Festival of Choices PRP Act 2 Scene 3
This plot is split into three groups, whose actions will serve as 'unseen hands' affecting what the other groups encounter. Each group will have two sessions, one to set up and make a plan, the other to execute. I'm hoping to keep these loose and casual and zippy, and wrap up by 11 pm server time.
I did take signups for this PRP ahead of time. However, schedules and availability always change, so if you're interested in joining, please reach out to Ember! At worst, you'll be waitlisted.
This is Scene 2/2 of the FUNNY CRIME group of the plot.
Oct. 9, 2020, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Redreef Shores - The Festival of Choices
Comments and Log
Miraj has called for an opposing check. Miraj checks charm and seduction at easy. Miraj is successful. Ember checks willpower at easy. Ember is successful.
Miraj is the winner.
Gabriella checks dexterity and dodge at easy. Gabriella is marginally successful.
Previously, in 'The Case of the Really Mean Cartoons About Redreef Nobles'...
Someone in Redreef Shores has been distributing libelous pamphlets mocking the foibles and general existence of the Redreef noble family. During the Festival of Choices, a two-week bacchanal of drunken revelry in the name of 'being able to choose to do things,' as it is commonly known, the four most likely suspects happened to be exhibiting paintings in the same public house.
Inquisitor Korka Glynn was able to identify the artist of the libelous anti-noble works as Baldo Kostabi, a somewhat lecherous man who spent most of the party trying to get Miraj Roumier to agree to pose for him.
Right as that happened, someone ran in with news of a murder at the Crimson Keep -- the scarlet castle by the shoreline, Redreef Shores' seat of power.
Chaos broke out and in that chaos, Baldo Kostabi escaped! We now join Princess Gabriella Pravus and Miraj Roumier, protege of the Baroness of Redreef Shores, as they wade through Skaldi Gras, looking for the studio that Kostabi had invited Miraj to.
"Oi!" a drunken reveler says to Gabriella from a balcony above. "Beads, yeah?!" Without waiting for the woman with an enormous greatsword to do anything at all, the drunken man throws a garland of beads at Gabriella's head; she's able to evade at the last moment, thankfully.
Not far off from where a drunken Skaldi Gras balcony inhabitant is hucking a string of beads at Gabriella's head, what's come to be known as the Dream Team of the Compact (citation needed), Inquisitor Korka Glynn and Archlector Hamish Farmer, are perhaps also in pursuit of Kostabi's studio... with some help from a friend.
"All of these colors taste too loud," Blessing Klee, the tall, willowy, dark-haired and dust-eyed painter says, having apparently grafted herself to the pair. She looks around at the partying in the streets and tenses her shoulders like she's expecting an invisible punch to come at her out of thin air. "What was your plan, again? ...are you two actually jewel thieves?" The idea seems to briefly excite Blessing, before she says, "...no, jewel thieves probably have nicer hats..."
Miraj sticks close to Gabby because, lets face it - she doesn't do well in chaos and in adding to that chaos, Miraj is running around the inn/bar like a chicken with her head cut off and finally, upon seeing the best opportunity to survive flying paintings and Archlectors giving middle fingers she's practically stuck to Gabby's side like glue. Nevermind that she's practically clinging on to the sword arm there. She almost shrieks when beads fly, though. "WAHTTHE-oh it's just beads." She tries to laugh it off. "So he said his studio was nearish to the Keep... Wanna go there? Should we? I wonder where everyone else is. Unless we should stay for the beads." She eyes the beads (not really) jealously.
"I'm so sorry," shouts Hamish, throwing a bag of silver at whatserface as he extracts his hand from her panting and makes his way after Korka, who is almost certainly in pursuit because that's very much her jam. When he's joined the others he gives Blessing an unpleasant look and says, "I've _been_ a jewel thief and let me assure you they don't wear hats at all. You'd think it'd make a good place to stash the jewels, but that doesn't work and you just end up with lots of scratches on your head."
"If they don't wear hats," Blessing asks, pointedly, "then where else would they hide the jewels they're stealing?" She seems quite content with her 'gotcha' moment until she's distracted by seeing a light or breathing air or something.
