A familiar face in a familiar place...
A familiar face and a familiar place…
Location: Pelle e Pizzo, Veronica's Mon-style Clothing Shop in Amber
Date: July 15th, 14 (OOC Year 2017)
Summary: Tristan visits Pelle e Pizzo and finds out that Veronica is back in Amber.
Characters: Tristan and Veronica
NPCs: Polly Petrillo and her granddaughter, Pansy

Its a typical afternoon in Pelle e Pizzo. Polly has just finished up with a customer who is departing with a bulging garment bag and is adjusting the hairs that are falling out of her bun. In a back corner, Pansy, Polly's teenaged granddaughter is sweeping. There is no sign of any change that a regular customer would notice.

One of those chairs laid out for guests is occupied by Tristan. He smoked a cigarette while waiting for Polly to finish with a customer - he is never in a rush when he enters. He is that frustrating customer who may occasionally come in and browse for a time, only to leave without buying anything, or on other occasions to order several seasons worth of clothing. He certainly isn't dressed for the Amber summer, but he isn't showing any real discomfort by what he wears, and the sound of sweeping provides a certain soothing calm. He offers a grin as the previous customer steps out, seeming content enough to stay in his chair for a moment as he says to Polly, "Business seems booming. Good day so far?"

This being her first break in business since he arrived, Polly walks over to where Tristan sits and curtsies to him. "It has been a good day yes, m'Lord," she says especially since…" she cuts herself off and calls out, "Pansy! Let the mistress know that Lord Tristan is here!" to her granddaughter who responds by dropping the broom with a "Yes ma'am," and then dashes into the back room.

"I'd just realized you may not have known that Lady Veronica has returned to Amber, m'lord," she explains quickly.

"Oh, no shi-", a pause, then, "You don't say." That does seem to surprise Tristan, as he comments, "Felt like I just saw her only yesterday. Though, obviously not _yesterday_… I think." He runs a hand through his hair, before moving to stand up and say, "I don't think she cares whether or not I'm shopping, honestly. I'm just in here to get measured for some shirts."

"Well, I can take care of that of course," Polly says as she steps away to get a tape measure only to then remember it is in the pocket of the apron she is wearing over the skirts of her dress.

Veronica then steps out of the back room and smiles in Tristan's direction. Before addressing him she says to Polly, "I asked Pansy to put away what I was working on for me, Polly," to explain the young girl not returning immediately. She then says, "Hello Tristan," to Erik's son, almost as if she is prepared to be lambasted for her absence.

"Hey, Veronica. Long time no see. You seem well for someone who vanished off into the shadows." He lifts his fingers to his temple in an informal salute, then fingerwaves as he regards the woman. Tristan says then, "Shit. I need to have a jacket made here. THat's a really lovely one. How've you been?" No lambasting today.

"I am well," Veronica says first. "I went looking for a book in the Chantris library and fell though a crack in the wall… it took me this long to find my way back. I had lovely adventures though and learned some amazing things." She illustrates this by turning in place and, as she does so, causing the color of her coat to shift from black to white and back again, passing though all the colors of the rainbow along the way. She then asks, "How have you been these years?"

A bit of laughter, at that, as Tristan claps his hands in delight. "My. I should have stayed seated for such a show." He leans back against a nearby wall, tucking his hands into his coat pocke ts as his head tilts from one side or the other. "I… . well. I'd say you wouldn't believe me, but clearly you have had your own impossible adventures. The real answer is I don't know. The slightly less real answer is I travel potential and actual pasts and futures to try to make meaning of the universe we live in and how to save it. I like your story better, though."

"So you, too, haven't been in Amber for the entire time since we've seen each other," Veronica says with a smile, not really asking despite the question-like form of the statement. Polly steps up as Veronica indicates with a gesture that she should begin measuring Tristan. Veronica resumes the conversation by asking, "Does that mean that you would not be able to tell me much of what has happened in the court… both Royal and Sun… during my absence?"

