The Punishment of Ari Corsetina
Members of Family Corsetina, House Pravus, and its vassals are invited to bear witness.
June 14, 2019, 2 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Pravus Manor - Walled Garden
Comments and Log
Nunia the discreetest handmaid arrives, following Fiora.
Fiora arrives, following Arman.
The afternoon is balmy. A light breeze barely stirs the air but brings a scent of salt to mingle with spring blooms. And there are spring blooms here, even if some of them had been consumed by knee-high goats before the foul creatures were ushered from the gardens so that servants could prepare for this event. Guests are guided, either by house servants or just the tall torches lining a certain path, towards the gazebo.
From the roof of the Gazebo, flanking the entrance to either side, hang the banners of House Pravus so that the gauntlet grasping a swatch of silk is prominent. It's in the entrance to the Gazebo that Celeste is standing, her hands clasped behind her back. Behind her, and to either side, her guards wait at attention with polearms at their sides.
Arman stepped into the gardens after being shown the way by house staff, dark and ever scrutinizing gaze drifting over the decor. His guards were instructed to remain on the outskirts of the event itself and stay out of the way, but Matteo (the disfigured 'valet' of the elder prince) remained ever in the man's shadow. On his arm was his now ever diligent and protective healer Fiora and the pair made their way further into the garden harkened by the gentle tap of Arman's gemmed walking stick.
Ari is holding a dark wine bottle in his hand as he approaches Pravus Manor. Tilting his head back, he finishes off the bottle, and chucks it to shatter in the street. At that, he adjusts his shirt, and walks into the manor. His steps are slow and deliberate, but a small shake in his steps, and the bright coloring of his face, mark him as having had more than just that bottle as he aririves to the Walled Garden.
As soon as Ari steps into the Manor, a pair of guards silently move up and walk to either side of him, half a step behind.
Mailys arrives shortly after Arman, the smallest of the Corsetinas drapped in grey and black silks. Her usually bubbly nature is a little bit muted today, bright green gaze sliding over the Gardens and the scene laid out in front of her. At the sight of Ari, her expression gets a little more stormy, and she steps over to her uncle.
Mailys mutters, "..I ... ... ... is a ... time ... be drunk ... your ass, Uncle."
The appearance of Ari, and the guards that move with the man and his relative, is enough to draw things to order for the small gathering. Musicians hidden behind shrugs begin to play the Pravus theme in minor key to make it more of a dirge. Celeste looks away from something she was about to say to someone passing by and turns her steel-blue eyes towards the Corsetinas. With a nod, the guards trailing the man of the hour crack their spear butts against the cobbles.
The music stops.
"Ari Corsetina," Celeste calls out in a clear and firm voice, showing her side as a general and not some soft silk. "You are summoned before the Voice of Pravus. Take a knee." A gloved hand makes a gesture towards the space in front of her, just outside of the gazebo. "You will answer for your actions before your blood, your house, and all others gathered here today."
With her arm tucked into Arman's, the Malvici woman looks over the gathering with a blank stare. Her icy gaze going to rest on Ari, over to Celeste and back again. Fiora sidesteps just a bit closer to Arman, murmuring softly to him.
Arman glanced aside briefly upon Fiora's murmur, distracted only briefly to return a pair of words before attention set firmly upon the focus of these events. Ari Corsetina. His protege was given a small nod and gestured to join himself and the Malvici lady with a lifting of his walking stick, Matteo stepping back to make the place he inhabited at Arman's side available.
Ari leans over and mutters something to Mailys, and then stands up straight again. Tugging at his shirt with both hands, he walks toward Celeste with all deliberate action, and then takes a knee, doing his best not to wobble and tip over. He looks up at Celeste when she says he will answer, looks to Mailys, and then inhales deeply through his nose. Chest rising and falling, his mouth opens, but no words come out... yet.
Arman handed his walking stick off to Matteo, now free hand moving to gently pat Fiora's which was nestled in the crook of the opposite arm. His hand remained there in a relaxed posture.