Korka silently counts to ten because she doesn't want to offend the person that knows this place better than they do, but the look she gives Blessing is very flat and not at all kind, "We're trying to find Kostabi's studio," she reminds the artist. Again. "Or just Kostabi," even though she's talking to Blessing her eyes are scanning the crowd she's pushing through, "If you know how the colors taste near there I'd love to know."
"Ah, a merry chase! Marvelous!"
This would be the enthusiastic declaration of the aforementioned Princess Gabriella Pravus upon the discovery of Baldo Kostabi's precious perfidy (her words (they really were rather charmingly silly cartoons)) and his subsequent flight from the pub.
To her credit, she looks only marginally disappointed when Baldo manages to disappear AND they already know precisely where to find him and a clever method of ingress that does -not- involve smashing through his windows.
"So, we are to convince the meretricious malcontent of your earnest intent to pose for him, yes?" says the Pravus princess to Miraj, providing a sturdy support for clinging. "I shall ensure no harm befalls you until then, Mistress Miraj. And, once we have secured our access, we shall beat the man roundly across the--" BEADS?! "--bees?"
Beads! They all go flying; Gabriella swiftly pivots to the right, her sword arm swinging out like a guard rail to keep Miraj away from the deadly scattering of the--
"--ah. Beads." She squints. "--Yes, let us away to this studio." She begins to move again, pausing only briefly. "--They /are/ rather nice beads, however--" But fortunately, the woman continues on, not to be dissuaded from violence.
"BEES?!" Miraj quickly looks around and simmers. "Oh, my what amazing reflexes!" She then refocuses. So much chaos she looks like she may hyperventilate until distracted by Gabby. "You also have amazing alliteration. I'm thoroughly impressed." She looks around, getting her bearings straight and gently smoothing out her dress. "Yes, lets convince him I want to take my clothing off for him and he can paint me. He didn't seem as eager to paint Hamish. Though I don't know why. Painting the Archlector of Death nude sounds like a good time to me." She then moves her hands to her hips and takes a breath. "Do you know which way the Keep is? You've been here before perhaps? And we may not /have/ to beat the poor man. Isn't his first name enough tragedy upon him?"
They are OKAY beads and Gabriella is just being nice.
"Kostabi's studio? It's right over there." Blessing points at it -- a brick building with ornate windows, that stands out among the other buildings in Redreef Shores as seeming to have just that much more care put into its aesthetics. For a 'studio,' it's rather large, as well.
"Kostabi used to be the highest-paid artist in Redreef Shores, because he could turn around enormous pieces very quickly, and could take a lot of commissions," Blessing explains. She sees Miraj and Gabriella nearby, and waves to them excitedly, and then seems to remember what story she was meant to be telling. "But he only was able to do so because he had a lot of thralls. So when the Baroness freed them all, suddenly his whole business plan was broken."
Blessing purses her lips. "You know, I know a jewel thief, I think. This one woman who works in the arboretum. I buy drugs from the same people as her father. And she was saying she was going to steal some jewels and flee to the Saffron... I wonder if she did. Hey, do you think I should have told the guards about that...?"
"I _told_ you that you can't hide jewels under your hat. If you leave them lose they'll scratch your head and if you put them in a bag they'll eventually fall out. Invariably at the worst time. No, you store jewels in a specially designed belt and boots that have those flappy bits that hang down from the tops." Hamish takes the lead on pushing people out of the way since he's very large and has had enough to drink that he doesn't mind being equally loud. "MOVE! I'M VERY IMPORTANT!"
"I'm not with the Iron Guard," Korka says very quickly and out of reflex when Blessing starts talking about pretty crime. She shakes her head, mostly at herself, then also waves to Miraj and Gabriella as she sees them, "Bleating says that the studio is right there," she points and then winces as Hamish barrels through the crowd, "...that's one way to do it."
"Ow! Hey, real nice choice there, jerk!" says some of the randos that Hamish shoves.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Miraj before departing.
There is the flash of a grin on Gabriella's part for Miraj's compliments for her skill in all things alliterate, but if the knight has more to say on it, it is swiftly sidestepped by the commentary on Kostabi. She looks from Miraj, to the approaching Hamish. To Miraj. To Hamish.
