Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Midday, Departing from Olten

Monday, May 19, 1650

Emmanuel leads the party to the gardener's market on the south edge of town, and towards a generously sized carriage awaiting there.  It stands eight feet, with wheels that are four and a half feet, pulled by four strong cart horses - by the look of them, you'd guess them to be French percherons.  Each would weigh three quarters of a ton.  The carriage itself is classic design - two doors, on each side, two windows on either side of the door, and a window in the door itself.  The floor of the carriage sits rather lower than the front or back ends, so that it bows in the middle towards the ground - still, it has 15 inches of clearance.  It suggests a comfortable riding experience.

Before meeting the driver, you glance and see a couple standing near the side door of the carriage - a gentleman and lady, dressed in the French style of the period.  He does look pompous; she looks rather as though she is trying to appear younger than she really is.  But at present, you only see either at a distance.

Emmanuel introduces you first to the driver, Carlo.  He is a Catalan, from Barcelona, and he is mistreating the horses as you step forward - oh, that is to say he is being impatient with them, and none too gentle in his impatience.  He bows as he is introduced to each cleric in turn, and will give less of a bow to the bard.  It is clear from his speech that he is no gentlemen, though he affects the manners of one.  "Sir, Fathers," he says to the three of you, not looking at Emmanuel.  "I am told you wish to reach Lausanne.  I shall bring you there by tomorrow evening, for five pieces of silver.  I shall demand an extra piece if it storms, and ten extra pieces if we encounter bandits ... providing they do not denude us of all our wealth - in which event, should it occur, should I find myself without means, you should share what you have with me and not abandon me upon the road.  Is that satisfactory to you?"


Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

At the mention of "five silver" as versus the four that Emmanuel mentioned, I'll look curiously to Jan and Emmanuel to see if they have any reaction. If not, I'll sketch a half bow back to the driver and ask for a moment to check our purses.

"Will you still have enough to make it the rest of our way if we spend 10 silver of you both? I can pay for Andrej and I."

Alexis said...

"Charlatans the world over," answers Jan discreetly. "There's still 11 s.p. left over from Horst's tithe. I suggest using that to pay for Emmanuel and Andrej; I can manage for myself, and you, friend Delfig, need cover only your own fare."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I nod. "Very well, it shall be as you say."

I pay the driver for myself. (OOC - updating CRS)

I ask Carlo if he's had any troubles with bandits or unusual animals lately.

Alexis said...

"Si," answers Carlo. "A bit now and then. Quiet most of the time, m'Lord. There's nothing to worry about."

At this point you have an opportunity to meet your fellow passengers, as the gentleman approaches you. "Good day Sir. May I introduce myself; I am Monsieur Herieux, and this is Mademoiselle Rochelle, my sister."

She dips her head in acknowledgement of Delfig; for just a moment, it can be seen that something is wrong with her face, but as she turns, it's clear she's hiding it.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will make an appropriately courteous bow to both Lord and lady and introduce myself as "Delfig Kolhupfer from Dachau" after Jan and Andrej have introduced themselves.

Does the lady seem pure human?

Alexis said...

Yes she does. That does not account for what you thought you saw.

Carlo will call everyone to get on board, and Herieux will open the door for his sister. He will climb into the carriage after her.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Back, mostly)

Andrej will likewise make introductions and assuming nothing further is noticed or transpires will settle himself into the carriage once his companions and our fellow travellers have done so. In this way he hopes to assuage his guilt somewhat by reserving the choicest seats for those who have paid their own passage.

Alexis said...

(OOC: No guilt necessary. Did you get your computer functional? Was the trip worthwhile?)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Welcome back!)

If M. Herieux makes for light chatter, I'll inquire politely of his travels of late and where he is headed. I will defer to Jan on questions to our destination. If neither the brother or sister seem interested in conversation, I'll read my book as best I can, trying to catch glimpses of Mme. Rochelle to see if I can determine exactly what I saw.

Alexis said...

