Seventh Sea

Vivienne's Journal, Day 882.2

Upon return to the inn Luigi was rather cool but Stahl was pleased about our report and once again he mended me. Later while I was availing myself of my handmaiden’s particular skills, Alexi called on me to use my skills to assist a woman of his acquaintance. He pleaded me to shop with an ingénue he wishes to escort to a ball this evening. I did the best I could with his limited funding but she’ll turn his head no matter the dress – he is so easily besotted. My newfound servants have provided me with a wonderful new dressmaker, a Monsieur Rouge, who had just the right dress to spectacularly feature Luigi’s gift from last night. I shall make quite an entrance at tonight’s ball. But before that I shall have to deal with the unruly affections of Senior Rodriguez

I quickly dressed to meet Manuel and disengage myself from him for the evening so I might attend the ball with Luigi. This assignation was confusing to say the least. He tried to convince me of Luigi’s villainy but I suspect his lack of fluency in Vodacce was what lead to his twisted and unrelated arguments. Apparently he has challenged Luigi to a duel on the morrow and in keeping with the Vodacce style of combat I am likely to be losing a suitor.

I rushed back to the inn and was it not for Becca and Jemma’s quick hands I would not have been ready in time. I looked resplendent in my new gown which beautifully set off the magnificent necklace Luigi gave me and I was certain to cement his interest and looked forward with great anticipation an evening of elegance.

The ball was lovely until Alexis ruined everything by taking my aside and telling me Luigi is married which I wasn’t about to believe since he is constantly trying to ruin my fun since coming to this country but further investigation and a charming interlude with the Montaigne ambassador to Vodacce proved the truth of his words. I will have to come up with a way of handling Luigi but in the meantime he continues to speak of gifts of clothes and jewels so…

I did put in a good word for the ambassador, Pierre du Paix, and Luigi seemed to want to speak with him immediately leaving me to my own devices. Rodriguez appeared by my side as if by magic and the only thing to stop is tongue was to dance. He continues to say Luigi is “a bad man” and not that I’m not willing to give more credence to his words now that Luigi’s matrimonial state has been revealed but with no more to go on I can’t totally dismiss his role with the Rose & Cross safehouse as well as the kindness I’ve seen him give the orphans at the inn. Even his connection to a crime family does not mean he doesn’t work from within to leverage it for good. I can’t even hate him for being married as that truly appears to be the Vodacce way. Rodriguez is not that much better a candidate, neither are men I could bring home but at least with Luigi I would have luxury.

No surprise that before the evening could progress Alexis could not help but get himself into trouble again and I could not but help to defend him. I do not really know what sparked the fire but a large Crescent man had challenged him to a duel so I stepped in. The man called to the death and it very nearly was – mine. I had several moments fearing I was over-matched but once again Wolfie proved a value second to me and managed enough distraction for my swords to slip through. It was with great relief I tried to deliver the killing blow only to be blocked by Wolfie at the last moment! I still struck with my knife-hand but I believe my foe still lived. I threatened his brother, who had plead for his life, with my bloody knife and told him the burden of preventing his brother coming back on me was now his, but to my surprise Wolfie then declared the Crescent swordsman dead and me victorious.

Luigi introduced me to his uncle, Gespucci, the patriarch of his family and both offered hospitality and healing. Thankfully, Monsieur Rouge produced another gown so I did not need to return home in my dishabille. But sadly the evening’s festivities did not live on much longer.

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Vivienne's Journal, Day 883

The next morning I woke to find my handmaidens had achieved the impossible. Repairs to my gown from the night before, a lovely breakfast and they had chosen an appropriate outfit for the day – with some minor tweaking of my own of course.

Luigi summoned me and begged me to show him favor for the day’s tournament between Manuel and himself. I gave him a handkerchief and upon returning to my room I sent a different favor to Manuel. Luigi’s married status presses my nerves and I will not show him too much preference.

The day was hot as it is always hot here in Vodacce but still the duel seemed to be drawing a large crowd which I was upset to see also seemed to be drawing the attentions of the Lady Vogue. Fearing I was soon to be discovered I feigned an attack of heat and begged Alexis to hide me. I thought I had evaded her attention but she found me where I had retired to a liter, distracting her for a moment I made good my escape only her henchman pursued me and caught up. Of course, I bested him quickly and headed off again. Still more minions waylaid me (on two separate occasions! How many minions does this bitch have!?!), and I took damage before chasing them all off. Another outfit damaged – I really am going to have to do something about her! How am I ever to pay off my debt if she keeps damaging all my beautiful clothes?

