Seventh Sea

Day 953 (continued - again)
Glorying in success

Luigi eagerly offered himself as my second which I quickly accepted. This small thing seemed to make him quite happy. Maybe I was wrong about his intentions?

Dinner was uneventful which was probably the best to be hoped for. I spent the evening basking in the glow of Grandmama’s good will. I was so happy to be home and pleased to show my companions the grandiosity of the Montaigne as hosts. Throughout the evening I was aware the Wolfie seemed incredibly uncomfortable with our impending contest and I spent the meal preoccupied with discovering a solution. Do not mistake me, I was actually looking forward to our exchange and would face it happy if it were not causing Wolfie so much unhappiness.

It was only when I was preparing to retire for the evening that I hatched a brilliant plan. I immediately went to Wolfie’s rooms to put the idea before him. I suggested that Wolfie would be happier were he not fighting me and he admitted this to be true. So I put forth the possibility that were I unwell on the morrow, he would face my second, Luigi in my steed and as such would be able to fight him fairly in all good conscience. I think I caught him by surprise, he actually looked shocked for a few moments before agreeing.

I hurried back to my apartment nearly gleeful. This was perfect! Wolfie could relax as he wouldn’t have to fight me (and lose publicly), instead he would fight Luigi. And Luigi would have the chance to have the spotlight in front of my family and if he truly were interested in my hand he would be thrilled. Perfect!

Grandmama would see through any lie I put forth so I knew any frailness on my part would have to be truth. I might have been a bit overzealous in the dosage of the emetic I took and it was not long before I was cramping and retching. I called for my maid and as one would expect both Mama and Grandmama came to my side. I told my Grandmama while I was not able to fight in the duel that I had a worthy second and she should not postpone as she was inclined to do. Justice should not be delayed.

In the morning there was a commotion that eventually drew my attention, and I donned a robe and stumbled to the nearest balcony where I could see what was going on. It seemed Gaston had returned and with his usually style was trying to quell the peasants with threats and bluster. Wolfie had set out to intervene and Grandmama found me where I leaned against the balustrade. Into my hands she thrust a small potion which she told me to swallow. I did so and quickly felt improved but not quite my old self. Then she told me to prepare myself for the duel. I petitioned against this, explaining that Wolfie would truly have the advantage against me and she said it would rest in Theus’ hands. Again I tried to explain how Wolfie would have an advantage but she would not hear me.

I returned back to my chambers to dress and prepare. It pained me to take the next steps but while I dressed I was sure to include some mistakes and bad choices. Then I swallowed a few more herbs for good measure and stumbled down to stand for justice.

The mob was roiling, Wolfie was expounding and Gaston and Luigi were facing off against each other. I didn’t know what else was going on but Grandmama was determined we proceed. Luigi tried to stand for me but I stood him down and stepped forth to my place upon the field. Another commotion among the peasantry, then before I even understood what was happening I was attacked by men I did not know who were robed in purple.

Gathering my wits quickly, I surveyed the scene, and threw my knife into the side of the villain threatening Wolfie then swept my blades through those before. Two fell to my feet. I glanced off a few blows but my luck did not hold and the earlier nicks I had barely noticed were nothing to the next attack I received. I noticed that Alexis had taken a blow while protecting Grandmama up on the balcony and so I cleared a path to a nearby cart by dropping two more robed figures on my way, and with an assist from Wolfie launched myself to clear the railings. I landed with enough momentum to take a shot at the threat and was sure to twist the blade a little as it sunk home.

Alexis had another exchange with our masked foe and I attempted another blow but missed as he bent backwards to evade my blades. Angered by my miss I redoubled my efforts and landed two solid attacks. It seemed but a moment and he dropped his blade. I stepped on it and called for guards. Not a moment too soon, as I was going to have to vomit again soon and it wasn’t eager to do it in public. A musketeer removed his mask and Wolfie stepped to my side to question him.

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Viv's Journal Day 953 (continued)

Gaston, Luigi and I whiled away the time as we awaited the scout’s return. Conversation was slow and stilted but I was quite preoccupied with how I would solve this so I did little to help things along. I was feeling quite impatient when the church bells rang and Alexis returned. His report was lacking in facts and information. The only thing he could tell me was that they had uncovered a mysterious device he suspected was used to kill the local nobility but he wasn’t sure and that the Lady Rhoades had started some type of altercation in the town.

