(2018-05-14) Ill-Advised Adventure - A Bookish Beginning
"Who says that these acts couldn't very well be visitante."
marsilia 
gardenlawn.jpg
Summary:
Commonality is found in reading material. Hypothetical discussion leads to solid plans. To find visitante. What could possibly go wrong?
Related:
The first in a short series of bad ideas. Followed by: Expert Advice, The Swan and the Stallion and The Bandit.
Misc Info:
No visitante actually appear in this scene. Not directly. They were hiding in the sunlight.
antonella 

Afternoon at the Giardini di Fiorni sees an interesting mix of nobility milling about, whiling away the latter part of the lovely spring day amid the blooms and birdsong, gossiping about the princely visit and the recent skirmishes and betrothals and all that's worth gossiping about in Matora. Except Antonella. The lovely young Capello is settled down in the grass, leaning against a tree trunk while keeping entirely to herself. She's wearing a dress far too fine to be so close to the ground, the grass sure to stain, but she seems neither to notice nor care, too content to be relaxing and reading and away from whatever obligations she's currently shirking.

Weaving her way through the gossiping nobility who litter the lovely garden, Marsilia offers a polite word in greeting to those she is familiar with, but moves merrily along before any real conversation can be had. That doesn't mean that she doesn't take in some of what is said, quietly absorbing each interesting tidbit on her journey. Like always, she is dressed in a gown of her own design, gold in color with matching ribbon ties and white lace here and there. A partially covered basket hangs from the crook of her right arm, filled with fruits and curious tomes. She, herself, has witnessed a lot over the past few days and today looks like a good day as any to finally unwind and relax. One particular familiar face, near her own favorite reading spot, captures her attention more than the others whom she had just passed. "It's too lovely a day to spend indoors." Her chin lifts so that she can get a better view of the tome which is being read, "It looks like I'll not be the only one enjoying the cool breeze with a good book (or two) in hand."

Antonella doesn't realize at first that Marsilia's lovely voice is turned her way. The movement helps, the flash of gold pulling her focus from the pages toward the familiar Marsilia. "Contessa!" comes with a bright, delighted smile. "I'd been hoping out paths might cross again. Somewhere that's not a grand party, where I'm not attached to one sister or another or lost amid too many delightful and delicious distractions." She glances toward the basket, just ask curious to see what books are hidden within as Marsilia had been to consider the title of her own afternoon reading. It seems a piece on the visitante as religious allegory, undoubtedly dense, though evidently illustrated, a curious illustration of something potentially ephemeral set opposite some bit of text. "Please," comes with a gesture toward a lovely patch of verdant lawn. "Join me. Tell me what you've brought with you today?"

A pair of young women, so nosy about the books which the other is reading. Then again, being well-read is all the rage in the current climate. At least for women of good upbringing. Rather than gossip with the other noblewomen in passing, what Marsilia is really interested in discussing is books, apparently. "There are countless parties and functions being thrown and while I do adore the excitement of it all, I cannot say that I am comfortable around so many people." The young woman's face is bright and soft, but her features are neither friendly nor harsh, holding a neutral expression.

Unlike Antonella, Marsilia's basket contains a picnic blanket and this is what she spreads out over the grass before settling herself down as to not have grass stains on her expensive attire! With the basket now set down beside her, she takes out the first book a little hesitantly, "It's a tale of knightly valor and courtly love." She almost seems embarrassed to having admitted such a thing. The other, though, while not exactly a book of religious allegory, it is one written of the visitante as legends and cautionary tales. This, she does not mention aloud, but it is there alongside the other book. "And yours?" She has to ask, despite having read the title.

Antonella, on the other hand, is nothing but friendliness, her smile so very easy, as if she'd have to work to keep it back. She hardly seems troubled by the restraint in Marsilia's expression; really, how could she be when her sisters are so similar in disposition, so careful in every emotion they allow to cross their exquisite features. It's a knack the youngest Capello has yet to pick up. "I don't mind the crowds so much as the… the theatre of it all, hours of presenting oneself and playing polite while seldom delving into any genuinely interesting conversation, though the Sisters of Concordance were particularly engaging." It looks, for a moment, as if she might delve into some long explanation about the ins and outs of a conversation already gone by before she catches herself, blushing faintly, and nods toward that blanket with a murmur of, "Clever." She might finally be considering the wear on her lovely dress, but little to be done about it now.