"I could not, but more, uh. Oh, right." Tristan shrugs the coat he wears off of his shoulders, moving to hang it nearby and allow Polly to measure, keeping his eyes and conversation on Veronica easily enough. "It's more I don't know what variation of it actually happened. So, no. You're right, I couldn't. I think." He asks, then, "Did you teach yourself magic, or did you meet someone or something in there that taught you?"

Veronica gives a truly Chantris answer by saying, "I found out how to do that in a series of books." She smiles at the memory and then adds, "However, I did meet someone who taught me smithing while I was away. Since that was in a library far from Amber his name would mean little to nothing to you so I shan't burden you with that information. But I will say he was a kind master to this apprentice and I have since figured out how to apply my glamours to items I make… whether on a forge or not."

"I could always use a new weapon. I like collecting swords. They are comforting to wear," He straightens his arms out at Polly's sugestion, and adds, "and read about, actually. I should ask you for a book on the history of them in so much as we know it. I think it would be fascinating." Tristan smiles slightly, commenting, "Magic, though. Had I not been so busy picking fights and chasing girls growing up, I'd like to think that I would have learned it. I don't think I would have had the skill, but it's always fascinated me." Tristan adds, then, "Well, welcome back to Amber, Veronica. Glad you decided not to abandon us for your adventgures."

A smile is the answer to Tristan's last statement and then Veronica offers, "I could make you a sword, although it would take some time of course. Do you have a preferred type of blade and grip?" All this while Polly continues measuring her first cousin (twice removed).

"I do, but that's part of the fun of moving away from it. I like a heavy saber, like my father, but I've spent .… more time than is healthy practicing with all kinds. What kind of blade would you want to make for me?" Tristan adjusts again as Polly implies, lowering his hands as she measures his shoulders. "Or is it something else you would make entirely were it to be for fun?"

"I would need to know what you wanted from a blade before I would deem to choose for you," Veronica says, "However, if you just wanted me to make you a blade I'd likely go for a general purpose knife or dagger since they can be carried to more places than a sword."

"That's fair. I'll chew on it, then. I wasn't sure if you were a woman of whimsy, and might like constructing a sword based on something you'd seen or encountered." Tristan adds, after a moment, "Someday, though, you'll have to tell me the story of learning it. I imagine that your time must have been wondrous. A fairy tale, if I were to use such words." That grin again.

Veronica laughs. "Oh, I likely will start doing that, but as yet I do not have a forge so I have not let my mind wander in that direction yet," she says and then she nods and adds, "Oh, I will surely do that some day." She then asks, "I was wondering also, just these moments, if I might be able to ask you if you could make some trumps for me again. I have a few already but I would like a few more… as well as a suggestion on the best way to carry them so that you can keep them close as well as safe."

"I would love to," Tristan answers easily enough. "I have one condition, though. You need to pose again. It's been a while, and it's an excuse to paint you as you currently are. Also, it's indulgent to the artist in me to paint nobility. And as to carry them? A case, surely, though to what level of detail are warding are to each and their own. Marlene made mine."

Veronica inclines her head to show she acquiesces to the request. "Although, I cannot pose for all of the trumps I would like," she says, "One of Polly here for example," she adds causing the matronly woman to start as she has been writing down the measurements she had taken.

"Oh, not all. I'll make copies. But one is indulgent enough for me. It takes some time for me to get it just right, and the beautiful ones are the best." Whether or not Tristan was talking about Veronica, he throws a wink to the grandmotherly Polly before reaching to his trump case, pulling it from his belt and offering it to Veronica for examination. "Just in case you were interested in Marlene's work. And of course I'll paint Polly, and anyone else you need."

Veronica says "Thank you so much," as she carefully takes the case and begins to examine it. She takes a seat and, distractedly, says to Polly, "Measure him for pants, boots and a belt as well please," and then proceeds to ignore the rest of the world for half an hour or more.

If there's one thing that Tristan has learned in life, it is not to countermand or muddy the waters when it comes to something like this. He strikes an idle conversation with Polly, intermittently talking about clothing from Earth and other shadows (he makes a specific comment about loving the smiley face that Veronica wears), and otherwise talking about the trump that he will be drawing of her with the intent of making it clear that Polly will look like Empress of Amber when he's done. Eventually, though, Polly is done, and Tristan moves to sit down next to Veronica, tilting his head as he regards the woman, waiting for her to come out of reverie.