During our exchange we noticed some pigeons being released from the local manor. Alexis disappeared and I quickly drew my pistol and, as Luigi had taught me, I sighted and shot one down. Rather than reload I snatched the nearest guard’s pistol and shot a second from the sky but a third escaped but I noticed a large owl pursued it.

A minute later, Alexis returned, with all three messages in hand. So we had stopped this sending at least. They all said, “Begin the rebellion!” I had a sinking feeling this was bigger than we had even begun to consider. I was in deep trouble here.

Alexis went off again and I sent a message to Grandmama recommending she send to the neighboring towns and estates for more information. If this has spread we have to know how far.

After some time had passed Gaston noticed that the local militia seemed to be moving off and he urged me to attack. But I kept calm and enforced my instructions from Grandmama. No violence. We still needed information from our inside men. It was with great relief I next saw Wolfie returning to me. He said he thought he might be able to get them to surrender but wondered the terms. I said those who were responsible for executing the nobles must face justice but the rest of the town need not fear violence. He said he thought that would be achievable. He made arrangements for us to make a display of force by firing cannon at the nearby barn in a specified period of time. I gave that task to Gaston and he was happy to have something to do.

I made a great effort to disguise my impatience with a calm countenance but I was nearly ready to jump out of my skin when the cannon finally fired. Shortly after the echoes of sound died down the local militia laid down their arms. I took this as my time to approach. I bade Gaston to remain here, and was escorted by only a few men as we marched to retake the town. Sure enough, Wolfie had achieved the seemingly impossible, and the local militia commander surrendered his sword to me. I had the guards take him in custody, he would not face my blade but my Grandmama’s justice. His problem. Not mine.

Wolfie rather thought the other conspirators were attempting to make their own escape. I thought Gaston would love the opportunity to display his talents for me so I sent a guard to inform him his skills would be needed. I saw him galloping off in the distance.

In the meantime, I made sure to make my presence clearly known. It was imperative they know who was in charge. It occurred to me Grandmama would benefit from a reliable witness account so I suggested he retrieve the local priest so that he could give testimony. It was after this that Gaston appeared at my side to report that one Corbin “Luck” Cabin had letters of marque from the Count of Aur. I asked how he knew this and he confessed he had seen them.

I was at a loss to understand why we were having a conversation about this and I didn’t have a captive at my feet. As I understand it, a rogue that Gaston had pursued had shown to him papers that proved that a noble from a different province had given this rogue permission to commit villainous acts in my Grandmama’s region. And Gaston accepted this because…? This is where I fail to follow. Such a lack of judgement does so make me question him altogether. I sent him off in pursuit of this foe while we returned home to reap the pride and glory and in my Grandmama’s eyes.

When presenting the locals for punishment and testimony Wolfie petitioned Grandmama for leniency. After some philosophical exchanges Grandmama suggested a duel between Wolfie and me. I accepted immediately but Wolfie was quite reluctant until ultimately he was convinced by Grandmama. We scheduled it for the next day.

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Viv's Journal - Day 951
Home again, home again.

Day 951
Pandemonium swirled around Mama wherever she went so it was no surprise when it arrived with her. Her histrionics had forced Alexis from the house but before he left the grounds I saw him attacked by an invisible foe yet again. I ran to his side and asked where to attack but he muttered something about them being all around and gave no other guidance. Once more Alexis was wounded so I tried to get my bearings on his opponent and I attacked but failed to find or wound an enemy. It seemed Alexis was tackled to the ground by a figure that had appeared from nowhere and when I could see him clearly he looked so much like Alexis that there was no doubt he was kin. I suspected that Mama was in for a nasty surprise. I had no idea that I was in for one.

The young man stood and dusted himself off, handed Alexis a toy and called him father. Then he greeted “Uncle Steppie” and threw his arms about me and declared me “Auntie Viv”. My stunned disbelief not withstanding, I was having to accept this was indeed Carlos, Alexis’ son. Mama was going to be more than displeased. Gaston, being quite the gentleman and very courteous, had come to ask after my brother and see if there was anything he could do. Luigi was nowhere to be seen.

