Fantasy, romantic conquest - SierraArcanum & Gorgoniy

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  1. He was bored. Thoroughly, utterly, mind-numbingly bored. Even the hustle and bustle of the tuesday market didn't manage to pierce the Viscount La Seiche's self imposed languor. He looked at his reflection in a broadsword at Berk's stand. A grey face looked back at him. Hair and beard stylishly coiffed, collar immaculate (almost virgin white) and his suit of armour was polished to an impressive sheen. In all that splendour the eyes stood out. They stood out like sore thumbs. Gregory's appearance was perfect, but the mirrors of his soul were cracked. With a heartfelt sigh La Seiche turned away from his mirror-image. As he let his gaze wander, his steel blue eyes met Berk's. He saw pity in them...

    Extremely uncomfortable, Gregory decided to wallow in self-pity in private. Rather sudden, he turned around retreating - rather hurriedly - back to his fortified tower. The honour guards trailing him, scrambled out of his path, and stumbled to keep up with him. In the viscount's mind it seemed like the whole market hushed and watched his sudden departure. Many of his subjects pitied him. He was sure of it. It angered him, it made him feel weak. He hated that feeling, and it angered him even more. A free running chicken learned wingless flight, as La Seiche kicked it from his path. The surprised clucking didn't even register with him.

    Berk watched his liege stomp off. It had been about seven years ago now, when the viscountess died. She had been the spark in La Seiche's life, the spring in his step. All that had died with her. What remained was a shadow of the old viscount. He now lets life pass him by. He lets other nobles cajole him, lets them besmirch him. The smith knew that wasn't good. Not good for the viscount, and not good for his lands. "He needs a kick in the ass...", Berk mused out loud. Gloria, the local strumpet, overheard him, grinned, and added: "Or a good petting-party!" Somehow the woman had the unsettling habit of overhearing everything - and the annoying habit of venting her opinion as well.

    Gregory, looked back at his guards, chagrin pulling down his features: "Com'on! Hurry up. I need some brandy".
  2. She was amused. Entirely, completely and wholeheartedly amused beyond everything else. She was having such a good time in this pub that she didn't want to leave this temple full of her favorite heavenly goodies. "Yes, me' sacred booze" thought the woman giddily.
    But she knew she had to leave, eventually, considering that the pub needs to close at some time.
    "Bad thoughts, bad thoughts! Shoo, go away!" she slapped away her thoughts. It wasn't the time to be moody.

    Not far from where she sat, a duo of experienced musicians were drinking and having what seemed to be a very heated discussion with a nervous looking kid.
    "What do ye' mean ya can't play? We're already 'ere for god's sake!" Said a rough looking man in a very gruff manner. He appeared to be the guitarist.
    It seemed that he was reprimanding a teenager boy - who was their fiddle player - for being afraid of playing along in their session. It was probably the boy's very first time in public, which is why he seemed so distressed.

    The woman got up and walked over to their table, greeting them with her charming antics and dazzling smile.
    "Greetings, gentlemen. Why do ye' all look so pale?"
    The bodhran player, silent until now, was even more rougher than the guitarist and snapped at her:
    "It's none of yer' damn business, woman".
    "Oh really? If I'm gonna drink in this place, it best be that ye' all play great music, or the owners will loose a very faithful client." She said in a sarcastic but playful manner. "So yup, this is my business".
    She then made a glare contest with the percussionist. Some time later in their silent bickering, the guitarist sighed and then spoke to her:
    "Listen lassie, we're doin' fine. It's just that without a fiddler player, the session won't be as lively as we've planned, and I was s'posed to be backin' today, not leading. The lad's one a heck of a player, but is backing away now!"

    Hearing this, the woman then sat down at their table casually and spoke in a very charming tone:
    "Oh, just yer' luck then. I know how to lead a session pretty well." the men looked surprised at her words and then she added, to the boy: "Mate, can you still play with us if I lead in yer' place?"
    The boy vigorously nodded his head, in pure relief that he wasn't going to be the center of attention now. The woman drew her sword sheath, startling the musicians. She grinned and then revealed a secondary compartment, where her penny whistle was being held.
    "I always love people's reactions when they see me draw me' sword's sheath, it's soo amusing...Isn't it?" The young fiddler laughed nervously but the two men stood their ground. She finally drew her instrument and polished it with the fabric of her cape. The men watched her with silent curiosity, until the boy spoke for the first time, in a very shy manner:
    "What's your name, me' lady?"
    "Arcanum." She grinned.
    "I am Sierra Arcanum".
  3. The hearth was cold. His man-servant hadn't expected him to return so early. After Gregory's sullen reprimand the man - 'Jens...or Fred', the viscount wasn't sure - had scurried off in haste to remedy his oversight.

    "He won't last", La Seiche grumbled. After all, Jens (or Fred) should've helped his master out of his armour first. With an annoyed sigh, Greg' wrung himself slowly out of the cold metal. A good ten minutes later found him in his recliner in front of the hearth. It was still stone-cold, but the viscount wasn't. A few healthy gulps of brandy had warmed him right up. The anger burning in the pit of his stomache helped too. "Man-servant!", Gregory roared. "MAHANNN-SERVANT!" Where was the man? He should've been back by now. Restless, La Seiche groaned up out of his seat. His mood had changed, perhaps the brandy had something to do with it.

