closer. "The thief is wanted by our Lord Prince as well. There is a royal warrant for his capture."

Curran took a sip of his crystal clear water from his hand blown glass goblet. “I’ve heard of no such warrant, and I can assure you, the Lord Prince would send word by personal messenger.”

Hubert smirked. So this is how Bontecou was going to play it? He closed the distance at a slow pace then laid the sealed tube on the table and rolled it to him.

Curran picked up the scroll and recognized the Prince’s signet on the wax. Breaking the seal, he unrolled the parchment and read the declarations in the Prince’s handwriting. He sighed and let the document curl on the table. “Deliver this to the sheriff and be gone, I want you off my lands by sunset, your presence is unwelcome here for reasons you know well.”

Hubert's lips pursed tightly together in anger and wagged his finger. "Very well, Lord Bontecou. You cannot avoid the matter forever. I had hoped for willingness but there are other ways," he said. There was a smile on his face but a warning glare in his eyes.

Curran raised a brow of amusement; it humored him to know how the man was. He always reminded himself of how things were and how they needed to be maintained. “All is as it should be Hubert. It is the balance of the order. Even the Prince has advised that doing your part receives your rewards… Tell me, Hubert,” he set his goblet down with intent. “Have you been doing your part for the balance?”

Hubert's eyes narrowed. "I do as my Lord Prince decrees. I have my borders patrolled as well as others. And I bring criminals to justice. That one felt the need to run and hide here on your lands is… very telling.”

“Very telling indeed,” Curran stood and moved away from the table. As he passed his visitor, he wagged his finger for them to follow.

Inside the den, he pulled out the journal he kept of all that had been captured and what their crimes and sentences were. “As have I… Traps are far more convenient and less tiresome than chasing after the riffraff.”

"True but as much as it annoys me I will admit that this particular thief has managed to evade every trap set by me and my men. Even the prince's royal hunters could not catch the lad."

Curran listened as he prattled on; he hid the sense of humor he found in Hubert’s shenanigans. He casually retrieved a book from a shelf and leafed through it. “Personally I believe in catching flies with honey… These individuals could easily be seen as such.” He glanced at his guest. “Tell me, Hubert, how do you catch your flies?”

"With a net, honey doesn't always work and oil to grease closed palms has had limited success."

"You sounds like Lord Delaney." Curran almost laughed; he found far too much humor in Hubert. He was intrigued by what the man was fishing for. “Tell me, Hubert,” He poured himself a scotch. “What was in this letter you gave my niece? And be honest because I will ask her.”

"It was another letter from his Lord Prince. I didn't read it," Hubert said slowly as he glanced down at his hand as if his nails were suddenly interesting. "However, he did tell me what was in it."

Curran offered him a glass of the scotch. "Do tell."

"It is in regard to your family." Hubert took the glass, swilled the drink and took a sip. "You are one member less now."

Curran stiffened. "Don't play cordial word games with me Sir, tell the news you know and be true about it."

"Very well, I'll be blunt." Hubert set the glass down and met Curran's gaze with a cold glare. "Your brother is dead."

Curran choked on his drink, coughing and trying to breathe. He thumped his fist against his chest, threw the glass to the floor and braced his hand against the mantle. The words echoed in his mind. “Your brother is dead.” He wanted to shake it off and pulled on his resolve to gather himself before speaking. “Do you know how it happened?”

"No, I don't. I was en route from Wales and had just arrived at court when I learned of it. He was found dead in his home along with his staff. The Prince has made this a priority as well as finding those responsible." Hubert's gaze was now inscrutable.

Hearing the cry of a bird, Curran turned towards the window as his peregrine falcon landed on its perch. The bird squawked and ruffled his feathers then settled down. Curran watched the bird, swallowing hard as a realization set in. “Then it looks like I need to ride to visit the Lord Prince in person.”

"He thought you might wish to do that. A royal escort should arrive before sunset. They are ordered to escort you to our Lord Prince… I am sorry for your loss." Hubert added.

Curran took a deep breath. “Hubert, we may not get along but I do believe your condolence is genuine.”

"Now, guest quarters," Hubert tilted his head. "We need only stay this night and be on our way in the morn. Thank you for the accommodations."

Curran nodded, though not thrilled about him staying overnight; he was not going to argue. "And tomorrow we all depart in the morning."

"Yes, that will be good. I have other flies to catch but night stops even the mightiest of hunters," Hubert said. He and the Countess bowed. He slid his hand into hers and lead her from the room as they followed the butler.

