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Kingsport The smaller (population 8,000) but northernmost port of the 'Reach, Kingsport's fortunes faltered and fell in the last ten years with Zaksalam cutting off the northern trade routes, but the city is recuperating with the return of trade. The town's name is from the Vellfyre summer palace which is built nearby and serves as a seat for younger sons and a place for the court to flee in case of plague in Tal Volorro.
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Old 01-10-2015, 03:40 AM   #1
(Ser) Velasco Ascalon
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Default 08.31.30. - Afternoon - The camp - Amongst the pretty pavilions [Parissa]

Velasco was not a big fan of outdoor living. He was a man who enjoyed living in comfort, had high standards of hygiene, and preferred his housing immobile and made of sturdier material than a some fabric and a few sticks to hold it up. Ironically, when he set off to join the King's armed forces in the Northern Wars, this never crossed his mind - and, Gods, did he regret that!

The camp which housed the King and his Court during their Progress could hardly compare to the military camp-sights he had the misfortune to call home during his brief stint as a soldier, but Velasco still had his complaints. Many, many complaints. His wife had quickly grown bored of hearing them, and informed him, in that special, iron tone that she used only when she was on her last nerve as a signal that it would be very wise of him to clean up his act a bit unless he wished to be permanently separated from his balls, that she was going to spend the day with her sister and cousins, and possibly dine with them as well.

Now, Velasco had his flaws, and many at that, but he was a good husband, so he took the hint and headed out himself to find something that would occupy him enough to forget the dreadful state of his best linens and that they were forced to use the small basin tub instead of the luxurious enamelled bathtub he had made so that he and Zahra can comfortably enjoy lazying about in warm water after more... physically taxing activities, because the bathtub was simply too impractical to constantly pack and unpack from their baggage carts.

But at least the weather was fine, he mused, warm, but not uncomfortably so, and the surroundings was pleasant enough, he supposed. Strolling thus through the camp, Velasco's turquoise eyes scanned the sight seeking amusement and distraction, preferably in form of a friend equally bored and eager to join in on some fun.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:56 PM   #2
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Parissa was not amused. Her midsection was one long series of unpleasant sensations and she had curled up under a shade tree with a box of Trimerid chocolates and honey-mead, and her dress was a dark blue one for practical reasons. She'd considered trying to ride out on the hunt but had realized that was a bad idea: she would have shot a huntsman.

The Trimerid herbed-chocolate was helping make her feel more amiable, and the mead warmed her into feeling pleasantly floaty. Her maid was currently brushing out her hair, while a musician had wandered over to try to win the future princess's favor with a song, but she wasn't paying him much attention. She liked watching people and people were so interesting right now...

Especially the blue-eyed lord over there. One of the king's gentleme--- OH. Oh, no. Ascalon. That was Jayme's brother. Her shoulders straightened and she took a bigger drink of wine. Look calm. Look serene. Look amazing and totally unruffled...
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:34 AM   #3
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Spotting Lady Parissa Harrowmont all by her lonesome was not what prompted Velasco to smile and walk over to her, though she was certainly pretty enough to warrant such attention. No, this had more to do with her father and her future husband, as well as the King's request of him to keep an eye on all the Harrowmont girls (and, yes, they had been talking about it in the terms of the recent garden dance, but Velasco served his King for long enough to know his orders only come with an expiration date if one was specified).

He joined her under the tree she chose for her sanctuary, with no one but the servants tending to her as company and... ah. So the young lady was in a delicate mood. Velasco knew a thing or two about such things, especially about how rotten it could make a woman feel, so he added extra warmth to his smile as he stopped before the future princess and bowed. "My Lady Parissa," he greeted her. "Having trouble sleeping?" he asked as he rose again. And no, that was not a mistake on his part. He had good reasons for asking.
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:40 AM   #4
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"Sleeping...?" Parissa asked before she even realized she meant to speak to him. She looked up at the tall (everyone was tall, ugh, it was so unfair who picked people's heights anyway?) lord, and tried hard not to think about whether or not his brother had mentioned her. Or talked about her. Did he know she was alive...? Well obviously he must now. But before... Ugh.