Gaston was quite mannerly and agreed that we could keep this from Mama for now and I promised to bring it to Grandmama later. But it was too late for that , and Carlos raised his voice calling for Uncle Steppie which attracted the attention of those still within the house. Grandmama came to the balcony and I scurried to her side in the hopes of quieting things before Mama took notice. I failed as Mama came out bellowing to have the servants remove Alexis only to freeze upon the sight of Carlos. She pivoted on her heel and retreated apparently to find more of father’s finer stock.

I was almost relieved when an emissary arrived and gave Grandmama notice of the uprisings in the lands through which we had just traveled. She answered that she would be sending me to lead a party to bring a peaceful resolution to the area, then she requested Wolfie accompany me to provide insight and guidance. Happy in the faith Grandmama had displayed in me, my mind was a whirl with how I was to achieve this gargantuan task without bloodshed. I missed much of the rest that was discussed as I was already on to plans for our departure on the morrow as I retired to my rooms.

Having given instructions to my ladies on what to pack, I was a little rushed in preparing for dinner and was perhaps not at my best, which was unfortunate. I did remember to check on Wolfie before going down to dinner and was thrilled to see he had at least tried to tie his cravat correctly and remembered his dining gloves. Dinner discussion turned to questions of strategy in dealing the peasants and I tried and tried to understand the positions put forth by Wolfie and the Lady Rhoades but I must say I felt I was pretty much missing some of the finer points. Or maybe the points altogether. Still when Gaston asked my opinion I conceded that if Grandmama had suggested that we follow the guidance of Wolfie than that is what we should do. Luigi’s opinion, which was quite passionate, was that if the peasants were be treated well enough loyalty would not even be a question.

Mama managed to struggle through the meal without making a scene but I had no doubt that she would manage immediately afterwards to undo the sobering effects that the food might provide. Dinner proceeded through the normal courses and after the meal I gave Wolfie a word of advice on how to best present his gift to Grandmama. I believe she is quite enamored with him. We all retired early as we’d be departing in the morning. Upon returning to my rooms I reviewed what my ladies had packed and prepared and I tweaked the accessories to my satisfaction while I got the local gossip from the household staff. It seems I still have not swayed my Grandmama to choose me as her heir and she was very worried about some pirates that had been treading on our normal trade routes. Later still I had to turn Luigi away from my room for the night as it would be inappropriate to bed him in my family home especially with Gaston here if it was indeed true there were negotiations proceeding to see us engaged.

Day 952
In the morning we went down to the courtyard and Gaston brought me a beautiful white steed. I was flattered by his thoughtfulness of coordinating my horse with my outfit for the day. I thanked him graciously and he recommended that I should address the troops despite the fact that I was determined to follow Grandmama’s instructions and see this through to a peaceful resolution. His pleas for me to do this anyway were earnest enough that I took pity on him and spoke to the militia. I told them all that they were to remain ready in case we should fail in our attempts to negotiate for then their force would be gravely needed. I felt I had indeed inspired them and was quite relieved to see that Grandmama had witnessed my success with satisfaction.

We set out, me in the lead with a jaunty tilt to my hat and a lightness of heart despite the circumstances.

Day 953
We made good time and arrived early the next day. At our morning break of fast Wolfie took me aside and expressed his concern about Luigi’s feelings in the matter of my potential engagement to Gaston, but I assured him that Luigi had expressed no intentions toward me, nor had he ever even mentioned marriage. Luigi truly could not be serious about pressing his suit as not only had we never had a discussion but he’d made no effort to sway my mother nor to impress my grandmother on the previous evening. Wolfie felt I was mistaken and seemed surprised I would accept any engagement my family would arrange but I pointed out he had just done that same thing.

Gaston asked me my orders for the morning and if we should prepare to battle but I recommended we send in scouts. He seemed a little put out when I didn’t select him for the task but I felt that Alexis, Wolfie and Lady Rhoades had the edge in these circumstances. See? I could demonstrate strategy. Now I would just wait for the reports to roll in.

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Viv's Journal - Day 949
Our journey home

Day 949
The party from the night before ended in the small hours of this morning and I slept in to be assured I would be my most presentable. We are after all back in the center of culture and presentation is everything.

