11921122 Young Ones Preen, Old Ones Scheme

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Young Ones Preen, Old Ones Scheme
Date: 22th of November 1192
Location: The Palace gardens
Participants: Renaud Grenier, Beatrice de Courtenay several NPC's
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Room Description
The immediate impression of lush greenery is a cunningly maintained illusion, and most of what passes beneath the feet of visitors to these gardens, for all the fruit and flower-burdened arbours above their heads, is sand, stone, pebbles, marble, and - above all - water. The fountain of the yard was only a suggestion of the insistent, musical rippling that fills the ear in the garden itself. Little rivulets and cataracts flow all about with a straightness that reveals the order and effort that ordained their position. While in fact carefully structured, the gardens seem natural and puzzling from within, and it is easy to lose oneself - or other people, to seize a private conversation. Trellises create divisions into many ever more secluded domains. Statues are rare - as one would expect from the Emir's leavings - but there is a shrine to the Virgin and Child above one silvery pool.

"Two leafs to please, five bring disease... " a sun-tanned old woman propounds in a creaky voice. The afternoon is fading like the youth of the linnen-skirted mentor and stands in harsh contrast to Countess Beatrice's blossoming youth in the gardens of the Royal Palace. The girl herself, hilled in her usual rosy silks listens not quite as interestedly as other would, the stouty guard nearby yawns blatantly. "Alright, alright, I put a few of those in my chest after the rains. But let's walk until they start, I don't want to cool my heels over here." she comments as her gaze already wanders off to more lively beeings.

The Lord of Beaufort Castle - and Sidon, by his own account - is a man of atrociously unpleasant aspect. A thin, cunning face accords ill with a soft, corpulent corse. His beard is grown long in the fashion of some Arabic sheikh, and, just as a Saracen emir would, he drenches it, and all the rest of him, in overpowering scent. He is short, squat, burnt dark in complexion, squinty-eyed and coarse-handed. He commonly dresses in silken robes that his enemies say suit a whore before a lord. When he tells a joke, which is often, his eyes pop open wide and his mouth slices broadly in irrepressible glee, before his own laugh comes, an apparently involuntary gurgle. Yet for all this, Renaud 'of Sidon' is pleasant enough company to explain his long career as an envoy; warm, attentive, witty and courteous. He must be one of the few lords in Outremer who is scarcely ever sighted with a swordbelt girded on.

The highborn girl's idle gaze will be naturally drawn to a retinue of half-a-dozen men in splendid attire of red, white, blue, yellow and purple silks, all disporting themselves beside one of the artificed riverbanks. Their complexions show a range of ages and hues; a couple are young men, Franks or near enough; one, middle-aged and fatter, is obviously an Italian merchant; two could be Armenians, Greeks or even perhaps Saracens; and at the centre of the coterie, his horny feet dangled and bare in the waters, a fine bright white new turban about his pate, is Renaud, Lord of Sidon (that was).

His eyes goggle small and gleaming as his hirsute head leans back and up. "My lady Beatrice! Fair welcome to our assemblage. Very fair. Though not near so fair as any daughter of Courtenay." Renaud was once, she might recall, indeed wedded to her (in)famous aunt!

"My Lord Renaud, well met!" Beatrice greets with a delicate bow of her head, as she turns away from the older woman without an other word. Once again she tries not to let her eyes cling longer at the man's thin, cunning face than courtesy allows. His ostentatious attire and his bare feet are not much of help today. The flattery is answered with a cautious smile, the little gathering around him with a curious skim of the men. "A fair assemblage you have collected indeed, where did you find all these men and what did you do to make them follow you around?"

Renaud says, "How unconscionable of me," Renaud declares with florid regret, while his quick, soft dark eyes needle the Courtenay girl's older and forsaken attendant, "not to introduce my friends instantly! We are a fellowship of pure and plain love and compassion, here, and bid you join among us! These...splendid youths are Oliver de Milly, one of my god-sons," Renaud chuckles, "would-you-believe-it, and his brother in arms Sir Gerard de Mornay, but newly made knight." Neither foppish young man looks much of a fighter, though.

"As for these others, my dear lady Beatrice, meet Isaco of Beirut and Abdullah, recently arrived...from Sidon." At this Renaud indicates the two gentlemen of outlandish appearance, whose names may usher in only further questions. Then he takes the Italian's arm, "And this is my dear associate Plivano, Baron of Botrun. You are a baron, now, I understand?"

"Of course," the man spits back in the oleaginous accents of Pisa, "and I paid ten thousand bezants for it. A thousand blessings on your house, my beloved countess.""

