- Having grown in the shadow of the northern Aegis wall, the Seamel township of Northreach is somewhat of a dark horse; a dark horse in both a literal and metaphorical sense, no less. Much of the township is often set in perpetual shadow, cast by the six-hundred foot wall that looms above it, making it a somewhat cold and umbral township, though one that tends to import a lot of torches and lanterns.
- However, in the literal sense, Northreach is a township that developed entirely beyond the public eye. It grew as a township that drew little attention, funded by a mysterious benefactor of House Seamel, while the Empire left the construction of the North Gate to the Imperial Watch and their engineers. Thus the two grew in tandem, and the unveiling of Northreach as a township around that awesome gate was a surprise to all.
- As a location, Northreach drips Imperial architecture and style. Most of the buildings that form the moderate township are neatly arranged around main roads, with passages and alleys running between them, with no sense of crowding to be found. Townhouses of charcoal granite walls and timber support beams dominate the architectural design of the township, with larger estates providing the various services that all townships offer, as well as a few that remain unique to Northreach alone.
- The Wailing Wench Tavern, a large inn and publican building, stands in the very middle of what is known as the Medial District, acting as a central hub of activity. Directly next to the Tavern rests a two-story building belonging to the Steelwood Company, while the Swiftwolf Archery Tradehouse stands near to it as an equally large merchant townhouse, while smaller trade buildings flank them on all sides, attempting to profit from the trade they draw in.
- The North Gate looms in the north within the gap in the Aegis, while the southern gate that leads back onto Northreach Road is to the south. The Sinistral District, acting as the residence district, rests to the west, while the Dextral District, acting as the trade district, can be found to the east.
Voreyn Zahir and Thayndor Zahir are here. A Guardsman keeps watch here. A Crossbow Militia officer watches the area here. A Crossbow Militia officer watches the area here. A Crossbow Militia officer watches the area here. A mounted Demi Lancer and holds here. A mounted Demi Lancer and holds here.
Mood lightened, Voreyn turns and takes the lead this time, picking up the pace as she eagerly heads into the next district. "And I can relax, and change. With you, I need not focus so much on propriety and image, I think, hmm? You are trustworthy, aren't you, Thayndor?" The two walk in arm-in-arm, strolling toward the Sinistral District.
A young nobleman emerges from the Sinistral District, apparently taking a leisurely tour of Northreach. This is evident by his carefree gait, and his 'tourist' attitude. The pair of Zahirs are noticed as they come into sight, and Godric raises a felt gloved hand in greeting. As they approach, he bows and presents himself to Thayndor and Voreyn. "Lord Zahir, it is fine to meet you once again." He smiles politely to Voreyn. "My lady."
Thayndor Zahir laughs, shortly before Godric approaches them. "I am a loyal scion of my House," he replies, voice a purr. As Godric reaches them, Thayndor inclines his head. "Lord Godric, a pleasure again."
The Duchess glances to Thayndor, measuring him quietly as he answers, and so she is startled by the appearance of the man before them. The two pause and she looks back to Godric, eyebrows risen. "Good evening," she replies in greeting to the man, and then otherwise falls silent to allow Thayndor to lead the conversation.
By the hesitant manner of his expression, it would seem that the Lomasa is waiting for Thayndor to present him to Voreyn. "I apologise for it, my lord, but I did overhear you say to Baron Seamel that you were planning on taking a walk to the walls. I trust it was pleasant?" Godric's eyes casually flit between the two of them trying to surmise their relationship.
"It was," Thayndor agrees. A pause, then: "Oh! Forgive me. Duchess Zahir, have you met Baron Godric Lomasa? I'd presumed you had."
"Oh, no, I had not," Voreyn replies, looking back to Godric and offering him a nod of her head. "It is a pleasure to meet you, my Lord."
"The pleasure is mine, Your Grace," Godric replies with a fitting bow. "I am honoured to make the introduction. To be sure, I had not expected as many nobles outside the House of Seamel in Northreach. It is truly becoming an Imperial township." The nobleman states the obvious: a vacuous, empty observation offered only to 'make talk.'
"Well," Thayndor replies with a taut smile. "Some of us are required to make a regular appearance." The Noble Mage inclines his head.
