(1874-11-17) Reasons to Drink
Reasons to Drink
Summary: Two people who know some of what goes bump in the night, speak of it around one who doesn't, so they decide that education is the key.
Date: 17/11/2018
Related: None
NPCs: None
Ludovic  Ivo  Myrana  

Hellsmouth Countryside
Hunting grounds, and a small village, notibly abandoned due to the oncoming winter, with a small church, dwellings, and a communal hall.

What's that you say, there's a bunch of Aequor nobility up near Hellsmouth and nobody for them to fight? Well. I guess they're just going to have to go and find their own entertainment then. In this instance, it seems that several of those who have been around for the boat race have decided not to waste a nice day in the dying of the year and have thus ridden out to go hunting. It's cold but clear, with just the faintest hints of a breeze rustling the tops of the tallest trees. Rustling the bottom of the trees is the small army of retainers following on, who seems slightly less keen for the day’s activities, given that they'll be doing all the hard work.
For Ivo, it's been a long time since he was this high up in the mountains, but with the loan of a good horse, and his cloak over his shoulders he doesn't seem too out of his depth. It is clear however that the lance is not his favoured weapon, as he fidgets with it for a while, testing its weight and shifting it around to try and find the most comfortable grip. He'd likely not trouble anyone in a joust, but the horse seems patient enough to be supremely unbothered by the movement going on on its back. Once eventually settled he takes in the scenery for a few moments, then turns to strike up conversation with Ludovic. "I know you mentioned deer, but what else might we find out here? Anything worth hunting, or just rabbit and the like?"

Mounted on his favourite blood chestnut, Ludovic looks for all the world as if this is more comfortable than sitting in a chair back home. With all the training he's been doing lately it just might be. At one point he leans across to Ivo, an amused look in his eyes and mutters a conspiratorial "there’s a rest on the right stirrup." before straightening back with an amused chuckle. His eyes scan the horizon before settling back on his companion. "Depends really Ivo. Do you want something you can eat or something you can tell your grandkids about? There’s deer of course but sometimes you'll see winter wolves, wood bears and a bunch of stuff that’s not really big enough to care about. Fox needs more hounds really." Ludovic's elementi is loping along to his right and one of the retainers has a couple more deerhounds but that’s about it for dogs. "Once in a while you'll see a big old grey bear. They are good hunting." He looks back at Ivo and waves to the lance. "Have a feeling you'd not want to take one on with a lance though." A grin. "Just a feelin."

Riding along on a borrowed palfrey with mismatched socks and a sweet temperament, Myrana D'Armaz is bundled up against the frigid sunshine in a wonderfully soft hood of thick angora wool over her maroon riding kirtle; the slightly ridiculous stout twin liripipes bob as she nudges her mount down a little incline into a shallow streambed, looking up at the tops of the trees.
"Are there any old monasteries here?" she asks. Just under the little Armaz's smoky voice, the muffled sound of her bell pendant can be heard from beneath the warm capelet. Silver is layered about her wrists in thick bracelets, and the toes and heels of her smart riding boots are capped with it. "Or ruins, D'Korbina?"
Clearly having had very little interest in the actual goal of the day, she has a little journal propped on her uppermost leg where one skirted knee is securely hooked atop her sidesaddle, and her kidgloved hand rests over the water stained pages.

"How about something that'll let us give your fine horses a good run out?" Ivo replies with a smile, "something to chase." It's sounding to him like deer, but he'll let Ludovic work out the exact logistics given he knows the countryside around better. The thought of taking on a large bear with his lance gets an amused grin though and he nods his agreement. "For something like that I'd want my longarm." He pauses for a moment, then corrects himself, "two longarms, and someone to be reloading." Uncorking a wineskin, he takes a swig then offers it to the other two. "You are in the mood for sightseeing cousin?" he asks, tilting his head slightly, "or have you some other scheme in mind?"

Ludovic twists to look back at Myrana. "Depends how far you want to ride Myrana. There’s a bunch to the north, just over the border but not so many ruins on this side. We can go stop by an old church that’s been in use for.." A brief hesitance as he glances off towards the huntsmen before clearly deciding to just let the detail gone. "the One knows how long." Instead of trying to answer the age he gives Ivo a bright smile. "That was the idea, aye. A good run, a fine prize and then a good meal." He turns that smile back to Myrana. "Sounds like we're gonna squeeze in some praying too. For the best I'm sure."

