(2018-06-09) The Map
"If I ever meet a peccadillo, I'll kill the sick bastard"
enzo joana 
Joana needs protection when buying a book of the fae…and there is more than she expects.
Misc Info:

Saturday evening. Valeria should be out partying as only mercenaries can but she has been roped into escorting a woman engaged in a highly shady and immoral activity…buying a book. Thankfully, Joana is VERY attractive so it is not all a wasted night. Though, since she is on a job, Valeria is totally professional. No red cape to show she is a Wyvern, it is all about discretion tonight, so instead she wears a brown cloak over green leggings and blouse. The hood of the cloak raised to obscure her face but still allow her to watch carefully for danger as she escorts the other woman. Her right hand never leaving the hilt of her concealed sword. At least they seem to be heading for an inn she knows.

Since her recent arrival in Matora, Joana's hardly left her cousins' estate save for a few occasions where she's been dragged by her mother to the noble parlours of inns; gardens, and tea parties with dull sons of the prominent Matoran houses. She's engaged in a dispassionate moment of bartering for a rare tome, as the lady's knowledge is storied and peculiar with her having as much interest in the starry sky and the natural world as more mystical knowledge of the Brutta and the Bene Visitante. She hasn't paid all that much attention to Valeria but that's typical of her persona, and she's made it known she'd hardly put up with any guards if it hadn't been her family's insistence.

And of that mentioned family, there's someone heading to this particular inn as well, as Enzo is making his way through the streets, expression a bit thoughtful as he walks. Pausing just outside the building, he hasn't really noticed anyone familiar in the area, as he stops to take a few breaths before he opens the door to the inn.

Valeria is an easterner and a mercenary - she's used to being ignored if not outright hated. Joana's indifference, while disappointing, is taken in its stride. "Stop" Valeria states forcefully, though quietly, to Joana. She nods towards their destination. "Are you expecting another member of your House here?" Where Valeria comes from, family members usually like each other. Here…the standard seems to be backstabbing and antipathy.

"Certainly not my mother," Joana rolls her eyes a bit. "Who's the only proper member of my house in the city. Of my cousins, I wouldn't say expecting, but I guess it's a fairly regular place to catch them. Why do you ask?"

Enzo hasn't noticed any familiar people, as he steps through the door, looking around at the people inside before he steps over in the direction of the bar, to get himself a drink. While he waits, he looks around the room, rather carefully.

Valeria does her best to refrain from rolling her own eyes at Joana's concentration on correct family details. "If Enzo is someone you can trust, then all is well. If he is also here to buy a book and does not like the competition, then things could get dangerous. I apologise if I seem paranoid, my lady, but your safety is my purpose and I do not want to stumble into danger we could avoid." Reaching the inn door, she opens it for Joana and offers a slight nod. "If all is well…shall we go inside?"

Joana smiles faintly. "I never thought he was particularly the intellectual sort. And, yes, I am new to the city, but I have a feelings that most of the back-street deals made in this part of Matora are solely of the intellectual kind." She says nothing else when she accepts Valeria's request and enters through the doors.

Valeria nods as she pulls back her hood. "Enzo is a dullard. Understood" she smiles faintly to Joana before closing the door behind them and following the other woman. In this place she makes sure she is very close. "I doubt many deals at the docks are of an intellectual variety" she counters quietly over the hubbub of the tavern life. "They usually involve slavery or murder. What does your bookseller look like?"

Joana's eyes skirt about the tavern but hardly seems perturbed by the shady figures that adorn the place. "I only know he is called Giuseppe and is in his forties, or so." She smiles. "And has a disposition for selling books on the faerie world that might be seen as a little… out of touch with conventional religious teachings."

Valeria nods to Joana's words, though she is watching the crowd around them…some of whom are watching back. At least until she scowls at them. "I am not of the Divine Empire and it's heresy." Pause. "No offence. I simply mean that I am more open to talk of Faeries than most." A wry smile. "Perhaps Guiseppe is a faerie himself?" She gestures to a table in the back. "We should sit there. He can announce himself. And try to ignore all the looks you are getting. You're a lot prettier than they are used to."

"No, but you do not look like you'd be faithful to the Three Divinites either. Though neither am I at the end of the day." Joana's lips curl as she laughs. "Sent by the Bem Visitando, perhaps, but a true spirit would have no need for a book on itself." She agrees and heads for the table and rolls her eyes. "Or perhaps I haven't dressed down enough, and come with fashions of a few kingdoms away, besides."

"I doubt you could ever dress down enough to hide your beauty" replies Valeria in a deadpan tone, her eyes still roaming the crowded, smoky room - the smoke thanks to the fireplaces and partially blocked chimneys. She gestures for a serving girl to approach. "Mead for two" she orders and the girl scampers off. "I would not drink the wine here" she explains as she finally sits. "I am of the Eastern Traditions. I am from the Eastern Empire. I did not have much choice. A true spirit would indeed have no need for a book on itself…that is why it is selling it."

Joana flashes Valeria a look full of mirth. "I just don't think spirits operate that way." Her eyes dart to and fro across the room but seems content to entertain herself with a pocket-tome as she waits for a rarer book, "I've found some of those religious complexities interesting when it comes to history," she shrugs. "But otherwise it is rather a dull affair and just a means for people to needlessly hate each other."

"People do not /need/ a reason to hate each other" Valeria replies, watching the serving girl pouring the drinks and making sure nothing but mead goes into them. "But it does make it easier and righteous with a religion…or a House…or a city…or different colored skin." The drinks arrive and are placed on the table for them, Valeria tossing a coin to the girl. "I do not like waiting" she sighs.