Voreyn smirks slightly as she pats Thayndor's arm, under which hers is still being held. "Unfortuante as it is, my Lord Lomasa, indeed, not everyone is here by choice. However, I have no negative remarks as to Northreach; it is a welcoming city, and His Grace the Duke Seamel is man to be honored."
Godric blushes lightly, obvious now as to his gaff. "Ah, yes, I do see," he remarks in response to Thayndor. A blythe gesture is made in reference to the city. "It is quite accommodating." He pauses for a moment. "Your Grace, might I ask whether you know a Baroness Aylina Zahir?"
Thayndor and Voreyn are standing arm-in-arm talking to Godric. It appears the former are on their way to the Sinistral District.
"Baroness Aylina?" Voreyn inquires for a moment, gazing blankly. Recognition lights her features, however, and she offers an amused quirk of her lips. "Ah, yes, yes I am. Why do you ask? Have you met her?"
Otto Stonefish moseys on out of the Sinistral District with a fishing rod over one shoulder and an animal hide of some kind bundled up under his arm. He is whistling as he moves along. The unlaced boots flop about his ankles as he goes.
"I know her," Thayndor agrees, tilting his head at Godric.
"Indeed, I have," Godric answers. "A captivating young lady: strikingly attractive with an air of haughty, composed disdain." The Lomasa idly tugs at the corners of his felt gloves, and rolls his tongue around in his mouth for a moment.
"I had wondered whether you knew if she were promised to be engaged or married - whether any matters were arranged, that is, with members of your family or any other." He struggles to fight a light red colour from his cheeks, and is happy that the passing figure of Otto presents him with a momentary diversion to compose himself.
As Godric speaks, Voreyn's eyebrows rise upward slowly but surely until they threaten to disappear right back into her hairline. Her own cheeks grow pink at the query, and she glances sideways to Thayndor as if hoping to be rescued from the embarassing faux pas.
"I--believe that the Baroness is single and without any arrangement or promise at the moment," the Duchess replies slowly, attempting to compose herself as she clears her throat. "Why do you inquire?"
Otto Stonefish doesn't smell all that bad today, but he is carrying a dressed hide with him. He continues to mosey along, whistling cheerfully as he goes. There's a bounce in his rolling gait. He's moving slow enough that it's hard to tell where he's going other than away from the Sinistral District.
Thayndor Zahir coughs lightly into his hand. Whether or not he's smiling behind that hand is hard to tell. But he is.
Gefrey Seamel pauses a little way away from the gathering of nobles, tilting his head to the side as he listens to the words exchanged. He frowns a moment, before smiling and stepping forward. "Ahh, good evening again, Count Thayndor, Baron Godric, good man." He lifts a hand to pat the latter on the shoulder jovially. "Enjoying a walk out tonight, are we?" He smiles, before looking over to Voreyn and continuing his interruptions. "I don't believe we have met though, my Lady. I am the Baron Gefrey Seamel. Might I ask your name?"
"I had merely wished to know whether any claim--" Godric replies, trying to keep his dignity about him, before he is interrupted by Gefrey. It is hard to tell whether the young Lomasa is relieved or annoyed, but he does clamp his lips shut and seems at the moment thankful to have ended that awkward conversation topic. He is standing facing Voreyn and Thayndor, whose arms are interlocked as if they are pausing from a stroll. Otto walks by whistling, carrying some dead animal, and swinging a fishing rod.
Striding from the east, Kallyn doesn't really seem to have a direction. She has her black cloak clasped shut, hood down and tucked beneath her red hair. She seems to have a few things on her mind, as she is showing a few emotions all encompassed by a look of thought. The most notable of the mix are the small wistful smile and the glimmer of concern in her eyes.
It appears that today is a day for blunt disregard for social norms. The thoroughly embarassed Zahir Duchess glances away from those gathering near her and Thayndor and turns her gaze upward, taking a moment's reprieve. After a short pause, she looks back to the Seamel and nods her head once curtly. "Good evening," she offers to Gefrey quietly, although she does not answer his question.
In from the south gallops a lone horse, its rider moving very quickly towards the stables. Varal quickly dismounts from his horse, cursing about this and that - mostly concerning the cold and the lack of moons - as he hands the stableboy money and walks away from the edifice.