"I just like ruins," says Myrana, quite innocently. "I have always wanted to see what was inside the locked up abbey in Fiorello, the one on the western side of the mountain, but the groundskeepers are too clever."
Which one may safely take to mean that she has been caught attempting to break in in order to snoop around.
She accepts the wineskin and gives Ludovic a sidelong look over taking a sip that could certainly manifest a halo, if one were feeling generous.

Ivo grins back to Ludovic, "I'd say race you to the old church then, but I fear that would likely end in your men having to spend the rest of their day trying to round up lost d'Armaz's, and I wouldn't inflict that on anyone." A movement in the corner of his eye catches his attention briefly, but it turns out to be nothing but one of the dogs getting impatient on their leash, so he turns back to their host. "Is it far?" he asks, as a quite clear proxy to asking directly if it's hunt or sightsee first, then turns to his cousin. "Perhaps you should pray for help for the next time we race? You never know, it might help." If he'd been stood next to her he'd be getting ready to duck, but the enforced distance of horseback gives him some degree of safety.

Ludovic gives Myrana's suspiciously twinkly halo a long look before snorting to himself and looking back to Ivo. "Let’s go find the church." He touches the horse’s flanks with his spurs and the stud leaps forward into a steady canter. "They'll manage just fine without us." another shake of the head and he adds, at a volume meant to carry back to the both of them. "Can't disappoint the Lady." A gesture to the hunting group to indicate he doesn't want them to follow and then it’s off down a narrow animal trail.
It’s a fun ride through land that’s mostly flat and meadowlike where they must pass a stream every 100 yards or so which lasts for about forty minutes before they reach a little walled village with an ancient and very plain little church. The village appears to be empty but this doesn't seem to bother Ludovic as he easily swings down from the saddle and starts looping his reins about a post.

Myrana's blue eyes light up as D'Korbina accepts her suggestion and makes arrangements to split away from the dreadfully noisy and slow hunting party of dogs and attendants and guards. With a merry laugh she suddenly leans forward and races ahead, hood falling back off the snowy crown of her head and a bright flash of dovegray stocking showing as she takes off with a clatter of riverstone and gains the track, taking Ivo's wineskin with her.
"Oh no, sorry Cousin!" She calls over her shoulder with a laugh. "I didn't catch that on account of how far ahead I am oh nooo-!"
The last part is, understandably, shouted at the top of her voice, because stopping for directions is beside the point.
Along the way, however, she rides along with them again and shares her stash of purple and green figs from her saddlebags, tossing them in good spirits to Ivo and Ludovic and quite happily eating one while they go.
"I am curious how you got such a bit of speed," she's saying to her cousin as Ludovic leads them into the abandoned village. The dull, echoing clatter of an inn sign swinging in the bare breeze is weird in the empty place.
"How long has this place been left empty, Ludovic?" she asks, using his first name now that they've left the servants behind.

Ivo gives serious consideration to tossing the lance down to one of the retainers as the decision is made to head for the church first. Caution wins out in the end though, as he's fairly sure that he'd need it somehow if he didn't have it. Spurring his horse on to follow Ludovic he takes the time to enjoy the wind in his hair, and rising into the canter, and leaping over streams.. all things he doesn't get much chance to do any more. Well, apart from the wind in his hair thing, that happens a lot at sea.
It's clear he enjoys the ride though, and once he's dismounted, he takes a moment to give his horse a few strokes on the neck in thanks for carrying him. Once the reins are secured though his focus switches back to his companions. "How I got the speed?" he replies, a touch of smugness touching his smile, "I guess I'm just a natural in the water." He laughs, reaching for the wineskin if she'll release it, "I won't lie though, I pushed that boat hard in those rapids, and came close to capsizing at one point. I wasn't just going to let you keep your lead though, there was fifty crowns on the line."

Ludovic props the spear/lance up against one of the walls and then steps back to get his cassiterite czekan from its saddle sheath. "It's not really empty" He comments to Myrana. "It’s mostly temporary anyhow. This here’s their summer village." He nods over towards the west. "They winter closer to the river. It's why the place is so.. basic.." He tosses her a quick grin. "Don't actually keep the peasants this poor."
He picks a fig up out of his coat and starts rubbing off the inevitable bits of fluff whilst nodding towards the little church. "But that’s stone. Only stone building in a half days ride I expect. Will be closed up for the winter but I know they won’t mind us praying there. Long as we put it back how we found it."
Looking between the two for a moment he takes and eats the fig in a couple of bites before starting to rub his hands clean as he grins at the pair. "Fifty crowns huh? That makes me glad I didn’t put up a cash prize."