    Half an hour later, a dark shadow escaped from a small side-gate. The figure's old boots carefully avoided the moon lit puddles as it made it's way to the end of the narrow alleyway. The alley opened up in a small square. At the far side his favorite, third rate watering hall beckoned him. The sign was badly weathered, but with a little imagination it read 'The jittery juggler'. The name still made him grin. 'For a cheap bar the name is very imaginative', Gregory thought.

    The last steps into the pub were rather slippery. A slimy film covered the cobbles there. The viscount didn't dwell on the origin of the substance - spilled ale? Vommit? With a slip and slide he sailed through the door. The dim interior welcomed him like an old friend, as did the man behind the counter. "Vincent! Welcome". Vincent grinned at him and held up three fingers. "Comin' rightup", said the pub-keeper. As now-Vincent reached the bar, the man put a mug of dark ale down before him. "Ther'ya go, Vince". With curt nod he thanked him. Settling down on a wobbly stool, Vincent turned around to survey the room. A couple of the usual suspects sat dotted around it. Some nodded in recognition, others were clearly solidly settled in an alcohol induced mist.

    At a nearby table some musicians were grappling for courage it seemed. They fiddled fidgety with their instruments. Usually the standard of music wasn't great at the Juggler. Slowly sipping his dark ale, Gregory wondered whether it would be better this night.
  4. The boy ogled shyly at the pretty lady, whose name is Sierra. She was a beautiful woman, and though she was not dressed richly like the women at the court, she wasn't donned in rags either, considering her decent (or not so decent) black outfit and fine blue cape. Her eyes were honey colored, though at the moment they were like acid yellow - perhaps a product of her current excitement.
    Her medium auburn hair was shining beautifully, it's soft texture touching her smooth, silky, yet slight tanned skin. Her rosy lips were curled into a charming but mischievous smile. She seemed to be a bit tipsy, yet somehow she managed to stand her ground with elegance.
    His companions were unsure as well. A gorgeous woman such as her would not even look at their kind, let alone speak to them.
    But apparently, this one did. And she even offered to "help".
    She smells like trouble.

    "Alright, we're settled!" The men nodded hesitantly at her. The trio walked to the back of the pub first, where a wide empty space was settled for small bands - cheap, and poorly talented bands mind you - that used to play there. This particular group however, seemed to be from somewhere else, judging from their looks and style.
    Sierra arose from her chair by last and walked over to them. Halfway there, however, she locked her eyes in the direction of a elderly yet handsome gentleman that seemed to be enjoying a pint or two with his friend. She smiled sweetly and charmingly at him, but confidently averted her attention back to her task at hand.

    And together, they played.
    [Musical Reference]
    They began with a tune called "Barney Pilgrim". It was a tune with a happy mood and atmosphere. Sierra always loved to start a set with a friendly tune.
    They started playing it softly, picking up Sierra's pace and then harmonizing. Even the fiddler played along, encouraged by Sierra.
    But soon they played a second tune, as if to not bore their audience, surprising them with "John Ryan's Polka" a fast paced dancing tune. Soon the tavern was filled with lively and wild music, something very different from the common local tunes.

    The rest of the session was pretty good as well, with several tunes that seemed to please most of the costumers. When they finished it, the four were gifted by a set of loud clapping and cheers from a what could be considered a good parcel of the tavern's population.
    "Thank you very much!" Sierra thanked the costumers with her typical dramatic yet lively antics. Then, she made a move to sit down in her old table to do some unfinished business - in other words, booze. However, the trio suddenly surrounded her with invites to join their table.

    "Very well mates. Where do ye' all are from? Sessions like these just come from a feeew places around this whole world, and it's not certainly from these boring lands." She asked, laughing wholeheartedly.
    "We are from county Lunard, near the shores of Saint Erian. Ya' know, that place that raises sheep and everything." The Fiddler boy, now less shy than before replied. Sean seemed to be his name, John and Patrick being the names of the guitar player and of the percussionist, respectively.
    "I can't believe this! I practically love that place! Ye' guys are gifted creatures, I swear." she exclaimed in an enthusiastic manner and did an envious kind of gesture. The men laughed at her jests.
    "Very well lassie, tell us where are ye' from!" John asked her.
    "Me? Oh, I'm from the mountains, literally. But I consider the whole world as me' home now." She smiled.
    They continued to chat and drink, animatedly.

  5. Thinking back on his miserable day, Gregory's gaze was lost in the caramel foam of his ale. His dark musing was interrupted by the musicians. A faint clinking and rattle - from guitar and fiddle - drew his eye. Apparently the group, three men and a woman, were ready to play a tune. All too used to the level of musicians, which usually visited The jittery juggler, Greg' quickly gulped down the last of his ale. 'I'm certainly not going to wait this out', he tought. 'I didn't come here for a headache', Gregory chuckled, 'well, at least not for a headache from lousy music'. With a habitual rub down his goatee, the viscount was about to stand up.

    Then her honey-eyed gaze caught his. Only for a candle flicker those warm eyes pinioned him in place. Then the bright smile swerved off, releasing Gregory. As he dropped back onto his stool, he noticed that he'd held his breath during the brief eye-contact. His head spun. Greg wasn't sure why either. His earlier wish to leave had faded under the heat of the whistler's gaze, like an early mist on a warm spring day. For a moment the viscount felt lost. "Gods be damned", he growled. 'What is this, silly, old man. Get up and leave'. Instead he ordered another ale.