Gefrey Seamel doesn't seem to put off by not quite getting an answer, still smiling, though there is definitely a hint of red about his cheeks, as he gives the Duchess a low, respectful bow. "Ahh, that was a bit brash of me, wasn't it? I apologize, the night just has me in a rather good mood, and I'm forgetting my manners. Please, do forgive me."
Godric does come to his senses and, a bit abashedly, presents Gefrey. "Your Grace, might I present Lord Gefrey Seamel. Lord Seamel, Her Grace the Duchess Zahir." The Lomasa does his best to keep the social proprieties functioning.
Aylina Zahir wanders in from the carriage hub, her eyes a little more alert then usual. She notices immediately the crowd in the district and tries to ease her way towards the stables. As she approaches, she notices in her periphery the Duchess and Count Zahir. Aylina immediately changes course, for the great lady is of her House, and stops in front of the pair and curtsies low. "Good evening your Grace." Aylina then holds the position until addressed by the Duchess.
"M'lord," Thayndor acknowledges Gefrey with a nod. He replaces his hand atop Voreyn's, and moves to continue. "Not to worry, Baron Godric," Thayndor says with a small smile. "I am sure that our matriarch will consider your petition in due course." His eyes shift over to Aylina as she approaches, and as she does, he allows his hands to fall from Voreyn's. "Lady Aylina, good evening."
"Ah, Lord Seamel, I have heard your name a time or two before this. It is good to finally put a face to the name," Voreyn answers in response to the proper introduction, offering Gefrey a nod of her head in deference. As she looks up once more, Aylina appears, and the Duchess heaves a quiet sigh. "Good evening to you as well, Baroness. I hope all is well with you." So much for that quiet night in front of a fire.
The redhead pauses as she spots the crowd of nobility, snickering a bit and saying to herself, "Light, I feel like the only freelander-" she cuts herself off as she spots Otto, "Well, alright, I'm not entirely alone..." Kallyn sighs, bows to the group as she nears them, "Evening, Lords, Ladies, your Grace," and then moves to pass by. Varal is not noticed for the time being as the mage tries to decide where she's going.
Despite the Lomasa's best attempts to keep up his well-bred manner, Godric finds his eyes continually shifting from the Count and Duchess to the young Baroness. A discreet, reddish hue starts to move over his handsome pale features (well, if one discounts his nose). His entire posture seems to act deferentially in regards to Aylina. "My Lady," he says, his voice choking to a somewhat raspy break. He repeats himself, with a light cough, and bows, "My Lady. It is quite nice to see you again." He completely ignores Kallyn, not even noticing her.
Gefrey Seamel straightens as he is addressed, giving the Duchess a nod. "Ahh, I should have realized, your Grace," he says. "It is good to meet you." With this introduction done, he turns to look at Aylina, giving her a smile and a half bow. "Lady Aylina, good evening to you. Come to join us this evening?"
Nobility has a sort of gravity of its own, and so Varal can only be drawn towards the knot around Voreyn - the noble equivalent of a black hole, or rockstar. "Y'Grace. Count. M'lords, m'lady," he states simply, bowing.
Avoiding poking anyone's eye out with the fishing rod, Otto moseys along towards the tavern with his unlaced boots flapping about his ankles as he goes. The rolled up skin stays under his other arm.
Aylina stands up straight and smiles at the Duchess. "All is well your Grace. I would hate to have not greeted you. I fear I do have some plans this evening though, so if it pleases your Grace, I shall be on my way." Then, for the sake of propriety, she nods courteously towards Godric and smiles genuinely at both Thayndor and Gefrey. Aylina, moves out of the path of the walking pair, and as far away from Godric as possible. Turning her attention to Gefrey she politely says, "I was hoping to take Redwater for a ride this evening. Then perhaps take a drink before bed at the Wench."
Much like a celebrity forced into the position, Voreyn fields the attention with a gracelessness one can attribute to the strong desire to flee. She listens to Aylina's polite withdrawal and offers the Baroness a quiet smile, allowing the woman to escape in the Duchess's place.
Instead of taking up a similar tack, as much as it might be desired, she retains her vice-like grip on Thayndor's arm as she addresses the other million faces that seem to swarm up around her. "Good evening, my Lord," she offers to Varal with a faint, overwhelmed smile.
