(1874-11-02) The Morning After the Morning After
The Morning After the Morning After
Summary: A d'Korbina and a d'Armaz walk into an inn
Date: 2018-11-02
Related: References to Morning in the Market
NPCs: None
Ludovic  Ivo  

Fiorello-Town - Docks

At any given time there may be as many as a dozen grand Armaz ships docked along the pier at this wide bend of the Fiore. Cattails grow up thickly around it in the shallows, and fishermen mend their nets along the edges while dock-workers carry heavy loads two and fro in a constant flow of traffic. Cats are everpresent, but amazingly out from underfoot; watching the water-birds and the fish being brought up by fishermen with hungry attention.

Where the pier meets the boardwalk of the docks themselves there is a large edifice, raised so that any who sail along the river past here can see it and it is the first thing many ships are greeted by upon docking at the capitol of Fiorello: a gallows, with space enough for three. A pirate flag hangs there like festive bunting, and a few skeletons bleach in the sun around its pitted base. The offices of the harbormaster face the gallows directly across the pier.


Ludovic is a big man and his presence in the dock area, garbed as he is in the knee-length coat that’s mostly worn in hellsmouth, is hard to miss. He's got one hand on the blunt head of his opaque black hammer axe whilst the other is absently scritching at the scruff of a purring tabby cat perched on a nearby collection of palettes. His gaze, judging from the angle of his head and remaining eye, is up on the flag fluttering away on the gallows up at the dock entrance right up until the moment when Ivo happens to be near enough to hear him anyway. At that point he tilts his gaze slightly towards the d'Armaz and asks. "You must have stories about that."

Ivo looks better than he did yesterday morning, he's been back and forth between castle and ship a few times since and appears to be doing so again, although this time he has his coxswain in tow. The pair appear to be discussing something mundane but once Ludovic hails him he dismisses the sailor to the gangway and moves to join the Viscount. "Careful," he warns with mock seriousness, "or she'll draw you in and next thing you know you'll be waking up at all hours with her on your chest and howling in your face to remind you that you've never fed her ever." That said though, he reaches down and gives the cat a scratch between the ears too. Turning up to the gallows he nods once, straightening his shoulders. "My uncle believes in making certain things very clear. We don't tolerate thieves or pirates here, he's seen to that, and no one can say they weren't warned."

Ludovic gives Ivo an amused grin. "Doesn't sound so bad. Reminds me what it’s like to have a wife." He glances to the gallows again before looking to Ivo. "Do much the same thing with bandits and thieves myself. Was aiming more for some ale and tall tales though. Suppose it’s kinda early but, well." Another grin. "It ever too early for a drink?"

"Can't say I can compare the two," Ivo replies with amusement to Ludovic's comment, "but I will say that they're worth their weight in lightsilver when you're carrying cargo the rats want. We started with one," he tilts his head towards his galley that's docked a short distance away, "but turns out she was pregnant, so now who knows how many are scampering around below the decks." He gives brief consideration to his ship, then the dockside establishments and notes with a faint smile, "well, far be it from me to fail to show an honoured guest our best hospitality." Turning and leading to one of the more upmarket inns he notes as he walks, "the proprietor imports a wide variety of ales, but it would be remiss of me not to recommend the local wines she also stocks."

"That’s always the problem with cats." Ludovic agrees. "You start with one and before you know it you've a whole nest and then next thing." he gestures to the docks. "They are everywhere you look." He chuckles. "But they are a useful creature. Wish I could make my horses breed like that. Always lose more horses than men." He stops to take a moment to look over the front of the inn before stepping inside. "Was thinking I’d have some of that famed fiorello gin. Wine's not a bad idea though." He glances up to the sky and then at Ivo. "Might be the smarter choice."

Ivo looks almost wistful at the mention of horses for a moment and notes off handedly, "I don't get to ride much these days. I miss it sometimes, but with so much time at sea.." He shrugs it off though, and steers them to a semi-secluded spot near one of the several fire places. "Do you prefer dry? Distilled? Sloe?" he asks, meaning gins, "I am sure a bottle can be found for your enjoyment at a later time. For now though, if you'll trust me.." he orders a flagon of one of the local wines, a full bodied red of a fine vintage. "So. Tall tales? Did you hear about the savages in war canoes from a few months ago? I was there for the first encounter and can't say I particularly want another without significant backup."