"No," Joana admits. "Especially with an atmosphere such as this. After a few moments I'll have to wonder if I'm being deceived or not." She thumbs the pocket-tome and turns the pages. "Still, there's always new things to read. And conversation to be had, I suppose."

A wry smile on Valeria's face that she hides from Joana at the little bite of the conversation comment. 'I suppose'? Just because she is a warrior, doesn't mean she is an oaf. She is from the East where girls have to read…even if they also want to pick up a sword. "I suppose so" she nods in reply, sipping from her drink before leaning back into her chair. "And Enzo seems to have disappeared. Perhaps upstairs with a friendly woman." A pause. "I did not see you at the betrothal announcement last night."

"Oh," Joana feigns interest as she looks up to Valeria. "No. My mother was badgering me so much about looking my part that I decided it would be best not to show up at all. And I hardly need to know all the peccadilloes and trysts that occur in this city."

"If I ever meet a peccadillo, I'll kill the sick bastard" Valeria growls…though she may be joking. "No betrothal for you?" she asks, finally looking at Joana. "Arabella seems a nice girl…very beautiful. It's a shame she is wasted on a political marriage…and a man. I hope she will be happy."

The door to the inn slams open and a man, breathing heavily, stumbles in. He carries what looks to be a book under one arm, albeit wrapped in a rough blanket. His frantic eyes looking over the crowd before spying the two women at the back. He immediately starts pushing his way towards them.

Joana's eyes sparkle just a touch. "Ah, Arabella's. Yes, I told her just as much that she ought to consider if she truly wished to be the family broodmare, but she seems to be the type who'll fall for anyone as long as it gives her a nice title to go alongside it," she rolls her eyes. "And seems to ever be supporting my mother's plans to marry me off to all of the dull men in this city; I tell you I have standards for someone to break me from my books."

"Ah, there," she nods. "Just when I thought we ought to go."

"I will never marry…" Valeria deadpans, "…a man." And then there is a sweaty, anxious man charging their way. She quickly stands, cloak swept back to reveal her sword, hand on the hilt. The man does not seem intimidated. Instead he almost hurls the book onto the table in front of Joana. His breathing rapid and shallow, as if he'd been running. "Five hundred crowns" he gasps, glancing at Valeria for a moment before returning to stare at Joana. "Coin. No letters of credit."

"I think much the same. For now, at least." She looks to the man out of the corner of her eye and sighs, revealing a concealed pouch. "A little over what I was expecting," she seems to be talking in most part to Valeria and ignoring the man, "but knowledge is priceless," and hands up the bag. "Count them all individually, if you'd like. I have enough."

The man grabs the purse and bounces it a few times in his hand to hear the ring of coins. He seems in too much of a hurry to count it. "I trust ya" he grins…and he's missing a few teeth. "Pleasure doing business with ya, me lady." And with that he is charging back through the crowd and out the front door. Valeria does not sit until he is gone. When she does so, she nods to the wrapped book. "I hope that was what you were here to buy."

Joana unwraps the paper, though with not much care considering their surroundings. She licks her thumb and opens a few pages before slamming it shut and concealing it again. "I think I haven't been completely ripped off, no. Though I do have to wonder where he obtained such a tome, that'll pale into obtaining… other sorts of knowledge."

"So I don't need to go after him?" Valeria asks. "I will happily run him through if you wish. Get your money back." She isn't sure what is expected to be in the book and it seems Joana is in no hurry to show her, slamming the cover closed quickly. "Wait…there is something else there. Between the bottom of the book and the material wrapped around it." It proves to be a very old parchment. Upon it has been scrawled a map…though edges are missing and some other sections have disintegrated. "May I look at it?"

Joana cocks an eyebrow. "Go ahead," she affirms, focused on Valeria and how she handles the piece of parchment throughout the whole ordeal.

Thankfully, Valeria already has gloves on so no acid to worsen the ancient parchment. She peers at it as she carefully spreads it out upon the book. A fingertip traces over some of the lines as she nods slowly. "I think I know where this is" she notes softly. "And whenever there is a map where a location has been marked…" A sly smile forms. "One has to seek it out, don't you think?" Her eyes narrow. "I am not sure of the language…" She turns the map for Joana to see if she can help.

| Joana (Recognize) |
| -----— |
| Success |
| -
------ |
| Skill: 10 Mod: 0 Total: 10 |
| Roll: 4 Status: |

The scrawls of text is faded and old. The language even older. Most would think it was gibberish and toss the paper away. A few, like Valeria, may recognise the location. Even fewer, such as Joan, could decipher the symbols to understand what it all means…or at least what she can still read. The island in the center of the map is described as 'The Fairy Isle'. Some of the marks upon it are annotated; 'The Temple', 'The Market Stones', 'The Lair of the Beast'. It seems whoever made the map was into generic titles…or maybe that is their real names. "Anything?" Valeria asks.

"Indeed," and Joana goes on to tell Valeria of all the locations she can read. "Still, I'm not quite sure where these places might be, or what significance they might have.

"And we won't know if we sit in a room all day" Valeria smiles. "I know where that island is. Why don't we go and see what is there? If you hire me, then I can take leave from the Company. It will be a few days journey though. If you're up to it." A shrug. "Or I can go and gain all the knowledge by myself."

“No. I can't risk missing out on all that knowledge. I'll pay you well, then. And we shall discover the faerie lore, together," Joana promises.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License