I made my way back to the Inn to await the results of the duel. I actually did feel a thrill as Luigi entered the bar unharmed, but still I threw myself into his arms and wept confessing my shame of the debt that I owed. I was swept up into his embrace and he reassured me he would see to the Lady Vogue. My relief was genuine and his kiss was soooooo enthralling. He led me to his private booth and I had totally forgotten my own wound until Stahl disturbed us and asked after my health. He can actually be very thoughtful. A brief bout with his healing skills fixed me right up and I rushed back to Luigi’s side (after changing into an undamaged gown of course).

Vivienne's Journal, Day 883.2

Day 883.2

The afternoon did not go at all according to the plan. Stahl had another mission for us which was clearly designed to cut into the time I could spend with Luigi but first I had an unexpected letter from Grandmama which included not only her best wishes but a check! For money! Shopping would have to wait as Stahl can be such a hard case and apparently the mission involved rescuing more Rose & Cross from the same prison my companions had previously rescued fellow guild members from before. The plan to go in through the sewers (!?!) I had to straight out nix. There is no way whatsoever I’m going through those. Do you know what is down there? Ick. No. I agreed to provide a distraction so I enlisted the aid of Herr Hanz.

As I said, nothing went according to plan. We went to the Villanova prison island and trying to draw the attention of the guards by having a fight but when it came time Hanz seemed to go a little crazy and began trashing the fishmongers stand. I don’t know what he hoped to achieve from this display but I proceeded as normal and danced and flashed my blades with a bit of showmanship. I taunted him and waited for the opportunity to throw the fight but Hanz kept pulling his sword strikes and I couldn’t find a chance to make any of his moves look good. Eventually some nearby Vodacce gentlemen spoke up to interfere and I have to say I was relieved or this might have gone on all day. In his confusion and anger Hanz finally took a swing at me and I stepped into it and took the hit. I had to cue him to run off then I tried to look intimidated by the Vodacce and ran to the guards for “protection”. Praying our distraction was working I tried to keep the attention of those guards nearby. I continued a conversation with the head guard who was very polite until he invited me to witness the execution of some prisoners. I reacted with horror and when he recommended I petition the Bishop for leniency. Thinking on my feet I accepted his offer and he took me around to present my case to the Bishop. I made the case for Trial by Combat and to my surprise Najarro made his presence known and volunteered to stand. The Bishop seemed inclined to accept the proposal but right then Wolfie and Alexis came out from the dungeon with some of the prisoners. The bishop recognized Wolfie and Najarro of course picked Alexi out with ease. I gestured they should come up to speak before the Bishop but they decided now was the time for theatrics and instead they destroyed the gallows that had been erected in the amphitheater. The Bishop called out that Wolfie should be the chosen representative. Wolfie only accepted when another fellow stood up from the stands and offered to stand in combat against the prisoners. I didn’t recognize him but Wolfie seemed to, then Luigi’s brother also rose. So Wolfie and I stood against Luigi’s brother and Najar ro and all the while I was thinking this couldn’t end well. Even victory would be complicated. When next I looked Alexis could not be seen.

After a bit of name calling to start things off, Najarro got the jump on me and landed a couple of good hits and I began to worry. I managed to jump onto a statue and the change in terrain seemed to befuddle Najarro, but I caught a glimpse of Alexis’ lover in the stands and I swear she intervened with the fates to put me at a disadvantage as the statue crumbled beneath me! I leapt to the nearest statue and I swung on a rope to do some damage to Najarro. Still not enough. He struck me again but before I could make another move Alexis showed up and Najarro made threats implying the use of magics to affect the deaths of all Alexi holds dear. Alexi seemed indecisive but when I threw a knife at Zola to stop her interference, Alexi threw himself in front of my blade. STEPPPED. IN FRONT. OF MY BLADE!

Done! I am more than done! He has tried to convince me at every turn that this foolish arrangement with Najarro is the best that could be hoped for. And he has denied my arguments against it. These stupid games have only empowered him – never a good move with a smart man.

