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Afternoon Tea in the Ascendant Court


Taldor

***

Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher had not spent any time in Absalom for quite awhile. The premiere run of The Fangs of Ambition in Oppara had kept her quite occupied for months. The production went well, and with the premiere overwith, it was time to begin adapting the work to the Varisian audience.

Coincidentally, the Pathfinder Society was just beginning their expeditions to Varisia. By returning to Absalom, Lady Gabrielle may have once again placed herself under the whims of the Decemvirate, but she also intended to assist with Lady Morilla's vision for the Empire. Bringing Taldan opera to Varisia would make a fine tool for tending the sprouting Varisian aristocracy. She had a plan in mind, and her fellow agents of the Empire would make excellent partners.

She was shown to her usual seat at the cafe, on the second-floor balcony. She always enjoyed how the skyline of the city appeared in the late afternoon from this seat, with all the lovely colors of the buildings lit by a slowly-setting sun, and with an umbrella to keep its heat off of her unblemished face. She also quietly enjoyed her perfect view of the entrance to the Pleasure Salon of Calistria, relishing the opportunity to silently chuckle upon learning of just who would visit them.

Her usual teapot was set beside her, its variety a favorite of hers picked up from her time in Tian Xia. The subtlety of its flavors inspired a calm state in her, an almost-trance which nearly served as a prayer to Shelyn. As she watched others enter and leave the tea house balcony, she thought of cherry blossom groves and lotus flowers. It was a fine way to sooth herself before receiving a call for adventure once more.

Sovereign Court ****

"Hello, Mim Perdu. I believe Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher is expecting me?" Just days out of training, Mim still couldn't believe that Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher, "The Lady Gabrielle" had invited her to tea.

Taking advantage of a blind spot on the stairs, she ran her palms over her new ensemble, purchased, along with several other very necessary items for her new career as a Pathfinder, with the funds Lady Gabrielle had seen fit to send.

Waiting until the best of the sunset has spilled itself out, she approached with a rare diffidence, "By your grace,Ma'am? I am Mim Perdu...and thrilled beyond measure to meet you." She's here, she's really here!

***

The lady smiled as Mim presented herself. "It's a pleasure to meet the woman holding the quill," she greeted her. She gestured with her fan to the empty seat across from her, which one of the staff pulled from its place to offer it to Mim. A fresh pot of tea was brought to the table once she was seated.

"I see you have already paid a visit to the Society's quartermaster. So, have you received your first assignment yet? she asked.

Sovereign Court ****

Mim blushed under the Good Lady's perusal, shaking her head slightly. "Not as of yet, Your Grace. Though technically freed for active duty, the Master of the Archives has seen fit to continue my tenure within the academic catacombs for the moment."

Though told that she should be honored that he has such regard for her skills, her fellow graduates have begun to snicker as one by one they have been sent out into the wilds. Why one has even taken to calling her the "Dust Mite" when he thinks she cannot hear.

With a another faint shake of her head, she continues, "but I have home, Ma'am. Hilma, his assistant, has hinted that my time in the stacks may be coming to a close."

***

The Archives? That would explain her demonstrated fluency with the quill. Lady Gabrielle wondered if Mim's talents extended beyond knowledge and language, but then again, the adaptation of an opera would require extensive knowledge and research ability, both of which Mim certainly possessed.

"It is my understanding that the Society is focused on Varisia lately," she says. "Have you noticed the same from your time in the Archives? An understanding of Varisian culture may become important."

She glances across the street briefly, where a gem merchant of some renown was acquiring himself a night of fulfilling entertainment.

Sovereign Court ****

"Varisia? Yes, traffic in that area has certainly increased within the Archives." Mim's artfully arranged pigtails bounce a little as she considers just what that upswing in a certain concentrated area might mean for the future. "Perhaps I should focus on sharpening my understanding of the local language in Varisia, then? It might be just the thing to get me out of the Archives and out into the World!"

Catching herself, she flashes a lopsided smile, "Forgive me, Ma'am, I just can't help thinking I could be of more use to the Pathfinder Society...' her voice lowers to a mere whisper before she continues, "and to our Dame Taldor... if I were out in the field."

***

"You may be eager at the moment, Mim, but consider that there will be plenty of time in between expeditions."

She takes a sip of her tea before continuing. "Though the field certainly has its thrill, it is also very dangerous. A Pathfinder's life can be a very violent one, and I have met too many who, to be quite honest, are driven by the violence. I believe it is important for a Pathfinder to have a fulfilling project away from the field, because the ones who do not tend to become hollow souls."

Sovereign Court ****

Her eyes grow wide as the saucers beneath their teacups for a moment, and the young agent swallows hard. "Yes, Ma'am. I did not wish to be a Pathfinder solely for fame and danger, indeed, it is the more...subtle arts that I wish to contribute. But... I did hope to contribute something more than organizational skills, important as that is may be." Stupid, stupid! You'll have her thinking you're some vainglorious pillager! "of course, a fulfilling project separate and distinct from the field that could benefit somewhat from whatever skills are honed in the field....at least, it does seem like it should be so."

***

The lady smiles. As Mim speaks with some uncertainty, she wonders how to guide this leg of the conversation. She decided it would be best to ask another question.

"What do you have in mind for yourself?" she asks. "Your adventures as a Pathfinder will make your talents grow and your wealth increase many times. Do you have plans for them?"

Sovereign Court ****

In mind for me? " I hadn't, as of yet, that is, really considered much beyond needs of our fair Dame Taldor, and perhaps the best future for the Lodge."