Curran watched them leave then poured another glass of scotch. He paused with the glass near his lips and whispered. “Keep an eye on them, Shadow.”

“As you wish, My Lord,” There were no sounds until the door swung shut on its own.

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Re: 01 Homecomings

Post by Cavalier » January 1st, 2018, 9:30 pm

w J - JP

Chauni found her way to the Falling Waters brook. It was a place she had spent many hours of her childhood daydreaming. Sitting back on the small familiar boulder, she pulled Sooth closer by the reins and then patted her nose. "Good girl," She bowed her head as the mare brushed her muzzle against Chauni’s side. The horse then turned to graze from the stalks of freshly grown grass clumps piercing out of the cracks between the rocks.

Chauni braced her arms around her knees, watching the steed enjoying her treat. She reached into her tunic to grab a treat of her own and found the letter. Pulling both out, she unwrapped the pressed fruit as she opened the letter with the Lord Prince's seal on it.

My cousin and friend,

I wish I were not the one to bring this burden. It is with great sorrow that I bear this news to you and your young niece. News has reached me and I too have encroached upon the grizzly scene. Regretfully and with a heavy heart I must tell you of your brother’s murder. I have arranged for a contingency to arrive and escort you to the palace where we can discuss the specific details in confidence. There are also several who will remain behind to protect your lands and Chauni during your absence. This is a matter of urgency my friend, we must discern who is responsible for your brother's slaying as well as that of his staff.

Kind Regards,
Lord Prince Andrew
Regent of de Versailles


Chauni felt her heart turn into a thumping clump of stone. Her body shook and her hands crushed the letter as she clutched a fist around it. She tried to breathe, reaching for that deep breath that refused to come. Images, memories of her parent's infrequent, sporadic visits flashed through her mind. She wanted to scream, to cry and her body betrayed her. In a moment of pure anger and emotion, she bolted to her feet, flaring out her hands before her unleashing the heat from them. The double strength fireball she had been training to create burst forth from her hands. The giant flaming sphere grew in size, startling Sooth, and burning a trail across the grasses and boulders. It impacted with the waterfall creating a blast of steam and sprays of hot water.

"Remind me to never, ever piss you off," J said as Diablo emerged from the forest with the youth leaning forward staring at Chauni intently. J was impressed having never before seen Chauni do that particular trick.

Blurry eyed and angry, Chauni looked up at J with tear filled eyes. "You," She dropped back to the boulder as if in defeat and sorrow. “Your timing sucks J.”

"I've been told that before." J warily watched her. "I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by? I also had a message to give you."

“What sort of message and from whom?” Chauni reached up with her hand to meet Sooth as the mare nuzzled her shoulder.

"A message from your father, I had a run-in with his gardener who didn't like the fact that Diablo wanted to taste some of his vegetables." J gave her a cheeky grin. "Your father bid me to wish you good health and to warn you. Lord Hubert is up to his old tricks and has been acting suspiciously at court. He's been trying his best to get an audience with the Lord Prince."

"You’re too late.” Her chin trembled, she tried fighting the tears but they streamed down her face. She trembled so badly; she had to return to sit on the small boulder. Looking down to her feet, she nudged the crumpled letter on the ground. "I intercepted this message Dewalt was to deliver to my uncle... My father’s dead.”

J stared at her for a long moment and then shuffled about uncomfortably. He didn't know what to do for her. Diablo butted him in the back forcing him forward toward her.

Gulping, he went up to her and awkwardly patted her back before quickly withdrawing. He cleared his throat. "I saw him three weeks ago. I would have come right away to you, milady, but I got…the itch and had to go elsewhere. I am sorry to hear this news. Your father was a great man," J said gruffly, keeping eye contact with Chauni before looking away.

Chauni slumped where she sat, falling back to rest against the tree that projected out from the collection of rocks and boulders. “A great man he was at that." Her voice was distant and surrendering. She drew her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. For all the strengths that she had, in this moment she felt her own weakness and vulnerability.

J looked indecisive. The grief he knew but extending comfort to others who suffered from it was not his forte. "He wouldn't want you to grieve too much, milady. He would want you to find his killers," J added and then awkwardly gave Chauni a quick hug before moving back, face flushed with embarrassment. Now, why did I do that? Maybe I'm going soft.

Chauni found the strength to return to her feet, in that moment, she found her deep breath and took it. Wiping her face she turned to J with a smirk. "I can't do it alone, and my uncle will probably head off to speak with the Lord Prince." She grasped the reins and swung up, mounting Sooth. “True enough that I have my betrothed Beau, and there are a few others gathered with more to come whom I’ve met in my travels? But J, I can tell you this, a war may be coming that which will be unlike any war in history.” She pulled taught on the reins to shift Sooth to a side stance of her friend. “The day will come and those of the gifted will not be afforded to stand independent without risk to their lives. This is a state we must try to avoid. That was my father’s belief and it is his legacy.”

