The Faith Goes to the Spa
Nov. 23, 2021, 1 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Grotto
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Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards, Direhorn Jeffers, a barded Templar wargoat arrive, following Preston.
Balian, a Templar squire have been dismissed.
Guy, a hunting kestrel have been dismissed.
Direhorn Jeffers, a barded Templar wargoat have been dismissed.
1 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.
2 Ivory Shields, Rodrigo, the Surprisingly Large Flautist, Romeo, a love sick bird who wouldn't be free arrive, following Nina.
Sir Bhandn came early to SPA DAY. He's already here, lying down and GETTING A MASSAGE. All he has on is a towel, and every so often there's a bit of noise coming from his throat as a particularly knotty section of his heavily muscled back gets attention. This is to say, someone is having a good time already and is taking full advantage of what the Dominus laid out for pampering.
Stepping into The Grotto, Preston emerges - devoid of his usual armour and even his cloak and priestly robes are gone, in favour of just his simple aeterna shirt and trousers. And of course his rings and the sword belt, because he can't leave that elsewhere. He slowly walks along the edge of the large pool, perhaps more patrolman than partaker at the moment.
Did Mother Cassandra Laurent, Legate of Arts, Sword of the Faith, Performance-Review Conductor of Prestons, and various other great titles, arrive early? She might argue that she arrived exactly on time for her needs. So far those needs have consisted of having her nails filed and cuticles trimmed by professionals -- craftspeople of the cuticular arts, all honors to Jayus -- and the trimming of a haircut that a village could set its sundial to.
Now, the fit and able-bodied Legate has changed into a bathing costume that the Oathlands orthodoxy would judge 'suitable for wearing whilst bathing.' She exits the changing area, approaching alongside Preston in his patrol. "No massage for you, Carnifex? I'm sure we could get a smith in to massage he sword as well."
Nina is rightly on time. She isn't early, because she likes to be seen entering places, but she doesn't want to be late, because she wants to take her full time enjoying the party. Though she represents the Harlequins, today she's got an outfit on in a more bardic blue, which goes well with her hair and complexion. Nina slips off a simple robe, and her shoes, within the changing area, and comes out toward the pools in a bathing outfit that sparkles quite a bit in gold and blue silks. It's a good deal more fancy than what Cassandra is wearing, but Nina offers the Legate a smile nonetheless. "This was a nice idea for a party. The world is so stressful lately."
"It is sweet that you think I let smiths touch the blade, Mother. It stays sharp by itself, and I tend to it even though it doesn't need it. And Banisher, well. Felix tends to it. He made it back in a previous life. Seems like an age ago now, when Fawkuhl was Dominus." Preston answers in his sweet warm tones, his hands folding behind his back as he saunters "Anyway, when the Dominus invites everyone to gather, well. We know the city is not safe, the Faith is one of the few who understands that Arvum is a battlefield, Mother. This is just a nicer part of the battlefield than most. And..." Preston gestures across to Bhandn "I think the good knight of Solace relaxes well enough. Their order has the hard work of the roads."
"Very nice," Bhandn practically groans from where he's lying down. His head is laying on his two hands, and there's a closed-eyed look of absolute bliss on the silver-haired man's face. That lasts up until Cassandra makes mention of bringing in a smith, and a grin pops up on his mouth. Not quite laughter, because he's still very distracted by that massage, but close. "Stop being a curmudgeon and get a massage," Bhandn calls out to Preston. "You do enough yourself, do you not?" he adds as his grey eyes open and fix on the Carnifex. "Take it as advice from an old man that not doing something enjoyable from time to time makes you stuffy and unbearable." A pause. "That's what I was constantly told, anyway, and look what I'm doing." BEING IN HEAVEN (or is it Elysia?), THAT'S WHAT.
Oswyn slips into the Grotto with the air of someone who's maybe never been before. He takes a robe from the pile by the door and squints at the modesty screens. Shaking his head, he disappears behind one and busies himself stripping down and tucking his belongings away. The Archscholar reappears in a robe shortly thereafter and asks an attendant a quiet question before being pointed toward the other members of the Faith. "So..."