down from her saddle in a veritable landslide of petticoats. Once her heels crack down on the ground and she's brushed herself back into order and shaken her braid free from where it was piled up in her hood, she tethers her horse with the others and readjusts her low-slung swordbelt. Ardaigh taps her calf as she chafes her cheeks with gloved hands, sniffling from the cold wind.
"I do like our pins," says Myrana, patting hers where it has replaced the regular brooch of her capelet hood.
And there's the church.
Myrana looks at it with all the crushed sorrow of someone who was expecting a really romantically haunted looking crumbling pile of shit. This church has all four walls. And a roof.
She gives Ludovic an oblique, hard look.

"Fifty crowns," Ivo confirms to Ludovic, then clarifies, "if you're going to bet on something then you have to make it interesting at least." Myrana may look disappointed at the place but it doesn't seem to have dulled his mood. "They move with the pastures then?" he asks of the d'Korbina as he ambles off to explore the empty village, "we're far enough away from the border that they don't worry about your neighbours stopping by bent on destruction?" The geography this far from the river is not his strong point, but he's assuming the front lines are far enough away. Once he's contented himself with the general layout of the place he too moves towards the church itself, then glances to his cousin's prize as she pats it, "yes," he agrees, cheerfully, "the work of one of your craftsmen?"

"That horse suits you." Ludovic speaks to Ivo whilst Myrana's giving him the evil eye. "I'd suggest you should keep him but I don’t think he'd do so well on the water. Might have some real good horses next year anyway, though they'd be a lot greener than Torrent there." He reaches his right hand out and his elementi steps into the offered ear rub. "Well.. that depends which neighbours you mean there Ivo. This county goes a long way east yet.." A pause and then he adds a falsely cheerful. "Well it /did//. You'll have to come ride along the new forts one of these days. Let me show my brilliant military brilliance off." he smirks at that, clearly trying to make a joke.
The question of crafting makes him reach up to rub at his earlobe and give a faintly awkward smile. "To be honest… I'm not sure who made them. I asked Lisbeth to get them and then they magically appeared, just like that." His eye falls on Myrana. "You not going inside? Like I said there’s ruins up north but, well, I’m not sure how long we can go riding before people start worrying that I kidnapped you both."

Myrana fingers the bright green beryl eye of the scaled fish of the 2nd place token, seemingly quite pleased with how it coordinates ('thematically, you know!' as she put it to Ivo earlier) with the black cat motif appliqued in the Arrani fashion at the hems of her riding kirtle skirts. The thick, butter-soft cashmeri wool makes almost no sound, despite the warm layers of ruffled pettiskirts about her booted and stockinged legs, and she seems to unconsciously step with unthinking care around dry leaves scattered by the wind through the empty streets. If it weren't for the layers of her jewellery, she'd be as silent as her byname as she stalks curiously across the stone face of the church to peer down into the alley at its side.
"How could you kidnap us, Ludovic?" Myrana asks, then disappears down the alley with a swish of her braid and a jangle of silver. Her voice drifts back to them: "We are very tricky, as a rule."

"He's beautiful," Ivo agrees with a few shallow nods, "and such a fine temperament too. He does your breeders and trainers credit." Taking another swig of the wine he offers it across to Ludovic, given he didn't get any last time, then smiles at the idea of forts. "That seems fair, I mean, I've inflicting my brilliant boating brilliance on you, after all. It'd be interesting to see another front though, when you're at sea for months it can sometimes be hard to remember that other places exist, and chances to see them are rare." As Myrana joins them again he gives her an amused smile then, as she disappears, calls after her, "or perhaps they'd think we kidnapped him cousin." Then, back to Ludovic as he tilts his head towards the door, "shall we?"