    As the music swirled and whooped through the pub, La Seche was glad that he hadn't left. Grinning at the pub-keeper he asked: "Oy Ferdinand, new band?" The man smiled his familiar toothless smile back at him. "Vince, to be honest: they just tramped in", with a nod to the girl, he added: "That'un joined in later. She has 'ad sum spirits in her already". That last remark was followed by a rather lecherous wink from the barkeep. Surprised, Greg felt irritation by the man's distasteful action. Still, he had to admit that the young woman was a stunner. The auburn hair glimmered in the candle light and her perfect skin gleamed. 'And those lips...', the viscount mused. Gregory found the music to be stirring and invigorating. His earlier sullen mood improved greatly.

    As the musicians tired, stopped and retreated to their table, Greg's eyes followed them. He kept observing them as they started an animated conversation. As he'd truly enjoyed their songs, La Seche turned back to Ferdinand. "Re-fill their goblets, Ferdy. They've earned it". Gregory sure wasn't known for his generosity, so the bar-keeper looked a bit crookedly at him. "Ye'sure?" With a broad smile, the viscount said: "Come on, you know I'm good for it".

    Leaning back in his stool, reclining back at the edge of the bar, Greg watched as the bar-keeper went over to the musicians' table with a tray of drinks. With a curt "There" he dropped the brimming goblets on their table. "Compliments of Vince", he grumbled. "Cause of yer nice fiddlin' an'all".
  6. She immediately averted her eyes to the gentleman from earlier. She smiled sweetly and raised her glass, in a thankful gesture.

    "Come with us, lass! We're going to play on the next town. The pubs there are bigger and the folks there would go wild with such a presentation." John invited, smiling.
    "I can't. I have been hired to put the nobles of this town out of their own misery already." She laughed mischievously.
    "You're an assassin?" The Sean asked, startled.
    "Haha! Ya' have such a humor, me' boy! I actually work as a minstrel. I play the harp while I recite some epic poems." She stated, simply.
    "That's... So boring. Ya' wasting yer' time on these snobbish people, I'll tell ya that much ." Said John.

    They chatted some more until Sierra bid them goodbye and left to annoy the innkeeper to let her stay for free. She had wasted all her coins drinking like a piglet.
    However, before she left the tavern, she glanced at the old man and smiled. Then she left.

    Tomorrow she would play for the nobles. Ugh.
  7. The woman caught on to him. She thanked him with a soft gesture and sweet smile. He thought that might all she'd gift him tonight, but when she whisked out of the Juggler she smiled faintly at him. Every smile ambushed him. It left his heart racing and his palms sweaty. "Grow up", he murmered to himself when he watched the auburn musician walk out.

    With an ironic smirk Greg took a gulp from his ale. His face twitched and contracted to freeze in a disgusted, sour expression. The ale had lost all it's warmth and satisfaction. A low rumble in his stomache confirmed that the drinks weren't falling well. 'Perhaps brandy in the afternoon wasn't a great idea after all', the viscount thought. Just as the elation of great music and smiles had risen, Gregory's mood now plumeted to a new low. Physical discomfort assailed him. Without so much as a "thanks", or a goodbye Greg walked out of the pub as well. A tiny shiver of hope left him looking around in the plaza, hoping against hope that the young woman was waiting for him there. Faintly dissapointed, and immensely relieved he trotted off towards his keep.

    Deep in thought and his hood, he made his way through the narrow alley. "Purse or curse", broke his pace. Before he could swerve around hands grasped him by the chest and cold steel was pressed towards his throat. 'Damn' the Gods', shot through Gregory's head, 'should've watched my step'. He could see the side gate which had let him out earlier. So close by, but so far away at the same time. He sensed that he stood at the edge of darkness. One false move and he'd die right ther - in the puddle he'd evaded earlier. Quickly he let his talent explode in his chest. "LET GO OF ME NOWWW..." Calm words, deadly calm. Directive, forceful, exerting power. The dagger fell, heavy as the world. It dropped, skewering his fine leather shoe. Greg felt it nick his middle toe. With adrenaline coursing through his veins, he did not feel the pain.

    His assailers, two scruffy looking teenagers and one older man lay crumpled on the alleyway cobbles. The viscount's talent had worked. 'As always', Gregory mused. The family La Seche had not many talents, but this one of the more useful. It made it possible for them to convince noblemen, lead armies and disarm attackers in the dark. Looking down on the threesome, the viscount thought for a moment. His heart still thundered in his chest, baying at him to call his guards. Baying at him to pick up the knife, draw his sword, and end some lives. Frozen in indecision, sounds, smells and aches started to enter his perception again. Heavy gasps from the three men, a soaked toe and awful smells. Nausea caught him off guard and the viscount bent over to throw up. Ale, brandy and roast chicken. With wobbly legs, he gained support from a nearby house. "Ack!", he groaned. The three attackers seemed incapacitated. 'Thank the Gods'
  8. Since the innkeeper had kicked her out, all she could do was to find somewhere else to sleep. Muttering curses under her breath, she strolled across the quiet streets, her mind wandering back to some minutes earlier.

    She was thinking of the gentleman from the tavern. He wasn't finely dressed, however he had the looks and aura of a noble man. And even for an old man, he had his charms and could easily make any women, including herself, grovel at his feet. What was really his name? Something like "Vince", Vincent, It seemed. She heard the pub-keeper mention it.