Diablo trotted over and J swung up into the saddle. Diablo snorted a warning to Sooth. J gave Chauni a guarded look. "Perhaps you are right. Your father once told me that romance, danger, and death always went hand in hand. When one happened the others followed. I'm not looking for romance so I should be safe enough. Danger always follows me, so that's expected. Death I don't hope to meet anytime soon.”

She knew her father's words well; he had said the very same thing to her when she first left on her journeys. "Thank you for reminding me."

“Your father also said to me that grieving overly much would make me bitter. He was right, I am bitter. But my inner demons will one day be gone and I will learn to live again," J said, tone rather low and wistful. "Until then I will do what I do best; squeeze into places too small, grease hands already filthy, and grow bigger ears."

Diablo stamped impatiently and J patted him. "I will heed your warning but make sure you heed mine. Don't trust anybody, a lot safer that way. Your father was loved but even an enemy can put on a show as they stab you in the heart. And watch your temper, Lady Chauni. You can't burn all your enemies to a crisp." J stopped speaking and Diablo reared up, long lean legs striking the air before he came down again and broke into a gallop that sent the pair into the trees where they were swallowed by the foliage.
Without a vision we have no future

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Re: 01 Homecomings

Post by Lord Curran » January 1st, 2018, 9:53 pm

Curran w J - JP

J and Diablo continued their trek through the forest toward Curran's home. J was out of sorts about Chauni and the bonds in her family. Deep within J's own heart and soul, where those most personal secrets and desires rested J held to those very desires.

"Admit it, J. You're jealous," J muttered angrily realizing that it was an issue. Maybe that was why J hadn't told her the truth about that night, or at least what J had seen.

J gave a guilty twitch and pressed those thin lips together; the time was coming quickly for a talk with Curran. It was getting darker and that suited J just fine. It was one advantage in avoiding capture, which no one had been able to do yet. Leaving Diablo near the hidden entrance and with light jumps and easy climbing, J was sitting on the windowsill of Curran's master bedroom. Seeing Curran was not inside forced J to be patient but that was a strong suit for the stealthy thief.

~^~

Curran made his way up the vast staircase and through the corridors to his chambers. It bothered him that Dewitt was in a sense, a guest by convenience. He knew his protégé Shadow would keep a good watch over them which eased his worries.

Entering his chambers, he set the candle on the table and paused. A knowing smile crossed his lips. “J, what are you doing here?”

"Looking for you. I spoke with Chauni," he said. His tone didn't have its usual mocking ring.

Curran took a deep breath; a memory flash of an earlier conversation distracted him for a moment. He worried about his niece; she was very much the daughter he always wanted. "Do tell, what brings you to me and what did you speak to my niece about?"

"I spoke to her about a certain letter she confiscated today and I answered a question she asked me. As to why I'm here, the letter she read explained it."

Curran nodded, moving over to the bar where he poured himself a glass of wine. "Tell me, how is it you know of this letter?"

J chuckled and countered. "How is it that I know the things I know, Lord Curran?" Those mischievous eyes glinted with amusement.

“How indeed,” Curran faced the thief. “Tell me what you know.” He took a seat at the small table, quiet in the darkness that was broken only by the light of the lone candle.

"The letter was from the Lord Prince concerning a murder," J replied, sliding down from the windowsill, J kept to the shadows while roaming the room.

“So it is true,” A mournful sorrow shadowed over Curran's face as his eyes cast down to his glass. “I have been told of my brother’s death.”

"By whom," J asked, He stood still so that the only thing visible from the shadows were those piercing eyes.

Curran looked up with intent, meeting those eyes which appeared to glow. “Lord Hubert Dewitt, that so-called Lord who serves the bastard Delaney and his agenda.”

"Damn!" With that, J began to pace. "He is here then, with his cute little mistress who didn't seem to like your niece too much."

“Yes,” Curran groaned with the displeasure. “He and his whore are in one of the guest rooms.”

J's eyes became cold and calculating. "Is Shadow watching them? Does he need help?"

“There is no other master of obfuscation like Shadow.” A sly smile crossed Curran’s lips. “However, I do believe the ghosts of the manor may need the assistance of the physical kind.”

J grinned nastily. "I really shouldn't dawdle. The Lord Prince is after me you know. Because I know." J stopped and gave Curran an apologetic look.