"Ah." Ludovic says. "Good point little cat. How’s about if someone was to say that it was you that kidnapped me?" The czerkan's handle taps against the dirt paths as he moves to follow Myrana through the streets, looking to Ivo as he goes. "There’s a code. If you seek shelter here that’s fine but you're expected to leave gifts in return for both the pixies and any other travellers who might have need of the shelter. The cows were the most valuable thing here though so there’s not much to take. Not unless you feel like stealing a milk pail or something like that anyway. Suppose the church’s walls are worth something but there’s not a man of worth who'd touch a church. Bandits claim em sometimes but that just provides me and the other horned knights with a bit of sport. Setting up somewhere like this is like sitting out just beyond the walls with a bonfire."
He gives Ivo another grin. "Trained and bred him myself. So, I'll take that as a compliment." He nods after that. "Be a good excuse to spend a week or so on the road as well. Always enjoy that. Heck I'm real tempted just to set off north with your cousin here and go visit the old city. Now I'm thinking about it I realise I've never actually been through the walls." He looks to Myrana, glancing across as if suddenly worried she might have heard him, then he looks back to Ivo. "Maybe not tell her aye? Else we'll be chasing her all the wall to those walls."
Whilst Myrana pokes about the walls he walks straight up to the door, draws a quaintly superstitious symbol across his breast and then leans to remove the solid weight of the bar.
Myrana is just at the end of the alley, peering in through the dry wood of the chicken fencing around the monk's garden behind the church. When she sees Ludovic peering after her, she bops back up from where she was crouching on the balls of her feet snooping around, and trots back towards him and Ivo.
By the time Ludovic is lifting the bar of the doors, she reaches Ivo's side and gives a cheery grin up at him. "Do you have anything to leave inside?"

"Gifts for the pixies?" Ivo replies, "what, like milk and honey?" From his expression he doesn't actually believe that superstition, but nor is he belittling it, he's a sailor after all and so has come across all sorts of good men who have all sorts of odd beliefs. "Tell you what," he offers as the conversation moves on, "you let me ride him on the tour, and you have a deal. I know you said you don't like sailing, but you'd be welcome onboard Seeker anytime you like in return." Well, anytime bar when she's needed for the war effort, but that goes without saying really. The mention of the old city gets a grin though and he nods, "I'll say not a word, but you'll have to tell me all about what you find when you get back if you do ever go." As his cousin re-joins them he pats his pockets theatrically before putting his hands on his hips and looking piercingly towards her. "It seems I don't cousin, perhaps I'll just have to leave -you-." Or, you know, one of the figs in his pocket, or the wineskin, or the apple in his saddlebag that he'd been saving for the horse.

Myrana looks around the desolate little village as if she expects a tumbleweed to roll by. When one doesn't, she's faintly disappointed. But still!
There are.
"I meant more like!" she rallies with a force of will capable of eventually leaping hurdles of reasonable height, even if one must stop to find a stepping stool. She taps a gloved finger to her lips and rolls her blue eyes skyward in contemplation. "A scarf, perhaps, or…My favourite green coinpurse…?"
Since he officially has all her money on down payment, since she doesn't carry 50 crowns about on her person.
"I'm leaving literature," she adds, conspiratorially. "This place doesn't look like it has anything worth reading in there at all."

"Long as Lisbeth's not borrowed him, you're welcome to use him whenever." Ludovic answers Ivo. "I don't get to play much calfchase these days and that’s mostly what he’s trained for. Might try and sell you his brother though." He smirks at that. "You'd love calf chase. You should come play." A nod to Myrana. "The little cat loved it too. Didn’t you?"
A nod. "Milk and honey traditionally but nobody has milk here in the winter and the pixies understand that. I've some kumis and biscuits in my saddlebags for them. Won’t be leaving it in the church though. You leave them under the mantle in the common hall."
He chuckles at Myrana's complaints. "Not even gonna pray Myrana?" A gesture towards the dusty interior. "Can't leave without praying." And he goes inside himself. There are a bunch of lovely painted carvings inside so it’s not actually as dull as it looks from the outside. In either case he eases down to his knees and bows his head for a moment of meditation before giving Myrana a sideways glance and asking. "There was a trade city a few days to the north that got abandoned in 17.. uh.. 45.. 50.. What would I get for taking you there?"

"Do you think his brother would do any better on the water?" Ivo asks amused as he takes a couple of steps into the church. He's no architectural connoisseur, but even he can appreciate the carvings therein. He wanders first, checking out the crannies with dispassioned interested, before returning to the centre of the building and dropping down to one knee to perform the correct obediences as well. He doesn't stay down long though, as Ludovic's comment to Myrana has him shooting the d'Korbina a look that quite clearly says 'I thought we weren’t mentioning that..' Rising to his feet again he says, "I have an apple in my saddlebag, would that suffice do you think? I intended it for Tempest, but I am sure another can be found when we return to your hall."