"You know, it's fortunate that the two of us found our calling in the Faith," Cassandra says to Preston. She keeps stride with the blonde knight, her arms swinging by her sides in a relaxed gait that betrays feet far too used to adjusting for the weight of armor in their steps. "Imagine how badly my jokes would fare if I directed them at you while we were both stood on a stage." Cassandra allows the corners of her mouth to lift, like she's signaling 'This, also, was a joke.' Cassandra's eye is caught by the entrance of Nina -- how could it not, when the Suspire's costume instantly sets so many mouths to murmuring in awe? "...so," she echoes Oswyn, a moment later.
Nina has joined the Garden Peacocks Bath.
Nina walks over to the peacocks bath in a slow 'meant to be seen' sort of way, as if she intends for her outfit to match the tails of the birds in the tiles of the pool. Then she sinks in, and sighs at once as the water starts to do its magic. "A massage would be most welcome. And there is wine, yes?"
"Were it not for the Faith having called to us, Mother, I doubt we would have met - on a stage or anywhere. You would be Duchess Laurent, and I would be one of the untold orphans that live in the lowers. I do think I came off better in the arrangement all told." Preston answers earnestly, though with a smile to the Legate. His head does turn as Nina walks past and a brow lifts as he looks bac to Cassandra "Disciples too? Most Holy was feeling generous and welcoming. It is a good thing." Still, at Bhandn's needling Preston sighs "I...am not a huge one for massage, Bhandn. And, between battles, I merely have to look after the Faith and our shrines. Often a most uneventful time." But he does summon over one of the Templars guarding hte entrance and hands over his sword belt to the man before he unfastens his aeterna shirt and pulls it off - revealing the sigil of Gloria branded into his left shoulder, and just below it a large circular-ish scar that passes through to the back of his shoulder "But a swim can be fun, I suppose."
There's a soft grunt that suggests that Bhandn will accept Preston's concession for now, because the older man closes his eyes and returns to a state of one who is luxuriating under the touch of those skilled fingers. "I should have done this years ago," he says to the air, nearly sighing those words. "Someone please convey my thanks for this. This has been a treat." That too is thrown out in the air to whomever wants to catch it. But like all good things, they eventually have an end, and soon enough Bhandn is giving out a long, regretful sigh as his turn at the massaging station comes to an end. There's a moment where he excuses himself, and soon emerges with not-silver but a couple gold coins as a gratuity for the woman who saw to his broad back that was all tensed up. He's feeling generous today. Not long after that, this Knight of Solace is eyeing the wine with decided hunger, but he doesn't immediately seize a glass for himself, indecision taking over as to just what he wants to indulge in next, as there's a glance for the bath pools next.
Oswyn inclines his head to Preston and Cassandra. Then he considers the massage area. He considers the pools. He looks completely and utterly undecided and stands there awkwardly. Finally, he remarks, "I do get hunched up working with papers from time to time," as he veers toward the massage tables. On his way past, he nods to Nina with the vague air of someone who suspects they need to take note of something and yet missed it entirely. Arriving at a table, an assistant sets up some towels. The Archscholar shrugs out of his robe and clambers onto the table, where he lays down on his stomach at the attendant's urging. A towel is draped over him for some modesty. And there's Bhandn. He nods. "Hello again."
"Wait until you reach thirty-five, Sir Preston." Cassandra rests her hands on her hips -- the look she gives the younger Grandmaster is perhaps a bit maternal, but more than a bit 'it'll happen to you one day.' "When I was twenty-two, I could be knocked off a horse, bounce back to my feet, and be fine. Once you get past the half-way point of life, suddenly your muscles nag and your bones ache within your joints... you'll come around on massage. And I'll be an old crone bent over with a sword-belt on still, whistling around my one remaining tooth that I told you so." Cassandra seems content to have lectured Preston enough about the horrors of age, and leaves him and Bhandn to swim. She heads for the massage tables herself, joining Oswyn on the path there. "You should rotate yourself at the waist more, Archscholar Oswyn. Sit up straight, cross your arms over your chest, hug your shoulders, and gently twist one way, then the other. Might help keep your back from tensing too hard."