"Nowhere, Sir," answers Herieux. "I am from nowhere, and bound for nowhere. Tis' a great wonderful world and I shall see as much of it as I can ere I pass on. Being naturally wealthy, and natural of disposition for journeying, I find myself most natural when I am in motion ... and so I try to be that whenever possible!"

The light within the carriage is not so good as it is outside, and so it is difficult. Moreover, she has pulled down the gauze from her hair piece so that it, too, partly obscures her face. The defect, if it can be called that, appears to have been covered with powder.

Jan must draw out a booklet to explain the journey from Olten; quite openly he explains that from Lausanne the party will make their way to St. Maurice,

Alexis said...

then follow the Rhone into the Bishopric of Sion and the city of Sion.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Computer is back up and running fine, the trip was a minor professional disaster, but not one that can't be recovered from. Thanks for asking)

Andrej will be keeping a close eye on M. Herieux and his sister. Not coming from wealth, he mistusts it. The idea of coming from and going to nowhere and living a life of leisurely travel sounds suspicioulsly like the devil's work. Andrej does not take note of the irony. His own itinerant lifestyle sounds suspicioulsy like M. Herieux's sans money, afterall.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

After a little while of fighting the poor lighting and bouncing carriage, I'll close my book with a sigh and tuck it away.

I'll turn back to Msr. Herieux and inquire where his most recent travels had been?

(OOC - I'm really reluctant to talk to the lady, only because I don't really *know* the customs of that period of time. I don't know how DK would act in that time naturally and I hate to bring a 21st century attitude to a 17th century setting... see the monster you've started? LOL)

Alexis said...

(OOC: My women tend to be freer than they were at the period; however, in this particular case, since the woman has not yet spoken, the best manners would suggest not speaking first)

Herieux laughs, saying, "Recently? Well, recently, we have been wintering in Franche-Comte, at a quaint little winery owned by friends. There's no better way to spend the off-season, Sirs, you may take my word on that."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"My pardon, but I am not familiar with that area - where is it at and why is it good for wintering at?"

(OOC - thank you. I was going with my Emily Post gut, but there are 400 years of differences between your world and the good lady of manners)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Just to fill you in, as the character would probably know. Franche-Comte is a region of northeastern France, famous for its wine. Herieux is implying he spent the winter drunk)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Ah. This is where DK plays dumb for effect...)

"Did you and your sister find the wines there that agreeable?"

Alexis said...

"Oh, most agreeable. There's nothing like French wine fresh from the vinyard," Herieux says. "It's best that way."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I'll nod. "I see... and where did travel before wintering?"

(If you'd rather not take the conversation into excrutiating detail *grin*, DK is going to see where Herieux's been, if he gives any clues about his sister. He'll ask about Herieux's family and see what sort of skills or interest that Herieux has. He wouldn't push the conversation into rudeness, if Herieux tires of it or grows defensive, Delfig would switch subjects and talk about the lovely view down the Rhine or some other inane point. Does Herieux's sister say anything?)

Alexis said...

We can probably dispense with the point by point commentary. Talking to Herieux for awhile, you will probably begin to think that he is not all he appears to be. (The 'fresh wine' comment was supposed to ring some bells). You find conversation with him non-specific; he keeps changing the subject on you, whatever question you ask. You don't get any knowledge about his family, only that he sees the world as his family; regarding his skills, he has "the insight to see my way, the fortitude to get there"; regarding his interests, "Everything my dear Sir - there is nothing that holds no interest for me" ... and so on. You will tire of the pomposity before he tires of delivering it.

Herieux's sister never says a word. It's rather concerning.

The carriage works its way up from the river valley, climbing several hundred feet in the first three hours before emerging onto a wide, highly cultivated plateau - the Bernese plain, in western Switzerland. The mountain ranges, both east and west, draw away into the distance, the intervening land spread with cattle farms, cultivated fields, vinyards, irrigation ditches and little cheese and butter sheds. Now and again you catch a whiff that smells intermittently horrid or wonderful.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

If we stop for breaks (I'm hoping DK doesn't have to hold it that long - non-consensual torture, there!)