Alexis woke me to arrange an early meeting for our departure and we set out through the Montaigne countryside to pass through which was strangely absent of nobles. I moved closer to Wolfie and was about to make some remark on my observation when we noticed a representative of the Castilian Los Vagos. Wolfie took the bull by the horns and began questioning some peasants then stepped up to a local shoppe and demanded entrance. I instead mentioned my concerns to Alexis and he took it upon himself to explore a bit. I then whispered in Luigi’s ear but he dismissed me out of hand.

Wolfie returned with food and an insistence that we should move on immediately. Luigi had a brief exchange with Wolfie and now reconsidered my words of concern but I was no longer willing to hear from him on the topic. Just because a man brought it to his attention…honestly! Alexis tried to complicate matters when he returned by saying that he had seen someone who looked remarkably like Najarro. Since I knew him to be dead (ha!) I urged our party to move on. It was clear to me that whatever was going on in this area was well beyond our party’s ability to handle the situation. Luigi and Alexis were prepared to stay and investigate but I still felt it was more important that we move on and make more people aware of whatever had occurred here.

It was with great joy and relief we came to the grounds of my home. Adrienne was the only of my family there to receive us which was probably for the best. I introduced them around then sent my guests to refresh themselves while Alexis and I went to father’s side. I was saddened to see that his conditioned had not only not improved but worsened in my absence. I told him of my travels but he seemed to not even hear me. I continued anyway in the hopes that something was getting through even if he couldn’t demonstrate a response. I told him of the things that I had done to get back into Grandmama’s good graces, I told him of the lands that I had seen and the people that I had met, I told him how Alexis and I were increasing our bond, and lastly I told him about Luigi – well some things about Luigi. We were interrupted by a butler bearing a summons for my presence that evening on Grandmama’s boat which I accepted but returned to my tales of my voyages. I was so engrossed that I was completely unprepared when Alexis suddenly attacked with a blade next to father’s head. I scrambled to my feet and drew my blade prepared to fight Alexis if need be when I noticed that he appeared to be taking damage from some invisible source. I leapt to try to aid him but with nothing visible I was swinging in the dark. I swiped multiple times but only on my fourth thrust did I hit something. My blade glowed red and Alexis cried out that I had killed one and that there were only two more to go. That was great news. Killed one what?

Something clawed across the front of my shoulder, shredding my dress and leaving bloody wounds. I responded in kind with my brilliant blade and felt another hit sink home. Alexis rejoiced again and it was at this time I noticed his eyes were fully black and he now held a different sword in his hands, he screamed out, then thrashed around a bit more. Our companions rushed to our sides and it was the Lady Rhoades who made good in the combat. It was after her entrance that Alexis collapsed and I felt the threat was gone. I would have sworn it was the Blue Flame that Alexis still clutched but that was clearly impossible as it was only a relic from father’s dusty history books or the fairy tales we Martisse grew up on.

It was in the post fight lull that pandemonium broke out as Grandmama and my mother burst in with their escorts. After introductions around I realized that standing before me was Monsieur Rouge and I was quite relieved to see his friendly face, but also present was Gaston Rois et Reines du Rogne, the candidate my Grandmama had chosen for my potential betrothal. Not uncomfortable at all.

Mother was in grand histrionics about the presence of Alexis and demanded he leave the house immediately all while Stahl was trying to staunch the wounds he had acquired while protecting our father. Even after he left she decided to begin soothing herself with father’s good whiskey.

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Viv's Journal - Day 943 (continued)
A duel to die for

Day 943 (continued)
Bianca and Jolene worked quickly to swap my costumes in time for the duel and I let them know all about the dress soon to be mine. I needed to hurry but I took the time to send a note to Wolfie asking him to second me but I requested that Luigi escort me just in case he could not be found in time.