    She wasn't paying attention to where she was going until her accurate hearing caught faint sounds nearby. It was coming from a narrow alley, which she approached silently, as to not draw unnecessary attention - and trouble - to herself. She stopped right near the entrance, and her sharpened vision fixed on a standing figure, trying to support himself against a house.

    There stood the gentleman of the tavern, doing something comically ungentle.
    He was vomiting like no tomorrow.
    Sierra covered her mouth to not laugh out loud, but it was to no avail.

    "Oops!" She said and raised her arm defensively. She was about to giver her humble apologies,when her eyes caught three other figures stumbled against the cobbles. She immediately put her left arm on her sheath and asked, calmly:
    "Good evening, gentlemen. Something troubling?"
  9. The sour stench of dinner and drinks tied his nose hairs in knots. "Aargh", Gregory spoke eloquently. Then a soft peal of laugther speared through his sickness. Surprised, the viscount quickly wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and wirled around. The sound clearly didn't originate at the throats of the three thugs. They were still effectively incapacitated. Then Greg spotted the figure at the opening of the alley. It appeared female. The lights of the square behind her enabled him to recognize her. A hot auburn flame topped the figure off. 'The female musician', Gregory concluded.

    "Good evening, gentlemen. Something troubling?" Her voice was calm, collected and confident. Quite the opposite of how the viscount felt. Still shaky on his legs, he attempted a firm grin. Hating his voice for it's shakiness, he answered: "I'm fine. These three might be less so". For a moment he didn't know what to say. Would he spin a tale of valiant combat? "Quite an adventure this was", he said, "Those guys tried to ambush me. Something with purses, knife, loads of yelling and a spot of vomit". Humor might be the best way out of this. "Nothing to be worried about, for sure".

    The effect of La Seche's talent began to wear off. Gregory wasn't sure whether he wanted the threesome to start talking about what had happened to them. Some things were best kept secret. Luckily most people, on the receiving end of the forceful speech, didn't quite know what had happend to them. Most knew only to describe it as weird and alarming. "Perhaps, we should call for the guards", Greg volunteered. "They must be near, as that there building is the city's keep. What do you think?"
  10. She laughed wholehearted at his quite humorous answer, though she knew he was nervous. The stench of his vomit had affected her accurate nose as well, but she stood her ground. She wasn't as drunk as before, though she was still a bit tipsy and giddy for no reason.

    "Perhaps, we should call for the guards. They must be near, as that there building is the city's keep. What do you think?" - He asked her. Sierra nodded at his suggestion.
    "That would be wise, sir...?" Here she inquired his name.

    After receiving a proper answer, she bowed liked a perfect lady - Half mocking him, half being courteous. She was truly a figure.
    "I am Sierra Arcanum, traveling musician. At your service, my liege."

    Together they walked across the plaza, searching for the guards. A charming smile adorned Sierra's graceful features the whole time.
  11. For a moment Gregory wondered about the woman's wrinkled nose. 'Perhaps she's sensitive that way', he thought. Ignoring it, he answered her inquiry: "Gr...errr...Vincent. My name is Vincent". Quite accustomed to bowing, the surroundings didn't fit Sierra's effort. An effort which was a tad saturated by alcohol. He himself wasn't giddy at all, wobbly that's what he was. Returning the courtesy she granted him, he bowed as well. His routine and clear experience in etiquette clearly shone through.

    The viscount's role of Vincent the Merchant suited him like an old coat. So, in a quite convincing manner he added: "Cloth-merchant is my vocation. Honored to meet you, milady".

    As they walked back to the square and crossed the plaza, Greg secretly hoped the guards were playing cards, or in other ways occupied. He regarded some of them highly, but for balance a couple of oafs filled their ranks. If they ran into those, his cover would be blown. The viscount wasn't prepared to show his cards this early in the game. For a moment he wondered why he considered the interaction with this exotic woman as a game. She clearly fed feelings of craving and...others as well.

    After poking around the streets of the town searching for a couple of guards, relief started to spread, relaxing his shoulders and lower back. Unwittingly he'd been tense about a confrontation with his guards. "So, I guess those lazy guards are all holed up in the keep", with a sad smile Gregory added: "It's a disgrace, really. But nothing we can do. Those three thugs can consider themselves lucky". The viscount shrugged: "They're probably long gone by now".

    "Who are", said a warm baritone from behind. 'Gods no', Greg thought. He knew that voice. You could count on Ibrahim to show up at the wrong place at the wrong time. "Awww...nothing", Gregory murmured. "It's nothing". He didn't turn around and pulled on Sierra's sleeve. "Com'on I'll buy you another drink, lass".
  12. There were no guards, apparently. Yet, she continued to follow the man with an amused smile on her face.
    "So, I guess those lazy guards are all holed up in the keep" - Said he, almost in a hushed yet convincing tone. "It's a disgrace, really. But nothing we can do. Those three thugs can consider themselves lucky, they're probably long gone by now " He shrugged and was about to leave. Yet, someone had called them.

    "Who are?" Said a voice.
    "We'r-" She was about to respond the guard when Vincent cut her off, dismissing the man, then taking her hand and running away, offering her a drink.