And then the hairs on the back of Kallyn's neck stand on end as she hears Varal address the group she has just stepped away from. Stopping in her tracks, the redhead turns and examines the Mikin for a long moment, as if sizing him up. She swallows and makes a quick decision, pulling her hood up and continuing away from the group. She wanders to the west as casually as one can manage when so nervous.
Having forgotten the attention he was paying to the Duchess and the Count, the Baron Lomasa is now focused almost entirely upon Aylina. Overhearing her remark, he boldly offers, "Pray, my Lady Zahir, do allow me to escort you to the inn. I should be graciously inclined if you would do the honour of dining with me this evening." A light gleam flashes through his eyes; it suggests the whirling mechanical wheels of a clock, or some other ploy working in his favour.
"Good evening, Count Varal," Thayndor echoes to the man, quietly steering Voreyn to face west. "Lords, m'lady, forgive us for keeping you all out in the cold for so long. Perhaps I'll see you in the tavern later?" he asks, breath forming a white plume in the moonless night. "I'm sure you're all aching to get inside whichever door you were heading into. Again, my apologies." Aylina gets a sidelong look, and then Godric. One can only save so many people in a night, it seems, and he starts to head west.
"A ride tonight?" Gefrey asks Aylina, raising an eyebrow and smiling. "Well, it seems like it might be a bit of a strange time for that, but perhaps if you didn't stray too far from the city gates. Whitehaven could use a jaunt, so perhaps I may join you?"
In less than a blink of an eye, and with the sound of buzzing hornets, Duhnen Seamel flickers into existence with a look of intense concentration.
From one of the alleyways off the busy streets, an abrupt buzzing noise breaks the silence, before Duhnen appears, the man glancing about in mild disorientation.
Otto Stonefish is retreating into the tavern, taking a fishing rod and a rolled up animal skin with him.
The Mikin smirks at Thayndor, bowing a second time. "It appears we are ever only crossing paths, these days, my dear Count. Perhaps, soon, we can sit down to discuss some mutual interests, yes? Specifically, that boat I mentioned and, perhaps, some issues concerning the river." A third bow, "And, presumably, good evening, Y'Grace."
As for Kallyn Lake, she's not the only one with hairs on the back of the neck that can rise. The Mikin turns to look in her direction spotting the cowled, fleeing figure. "My, my, is that Kallyn Lake running from trouble? Light above, miracles /do/ happen."
"Wait," Voreyn murmurs to Thayndor, placing a hand on his arm in an effort to stall the man's movements for a moment. She glances back over her shoulder to those gathered and blanches before pushing Thayndor along again. "No, no, /don't/ wait."
Kael moves out of the tavern, a cloaked figure staying unassuming and quiet, hood up and ringmail barely visible under leather and lining. The young man blows into his hands, turning east on the road, expression distant... what little of it there is to see.
Another light in the evening, only one that moves. Celeste walks with a bit of parchment clutched still in her fingertips and blonde hair mussed. Soon to realize the culprit as she draws her hand back through her hair again and making her way towards the wench.
Wondering what would make Godric think she'd ever dine with him, Aylina smiles and says, "As I said sir, I fully intend to ride my horse this evening. And it seems Lord Gefrey has offered to escort me. So, I will have to decline." Aylina then visibly turns away from the man with the repulsive nose and smiles again at Gefrey, "I would love to have your company my Lord.
"Your Grace, Count Zahir," Godric bows to the pair. "It has been a pleasure to speak with you tonight. Light be with you," the Lomasa politely says, promptly bowing. He has momentarily broke his enraptured attention to Aylina to offer his courtesy.
The Lord of Darkwater nods to Varal. "My apologies -- we -must- meet soon, Count Wedgecrest. I look forward to it." He smiles with brilliant white teeth and keeps walking, squeezing Voreyn's hand lightly as she murmurs to him.
"Also a pleasure, Lord Godric," Thayndor adds to Godric, as he comes level with the man. "We should have a drink soon, as well." Another smile, this one without teeth, and Thayndor steers Voreyn beyond the crowd and towards the west.
Gefrey Seamel smiles and nods to Aylina, before turning to give the retreating pair a bow. "Do have a good evening, your Grace, my Lord," he says, before looking aside to Aylina. "Well, shall we? Not too far, of course."