My arrival at the Rock Garden was a relief as I found Wolfie, in talks with my soon-to-be dueling partner, and he agreed to be my second which made Luigi redundant. The Lord Posen came to this duel fully armored which seemed like a bit of overkill but if he feared my skill so then so be it. Wolfie performed weapons inspection and offered very limited guidance. With the local language barrier and my opponent’s full suit of armor, I was a little intimidated but managed to shake it off. We began and after a few exchanges which left me hurt but him untouched, it became clear that I was going to have to choose my targets extremely carefully. I managed a few well placed strikes but could not withstand his blows in return. His armor proved too much for me but I was not convinced that it was his superior skill which was giving him the advantage. Still on the second occasion of his disarming me, with the wounds that I bore, it was clear I would have to withdraw. The Lady Vogue would not be pleased. sigh

The locals sent in surgeons to stitch me up which they did but not without carving up my current finery even further than my foe had done. I remonstrated them loudly but they carried on, clearly unable to understand my Montaigne broadly peppered with Eisen imprecations. My ladies tried their best to protect my garb from additional insult but I was pretty sure this time it would be a complete loss. It was with amazement that a Lady I had just met returned after I was stitched up to present me with a dress seemingly purchased from the evenings show. It was with this generous gift I made the acquaintance of Lady Rhoades of Avalon. With a bit of work my ladies will be able to make it suitable for daily use.

Alexis had sought out my bedside and we reviewed my duel blow by blow. He too was of a mind that my loss was driven almost fully by my opponent’s armor. We were interrupted by raised voices in the corridor and the Lady Vogue made her presence known. I called her in to my room and Wolfie and (to my surprise) Posen acted the part of my guardians and prevented her thugs from following her in. She made her displeasure with my evening’s loss known but in typical fashion offered an alternative course of action. She requested I “take care of” the Castillian ambassador. Alexis urged me to deny her and when I expressed my qualms with such a plan she threatened to make my grandmother aware of my debts but said I could do it in a formal duel if it made me feel better about the whole thing. It didn’t and she increased the pressure of her request by suggesting that this directive came from a higher Montaigne noble. I vowed to consider her offer and promised a reply later in the evening.

After her departure Alexis not only insisted that I reject the plan but he made it clear he had no understanding of the position I was left in. His recommendation to marry someone and settle down was not only absurd but upsetting. I have not put three years into this course of action to merely marry some random noble who can only be well below me. Not when I can recover my Grandmama’s faith in me and grant me appanage which will give me not only the monies but the title to make an appropriate union.

Day 944
Today was unusually sunny but my mood was not. We set out to return to Wolfie’s uncle’s estate prior to making our return to Montaigne. I had spent the night with little sleep as I had rejected the Lady Vogue’s offer and feared the consequences if she did indeed make my grandmother aware of my debts. We arrived late in the day with Alexis and I eager to plan our exodus on the morrow.

Day 945
Alexis’ counsel on the night of the duel had left me displeased with his company and Luigi was poor companionship with his near constant complaining of the Eisen countryside although he was eager to finally see my homelands on this journey. Wolfie had presented an absurd plan to duel the Lady Vogue on my behalf to settle some portion of my debts but not before petitioning my grandmother for his right to do so on my behalf – I would laugh were I not so worried that I would not convince him to a different course of action prior to our arrival. My ladies and I whiled away the time making small talk and increasing our acquaintance with the Lady Rhoades along the way.

Day 948
Arrival in Arrent means finally returning to civilization. It’s like we’ve been on an extended hunting trip where we had to rough it for the last several weeks. Luigi too brightened up upon our return from the wilds. The orderly vineyards and lush green countryside, the scent from the flower fields, the graceful architecture and the return of colors to the wardrobe of even the peasants brightened even this unusually rainy day.

I immediately ran into Marienne Arrent, proving we had indeed returned to acceptable social spheres and she invited me and my guests to an evening of gaming. After we checked into our inn and took our repast I told the others of our invitation but I was not surprised when Stahl declined the offer to remain at the inn drinking with Hans. Alexis had disappeared but Wolfie, Luigi and the Lady Rhoades seemed eager to attend. We rested an refreshed ourselves then set out for the evening. I was determined to be frugal this evening so I set forth only with 20 of the guilders that Alexis had passed to me and I would only join in games where the odds were in my favor. Dice games were sure to provide me the winnings I would need for our travels in Montaigne. I promised Wolfie I would show him how things were done and we set forth to the tables just as soon as we arrived and had made our introductions to our hostess.