Nina has a man working on her back straightaway. She seems grateful for the service but also somehow gotten used to luxuries. Another hands her a glass of red wine, and now she feels at home. "I've been getting a lot more workouts lately with dancing, so this eases body and soul." She smiles at Cassandra's comment. "Oh, really, you should teach some lessons. I was thinking about having some more classes taught soon, and I just don't know everything myself."
Oswyn turns his head in Cassandra's direction, though he doesn't lift it from the table. "That sounds very helpful," he tells the Legate. "And I will try to remember to do so. It's remembering that's going to be the tricky part. I tend to get absorbed. I start to work, it's like no time at all passes, but when I look up the sun's halfway across the sky and there's some cold tea on my desk."
"It is said there are very few old paladins, Mother Cassandra. Either they travel to do the Gods' work, or they pass in their endeavours. I perhaps need to worry a little less about 35." Preston reaches to tap the scar on his shoulder, smirking a little "And even a very tame Eurusi archer nearly got me. Straight through rubicund plate armour at Sungreet." The knight clucks his tongue at the memory before removing his trousers to reveal his swimming trunks, and sliding into the water. Content for now to lean against the side, he does allow a relaxing sigh to slip past his lips.
Nina sighs, but then winces at the comment about being shot. "Ah, I was hit with an arrow once at the docks, while I was running away mind you! And I still give thanks I had an ironwool cloak on that day. I couldn't imagine making it a ... regular thing!"
The Legate of Arts leaves on her bathing costume. The poor masseuse will have to simply work around it. Cassandra has her fair share of scars -- one doesn't get knocked off a horse, say, without some souvenirs from the experience. "Don't worry, Archscholar Oswyn," she says over to the next table. "I'll be dropping in to remind you." She turns her attention toward Nina: "Give lessons, though? Why, basic fitness is trained into every knight. I agree that there would be great benefit from those lessons being spread -- and, one hopes, more knights. It would make dealing with enemy arches that much easi--ah. Oh, that spot. Please." The masseuse has found Cassandra's tension.
"That... seems like it would be a waste of your time, Legate," Oswyn tells Cassandra, his brow furrowing. "Unf." And his masseuse is working his right shoulder. "I could have an assistant poke me. Laurel or Oliver would likely enjoy it." Oswyn, for his part, has about as many scars as one might expect of a nerd: not many, if any at all. He closes his eyes and ventures, "Several arrows have been shot in my general direction. I've treated a not-inconsiderable number of arrow wounds. That's really about it."
"I think more courtiers could benefit from fitness lessons," Nina says. "Maybe a cross-training is appropriate. I don't really have the stamina to keep up dancing for long, and you can see that in many ways it would be beneficial. But yes, I think at your stature, maybe you have more important things to do, so I can find someone who is suitable."
"You are always welcome at the Compound of course, Mother Cassandra. Dame Ida is always keen for people to show off the siege training yard to. And well, we do often look for more training and lessons, I would be most interested in the Archscholar's views. We even have a small training presence in Saik lands, and at Maelstrom while our fortress on that Island is built. Relearning some of our past." Kicking off from the edge of the pool, Preston floats on his back, his limbs spread like a star fish "I am not sure I've ever been good for dancing, however. Though for some reason I am often asked to do so. Many a stubbed princess toe has regretted that."
"Oh," Oswyn says quickly. "I didn't mean --- I meant dropping in on me to prod me to stretch would be a waste of time. Not the other things."
Sir Bhandn, on the other hand, is showing off a wicked scar on the left side of his abdomen that shows he's been on the receiving blow of what must have been an axe. He's been spending the time dithering over what wine he wants to drink, while fixing that towel around his waist so there's no wardrobe malfunction. Finally Bhandn selects a red and takes a sniff and cautious sip. It's certainly fine to his taste buds, because he's taking the occasional sip, at a faster rate than most might drink their wine. "Nothing wrong with a little romp through the city to make you hardier," Bhandn observes a bit dryly, and that to Oswyn. "It'll do you some good to be out in the air with a nice weighted pack on, jogging at my side, building up your stamina. You'll also sleep like you never have every night, too." Wine sip, and then a jerk of his free thumb over in Preston's direction. "Do you want to tell him why he gets asked to dance, Mother, or should I?" There's a flash of a grin in Cassandra's direction as Bhandn asks that, but his grey eyes settle on the Carnifex with the very clear intention of having Something to Say about the matter if he gets called on to give the explanation.