    "Why, thank you!" She nodded eagerly at his sudden display of generosity and followed him instantly, forgetting their prior task. Though she had found strange the way the merchant - as he had said he was - was so eager to buy her a drink, it was her favorite goody and there was no room for complaint.

    They arrived at the Jittery Juggler once again. There was a large puddle of vomit, in which he avoided first and then offered his hand to help her jump over it.
    Of course, she lost her balance and collided on his firm and muscular chest, being caught by his strong arms. She blushed faintly, yet held her smug expression and cool demeanor.

    "Oops! Such a gentleman!" She exclaimed, smiling. Her lightning yellow eyes then fixed their gaze on his strong and perfect collarbone, making her very tempted to kiss him senseless.
    Oh, what silly woman with silly thoughts she could be, sometimes!

    After the little episode, they were sitting on a table by the farthest corner of the pub. Ferdinand kept refilling their drinks with generosity, while they chatted quietly.

    "I wonder... How can ye' be fine with paying me Ale? I always thought that all merchant's were coin obsessed beasts that would prefer death over spending their earnings. No offense, or course." She asked, true curiosity lacing her voice.
    #12 SierraArcanum, Nov 27, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  13. Ibrahim - city guard - was taken aback when the duo dashed off towards a drink. "Oy, what the darkness!". For moment he was tempted to pursue the pair, but the grins and taunts of his collague distracted him. "Ack, whatever", he growled. The other guard padded him on the shoulder - rather ironically: "Since when do civilians need help from us guards? Come let's follow their lead and get us a stout ale as well". Ibrahim, eyes following the couple until they rounded a corner, nodded in agreement. "Good idea, Bert. The Sodden Swashbuckler again?"

    The puddle of throw-up welcoming them back at the Juggler, send a shudder through his lithe frame. It reminded him rather rudely that he'd been coughing his guts out as well, not too long ago. Taking care not to step into the goo, Gregory extended his hand to his companion. As she graciously accepted his help, she landed on a slippery patch. Losing balance Sierra bumped into him. Her firm, round breast grazed his arm - it electrified Greg's senses. Then she bumped into him with whole her body. 'She smells sweet', the viscount thought, as he caught her. "Oops! Such a gentleman!" She exclaimed, smiling. "Hahaha...", laughed Gregory. "Of course, milady, of course".

    Another round of drinks found them chatting quietly at a corner table. Curiously, Sierra challenged him: "I wonder... How can ye' be fine with paying me Ale? I always thought that all merchant's were coin obsessed beasts that would prefer death over spending their earnings. No offense, or course". The viscount grinned. "Of course". Thoughtful he answered her question: "Not all merchants are the same. Of course I appreciate money. But then again, everyone appreciating a bit of luxury would, wouldn't they?". Gregory peered at his table-companion. "But what brings a musician of your stature in a run down pub like this? Or even, what are you doing in this Gods-forsaken city? It isn't very hospitable to artists". Softly he murmured, so the patrons of the Jittery Juggler wouldn't overhear his comment: "These people are so stern. They don't appreciate culture, high arts and great music. You are pretty much out of place here".
  14. Sierra chuckled quietly at his response, then just grinned at his inquiry.

    "You see, I was s'posed to be going to the north, to visit a friend of mine. However, as I was on me' way, the count that lives a bit south of these lands had captured me by the 'ears and dragged me to his lair, and then told me that he loved a performance I've done for another noble, I can't remember who tho'." Here she drank some more and then smiled as she remembered the encounter with the crazy count. The man surely was a mad creature, and why he had so much power even though he was cuckoo, she had no clue.

    "After he told me that a long term friend of his was rotting away on this town. So he sent me here to put the old fart - as he had said - out of his own damnable misery. I'll be playing for the Viscount Gregory La Seiche tomorrow. Never seen the man, and judge him I will not, as long as he is not insane as that count. I also heard that the man lost his beloved wife, so at least I must try to be respectful tomorrow" Said she, feeling sorry for the man.

    She looked at Vincent, yet did not understand why he seemed so pale all of a sudden.
    "Are ye' feeling well, Vince?"

    She was about to get an answer when two guards had entered the tavern, as if seeking something. The pair then spotted the couple at the farthest corner and walked up to them.

    "Good evening, oh good guards. Why do ye' grace us with yer' presence 'ere, eh?" She asked, a bit suspicious.
  15. As Sierra started her story, Gregory chuckled. Rather sudden this changed, however. When she told him, she was to play for him tomorrow, he blanched. When she reminded him of his wife's death, his heart skipped a beat. Gone was the warm glow of alcohol, the joy of the moment. Although his face went pale, his head felt hot from emotion. She noticed: "Are ye' feeling well, Vince?" How would he react to her inquiry, how could he? Licking his now dry lips, Greg tried to find words.

    Before he had to, two of his guards entered the pub. Unerringly they stomped up to their table. The way they approached showed purpose and urgency. Sierra challenged them diplomatically: "Good evening, oh good guards. Why do ye' grace us with yer' presence 'ere, eh?" Ignoring her Ropert and Gert bowed curt but correctly: "My liege, your presence is required at the keep. Something is amiss". Urgency drenched Ropert's words, impatience as well. The viscount knew his guard Ropert as one of the most patient men in the world. Immediately the weight of his station descended on him. "Let's go!"