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Tagbuch Steppenwolf

SO it was a duel I need fight but with the suitor of lady Helgrund? Surly she would help me stop this farcical betrothal…

After talking to her she would throw herself in front of my blade to spare her lovers life… excellent!

Except She didn’t. The woman would have me kill her love for power? The lady or the tiger indeed. I was no predator I would not kill the man so I quit the match, everything solved…

But everyone acted like I won… I was brave, valiant and courteous, blah! Lord Helgrund gave me the girls hand in marriage, but I use the word girl lightly… Anyone who would turn on a lover so quickly to get something she thought was better is a fiend. But latter Alexi showed me I should show her just what a prize I am, how rustic and down to earth I am, surly she will respect that HA!

What is this I hear another duel is to take place, between Erik Posen and Vivian… NO! Out of the frying pan into the fire… I will continue this later…

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Viv's Journal - Day 942 (continued, again)

Day 942 Continued some more

The party ended more with a whimper than a bang and I was somewhat disappointed as things had begun to look entertaining. I highlight of the post fight festivities had been receiving an invitation to the Lady Helgrund’s fashion show the next evening. Finally! Fashion! I have been fostering a secret hope that the Eisen have merely been hiding it away and this will be my chance to discover the best they have to offer. Should this be a failure I will have to write of their fashion in its entirety.

The lackluster ending to the evening had disappointed me and left me feeling bored overall. Luigi had sought my bed and his wounded theatrics made me irritable rather than amused. I opted for sleep to provide my escape and became all the more determined to support Alexis’ goal of returning to Montaigne with the utmost speed.

Day 943

I was awakened at an early hour by Wolfie who came to ask me to second him in a duel he was to take part in this day. I made him promise medical assistance to more rapidly regenerate Luigi to his healthy state as I was finding my lover more and more tiresome in his wounded condition.

I set about preparing for a very, very busy day. I sent for my ladies and Blanca and Joyce hurried to assist me. We had to make extremely careful choices about today’s outfits. The duel I would second would be against Montaignes so it mattered more which costume I would stand in. Standards must be kept and, of course, I still must be free of confinement to motion should I need to fight. And the fashion show later would require the most fine tuning of accessories. Every item sends a message and I knew that not only was I representing Montaigne but I must not shame my hostess whose limited means of access to finery might leave her under embellished. I resolved to make a gift of the scarf my Castillian suitor had given me before he fell out of my favor, so I arranged to send it as a gift to Lady Helgrund. Before I made good my departure for the day’s entertainments I heard through the household gossip that Alexis was showboating again – this time fighting some Montaigne then throwing his money away repairing him. We’ll have to have a talk later.

I received a message that the duel had been moved to the castle’s court room so I sought Wolfie out in his rooms and found him preparing with Stahl and we all headed down together. The room was quite full with avid spectators but I was straight to business and inspected the weapons set forth for the duel. I provided my insight into the Montaigne’s trick blade and gave Wolfie a slap on the back for luck. Things started off rough with the Montaigne’s showier moves carving into Wolfie solid frame. It seemed Wolfie was caught a little unprepared despite my warnings and the Montaigne looked quite good for a bit.

I barely noticed approach of one of the Ladies Helgrund and her small talk, so intent was I on the flurry of exchanges. Then the tide suddenly turned and I breathed a sigh of relief as Wolfie finally ground down the Montaigne enough to take the lead. Wolfie solidly in charge it finally looked like all was done but the Montaigne persisted despite Wolfie pushing him to concede. Badly wounded and bleeding heavily he taunted Wolfie to finish him off but after a tense moment it was Wolfie who called quits. Then he growled a bit in an exchange with the Lord Helgrund then the lord brought forth his daughter from the night before and interlocked their hands together. By which I took it to mean that a union would be forthcoming. I asked those around me what was happening but Alexis had moved off when I wasn’t looking and that only left Wolfie’s pet to answer and he was as lost as I was. Some cheers after Wolfie raised his hand in victory and by all accounts the deed was done – Wolfie was engaged.