If she finds anything at fault with that romantic story, she offers no indication, her eyes bright and interested. She flicks a curious look down at the unmentioned tome, tapping on hers. "Not too different from this one, is it? Though this takes those stories and all their warnings and views them through a particularly religious lens, a path toward piety through myth and legend and children's stories."

Gracefully scooting off to the side to allow for some space atop her blanket for a guest, Marsilia gestures, "Please, have a seat. It won't do to make your servants worker harder than they already do." She even waves a presenting hand over the rest of the contents within her basket, mostly fruits like apples and sweet peaches. "Also, do help yourself. I won't be finishing these up any time soon." A curious look comes over her features at the very mention of the Sisters of Concordance, though she offers a nod to something said, "The one present at the party seemed interesting. I was glad to be able to learn a little more about her culture. It's so very different from our own and yet, I'm sure, somewhat similar as well." Despite her companion rambling on about the topic, Marsilia doesn't seem to mind at all. In fact, it looks as if she may have found the discussion intriguing, but the next topic at hand is one she finds even more to her liking.

"May I?" She asks, before reaching over to get a better look at Antonella's text. Skimming through the pages without losing the other girl's place. "Yes, very similar in writing but one, I like to think, is more interestingly written." And this she says about the 'children's book' with all of its story-telling drama and horror. "I have a love for books that wisk you away to far away lands and despite having this one," She points to her own fairy tale tome, "ever since I was a child, I sometimes go back to it every so often."

Antonella doesn't hesitate to accept the invitation, the book handed right on over to make her move a little easier. Even right side up, that illustration is no less vague, some spectral manifestation looked upon by a kneeling figure with face upturned in what might be awe. Or horror. Who can tell. Antonella's mindful to brush the grass and bark from her dress as best she can manage before resettling beside Marsilia. Though she's quick to continue the conversation, she's not entirely without her manners, her head bowed in gracious gratitude for the shared bounty and blanket. "I've an awful weakness for terribly pompous pieces which weave and wind about the weird ways in which we humans think," she admits with some shyness. "I'm not sure there's all that much merit to most of what this author poses, but he does draw some compelling parallels which have inspired in me a great urge to—" She pauses rather abruptly, glancing down at Marsilia's book. Voice a little lower, she goes on, "Well, I suppose I could just reread the original stories, the ones my mother used to tell me every evening when I was small, but I'd rather like to find my own story."

Whether the young Capello tracks grass or twigs or even dirt onto her blanket, Marsilia doesn't seem to mind or even notice. Or if she does, then she doesn't show it. No, her full attention is now focused on Antonella's book, reading certain passages more in depth and finding amusement in the approach one book takes on tales told to children. Of course, she most likely read a similar book at some point, but re-reading these tales does bring out some delight. Even in the scarier tales… Eventually, she returns the book back to its owner, just as Antonella cuts herself off before completing her statement. "Inspired a great urge to..?" It is at that moment and when the other girl's voice softens that Marsilia's eyes glance about the pair in case anyone else is listening in. "It would be a fantastic experience to be had if any of us ever had such adventures… but truly, where would one go to seek such out?" Taking one of the peaches out, she carefully bites into it, then chews and swallows, before continuing on, "It couldn't be as easy as a simple walk in the woods now could it? It's as if you would need to be the right person in the right place at the right time…"

Antonella holds the book to her lap as she considers the questions at hand. "It would seem to me that we are certainly the right people. What visitante, either fair or foul—" She pauses there, brow knitting. "Though, surely, we'd not want a visit from the latter. I don't know why I said that. I mean, it's true, but." She frowns, briefly, lost in her own winding thoughts. As if it might be the fault of the hefty tome she holds, she drops it onto the blanket. "All the same, are they not interested in fair and virtuous maidens? From there, well, it's all a matter of timing and tribute." She tries to sound certain, but she fails, a question implied at the end as if she's asking, 'isn't it?' As she plucks up one of the applies, she wonders, "How many do you imagine keep so close to the city?"