    The couple of guards snapped around and marched towards the exit. Gregory had stood, during his interaction with them. Looking down on Sierra he bowed and said: "Drunken cloth-merchant exposed as nobleman. I'm sure you can compose a song of it. Perhaps you have it ready, when we meet again tomorrow. Be assured, that this old fart is very interested in the songs a musician of your stature sings for a viscount. Good night, milady Arcanum". With those his last words to her, he strode after his waiting guards. On his way out he tossed a heavy silver towards Ferdy. "Put that there woman up for the night, Ferdinand. She'll be playing at the keep in the morning". Then he was out of the door.
  16. "My liege, your presence is required at the keep. Something is amiss" Hearing these words, her amusement was soon replaced by confusion. She frowned instantly, her ears perking up.
    As Vincent rose from his seat, strength and power emanating from his aura, all she could do was to stare, with wide yellowish eyes and beautiful face displaying utter shock. What was going on?

    "Drunken cloth-merchant exposed as nobleman. I'm sure you can compose a song of it. Perhaps you have it ready, when we meet again tomorrow. Be assured, that this old fart is very interested in the songs a musician of your stature sings for a viscount. Good night, milady Arcanum". Said he, in a very gentleman like voice and position, yet tone hushed.

    "Wot...?" She gasped, helpless and embarrassed that the 'old fart' comment did not pass him by. But what could she have done to remedy it? It was the count's words anyways. And for a Viscount such as he to hide himself in this ridiculous disguise, things must've been truly rough for the poor man. Her mood dropped instantly.

    "Put that there woman up for the night, Ferdinand. She'll be playing at the keep in the morning" He called at the pub-keeper friend of his, throwing him a generous coin. The man nodded, and then the Viscount and his guards left.

    "Gawds be damned... I was speaking to the devil himself, eh?" She said, staring helpless at her booze.
    "Oy', Ferdinand, aren't ye'? I have a task fer' ye'." She called out the pub-keeper.

    The man nodded, though he was surprised himself to find out about the true identity of his customer.

    Sierra slept poorly the night before. As well as the poor Ferdinand, who she turned into her listening slave.
    Her mind was running wild with a song idea for the Viscount. She then started to write it in the middle of the night, making Ferdy stay awake. Though, he decided to send her away to the inn at some point, perhaps two or three hours after closing the Jittery Juggler. Of course, he did it for his own mercy.

    The song she had wrote was just the kind of tale she loved to tell: With lots of humor and adventures, though she knew she had exaggerated at some point, for there were no adventures. But she could make up whatever she wanted , couldn't she?

    "We'll just see..." She muttered under her breath, smiling devilishly. She was carrying a huge harp under her left arm like it were a light woodblock.
    How she managed that feat, was beyond the imagination of the silent passerby, their eyes bulging out of their sockets at the scene on the busy market. This harp was a present of her deceased mentor, Simon, who taught Sierra's her current ways. She always leaves the instrument at inns or hidden on the stables when she had nowhere else to sleep, the latter happening when she spends all her money drinking like a whale.

    She trotted off chirpily to somewhere calm, near the town's entrance, pretty close to nature. It was early afternoon and she would only play it on the evening. Yet she had to tune the harp, and it was a devilish task sometimes. She always loved to tune her harp in the nature, though. It reminded her of her traveling companion, always.
    #16 SierraArcanum, Nov 28, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
  17. The house was in an uproar when Gregory arrived there. Every single torch had been lit bathing every corner of the keep in light. In the privacy of his home, he turned about: "Ropert, tell me". The floodgates opened and Ropert started his report. "It's Pjotr. He's dead. We don't exactly know what happened". Gert nodded. "I foun'em. No'a mark on 'im". "Right", said Ropert, "After you left, he must've returned to your chambers. There he build a fire. What happened next is uncertain", the guard hesitated.

    'Pjotr? Who is Pjotr', the viscount rummaged through his mind searching for a face to match the name. To no avail. "Pjotr, who the hell is Pjotr?", he intervened in Ropert's report. Taken aback, Ropert fumbled for words. "Yer servant, my liege. Yer man-servant", Gert grumbled. " mean Jens", Gregory said. "Pjotr", Ropert corrected, "Pjotr. He's dead now, my liege". With a wipe of his arm, Greg dismissed the discussion. "Pjotr, fine. So, what happend after he returned to my chambers and lighted the hearth?"

    Still hesitant, Ropert said: "He...err...he must've taken a rest in your bed. I don't know how he conceived of the idea, but well, that's where he was found". "Dead", Gert added curtly. Gregory froze. "So, he died in my bed?" Gert and Ropert nodded. "Yah, my liege". Probably to put his mind at ease, Gert explained: "But Pjotr ain't died messy. No stains, fluids, and the like". The viscount La Seche didn't even take note of the comment. That wasn't on his mind at all. Someone had died in his bed. No mark on him. How big were the odds that someone would die in his bed of natural causes. And how big were the odds that - if the causes weren't natural - a lowly servant would be targeted. 'In my bed!', his mind rambled.

    "Are there any residual signs of magic?", Greg asked his guards. The duo looked at him dumbfounded. "Err...dunno, my liege". Couldn't they follow his train of thought? "To my chambers", Gregory demanded, "Ropert, call for my mages". As Gert and the viscount made their way towards his sleeping quarters, Ropert went to fetch the keep's mages.