I hied off to my rooms to make my appearance as perfect as I could for the occasion. I was thrilled that my entrance did not go unnoticed and the local ladies were appropriately wowed. I considered it my good deed to advance fashion in Eisen and everyone knows that fashion requires competition to evolve. A small jab here, a little dig there and the ladies seemed to be picking up the way of things in no time. I did offer my sage advice to the Ladies Helgrund whom I had already befriended but when I saw the most gorgeous gown of green silk waiting to take center stage I was nearly heartbroken I had given all my funds to the Lady Vogue. So beautiful I nearly wept that I would be unable to adorn myself with it, when fortune smiled and out of the corner of my eye I saw the Lady Vogue on the other end of the room. And idea occurred to me and I hurried to her side. Not eager to in-debt myself any further, I propositioned her with an exchange for some of the jewelry we had acquired in our travels. She refused but as a wise businesswoman it was not without a different offer. She would provide me that dress plus suitable jewelry to go with it and in return I would duel some Eisen nobleman. My victory would ensure he do whatever favor he had denied Lady Vogue and I would get the dress. I countered that she would also forgive me another 250 guilders of my debt. Perfect! This fellow Erich von Posen, would be set to duel me later this evening. I returned to my seat, with visions of silk dancing in my head.

I noticed that Alexis and Wolfie had made an entrance but Wolfie shortly disappeared and I had little time to engage with Alexis as I had to hurry back to change before my duel which was fast approaching. I was going to make to the Rock Garden with very little time to spare and I still had yet to find someone I could ask to second me.

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Viv's Journal Day 942 continued

Day 942 (continued)

A nice rest and my ladies’ attentions and I was quite presentable for the ball. To my amazement so was Wolfie. When he appeared at my door it was only a few minor adjustments and he was more presentable than I had seen him. We adjourned to the ballroom and I was quite eager to join in the affair – that is until the Lady Vogue appeared. I quickly concealed my face and told Wolfie of the impending trouble. Direct fellow that he is, he took a direct course to approach her but I thought my presence would only ignite the situation so I stayed behind and slipped into the crowds.

At the food tables, which while not elaborate were sufficiently filled, I made the acquaintance of a woman who cautioned me that the Montaignes in attendance were likely to stir up trouble over the presence of the Castilian peasant in our party. It took me a moment to think who she could possibly be speaking of then I remembered the strange lanky boring fellow that had been hanging around Wolfie of late. I took the time to plant a worm in this gentlewoman’s ear about the unsuitability of the Lady Vogue’s behavior at social events such as this. Then I turned her loose hoping to tip the other guests to my side if the Lady Vogue tried to trouble me. I had sowed the seeds and I could only hope they would take.

I then sought out Alexis to give him warning about the threat from my (our) countrymen and he in turn reiterated his concerns about our father and suggested that time should not be wasted in planning our return. I took leave and traversed the party in search of Wolfie, pleased to find my rumors had begun to bloom.

The staff began to hand out masks and I donned one eagerly and drifted to Wolfie’s side. Alexis had suggested if we furthered Wolfie’s attempts at finding a suitable mate we might more easily urge him to Montaigne. I set about making him seem more appealing and indeed, the young lady he had been conversing with did seem more charmed with him for my efforts. I was so absorbed that the Lady Vogue was upon me before I noticed her approach. I was quite shocked at how civil she was and indeed quite relieved when she said she would accept my payment of 400 guilders. Eagerly I accepted a glass (or two) of champagne and we headed upstairs to my rooms so I could retrieve the funds. I think she suspected I was lying as it was her turn to express surprise when I returned with the coin in hand. She counted it very carefully before acknowledging it as an acceptable installment.

I returned to the party lighter of purse but also of spirit and again I sought out Wolfie that I might continue to enhance his aura of eligibility. The wine continued to flow and I continued to partake enjoying myself immensely especially when the Castillian fought with some mysterious masked fellow. It seemed the Castillian was going to make a decent show of it but just when things were getting good he pulled out a gun and shot the masked man. I called out to let him know that was bad form (“Well, that’s just cheating!”). One of the footmen had just arrived with caviar when suddenly all of the lights were extinguished and more shadowy figures took arms against Wolfie’s strange pet. I suspected this wasn’t going to go well for him so I settled in with my snacks to see what would happen. I was waiting for Alexis or Wolfie to make their big move but when they didn’t I felt I had to intercede, besides, I was getting a bit bored, so I stepped in to finish off the remaining foes. Fortunately the Lord Helgrunde came to my rescue and saw to my thirst with his (clearly imported) fine sparkling wine. I think it was actual champagne.

