The Court of Fools IC

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Postby Tetzel » Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:10 am

Laughter makes the world go round. And they say that when the laughter runs out you die. It is ironic that the Kings and Stewards of Gondor have never known this in a literal sense. Unknown even to them and known only a few outside there is a network of bodyguards, many working around the clock to protect the Lord of the White Tower. The secret is something that you keep until your dieing day and if you are ever caught, you die before you give up the things you could tell, the things that heard at table side and seen around the palace at night. Assassination attempts happen all the time, but hardly anyone knows and very rarely do they get anywhere near the King or Queen. Not only the King is important, but the Queen. She is the mother of the land and the future of the House of Kings. One way to bring a country to its knees in the present is to kill the future.<BR><BR>These bodyguards are known as the Court of Fools, but only to themselves. They are the people that do not matter. They are seen as lower than servants. Servants are all suspected of treachery and spying, but no one ever thinks of the Jesters, the Fools, the Acrobats, the people who are always there on the day, but never seen any other time. A Jester is a jester much like another and no one misses him, or her, if they are not there. A costume as distinctive as theirs is a good disguise.<BR><BR>Tryviell was one of the Court of Fools, and had been for many years. He was a jester and an acrobat. At banquets h e would listen and record inside his head; at night he drifted form beam to beam, from ledge to ledge around the castle making himself an extra defence against the evils that would lay bare the monarchical system of Gondor, render the ancient house defunct once again and plunge Gondor back to dark days and mourning.<BR><BR>The Queen’s birthday. A huge feast, with virtually ever Noble of Gondor and Rohan, there were even a few Hobbits among them. Tryviell liked Hobbits, although he had met few. His father had met Frodo, when he had stayed in the White City, but that had been many years before. <BR><BR>Every Noble has something to complain about, but some are more grievous than others. With them all there it was a busy night, so many to entertain and then so many to listen to. At least there was news from all over the place and there was plenty of revenue to be made. That could go towards some new throwing knives.<BR>
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Postby Lanuviel » Wed Dec 10, 2003 10:44 am

"My, Saeran - you are looking as radiant as ever, I see."<BR><BR><i>Abruptly, the woman who had been named turned in her seat, her twilight-grey eyes seeking the face of he who had so complimented her. She flashed a dazzling smile at him, fiddling with the sleeve of her dress - an exquisitely cut maroon number, enhancing her curves and complimenting both her steel-hued eyes and her ink-black hair, caught back in the fashion of the time in an intricate array of braids and twining gold wire. <BR><BR>Mimicking the styles of the Queen, as was usual in court.<BR><BR>Her smile, though warm and offered in the direction of her admirer, didn't reach her eyes. <b>Those</b> kinds of smiles never did. There was another quality in them besides warmth - a sinful, man-eating look that brought a pink tinge to the cheeks of the young man who had spoken to her.</i><BR><BR>"Why, thank you, Gamelt." <i>She answered, her voice softer than most and even containing a husky quality that enhanced the allure she gave off like some sort of radiant aura.<BR><BR>Two tables away, her co-conspirator grinned to see the look of complete jealousy on his escort's face. She was a lovely woman herself, but not a match to a learned seductress like Saeran. He was also very well-dressed, arrayed in shades of blue to match his eyes. His chestnut-brown hair was tied back from his face, and it was with a lock of this hair that the woman he was escorting played with, trying to mask the bitterness behind her words when she spoke.<BR><BR>She didn't hide it very well.</i><BR><BR>"Quite a vixen, isn't she?" <i>She asked of her escort (unofficially so, though most in court had enjoyed the company of one or the other at some time). He hid a triumphant grin, and replied in as even a voice as he could manage.</i> "A siren, yes. I'd wager many men had fallen to the song of that particular young woman."<BR><BR><i>Her eyes darted at him carefully, to find he was no longer staring at Saeran, but at her - the smile so familiar to the escorts, falsely warm, filled with fake lust, played across his features. These two, it seemed were naturals to the game of court.</i><BR><BR>"Enough about her, m'lady. I want to know about <b>you</b>."<BR><BR><i>Over at Saeran's table, the 'vixen' in question was busy making Gamelt blush, her true intentions masked beneath the slate-coloured veil in her eyes. She enquired of many things with her siren's voice over the evening, asking him of the weather, the state of his land, his affairs at court... and while at her side, he told her everything. Gamelt, however, was not a stupid man. He filtered his words, attempting in vain to block the information she wanted from passing his lips. For some reason that he couldn't fathom, he kept finding himself relaying to her things he hadn't meant to - but she didn't seem to be truly interested in that, changing the subject often in an attempt to pass the time, all the while watching him with eyes that spoke of hungry desire.<BR><BR>From Saeran's point of view, Gamelt was more than willing to tell her about 'unofficial' visits to certain people by less-then-trustworthy persons, suspicious goings on and malicious rumours that he simply deemed as gossip worth telling. Most of this, however, was probably not gossip. Every time he waned in his news she stoked the fire, touching his hand or fluttering her bounteous eyelashes at him. When he asked her to dance later on in the evening, she was only too pleased to comply. As soon as she rose from the table to her full 5'10" of height, her hips swayed with the movement of her walking. Over the three years or so of her employment, Saeran had finally perfected the walk that could entice all but the hardiest of men, and felt their hungry eyes on her as she walked.<BR><BR><b>That's it.</b> She thought, allowing a little smile to touch her lips. <b>Like lambs to the slaughter.</b><BR><BR><b>Foolish, foolish people.</b> Then again, they were nobles - too blinded by greed and their own considerable wealth to notice what was going around them. They had no idea whatsoever that the two 'escorts' within the room, charming the breeches off the men and the skirts off the women, were actually adept spies, pumping their 'clients' for information in the manner of delicate conversation.<BR><BR><b>Naive, to think no-one could infiltrate this place.</b> As she accepted the hand of Gamelt and they swayed to the beat, she felt his hand move to her lower back - as low as it would go this night, and as low as social courtest would allow. He wanted her, she knew.<BR><BR>A sly smile touched her lips.</i>
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Postby Aiwe » Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:31 pm

Ranlách sauntered over to the Great hall, where the festivities were just beginning, and lounged against a doorframe. He was wearing his black tumbling outfit, a close-fitting matte-dark affair with black lace at the cuffs that wouldn't impede his acrobatics or look ungainly like loose clothes would. It <i>was</i>, however, rather uncomfortable. Still, Ran was grinning. In his hands were six marble-sized spheres made of caked powder, each with a long fuse sticking out. <BR><BR>Once Ran was sure all the nobles had arrived and were situated at the banquet tables, he struck a match and carefully lit all of the fuses at once. He took a deep breath, and entered the hall, each sphere wedged between a pair of fingers. No one noticed. He smiled broadly, and leapt. Landing on his hands, and surreptitiously dropping a sphere, he immediately sprang up again in a backflip and proceeded to tumble gracefully across the width of the Great Hall, spacing the little powder-cakes equally along his route. At the last flip he landed on the balls of his feet, and did a sweeping bow. A few of the people who'd noticed clapped good-naturedly.<BR><BR>Then, Ran raised both hands sharply skyward. In the same moment, all six spheres exploded, each in a fan of royal purple and regal blue sparks, which combined together spelled out, for a fleeting moment, the words, "Long Live the Queen."<BR><BR>This time, when Ran bowed, it was to a roar of astonished applause from all corners of the Hall. The satisfied grin he wore nearly reached his ears. He bowed again, and then backflipped through a side-exit door, back into the cool evening air.<BR><BR>He dusted his hands off theatrically, and made his way across the palace grounds to his new room in the servants' quarters. Crates and sacks and boxes were piled nearly to the ceiling in his small new home. He frowned at them a moment before taking down a crate and riffling through its contents. it took two more crates and a sack before he finally found what he was after--his "regular" clothes. A few minutes later, he was back out on the lawn, now dressed in comfortably loose black-velvet shirt and trousers and his favorite opera cloak. In his black-gloved hand was an ebony cane. If you could say one thing about Ran, it was this: he was never, ever, out of costume.<BR><BR>he reached a stone bench in a overly-topiaried courtyard, brushed the steat fastidiously, and then sat down. He had a few hours to kill. The King hadn't wanted much from him--the Queen's birthday was supposed to be a graceful, elegant affair, not a pyrotechnics extravaganza. <i>Doesn't know what he's missing!</i> Ran chuckled to himself He had a few things planned. Nothing so outrageous as to get himself fired before he'd even finished moving in, of course, but just a few elegant little displays of talent for His and Her Highnesses to enjoy.<BR><BR>He was absent-mindedly twirling his cane from yhand to hand when his ears caught something out of the ordinary--the distinct sound someone makes when they're trying to silently sneak up on someone else. Ran smiled broadly, showing a glint of needle-sharp canines. <i>Let him come. I like a little fun of an evening...</i><BR><BR>--Aiwe
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Postby Arwen902 » Wed Dec 10, 2003 2:44 pm