Aylina also curtsies to the retreating forms of the Duchess and Count, before moving to stand next to Gefrey, and smiling up at the tall man. "With you by my side, nothing can be too far my Lord Gefrey." Aylina then tilts her head towards the stables and walks towards it.
Duhnen emerges from that side street after a few moments, the Seamel glancing about the surprisingly busy square. Eyeing the gathering, he considers for a moment, before shaking his head and backpedaling into the alley once more.
In the space of but a mere heartbeat, and amidst the sound of buzzing hornets, Duhnen Seamel utterly vanishes from sight.
Kallyn merely turns her head as she hears Varal speak, calling behind her, "Yes, even I can exercise caution from time to time... Amazing, isn't it, my Lord?" And then she turns, facing the Mikin Count with a wry smile as she backpedals, "Have a pleasant evening, Lord Mikin." As she looks back towards the west, she stops, "Oh, Light, I forgot my list at the Stone..." And then she darts off to the east instead.
The slight caused to the Lomasa by the Zahir causes the poor nobleman to wince, if only momentarily. He watches as she brazenly turns her back upon him, and walks off to the stables with the Seamel. Knuckles crack in the cold, still night. "Insolent, ill-bred, churlish, clap-trap-ridden wench!" he murmurs. The polite veneer of noble propriety has cracked.
"My Lady Zahir," Godric calls after her, loud enough for her to hear above the crowd and distance, "I should think a Lady of your /stature/ should remember not to turn her backs on those of equivical rank and station. I remind you, woman, that you are /short/ on manners!"
Varal watches as what once was a crowd quickly begins to dissipate. A smirk comes to his face as he watches Godric. "My dear lord, it appears as though you are urinating in the wind. I do believe she prefers the Seamel's company. No need to get yourself riled up about it - plenty more where that came from."
Celeste pauses at the sight of the various nobles. Her eyes darting over each face and then towards the west. She folds the parchment and moves closer to the MIkin. "Cousin, Light's blessings," she calls.
Gefrey Seamel offers Aylina his arm, but this is before Godric calls out. He turns, slowly, to look at the Lomasa man, a calm expression on his face. "Lord Lomasa," he says. "We aren't trying to pick a fight with the Lady Aylina, are we? Please, calm down. Go inside and have a drink, to calm your nerves."
A sigh escapes the nobleman's lips: gusty, white air lingering in the night. Godric seems to have calmed down, and inclines his head to the Seamel. "Light keep you, Lord Gefrey," the Lomasa calls. He looks to the Count Mikin.
"Yes, my lord. I do believe you are right." The Lomasa's face is grim, and he is doing his best to cover his dejection. His best would be an attempt to stammer an introduction: "The baron Godric Lomasa," he says with a bow to Varal. An enquiring glance is offered to Celeste.
Voreyn sighs heavily and glances up to Thayndor. Her expression is almost helpless and pleading, but she swallows it down and assembles something more neutral and calm as she turns to face the mulling throng of nobles - that powerful vaccum of drama and conflict.
"I believe Count Mikin as the right of it, my Lord; the Baroness is young, and what we would consider propriety of old is oft forgotten by the younger generations." Let us not remark on the absurdity of this statement, considering Voreyn's youth, as she approaches Godric with a placid, if not entirely genuine, smile.
"We must chalk it up to an unpleasant, and sadly unstoppable, force of change that occurs over time. Is it not a somewhat disappointing circumstance, my Lord" The Zahir approaches the nobles once more, looking mostly as if her only objective is to make peace before leaving once more. However, she does offer a smile and a nod to Celeste. "Good evening, my Lady."
"Count Varal Mikin," the aforementioned replies to Godric, then nods to Celeste. "And allow me to introduce my cousin, Viscountess Celeste Mikin." The nobleman offers the Lomasa a sympathetic smile. "But, if they gave me a keep for every woman to turn me down, I would be Emperor for lack of anyone else being landed."
Taking the Lord Seamel's arm, Aylina feels herself blush profusely. She rarely tosses caution in the wind and thwarts social conventions. She quickly lowers her hand from the crook of Gefrey's arm and turns back upon hearing Voreyn speak.