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Viv's Journal Day 941

The day dawned dark (I assume since we’re still in Eisen) and when I awakened by mid-morning I was determined to make the most of the day. The adventures from last night left me ahead by no small amount and with my debt to Lady Vogue dwindling I was more full of cheer than I have been in quite a while. Also, I had slept quite well with Luigi in his own rooms to prevent risk to his broken bones and I felt quite refreshed. My ladies had made good the repairs to most of my wardrobe and had even designed a few embellishments with the aim of hiding much of their fine mending work and I was more than satisfied with the results.

I went down to find that the merriment had continued throughout the night and carried through into this day as well. With my newfound intent to enjoy my environment I made the most of it and joined in. My lack of language comprehension did not prohibit my ability to join into the drinking, dining and gaming. Something happening amid the crowds made Wolfie a bit more serious and he went off to speak to a group commoners and I was careful to pay him my full attention as this usually leads to a petite bit of combat to liven things up.

The evening was the actual birthday party of Wolfie’s uncle and apparently he made a gesture and gifted Wolfie some important family sword. It looked valuable and ornate so – pretty cool.

Day 942
Upon rising the next morning Alexis found me to express his concern for our father. He asked that I send for word on his health so after breaking my fast I quickly penned a couple of letters, one to Maman and one to Grandmere. Alexis had seemed to have a sense of urgency so I expedited the letters in the hopes of a quick response.

We set out again on another journey on behalf of our friend Wolfie. Our intent is that this be a short jaunt and we return quickly to Wolfie’s uncle’s home. So far I have seen little of this country that is notable but I have been promised our destination is worthwhile and will provide me an opportunity to shop. I have no idea the purpose of this trip but whatever, I have hopes there will be dresses or at the very least fabrics of suitable worth.

When we arrived at our destination I found myself in familiar surrounds. This was perhaps the most luxurious of our past Eisen destinations and I was thrilled to be back once I recognized it. Unfortunately upon entering the court we found ourselves witness to a rather tense exchange of some type but it quickly ended and Wolfie stepped before the lord to present us. Again more grunts and growls and we were welcomed and shown to our rooms. My ladies and I settled in quickly then we made our way to the shops on a hunt for hidden treasure.

I made a couple of purchases of a speculative nature. I found a fine gown of silks from the Crescent empire, slightly worn but worth more than I paid. Still it is previously worn so I’m not terribly sure it is something I am willing to wear myself. It should provide a pattern to design off of and might be sold for more at a later date. I also found a gown designed in an antique Eisen style that is very well made and should at the very least provide me suitable wear for a costume ball. When we were finished my ladies and I ran into Wolfie at the chocolate shoppe where we had stopped for a treat. Always so thoughtful he had stopped to purchase a gift for me. He really is sweet, if only he dressed better, he might find himself a wife.

We were discussing my introduction of Wolfie to my grandmother and what would make an appropriate gift when Alexis arrived in search of Wolfie. Then just before we were to part ways, Wolfie mentioned that this evening was to be a dance at the manor, which means ball. Really he has no clue! Thank heavens he met me. I took him under my wing and off we went to see him suitably clothed for the evening’s affair. First we stopped to order a customized clock for the gift, then we were just getting underway with a fitting when some commotion outside the shop attracted Wolfie’s attention. His attention no longer on the important matters at hand, he shoved some money at me, signed something for the tailor and gave an admonition to not make him wear something ridiculous, then Wolfie was gone with a jangle from the bells over the door.

Without Wolfie there the I struggled to make my intent clear to the tailor. We resorted heavily to samples, sketches and gestures. I was just beginning to despair when Wolfie returned and made my instructions clear. The cobber, the tobacconist and the jeweler all before returning to the manor. I was quite exhausted when we returned. Every thing would be so much easier if they just spoke with a civilized tongue. I received Wolfie’s promise that he would appear before me prior to making his appearance at the ball. I was quite excited as he had promised he would be visiting a barber next. I have hopes of making a silk purse before this evening’s event.

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