Her lips ever pursed, they seem to purse even more as Marsilia considers everything which Antonella says. "I always thought that if you were destined for such meetings, then they would have happened by now." Then again, the young Contessa is saying this as a married woman and not a fair maiden, despite her young age. "Of course, we would not want to," She says, before correcting herself as one of the other nobles in the garden walks too closely to their where they are picnicking, "have any ill befall us, but I don't think most people have a choice in what they—" Thinking harder on this now, she corrects hereslf yet again, but this time in her line of thought rather than covering up for such an odd conversation, "On second thought, certain actions bring out the Cattivo Visitante. Not always, but often enough, I would think." She then waves a dismissive hand, "Then again, these would be punishment for sinful acts, wouldn't it?" Looking thoughtful again on what some would consider a childish topic, Marsilia shakes her head, "I wouldn't think so. A city, no? I mean, we've not heard anyone who has their home blessed and kept tidy by these visitors."

Antonella takes a big bite from her apple as her attention strays to the rest of the garden's guests going about their own particular business, mindful not to let her gaze linger on any one person for two long lest that passing curiosity be mistaken for interest. She flashes a fleeting smile to the person passing a little nearer, whether they notice or not, before her attention returns, in full, to Marsilia. Her greyish blue eyes glint impishly at that comment on the Cattivo Visitante. "I'm certain my sisters would believe I am due a visit to scare me down the right path though I've never strayed from it. How they fret for their little sister and her frivolous habits." There's a warmth to her words, to her smile, an appreciation for that care even in its misguided manifestations. "But you're right. No talk of visions and visitations. We'd need to stray from the city some, were we to attempt such an adventure. Follow rumors to field or forest." She pauses, looks down for a second then back up at the contessa. "Are we considering this? We might find nothing, of course, but an expanse of wildflowers or a cool stream. We'll probably find nothing." Still, there's a hope in her tone, a genuine curiosity. "A short ride in whatever direction seems most promising…"

This time, one of Marsilia's perfectly shaped brows lifts as she looks upon Antonella directly on this mention of adventure. She says nothing for a time and simply takes another bite out of her peach, her own green eyes looking ahead at groups of various well-dressed women standing in the distance. It's almost as if she were studying their attire in her silent way, but rather than even comment on anything fashion, she says with light conviction in her tone, "From what I'm told, there are many dangers lurking in the woods, temptuous spirits or something more threatening, but I am willing to venture a little ways myself." Her face then turns, eyes shifting to look on the Capello girl again, "Maybe we'll find something of interest out there." It almost seems as if the young contessa already has something in mind that she wishes to find.

There is something about the way Antontella watches Marsilia so very attentively even as the contessa considers the crowd that seems almost like a wide-eyed puppy dog waiting expectantly for a treat. Then when that willingness is expressed, when that treat is at last offered? Oh! How it seems for just a moment like she might pounce the poor contessa, her body reflexively tilting forward in promise of embrace before she catches herself and quickly straightens right on back to propriety and grace. It doesn't quell the giddiness in her expression or the restless energy which has rather suddenly manifested within her bearing. See how she fusses with her apple now? How her eyes are full of wonder? "I've no doubt." There's a glance toward the horizon, the sun already far too low to start out today no matter how eager she might be. "We should give ourselves a day or two to prepare, to read up and collect whatever we might need for such peculiar work." Not to mention to make excuses to family and assure no one will miss her too terribly much for the hours that she'll be off riding.