    After a thorough investigation, Gregory's fears were confirmed by his mages. A dead of dark magic had been done. Pjotr had been in the wrong place at the wrong moment. 'Poor bastard', Greg thought, when his mages confirmed this. Unwilling to sleep in the bed which had heard Pjotr's last breath, Gregory had a guest appartment readied. Letting his men investigate his servant's death further, Gregory retreated for some sleep. As the sun peeked in the East, Greg hit the matrass weary and weak. His last thought before he was schlepped into a vast sleep, went towards the musician he'd met. 'I wonder how her song will turn out', he mused, before darkness enveloped him.
  18. The night had come quite fast.
    Sierra was walking across the quiet town, it was early in the evening and the night held promises, being secretly whispered throughout the chilly air.
    She sang under her breath, quite chirpily. It was her nature.

    However, strange footsteps and a eerie aura made her stop on her tracks to analyze her surroundings. She had found... Nothing. Yet, the feeling did not leave her wolfish intuition. Her eyes gleamed and she emitted a low growl - something that she avoids to do while in human form, as to not attract unnecessary attention.
    The feeling was still there, but there was nothing she could to. Sierra then resumed her journey to the city's keep, where she was going to play for the amusement of The Viscount Gregory La Seiche. She smiled.

    However, Sierra did not see a shadow moving towards the opposite direction, as if running away in the presence of a unexpected factor. This factor being, perhaps, Sierra's magical nature.

    A few minutes after, she arrived at her destination with a big smile, harp under her arm. The guard glanced questionably at such a gorgeous woman knocking on the keep's door - What could she possibly want?

    "Can I help you, my lady?" Said the guard.
    "Yes, ye' can. Carry the harp." She said hushed, invading the keep with a smug smile. The guard just stared dumbfounded at the woman's actions.

    "Wait, miss, who ar-" He was about to inquire about her identity when she cut him off.
    "I'm the musician, sure you've heard about me. Now, put the harp on the best open spot, will ya? I'll be going wild tonight." She said, winking. The guard just nodded and helped her with the instruments.

    Later on that night, her warm smile greeted the guards, making even the roughest of them blush like a silly girl.
    She bowed to the viscount:
    "Good evening, my liege. I hope 'tis evening will be enjoyable for ya'"

    She smile seductively, trying to set him off, yet stood her ground, not going too far in her charming antics.
    After the introductions and small talks, Sierra sat on a stool, positioning herself to play the instrument.
    She began to chant a song in a epic story style.

    Lyrics (open)
    " 'Tis the story of a nobleman
    who disguises himself as a cloth merchant
    So the world may not easily discover
    the secret adventures of this old codger!

    In a night of Tuesday he set off with his boots
    To drink his brandy in a low rate pub
    Yet there was throw-up everywhere near the gate
    Then he jumped over the puddle but in disgust he wailed!

    And he sighed!
    He sighed!
    He sighed at the sight!
    'It was going to be such a wild night!'

    Entering the pub full of wild patrons
    who which the viscount had nothing in common
    With a mean and somber face he sat on a stool
    To watch closely a musician's group.

    The Lassie and her rascals then passed 'im by
    She smiled and stared at 'im with 'er honey eyes
    The viscount swore his heart stopped right on the tracks
    Yet he watched 'er as she played with her mates.

    And he laughed!
    He laughed!
    He laughed so hard!
    'It is indeed such a wild night!'

    He danced with his feet, his hands being clapped
    He had definitely gone wild
    He was so crazy, so drunk
    Just enjoying the night!

    However, when he left back to his keep
    He ran around a corner and got surprised by thieves
    The thugs had tried to slit his throat
    He barked like an old dog to scare them off.

    And he cried!
    he cried!
    He cried out in rage!
    'How the devil I will survive this night!?'

    The bunch of thugs fell on their butts
    Stumbling on the cobbles at the viscount's boots
    This one however felt dizzy and bad
    Then vomited his ale 'n soup on the lads!

    A Lass had then crossed the streets
    but stopped in her tracks to have a peek on the scene
    Yet she could not contain her laugh
    As the man was puking to scare off the knaves!

    And she smiled
    She smiled
    She smiled with her charms!
    ' 'Tis being such an entertaining night!'

    'What a magnificent weapon', could have said she
    Yet she asked 'Is there some kind of trouble here?'
    The viscount however dismissed the matter
    and Vincent the Merchant he introduced to the whistler.

    Together they trotted off to call out the guards
    However the viscount covered his fear with a smile
    What if the truth was soon exposed?
    Better run for away for a booze, I s'pose!

    And they ran
    They ran
    They ran so fast!
    "Let's get drunk for the rest of the night!"

    He took the lass for another jar
    Of warm ale from the Juggler's bar
    Yet the devil puddle was still on the floor
    Making him save the lass at the front door!

    They drank and they chatted
    'Till the guards broke the farce
    Very well, said he, may this role go to hell
    I'm the old fart viscount, Lady Arcanum , fare thee well!"

    And she sighed
    She sighed
    She sighed at the moonlight!
    "It was truthfully a wild night!"