"Bring a cask or two next time you're running up to Rhone." Ludovic tells Ivo as he props the axe against the side of the fireplace and sinks down into the nearby chair. He nods at the request to trust him. "Wont know which gins are the best till I’ve tried em all."
He stretches his legs out, leaning back in his chair. "Heard a lil about them. You faced them yourself?"

Once the wine is brought, along with two goblets, Ivo orders a bottle of sloe gin and passes it across to Ludovic. "It's not the finest, but it's a solid middle ground distillation, and it'll help warm your insides up there in the mountains. Let me know how you found it next time we meet, and I can recommend from there which to try next." Pouring the wine he relaxes into his own chair, crossing his legs at his ankles and pulling one pistol from his belt and setting it down beside him so he can rest more comfortably. "I have, although not alone thankfully, or I doubt I'd be here to tell you the tale. No, I was sailing in squadron with Captain Augustin of Redoubt, and Jean-Philipe of Somerset. There'd been reports of merchantmen vanishing, so my uncle tasked me to aid the royal fleet in finding out why. And find out why we did. I can't say I've ever seen anything like them before. Massive canoes is the best I can say to describe them, with projectile weapons like no longarm I've ever seen before."

Ludovic reaches a hand out to catch the gin bottle, switching it into his other hand and glancing down as if to read the label. The bottle is returned and then he offers a smile. "Looking forward to the winter truthfully. Everything’s so much slower and the mountains are just so damn beautiful when they are all white and misty." His smile turns into a smirk. "Unless you're stood out in the middle of it and can’t even see your own fingers."
"I heard they were giants" He comments about the naval story. "That they took injuries that would leave me weeping on the floor and kept on coming." He reaches for the pistol letting his hand hover over it, eyes lifting to Ivo's for permission before lifting and appraising the weapon.

"I'll enjoy the turn of the season so long as I don't have to venture too far beyond the run of the river," Ivo replies with a touch of seriousness, "the open oceans won't be a pleasant place to be for the next few months. It'll disadvantage our foes as much as us though, so that’s something." He listens to the description of the mountains as he sips his wine, offering conversationally. "I've not seen them much, not in a few years at least. I used to travel much more in the interior, but now I find myself much more at home along the coastal crags. Mind you, we also get mist where you can't see your hands either, and that’s when you do want to be out in open water." As for the giants? He nods at the descriptions given then confirms with a sombre, "all true. We tried a boarding action when it seemed my canons wouldn't penetrate their hull." He takes a deep breath then lets it out slowly, gesturing his ascent for Ludovic to examine the pistol as he does so. It's a fine piece of workmanship, as befits a noble's weapon, but there's nothing special about it beyond the craftmanship. "Not my finest tactical decision, I was lucky to make it back to my own deck, and many of my crew were not so fortunate."

"This is a nice handcannon." Ludovic says as he carefully returns it to its position. "Favour the long-gun myself but then if I’m close enough for this to work." he taps the handle of the handcannon. "I'm close enough to use my hammer."
There are some nods as Ivo explains the mist and the need for open water. "Interesting how the same thing can evoke different fears ain’t it? Sounds like you think of cliff in the mist as something to fear running into whilst me? I fear falling off it." He nods at the comment on tactical decisions. "Yeah. I've made some bad ones too. The ones that are right, even when you lose people, you don’t really remember do ya? Its the ones where you made a bad call. Those are the ones that haunt you."

"I like a longer gun as well," Ivo remarks, "and have used them in battle before, but they're not so practical on a deck, although I do have some posted in the rigging to keep an opponent’s head down as we're coming alongside. These I find are best either on the charge or facing one. A co-ordinated volley can go through a front line before they close to melee range, after that it's the sword all the way though." They're also easier to carry, but that goes without saying really. He considers the comments about cliffs for a moment then nods once, as if trying to frame his response carefully. "I am fortunate," he starts, wetting his lips with his wine, "in that despite having found myself in the sea-going life late, I have had an excellent sailing master to guide me. I'm not sure if it's me, him, or the ship herself, but between us we seem to have developed an almost uncanny sense of dangerous waters, there's just something about how the water laps against the hull I think."