<BR><i>Sitting comfortably in a shadowed corner of the large hall a young woman drummed gloved fingers against the arm of her chair distractedly. Without rising from her seat she yawned and stretched, much like a cat who has just woken from sleep. She had been sitting there unnoticably since the festivities had begun, just far enough away from the tables of the nobles not to rouse suspicion in anyone who happened to notice her, but close enough that she could hear most of their conversations.<BR><BR>An acrobat, dancer and occasional minstrel or jester, Raine Dorminue was tall and slender but strong, as acrobats have to be. She was twenty years old and for five of those years had been one of the court of Fools. The first ten years of her life had been years she did not want to remember now. The only evidence from those times was always hidden beneath the black glove that always covered her right hand.<BR><BR>If anyone found out what she had done in her past, Raine was sure she would have to leave again, she would probably not be wanted in the court of Fools if anyone found out anyway. Sighing, she flowed to her feet and silently slipped out of the hall. <BR><BR>The black and white outfit she wore was one that would not be thought odd if she was seen outside but would blend in well with the less lavishly costumed guests if she chose to remain inside. Her dark hair flowed down her back, held out of her eyes by a thin silk scarf. Her ungloved hand moved to touch the knife that she always wore at her side, knowing that she wouldn't need it but wary of some of the nobles she had overheard.<BR><BR>Raine would not be needed to entertain the guests for quite a while yet and as well as needing fresh air, she had just witnessed an extravagant display that she wanted more information about. She soon found the person she was looking for and approached him slowly. </i><BR><BR>Extravagant display, a little...excessive in my opinion but it seemed to entertain the guests.
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Postby Aiwe » Wed Dec 10, 2003 3:22 pm

"Why thank you, m'lady," said Ranlách, his lips curved in the usual sly grin. He hadn't even turned to face the newcomer. "In fact, I just might have a few more tricks up my sleeve..." He raised his left arm, shook it, and something glinted as it fell into his right hand.<BR><BR>Now he turned, with mock concern radiating from his face as he held the object up. "Oh, I'm sorry--was this yours?"<BR><BR>It was Raine's knife. The grin snapped back in place as Ran twirled the blade a few times, then handed it over to the woman, hilt-first. <BR><BR>"And as for excessive? Oh, I don't know. I should think the King would consider nothing to be too great for his Queen on her birthday, eh? And of course, that little stunt was a paltry thing. Wouldn't want to shock anyone so early in the evening, eh?" he chuckled. "Oh, but where are my manners! My name is Ranlách, and some tend to call me the Mysterious Master of Mystical Magicks. And you are, m'lady....?"<BR><BR>--Aiwe
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:20 pm

“Ladies and gentlemen! Nobles and noble’esses! Greatings!” A tall man in an extremely bright but loose shirt had suddenly appeared in the entryway to the grand hall, “My name is Foil, and I am honored too… woha!”<BR><BR>The man, who’s name was actually Quim, had taken a step down on the stairs that descended to the grand halls, main floor. As he had done so however an absurdly long and floppy scabbard had become entangled with his legs and instead of descending gracefully he fell down the stairs till he landed in a heap of bright colors at the bottom.<BR><BR>In a trice Quim was on his feet again, “My apologies!” He bowed low to the assembly; all eyes were on him after his dramatic entrance and painful looking fall. His nose nearly touched the floor and he made a great show of almost falling on his face. The crowd burst into laughter. He snapped up straight link a slingshot, and as he did eight colorful and gilded balls flew up from his hands as if catapulted by the movement.<BR><BR>He didn’t seem to notice the balls as they flew towards the ceiling, then one that had been thrown much less forcefully started to descend before the others. He began to walk on, right under the path of the falling ball. It hit him squarely on the head, the impact cushioned somewhat by the four pronged hat he had produced from somewhere.<BR><BR>He staggered again, and looked up to see where the ball had come from just in time to start catching the rest as they fell towards him. As he caught them he sent them skyward again until he was juggling all seven. He grinned foolishly to the applause and walked another few steps forward. He made to bow again still juggling but his foot encountered the eighth ball where it had rolled after hitting his head.<BR><BR>He tripped but somehow managed to keep the balls going. He hooked a toe under the eight ball and flipped it up to join the others. More applause. It took a moment for people to realize the balls were disappearing as he let one after another slip into his sleeves. When they were all gone he bowed to the assembly and came up with a thin piece of wood. He played a few notes on the flute then started to sing.<BR><BR>It was a tale about a Thatcher who had discovered water in his cellar and had come to the conclusion that there was a stream under his house that had eroded the rock away. He had dug up his cellar in order to find the stream. His wife had come home and discovered several leaks in the thatch of their home and had come down to find him above his head in a hole he had been digging. She had been so mad she had shoveled the dirt back in on top of him.<BR><BR>There was a moral to the story about doing your work well to avoid future dilemmas, but Quim could tell now one had got it. They were all to busy laughing. With a final bow Quim walked over to a table laden with drink and grabbed a goblet for himself. The crowed returned to their conversation, not the slightest bit interested in him now that he was through performing for the moment.<BR><BR>He circulated through the nobles, keeping his ears open for anything. When people would notice him at all he would smile foolishly and bow and they would ignore him again.<BR><BR>He pretended to swig from his goblet, not actually letting any of the liquid pass his clenched teeth. He would have to drink some eventually to get his goblet empty, and one goblet wasn’t going to affect him in the slightest, but it was best to conserve time. It was going to be a long night after all. Suddenly his eyes locked of their own accord on a woman on the dance floor.<BR><BR>Well rather the shapely hips of a woman on the dance floor. He nodded appreciatively to himself and let his eyes wander up her body, eventually letting them rest on her face. He gave a small jolt and pushed all thought of her from his mind. It was Saeran, a very well know courtesan, and a very much less known spy. He had received information from her himself, discretely, several times. She was good at what she did, very good. He wondered why he hadn’t recognized the way her hips swayed before he had even seen her face, but it didn’t matter.<BR><BR>Just so long as he didn’t dwell on it anymore. She was dangerous to unwary nobles and wary ones alike, and it was stupid for even a fool to let his thoughts run away with him when she was around. She was strictly for looking, not touching, but even looking could prove dangerous. Now that he saw it was she, her body held considerably less allure and he continued circulating.<BR>
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Postby Arwen902 » Thu Dec 11, 2003 10:16 am

<BR>Well, Ranlách, the Mysterious Master of Mystical Magicks. My name is Raine and that is all you need know right now.<BR><BR><i>Raising an eyebrow slightly in challenge, Raine took her knife in her ungloved hand and, while she still held his gaze, slipped the slender blade up her sleeve. All he would've seen, had he been watching the movement, was the blade in her hand and then her hand, now empty, dropping back to her side.<BR><BR>Although the sleeves of her outfit fell down to cover most of her hand, the single silver ring she wore on her left hand still glinted in the light. It was an old trick used to conceal small items that Raine had been able to do since she was six years old. Although she had not the skills of a magician, she had become skilled at taking and hiding objects without people noticing.<BR><BR>Trying not to appear confused by his trick, Raine stepped back and folded her arms. She had no idea how her could have taken the knfe without her noticing, how he had even got close enough to take it, and how had he even known it was there. She knew the trick was probably nothing more than slight of hand but it still unnerved her.</i><BR><BR>Ladies and gentlemen! Nobles and noble’esses! Greatings!<BR><BR><i>Raine heard Quim's speech drift out of the hall and smiled, she knew what was coming next,</i><BR><BR>My name is Foil, and I am honored too… woha!<BR><BR><i>A loud crash followed as the man fell to the floor. Raine had heard speeches similar to this many times, and knew that soon she would have to return to the festivities. Turning back to the white-gold haired man who stood grinning at her she said,</i><BR><BR>I don't recognise you. Out of curiosity, how long have you been here?
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Postby Lanuviel » Thu Dec 11, 2003 11:37 am