"I was slipping out of the saddle the whole time till Sir Wulfred rescued me from carrying that carcass," Myrana confides to Ivo in a tone she hopes Ludovic can't quite hear, though this is certainly quite unlikely in the cold church. "I was trying to figure out how to land on it, rather than under it."
As they approach the altar and she sees the painted carvings, however, she seems to quite forget her misgivings and gazes up at them while they walk. Her stiff little shoulders ease from the narrow angles to a gentler slope under her hood's capelet, and she lifts her eyes to the ceiling to view the stories depicted all around the chamber.
In fact, she does kneel to pray, the same as Ludovic, making the sign of the One devoutly at her breast and brow. The white braid of her hair coils on the step next to her, and her bell pendant rustles.
"What do you get?" she asks, opening her eyes and looking up at Ludovic incredulously. "Would you settle for cream and honey?"

"Don’t think I'll have much luck teaching a horse to sail, no." Ludovic grins back at Ivo. "But his brothers got a better temperament for war. Torrent there wouldn’t bite or kick even if a wolf was trying to get friendly with him."
He tosses Ivo an apologetic smile when Ivo gives him the look and then nods. "Don't think the pixies have a menu. Just needs to be given with the right mindset." he taps his head. "A gift, not an obligation. Come. I'll show you the mantle we leave offerings on. Been a tradition as long as I've known and I think Myrana's gonna be busy here a while." He pauses to consider Myrana's question though, turning to look at Ivo and ask "What do you think? Is cream and honey enough for such a favour?" a pause and then he looks back at Myrana. "How did those calves I traded you get on anyway?"

Myrana gives Ludovic a flatly malicious look from under her bangs. "They were delicious." This is a bluff; she has been writing to Ludovic with irritating regularity to bother him with questions about them as a form of long-term punishment for the trick he played on her.

"That sounds a positively delightful way to spend your time," Ivo notes as Myrana describes her calfchase experience, "how could one possibly refuse after such a recommendation?" He has no intention of being drawn into the middle of whatever is going on between Myrana and Ludovic though, it's far too amusing to watch from a (relatively) safe distance. "Oh, I don't know," he replies thoughtfully, "I would think that the company of one so fine as my cousin for such a time would be favour enough…" He's grinning to himself as he ducks back out into the daylight, heading back to the horses to collect said apple and save them more trips than needed into the common hall. Once back within conversational range he says simply, "lead on."

Myrana hurries to keep up with Ivo and Ludovic, her bootheels making a bright rap when she breaks into a jog now and then, thanks to pausing every so often to look at something curiously.

"I would happily fund the expedition," she says, following them to the common hall.

Ludovic winks at Myrana when she gives him the evil eye. He's already ambling back to the horses when she hurries to catch up causing him to stop for long enough to shut the old church back up again. He catches up before too long, muscle not being something he's exactly short on.. "She'd have to be more single and taller for that to work." He looks at Myrana as if contemplating "Well moneys always good. Wasn’t planning to take a whole bunch of people with shovels along though. If I go somewhere like that I want it to be a small group. Four or five of us maybe? Place burnt down anyway so there’s probably not much worth anything there. Just dust and maybe the odd walking dead person." He looks at Ivo. "I ever tell you about the time Myrana saved me from a massive dead white haller?"

With the apple in one hand, Ivo ducks through the door into the common hall and steps inside far enough so the others can follow before pausing to glance around. He turns back to Ludovic as the words 'walking dead person' are uttered though, and tilts his head slightly. Pixies are one thing, quaint folk belief that does no hard to go along with, the walking dead on the other hand… Starting to suspect he's having his leg pulled in a pre-planned game of 'how much can we make the cousin believe before he twigs' he shakes his head slowly at the question and then turns to his cousin. "What did you do? Stop it from falling on him as it died?" he asks, tone light and conversational, "or was he about to trip over it and break his neck?"

"No no, not at all," Myrana agrees, waving to dismiss the thought of clattering men-at-arms and engineers and a cart full of tools to drag through every ditch and volcanic ripple. "But you may leave all considerations of provisions to me; we might treat it rather like reconnaissance, to report on the state of those lands to the Crown." By the subtle elastic bounce to her steps, she's excited at this idea, and calls up to Ivo: "You should come with us, Cousin."
When Ludovic mentions the corpse that rose from the snowy crust, though, she falls queerly silent. Her cheeks flush and she looks down at her toes while she walks, drawing at her lip.