Gabriella strokes her chin musingly as she cocks her head to the right.
"It is his loss, surely. A chance to capture an Archlector in all the glories the gods bestowed upon them is surely a once in a lifetime opportunity." And this Gabriella says with utter and absolute assurance, sealed by the firmness of her nod of agreement. "Truly tragic."
And with this, she is prepared to hunt Kostabi to the ends of the earth -- except Korka helpfully points right to the thing and oh look it's really large and obvious. "Ah." The knight's brow lifts. "Well, beatings or not, we ought go tie the ribbon on this case, yes?"
There are a number of options available to try and access the Kostabi studio.
Around the back of the building is a large archway with wooden warehouse-style doors meant for bringing materials and large-scale works in and out of the studio.
There are a number of windows that can potentially be smashed and crawled through.
There is also the front door.
Miraj sticks her hand way up in the air and waves to Korka and Hamish and Blessed, beaming so bright they simply COULD NOT miss her. "Hellooooo!" She calls, and then turns on the balls of her feet to face the front door. "I'll knock, and see if he's home." And....KNOCKNOCKNOCK. "Baldooooooooo darling are you hooooooooome?"
"I've been painted in the nude before," says Hamish matter-of-factly. Though after a drunken second he corrects, "No. I've painted in the nude. It was a very hot day and the barn looked like shit. Admittedly after I painted it still looked like shit, but what can you do? It's a barn." He looks back to the others. "Do we think he's apt to believe any attempts to seduce his person with the opportunity to behold bewitching beauty may be a bit late, since I have a feeling he knows there are people in perilous pursuit."
"We should probably split up," Korka suggests, with a glance to the front door as Miraj knocks on it, "Princess, how about you and I swing around back just in case? I'm sure the Archlector and Mistress Miraj have things quite in hand up here," though Hamish's talk about paintings earns him a bit of a look, "Right. This can't possibly go wrong in any way."
Stepping up to the front of the large studio, Gabriella considers it with a critical eye.
It's a critical eye only briefly belayed by a flash of bright-eyed approval for Hamish's wordplay.
"Well met, Archlector. I agree with Mistress Korka. A two-pronged approach would be wise," she says, looking towards the others. "I shall help take up the rear to ensure the cartooning cad cannot flee yet again." But -- Miraj is already on the approach from the front, and so Gabriella nods towards Korka before she begins to make her way towards the back, her gait a casual affair but gaze alert.
Blessing follows after Korka and Gabriella, because she's helping! "I still think that the Archlector needs to consider the ideas I have for hats," she says, regardless of whether or not anyone is listening. "I have designs drawn back at my own studio. But... most would call them... /unconventional/."
No sooner does Miraj call out than the door swings open to reveal an excited Baldo Kostabi. Dark-skinned, with black hair that's receding and brown eyes, average height, a somewhat doughy figure as he ventures through his forties, he's a perfectly middle of the road human specimen. "Ah, Messere Roumi--er, and... Arch... lector. ...yes. Well. Greetings. How... how may I help you."
"Baldo!" She squeals loud enough for probably Korka and Gabby to hear. "I thought we had a date. No time like the present right? Choices!" Miraj says in a sing song voice and already starts reaching for the buttons on her dress, prepared to tak it off right then and there- "You have your canvas prepared right?" But then she's attempting to push past him because she'd rather /not/ take it off right then and there.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Miraj before departing.
"The Great Baldini," enthuses Hamish, who lets Miraj do the shoving because there are definitely places where the very pretty lady is going to do a much better job of shoving than the guy who just called the proud artist 'The Great Baldini'. Death appreciates very stupid jokes, though.
Korka looks at the door a bit dubiously, then looks over to Gabriella and her sword, "I don't suppose that's a giant lockpick?"
Really, Gabriella is so single-mindedly focused on the current plan of attack (she's still mostly ready for a beating) that she doesn't quite notice Blessing until the woman is about halfway through her explanation on hats. The knight pauses, looks behind her, and then blinks as if just now aware of the fact that Blessing does, in fact, exist.
Five long seconds pass.