"I don't like it when they look at you like that, Saeran." <i>Gamelt growled, his eyes on the other side of the room from Quim as they danced. Saeran had known this was coming, as it had every time - but it still disappointed her when it did. Smothering a laugh with her hand, she played with a lock of his hair, and said sweetly,</i> "I'm a courtesan, Gamelt." <i>She had said it honestly, but he still winced.</i> "This is what I do - and you wouldn't begrudge me a little attention, would you?"<BR>"No, but..."<BR>"Well, then." <i>Saeran said firmly, interrupting his whine.</i> "There's no problem, is there?"<BR><BR><i>Every time she had found a client, this happened... the jealousy. She was their dance partner and rumour-starter for the night, no more. And yet they guarded her as if she were theirs eternally, and it forever put her back up. She was the lazy noble's idea of wooing, and they treated her as if they had won her. They had claimed love, a number of times - and she had rebuked each in turn.<BR><BR>She had never been in love herself - or, at least, she didn't think so - and if love was what it seemed, she wasn't sure that she even wanted to. If love was truly what she had deemed it to be, it was simply a word to describe lust and magnetic attraction that happened every time a man laid his eyes on the bodice of a young woman. That was not what she wanted, and she knew it. Abruptly, she began to lose interest in Gamelt, abandoning him as a possible source of information and considering feigning illness and moving on... but she knew she couldn't. This was too important a night to play truant.<BR><BR>Gamelt felt panic rising in his chest. Was Saeran losing interest in him? Although she kept the rhythm of the dance in her sway and her steps, the warmth of her body, and the proximity, had changed. He greatly liked this witty, beautiful young woman - and courtesan or not, he aimed for more than a dance by the time the night was over. <BR><BR>Thinking rapidly, he decided to stoke his 'rebellious' persona that had earned him so many admirers in the past. Everyone liked a rebel, it seemed - especially the ladies. Convinced it would work, he held her a little closer and feigned a sigh.</i> <BR><BR>"I don't know why I'm here, really." <i>He paused a little for dramatic effect, and then continued.</i> "It's probably not a good idea for me to be here, in all honesty."<BR><BR><i>Now, <b>that</b> piqued her interest. Her head turned so her eyes could lock with his, and lost in the depths of her misty grey eyes he began to talk far more about it than he would normally dare. Her face was full of admiration, so much so that he didn't doubt that now he would get what he truly wanted of her. <BR><BR>Inside her head, Saeran began to feel anxiety curling like a fog into her thoughts. Worry like that was dehabilitating in the best of cases, but she knew she could not rid herself of the nagging feeling that something important was missing from the tale of the young man.<BR><BR>She needed a contact.<BR><BR>Looking around the room as they danced - he thought it was so interest could not be provoked from the other nobles - her eyes alighted upon a face that she knew, dressed in brightly-coloured clothes and swilling from a goblet of wine on the other side of the room. Abruptly she stopped dancing, and Gamelt, brought up short, turned to face her and asked her what was wrong.</i><BR><BR>"That man over there..."<BR>"Yes?" <i>The jealousy was back again, but she would have to risk it.</i><BR>"He's an old childhood friend of mine... I haven't seen him in <b>years</b>! Last I heard, he had been disowned by his family and was making a living on the streets... her certainly has gone up in the world."<BR>"Only a clown." <i>Though not forceful, the emphasis was there and Saeran felt rather than heard the derisory sneer cross her client's features. Turning to face Gamelt, she said softly,</i> "I love him as a brother, and will hear no word against him." <i>She was taking a huge gamble, associating with another of the court of fools under full social glare... but in this case, she deemed it absolutely necessary. Suddenly her face softened, and was punctuated by a brilliant smile.</i> "I should like to introduce myself to him, Gamelt - I shall be back soon, I shouldn't wonder." <i>She grinned wolfishly.</i><BR><BR>"I'll see if he still recognises me."<BR><BR><i>Gamelt did as he was bidden, finding a table filled with other nobles and sipping from a goblet of wine while making delicate conversation. Saeran, however, could feel his eyes on her even as she crossed the room to 'meet' Quim, and decided to make a great show of knowing him to make her point. She walked - with her famous man-killing sway - over to be close to her target and suddenly said, loud enough for those dancing nearby to hear,</i><BR><BR>"<b>Foil</b>? Is that <b>you</b>?" <i>He looked over at her, and had clearly seen her walking over earlier though his face betrayed no such thing. Ecstatistic, Saeran enveloped him in a body-to-body hug, after exclaiming her surprise at seeing him here. In his ear she whispered barely audible words, before parting from him and continuing with their 'meeting' after so long.</i><BR><BR>"We have to talk. Now."
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Postby Aiwe » Thu Dec 11, 2003 1:46 pm

"Well, Raine m'lady, I just got here this morning. Haven't even finished unpacking--you know how it is, you've got costumes and props and whatnot and haven't any idea where you're going to put them all..." he laughed lightly, but not fakely. "Come on, do sit down," he motioned towards the stone bench, which had more than enough room for two. After a moment's consideration, Raine sat down at the opposite end, still wary of the newcomer. <BR><BR>"Idle chit-chat aside..." he said, rummaging in his pockets, "I think you've lost something. Ah! Knew it wasn't one of mine!" <BR><BR>He produced a ring--<i>Raine's</i> silver ring--from a trouser pocket. Oddly enough, he was holding it between several folded layers of handkerchief. Raine looked at her hand--now ringless--and angrily snatched it back. <BR><BR>"How did you do that?" she enquired coldly, sliding the ring back into its proper place.<BR><BR>Ran sneezed and coughed twice, shook his head and blinked a few times. "Sorry--" he said after a moment. "What was that?" <BR><BR>His eyes seemed to have gone a little bloodshot. Raine frowned.<BR><BR>"Gah--allergies!" Ran said, by way of explanation, and waved his hand to indicate the garden and all its blooming inhabitants.<BR><BR>"Ah," Raine nodded, still frowning slightly. This was definitely an odd one.... "Anyway, I asked you how you did that trick just now."<BR><BR>"Aaaah, you know I can't tell you that!" he said, leaning back in the bench and watching the sunset. <BR><BR>Raine sighed, and leaned back as well. A split second later, she felt as though someone was looming behind her. She turned--<BR><BR>"Trade secrets, you know?" whispered Ran, currently leaning over the bench right behind Raine. She never even saw, never <i>heard</i> him move...."Ta!" he said, and sauntered off, back towards the servants' quarters.<BR><BR>--Aiwe
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Thu Dec 11, 2003 3:39 pm

Mock surprise dashed across his face when Saeran said his name, then excitement and he returned the hug enthusiastically. She whispered in his ear through teeth clenched in a smile, “We have to talk. Now.”<BR><BR>They parted from the hug both beaming, “By the left, it has been a long time, look at you, you are stunning”<BR><BR>“Thankyou, but look at you, I have heard a few things, I thought you were roaming the streets somewhere,” Her voice took on a compassionate note, but there was no missing the carefully placed ‘I have heard a few things’, “I would have looked for you, but it is a big city”<BR><BR>“Have you now? Well, I was until about a year ago, then I was fortunate enough to acquire employment here. I’ve haven’t heard anything about you, except that you are a Courtesan these days,” He smiled broader and took here in both of his in a squeeze of congratulation, “Is that why you’re here now? Who is the man?” It was all said in low voices but made to sound like normal conversation.<BR><BR>“The one sitting at the table right in the middle there, tall, drinking the wine… now,” Saeran managed to slip a great deal of false pride into her voice for that.<BR><BR>“And he is charming is he? A kind escort and gentleman I’d wager,” Quim winked roguishly.<BR><BR>“Yes he is, he may have one or two personality chinks, but he is quite the gentleman,” not even the slightest emphasis on ‘personality chinks’ but the phrase was too plain to ignore.<BR><BR>“I see,” Quim moved closer, letting his smile fade away and be replaced by one of woe, he gestured hopelessly, “As it turns out, I have recently been down on my luck, even here. Just last week I was mugged in the street and my best hat was stolen; notice this one has no bells.” Saena knew he hated bells, but it was true bits of glass and crystal would be considered cheaper than tiny bells, “They took my months pay as well, I am very distraught about it, you should go with me over to that bench and console me for a minute.”<BR><BR>“Oh I am sorry to hear that, is there anything I can do to help?” Saena replied lowed enough for the people around them to hear, shock and sympathy dripping from every word, “Come, let us sit a minute and you can tell me about it, and maybe I can help you.” Saena took his arm and guided him over to the wooden bench against one of the walls he had indicated.<BR><BR>It was still in plane view Gamelt. It wouldn’t do to disappear. Quim kept his dejected look firmly on his face, occasionally brightening slightly, or looking hopeful. They still kept their voices low. No one would come close now that the pair could be avoided easily, but a fool sitting and talking with a noble woman still attracted slightly more attention than just a fool himself.<BR><BR>“So what do you have, ma’dear?” Quim motioned vaguely towards a window in a meaningless gesture; Gamelt could interpret it pretty much to mean anything.
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Postby Tetzel » Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:47 am