I'll let myself lapse into silence and see how he/they take the quiet for awhile. If we do get a break, I'm going to take Jan and Andrej aside and share my concerns with them there. Perhaps even ask Jan or Andrej to pray for guidance on these people and see if they mean us mischief. What does Jan think?

(OOC - I completely missed that. :) First pressings and dregs, perhaps?)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Sorry about the spottiness of my replies; I'm writing a contract piece for someone, who wants the article done today, five minutes ago. Nice when I'm given notice. I am wondering, though, if Andrej is with us, and if he isn't busier than I am)

Herieux will allow the silence to pass undisturbed. There will be breaks, and at any of them there will be an opportunity to stretch away from the carriage, and speak among themselves.

Jan has no opinion about the Herieux, except that he wouldn't rely on him in a pinch. He will wander away from such conversation, and commune with himself. Emmanuel passes the time by laying on the grass and napping, trusting Jan to wake him ere the carriage moves on.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I never worry about the response time - please don't feel you have to apologize. I just appreciate the game during the day.)

I'll consider Jan's diffidence as a sign not to worry.

(Is it possible that during a break, I can break out my lyre and play it that in such a way, I can cast Perception without Herieux, sister and Carlo won't see, but then be able to listen in to Herieux and his sister when they are conversing amongst themselves? I want to mask it as if I'm just stretching, tuning and singing, say walking around/behind the carriage, cast the spell, then walk around, humming while listening in on those two? If not, then I'm just going to let it be and keep a watchful attitude while the carriage ride continues)

Alexis said...

(OOC: You should take Jan's indifference as a sign that the DM does not want to NPC running the campaign. Jan has been wrong before)

Yes, you may cast perception. You will hear this much of their conversation (5 rounds per level - total, 30 seconds):

HER: “Have we gotten away?”

HIM: “I think so, yes. Leastways, there’s no sign of pursuit. Do you feel better?”

HER: “I feel awful. What were you thinking ... you don’t know the least thing about riding a horse.”

HIM: “It worked, didn’t it? Except for, well –“

HER: “Yes, except for ..." She pauses, aggravatingly, as the time on the spell runs out. "It will be three weeks before I dare show my –“

Spell Ends

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Heh. Where is Andrej when I need him... at least we're moving faster now than we did when we first started. *sheepish grin*)

Interesting. Has there been any indication that Carlo is of acquaintance or association with these two?

I will ensure that my sword is nearby while we ride and I will, at the next convenient stop, warn Andrej and Jan that these two are not what they seem, telling them of what I have heard.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I've been ready to make that comment a lot earlier, but I've been tossing that three weeks comment about. Based on my medical background, did that "wrongness" about her seem as if it were an injury of some sort, perhaps hidden beneath the powder?)

Alexis said...

I've been told that in those days, when one traveled in a carriage, it was common practice to slip one's weapon lengthwise along the seat, behind one's ass ... so as to have it ready for bandits.

Due to your medical background, I have to give it to you. Yes. It might very well be a bruised cheek, from below the eye to the ear, hidden - as you say - by makeup.

There's no indication that Carlo knows anything about them.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Then I'll be seated as you described, and I'll just keep an eye on the two surreptitiously. (Not that it'll be that hard in a carriage.)

Unless they're going to provoke some action, or unless Andrej/Jan have anything further to add, I'll continue along just in a more aware attitude. I'll see what they do, if anything.

(OOC - that'll be my last move for the day - about to go celebrate our anniversary with a well deserved night out. This weekend will be filled with the kids. Thanks for the game this week.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Sorry guys, it was indeed another busy day and one where extra-curricular activities were not possible.)

Andrej will sit in the carriage with his staff openly, as it is as much his walking stick as anything. If questioned or bothered about it in any way he will insist upon keeping it at hand and use it often when walking about on breaks.

(In the fine tradition of opening up doors and tossing in grenades before the weekend break...)

Andrej, having been quiet up until now, will look directly and without apology at the woman when he asks "Monsieur, Mademoiselle... from what trouble do you run."

