Alain gave her the tiniest, faintest nod and leaned on his cane, hiding his face away from the innkeeper. However, he continued listening to both his granddaughter and the woman she was talking with, all the while looking around the inn. There should not be any trouble, most of the customers looked fairly quiet. Unless somebody new came in but he could deal with them as they happened.
The innkeeper, meanwhile, glanced between the two customers and lifted up a hand. "We got hard cider, beer, ale," she flicked out her fingers as she named drinks, "There's stout too-"
"We dinnae want anything alcoholic, lass. Got to keep our wits about us," Alain interjected.
"Right ya are," she nodded, though she looked a little irritated at being interrupted. "We've got near-beer and regular cider too, if you want that. Nae water."
"Cider then, fer both of us."
The innkeeper seemed surprised at his sudden authoritiveness but nevertheless returned shortly with two mugs of cider, placing them in front of both him and Lucinda.
"So, what brings ya here to Destrier?" she asked, leaning on the bar and fiddling with a lock of hair that came out from under her cloth that she wore to cover her head. "Ya here for the market?"
The woman smiled and leaned forward, clearly eager to talk. "Ach, well, it depends on what ya're wantin'. Destrier's the capital, o'course it has plenty o' good stalls around, 'specially on the market days. Though it depends on yar wallet size. Though..." she paused and leaned forward. "There's a wine seller on the nor'eastern corner of the market square I dinnae recommend."
The innkeeper cast a wary glance over Alain. "Ya sure ya dinnae wanna sit doon? That leg must hurt."
"Ya get used to it," Alain sighed but nevertheless, sat down, taking a sip of his cider and keeping his eyes firmly on Lucinda.
Lucinda half glanced at Alain as he sat down, wondering if his leg actually still hurt. She had been under the impression that the wound he had received in the war had healed a long time ago and the cane was merely a point of style. She shifted her thoughts back to the conversation with the innkeeper.
"Our wallet is moderate in size," Lucinda said. She resisted an urge to chuckle at the mention of a wine seller, her mind flicking back to Corinne and the way her eyes would have lit up at the mention of such a thing. "Do tell."
Alain noticed Lucinda looking at him but his only action was to flash her a smile, which really could have meant anything. He focused back on his cider, though that was only pretend.
The innkeeper however, did not seem to notice. She grinned widely and leaned closer, almost at Lucinda's ear. "He's been waterin; down the wine. Got his wife in on it tae. They've been tryin' to get the city guards on' em but he's makin' some bonny profits from exploiting people who dinnae know better," she scowled. "Got me intae a right mess when I served some o' his wine to a passing noble. Thought I was tryin' tae trick him. I'd never do anaething that dirty!" Here, she threw her hands up in the air in a gesture of innocence.
Lucinda nodded slowly, committing the information to memory for later. Surely she could pass that on to someone who could actually do something about it.
"That is unfortunate that he can continue to get away with that," Lucinda said. "Anyone else we should avoid?"
"Aye. If ya ask me, anybody who does that tae good wine should be hanged!" The innkeeper banged her fist suddenly on the bar before she realised what she had done and smiled at Lucinda. "Ach, aside from 'im, most o' the stalls are good. Ya should visit my brother's, 'e sells spices, some all the way from Veresia. Might be worth it tae treat yerself. I ken spices are expensive but if ya say yar wallets are moderate in size, maybe ya can buy a pinch?"
Lucinda jumped when the woman banged her fist on the bar, but returned the smile when the woman smiled at her. "We will have to visit his stall, then," Lucinda agreed.
Lucinda glanced at Alain, looking for confirmation that she was handling the conversation right.
"Do, do," the innkeeper nodded, grinning from ear to ear. "Ya won't be disappointed, I promise."
Alain smiled and gave Lucinda the tiniest of nods. She had found out some good information, he could not deny that. However, the woman at the bar coughed, drawing attention back to herself. She leaned her elbows on it.
"So," she smiled at both her visitors. "What are yar names? Where are ye from?"
Lucinda felt a bit of pride as Alain smiled and nodded at her, and glanced back at the innkeeper when she coughed to get her attention. For a moment, she was almost paralyzed.
"Lu," she said, drawing out the first syllable of her name. "Short for Lucy!" she said, laughing as if she was just being pleasant. "I'm from Kine. I wanted to travel and see a little more of Kyth, so I'm here with my Bernian family members," she waved Alain to make a point of what family she was with. It wasn't a huge stretch, she was originally from Kine, even if she couldn't actually remember a time when she'd lived there. So long as the woman didn't know anything about Kine, she should be able to keep up the lie. She prayed she didn't.
Alain flashed Lucinda a smile and a small nod as she answered the innkeeper. He had considered fielding the question for her but at the same time, he wanted to see how she would react to being thrown into such an expected situation. And, either by instinct or because it was the most sensible course of action, she had done the right thing.