Tryviell sat and watched the precedings with and opoen eye and ear. He was certain somthing was going to happen that night but for the life of him he couldn't work out what, or even predict it, He just had a feeling in his gut. He trusted very few of the Nobles that were present. There were a few, but only a few.<BR><BR>He had a quick ear, which meant he could tumble and listen at the same time. He heard snatches of converstion, some about nothing adn others about business deals that were being forced through and defended against. <BR><BR>'...but you must allow me to cross your lands with my men. It is imperiative to the....Your son....'<BR><BR>A flash of an agitated voice heralded and interesting listen. He bent low then sprang high in the air, bouncing off a sheild that hung on the wall and landed on a rafter that, to much applause. He was the Cheif Fool, and so was well watched by many ion the Hall. He had been a Fool for so long that many of the Nobles knew him by namne, not a common thing when the Noblity didn't usually care about knowing the names of servants and entertainers.<BR><BR>He was directly over the top of his quarirs. The pair below were made of a woman and a man. It had been the woman that he had heard speaking. He was confused, why would The Lady de Quinenan, be asking to cross lands with troops. She was a loyal subject to the King, and if there was an attack Tryviell would have known about it. What was going on? He hung from the rafter by his legs and began to play with fire, breathing it out from one of the torches that hung near his head. He had to listen more, this was important.
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Postby Lanuviel » Fri Dec 12, 2003 10:19 am

"Something very interesting." <i>Saeran replied, smoothing down her skirts and offering him a friendly smile, which he returned.</i> "Gamelt, my paying arm for the evening, has told me something <b>very</b> interesting." <i>Her tone didn't change with her next words, but her eyes held a tinge of anxiety that Quim couldn't mistake for anything else. Moreover, she knew what her words probably meant, and though she would do it, she didn't like it.</i><BR><BR>"He told me that his 'friends' would not be pleased with his attendance at this ball, since they are not supporters of the return of the monarchy - or of the Queen." <i>She looked at him meaningfully, and reached across to pat his shoulder as if consoling the 'fool' before her.</i> "I... 'prompted' him, and he told me more. They are a part of a specific network of anarchists." <i>Just by looking at him she could tell that the meaning of what she had said was not lost on him. <BR><BR>An organised network meant that those who wanted stewardship returned and the troublesome monarchy removed were finally sorting themselves out into a hierarchy... which spelled trouble for the defenders. Networks like that could be widespread, and took a great deal of manpower to be infiltrated. Not only that, but the more additions to the group they obtained, the more lethal and violent they were more likely to be. And that, inevitably, meant the body count would rise as they filtered out those who had infiltrated the network and were 'batting for the other team', so to speak.</i><BR><BR>"He wouldn't tell me what they are aiming for, even under prompting, but he hinted enough to make me suspect the usual." <i>The usual, as always, was an attempt to unseat the monarchy. Saeran sighed, her voice holding resignation even as she smiled at Quim.</i><BR><BR>"Do you want me to infiltrate the group?" <i>She asked, meeting his eyes and not guarding her worries. She had previously had no true fears over such a job - she was lethal enough to look after herself in most situations... but last time, as she remembered so well, things had not gone entirely to plan.<BR><BR>In short, it had resulted not in her being found out - she was too careful for that to happen - but instead in jealousy striking the group (which she normally aimed for, but the situation proved to be too volatile for it) and in a massacre of most of the group by an underdog in the gang - who then proceeded to try and force himself upon Saeran.<BR><BR>Unconsciously, she rubbed her wrists - and that wasn't lost on Quim, either. All she had ever known was rough love, the kind not shared by others... and what had happened in that cellar had been no different. She could still feel his hands pinning her arms to her sides - he was stronger than he seemed - and caressing her body. Desperation had kicked in then, and she had lashed out, broken cover and maimed him for life in punishments for his efforts.<BR><BR>Taking a deep, healing breath with which to banish the thoughts, she looked up at Quim, who in turn was watching her.</i><BR><BR>"If you asked me, I would do it."
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Postby undomiel » Fri Dec 12, 2003 12:01 pm

The music stopped, the dancers scattered, and a lone man holding harp stepped out of the shadows. His clear blue eyes serveyed the room around him, stopped on Saeran sitting close to Quim. A flame of jealousy leaped into his breast, but he supressed it. <i>Jealousy is a weakness</i>, he reminded himself. Pawleshyn of Rohan strummed a melancholy chord from his harp and opened his mouth to sing. <BR><BR><i>In forest dark and winter cold<BR>For warmth and beauty I yearned.<BR>The day had gone and the night was old<BR>And my soul restlessly burned.<BR><BR>When through the twisted branches broke<BR>A ray of silver moonlight.<BR>Where surrounded by trees of ancient oak<BR>A meadow lay shrouded by night.<BR><BR>The snow softly crunched beneath my feet<BR>As a sole flake settled on my nose.<BR>In the center of the clearing I made my seat<BR>To marvel at a lone, white rose.<BR><BR>It's petals so pale the edges seem blue,<BR>It's form both simple and fair.<BR>It's stem curved up from the earth where it grew,<BR>Though I know not why it was there.<BR><BR>Entranced I sit by this wondrous flower<BR>Alone in the cold and gloom.<BR>And though I know it lies not in my power,<BR>I long to see it bloom.<BR><BR>And though the snow lies thickly still<BR>Patient I sit and wait to see<BR>If the sun in Springtime will<BR>Open my rose to me. </i><BR><BR>Pawleshyn bowed to the applause of the room prompted by the Queen who nodded and smiled at the bard. She had requested his presence there for she preferred his songs to the tumultuous entertainments the nobles favored. And though he hated these occasions when he was called to perform before the courtiers, Pawleshyn would do anything for his Queen. He disappeared once more into the shadows.
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Postby Arwen902 » Fri Dec 12, 2003 2:00 pm

<BR><i>Scowling darkly Raine stood up and turned her back on the buildings to stare out into the early evening sky. There were few clouds but a freezing wind picked up suddenly and blew unrelentlessly, whipping Raine's hair and clothes around. She turned to go inside, still wondering how Ran had known where her knife and ring were, how he had got close enough to take them and how he had known that those were the items she would miss most.<BR><BR>There had only been one magician in the court of Fools in the five years Raine had stayed there, and he had disappeared after about two months. No-one had really worried about it, they thought he had simply left of his own accord but Raine wasn't sure. He had seemed happy and not long before he disappeared had told Raine that he never wanted to leave.<BR><BR>As she re-entered the hall she didn't bother to stay in the shadows. Hardly anyone noticed her anyway, and if they did they were often put off by the fact that Raine rarely gave anyone her full attention and it often seemed as though she was in an entirely different place. Also, some people were wary at first of the woman whose eyes showed that she had had to grow up much to fast and who looked as if she could have been a fighter instead of an acrobat, had she chosen to be.<BR><BR>Most of the nobles tended to look straight through her or watch her for a while but as soon as she glanced back at them they would look away quickly. However with courtesans such as Saeran in the room, Raine could slip by unnoticed. So unnoticed in fact that one young noble walked straight into her, his elbow connecting sharply with her ribs but he just continued walking. <BR><BR>She was about to dismiss the young man from her mind, thinking he was just jealous of another mans escort until Raine saw Tryviell hanging from the rafters by his knees. That was not unusual, the Fool had done more surprising stunts than that, but he seemed to be listening to a conversation below him. Glancing around, Raine knew that the young man who had walked into her had come from that direction.<BR><BR>She had hoped that there would be nothing to find out tonight, but as it was with all big feasts, there was always something. Suddenly spotting another man working his way through the crowd towards the woman beneath the rafter, Raine moved to interrupt, hoping he would have something interesting to tell her.</i>
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Postby Aiwe » Fri Dec 12, 2003 2:40 pm