"My apologies Lord Godric. It was rather uncouth of me to walk away with out a farewell. Have a good evening and perhaps I will purchase you a drink." she says, somewhat curtly but also sincerely. She spins back around quickly and takes Gefrey's arm again, looking up into his eyes she politely says, "Shall we?"
Gefrey Seamel nods to Aylina before bowing slightly to the gathering. "Light keep," he offers.
Thayndor Zahir lets go of Voreyn's arm as she moves to perform her Duchess-like duties. He does turn to follow somewhat behind and a bit beside her, two, maybe three steps, but does not rejoin the group. He chuckles at Varal's comment, and nods.
"Count Mikin is right, Lord Godric. Drink with us another night and perhaps we'll talk more." With a thin smile, he extends a hand. "Your Grace, the business I had with you regarding Zahir interests in the River District remains pressing. WIth apologies -- permit me to steal you away again?"
"Cousin that would imply a woman could hold that soldier heart of yours," teases Celeste. She offers Voreyn and deep bow. "Your grace, a pleasure." And her gaze returns back to her kinsman. "Varal, I need to speak with you later on news that I've heard. When you've the time of course." Her smile rather faint as strain shows on the blonde's features and she nods to Godric. "A pleasure, my lord."
"Charmed. My pleasure," Godric replies to Varal and Celeste. "I am glad to make the introduction." As to the other situation. Did he receive satisfaction? No, to hear Aylina's words were not satisfying; for she was still walking away with Gefrey.
"Yes, quite right, Your Grace. I agree with your words: we do live in sad times. What with these upstart merchants vying for the lifestyle of the nobility, and the lack of propriety within our own ranks. Yes, yes, I confess, it is even worse than if there were a hole in the Aegis." He inclines his head graciously to the two other men. "Thank you, my lords. I should be happy to take your invitation."
Aylina Zahir talks to the nearly sleeping stable lad and asks for horses. The boy quickly unstables them and leads htem out, holding the reins until she mounts up.
Atop Whitehaven, Gefrey Seamel frowns thoughtfully to himself as he mounts his horse, then nods to Aylina as the two begin to ride away.
Atop Redwater, Aylina Zahir smiles and follows Gefrey.
At the mention of Varal's heart, Voreyn casts the Mikin Count an amused glance, but it passes quickly and she turns back to Thayndor. The smile she offers him is warm and genuine as she reaches out to accept is hand. "Of course, Count Thayndor, I am sorry to let the disruption get the better of me. And yes, Lord Lomasa, you /must/ pay a visit to Ivory Manor when you are available. I have acquired a new vintage of red wine which is peculiarly delicious...but that is for later. I say good evening to you all, and Light keep you."
With that, and with a short curtsey to those gathered - offered while still hand-in-hand with Thayndor - she turns about and nods to the Zahir.
Varal frowns a moment, forgetting about Godric as Celeste speaks. "Important matters, cousin? I always have time, you know, for that. News and all." He turns back to the Lomasa. "Forgive me, m'lord, for fleeing so soon after an introduce. No rest for the wicked, after all." Returning his attention to Celeste, he playfully hits the woman's arm. "A *soldier's* heart? Really?"
"Good evening," Thayndor echoes, turning. "Quick," he mutters to Voreyn under his breath. "Let's get out while we can." He starts off west, Voreyn on his arm.
Godric bows to the retreating nobles, stating the same to each of them. "Yes, yes. Of course, a pleasure. Certainly. I would be honoured. Grand meeting." And such and such. It appears that he will soon be left standing alone in the square.
"Matched only by one like my own," confides Celeste with forced jovialty. The folded parchment holding most of her attention. "A matter I would prefer to discuss in private, cousin. But as I said, now or later... it does not matter."
"Again, m'lord, my apologies. A round on me, I promise, at the next convenient hour," Varal replies, then grows more serious and dour - he lets the joke die as Celeste seems to want to see it dead. "Your townhouse, cousin?"
The Lomasa bows, saying, "Yes, yes. I look forward to it. Pleasant evening, my lord. My lady." And with that he walks into the tavern out of the night's cold.
"If you wish, cousin." Celeste truly does try and retain that smile. "It was a pleasure to meet you, my lord. Perhaps it should be I buying the ale for dragging away the Count. Again, my apologies."
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