"Dropping in on the Archscholar of Vellichor is never a waste of time for the Legate of Arts," Cassandra says, turning her head only so that she's not speaking directly into a towel. Her eyes remain closed. The Legate is thoroughly enjoying herself as her well-trained muscles are ground into relaxation. "If I should happen to ask you about your back when I do so, well." Eyes closed, Cassandra faintly bounces her eyebrows the once. "I could perhaps lead the odd session or two, but for a steady instructor of such things, there are others even more qualified than myself." Cassandra pauses a beat. "You tell him, Sir Bhandn. I'm well overdue for a long, friendly talk with the Grandmaster as it is, and I wouldn't want to spoil its mood ahead of time."
"I suspect," Oswyn says with a faint sigh, "You may be underestimating my fortitude." His eyes remain closed, too. "I've been on numerous expeditions. I can tromp through forests. And snow. Uphill both ways." His tone is quite dry. He doesn't sound irritated, though. Somewhere between vaguely forlorn and amused?
Nina giggles. "Oh! I misunderstood. Here I was worried it would be a waste of her time to teach we silly courtiers to lift very tiny weights." She smiles now, and drinks more wine. "But it is your time to do with as you wish. I'm glad you get to spend some of it relaxing. Important for the soul and body."
Merek, every once in a while comes from wherever it is that he stays. Who knows, either way after the recent activities of watching people do ancient rituals, it is time for him to relax. He has on a simple dark attire, a sash about the waist of his umbra robes, taking the time to slink towards the water and settles about into it. The Scholar would bring a book but they are pretty notorious for not doing well in water.
"I can have a good guess why, Sir Bhandn." Preston offers from his floating position, drifting along in the pool "But, I would think by now my reputation for not dancing might have gotten out. Yet every dance someone thinks it is just a matter of the right partner. As if a horse only needs the right rider in order to fly." Watching the ceiling, Preston lets out a pensive tone "Hmm. Should I worry Mother Cassandra?"
"No," Cassandra says. "It's just been too long since we've talked." Her tone is very much 'I am now leaving this planet.'
"Let's do away with guessing and stick with certainty, shall we?" Bhandn says it with no small amount of shit-eating for his grin. "You're a good looking young man, you're built strongly, you're knighted, you're passionate about what you do --" Bhandn ticks these all off on his free hand's fingers via his wine glass "-- and you're probably just the right amount of shyness that makes you a challenge to anyone who enjoys all of those traits I mentioned. That doubtless gets a lot of heads turning your way, which naturally leads to not really innocent overtures of wanting to dance with you. Which could lead to other forms of dancing, but I digress." There, Bhandn finishes off his wine, eyebrows raised at Preston as if to say 'your turn'.
Oswyn misses the arrival of the black-garbed Merek - his eyes are closed - and tells Preston, "Best to learn the basics and play along. Speaking as someone shy thrust into social situations. Princess Sabella was very insistant. I was less interesting when I became less of a challenge. Though I'm not a strongly-built knight, soooo..." Your mileage may vary.
"I was quite honestly considering an art of conversation and charm class to be held soon," Nina says. "This is of course the job of a courtier, but it doesn't hurt to spread around the most basic skills. A knight may often find themselves in a situation where things need negotiation. Especially in these times."
"Ah, you discounted one other option that is certain, Sir Bhandn. I am close to power and people may wish to use that, and see me as a weak and easy route to that. I have been the fun target of noble games back in the day, attempts to bring down a Dominus based on my work. And that then changes all else, mm? Better to engage in no game, not knowing if it is fair or foul, then risk stepping your toe unknowingly into dark waters. Better to avoid public entrapments where you can. But. I am Orthodox and we are by our nature averse to risk or even the appearance of it, at least without purpose." Preston's head turns in the water, lifting a bit to avoid wet ears "Princess Sabella? Interesting woman, Archscholar. Though..." As Nina suggests charm classes, Preston can't help but chuckle "You should ask the Archscholar, my charm wears thin very fast when it comes to matters relating to the Faith."