"... I would be interested in hearing of these... hats," she says, as if the delay in saying hats could implicitly underline their mysterious nature. "Later."
That said, Gabriella continues on, until she reaches the door. She looks down at the lock with a simple quirk of her brow. She's already taking hold of her hilt as Korka speaks.
"It shall suffice, I think," she says, and then she's just going to try to swing the huge mass of alaricite down on its greatest foe yet: a simple lock.
Gabriella checks strength and huge wpn at easy. Gabriella is marginally successful.
"Don't ask about the hats," Korka says quickly, shaking her head and holding up her hands, "It's all she's talked about the entire way over here. That and tasting colors. Don't ask about that either. I thought I was well into my cups but I was clearly not into them enough for all that."
Hamish checks charm and seduction at normal. Hamish is successful.
Miraj checks charm and seduction at normal. Miraj is marginally successful.
"I haven't had a single drink all night," says Blessing, who has the weird, desaturated eyes of someone who's endured enough dust hallucinations to probably permanently have a hole burnt into the surface of her brain.
Gabriella swings her mighty sword, and... well! The lock breaks. Unfortunately, swinging such a huge weapon was honestly overkill. The lock snaps, but the sword also takes a section of door with it, at an awkward angle. It makes a big noise.
At the front door, Baldo hears the noise, and turns to look backward. "What in the..."
And then Miraj is taking off her dress! "A-ah, come in, no, no, come in," Baldo says, flustered, motioning both to join him inside. In the front room of the studio, no canvas has been yet set up, but Baldo... eyes Hamish for a long, thoughtful moment. "Hmm."
The studio is actually split into three areas: the loading/unloading/storage area, where the backdoor gang is breaking in, the front room, where the others are, and a workshop area. Each room is spacious and high-ceilinged, with lots of finished or half-finished large-scale pieces sitting around. "Let me... let me fetch my charcoal."
In that loading/unloading/storage area, there are a number of crates left sitting out. One of them is open, and full of... pamphlets. Libelous pamphlets.
While he goes and does that, Miraj stops pulling off her dress long enough to look around curiously, smiling very slyly to Hamish. "So how do you think we should handle this?" She asks him in a very soft whisper. When Baldo is out of sight of course, and hopefully out of ear shot.
Wincing just a bit at the noise, Korka dutifully steps inside and is nosy enough to look in the open crates, pulling out a pamphlet, "They're actually kind of clever," she admits, turning it back and forth, "But I'm pretty sure this means he's definitely our guy. What's supposed to happen now? A report to the Baroness or are we supposed to drag him back to see her in person? And by we I mean you, you're kind of terrifying," she glances up at Gabriella.
"Honestly, I'm not sure. I have a feeling that if we take him in, the baroness will have him flayed and then make a footstool out of his bones, which doesn't seem like quite the proper punishment for the crime. And you must admit that the bit with Lady Mikani and Baron Edward _was_ pretty funny." Hamish watches the exit through which the great artist will momentarily reappear. "Though that aside, I could just hit him with something. He should prefer that, since if we stall until the Inquisitor and her highness come in he's apt to get stabbed."
"Hm," exhales Gabriella as she just kind of cleaves a chunk of door along with the lock because she used a giant sword on a tiny lock.
"Perhaps I overdid the lockpicking."
The knight will wait a moment, with a finger lifted to her lips as if to gently suggest quiet. When it becomes clear there is no one coming, however? Gabriella presses on, pushing the verrryyy carved door open to slip within.
She closes it behind her because she is not an -animal-.
It is from here that the knight pushes further inward. Her intention is to reach the workshop.
She does, however, pause briefly at that crate. She looks sidelong at Korka. "Yes, this is all rather damning. ... And rather expertly executed, as well. Is the likeness not -striking-?" She could spend all day critiquing the art. Instead, she just flashes Korka a warm and engaging smile at her declaration.
"Yes. I believe the Baroness would appreciate some dragging." And then she quietly takes a handful of them to stuff inside of her coat pocket. "Evidence," she explains, as if there were not already enough there to probably literally hang the man with. "... It is possible to -taste- colors?"