I did Najarro more damage and Wolfie stepped in to strike a blow. Too much for Najarro he ran away again displaying his cowardice for all to see. Alexi and I gave chase but Alexi got to him first. He managed to wrestle and grapple him which allowed me to strike a few more blows. He begged for mercy but I certainly had no remorse. This villain was beyond the pale. Zola even entreated Alexis to spare him but it mattered not one whit to me. The killing blow provided me much satisfaction.

I stewed and brewed all the way back to the Inn. On afterthought Alexis must have brought along not only Zola and their son, but the prisoners we had been sent to rescue. Wolfie brought the unconscious brother of Luigi and dropped him at Luigi’s feet. I was surprised to see them embrace but I was wholly distracted by scene unfolding before me with Lexi falling to bended knee and proposing to the bitch he sired his son on. I congratulated her when she accepted but threatened her when Lexi couldn’t hear. If she even tries to fuck with my fate strands she better cut them completely or so help me I’ll kill her.

I don’t remember much more of the evening. The wine was flowing pretty freely and I was trying very hard not to think of Alexi’s interference. And another damn dress ruined but at least this time I can afford to have it replaced.

Tagebuch Steppenwolf - the Arena
My fight at the Colosseum

Stahl wanted us to break out prisoners from the Villinova prison exactly as we had done two days before. I asked why we had not broken them out last time, he said because they where not there at the time. I asked if he wanted us to break out any other prisoners (doing the same thing day after day is too much like war). He said there was no… this answer will change in two days…

Vivienne never met a sewer she liked (presumably she does not defecate…), so Alexi and I broke in through heightened security and defenses, someday these may actually improve to the point of being annoying…

We managed to make our way to the gallows on the Colosseum floor…Colosseum.jpg

After smashing down the gallows, I found Vivienne talking to the bishop and somehow she had arranged a trial by combat. She and I would team together in a grande melee against Alexis child’s evil stepfather Najarro and Luigi’s oafish brother (what!? his stupidity was dwarfed only by his ignorance(1)).

We informally but instinctually paired off, Vivienne would fight her brothers tormentor, while I would fight her “suitor’s” brother.

With a forte in grappling Luigi’s brother foolishly attempted over and over to get me in a simple bear hug, but so cowed was he with my countenance he just slowed our battle to a crawl, all the while Najarro sliced Vivienne’s new dress to ribbons… Finally realizing I must put the troll down quickly least Vivienne end up skewered, I hit the man with a nose crushing headbutt. When he next attacked, slowly and taking the exact same tack as always, I mashed the mans face with sword (turned to the flat at the last instance, killing the fool would bring difficulties to us all).

Upon turning my attention to our remaining opponent I found Najarro confronting Alexis and Vivienne. Swearing oaths to kill their family members with foul dark magic and to slit Alexis’ sons throat (his own adopted boy?!?! the foul beast). I had heard too much and announced to Najarro, that as a such a vile villain, I would end him in combat, striking him across the face with my panzerfist. With combat joined Najarro like the coward he was quickly fled the Colosseum pursued by Alexis andVivienne.

After chastising the bishop for having the church’s interest represented by such miscreants (a blemish he recognized and apologized for, proclaiming the gallowed men innocent). I saw Alexis’ boy alone and frightened. Taking him by the hand I led him to meet his father, as his father, for the first time.

More to come…

(1) Trust me this makes more sense in Eisen, it doesn’t translate well

Till death do you part

Mr. Smith is intrigued by Luigi’s offer to foot the bill for the wedding. How much do Vodacce weddings cost? Is there a lavish feast? Wine? Dancing… with nice young ladies? With a more stern countenance, though, Father Joccopo will not consent to conduct the ceremony unless both parties attest to good standing in the true church. How much is the priest’s fee, again?

Tagebuch Steppenwolf - No Weddings or a Funeral

A battle of wills erupted between Alexi and the Father about when the wedding should occur… Immediately or in a minimum of 4 months. Apparently a week was decided upon. This shows me Alexi must have more willpower HA!

I went to Vivienne’s tailor and bought a best man’s outfit, have to look good at a Vodacci wedding defending the bride. Boy do I look ridiculous in it.

I accompanied Alexi when he went to call off his courting of Ambrosia. She didn’t take it well, and her brothers took it even worse. They wanted to slice Alexi to ribbons, but wanted nothing to do with me. I tried to comfort Ambrosia but she was pretty unconscionable… This makes me feel bad for Helgi, I hope she really understands we cannot ever be married… but I will NOT abandon her, EVER!