"Suppose that you could say I tripped over a corpse. Was chasing after this crazy cousin of yours and this vir sidus lady I knew. You'd think they'd see a bunch of shambling dead people and run away but oh, no, they had to run in and start hacking and stupid old me had to go rescue them." Ludovic fills in when Myrana fails to pick up the story. "Reminds me though Myrana." Ludovic says after she's answered the zombie question. "What do you know about dealing with vampires? I know about lightsilver and I’m guessing sidhe steel being best for harming them and I know that they can be hurt by things like magical lightning. I'm assuming that goes for normal lightning too. Know they can’t be hurt by blunt weapons but that’s about it and I just dunno where else to look. Even tried asking the church if I might look in their libraries for such things but they don’t seem to like me much. Was thinking of maybe asking the academy in four corners but then I figured that you've gotta know more than anyone." He shows them the mantle and recites a short prayer or poem that’s clearly been drilled into him so much that its almost automatic and pressing the items into a box there. He falls quiet for a long, almost reverent moment, before starting to talk again. The grin back and a twinkle in his remaining eye. "Does he know the liripipe story yet?"

Ivo doesn't seem disinclined to be part of the expedition that seems to be being planned around him, and nods once to show Myrana that he'd certainly be interested in such a trip before asking Ludovic. "You say trading city, but I guess you don't mean one on a river?" He'd offer Seeker as transport, but has the distinct impression it won't be needed. Then, as the conversation turns really weird he falls back a pace or two. If they're going to try and wind him up then fine, he'll play the good sport, but he's not going to fall for such talk like a gullible fool. Once the words are spoken and the first offering left he places the apple down beside it then looks carefully across to Myrana for her reply. Magical lightening he can believe in, he might not understand much of the various flavours of sorcery out there, but they are demonstratively out there. Vampires though? Just how long can his cousin keep a straight face with all this? He's half tempted to run a book on it, only there's only himself there to bet.

Myrana growls under her breath. Whatever it is, it can't be very good. "Ludovic…"
The longer it goes on, the more she looks like she'd sink into the ground if she could, blushing miserably and unable to look up from her feet as she fumbles about her person, searching for something under the capelet of her hood, her belt-pouch. Maybe somewhere in all that will be her escape plan for Ludovic bringing the Inquisition down on her.
"I thought I had a copy of number one on me," she mutters, as if Ludovic were not blathering to her cousin, who as far as she knows is going to tell her father about this, and get them all in hot water. She sneaks a look at him to see his reaction, and sees that he's looking at her, and ducks her face down like she just saw a mouse run over her foot. Mutely, she puts a copy of #3 of the Queen's Cavaliers, the rather popular Four Corners-printed adventure serial.
Actually, if Ivo really looks at her, he might see fear creeping up over his cousin like a second skin, drawing the colour from her face and putting a pallor over her like a woman looking over a graveyard, rather than putting a book into a box.

"It was on the river once." Ludovic tells Ivo. "But the river course shifted and the city died. In the end, when it burnt down in some d'mollari plot, it was almost a relief I expect." He chuckles and then adds. "Course. There’s no proof at all that d'Mollari was responsible for it. Not one bit." He smiles at Ivo. "Was good for d'Korbina. Can't really complain. Good reminder that I need to get around to having a team dredge the river though."
When he finally looks back at Myrana and takes in her expression he just stumbles into silence. Blink. Blink. Uhm. He looks back to Ivo. "We both fought at the battle of mathis. There were vampires and something I’ve heard described as werewolves there." He shifts his czekan hammer-axe a little uncomfortably and then basically decides what the hell. What’s the point of effectively being open about your gift if you keep hiding. "So, since I knew she'd fought vampires and she worked out that I'm a sorcerer a while ago.. just seemed.. appropriate to ask her. Never occurred to me to hide it from you Ivo. Sorry if I put you on the spot."

Ivo knows about rivers shifting, and sandbanks, although generally it's the latter he has to deal with. He gives a brief nod of understanding to Ludovic, but it's Myrana that has most of his attention right now. That look of fear is not something that makes him comfortable, not at all, especially when there's not an obvious reason for it. His eyes flick cautiously between the two of them, although he keeps his tongue as Ludovic gives his explanation. He'd still believe it were a prank were it not for the fear in Myrana, and the realisation that it's not just stories for his benefit is slow and heavy. Unless of course she's a better actor than any he's seen before, but for now he's convinced of her reaction at least. "Mathis," he repeats back slowly, almost testing the word as he says it, ensuring he'll remember it long enough to hit the books about it when he gets the chance. He steps a little closer to Myrana, offering her a hand if she'll take it, and if she doesn't resting it in what he hopes is a reassuring manner on her shoulder. "A little..," he starts before stumbling over his words and having to start again, "a little air perhaps?" Gesturing towards the door he can't quite keep an eye off Ludovic, as he remembers something from a prior conversation. "Earth?" he asks after a moment to build up the courage, "you said you could feel where the earth ends.. you meant literally?"