Ran shut the door to his room and leaned heavily against it, rubbing his eyes.<BR><BR><i>"Stupid, stupid, stupid!"</i> he muttered. <i>I never should have pushed it like that. The ring was bloody silver, idiot!</i> He struck the unsuspecting door with his fist, then flopped down onto his bed. <i>I guess I was too busy trying to impress her that I forgot to check for silver-scent...</i> He coughed again, but already he was feeling much better. <i>Haven't seen much silver lately. And the moon's waxing. A pretty bad reaction though....Agh, just stress, probably. Still, hope that lady doesn't ut two and two together. I think I've still got her reeling about her knife and ring, though. Probably too furious to think about silver and allergies in the same place.</i> he smirked, rubbed his eyes again. <BR><BR>He pulled a polished copper mirror from a sack by the bed, and checked his eyes. Not bad, not angry red anymore. The teeth, though...silver always made it difficult for him to control his shape, and right now his teeth were rather more wolvish than he would have liked. Nothing else was particularly inhuman, though. <i>I'll just have to be careful how I smile tonight, I suppose...</i><BR><BR>He got out of bed, picked a bit of lint from his velvet shirt, and began rummaging once more through his things. <i>I'm going to stick with simple tonight. I don't want to blow it any further than I already did with Raine...</i><BR><BR>Over the next half-hour, anyone peeking through the shutters of Ran's window would have seen an extraordinary set of equipment take shape. By the end of the hour, the semi-werewolf had set up a small metalworking bench, with tools neatly set out, chunks of carving wax at the ready, and a casting centrifuge tucked underneath for storage. He went on to set up his alchemical apparatus on the long stone workbench that ran along the wall with the window. Glass tubes, bubbles, flasks; copper spheres and wires; porcelain crucibles and burning plates, all slid into their proper, familiar places. A wooden rack, like a spice rack, went up on either side of the window. But the bottles Ran put into each little pigeonhole were not full of spices--phosphorus, sulphur, quicksilver, acids of all strengths, mysterious powders with cryptic labels, liquids of all colors and viscosities. Some of the pigeonholes glowed unnervingly. Once it was done, he stared thoughfully at the assembled chemicals for a moment, then set about preparing the evening's continued entertainment with a grin on his lips and the moonlight streaming in through the open window. <BR><BR>--Aiwe
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Postby SorceressintheGoldenWood » Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:08 pm

She had entered through one of the palace wings, desiding to move into her new quarters before joinning the celebration. The woman, her figure hidden by a long garnet colored cloak, silently turned the key to her room. It was just a small room, part of the preformers and servants quarters. She set her bags on the small disorderly bed, one bag holding her clothes and costumes, the other, a long leather bag, holding her various weapons. Some of the weapons where for her profromances, others had...different purposes. When she had accepted her role in the "Court of Fools" she was not blind to the hidden purpose of the group. An inner defence, providing protection and information for the higher nobels. <BR><BR>Locking the door she changed into her outfit for the evening. A short cropped shirt, sleevless and baring her toned torso, and an ankle length shirt that sat at her hips. Both light purple in color with detailed trim at the bottom of the shirt and waist of the skirt. Her outfit and profromance reflected some of the more refined, less well known, tradtions of her Haradrim heritage. Her father was of Gondor but her mother and grandmother before her, whom she took most after in appearence and personality, were of Haradrim blood. Strapping two leather sheaths to the inside of her lower legs she slipped her gold engraved throwing knives inside. The importance of this event demanded she be prepared for <i>any</i> situation.<BR><BR>Looking at her reflection in the mirror one last time, she decided she was ready. She couldn't help but be a little nervous. Hired to join a secret defence by Tryviell, a man she had never met before who knew of her abilities as a dancer and also of her servies as an assassin, unnerved her slightly. She had considered herself rather unknown, living in Gondor for only the last two years. How could this man already know so much and trust her abilities enough to hire her on to this job?<BR><BR>Shaking away these thoughts she left her room, making sure to lock the door behind her. <i>'You can never be too careful'</i>, she told herself mentally. Entering the Great Hall she was amazed at the number of royals, from the King seated beside his lovely queen at one end of the hall to the cheifs and marshalls of Rohan and other lands. All where dressed in their finest, and most practicing their finest behavior...either as a show or as profession. It didn't take her too long to identify those who chose it as a profession, either by tricks or charms, she now knew the jeasters and courtesans were here for a higher reason. <BR><BR>Standing near the wall she servied the guests, mentally noting those who carried swords and those who might be conceiling a dagger or two. A precaution she always took in a new place. Quickly she noticed one of the jeaters. Hanging by his legs from one of the rafters he appeared to be breathing fire...of perhaps just getting close enough to hear the conversation at the table below him. She noted another sitting on a wooden bench with what appeared to be a courtesan. Then as the music paused a bard with striking blue eyes entered the room, singing a song that appeared to please the Queen greatly. She herself applaued, breaking her statuesque stillness for a moment. Even though she had just arrived she also was to preform this evening, though when she had not been told.
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Postby Mithnen » Fri Dec 12, 2003 4:06 pm

Rhelin sat at a small table off in a far away corner (though not too far away to hear things that needed hearing) surrounded by other players of the Court. They had already performed twice that night: the first was a small skit about a dragon who stole a great treasure from Dwarves, and was met with carelessly slow clapping from the few nobles who bothered to pay any attention; the second being a comedy, one of her own personal favorites, about a trick that a rich lord played on a tinker who couldn't pay his tab. She leaned back in her chair, about to fall asleep, but suddenly remembered that she still had one more solo comedic performance coming up. She sighed and leaned forward again.<BR><BR>"How many more we got?" a player named Tyk asked.<BR><BR>"Dunno," Blegwyn replied, taking another gulp from his tankard of ale.<BR><BR>"You keep drinking like that and you won't even be conscious for the next one," Rhelin stated, standing from her chair.<BR><BR>"Where are you heading off to?" asked the only other female player, Brania.<BR><BR>"Get a fresh breath," she replied. "These nobles give off too much hot air..."<BR><BR>Striding across the wide dance floor, Rhelin noticed Saeran and her 'date'. She caught the courtesan's eye and gave her a thouroughly 'ha-ha' grin. She took the steps leading away from party two at a time...not a great idea. After the third step or so she tangled her left foot with her right and fell straight forward, only saving her face by sacrificing her hands. Her face turned red, but she doubted that anyone even noticed. She took the rest of the stairs one at a time, without incident, and soon found herself faced with a mob of nobles that had decided to take in the night air as well. <i>Lovely,</i> thought she as she scanned the area for an open place at the balcony.<BR><BR>"Rhelin!" She turned. Brania was standing right behind her, beckoning her to come back. "They've called for you."<BR><BR>"Now!" she replied incredulously. The 'Extensive Comedy of Sly and the King' had barely finished and they were calling her back? <i>The price to pay for infamy...</i> she thought as she raced back down the stairs that she had worked so arduously to climb. When she reached the foot of the stairs, she sighed and smoothed out the blue chemise, a ritual act of preparation. "OK, Rhelin," she muttered to herself. "Let's bend the laces of these straight-laced folk."
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Postby Quimrill_Renctar » Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:42 am

“hm, I wonder if I should look more distraught now,” Quim mused as the man playing the harp slipped back into the shadows, “It really was a good song, if a bit sad sounding by note”<BR><BR>“Do be serious for a moment,” Saena grumbled though she clapped along with him when the song ended.<BR><BR>Quim’s mind raced. The opportunity to infiltrate such a network did not come along often; it was a simple choice to make. Yet he hesitated. It was difficult sending a friend into a lions den such as this. He had no illusions about Saena’s ability to look after herself, but it was still not so easy.<BR><BR>“Yes, like I said, if you have the chance, you should definitely take it,” Quim looked grimly at Saena, “This is an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up”<BR><BR>“I know,” Saena smiled and patted his hand in sympathy again for the affect, “I’ll take care of it, who will be my contact then?” When an agent infiltrated a possible threat it was never allowed for them to return to the fool’s court to make a report of their findings. Instead they passed off the information to other agents who in turn took it in.<BR><BR>“I will,” Quim nodded, “Just promise you’ll be careful.” He sighed as Saena grinned, “Yeah, I know you can take care of yourself, just be careful”<BR><BR>“I will,” she smiled reassuringly and patted his hand again, “I think I have cheered you enough, wouldn’t you say?”<BR><BR>“Yes, I am feeling much better,” Quim grinned back and stood, “Feel like a new man really, how do you do that?”<BR><BR>“Charm,” Saema took his offered hand and rose, “Now I will speak with you later tonight, and if not, then tomorrow, in the market”<BR><BR>“Grapes or apples?” Quim paused, “oh, or oranges?”<BR><BR>“Grapes,” Saena nodded decisively to that. There were fewer grape sellers than anything else in the market, so it would be easy to run into each other in three days, “About noon if I can get away”<BR><BR>“I’ll wait two hours then come back the next day at the same time if you don’t show up,” Quim escorted Saena along the wall towards the table Gamelt sat at. The noble had suddenly become alert again and was looking increasingly hopeful as they drew closer, “Well ma’dear, this is where I leave you for now, go forth and be radiant. By the way, you look beautiful tonight, I’d ask you for a dance, but I’m on duty,” Quim hid a wink then flourished a deep bow and started to walk away.<BR><BR>He had to keep circulating and he had noticed the man hanging from the beam as soon as he had taken up the position. It was easy to recognize Tryviell. He was one of the agents that had been in the court the longest, still active. After five years, in the king’s court he had gotten to know Tryviell fairly well as they had often worked the same crowds at occasions such as these, with other agents.<BR><BR>He would have to pass on the information Saena had told him later, it wouldn’t due to take too many risks now. Perhaps, though, Tryviell had some information for him, if he could get a word with him once he had come down from the beam. He wouldn’t go near him until then.<BR>
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Postby Lanuviel » Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:06 am

