So since we planned to head to the Versailles palace grounds, I was supportive of the plan where we drop off the children we were now responsible for at the nearest Rose and Cross.
Except seemingly the one urchin from the herd that had spoken out. That one was following us.
The party was in full swing when we arrived. With the Empresses’ guard brushing off those not in the inner circle we were shunted off to mingle with the other guests. No one questioned our presence but I knew my attire was raising eyebrows. Immediately upon our arrival Wolfie noticed his liege was in attendance and both seemed extremely surprised to see the other. Wolfie hied off to question what that was all about while I got the lay of the land. With the urchin tagging along I attended the chess tournament of one of my cousins, and offered him a move or two while I caught up on the latest gossip. It seems the Empress is in hot water with the Emperor and an ultimatum has been issued. If she does not appear at the party wearing some jewelry he bestowed upon her she’s in deep trouble.
Intent on finding out more I realized I would have to clean myself up and I needed a new outfit immediately. Alexis was less than helpful but his friend Sebastian had recognized my plight and found me a serviceable gown. I was quite pleased. He might not be noble but he is quite the gentleman.
Another cousin was also there and he saw to the clean up and clothing of the urchin who had been attracting unwanted attention. He begged me to teach a lesson to a mannerless Vestin that had insulted him. I was more than happy to assist him if in return he had my urchin cleaned up and returned to me. But before I saw to his chore I spoke to Monsieur Rouge whom had been pointed out to me.
As I expected, Monsieur Rouge was happy to see me and his magic was worked upon the gown I had acquired. I thanked him gratefully and I told him I would be happy to ask Grandmama to permit him to traffic his goods with Avalon despite the current restrictions.
I departed his company with a light step. This party was suddenly shaping up. The Empress needed help, a lovely gown was in my possession and I was about to fight a duel. Plus there was gambling, food and drink and better yet, nothing had happened yet that would displease Grandmama. A lovely evening indeed. I decided to keep the gown to change into after the duel and I practically skipped across the grounds in my search for the loud Vesten who had so insulted my cousin. I believe Luigi generally followed around with me enjoying the fine company and drinks provided but I barely noticed him as I sought my prey.
The Vesten was extremely large but I was undaunted. After all it had been a long long time since I had lost a battle. Either the Vesten had an offensive interpreter or he himself was rude. I was not displeased when he refused to apologize and I loudly called out for Wolfie to second me while I taught this oxen a lesson.
Wolfie looked a bit alarmed by my foe but I was prepared to make quick work of him. I was not however happy when the Vesten used magic to emblazen his great axe. I figured it wouldn’t be good. Whatever spells he used must have been to slow me down which left me in dire straights as he landed a very sturdy blow. Had I not entered this duel injured I might not have been in immediate jeopardy.
Sebastian rallied the crowd in support of me and someone from the crowd threw an orange at the oaf and he roared his displeasure. In fact he stepped up to threaten some little serving boy but Wolfie stepped up in defense of the child and the Vesten backed down and returned to our fight. It was not going well but I felt emboldened by my audience’s enthusiasm and so I pushed my luck and while I managed to trim his beard he landed another blow that was clearly a problem for me. Still reluctant to quit the battle I pushed harder. I struck off his braid and another blow but hurt as I was when he still didn’t cede I was forced to surrender. With great reluctance I laid my blade at his feet as gracefully as I could considering the wound in my side and there the battle was done.
I was tired when I limped off to find a healer and don my gown for the rest of the evening’s festivities.