The small contessa doesn't look the sort to enjoy hugs or warm embraces all that often. Her slight form is ever rigid and while she has an angelic and innocent appearance, all of that tends to be marred by that disapproving look that can often be seen in her pictures. Marsilia can see the excitement in her companion's eyes, however, and that does spark some true interest in her own heart somewhat. Enough so, that she finally allows just that hint of a smile to cross her lips. "Now where shall we go? Have you heard anything strange or suspicious out in the woods? Tales of sorts. Dangers lurking behind the trees?" She asks before nibbling at her piece of fruit once more. "But I do agree, preparation is in order." And she knows full well that she isn't going to be traveling with her guards on a journey such as this! "More research will be needed and nourishment for the trip. It's been a while since I've been able to wander off without my guards. I mean, you'll be my escort. What could go wrong?"

"Only absolutely everything," Antonella answers with more cheer than that sentiment is due. Brows arched high, she adds, "Which is why we'll be exceptionally careful on our excursion and dutifully diligent in our preparations. I'm fairly certain my life would be at a definite end were I to allow anything to happen to you, and I am rather fond of living. I've so much of it left to do!" Silly as she's being, her smile sinks into something warmer, a fondness developing for the restrained contessa as this little bit of whimsy is growing into something wonderfully reckless, as hints of an adventurous spirit within are glimpsed. "I've not heard any rumors recently, but neither have I really listened. We'll take a day or two, see what we might hear, discern our direction, reacquaint ourselves with all the stories." She pauses there, canting her head curiosity. "It rather sounded as if you might have some idea of your own."

Well, Marsilia was not expecting that answer when asking her rhetorical question, even if she had a similar thought in mind. "Oh yes, the last thing that either of us needs is the Conte di Farro catching wind of any of this. That will not do. We will need to plan with care, though that is a strange suggestion, especially for the journey that we which to take." So eager is the contessa to learn more about this thing that troubles her that she cannot help but frown lightly when her partner has no leads to offer. Lifting a hand so that a crooked finger rests gently against her bottom lip in thought, she decides to divulge, "I've heard tales of things going missing during the night. Mysteriously so. I will have to inquire on this more in the next few days. But who says that these acts couldn't very well be vistante."

"Nor the Contessa Capello," Antonella adds to the list of those who very much do not need to know where they're going. Or, at least, why. Where might not be so bad. Just in case everything goes awful. Eventual rescuers are handy to have. She munches on a little more of her apple as her giddiness sinks into a low-grade state of excitement, that energy now settled on planning. Her eyes widen at the revelation, at the mystery, as she agrees, "It very well could be," as if there were no other logical explanation. Of course, that realization dawns a second later, smile dimming. "Perhaps I should bring a blade. Just in case." Just in case they encounter a less fantastical adversary. "They haven't stolen any horses, have they? Left changelings in their stead?" She lifts a hand to wave that question off, assuring it needs no answer. There's another glance at the horizon, thoughtful. "If I head off now, I think I might be able to catch a particularly knowledgeable source of lore before anyone who might think our conversation suspicious might happen by. Send word when you're ready? And I'll write if I've not heard from you in a few days."

"Of course, I suppose my family is not the only family we would need to concern ourselves with." Marsilia says with an understanding nod. Deep within her heart, she just knows that they will not encounter anything of the sort, so there is very little to fear there. But there is always that chance of what if there is something out there? In the forest, in the streams. Everywhere. That thought alone is enough to cause her to inwardly shiver and for a time, she looks about her with an even more intense curiosity; peering at all the sun cascading through the leaves on tall trees, or petals dancing in the wind. No, she is being silly. "Horses? Hmm, not that I know of. Silk, however…" And she will leave it at that. "Very well. After I am able to finalize a few things myself before our departure, I will send word. Until then, take care. Who knows what 'they' will do… after hearing word of our interest in their world."

It's surely a silliness necessary for such adventures. One does not find wonder if one is not willing to look for it, after all! Antonella seems to recognize that door that's been left open just a crack within Marsilia, allowing for the possibility of what they might find. It's enough, that little sliver of 'maybe.' After she gets to her feet, book in one hand, half-eaten apple in the other, she dips into a passable curtsey and declares, "They will take interest in us," as if it is most certainly so. With that, however, she's off, crossing the lawn to one of the broader paths and making her way back toward the main gate, off to pester someone else about the visitante in hopes of maybe actually finding some hint of the truly strange.

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