The innkeeper, for her part, clapped her hands together. "Ach, that's wonderful! I got an aunt in Kine, it's a great place. But Destrier's better, it’s bigger and there’s more tae do," she winked. "Must be a bit of a shock though, the big city. Ya best be careful. Though," she looked over at Alain, "Yar grandpa will know the best places to go tae, right?"
"Ach, course," he nodded. "Gonna show 'er the market, before it gets busy."
"Aye, ya do that," the innkeeper smiled.
Alain rank the last of his cider, putting the mug down on the counter. He then turned to Lucinda. "Ya heard 'er, we best get going. If ya're ready, Lu. Or is there something else you want to ask..?" he gave the innkeeper a questioning look.
"Eva," the innkeeper extended out her hand. "Nice tae meet ya."
Lucinda reached out and shook Eva's hand. "It was nice meeting you. Thank you for your time."
Lucinda turned to Alain, smiling as though she was excited over the prospect of seeing the market. "Shall we go, then, Grandfather?"
"Ach, ya're welcome. Always like meeting new people Ya stop by anytime, ya heer? Maybe git a room next time?" Eva grinned before she was called away by another customer.
Alain nodded to Lucinda once the innkeeper was distracted. "We best go," he got up off the chair and, making sure to lean on his cane so that nobody suspected, walked out of the inn. Once they were outside, he turned to Lucinda, letting her see his face, and his smile.
"You did well," Alain told her, patting her on the shoulder. "I am especially happy with what you told her when she asked about your name. When you are lying, especially about your identity, it is best to remain as close to the truth as possible while twisting it so it is unrecognisable. But besides that, we found out some good information," he turned on his heel, looking down the high street towards the Cathedral. "So, Lucinda, what will you do now? Information is useless unless you use it."
Post by Kristykimmy on Nov 25, 2014 10:02:56 GMT -5
Lucinda twisted her fingers, sighing. "That was quite possibly the most awkward thing I have ever done. I cannot believe she did not see right through my act, Grandfather. Still, what would I have done if she had known more about Kine? All I know about Kine are a few folk songs Dolly taught me and what I learned in my lessons of its geography. Hardly enough to pass for a native citizen."
She was silent for a moment, thinking on the question he had asked. "I suppose I need to give that information to someone who can have the merchant investigated to see if he is cheating his customers. Who would I see about that, Grandfather?"
"This is another important part of being in disguise: do your research first. You need a good cover and to do that, you must know everything there is to know about your other identity, even details that don't matter, such as local landmarks or events that happened in certain years. Just in case you are unlucky enough to be confounded by a native," Alain's tone was neutral but his eyes glinted with amusement. "Though, if that happens, you can always try to divert the conversation. It just has to be subtle enough that your conversation partner does not notice. That, however, requires practice."
He laughed a little. "Still, it was lucky that she was not nosy and did not ask more to pick apart your white lie. But after all, that I why I am here, isn't it? To help you in case you mess up while you learn how not to do that."
However, at her suggestion of going to the city guards to investigate the merchant, Alain stopped in his tracks. "Perhaps...but you also have to consider that she was just complaining, or worse, lying to cover up her own defective product by putting the blame on somebody else. It's an off-chance but," he held up one chiding finger, "Hearsay is a good start but you should always try to verify things with your own eyes and ears."
Setting off down the street again, he continued to talk, a sly smile creeping on to his face. "And besides, think about it: whose word are the city guard more likely to take? That of two random peasants or two nobles of House Stallion?"
Post by Kristykimmy on Dec 9, 2014 19:17:24 GMT -5
Lucinda nodded, making mental notes of Alain's information on keeping up the disguise. She matched her pace to Alain's as they headed down the street. "You want to buy a bottle to see if it is watered down before sending guards to investigate? I would not have thought of doing that first. You are much better at this than I am, Grandfather. I am sorry I did not think to say something of my going out like this. I really never considered that you might have experience with it. How did you learn to do this? Did your father teach you?"
"We can, if necessary, though talking to the man and just looking around his stall would be a good start," Alain nodded to Lucinda as they continued on the downhill walk along the High Street. "We shall see how he acts and reacts. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt and information should be verified before you do anything with it. If you have time, Lucinda, everything is worth doing thoroughly. That applies to everything, not just diguise and spying."
He laughed a little at her next remark. "Of course I would be, I have been doing this for a while," he shook his head and put a hand on her shoulder, "Don't worry, I understand why you never told me, or suspected. I have never given any indication that this is a skill I have."
At the mention of his father, a strange looked appeared briefly in Alain's eye, one that could have almost been wistfullness. "Yes, it was him who taught me. He had to go out in disguise like this to meet with my mother, before they got married. Originally, he did it with just the selfish intention of courting her but discovered that he found out things that he could not have otherwise have known had he been going around as a noble. Small things, grumbles, people saying things to their peers they would never say to their superiors, those sorts of things. So when the time came to teach me how to be the head of the House, the importance of going out to the people as one of the people was one of the things he made sure to impress upon me."