Mailys lightly touches Ari's wrist, leaning up to whisper one last thing before he makes his way up to Celeste. She then makes her way to Arman, settling into the place made for her in quiet thought. She doesn't say another word, and certainly doesn't make a fuss.
Lifting her eyes from Ari, now that she's sure he's not going to topple over, Celeste regards the rest of the assembled. She lingers for a moment on Arman and Fiora, and again on Mailys. "In the Oathlands, they will tell you about honor. They will drone on endlessly about its intricacies. They will debate for hours, days, about whether to attack one way or another. They will limit their responses based on these perceived bands of propriety. They use codes of mutual respect and honor to restrain their passions, to level a playing field."
Celeste looks back down at Ari now. "We are not Oathlanders. We are Lycene. We understand that sometimes you must -act-. Sometimes you must do what you can, whatever that is, to serve the greater purpose. Our lines are flexible. But they must still be lines. There must still be things we will not do. Paths we will not walk. We must be made of even stronger stuff than the vaunted Oathlands Steel, because we have to bend but not break."
The Iron Kraken falls quiet a moment, giving her words time to gestate. "Ari Corsetina, account for yourself and your actions with pirates in the Saffron Chain," Celeste demands.
Arman's head dipped in a small nod, clear agreement with the opening statements of the affair. With Mailys now at his side the hand that had fallen to covet Fiora's shifted instead to offer the tiniest Corsetina a gentle squeeze to her shoulder. It didn't linger long, returning to its former place soon after though the prince's gaze did not waver from the display of guards, Ari and the Iron Kraken.
Ari is kneeling but now he stands. He raises a finger, wagging it. Voice a little slurred, his voice is not an indoor voice. "Let me tell you about the pirates. They are the lowest slimy pieces of disgusting garbage that ever sailed. They killed my wife, you know." As he speaks, he starts to lean to his left side. Noticing this, he straightens up, and pushes his cape back over his shoulder. "They killed my wife. Because of them I coudln't be there to save her. But I led a mutiny to stop them anyway. I took that ship from them, I killed every pirate who would not swear to the Pravus flag, and I sailed right into battle. Then I went right to Arx to see the Duchess. And I won't apologize to nobody for it."
Mailys lifts her own hand, her fingers lightly touching Arman's for just a moment-- falling away before he breaks the contact with her shoulder. She's focused on her uncle, less so anyone around him.
Features remain largely impassive on the blonde Pravosi general. She glances to the side, at one of the servants. "Let the record show that Ari Corsetina admits to mutiny and theft." Looking back at Ari, "I trusted you with a mission against slavers who defiled our shores. Account for yourself."
Ari sobers up a little at that. Eyes wide, he points back behind himself wildly, not at anyone in particular with a shaking hand, as he looks right at Celeste. "Lady, They, I... I did exactly what I was asked. As our diplomats... as they went and talked, I led the galleys to block the port. We sank ships that tried, and not one got through. We won, Lady Celeste." He then pats himself down, checking his pockets, muttering "Where's that whiskey..."
Mailys watches her uncle struggle, a hint of conflict in her jewel-toned eyes. One hand drifts, likely to some concealed pocket.
A young servant starts to step forward when a guest - Ari - asks for whiskey. He's quickly stopped though by the person training him.
Celeste looks to Mailys, Arman, and Fiora. "Family Corsetina has been a dutiful, proud example of everything we could hope for in our vassals. Their crafts are second to none. Their mercantile fleet industrious. Mailys, as the only representative of your family here, I ask you: is this," Celeste jabs an accusing finger at Ari, "the face of your family? Is this man the exemplar of your name that you would have the rest of the Compact see?" That accusing finger relents, hand dropping down to the pommel gem on her sword.
Ari briefly staggers before catching himself.
Arman's chin dropped just a touch, allowing inky gaze to drift downward and aside to Mailys in wait of her reply.