"Pretty sure I've fed people the color red before," Korka replies mildly, also tucking a few of those papers away in a pouch and then gesturing to Gabriella, "Why don't you go first then and if he tries to run out this way I'll take care of that."
"It was hilarious. And it's not like it was /bad/ art. And I mean bad art isn't a crime. We definitely shouldn't introduce him to the Baroness though. No no no." Miraj shakes her head vigorously. "Maybe we can just talk to him. Only hit him with something if it becomes necessary. He's not a /bad/ guy he's just a /frustrated/ guy, you know?"
"You can taste anything, really," Blessing says, matter-of-factly. She picks up one of the pamphlets, since everyone else is keeping some, but then puts it back down. "There's too much anger in Baldo's work," she says, definitively. "Beauty should never be wrathful. Anyway, blue tastes like metal that's been rained on, sort of."
"I'll be out in a minute!" Baldo says, oblivious to the conversations of both parties. He's in the workshop area, gathering materials.
"Discovering that you plan to keep that dress on will make him a _very_ frustrated guy," drawls Hamish. Miraj gets a nod, though. "Maybe he'll listen to reason. It'd be nice if he did. I'd hate to have to pray for him later because he ran, tripped and fell on an Inquisitor's thumbscrew collection. If I'd gone around the back you could have always talked him out of his clothes. That'd make it harder for him to run or decide he might be able to out-fight us all. Oh well. Something to keep in mind for next time this exact situation arises."
Miraj quickly quips, "It's not too late for him to lose the clothing. Give me five minutes."
Gabriella offers Korka a smooth bow to her suggestion. How she manages to make it so fluid with such a large weapon on her back is anyone's guess, but then, as mentioned, she is terrifying. As she rises, she slips inside of the workshop, conversationally asiding towards Blessing,
"There are many violent beauties in the world, but very few indeed that come from a place of spite. Such breeds very little beyond ugliness. ... but rain on metal... hm. Then if you combined red and blue, what would..." She might be putting too much thought into this, but, at least it doesn't deter her from making her way in, one hand lifting to the hilt of her sword once more. Just -- in case.
"Purple," Blessing answers, helpfully.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Miraj before departing.
Baldo returns to the front room, carrying not only charcoals but what appears to be a drawn reproduction of someone's portrait. "I knew I had it somewhere. Ah, I miss my workers -- finding all of this myself is such a bother."
Baldo holds up the drawing: "Baron Drago Redreef," he explains. "A great leader from generations past. Archlector, I would propose that you stand in as him -- there is a certain resemblance, do you not agree? And Messere Miraj, you in turn would pose as Gloria, standing behind Baron Drago, favoring him... hmm, but, we'll need to fetch a crate or something to stand you upon, since the Archlector is so tall... come with me, toward the back room, won't you? I believe I have something there."
Baldo has gotten so excited by his vision of a portrait of one of the bygone leaders of Redreef Shores that he's forgotten he has an open crate of anti-current-Baroness propaganda sitting around in there. He's also still totally unaware of the intruders in the back, even though Blessing Klee is talking pretty loudly, for someone breaking and entering.
"Come, come -- whatever you two were talking about, I'm sure the discussion will go just as finely in the back room..."
"Well I was just saying, Baldo, of how I'm just -so- shy and all... If I take off my clothes, you gota too." Miraj does her best simpering pouty face, drawing herself in and acting all shy. Terribly shy. Far too shy to show off that buxom bosomy goodness. And everyone knows Gloria MUST have her tits out right? Right. "I was so looking forward to it but.. just... Oh so. You know. It'd make me feel better, Papi." Wiggle wiggle.
Hey, that's handy! Though the part of Hamish that has had a little too much Korka rubbed off on it has him thinking that maybe it's too handy. And too easy. Especially with the
Miraj checks charm and seduction at daunting. Miraj is marginally successful.
Hey, that's handy! Though the part of Hamish that has had a little too much Korka rubbed off on it has him thinking that maybe it's too handy. And too easy. Especially with the turnaround on letting hamish participate in the painting process. So he keeps his eye out for danger and trouble!
"...you want me to..." Baldo stops in his tracks, somewhat confused. He looks over at Hamish for a moment, as if expecting some theological wisdom that will keep him from having to get naked.