I went to see Luigi’s father, prince of the city. He was a reasonable man, we discussed trade terms and we came to a mutually beneficial arrangement, if Herr Seager agrees. He did say he would sweeten the deal if I were to bring a man (who turns out to be Zola’s brother) too, him… This was left vague, I need to look into this further to see what it entails…

Zola’s father and Naharo’s uncle came to the bar with intent to remove Zola and Carlos (as good relatives should). When they talked of killing Alexis I needed to step in (permanently Vivienne decided she need not, I was injured in this conflict, perhaps needlessly, if you won’t back you brother, what what are you?). I attacked no one in this battle only bound weapons… The conflict ended when Zola promised suicide and Vivienne threatened to get involved. I stated I could not control her and people would die if she join battle… this was enough to cause our opponents to retreat…

{closing joke}

More to come…

Viv's Journal Day 884

Day 884

I woke in ill temper and with a splitting headache. Betty and Jasmine were careful to stay well clear but they had done their best with the gown I stripped off last night (in the bar???) and once again they provisioned me with a fine breakfast which I had little stomach for. Once dressed I spoke to Luigi to steer him away from his generous offer to fund this ridiculous wedding but I did not have my wits about me and could not sway him from his delusional belief this is a love match which should be supported. Disgusted I left to find the deft skills of Monsieur Rouge and ask him to fit me out for this preposterous affair. With the monies that Grandmama had sent me I funded a wedding outfit, a new fine gown, a special gown on order, and even a hat to gift to the old bat herself.

Upon returning to the inn I asked Luigi to intercede with Lady Vogue so that I may repay part of the monies I owe her without jeopardizing a courier. He agreed very graciously with his normal charm so I relented about his participation in the wedding plans and he has rewarded me with promises of another romantic interlude. More fireworks to come, yay!

A fine time with Luigi but still I made an early night of it a thing I am rarely grateful for but on this occasion it worked to my advantage as I was up early enough the next morning to witness another type of fireworks. Zola’s father and some Castillian noble made an appearance and demanded Zola and Carlos to return with him and give up her hasty affections for my brother. His dismay at their intentions to wed, and worse yet my brother’s lack of nobility, only plummeted upon learning Carlos might be not of Najarro’s line. I sat back to watch my brother reap what he had sown, but I felt a little bad that Wolfie took some damage standing to his defense. I relented and interceded when Alexis asked me to protect Carlos, but when Zola’s father waved a sword at me I demanded she choose a side now. Either way I would be happy. If she went with her father I would help defend my brother’s right as father to Carlos and I always enjoy a good fight, alternately if she declared herself for my brother his right to Carlos would be further solidified and she would not be working against us again. I was only a little surprised when she took my brother’s side, and while I was relieved for Alexis I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get to have any fun.

Day 884 continued

After Zola’s father left things got pretty boring, that is until Hanz showed up with Bertoli in tow. With great enthusiasm Hanz tried to explain something to me but thank the heavens Bertoli was along and translated. Apparently they had found some entertainment for the night in the form of a dueling club. They suggested that if I were to participate I could not help but win – which of course was true, so I quickly agreed to check the place out with them. We idled for only a little while before heading out for the fun.

Sure enough, we found our way to the underground arena and it was as they had promised. A man named Fish, introduced himself and appeared to be directing the activities; he promised a purse of 100 guilders for participating and 20 to the loser for taking part. After watching a battle or two I was eager to join in. My opponent, a large Eisen did indeed manage to hit me once (my reflexes were a bit off) but I made quick work of him and it almost wasn’t even a fair fight.

Wolfie showed up as I dispatched my foe and while Hanz and I were ready to celebrate, Wolfie seemed out of sorts. I figured he probably just needed to get something out of his system which he did by fighting the proprietor. He was of course victorious but I had hedged by bets (just in case). We returned to our inn in very high spirits and after Stahl tended my small wound I gave Luigi a kiss and 100 more guilders for the Lady Vogue. He sorely tempted my resolve by mentioning a hat that Monsieur Rogue had set aside that might tickle my fancy. Thankfully my brother came in at the last and offered to purchase it as a gift. Apparently I was being rewarded for my virtuous intensions. With that I returned to the main room to take some coin off of my friend Hanz with a promise to meet Luigi later and to have a word with Alexis before retiring for the evening.
I quickly ran up to change into my blue gown to give Beth and Janice a chance to work their magic on my now damaged green gown. I’m giving considerably more thought to Wolfie’s idea of wearing red.