Fiora slooowly looks over to Mailys, tilting her head ever so slightly.
Mailys shifts her gaze to Celeste, and she takes her time in answering. When she speaks, her voice is firm and certain. "Yes. Everything my uncle does, he does for family, for those he's given his loyalty to. Corsetina would not have the fleet we do, without him. While he can be foolish," and here she gestures to the man, as if to point out his current state, "..he's simply.. over-prepared himself for the worst that might happen. A Corsetina will never apologize for looking out for family."
Ari nods at every word Mailys says. Even the foolish part. Standing up straight and glancing over to Mailys again.
A subtle nod of approval was given to Mailys' words specifically when she stated clearly there would be no apology. Arman's eyes then returned to Celeste and Ari.
There's a quirk at the corner of Celeste's mouth. A suppressed sneer? "Prince Arman, take note of your protege's judgement of character and ensure she knows that her actions, her judgments, now reflect on you." The alaricite longsword is drawn slowly, enough pressure added to the pull to ensure the schiiiiiiiick of metallic scraping when it's drawn out.
"The justice of House Pravus is swift. It is thorough. I am ready to render my verdict. My punishment." Celeste stares at Ari with an intensity, a force of will like she might wring out every lost drop of consumed liquor from the man before her.
"As a woman trained by the courtesans of Setarco, I might get many men or women to kneel before me. Those who would tremble. Those who would beg. Yet, Ari Corsetina, you have stood." Her ruby red lips press into a tight line for just a few heartbeats. "As the Iron Kraken of Setarco, I do not need men who beg. I do not need men who kneel easily. I need those who will stand. Who will face danger and provide the actions and the words Pravus requires of them. Your punishment is at hand, Ari Corsetina. It is the punishment given to all those who prove effective, efficient, good at what is asked of them."
Now Celeste allows a grin. "Your punishment, Ari Corsetina, is more work. More responsibility." Reverence's blade is brought up in a slow arc to rest against one of his shoulders, then the other. "Today, you become Sir Ari Corsetina, Knight of House Pravus."
Ari starts to raise a finger again, indignity raising in his face. But then Celeste finishes her words. Freezing, the blood draining out of his face, he carefully kneels again. "I... thank you, I... I don't know what to say..." His voice suddenly soft. Hands going to the floor, to hold on and keep from falling over.
Mailys offers a tiny little nod to Arman, acknowledgement of his approval, and appreciation of it. Only now does her hand leave that hidden pocket, lightly tossing a small flask of metallic blue to the ground near Ari. A congratulations drink, it seems!
Arman again bowed his head, only now in gracious acknowledgment to his approval of Mailys' acts as reply to Celeste. He gave Fiora's hand a light pat with his own for whatever reason, but otherwise he simply observed as a small and mildly amused smile barely curved the corners of his lips.
The sword is sheathed. Celeste steps down from the gazebo amid the cheers and clapping of the gathered Pravus household and approaches its newest knight, holding her hands down to get him to stand once more. "Never doubt, my friend, that we stand behind our vassals that are loyal to us. I mean it; your family holds a special place in my heart and my sister's. Now go, drink yourself sick in celebration." The general turns her smile to Mailys as well. "If he requires a Mercy in the morning, do let me know."
"I imagine it'd be best just to schedule one, Lady Pravus." Mailys' grin is faintly lopsided, a bit of quirk to it. "Congratulations, Uncle."
Fiora gives the lightest of nods to Ari. "Congratulations, Sir Corsetina." Her features remain icy and cold, though at least there is the slightest amount of warmth in her words. The Malvici leans over to speak softly to Arman.
Ari slowly stands, and gives a slow bow to Celeste. "Thank you lady. And niece, for supporting me." He inhales, and THEN he finds that flask, pulling it out. "Let us all drink, to family here and passed on. To Miraya."
Arman unraveled a touch from Fiora in order to offer light applause along with the crowd, though he leaned a touch to better hear Fiora's murmur and reply.
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