She ponders for a moment longer, her amber eyes closing, then opening wide. With a smile, she admits softly, "I think I should like to put pen to paper, to write such adventures as to inspire others, for everything goes forward, does it not?" She ducks her head, shocked at how forward she's become in so short a time.

***

"An author? That is an excellent ambition to have, Mim. I assume that your time with the Pathfinders will provide a lot of inspiration."

Not only could she write eloquently, as Lady Gabrielle could recall from their correspondence, but she apparently enjoyed it. It was time to bring Mim on board with the adaptation.

She appears to have thought of something quite exciting. "This is a serendipitous discovery, actually. Your desires for both present and future may be paired." The lady leans forward in her chair as she continues. "I have found myself at the beginning of a journey that will require the assistance of Pathfinders with our shared motivations. I wish to adapt an epic stage production to fit a Varisian audience, a task which will require not simply translation, but an intimate understanding of the Varisian culture as well. I intend for the Varisian premiere to be on a grand scale, so as to best expose Taldan arts to them."

"Since the Society has been interested in Varisia of late, there is an excellent opportunity to learn what is needed to ensure the production's success, which will have the effect of fulfilling Lady Morilla's wishes as well. Tell me, does this sort of journey stoke your interest?" she asks.

Sovereign Court ****

"Oh it does, Ma'am! Definitely so. To study a culture to its very depths, to facilitate exposure not just to our great nation as some distant Other, but to something that they too can seed and promote within their very own hearts in hopes of rising to a glory that is nearly as high!"The young agent catches flame easily, her eyes and indeed, her entire face alight with the flights of possibility that could even now be gathering at her fingertips.

"It would be the most auspicious and satisfying application of all that I have learned these last two years. Please, allow me the honor of assisting you in this way?"

***

She laughs for a brief moment. "With such excitement coming from you, it would be an affront to Shelyn if I refused. I would be glad to elicit your assistance in this production. Its title is 'The Fangs of Ambition,' and it deals with the story of the city of Korvosa, and the events surrounding the death of King Eodred II."

A second pot of tea arrives for them, and two fresh cups are poured for them as Lady Gabrielle elaborates. "This subject is both attractive to a Varisian audience, because it deals with them personally, but the catastophic nature of it means that the audience will likely be very sensitive. The premiere run went very well, and I believe that the Varisian elite will soon be intrigued by its existence, which will then create an excitement over the very possibility of a Varisian adaptation. There will be a good deal of time to perfect it, as anticipation requires time to build."

She pauses to consider something. "Perhaps you could elaborate. What are some broad-stroke considerations about the culture that an adaptation will have to account for?"

OOC: I'd like to invite other Taldan PCs to join these two for tea, and share a lively discussion about Varisia, its people, what it means to be a Taldan Pathfinder, and how to accomplish our Season 4 goal. Lady Gabrielle has brought up, essentially, the story of Curse of the Crimson Throne, and treats it as recent history for the people of Korvosa.

So, come on in and join us!

Sovereign Court ***

A male elf of indeterminate years and rapidly changing clothes wanders by. Although his clothes change shape a constant black circlet remains abut his head. Oh my what wonderful colors you're wearing...I must add them to my ensemble. Dears have you yet packed for Varisia? I'm told its a very fashionable place to be these days.

Sovereign Court ***

Lady Violetta d’Armand Countess du Plessis emerges, invisibly, from an oak tree near the café, unfading as she exits the park. She is clad in a close-fitting gown of gossamer, silvery Elven silk, less a fabric than a web of threads which bind together delicate leaves of lavender in complex, fey patterns. Her hair, today a honey-blonde which frames her olive complexion and sets off the delicate pastels of the gown, drapes casually over her shoulders, subtly animated by an unfelt breeze; delicate gold threads woven into her hair add a an occasional dazzling sparkle as she moves in the sunlight. As she enters the café, the breeze carries the subtlest hint of exotic perfume – sandalwood and jasmine.

Seeing Lady Gabrielle, she smiles in recognition, greeting her.

Lady Gabriella, so lovely to see you in Absalom. I hope you’ll be staging your Fangs of Ambition here? I can never seem to get to Oppara lately, and I’ve heard such plaudits about it; I fear I’m out of touch!

Violetta acknowledges Lady Gabriella’s companion, a quite young woman, apparently a recipient of Gabriella’s patronage.

I don’t believe we’ve met before? I am Violetta.

***

Violetta the Enchantress wrote:

Seeing Lady Gabrielle, she smiles in recognition, greeting her.

Lady Gabriella, so lovely to see you in Absalom. I hope you’ll be staging your Fangs of Ambition here? I can never seem to get to Oppara lately, and I’ve heard such plaudits about it; I fear I’m out of touch!

The lady smiles upon the arrival of Lady Violetta. "I am glad that news of the premiere's success has traveled so far! Perhaps anticipation for a production in Absalom will build to the point where it would be an affront to the arts to not arrange one!" She wondered at the possibility for a moment. Perhaps it would assist the buildup to the Varisian run.

With a gentle wave of her hand, a third seat is brought over for the Countess, and with another slight gesture, tea is poured for her.

Sovereign Court ****

Mim, fascinated by her conversation with Lady Gabrielle, is startled by the appearance of Lady Violetta. She remembers her manners quickly, however, rising to her feet hastily, "My pardon, Ma'am. My name is Mim Perdu. A pleasure to meet you." She adds with a small curtsey, seating herself once more once Lady Violetta has been seated.

The part of Mim will now be played by a large green faced woman, due to the current technical limitations of the board.

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