    At every chorus, she had sang wildly and beautifully, humor and energy rushing through her voice. At times where she did not need to use the harp, she stood and drank, sang and danced at the same time, her stare always fixed on the viscount.
    She was truly a crazy and lively woman.
  19. Greg felt exhausted. He'd only managed to catch a couple of hours of sleep. Though he was thoroughly worn out, the night's events kept him from deep sleep. His thoughts kept revolving around the death of poor Fred. 'Pjotr', Gregory corrected himself, 'my man-servant Pjotr'. The viscount was, by now, convinced that there had been an attempt on his life. The hit was executed magically, of that Greg was convinced as well. He himself had some powers, and he felt the aura of dark magic lingering around his bed - Pjotr's last resting place. During the day, his mages came to the same conclusion. It resulted in a lot of chanting, ritualistic dancing and weaving of protective magic. The hitman would soon discover he'd missed his target, and perhaps try again. This time it wouldn't be as easy as last night.

    During the day, the viscount La Seche also felt a growing sense of apprehension. He knew that he'd see the stunning, auburn bard again tonight.

    Then the moment neared. One of his lackeys had told him of Sierra Arcanum's arrival. He described her as brash, and frank. Exactly how Gregory remembered her to be. He grinned at the lackey's words, knowing that the man used a couple of moderated, toned down terms to describe the uniqueness which is Sierra. After last night, Greg knew her to be extravagant, vibrant and a pure joy. The viscount wondered how the court - assembled of minor nobles (he called them 'the peacocks') - would react to her. Secretly he hoped, that Sierra didn't tone her act down. With fondness he thought back on her company. Gregory didn't want her to become docile, and bland.

    Every night a dinner was hosted by the Viscount La Seche. It was a tradition started by his late wife. Gregory hadn't had the courage to halt them, although the meals had become tedious and obligatory. Still, all minor nobles of his fiefdom vied for a place at his table. This night held the promiss of change. As the last course was served, a redheaded figure was ushered in by blushing guards. It was Sierra Arcanum. She bowed to the viscount: "Good evening, my liege. I hope 'tis evening will be enjoyable for ya".

    Greg introduced her to a few chosen nobles, although he wanted to hoard the luscious woman. He praised her as a wonderful bard, and healthy drinker. Of course he noticed her seductive smiles, and he basked in their warmth. Her interest seemed genuine. The viscount had had his fair share of women hunting him, but those - daughters or sisters of minor nobles - only sought rank and fortune. They weren't interested in him. 'Perhaps, this Sierra Arcanum', is different Gregory hoped. After all, she'd met him as a cloth merchant, not as a viscount.

    After the small talk was covered, the musician took a seat and started to sing. To his great surprise and wonderment Sierra really had written a song for him. It told the story of last night's adventures. It was wonderful, wonderfully funny! Tears streamed down Gregory's cheecks; he was laughing so hard. Most of his guests laughed with him. More from a misplaced sense of courtesy, than from genuine pleasure. Greg didn't care, he didn't care his cover was blown forever. Perhaps he didn't need disguises to go out anymore. The chorus was wild and wonderful. It was catchy, and made the viscount clap his hand on his right thigh.

    As Sierra ended her song, hair dancing in the candle-light, Gregory looked her right in her wild eyes. "Well done! Wonderful! You came up with that song in one day?", he laughed. "You're a miracle worker, you truly are". Standing he walked up to her, and offered her his hand. "Come sit with me". Guiding her to a luscious seat next to his own - which had (only moments ago) miraculously been relieved of the bum of some lesser noble. As he waited for Sierra to take the seat, he motioned a nearby lackey to fill a goblet for her. "Sit, please", he said to the auburn beauty.
  20. Running out of breath, Sierra laughed as she finished her song. She knew most of the nobles had found her nothing more than gold digger musician at first, though she knew that a great deal of them had paid more attention to her cleavage than her face. She kept laughing even so, knowing that they were probably scandalized by her choice of lyrics, such as calling the Viscount an "old codger", "old dog" and "old fart". She had wrote something worse for the crazy count that had sent her here in the first place, though.
    The Viscount, however, was genuinely interested in her as a person more than anything else. He truly had enjoyed her show and efforts.

    "Well done! Wonderful! You came up with that song in one day? You're a miracle worker, you truly are" He laughed wholeheartedly.
    "I did me' best for yer' amusement, my liege. Though Ferdinand had gone mad being me' slave listener yesterday's night. Poor mate!" She exclaimed, laughing.

    He then offered her a seat. She smiled at his offer and nodded courteously. After her goblet had been filled, she toasted in his honor and then began to drink, though showing some elegance. Sierra was a wild creature, however she was not one to loose her fire in front of these snobbish people.

    But she wasn't a bit interested in these people. She had come to cheer Gregory up in the first place. And it turned out to be even better when she had found out that he wasn't as stern as she had imagined him to be. And the picture of her mind wasn't created by the gossiping from here and there, but from the fact that he had lost a loved one. Sierra knew how hurtful it could be to see someone you care just go and never come back to you.
    She had her sympathies, though she did not pity him anymore ever since she had found out of his cloth-merchant-farce. She even understood why he had did it in the first place: Being always yourself is not a luxury for a noble. People would always act around you with caution. They would be false and pleasant, but deep down they disliked you, they judged you for your position, yet could never say it out loud.

    However she was always herself. In a sense, of course, because walking around in her true wolf form would attract the troublesome and mean beast hunters.
    But even so, her personality was always the same: Wild, crazy and mischievous, yet truthful, passionate and kind.

    The evening was enchanting for her, being with the Viscount. However, she asked herself if it would've been a more adventurous night if he was out there with her, doing crazy things in the disguise of Vincent the Merchant.
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