<i>Saeran, inclined her head to Quim as he moved away, and took a deep breath before offering a radiant smile to Gamelt, who mirrored it. Her stomach churned - the more she saw her new 'acquaintance', the less she liked him. There was something in his eyes - a glitter here and there, a reflection that portrayed more than intention. She was left in no doubt that he was smarter than he seemed, and that element of uncertainty unsettled her.<BR><BR>Even so, this was her own personal area of expertise - and if she couldn't weedle the truth from him, no-one could. A little pride rose in her at this thought, and it calmed her a little. Twitching her skirts, she was about to walk through the dance floor and to her waiting 'guest' at the table when she saw Pawleshyn making his way through the crowd in front of her, headed for the table that held the drinks. A small smile crossed her mouth as she watched the rohirric Bard cross.<BR><BR>She hadn't known Pawleshyn - or Pawl, as he liked to be known - for long, and from what she knew he was quiote different to those others in the court of fools. He was a born dreamer, but there always seemed to be more going on behind his eyes than he let on. He was open and friendly, and Saeran liked him. Suddenly, she frowned a little, and continued across the floor - veering slightly to knock into him as she walked.<BR><BR>When the collision occurred, she acted apologetic for Gamelt's eyes - but as her eyes connected with the cornfield-blue of Pawl's, she whispered,</i><BR><BR>"Speak to Quim."<BR><BR><i>Quim had to tell him what was going on - it wouldn't do for Pawl, lovely as he was, to crash in on a conversation or provoke that added touch of jealousy from Gamelt that she could do without. To get this right, <b>she</b> had to be in control. If she wasn't, the whole deceitful weaving could fall apart and leave her vulnerable. The last thing she needed.<BR><BR>Moving to the table at which Gamelt was seated, she slid into a chair next to him and felt him relax as she touched his hand, grasping a goblet of spiced apple juice and taking a mouthful. Smiling at him in her normal predatorial manner, she initiated the conversation that may just gain her entry to the group. To enter the group itself, to become a member - as it seemed many nobles were - would be her main aim... but if that was impossible, the lover of one would be good enough. And if sleeping with him was what it took to save her King and Queen... she would do it. <BR><BR><b>Close your eyes and think of Gondor.</b></i><BR><BR>"Well, Gamelt... my rebel..."
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Postby Arenial » Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:16 pm

Anna scanned the crowd from her seat. She easily picked out a few familier faces from the Court of Fools, having been one herself for almost seven years now. She was one of the best. Being a mime, she was accustomed to doing things silently and carefully, which made her excellent for getting in close for information. And, being only mime around, that she knew of, she was invited to almost every party the nobles held. <BR><BR>Well, it was time.<BR><BR>She was announced to the crowd, as she couldn't do it herself (mimes aren't supposed to talk). She walked out into the middle of the room and faked a trip. She got up, an over-exaggerated expression of pain on her face, and rubbed her backside. The crowd burst out laughing. She continued on with her reutine, using her hands and face to over- exaggerate her actions. The crowd was loving it.<BR><BR>"<em>Good</em>" she thought as she finised her reutine. In a corner she spotted Tryviell, and she also saw Quim, Pawl and Saeran; she would have to get a word in with them as soon as she could tonight.
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Postby Arwen902 » Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:40 pm

<BR><i>As the mime was announced, Raine lost sight of her target. Shrugging, she knew that the acrobats would be introduced fairly soon but she still had some time to see if anyone else had overheard anything useful. She glanced up once more at Tryviell, trying to catch his gaze to subtly ask for news, but he was so intently listening to the conversation below him Raine wasn't sure he even saw her. <BR><BR>Retreiving the cloak she had left beneath the chair ealier, Raine shook it and caught a small silver painted mask before it could fall to the floor. One thing she had learnt while working in the court was that a lot of people loved mystery. By disguising her features just enough she made the guests wonder who she was, which often made them more likely to talk.<BR><BR>To save time later the young woman slipped the mask, which was just big enough to cover the area around her eyes, over her eyes and headed back to the crowd. It was a disguise, nothing more, but everytime she used this trick Raine felt like she was at a masquerade ball.<BR><BR>She passed one of the large tables and caught a glass of wine in her gloved hand. She was not as careful as some of the others, who were reluctant to drink wine from the celebrations. Flashing a charming smile at the noble who sent an indignant glare at the Fool rude enough to take food from a table of people who should be treated as well as the royals were, she drank deeply and turned just to see Saeran, who had been talking to Quim moments before weave her way back into the crowd. Curious, Raine made her way over to where the jester sat and subtly asked, while pretending to gaze out of a window,</i><BR><BR>Any news?
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Postby Aiwe » Sat Dec 13, 2003 7:10 pm

Ranlach paused on his way into the wings of the Great Hall. Raine and some other entertainers--and they <i>had</i> to be entertainers, nobody else would dress like that at a royal ball--seemed to be having a furtive little conversation. <i>I wonder what all that's about,</i> thought Ran. He shrugged, and resumed his careful examination of the contents of the two bulging velvet pouches in his hand.It seemed to be filled with what looked like coins, but palm-sized,blank on both sides, and made of unidentifiable (to all but Ran) green and purple substances. One bag held green, the other purple disks. Of one looked closely, one could see that each disk was a slightly different shade than the others in its bag, and that each had a little number embossed on one side. The magician seemed to carry the bags with extraordinary care, as if they would explode at any moment. Which they would, if he wasn't careful.<BR><BR>Ran walked non-chalantly into the hall, with the two pouches now secured at his belt. As he neared the first table of banqueters, he drew one disk from each bag and began tossing them from hand to hand in higher and higher arcs. Then, once he'd gotten the nobles' attentions, he caught both disks, slapped them together, and tossed them as high up into the air as he could. Halfway to the ceiling (which was quite tall)the disks exploded with a polite little "pop", and the image of the White Tree of Gondor hung for a moment in the air, sparkling vapor that melted away just as fast as it appeared. Ran continued through the hall, half-dancing, half-tumbling, tossing disks as he went.<BR><BR><i>Pop!</i> A swan burst into life, spread its wings--<BR><BR><i>Pop!</i> A white mearas reared--<BR><BR><i>Pop!</i> A snowy-petalled lily bloomed, shyly--<BR><BR>Ran backflipped and spun, landing in front of the royal couple. He drew the last two disks from the poches at his belt, and juggled them faster and faster, then--<BR><BR><i>Pop!</i> A portrait of the Queen in shining white smiled for a moment, then faded away in a heartbeat.<BR><BR>Ran knelt before the King and Queen, head bowed low, then stood up and made his exit. On his way out he managed to pass by the furtive fools, and caught a snatch of thier conversation...<BR><BR>--Aiwe
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Postby Mithnen » Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:29 pm

