Umbra 10, 228: Curios and Curses

Curios and Curses
Summary: Log Summary
OOC Date: October 14, 2013
Related: None —]
Players:
Venan Nimue 
Public Gardens
A broad path of crushed white stone runs in a wide circle around a fountain, ringed in turn by flowerbeds. Beyond them, the lawn continues, smooth and softly green. A row of rosebushes, in full bloom, are planted along the stone wall to the north, flanking the gate. The path branches off to the south, where it joins a shady avenue lined with lush green trees, and to the east toward a quiet grove.
Umbra 10, 228

Venan ducks under one of the leafier trees as the off and on showers of the morning send a brief sprinkle of water down. The rain lasts barely long enough for the young man to get his hood up then it is gone leaving only damp grass and a refreshed smell behind. "Ah, well, maybe I'll catch a rainbow today, seems the right sort of weather for it." The man offers to the tree he sheltered under then pulls his hood back down and rakes his fingers through his hair to reach some semblence of order.

The gardens are quiet this morning - unsurprisingly so, given the intermittent pattering of warm fall rain upon the grass and stone. But there are always some who would venture to brave the elements, regardless. Strolling in a sedate manner around the perimeter of the fountain, watched over by a nearby guardsman clad in the earthen hues of House Forrester and a rather less hawk-eyed handmaiden who has sensibly elected, as Venan, to take shelter beneath the boughs of a stately tree, a slender young lady seems unperturbed by the indecisive weather.

With her dark hair spilling loose about her shoulders and over her light cloak, the Lady Nimue pauses to ruffle the thick fur of her closer companion - an enormous hound whose height requires not even the slightest stoop from his mistress when it comes to the passing gesture of affection. All in all, it's an idyllic, serene scene for those who might stumble upon it.. but in the same instance, it might be said that the girl looks.. well, a little bored. The soft sigh that escapes her as she casts her gaze down to the steadily rippling waters does nothing to dispel the impression.

Venan steps out from under his tree and turns the corner. A cheerful 'Good Morning.' preformed on his lips for whoever it might be dies in a disquieting gurgle as his eyes lock onto the giant hound. "Gehhh…eeed dog?" he offers with all the confidence of a high wire artist without a wire. He glances at the lady, maid and guard and ducks his head slightly towards the nobility in the trio. "Milady." He offers by way of greeting as he slips one foot backwards then the other, "Sorry to have disturbed you."

The affable hound doesn't seem disturbed in the slightest, merely turning his massive head to regard the newcomer calmly, a quiet 'huff' of breath released that never quite becomes a full-fledged 'woof' of warning. Similarly, the petite noblewoman beside the shaggy creature affords the stranger a quiet curve of her lips in response, brightening somewhat at the appearance of something other than damp landscape to look upon. "You have not disturbed me, goodman." she replies, with a gentle shake of her head. The response garners a disapproving purse of lips from the elderly handmaiden nearby, but she offers no reproving words. Not at this moment, anyway.

Noting the uncertain gaze upon her four-legged guardian, Nimue's smile widens a touch further; amusement slightly glimmering on an otherwise reassuring tone. "He will not hurt you.." As if he understood, the mastiff drops to a seat on his haunches, still watching Venan.

Venan nods and offers a vague smile, "Aye, milady, I'm certain at his size my death would be swift and painless as a coney's. Not entirely certain that's a reassurin thought for me to have, but I'm sure you meant it kindly enough." He adds, "And it's Venan, milady, calling me goodman puts a burden of behavior upon me that I don't know I'm willing to live up to when confronted with a beast of that size."

In spite of herself, the young lady cannot help a flash of amusement at the self-deprecating tone that Venan adopts, permitting herself a hushed laugh. "Well, surely I would not see you so burdened, Venan." Without bothering to offer a hand or any such thing - curtseys are damnable things at the best of times, let alone to squander one upon a commoner.. - she continues, "Lady Nimue, of House Forrester."

Thoughtful green eyes flit over the man's appearance, seeming to take in much in a singular, swift mannerism. "And what is your trade, Venan, that allows you to enjoy so pleasant an afternoon in leisure?" She grins, casting her attention skyward now as the grey clouds loom ironically overhead. Though a fair palm extends, measuring, no rain spatters upon it for now.

Venan keeps at least one eye on the hound at all times, "I'm a peddlar, Lady Nimue, of curios and rare items. Through good fortune I've sold near all my stock most profitably and now seek to find homes for my last few items. So I'm not here entirely idly, but to find those who do not often come to the market and if they seem interested to offer them my wares." On review of Venan he is quite a well put together young man and while his clothing marks him a man of middling means he has that curious sort of polish that allows a merchant to make any item appear to be worth just a bit more. "I was hoping to come across a young lord or lady, like yourself, that might be escorted by maids of a reasonable nature to allow a peddlar such as myself a chance to make a sale. Unfortunately you've two lovely and sensible looking maids, one of whom I could almost swear pursed her lips and blew me a kiss, and a rather large beast which I've not the slightest idea how to negotiate with."

"Even the most ferocious of handmaids can be quieted a while with the right distractions." Idly scratching behind the mastiff's ear as she speaks, Nimue casts a glance toward the other, two-legged variety, silently bidding her approach with a subtle tilt of her head. After all.. even servants must enjoy.. what was it? Curios and rare items. Especially sparkly ones. While her guardsman stays ominously within safe distance, he doesn't seem to feel the same need to draw closer to the peddler. Men care less for things of a sparkly nature, sadly.