"Difference between a good Captain and a mediocre one I imagine." Ludovic tells Ivo with a quick grin. "Swear I can feel where the earth ends too." He finally lifts the wine, swirls it and then takes a few drinks before making a murmur of appreciation. "You're right. This is good." A beat "So. What do you think of the imperials turning up?"

"I'd say you'd have to ask him if I qualify as a good captain yet," Ivo replies in amusement, "but I'm half afraid he'd start telling you stories of when my uncle first gave me charge of Seeker. It took a while to stop thinking in terms of cavalry and infantry and start paying enough attention to wind and tide." As the wine is complimented he raises his own goblet as well, "it's one I carry with me for consumption onboard. Has the benefit of travelling well which sadly can't be said of some of the more delicate grapes." The question on the imperials has him dropping silent for a few moments though, and there’s some serious consideration going on. "I'm curious about it," he admits, "having a presence at my uncles’ festivities would be a fairly standard diplomatic move, and while it could be a cover for something else I think there is nothing inherent to be read into it itself. Them being here for supplies is something I'm inclined to watch more closely though. I'm even half tempted to offer to carry a cargo for them, just to see what they take and where."

Ludovic laughs. "Those are the best ones though. The stories about what you did years and years ago. Least if they're sticking to those it means you aren't giving them new ones." He gives Ivo a considering look. "Didn't know you were a cavalryman."
There’s not a lot of trade going through to the imperials. Stopping them using the pass is about all I can do to keep them out of Aequor." he comments. "Can't beat em afterall, there’s to many, so I figure - Let the Qatunax and the Imperials kill each other and deal with what’s left. Damn shame though. Tried working with them. Got stabbed in the back for my trust." He grins. "Yeah they like to go around telling everyone lies about how good and harmless they are. Pretty sure they plan to annex the whole country though."

"I was a Cavalier," Ivo states, unable to keep a hint of pride out of his tone, "we did a bit of everything. That’s where I learnt have to handle a handcannon actually, and my drink." Happy memories evidently, but he catches himself before he gets too distracted by the past and switches his focus back to the imperial threat. "I suspect they'd happily annex anywhere they could get their grubby mitts on, but yes, letting them and the Qatunax thin each other’s forces at least delays the problem for us a while. We seem to have enough on our hands as it is, without opening up a whole new front. Do you think the winter will put a pause on their plans?"

"Was days when I wanted to be a cavalier." Ludovic does look kind of impressed. "Never got the opportunity but then, never really chased it either." He grins. "I just don't look all that great in blue." He drinks some more wine. "Impressed though. Takes some doing that."
"Thing is." Ludovic says "They keep crying a tune of cooperation and alliance. Making me out to be the bad guy cos I’m not willing to listen to them no more." He shakes his head. "Forced me to go from driving the qatunax back to sitting and waiting." his knuckles whiten around the winecup. "But. I can't fight them. They ain’t even our enemies. Not really. Not yet anyhow. Don't know what it is they want but it ain’t friendship. Vassalisation mayhaps." The winter question makes him shrug. "Will stop them some but not all the way. Right now, the qatunax are fighting their own, after that, according to what one of my prisoners say, they'll be back on the attack. Just can't know how long that’s gonna take."

"It's not a colour that suits everyone," Ivo agrees easily enough as he raises his wine as well, "I miss it sometimes, but those days are done, and there is no point dwelling on them." Then, with a grin, "besides, as a sailor I still get my fair share of tavern brawls." Not perhaps, in an establishment such as this though. The grin drops to a more serious expression quickly enough though. "I don't see any alliance with them ending in anything but an attempt to get us to drop our guard so they can subject The Crown to their Emperor." He has opinions about that, the same opinions as any red-blooded Aequorian, so the specifics of them remain unsaid, but his tone speaks volumes. "Perhaps this Darius will share the same fate as his father? I don't think I'd lose much sleep over that, other than that they'd no longer be there depleting the Qatunax."

"Nobody deserves that." Ludovic tells Ivo genuinely. "Hell I wouldn't wish it on the qatunax either and whilst I've had more than a few issues with Darius. No." he shakes his head. "Nobody deserves that."