"...er. If it... suits you, Messere Miraj," Baldo says, though he's still not fully convinced that it's a great idea. He pauses to set down his materials and undo his coat and shirt, removing them -- and then he steps out of his shoes and his trousers, leaving him in, for the moment, silk undershorts that, at the very least, look expensive and comfortable. "Let us make our way to the back, though," he says, gathering up his materials again...
...and that's around when Baldo Kostabi opens a door that puts him directly in front of Gabriella, Korka, and Blessing, standing there in just his drawers.
Whoops. Korka looks at Baldo, then looks down at his shorts, then over at Gabriella, "Hit him slightly less harder than you did the lock," is her helpful addition to the situation. Still, she takes a step to the side just in case.
Hamish looks from Baldo to Korka, Gabriella and Blessing, then says a little reproachfully to the artist, "You didn't tell us it would be this kind of party."
Gabriella Pravus' hand is at the door leading further in, head turned to look back towards Blessing with an incredulous look.
"I am well aware of -that-," she insists, and grabs the doorhandle to turn just as Baldo does. "I want to know the -taste- of--"
And this is where Gabriella turns, to get a look at Baldo, just kind of letting it all hang out, mostly, his doughy dignity maintained by mere drawers.
Maybe half a second passes before Gabriella just does what comes naturally to her: she looks to kick the man squarely between the legs. On reflex. It's certainly not a value judgment on his approach to art.
Gabriella checks strength and brawl at easy. Gabriella is successful.
Baldo is stunned for a moment. He's about to say something...
It turns out all he has to say is a groan of pain when Gabriella's boot slams directly into his crotch. He drops his materials and falls to the floor, twitching in testicular agony, hands over his lap and thighs squished together in an attempt to stop the pain. It's not a successful attempt.
"...oh, I didn't know it was this kind of party, either...!" Blessing says, as she starts to remove her gown unless someone stops her.
Korka is a bit surprised when Gabriella just lets loose with her booted foot, "It's not likely to be purple now," she comments with a shrug, "At least not for a couple hours now." When Blessing starts to take off her dress a dark brow goes up, but she's not going to stop her. She looks to Miraj and Hamish, "The Princess here is going to truss him up and sail him back to Arx to meet the Baroness so he can do a better likeness next time. I'd go with her but I'm pretty sure the Baroness said she'd foot the bill for us while we were here and it seems like we're still here so." she spreads her hands like oh well.
Hamish makes a face at Korka. "I'm honestly not sure that turning him over to the Bloody Baroness is the best decision here. I can't imagine she will choose a punishment to fit the crime. Or maybe she will, but it'll be one of those ironic punishments where she will be making him eat his canvas while she paints his portrait with his own intestines."
Blessing pauses halfway through taking off her gown. Her bralette is not as expensive-looking as Baldo's shorts, somehow. "...wait, you're not going to kick me, are you?"
"Ah! Archlector Hamish, Mistress Miraj!"
A poor propagandist is sprawled out in terribly miserable pain at Gabriella's feet, but the second her boot hits the ground, she seems to have forgotten the man entirely in favor of offering the tilt of her hand in greeting to the pair inside. "I hope he was not attempting something foul with the two of you. We have found a veritable monument to the man's misdeeds in the crates beyond! Truly it's rather remarkable he managed to make them all himself." Here, she looks down at poor Baldo. "Truly, you are as industrious as you are insipid, Master Baldo. I must say I find myself impressed all the same, and... are you yet conscious?" She nudges the man once, twice with the toe of her boot, and frowns. "... Perhaps I overdid it again. Mm." She considers this for a moment, before glancing Hamish's way, brows furrowed. "If not the Baroness, then what? She is expecting something of our efforts."
A second passes by, before Gabriella adds, encouragingly, "I do not yet have any plans to kick you lest you wish a booting, Mistress Blessing."
Blessing pauses, to think about it.
"It's not that kind of party," Korka quips in response to Gabriella's last comment to Blessing, giving Hamish a bit of a Look, "What she does with him isn't our concern. We were enlisted to find the man, we've found him. Are you hoping perhaps he's seen the error of his ways now that his balls need to drop again and he's had his come to Jayus moment?"