"A company of plain love and compassion? Oh, if there is a more flexible fellow among these fine men, make sure to send him over to the Lusignan's house. Word is, he's quite lonely lately. Have you seen this bonny lad of a minstrel leaving Count Geoffrey de Lusignan's house with a well-filled purse? He seems to have enjoyed the young singer's company, yes. It's only natural, that one gets lonely with his wife far away in the west, but his choice to alleviate the symptoms of his solitude is admittedly a peculiar one. I would not have expected otherwise from one like this, though.", Beatrice chatters to spit her usual poison against Count Geoffrey, as every pleasant conversation demands.

With mocked guilt she lowers her gaze for the appropriate moment "But what I am talking about, I can see you gathered nothing but men of honour among you. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.", she offers with a honeyed smile, that seems to get an additional pinch of sweetness at the tinkling sound of 'ten-thousand bezants'. "And you are showing them the joys and the beauty of court, I assume?", she asks Renaud.

"If I want beauty, I am staying in Pisa," Plivano, rather than his amused patron, persists in answering. "I am here for duty, not beauty." Not a very gallant statement to make to a fair countess, but it seems the Pisan keeps his gallantry for his purse. "The Count of Tripoli, he make me a lord. I am a very good lord, very reasonable, but reason has limits. So I come to court to see the tallages doubled. My friend here, he says it is done easy as catching lamphreys. I say, then, where are the lamphreys...?"

While the Italic trader makes this impassioned speech, Lord Renaud has taken his chance to sidestep over to Countess Beatrice's older chaperone and a mutter a word in her ear. "Good lady, you really must control your charge's passionate feelings for...ah, I mean, about...this lord of Lusignan. People are talking. You can trust me and mine always, of course, but others...take care, great care..."

As soon as the Italian keeps opening his mouth again, the sweet interest of young Beatrice seems to dry up. Rolling her eyes at the man's speech, she quickly turns to one of the younger men around him. "Oliver de Milly? I just remember! You must be a cousin of mine, you're wearing my late mother's name. Proudly I hope! What brought you here?"

A few steps behind the older chaperone answers with a weary nod. "Yes, mylord, I know. But after all I can't rip out that moveable little tongue of her and her fiery youth won't listen, when we say others will soon enough. I am concerned, good lord, and I am not the only one."

Pricking her ears at the often disregarded words of her servant, Beatrice misses the answer of young Oliver. A few quick steps and she is back at her chaperone's side. "Concerns about my tongue? Heavens, I think I can take care of it myself.", she says with an defiant look at Lord Renaud. "If it is a lie I tell, he should come over and say it into my face. He owes the Courtenays a duel, yes. But you should know I'm thankful for your... concerns about the leftovers of my family."

The esquire Oliver blushes and mutters something about being desirous of serving as a bachelor of the Palace; the two foreigners look sly and knowing, though Sir Gerard, the elder of the two youths, fixes them with a cool look, which they ignore. Things are not quite so 'plain' within this 'fellowship' as the Lord of Beaufort made out.

Meanwhile Renaud himself, caught out in his intriguing by the precocious maid, smiles with his softest, most emollient manner. "My dear, dear countess. No one means to denigrate you in any regard for a moment. Your father was a...most gallant fellow, and my feelings for your family could...scarcely go deeper. But you did all end up in a rather delicate position, my dear, with all those rustic Lusignans, and it will take equal delicacy for you to get the satisfaction you seek. Of course, should you feel any want of advice...I await your company at any hour, my lady. You may not be my niece any longer, but I would happily supply your father's lost place and counsel whenever you desired..."

The stubborn ember hardening her features smoothes down at the Grenier's offer. "I know my aunt has been a remarkable woman, songs of her admirability have lulled me to sleep when I was nothing but an ignorant infant. But she faded away like all of them. Like my gallant father, you talk of, like many, many more. Nothing but mere memory remains. Delicacy... " Beatrice mutters, leaving the word idly without company before she proceeds. "Again, thank you, my Lord Renaud. But with all the needed delicacy, is it pure memory, that makes you offer your counsel to me?", she asks with a bit of a lowered voice.

The chaperone, meanwhile, seems to dissolve all in relief - the guard, on the other hand, petrifies in suspicion. Both remain quiet, though.

Somehow, these two heads of their respective Poulain families, both almost fallen, have edged away both from Beatrice's attendant and Renaud's capacious, frivolous retinue, and they are in something close to privacy as he laughs, a brief gurgle from his hoary throat. "Well done, dear girl, you're already sharpening. Not pure memory, perhaps, ...but impure. Look back to my new friends. They are the kind of men who bring news."

Renaud tosses his turbaned head beneath the verdant boughs of the gardens, back towards the others. "The...informal alliance of your family, howsoever it rises again, may yet help mine. If and when certain word proves true...that I have heard from that Saracen, and from Sidon."

His smile is broad, but he detaches himself now from his side, and the rest of his 'fellowship' seem to see it as conclusive; soon all are striding off in another direction, talking loudly of divers, different matters.,

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