Ivo considers that reply for a moment then gives a gentle nod, "fair enough. I can’t say I've had too much dealing with them personally, and equally, that’s something I'm not in a great hurry to change. It was kaffa and spices the tribune said she was after yesterday though. If she's not deceiving us then it's a fairly standard cargo. Basic food stuffs would indicate they were in a shakier situation. I suppose it's most likely stocking up before the inclement weather sets in and makes transport of good trickier."

Ludovic grins. "Alia's alright. Besides she's not the one in power so she's not the one deciding those things." he chuckles. "And she's an alchemist so she needs certain things anyhow." He smirks around his wine. "And I don’t care if she fills her saddlebags." he nods to Ivo. "Couldn’t stop that kinda trade even if I wanted too." A nod. "They get their supplies from the empire. All I'm doing is inconveniencing them, not starving them. Don't wanna kill them. They are useful. Just, well. Last time I swallowed my pride and actually tried the friendship thing they stomped all over me to empower themselves. Was a little thing in the scale of things, I'd probably have given them that fort if they'd gone about requesting it the right way, but when a friendships new then turning up on the last day of a siege and declaring the prize to be your own. That ain’t a good sign." He grimaces. "I gotta go north. You know the waters right now. What’s the route you'd recommend?"

Ivo seems in agreement with the fate of the siege, "it's poor form at best. Perhaps they didn't know better, perhaps they didn't care?" He suspects the latter, but is not seriously speculating. "If you're heading back to the mountains then I'd go upriver, it's navigable for a good distance yet, and easier to defend yourself than the open road. If you have to go coastal then give the al'Morena lands a wide berth. You'll take a pounding from the weather going out of the lee of the land, and your navigators won't like you for removing their visual references, but it's just not safe to remain coastal there at the moment."

"They didn’t care was the problem." Ludovic tells Ivo. "Made out that I was being petty about it even when the duchess asked for its return. Same as the city really. It ain’t the fact they took it and ain’t even the fact that they wont abandon it because they need a base. I would have talked about that with them. It was the fact that they took it and then declared it theirs and worse, drummed up support from four corners with ridiculous claims of an equal society. They have an emporer." He rolls his eyes, or tries anyway, the stone one doesn't do much. "With absolute power." He nods. "Yeah I was thinking of going via Rhone instead of the sea. I mean, I don’t like the sea anyway, but I don’t wanna spend months on it neither." He finishes his drink. "Well. I gotta go train." He pulls himself to his feet and picks up the warhammer again. "You're welcome to come join me if you like."

Ivo listens as the details of the situation are explained, storing them away in case they're of use later. He doesn’t interrupt, not until the comment about 'equal society' is made anyway. That gets a bark of laughter before he drains the rest of his drink. "Really? That was they're line?" He shakes his head, almost disbelieving, "and they managed it with a straight face?" Setting his goblet down he tilts his head towards the docks, "there's likely a few captains heading that way. I can see if one of my uncles is making ready if you want one you can be sure is reliable." As Ludovic stands though he considers the flagon for a moment then moves to reholster his handcannon and gets to his feet as well. "I might just take you up on that, it's always interesting to share techniques and such." Leaving a few coins on the table to cover their bill he gestures for the viscount to lead on.

"Not only a straight face." Ludovic tells Ivo. "But Four Corners sent them a mercenary unit to 'help'. Pretty sure they are there to keep ME out and not the qatunax too. As if I'd care about a city having an elected mayor. I've a city full of traders. I’m not dumb to how that works. Hell I already can’t do a damn thing they don’t approve of. You ever tried to make a rich merchant do something you need that they don’t wanna pay for?" he snorts. "Only difference is that they send their kids to be knights, and daughters to marry knights whilst, far as I can tell, the imperials give their talented warriors sticks that give them authority. Don’t see how that’s any difference to knighthood myself, not really." He shakes his head. "Appreciate the offer. I reckon I’m gonna go by air though. I'm a terrible passenger. Can't stand having my feet off the ground." a quick grin. "Strange words from a cavalryman but a horse and a ship ain’t nothing alike." The agreement to come train with him earns a grin. "Good. Been training like a crazy man ever since this happened." he taps the cheek under his missing right eye. "But haven’t had many chances to train gainst a man who's used to tight quarters. Nor a cavalier."

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