Myrana doesn't notice Ivo's offer of support till there's a hand on her shoulder. So wrapped up in her thoughts, and with NOT looking at her cousin, afraid of his response, that she jumps a little at first before settling back onto her heels with a shiver.
"It's alright. I'm alright, sorry," she says. "N-no, Ludovic is… telling the truth," she looks at Ivo, then back at the D'Korbina. "There were vampires at Mathis. And… werewolves. Y-yes, I think I'd like some sunlight."

"Stone." Ludovic confirms. "I can't anything with a plant and what skill I have with animals was there before I awoke." A pause as he tries to assess myrana's current reaction out the corner of his eye as he goes on with the explanation. "Yeah. I meant it literally. I don't really lie. Brag and exaggerate sure. But not lie." He walks outside with the other two, squinting a touch as they step into the light. "I'd appreciate you keep it quiet but my knights already know about it and I’ve every intention to try and use it on the Qatunax next time we've a real battle so I’ll understand if you feel you can’t. You're a d'Armaz though so you've got experience with it from your Lord Altair. Heck maybe one day I'll be that well known myself." he pauses and then shrugs. "Well maybe not that well known. My talents aren't as flashy as his."

Ivo keeps himself between Myrana and Ludovic as they exit the hall back into the fresh air. It's not that he thinks the d'Korbina has any ill intentions, but his cousin has clearly taken a scare and engaging full-on protective mode gives his mind something to focus on rather than having to think about the implications of vampires and werewolves being real. The sorcery part though, that he doesn't seem to be have half as much trouble with, although it is a slow and cautious nod that he gives before confessing carefully, "I.. have seen sorcery done." Yes, look, let’s leave that there for experience for now. This is very much untested ground for him, but so far his reaction seems to be shock, rather than repulsion or fear.

Myrana seems to feel better once the frigid breeze is back in her face, taking a deep breath and straightening her shoulders.
"You won't tell anyone, Ivo? I'm already afraid that the Inquisition will send their witch hunters after him." A pause, and she looks at Ludovic sadly past her cousin. "You're doing all you can to pull them down on your head. What if Ivo was a spy for them?"

"I need to be able to do sorcery in front of all my soldiers Myrana." Ludovic tells her bluntly. The Czekan is moved up to rest in the crook of his arm as he speaks. "Compared to that what risk is telling one Lord - One Lord who's linked to Altair? The only reason I haven’t told anyone except the officers yet is that I'm afraid the inquisition will stop me -before- I can make a difference. It’s a gamble. Sure. But it’s a gamble someone has to make and besides - How can I be in any real danger when Altair's been so blatant and nobodies stopped him?"

With Myrana seemingly at least part recovered, Ivo takes a step away to give her a little space once more. "Fear not cousin," he replies, in what is a valiant attempt at a reassuring tone, "his secret is safe with me. I have no desire to draw the Inquisition’s attentions anywhere near here." Then, turning to Ludovic, he considers the man carefully as he speaks of his gamble. "I hope your officers are worthy of your trust," he says, still clearly doing a whole load of mental gymnastics to try and keep up with what has been revealed to him in the past few minutes, "and I can give you my word now, if you need it, that I am no agent of the Inquisition. Your secret is safe with me."

"Had to tell them." Ludovic tells them both a touch defensively. "I had to be able to train. I had to be know that if I did something in the middle of a battle my officers wouldn’t be struck dumb. I'd like to tell the whole army. Everyone. But." He looks at Myrana. "I reckon that’s too much. Just. Myrana. I've been hammering it down so hard that when I want it I can't even touch it half the time and, well, given everything, the inquisition already knew to look. I'd never have been able to hide it for long. And it was Myrana who told me that if I wanted to live I had to do something so big and heroic that they wouldn’t be able to touch me. Now I think that I already qualified but.. well.. there’s no harm doing some more right?"
"And you know what?" He gives Myrana a serious look. "I feel better. I don't have to go underground so much. I've got my heartstone." he pats his czekan. "And I just feel.. more me.. than I have for years. Hell. Even my tempers better. So. Even if they kill me. I still think it was the only choice. The right choice." He looks very serious and a little wistful. "Just wish I'd done it earlier. Maybe I’d still have two eyes and a wife."