Alexis’ “talk” was a ask me to improve my relationship with Zola. I explained once again that I pose no threat to her as long as she doesn’t tamper with my threads. Still he made a plea that I find some way to fix things between us so I promised to take her shopping on the morrow.

Viv's Journal 885

Day 885

When I arose the next day I found Zola finally in the kitchens (?) preparing a meal for my brother?! From Alexi’s request I invited her on a spree and though she seemed unwilling to join me at first, a few careful words and she agreed to join me but only after she had completed the menial tasks she had set for herself. I suspect this cooking she was doing was some form of repentance on her part; she has much to atone to my brother for. After some interminably long time she was finally ready to go but I was unsure how she expected to fit into any gown after a meal of that size.

Monsieur Rouge was his normal gracious self as I introduced my soon to be sister-in-law and I quickly inquired after the hat Luigi had mentioned so as not miss out. Next I suggested that outfitting Zola with a gown for her wedding be a priority. She asked me Alexi’ favorite color and I honestly answered that it was either royal blue or red. She favored the blue but Monsieur Rouge urged her to try a red and white saying that red was the color of the season. Still she leaned to blue and I pointed out that red might be improper for the circumstances of her o’erhasty marriage. She chose a mild dress in the blue which will indeed look fine on her and I recommended she still try the red and white one the draper recommended since I hoped to distract her. I had just noticed that Alexis had appeared outside in the fountain square and he had drawn the attention of some Castillian thugs. I excused myself (but not before asking Monsieur Rogue to set aside a different blue dress that had caught my eye) and made a quick exit.

In the square I whistled to draw the eye of the fellows that had engaged my brother and I suggested they had perhaps overestimated their own skills. I dispatched one but at the same time Alexis dashed across the plaza to place himself in front of Zola and he staggered from taking a shot to his back. I quickly gutted the other then looked to the rooftops to find the rifleman who had shot my brother. Spotting a figure on high I ran a footrace with Wolfie who had also appeared. We both chased to see who could get to the man with the gun first. Wolfie seemed to recognize him as he called out some name or other and threatened him. Of course Wolfie got to our foe first. The villain was out on the rooftop so I threw my knife but I forgot to account for wind (since I learned this trick in the bar) and sadly I missed. Wolfie and I had to climb out after him and we both swiped at him but the bastard shot me. I whacked him again and he slipped from his perch. I tried to grab one of his pistols as he slipped past but Wolfie grabbed him and they both tumbled over the side. At the last minute, a grappling hook shot out and saved him both from the fall. He managed to land on a different roof and I took advantage of a connecting cable to take fly after him. Using the last of my strength I managed another hit on him but still he fought on. I dropped off the cable on a lower rooftop discouraged that I could no longer pursue. I was quite surprised when a masked figure stepped out the shadows and questioned my purpose. I thought my purpose was quite clear but he asked me questions about some gem or other and the inquisition. I assume the gem was something he was planning to steal (thus the mask) but I knew nothing of which he spoke (not that I wasn’t intrigued). I offered up my lack of knowledge of his gem and I mentioned that I was not a fan of the inquisition. He wondered aloud if I wasn’t the Black Scorpion and I admitted that was a name I had heard rather a lot that day. We talked about killing men in the streets and I said I rather thought that some deserved it. He agreed and offered to speak when I was next in Avalon. With that he gave me a card with the name Hunter on it. I asked what it was and he said a calling card. I thought that odd as we reserved calling cards for tea at the neighbor’s house. He explained his organization used them- kind of silly if you ask me. I mean the mask is to hide his identity, right?

I had been thinking this place was becoming tiresome what with another gown in tatters and more wounds to be tended but this fellow seem rather interesting and dashing. I took my time returning to the inn and though Stahl was completely occupied healing Alexis’ dire wounds one of Luigi’s men managed to tend my wounds. I set Bev and June to their seamstresses duties while I took a bit of a rest to refresh myself before an evening at the inn’s bar.


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