"The Sentinel calls on our commitment to justice," says Hamish to Korka, tone mild. Even milder when he adds, "Though I suppose the Inquisition and the discipleship of the Sentinel parted ways some time ago." He holds up his hands in capitulation. "Of course, I don't claim to be a theological expert." This gets a momentary Look. Then he's looking down to Baldo. "Friend, you have made what I am going to politely call a bit of an error in judgment. I appreciate that you are upset that the Baroness is not a traditionalist. She's a woman. She's a manumissionist. She plans to marry a manatee and name him Baron Waddles and make everyone bow to him. This is all very true. However, she's still got salt and iron in her blood and once she has her hands on you she will shove her arm up your ass and work you like a puppet if that's what it takes to teach every one of your peers that this," he gestures to the piles of literature, "was a bad idea. My companions wish to send you back to her. I'd like to hear why I should continue to argue that it would be best if they go back empty handed."
Miraj visibly winces. "Oh poor... baldos." She chews her lower lip sweetly. "I had hoped we could just have a talking to him. He... I don't know if any man deserves that." A beat, "No I take that back. Princess Gabriella, I have so many exboyfriends to introduce you to. Especially Todd and Art and Sisi and..." She lists a good five or six more before circling around again. She kneels by Baldo and nods, "I really didn't want you to get hurt. Here I thought we could discuss this like civilized people. Naked and covered in paint." She tsks her tongue a little. "The Baroness really isn't so bad. If you're worried about her not having balls, and pulling many changes really you should blame Victus." She says with a tease in her voice. "Lagoma calls for change, my friend." She reaches out to pat his shoulder.
Baldo makes a gurgling sound from the ground. "The Bloody Baroness... she's a monster... she'd... she'd destroy everything great about our Isles..." He wheezes and gasps. "Should I die... for believing in... believing in my home? For not wishing... not wishing to see... our way of life... thrown away by someone who..." Baldo coughs horribly. "...someone who nearly destroyed Redreef Shores... because she didn't want someone ELSE to have it...?" Baldo groans again, not quite making an effort to roll over, let alone get up. "I... I am proud to be... be of Redreef Shores. If she was proud as well... would she work so hard... to destroy it...?"
Korka glances down at Baldo then up at Hamish with raised brows and a particularly obnoxious expression. She then blinks at Miraj as she lists off all of those names, "You'd all make very terrible Inquisitors," she says finally, looking to Gabriella appraisingly, "Maybe not you."
"Todd--? Such a banal name," says Gabriella, full of abject disapproval. She considers this for a time with a critical eye even as Baldo groans and gurgles beneath her. "--Perhaps we may work something out later, Mistress Miraj, to deal with this terrible 'Todd.'" And here, she flashes the courtier a grin.
For now, though, the princess' attention is on Hamish and Baldo; arms folding over her chest as the others treat with him, she lifts one dark blonde eyebrow at the man's stubborn denial. "For all his dedication to his craft, he seems a firmly entrenched zealot of ignorance. And in my experience, such base mongrels ultimately have but one end. I would not particularly mind seeing the baroness enact her own justice on a man such as this; ultimately I've no stake in it, however." Her gaze turns, then, towards Miraj once more. "As her protege, I believe we ought leave it for Mistress Miraj to weigh in on the man's fate."
She pauses her, if only to offer Korka a shining smile. "Why, I am honored, Inquisitor."
"I'm trying to give you an out where you don't end up ... whatever you're going to end up. But if you are bound and determined to be bound and dismembered, then I suppose I can't stop you. Festival of Choices, after all." Hamish lets out a long sigh and glances to Miraj.
Miraj stands and shakes her head. "She's not a Monster. She made Choices." She sighs and continues looking down at him, shaking her head. "And so have you, and now so have I. Baldo, I adore the arts. You are a fine artist. Taking life is not my style. But I think perhaps you should spend some time with Lagoma's Mercies - and lay off the art for a while." And with that she looks to Gabriella. "Could you do the foot thing? I mean, not to his baldos again but--" She makes a little stompy gesture and points at his dominant hand. Just there. That one.