Rhelin's performance had gone well: she'd managed to loosen the guests up a bit. They had all obliged themselves to some ale and wine, making their speech even more uninhibited...which was perfect. She grinned and blew a stray strand of hair from her eyes as she took her seat where the rest of the Players had been sitting. They had gone off to rehearse for the next performance, 'The Lamentable Tragedy of Kingly Measure'. How ironic that her ears caught this bit of a conversation: "The King...the usurper is more suitable...he shall soon find what it is like to be cast aside..."<BR><BR>She kept to her small goblet if wine and pretended to be interested in a scratch upon the finely laquered table. She cast an inconspicuous glance to her right and saw two men (dressed rather lavishly, if she did say so herself) standing fairly close to each other. She noticed their lips move, but their voices had lowered to a level that they could not be heard over the raucous laughter of the crowd as they guffawed at the mime. She stared past them, as if a friend were behind them and she was trying to get his attention. Using her peripheral vision, however, she managed to read the lips of one man: "...leading armies. She is a fool. She knows naught of war."<BR><BR>"Then she needs to be taught." The other replied.<BR><BR>Rhelin turned back to her drink, her mind racing. She bit her lip in concentration. <i>This is quite interesting,</i> she thought with a sigh. <i>Very interesting....</i> She grabbed her goblet and stood from the table. <i>Nothing's more innocent that a drunken comic,</i> she reflected, making her way over to the two men. Seemingly on accident, she bumped into the back of one of the conspirators (amateurs), causing him to spill dark red wine all down the front of his green silk shirt.<BR><BR>"Oh!" she began in mock, drunken sincerity. "My apologies, sir!"<BR><BR>"Confounded fool!" he retorted. "Thou art a thorn in my side!"<BR><BR>"Thanks much, your highness," she muttered.<BR><BR>"Excuse me?" he demanded. She grinned foolishly at him. "Filthy southron."<BR><BR>Rhelin cleared her throat, acting as if she hadn't heard his remark. "Shall I fetch some napkins for you, sir?"<BR><BR>"Of course!" he replied. "And make haste! Have you ever tried to remove stains from silk?!"<BR><BR>She turned and scanned the grand hall, looking for someone, anyone who she could inform before...well...before anything <i>drastic</i> happened...
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Postby mytherielle » Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:02 pm

<b>"...and so I said to the Lady Regian, 'My dear, <i>some</i> may think Gorgo's design dreadfully last age, but anyone with taste can see a masterpiece when it falls on their toes!'"</b><BR><BR>Arathor grinned vapidly at the group of young nobles as they laughed and twittered at his latest witticism. As members of the elite, everyone loved tales of pretenders to fashion getting their comeuppance. Arathor spun such tales with consummate skill.<BR><BR>Carefully replacing a strand of sandy blonde hair into its coiffed perfection, he glanced at the group surrounding him. Sycophants, all, and not many of the interesting sort. The young woman beside him was the exception, however: his reason for drawing this particular group to him. The Lady Maerae - a young girl of no particular beauty or intelligence - was connected to a particularly interesting family, of whom Arathor felt the need to be in closer acquaintance. With any luck, he would gain a better understanding of their plot before the evening was done.<BR><BR>A shower of glittering sparks heralded the next performance, and the group watched as a lily bloomed and faded before their eyes. The group clapped politely as Arathor turned to his chosen conquest.<BR><BR><b>"A lily such as this cannot hope to surpass the beauty of one such as yourself. Would you do me the honour of accompanying me on this next dance?"</b><BR><BR>The Lady Maerae blushed a suitable shade of scarlet, and held a silken-gloved hand for the rakish noble to take. Soon the couple were gliding across the floor in the most elegant fashion. To all outside appearances, Arathor seemed to be regaling his companion in the latest horror tale of fashion woes among the lesser nobles. Beneath his shallow veneer, however, Arathor had become acutely aware of Tryviell hanging from the rafters. He was also aware of the young nobleman who had so recently been near the hanging Fool.<BR><BR><b>"Your brother seems an odd young fellow. Who is his tailor?"</b><BR><BR>Maerae blushed at the reference. <BR><BR><b>"My Lord, he does not seem to care for tailors as he should. His head is strangely distracted these days."</b><BR><BR><b>"Really? What on earth could be more important than having one's sleeve nipped properly?"</b><BR><BR><b>"He does not wish me to know his affairs. But I overheard him talking about troops the other night. Something about 'Gathering the right forces' or other. I don't know. It was just too strange for me!"</b> <BR><BR>She giggled slightly at the admission, and Arathor knew this was as much as he could for the moment gain without suspicion. Another story of fashion woes, and he had guided the Lady away from the crowd into a quiet hall. Now for the real work...
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Postby Ranarwen » Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:42 pm

Korwin sat alone for now. This was to be his first preformance here so he was rather nervous. But even sitting alone and quetly, he collected curious glances. It was his general appearance, the strange colorful clothes, giant Easterling boots, his compleatly black hair and so on. He stuck out. The last preformance finished, it was his turn.<BR><BR>Korwin got up and streched his legs. Then he desapeared in a corridor only to come back in a few seconds leading a dog on a leash. He collected even more surprised glances, some even disgusted. How did this man dare to bring in an animal into the room. Yet Korwin ignored the glances. Instead he walked himself into the middle of the center of the dance floor. He smiled, an enchanting smile of flashing white teeth in a dark face. "Ladie and gentlemen! I have recently heard someone say that..." He started showing the tricks the dog could do. He just talked to it and showed it some barely visible mmoves with his hand and the dog collected great laughter. People clapped, Korwin tried not to smile this time he said something to the dog which picked up a small circullar board that was prepared earlier. The board was large enough to cover the dog's face but nothing more. Korwin stood with his back to it, then he flipped backwards and threw the knife. Herepeated this five times and finally turned around to the dog amid a thunder of applause. All five knives were stuck in the board, in the very center of it.<BR><BR>Korwin left bowing. He had made them laugh and then made them applaud, this wasn't the best of his shows, but he managed to do what he wanted - he established him self as a preformer, like all of the King's bodyguards here. He looked around, only to see one of the preformers. He slipped after her. As they got deeper into the croud he suddenly laid a hand on her shoulder and whispered, <BR><BR>"who is the chief fool here?"<BR><BR>
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Postby Mithnen » Mon Dec 15, 2003 2:29 pm

Rhelin felt a hand on her shoulder. Whipping sharply around on her heels, her eyes met the face of the latest performer. He was handsome in his own right: tall of figure, night-black hair that reminded her of her own (which was shoved beneath a large floppy hat). His eyes showed nothing that could betray him. <i>Good for you,</i> she thought.<BR><BR>"Who is the chief fool here?" he asked, his eyes always scanning this way and that. <BR><BR>"I don't know what you're talking about," she said quietly. Her actions and body language would suggest to any casual glance from a noble that she had found an old friend. <BR><BR>He went with the flow, acting just as he would if he had met up with one thought lost long ago. "You know exactly what I'm talking about," he replied.<BR><BR>"Unfortunately," she started coyly, "I don't. This is all a riddle to me...and riddles must be figured out before the next person gets to take their turn, eh?"<BR><BR>He sighed heavily, but went along with her act. "I'm Korwin." He was blunt enough...and vague enough.<BR><BR>"Well in that case," she hugged him, a smile on her face (all part of the act). She stood him out at arm's length and muttered through a fake grin. "You were part of the Royal Jesters, weren't you?" She laughed, as if he had made some jest that tickled her fancy. "I was a member for a few months. I remember you now."<BR><BR>"So then can you direct me to the right person?" he asked, gripping his sides, acting like he was laughing at his own joke.<BR><BR>"Seek out Tryviell," she began, clasping his shoulder. "If he is not to be found, then Saeran may be able to steer you straight." She back away and raised her arm in the typical gesture of farewell. "Wonderful meeting up with you, my friend!" She was made to shout for the guests had grown raucous. She turned away, for she had her own business to attend to. <BR><BR><i>Where is everybody?</i> she thought frantically. Somehow the crowd seemed to have thickened, and the ale and wine did had done nothing but hinder her movement across the hall. She was small compared to the nobles, and even smaller in rank which might have added to her hardship. She began to panic. Everywhere around her she seemed to hear bits and pieces of conversation: "...armies...", "...measure of resolve...", "The time to strike..." She looked up and spotted Tryviell among the rafters. He was slinking along the beams with assurance and light-feet. Rhelin was suddenly reminded of the story her mother had told her once about the cats of Queen Beruthiel. She shuddered and shook the thought from her mind. She threw her hat up into the air. Just as she had hoped, the action caught the attention of Tryviell, but was ignored by everyone else. Normally this action would have been rather conspicuous, but give the level of alcohol the guests had imbibed, it was barely more than a wave of the arm. As the Chief of Fools' gaze found her own, she gestured him down from the rafters. <BR><i>He must have heard something up there.</i>
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Postby undomiel » Mon Dec 15, 2003 2:47 pm