Alexis said...

Both Herieux and his sister will be stunned, shocked, and taken aback at these words. Herieux's second response will be to bluster, "Sir, by what cause do you dare make such an assumption?"

Mme. Herieux will, for a moment, drop her careful manner and Delfig will get an excellent look at her face for the first time, confirming his suspicions.

Andrej said...

"Child, your incongruous manner and your 'sister's' care in concealing the injury upon her face are my cause. What I dare or not dare is of no issue, though, impertinent as I may be. I ask you again (with kindness): From what trouble do you run?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will watch, impassively, remaining silent, but on guard.

(OOC- Note to self. Talk to the impetuous cleric BEFORE telling him what I see/hear. Sheesh. :P All I wanted to do was get Hornung's love and bring her back.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Sorry Chgowiz. I had one of those "let's see what happens when we push the big, red button" moments on Friday. :) )

Alexis said...

Well, the carriage is moving along and Herieux seems insistent ...

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - no no, don't get me wrong... I often flirt with that button myself. Delfig will definitely be treating his newfound friend like a nest of angry hornets though the next time he has potentially bad info... )

Andrej said...

"No matter then. Keep your own counsel, but know you that God is watching."

Andrej will let it drop then (i'd love to be a fly on the wall of THAT carriage for the next several miles) but during the next stop for rest I'd like to excuse myself (as before with the robbers) and cast Detect Malevolence, then see what I detect from the Herieuxs.

(OOC: I understand that the ordering of my actions may have been backwards. That is, the two may not have wished us any harm before my pointed question, but alas for impetuousness. One question re: detect malevolence, Alexis, would Andrej be able to discern the difference in magnitiude between "I wish that nosy priest would just go take a long walk off a short pier" and "at the next stop I will slide this dagger between the poor sucker's ribs"?

Alexis said...

"My counsel, Friar? I did not upset my counsel, I kept my counsel! God watches not only me, but thy person as well, Friar - 'twoud be good to keep a civil tongue in thy mouth - this is Switzerland, and the locals would not take umbrance should I fight a duel with a priest."

Herieux says the word 'priest' as though he has tasted something vile. Before Andrej can react, however, Jan moves to the center of the moving carriage, and puts a hand on both chests of Herieux and Andrej - "This is enough from either ... Monsieur Herault, my brethren speaks forthright and means no harm, and fails to remember too often to reserve his condemnations for the confessional -" Jan will give Andrej a stern eye at this point. "We have far to journey together, and it need not be unpleasant."

Herieux seems ready to speak again, but his sister restrains him.

"Please sirs," she says. "My brother spoke out of turn."

Herieux doesn't speak once she says this. He does turn violently red, however - there's no need of a spell to detect malevolence.

Seeing it, his sister whispers in his ear. Herieux moves back in his seat - he is between his sister and Emmanuel, who at the moment steadfastly stares out the window and mumbles to himself - possibly praying.

Alexis said...

(OOC: the sort of malevolence that would be detected by the spell is any that intends to cause bodily harm through injury or death. It either is, or isn't, indicated)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - Oh, look at that red button. Must push it.)

Once Jan has settled down, I will look at both of them and speak in a concerned tone.

"Still, it is clear that you both are upset and that your sister is injured. Are you in some sort of trouble?"

Andrej said...

(OOC: much more interesting than bland talk of french wine, yes?)

Andrej will accept Friar Jan's admonishment with a nod, downcast eyes and "You are correct, father. Monsieur Herieux, it is I who spoke out of turn and you have my humblest apologies. Perhaps we can spare the good folk of Switzerland unnecessary bloodshed. Mine or yours, good sir." Andrej is, afterall, merely rebuked by a colleague and mentor, and not a craven.

Alexis said...

Carlo, riding on the carriage, will cry out at this point, "My GOD!" bringing the carriage to a very abrupt stop, unseating everyone within. As you untangle yourselves, Carlo will leap to the ground and pull open a door. Delfig nearly falls out.

Next post.