11921217 Cheap Wine and Politics

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Cheap Wine and Politics
Date: 17th of December, 1192
Location: The Saracen Heads, Royal Quarter
Participants: Tristan de Fontaineaux and Raimon de Baux
Related Logs: One Hell of a Scheme, Music in the Garden of Eden and The Seventh Stair
Content Warnings
A tavern of ill repute, cheap wine, badly disguised Hospitallers and a minstrel.
Room Description
In the scene set (sort of)

The Saracen Heads is a a tavern for the smaller purses and the cheaper wines, foods - and occasionally whores as well. Usually dimly lit by sparsely placed candles and a few lanterns here and there any visitor can be sure his identity will be obscured by the shadows of the night on most evenings.

On this particular late night a conspicuous looking pair has settled itself by one of the tables - men, obviously, who have tried to disguise themselves with wide slightly off-white kaftans they wear over their usual attire. Ringmail and some black cloth can be glimpsed here and there as they converse in hushed tones over a cup of probably cheap wine.

One of them, a short but sturdy fellow lets out a hearty laugh at some remark of his companion. "Aw, Tristan, are you serious?", he calls with red cheeks that speak of a number of cups he has already emptied thus far and winks at his friend, a man with brown hair and a massive scar running down his cheek.

One young man who has become a fairly common presence at the inn is the troubadour known as Raimon des Baux. He's sitting with another young man, who's peppering him with questions. Obviously the two get on well and there's quite some laughter. Though their eyes sometimes drift to the oddly dressed pair, usually followed by a little snigger.

While the shorter man of compact build does not notice or seems to care little about contributing to the amusement of the fellows at that other table, the other scarred one casts them a glance. Grey-blue eyes come to linger for a moment on the minstrel and light up in recognition. And so Tristan leans over to his friend and mutters something into his ear that is impossible to overhear in the mishmash of voices and other noises, before he gets to his feet and approaches the table with surefooted steps. "Is that you, Raimon des Baux? Sitting and drinking in this place of ill repute? Hope you enjoy yourself, that is as much as the mediocre quality wine and... other entertainments will allow.", Tristan says with a broad smile, before he adds: "Thought you'd earn more at the Palace, though. More than what would force you to seek out such cheap taverns as this...?"

"I could ask you the same, Tristan de Fontaineaux.", Raimon replies dryly, "But just like me you seem to have a liking for unpretentious basic fare and company. Or are you planning to turn Turk?", he muses, eyeing the man's strange garb, "It would be more comfortable worn without chain mail underneath I suppose. And someone should teach you how to wrap a head dress properly." Despite his ribbing, he seems genuinely curious about the man's getup and fills a wine cup, which he pushes into Tristan's direction to indicate he's welcome to join them.

The Hospitaller shoots Raimon a quick glance, eyeing him attentively for a moment before he lets out an amused chuckle. "Quite the observer, are we? Even one of our kind needs a bit of distraction now and then." His gaze brushes over the people present, lingering for a bit on those stairs that lead upwards before it returns to the minstrel. "How very generous of you." he remarks with a broad grin at the inviting gesture and waves to his companion to join them at the table. "This is Sir Abelard de Vittaux. A good friend," he explains to Raimon and his companion while the other grabs the two cups and leisurely walks over to join them.

"Well met, Sir Abelard.", Raimon greets and nods to his own companion: "Guy de Quissac, a fellow provencal interested in the art of song and music." The other young man smiles a little and lifts a hand in greeting, but otherwise doesn't speak. Raimon himself fills a fourth cup for Abelard and pushes it his way, then looks at Tristan: "So what is this about, my friend? As disguises go, it's as subtle as painting a red target ring on your breastplate..."

Tristan settles into the chair with a wide grin. "But subtler than walking into this place with our tabards, obviously. No, young Raimon. It is indeed a common phenomenon that *many* visitors come in some sort of disguise. Besides, in this poor light it doesn't really matter what you wear." He lifts his cup to the minstrel, his gaze shifting from Raimon to the other Provençal. "Guy de Quissac, well met." Taking a sip from the wine, he shudders slightly and adds with a grin: "True, not the best wine, but the more you drink of it the less you care, really."

Hesitating a bit at Raimon's inquiry, Tristan shoots his companion de Vittaux a glance and a wink. "My friend and I were discussing some business, Raimon. The Hospitaller Quarter has many eyes and ears, you know. And some things should be handled with appropriate discretion." A rather cryptic remark, although the wine seems to have loosened the Fountaineaux's tongue already a bit, making him say more than he actually should. The other Hospitaller seems to care little as well, breaking into roaring laughter at Tristan's remark.

"Business, huh. Knights seem always busy with some business but none of it seems to include making plans on what to do about the Holy Land. I mean, are you just going to sit here and wait until Saladin drives you out of Acre as well?", Raimon asks, seeming genuinely interested in this question. Guy nods along, as if to back him up.

Tristan's smile diminishes slightly at Raimon's question. "That is exactly the point.", he replies and studies the young Provençal warily. "You speak of knights, boy, when you are naught but a minstrel. Never had a taste of battle, I suppose? And... as if it were up to us knights. Decisions like that are made by men far mightier than us. Kings and Queen's consorts. And the like." Sir Abelard empties his cup in silence, after exchanging a glance with Tristan. But he adds something as well. "And Grandmasters."

"So what is your opinion, Sir Tristan?", Raimon asks, apparently ignoring the little jibe about him never having a taste of battle, "What would you do, if it were your choice? Try once more to re-take Jerusalem? Remain safely in Acre? Try to rally for a new Crusade in Europe?", he asks curiously.

The persisting minstrel finally seems to have breached some of the Hospitaller's defenses. Running his hand through his light brown locks, Tristan sighs and admits: "I would like to do so. Do what is necessary to make those Saracens pay. For Cresson, for Hattin. Many good men fell at Arsuf." Clenching his hand to a fist, Tristan continues, despite the alarmed look from his companion; luckily enough in a more composed manner than before. "But I don't have to be King of Jerusalem to understand that to reclaim the Holy City will be a lengthy task that requires good planning."

Since Raimon had put a few options on the table, he takes a moment to realize which one Tristan is actually agreeing with, then he smiles. "It would be the right thing to do, I suppose. Jerusalem should be ours. Perhaps the... king here should learn from the Spaniards how they drove the Moors from Castile... ah, but who knows, King Richard may be back in Normandy and rally troops as we speak.", he tries to be positive. Cuz nobody would ever guess the mighty Lionheart got stuck in Austria. He exchanges a look with Guy, then both raise their glasses. "To jerusalem!"

Looking not that enthusiastic as the Lionheart is mentioned, Tristan takes another thoughtful sip from his cup. "To Jerusalem!", he joins in the toast with a smile that does not seem too convinced. And even Abelard raises his cup, after having it refilled, with a good-natured laugh that contrasts to the dangerous gleam in his blodshot eyes. "Aye, to Jerusalem. And finally giving those Saracens what they deserve!"

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