After taking a goblet of wine and intercepting Saeran's brief message, Pawleshyn found himself a secluded corner in which to quietly play his harp. He could see Quim on the other side of the room sitting with Raine, another of their order. No doubt he was conveying the news of whatever discovery he and Saeran had made. After that Quim would begin to circulate through the room providing amusement for whatever nobles were willing to pay and briefing the fools he came into contact with along the way. Eventually he would make his way to Pawl. <BR><BR>Until then Pawl was content to sit in his corner and play his harp. There was a particular melody that he had written that still needed words. Pawl plucked out the tune as he perused the various faces in the room around him. The many nobles left him uninspired. What was there that could be said of the very rich? Most of the fools his eyes set upon had already been the brunt of many clever songs. But then he saw a young woman standing alone by the entrance nearest to his little corner. She was attractive and was wearing a most intriguing costume. Pawl smiled in her direction, plucked out a chord on his harp and began his song.<BR><BR><i>I sing of a maid with bright blue eyes,<BR>I sing of a maid so fair.<BR>Her skin is sweet as honey and<BR>Soft as silk is her hair!</i><BR><BR>His subject was grinning now. "Your face is new to me," he said as he continued playing the carefree tune. "I am Pawleshyn." <BR><BR>
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Postby Tetzel » Mon Dec 15, 2003 3:33 pm

Act after act went on below him as Tryviell sung gently on his perch in the rafters. As he was just there almost nly to over sea the Fools he was not required as often as he would have liked but at least that let him turn his hand to other, more useful things.<BR><BR>The converstion, or negotiation would have been a better word, went on below him. He suddenly noticed someone looking up at him, awoman in purple. He knew her, even if she didn't know him. He had seen her handy work on several occassions. And thrawted it to, when the need arose. Assassination is a bad thing, but sometimes a neccassary evil. Her eyes stared for a second, more then continued on their study of the assembly.<BR><BR><i>At least she knows what she is doing.</i> He smiled to himself, knowing that he had hired the right person for the jobs he would require. Just as she moved on Tryviell saw behind her pushing his way through the crowds towards the doors, a young man, he knew him as a servant of a noble house, but for the life of him he couldn't work out why they he would be here, unless he was doing what Tryviell was doing. Listening. It takes a spy to catch a spy.<BR><BR>He was just about to follow when he noticed a cornerd hat raise adn thrown into the air, into the rafters near him. He looked down adn saw Rhelin. He looked down into her eyes, and saw no mirth, no laughter as there should have been.<BR><BR>First of all he was angry, angry that she had dropped her guard and distracted him away from his purpose then he listend adn he heard that she was surrounded by traitors. They knew her not but she knew of their plans and she wanted out of that circle. She was scared for a kingdom.<BR><BR>At the end of the chain that held the chandalier in place there was a large amount of excess. He lowered it, making a great show of it, letting fire run down it on a occassions. As he did so, and every time he let the fire run from inside of him, he felt the longing for the fire pit, ash and coals. He had tp resist, until later anyway.<BR><BR>He lowered the chain right next to Rhelin. Made a motion for her to climb, which she did with much curling and show. Up to the rafters she climbed, among the smoke and relative cool of the roof. It was dark.<BR><BR>They slunk away into a sahdowe corner of the acient beams and crouched down, for even more cover.<BR><BR>'Well? What did you hear that had you looking like you had seen the Nine riding again?'
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Postby Mithnen » Mon Dec 15, 2003 4:35 pm

"Oh I didn't look that bad," she muttered. She was new. She had to defend herself. "Everyone else is having a good time, I'm sure a little throw of a hat can't cause much commotion..." she paused and looked down from the rafters. Gulping, she suddenly remembered that she hated heights. Not the heights, actually, more of falling from the heights. She looked back at Tryviell and shrugged. "There's two things actually. Someone from the Royal Jesters is looking for you. I knew him once and we could greatly use his services...if it's not too bold for me to say." She grinned nervously, but anxiety is a hard thing to mask. She sighed heavily and looked down at the hall once more. "I can't find anyone. I would've gone to Saeran but a jester pulling a courtesan away from an escort would have attracted more attention than the entire hat-thing. It's not like I don't think about these things-"<BR><BR>"What's the second thing, Rhelin?" Tryviell asked impatiently. She could tell that she had made a mistake, at least in his eyes, and that was enough to make any one of the Court feel inadequate. She had to prove herself, though. Being the newest member of the Court she felt like she was always in a quest to prove something to somebody.<BR><BR>"What have you heard so far?" she replied, trying to keep her voice even. "I cannot recall all that I've overheard. Some things about armies." Tryviell nodded coolly. "You don't use armies in assassinations. You don't use armies to petition a cause. Something big's gonna happen." She paused and held her stomach. The height of the rafters was beginning to take effect. She shook her head. "So I'm sorry if this is no big deal to you, you wonderfully seasoned veteran; but more than the Queen's life is in danger." Her vision was starting to blur around the edges.
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Postby mytherielle » Mon Dec 15, 2003 4:58 pm

A short drift along the hall, and the couple reached a deserted balcony that overlooked the glittering lamp-lights of the city below. Arathor gently led his quarry to the wide stone railings at the edge, and continued to talk lightly about silk, tailors, the view, and such.<BR><BR>On cue, a servant quietly appeared to deliver two glasses of wine on a silver platter. Arathor accepted the drinks perfunctorily, and with a deft move unseen by Maerae, slipped an odourless powder into one. They drank, and continued their merry banter.<BR><BR>After a little while, the Lady's speech began to slur ever so slightly, and her giggles became more frequent and less merited by the wittiness of the conversation. Arathor looked around to see they were not being watched, and suddenly the topic shifted once again.<BR><BR><b>"So, my dear, tell me more about your brother's hobbies these days."<BR><BR>"It seems so silly, sir," </b>she giggled,<b> "I cannot understand why he does not enjoy parties as before. They are the highlight of noble life."<BR><BR>"With what has he been busying himself, then?"</b> Arathor asked.<BR><BR><b>"Oh, he fills his head with dreams of toppling the king."</b> Maerae's eyes went wide at this admission, and she drunkenly brought her finger to her lips. <b>"Shhhhhhhhhhh. You can't tell <i>anyone</i> I told you that. He'd kill me."<BR><BR>"My dear, my lips are as sealed stone."</b> The lie did no harm to Arathor. In a few hours the girl would forget all she had spoken, thanks to the powder now freeing her tongue. <b>"So tell me more. Why does he wish to be so brave?"<BR><BR>"Well, sir, you know history better than me, no doubt. I was always so bored with lessons about it. Anyway. He keeps ranting about the 'right of the Steward' or some such nonsense. One of the cousins in the house of Faramir... um... what was his name? ... I don't know. Well, my brother Baeraen has got himself into this group that wants to put him back on the spot. Something about the king forfeiting his right through years of absence or other."<BR><BR>"That sounds dreadfully rash."<BR><BR>"I know!"</b> she tottered slightly and Arathor stooped to steady her against the railing. <b>"I couldn't believe it myself, and when he started talking about the army they've got going, well, you could have knocked me over with a... with a... what's that feathery thing that you get from a ... a feather, that's it. 10 000 troops, he said! 10 000! I said he should just focus his attention on hunting foxes, but no. He's gotten it into his head that he's the saviour of the realm, and his friends are all brimming with it, too."<BR><BR>"So he's not alone in this endeavour? Who are his friends?"<BR><BR>"He tries to keep secret about that. Won't let them visit when i'm around to look, but I know. They call themselves the New Fellowship or something. There are nine of them, you see. Anyway, ... ah ..."</b> she yawned widely and staggered again, and Arathor knew his time was drawing to a close. He swept the Lady Maerae up and guided her gently back towards the main hall, where he carefully deposited her in a quiet corner, hidden from general view behind a curtain. Her head nodded, and she drifted into a snoring slumber. In a flash, he was circulating again through the crowds of nobility, his face a careful study in shallow disdain, ever ready with a witty or sarcastic comment for those he greeted on his travels.<BR><BR>All the while, he mulled over the information gathered this evening. Not quite enough information, but very helpful, nevertheless. It was certain, then, that a plot was in progress. With such a small body of soldiers, they did not appear a major threat if 10 000 were the full account of their force. But if there were more...<BR><BR>Arathor looked carefully for Tryviell and his company. There would be need of a conference this night.
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