"Um," says the Archscholar, put on the spot. "We simply disagree on some matters." Oswyn shifts on his massage table. Awkward. "I'm not particularly charming myself. But charm is in the eye of the beholder?" He opens one eye but squints it in Nina's direction. "Pardon. I don't attend many shows anymore. You're an entertainer, yes? Neera?" JUST CHANGE THE SUBJECT OSWYN. GO.
"Nina. Yes, of the Bards College and the Suspires. I'm also a member of the Harlequins, because I'm good with wordplay, and I wear many hats. Though my work with the temple has been lax of late." She sighs. And finally, Nina dismisses the massuesse, but she refills her glass - no intention of leaving yet. "But parties are equally important I think. Are you in need of an entertainer? I dance, sing, play strings... other things."
Merek does listen to the conversation, though he seems to be relaxing, "Mmn, dancing and singing and relaxing," he muses, then he takes a look about the place and swims along in the water.
"I do not," Oswyn tells Nina. The attendant is stepping away from the Archscholar and offering the man's robe, which Oswyn takes and slips his arms into. "Sorry. Not one for parties. Though... maybe in a bit? We might need some fundraising in the coming days." He offers a faint, squinty smile. Oswyn disentangles himself from the towel on the table and ties the robe shut.
"Do not worry, Archscholar, I do not get precious over such things. Many disagree with me - it is not like the city is a bastion of the Orthodoxy. We would never have good debates if we all agreed. The previous Archscholar was always worried I'd be like Alor." Preston flips over in the water and begins to
"Do not worry, Archscholar, I do not get precious over such things. Many disagree with me - it is not like the city is a bastion of the Orthodoxy. We would never have good debates if we all agreed. The previous Archscholar was always worried I'd be like Alor." Preston flips over in the water and begins to slowly swim along the pool "Perhaps Princess Sorrel will hold another concert soon."
Rance, a rebellious swan that likes to headbutt arrives, delivering a message to Preston before departing.
"What are you feelings about Marach?" Oswyn asks, squinting curiously over at Preston.
Nina smiles, if a little faintly, at the comment about Sorrel holding a concert. "Maybe so. Her works often deal with religious hymns... is that the reason you mention her work in specific? It was quite engaging the one event I saw, but I have such common taste that sometimes it does end up a bit highbrow for me." She says this while drinking wine and wearing expensive silk of course.
"Marach was an apostate, Archscholar, that is a settled matter of the Faith." Preston answers as he swims to the side so he can answer "The idea of compromise with the Abyss is tempting - the idea that we can control it somehow. But we never can. There were elves that thought they could, and failed. The reaction to Marach may have seemed harsh, but imagine an Arvum where the Faith had fallen as the Sylv'alfar had. It is decay and rot, once you let it in? Once you rely on it? It will never let go. Each corrupted mote becomes a gateway for them to keep coming in. Thankfully, a matter of history." The question from Nina gets a warm smile over the edge of the poll "They are very interesting, and yes religious, but also often get such interesting guests."
Oswyn nods to Preston. "Possibly a discussion for a later date. I ought to get back to the Academy... this has been nice, though." He has a squint around. "I've never really been in here before." Slipping down off the table, he gives a very shallow bow in Nina and Preston's direction. "Take care and enjoy yourselves."
"Ah, I see!" Nina takes this in stride, crossing her legs. "Maybe I'll have an interesting guest show up at my own concerts some day. Though I don't have one planned in the near future. I think maybe in the fall." She smiles graciously as Owsyn is on his way. "I should be going too. But this was lovely." She rises out of the water and lets it run down her legs, parting from the fancy pool. "I should come here more often. Great way to cool off in the outdoors. But I'm used to the heat."
Nina has left the Garden Peacocks Bath.
2 Ivory Shields, Rodrigo, the Surprisingly Large Flautist, Romeo, a love sick bird who wouldn't be free leave, following Nina.
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