She made herself smile. "Um, a bit, perhaps. Camps can be so difficult- but I'm sure you're much more accustomed to them, Lord Velasco." How's Jayme? Where's Jayme? No, don't think about Jayme. She popped another chocolate in her mouth and then held up the box. "Would you like some candy? They're from Solarii- Tyana always keeps plenty with her."
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:58 AM   #5
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"Ah," Velasco sighed knowingly, "So this is why this dilettante-" his hand casually pointed in the direction of the musician who, Velasco was certain, thought he was entertaining the lady, but was, in fact, playing what was probably the most tedious melody in existence "-is trying to bore you into slumber." The man abruptly quit his playing, his instrument falling out of his arms, and gave Velasco a wounded (and angry) look. Velasco thoroughly ignored him.

"This is the part where I'm supposed to say something about the virtues of outdoor living, and how it makes a man feel even more manly," he quipped as he seated himself a step or so in front of Lady Parissa, "But the truth is, my lady, I hate it, and thus I am lucky my manliness is nowhere near fragile enough to be affected by the fact." He then gratefully popped one chocolate into his mouth, and happily chewed with a humorous grin on his face.
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:16 AM   #6
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She laughed without meaning to, and put her hand over her mouth as she glanced at the offended musician who was already stalking off. Ah well, he had been rather dull company and she'd never yet met a dull Ascalon.

Parissa looked at Valesco, still smiling. "Isn't honesty supposed to be out of fashion among courtiers, my lord?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:32 AM   #7
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"Only when it isn't useful," Velasco noted, "We're an awfully pragmatic bunch, courtiers." And those who weren't soon ended out of favour at best... and the less said about worst case scenarios, the better. The powerful, noble, and rich can be a very... imaginative bunch when it comes to vengeance against their offended honour. Velasco should know - he was one of them.

"Don't worry," he smiled to Lady Parissa assuringly, "You'll get used to it soon enough. The Court can be... overwhelming for a young lady new to the experience, especially one thrust into the very thick of it literally the day she arrived, but you'll find your way soon enough. The Court may be a sink-or-swim environment, but you, my Lady, have the looks of a strong swimmer."
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:46 AM   #8
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She shrugged. "I learned in Solarii. I doubt even Kingsreach can have stronger tides than there... and they don't have Princess Zorayda. I'm sure I'll learn." Parissa grinned but reached for her cup again to take a long drink of mead.

"Have you been long at court, Lord Velasco?"
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:21 AM   #9
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Velasco chuckled. "Princess Zorayda is a force onto herself," he admitted, "But do not let yourself become overconfident. As excellent training as Tal Solarii can offer, the Court is a different pond... and it always pays to be wary when muddling through strange waters." He picked up one more chocolate, but he did not eat it just yet. "I've been a member of His Grace's household since some time last year," he nodded, replying, "So no, not long."
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:24 PM   #10
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"Ah." Parissa looked at him curiously. "What's the king like? I've met him only in passing, when he greeted my lord father. And he danced with me once at the welcome feast but that was all."
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:02 AM   #11
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Velasco sighed. "His Grace is... an experience, rather than a person. I could speak to you of him for days, and there would still be things he would surprise you with as you get to know him. He is... a warrior, first and foremost. But do not mistake him for a brute. He has a keen mind, and he knows how to use it to his advantage. But, alas, he also had a mighty temper, made mightier by the knowledge that he is King and thus above us all. Avoid rousing it against you at all costs, my Lady, treat his family right, and do your duty well, and he'll be happy. In a sense, it's pretty much what he wants from all of us."
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:30 AM   #12
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"Ah, yes. I wondered where father learned it all from." She laughed. "Papa squired for the king when he was young. He speaks of it fondly... some days I think he still misses the old wars." Parissa shrugged. "But I suppose kings must have their own way, otherwise they wouldn't be kings."
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Old 01-12-2015, 01:47 AM   #13
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"Oh, I dare say your esteemed father had some of his own before he began his apprenticeship with His Grace," Velasco grinned and ate his chocolate, as the delicious morsel was beginning to melt in his fingers, which he was tempted to lick, but he drew out his handkerchief and wiped them clean off instead, remembering that, when flirting with the future Queen of Edolon, it was probably the smartest to keep things light and playful.