Baldo looks up at Miraj, and seems like he might protest for a moment... but then the moment of realization flashes on his face that this is probably the most merciful outcome possible. So he puts his hand out, palm down, on the ground.
Blessing still has her gown half-off and her bralette out. "...I don't want to see this," she says, turning away.
While Korka didn't seem to be terribly happy with Gabriella suggesting that Miraj decide, she gives the woman a bit of an impressed look at the suggested punishment. And doesn't try to stop it, so it seems that she approves.
"Mm," exhales Gabriella, as Miraj makes her decision. The Pravus princess hardly seems to object, or even judge it yet; indeed, she looks exceedingly nonchalant as she steps over Baldo, quite courteously avoiding his baldos on the short trip over. She waits very patiently and very reasonably for the man to give up and present his palm to her as if it were just the natural and inevitable outcome.
When he does, she looks Miraj's way with a sunny smile as she lifts her right leg up, bent at the knee. "A fine and wise choice, Mistress Miraj."
Whereupon, of course, the stomping comes in, once and clinically fierce.
Gabriella checks strength and brawl at easy. Botch! Gabriella catastrophically fails.
"WAIT!" Blessing says, right as Gabriella goes to stomp.
Maybe Blessing's outburst distracts Gabriella. Maybe it makes Baldo move to look. Maybe Gabriella just wasn't aiming so well tonight! She WAS drinking.
No matter the reason, instead of stomping Baldo's hand, Gabriella's heel comes down hard on the man's elbow and snaps it, making it bend the wrong way at nearly a right angle. Baldo SCREAMS, not prepared for THAT level of injury, and rolls onto his back, clutching his arm as it flops around uselessly.
"...I was going to tell you what purple tasted like..." Blessing says, meekly.
Hamish watches the maiming and pre-winces at the expected sound of a man's pride and joy shattering. For the second time that evening. And then Gabriella misses her mark. "Oh shit!" He looks away reflexively, then looks back because an Archlector of Death can't be a wiener about this sort of thing. "Well. You yet live. I implore you to spend your time among the Mercies figuring some things out, because if more hilarious pamphlets come out it will not be hard for the Inquisitor to let the Baroness know that she's suddenly found a lead. And you will lose more than your good," he gestures toward Baldo's arm, "getting-stuff-done hand. I am certain of that." To the others he says, "If the Baroness gets angry that we didn't bring anything back blame me. She's not allowed to get angry with me. I'll tell the gods on her."
Again, Miraj winces visibly, shoulders tensing up to her ears. But then nods at what Hamish says, looking away from Baldo with a sigh and a shake of her head. "I think the Baroness will be pleased that it will stop." She glances back to Baldo. "It will stop. I'm not making a second trip to Redreef for this!" She chides. "It was a very long boat ride you know. And this really cut into my bead-getting time!"
WAIT!, Gabriella hears. She starts to tilt. She's a -little- tipsy (a little!). Baldo is also probably very interested in what Blessing has to say. All the same, it all adds up to a --
-- before Gabriella Pravus is left staring mutely at where her heel has sort of caved in Baldo's elbow in the opposite direction.
To her credit, she immediately removes it the second he starts to move so he's not trying to yank the thing out from her heel. But it's still kind of -- flopping --
"--Hm," exhales Gabriella, as she surveils her accidental disaster with a nonplussed look. "... Worry not! The Baroness might be better pleased about this outcome, actually." This is an /absolute win/ in her book!
And then Miraj speaks, and Gabriella's eyes alight, clapping her hands together even as the man below her screams and flops about. "Ah yes, the beads!"
Korka doesn't startle backwards or anything, it's almost like she's seen worse happen right in front of her. She does tilt her head just a bit when the aim goes all wrong, brows going up once again seemingly impressed, "Well. If that's that, let's go get drunk." A look to Hamish, "Drunker."
Miraj is overheard praising Korka: Best Inquisitor!
Miraj is overheard praising Gabriella: Best Princess!
Miraj is overheard praising Hamish: Best Archlector!
Miraj is overheard praising Hamish: Best Archlector!
Miraj is overheard praising Ember: Best Baroness
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