Myrana has no answer for this, and it shows. But she relaxes further as Ivo promises to keep the secret, and reaches up to remove the fish pin from her hood. Slipping it free, she shakes her head to get the bangs from her face.
"Like Ludovic said, vampires walk Tirth. He's proof of it," she gestures to Ludovic's face. "The vampire from Mathis came to his room and did that. And in Rikton," she pulls the black band of her lightsilver pendant down. The side of her neck bears telltale scars that no amount of the miraculous Lady's Mercy unguent could totally heal to smoothness, like the shadow of a tiger's jaws left in a splash of scar tissue on her soft throat.
"I had a brush with them there. I would've died, but they drove it off and it dropped me." She looks over at Ludovic again. "They're terribly strong. I wounded it with Ardaigh but it overpowered me."

Ivo would probably have an easier time of this conversation if he'd only remember about the existence of his wineskin, but for now it hangs from his belt next to its twin which holds mere water. "It's a bold strategy," he replies to Ludovic, in reference to going so big as to be untouchable, "but I do not think I could bring myself to put the same degree of faith in their reasonableness. Still, I suspect you are much more versed in the finer details of the situation." He's turning his head to check on Myrana when something else catches his ear and he looks back, his brow furrowed slightly. "Heartstone?" he asks, the term being clearly unfamiliar as he eyes the axe-hammer-weapon-thing, "what do you mean?" Then it's back to talk of vampires again and he's clearly much more unnerved by that topic. He lets her speak, making an effort to keep his breathing to slow, deep breaths as best he can, but the while idea of it is spooking him somewhat. "I think, cousin," he starts, voice a touch shaky once more, "that I need to know more of this battle, and forces you faced. Later though, perhaps. It is… a lot to take in at once."

"Yeah." Ludovic says. "Reckon we should go back to the castle, open a couple of windows so Myrana doesn't crawl out, and open a cask of gin. Feel like you being in the dark about some of the threats we're facing is downright dangerous." He gives Ivo a vague shrug. "Wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I was already halfway to discovered." A pause and then he lifts his Czekan in his hands and offers the weapon to Ivo. "Still working out what to call it. How to describe it. But I made this from a lump of ore and now, every time I use it, I shape it a bit more. I'm not sure I could not do it even if I wanted to." The weapons black in the same way a cup of coffee is black. Not quite solid in colour with rich browns and golds gleaming in the depths anytime the light shifts just so. To a sorcerer it also feels different. "I don’t think heartstone was what I was looking for but 'sorcerously changed stone' is far too much of a mouthful."

Myrana pulls her hood back on over her head and fastens it with the pin. "Quite so," she agrees, a little limp. "It is dangerous. I'm sorry I didn't tell you, cousin, but…" She pulls the hood up over her head. "Well, there's no telling who is drawn into it, and who is left alone. But I'm glad you know, anyway. I'm sorry." Giving a little stomp one-two, marching a bit in place like someone warming up after getting a chill, she shakes her head and goes toward where they've tied up the horses with a swish of skirts.

Gin. Gin feels like a fraking splendid idea right now, and Ivo nods in silent agreement at the plan before something compels him to ask. "That think about running water, is it true? If so I may be safer than most." His cousin's words draw his attention next and he agrees quietly, "no knowing who. Caution is a fine thing in such circumstances." Then, which Myrana heading for the horses and the czekan handed over he takes it carefully, turning it carefully in his hands, and trying to pinpoint just what it is about it that feels.. odd. Handing it back he draws his cloak around himself once more and asks, "is that something other sorcerers do? I don't recall Altair having any such item, or as it's stone is that something of your… " he struggles for a moment for the right word, and eventually settles on, "element?" as he turns and starts to retreat towards the horses as well.

Ludovic notes Myrana moving for the horses and shifts his czekan back into a more appropriate position before following along after her. "I think most sorcerers are capable of channelling their magic through lightsilver and sidhe steel to an extent. Certainly fire sorcerers can and Altair has that sidhe glaive that he uses as part of his jump. Pretty sure that’s a focal thing too. Course I can't seem to channel my power through metal. Not even those special metals. So I had to find another way." He places a hand on his chestnuts neck, asks "Miss me Swift?" He mounts, moves to pick up his lance and settle it back against his stirrup before starting a simple, conversational, subject up. "Ivo's been introducing me to the Fiorello gins."

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