"Being a leader is a heavy burden," he nodded in agreement, "And the King leads us all. I can understand why he is the way he is, and I can understand the merits of it. But I cannot for the love of Gods ever wish to be in his place. Being heir to Sandmark is too large a role for a fun-loving rascal such as myself."
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:00 AM   #14
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"But Sandmark is so lovely," Parissa pointed out with a smile. "We journeyed there once with my uncle on some errand or another." Pari sipped her wine, watching him still, studying a little- trying to discern any similarities to Jayme. "But much easier to manage than a whole kingdom, I'm sure."
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:30 AM   #15
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"There is no place on earth more beautiful to my eye than my home," Velasco smiled, "And, when the time comes, I will be honoured to take the mantle of it's protector. But if there was a way to avoid it, my Lady, I would. To know that so many lives and livelihoods depend on me, on the decisions I make... perhaps I'm being a brat about it, but it's not an easy thought." More importantly, as much as the fact annoyed him, he was fully aware that he made a much better right-hand man than a leader. But perhaps he could take a page from his uncle's book and rely on people who had talent and skill to perform his duties better than he ever could while he devoted himself to his joys. It looked selfish, but Estersand actually seemed to profit from it, as it ended up being run by capable hands... just not it's lord's.
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Old 01-12-2015, 02:36 AM   #16
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"It is a burden," she agreed. "I suppose I'll feel that way someday when I'm meant to be queen... but then, there will be ages and ages before that. I'll enjoy it til then." She laughed and popped another piece of chocolate into her mouth.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:23 AM   #17
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"Excellent strategy, my Lady," Velasco nodded in cheery approval, "And how, prey tell, are you enjoying it so far?"
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:31 PM   #18
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Parissa looked at him with a more mischievous smile. "Mmm... Quite well, I think. Everyone's marvelously friendly now, and oh so willing to find me treats. I shall be quite chubby ere I'm wed. Perhaps that's their clever plan?" Another laugh. "But if all I must do is walk about on the prince's arm and dance and be happy at the court, I don't think it will be all that hard."
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Old 01-13-2015, 01:46 AM   #19
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"Well, we must never allow such a nefarious scheme to come to fruition!" Velasco exclaimed, grinning, "Here, let me help." And, with that, popped another chocolate in his mouth. They truly were delicious, though he needed to watch himself, as his physician warned him against overconsumption of sweets, chocolate in particular, as it could lead to fatting the blood and skin pimples. Ghastly things, those.

"I hope my Lady is using this time when no one knows you well enough yet to see you are more than just a pretty little doll to carefully asses everyone while they're at their most careless so that you may use it against them at an opportune moment," Velasco asked, his tone casual, but the look he gave Lady Parissa conspiratorial. She was the daughter of Attericus Harrowmont and raised in the court of the ruling House of Southshores; he refused to believe she would be anything less than shrewd - if not by nature, then certainly by education.
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Old 01-13-2015, 10:05 PM   #20
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Parissa gave him a wide-eyed, bank look and blinked as if she didn't understand a word he'd just said. "Oh, but I am just a young girl, my lord. Surely none can expect wit or wisdom from me." She ate another chocolate. "I think you're one of the few who hasn't mistaken me for being ten-and-two."
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:49 AM   #21
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Velasco shrugged nonchalantly. "I am Ascalon," he replied casually, "We're sneaky bastards, and thus suspect everyone of the same." He grinned. "Besides, only an idiot would automatically underestimate a new player in any game," he added, "There's a reason why dark horse is a concept, you know."
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