“My dear J, you know your presence here is safe but if you feel you must go then, by all means, do not let me detain you."

"You know me, always going, always gathering information, always seeing things that I'd rather forget sometimes," J said quietly; for a moment looking like a tired youth.

Curran felt a twinge of suspicions, narrowing his eyes with a look of discernment. “Tell me J do you trust me enough to tell me what you have seen?”

"Do you trust Shadow to keep you alive after I tell you my information?" J's tone was earnest.

"Yes, of course," Curran furrowed his brow. "Shadow's loyalty is unquestionable."

J stalked toward Curran on silent feet, like a panther hunting prey. J stopped at Curran's side and leaned closer, toward the Land Baron’s ear. "I know who killed him," J whispered the words almost inaudible.

A chill went through Curran, a lump formed in his throat, and his anger swelled inside him. “Are you suggesting that the boy I raised from infancy, betrothed to my niece and appointed as my heir apparent would betray my faith and trust in him?”

"I did not say, My Lord, yet I have said too much. Just remember, shadows might be dark but truth can be revealed in the light." Then J did something strange for which later, would come a self-berate for it but at that moment there was the desire and want to take away the pain by a kiss to Curran's cheek and a whisper, "Father."

Then in a swift motion, using the shadows to conceal movement, the thief moved to the windowsill and disappeared back into the night.

Curran sat, contemplating what J had said. He did not like the notion of his most trusted youth betraying him. He did not like that he had not been there when Chauni learned of the death. And still, he liked it even less that J knew what happened and yet did not trust him enough to confide the knowledge.

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Re: 01 Homecomings

Post by Archivist » January 1st, 2018, 10:23 pm

Originally posted by Aquilon

Aquilon spent the night in the room he was renting. When he awoke the next morning, he held out his hands and send out waves of cold to create a staircase of ice. After climbing up the stairs, he pushed up a board in the ceiling, reached in and grabbed a case. Pulling it down, he placed it on his bed and opened it to reveal a change of clothing and a bag of money. The clothing was a more appropriate dress for the nobleman that Aquilon truly was. He changed his clothes, leaving his peasant’s rags on the bed. He also left a few coins, more than a month’s rent for the room and enough to clean up his mess the ice would leave when it melted. He left the room, making sure he wasn’t seen.

As he walked to the inn, the way people treated him was completely different. They ignored the peasant he was but stepped aside for the nobleman. As he got closer, he saw that the Musketeer Augustin stood outside the inn.

“Nice to see you,” Aquilon said by way of greeting. “I’m glad to your benefactor is willing to see me.”

“I’m sorry, sire, but I do not know what you are talking...” the Musketeer started to say until he looked into Aquilon’s eyes, recognizing him from the day before. “How could you be so foolish? It is a hanging offense to impersonate a nobleman!” he exclaimed.

“Perhaps, but it is not a crime for a nobleman to impersonate a peasant,” he said with a smile. “As I said yesterday, I am of the Frigerio house and my mother is a Medici. You may not recognize my family name here, but I’m sure you know the mother of the King was a Medici. I think that counts for something.”

“Of course sire,” the Musketeer stammered, realizing the faux pas he had made. “I meant no offense.”

“Don’t be concerned,” Aquilon said calmly. “You were right to question what you were seeing. I may be noble of birth, but I have spent enough time amongst the people that I refuse to expect respect unless I’ve earned it. Come, I am anxious to meet with Lord Curran.”

“Indeed, let us be off,” Augustin said. “I brought an additional horse, assuming you would not have one of your own,” he continued as they approached two mounted Musketeers watching two riderless horses. Augustin mounted one and Aquilon got on the other.
The four riders headed down the road, Aquilon began to speak. “Who is your lord who is willing to meet with me?”

“It's Lord Curran Bontecou who will meet with you, though I doubt he will see you immediately as he is a busy man,” Augustin said. “You will be his guest; though it appears you quarters will need to be changed in light of your station.”

“No, there is no reason to do so,” Aquilon said. “I will take what I am given.” He was happy to hear the name of Lord Curran. His reputation as a man of honor was well known.

Soon they arrived at the estate, Aquilon was impressed by the size. He was not from a poor family, but nothing they had compared to this, despite his comments about his relationship to the King. He was brought into a large room by Augustin. “Someone will see you shortly,” the Musketeer announced, “but I must take your leave. I have other duties to attend to. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

“As do I,” Aquilon said, mostly to himself as the Musketeers walked off. As he sat, he started to get the odd feeling that he was being watched.

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