"Seeing as you've granted me a distraction from a rather dull morning, then.. it would only be proper that I at least browse your wares. Whether Grete should choose to blow you a kiss or not." The sour expression of the arriving chaperone suggests that to be unlikely.. still, she eyes Venan expectantly on the matter of what he may have for sale.

Venan chuckles, "Ah, but you're jumping far ahead, Lady Nimue, I've no idea what sort of things interest you and the items I've held onto would only be for a few select individuals. I don't carry bits of jewelry and gems, far too common, they can be found lying about in the dirt, I carry singular crafts from lands far away. Such treasures as these are not carried about lightly or shown on a whim." He then winks to the matronly Grete, "And if the lovely maid Grete should choose not to blow the kiss to me, I'll not be upset on it being delivered directly."

"And if I told you precisely what I find interesting, where would the challenge lie?" is the prompt response to Venan's teasing, though it's voiced in pleasant, toying amusement and accompanied by another of those warm smiles as Nimue regards him, arching a brow. Folding her slender arms, the young lady allows a moment longer of mirth - this time at her handmaid's expense, which is always fun - before attempting to draw back the peddler's focus.

"It appears we have reached an impasse, then. Do you believe yourself mastered enough at your trade to guess just which of your dizzying curios might intrigue me, Venan?" Apparently having little interest in this topic, her mastiff flops to the ground by his mistress' booted feet, resting his heavy head upon paws the size of dinner plates and grumbling a little to himself, low in his throat. Soulful brown eyes remain ever-watchful, flitting between the humans as they talk.

Venan considers, "Ah, Lady Nimue, it is not a matter of mastering my trade, it is a matter of mastering my cowardice. I'm not the brave and stoic sort like your guard there." He gestures to the guard, "Even the beast you have there sets my knees to knocking a beat that the lively footed would be dancing to." He pauses, "Yet, I suppose I must, so I need to ask you, Lady Nimue, Maid Grete, and ominous guard…are you the sort who can, with open mind, see the new and unusual and see the workings of the light and science in it? Or are you the sort quick to cry witchcraft, for I've no love of fire or wish to burn."

A flicker of defiance rises to the fore of the young lady's diminuitive features at this enquiry, though her offence doesn't seem great. "The Forresters are not the sort easily spooked. By anything. Nor do we shy from the 'new and unusual'." Most certainly a daughter of proud nobility, down to the subtle upward tilt of her jawline to mark haughty displeasure at such a suggestion even having crossed the man's mind. But a daughter, only. Not a warrior, nor an heir. Just a girl, stubbornly insisting upon her capability of being an adult.

The mention of witchcraft does seem to rouse concern from Grete, who murmurs something under her breath and glances about.. though it seems more that she would not wish her Lady's name associated with such an utterance, rather than any fear of this knocky-kneed trader.

Venan doesn't look entirely convinced, in fact…did his eyes just flicker to the other man in the garden to see if this little girl, noble though she might be, could handle it? He frets for a moment or two more then reaches into his pouch to produce a disc the size of his palm with a notch cut into the top of it. "It is said that this device can steal the very face and soul of those who look to long into it, Lady Nimue, exageration and superstition of course, but are you sure you have steeled yourself?"

The guardsman's expression doesn't change at all.. but he seems to understand the hint well enough, silently taking a few lengthy strides to close the distance between he and his charge. As for Nimue herself? Admittedly, she swallows; those big green eyes flitting between Venan's features and the disc he proffers. "What would be the purpose in such a device, if such a thing did exist?" The enquiry seems sensible enough, to begin with. And she's certainly not reaching for the circle quite yet. "..and where did you come across it?" Her gentle voice steadies with the further question, offering her good reason not to look 'too long' upon the item, instead watching the peddler. Her hound glances up at the closer arrival of his fellow guardsman, but apparently sees no need to further disturb himself.

Grete, of course, can always be relied upon. "Do not look, milady!" The words come in a hiss, suddenly wary, watery blue eyes regarding Venan warily. "What if it be true?"

Venan nods, "Aye, Maid Grete, what if it be true? What if there were a device that could steal the beauty from a young lady…what use could a haggard witch have for a young lady's beauty, ah, My Lady, too young and innocent and full of your own beauty, I think. You don't realize what the old and the ugly might do to have beauty once more." He shakes his head and goes to put the circle away, "Best not to tempt it, you're to young to know what you risk."

Nimue eyes the man consideringly as he deems her too young and foolish to comprehend his superstitious tale. But she doesn't argue with him outright. "So whatever one steals, they can use? They might rob the appearance of another for their own purpose, good or ill?" Curiosity sometimes overwhelms propriety, and it seems the young noblewoman can't help but assail Venan with her questions. Or perhaps she just wanted to voice them before the entertainment was snatched away.

Tugging at her mistress' arm, Grete scowls at the merchant. "Milady, it is time we returned inside.." Neither of the guards, canine or human, bother to voice an opinion.. though the enormous dog snorts softly as a raindrop splats unceremoniously onto his nose and lumbers to his feet.

Venan nods, "Aye, maid Grete, wise you are to protect your lady so, but, perhaps, if the Lady Nimue should wish for some tamer curios, she should world to the Riverview Inn that Master Venan should attend her, with you close at hand to see she does not come to ill by it."

Venan pulls the guard aside for a quick quiet word as the Lady is tugged away, a brief assurance that it is a prank and the lady will come to no harm at all with a thank you for playing along and an offer of a beer at the Inn.

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