He smirked, remembering the times he had done so, most recently in Medieville in his attempt to infiltrate the Shadows. Even if things had not gone all to plan, he had still found plenty of opportunities to exploit and met people he was very glad to now know. "He was not wrong. I've picked up something from every time I do this. It's hardly a bad thing, meeting ordinary people and seeing how they live."
Post by Kristykimmy on Jan 3, 2015 12:16:31 GMT -5
Lucinda nodded as she listened to Alain's advice. She knew she wasn't used to doing things particularly thoroughly, simply because she had not done much in her life. She smiled at him as he told her not to worry about not having suspected he knew anything about sneaking out. The information about his father and how the tradition of going out in peasant dress got started was interesting, but not so interesting as his telling her that he tended to learn exactly what she wanted to by doing it.
“Does Isabelle do this then?” Lucinda asked, curious if her aunt also practiced the art to learn more about the people she would one day rule.
Alain shook his head. "Alas, no. This is, admittedly, a rather underhanded way of finding out about people. Isabelle is far too blunt for it and it is a risk with her temper. But she has her own ways of learning about the common people, like that young man of hers," he gave a sly grin and cast Lucinda an aside glance, "Don't tell her I know about him. She is the one who wants to keep him a secret after all."
The buzz of the marketplace soon reached them, sounding like an angry hive startled in the middle of its preparations. Even during the week, the main market square of Destrier was full of activity, both in the stalls that covered the centre of the square and the permanent merchant shops which occupied the buildings around the edge of that wide space. Alain smiled and bowed his head, hiding it in his hood, while he leaned on his cane.
"Pretty big, isn't it?" he murmured only for Lucinda ears. "It will be difficult to find one specific merchant in this crowd and the crowd itself is a danger. Pickpockets and various unsavoury criminals lurk in such places, not to mention you can easily get lost."
He cast a judging look over the people milling around in between the stalls. "Stay within sight of me, it would not do for us to split up. However, if the crowd begins to get tight, stop and do not try to push through, just get out of the way and wait. As for pickpockets, hide your purse somewhere where it cannot be easily spotted but do not draw attention to that hiding place. If you do that, you'll be alright."
Post by Kristykimmy on Jan 7, 2015 18:54:46 GMT -5
“Oh, Woo, Grandfather, you know about Hector?” Lucinda asked, coloring slightly. Then a wry grin spread across her face. “Of course you know; I don't know why we think we can keep anything from you. Still, I shan't tell; I wouldn't wish for her to think I told you. As for me, I currently have no other secrets and am beginning to learn I should never try in the first place. You're amused, I see. Is that a favorable reaction for Isabelle?”
Lucinda pressed closer to Alain as they entered the market. She had only ever skirted the edges of it, the mass of people intimidating her somewhat. Medieville had often been crowded, but the crowds were never so purposeful and relentless as the market seemed to be.
“I keep a false purse on myself with only the barest amount of money in it, and my real one hidden. I may not know much, but I know of thieves, and we've learned they lurk in even the most unusual places. I wonder what became of the thief from the feast?” Lucinda mused.
She looked into the crowd again, wondering how anyone navigated the place.
Alain gave a soft chuckle and turned to look Lucinda right in the eye. "I've known for a while and besides, Isabelle has done a very poor job of hiding her affections for him. And while I do not mind at all, I want her to tell me of her own free will," he smirked and tapped a finger on his cane. "Come now, I would be a very poor Grand Duke if I did not even know what was going on within my own household. Besides, I like knowing everything, it is useful for the future. Which by the way is another thing you pick up out here, little bits of information which are useful later."
Speaking of the task, Alain now focused himself on navigating the crowd. He stuck close to Lucinda, which at first glance would have looked like an old man relying on his granddaughter to lead him, when in reality the opposite was in effect. He knew this better, he did not want to lose Lucinda to it, especially since it appeared that she had never really gone through a crowd like this before, judging by how close she stuck to him herself.
Nevertheless, he was glad that she had figured out the trick to dissuade pickpockets. It was certainly a clever one. Alain had always merely kept his purse hidden, he had never felt the need for a decoy, but for a young girl who was more likely to be made a target, it was probably best.
Then again, given her experiences in Medieville, it made sense. He smirked humourlessly when she Laurie. What had not become of the thief from the feast? "Who knows? Wherever they are, I doubt they will bother us ever again."
He stopped suddenly and looked around at the stalls. "I do not know where our wine merchant is but the market itself has some logic behind it," he pointed with his cane at the stall nearest to them, from which rich cloths poured down the tables like brilliant waterfalls. "Textiles. And beside them, a place selling sewing supplies. Merchants tend to set up where they can get the most business and that is beside stalls selling items relating to their wares so that one person will quickly find what they are looking for. Of course, there are a few rogue jacks-of-all-trades but what can you do about those? They do not affect the flow of the market much."
Alain peered over the crowd. While he did not stretch himself out to his full height, he did have some advantage even so. "You just have to find your way to the food stalls and from there, to the winers."