When Polly says she doesn't know for sure where the pin comes from, Veronica idly says, "Dirk," as if that is a complete answer (which for many it likely is) before she resumes studying the mechanism of the case with care to not damage it. Polly herself takes umbrage with the comment she would look like an empress, harrumphing and saying she should look exactly like herself thank you very much. When Tristan takes the seat next to her, Veronica hands the case back to him. "There seems to be some properties to that which I can't figure out," she states and then asks, "Could you introduce me to Marlene sometime perhaps?"

"Oh, absolutely. I think you two would get along like gangbusters, but I have been known to possess terrible judgment, so." Tristan grins, then, before putting the trump back at his side, as he tells Veronica, "I've really been rude. I've asked so much about your past and your presence that I haven't asked what you feel your future entails for you. What do you plan to do, now that you're back in Amber?"

Veronica grins and says, "Make things and research family history," as she stands and begins looking at clothing throughout the shop as if unfamiliar with the items (as she actually is due to her absence). "The latter lead to my going missing so I feel compelled now to pursue it," she says to Tristan as she pulls down a leather vest and tosses it at Polly, not even looking to see the older woman scramble to catch it as she is told "Find more of this material or the like," by the shop owner. Then, again to Tristan, she says, "The former was always a passion of mine after all," and this time a shirt goes flying and Pansy (who had recently returned planning to resume her cleaning by the direction she was going) has to catch it as it doesn't get close to her grandmother - this is accompanied by an "Enough like that for a shirt," from the crafter. A few more items are collected and Veronica turns back to Tristan and says, "Travel also perhaps. I've not done much exploring in the recent past outside of the stacks of various libraries."

"Travel is one of the greatest pleasures in life. I love the pattern for it. The shadows, the splendor, the struggles at time. Not always peace and quiet. Hence the bladework." Gesturing with a hand, Tristan says, "I used to love fighting, especially swordplay, but. I think that I still find pleasure in it, but the stakes are all too different from when I was younger." He is amused, though he does stay seated for the time being as he watches Veronica work (and Polly and Pansy catching.) "Now, now I tend to … . I'm not even sure what I did yesterday. It's occasionally frustrating, but occasionally really nice."

"So, an outfit to match the sword… a saber… with a basket hilt? … and a knife that is paired with the sword, yes?" This Veronica asks directly of Tristan and waits for him to answer.

"A pairing would be nice, but I don't fight with a knife in the other hand. I've seen it before, however - absolutely lovely technique." Tristan asks, after a moment, "Do you sword fight as well, or is that just a preference for how you arm yourself?"

As Polly and her granddaughter move off to work on gathering the information to order the materials Roni requested, Veronica herself steps close to Tristan and says, "Honestly, if there is a way to kill a person with it I can use just about anything, whether it was intended as a weapon or not," speaking quietly so as not to disturb the other women's sensibilities.

Tristan doesn't burst into laughter, as he wouldn't want to draw attention to something that Veronica clearly doesn't want to, but she can feel the laughter if not hear it. Tristan settles for standing from his seat and tilting his head to murmur, "Best answer ever. Remind me never to piss you off."

Veronica laughs heartily, not seeming to be concerned with disturbing Polly and Pansy with simple /noise/. "So…" she asks in a faux conspiratorial tone of voice, "How many Trumps will you be willing to produce for me as a combination favor-trade?" Yes, she's clearly stating that the outfit and weapons are part of the discussion.

"Well, the clothing is a lovely gesture. The weapon is delightful, and definitely going to be weighed in. To be honest, though, the greatest gift to me in this is in being able to paint you. That's going to require some patience on your part, as it takes me many attempts to get it just right. And, well, that's as much a gift to me as any. I guess that's worth… . " Tristan tilts his head, even making a hand gesture and counting fingers, as if there were some literal math calculations. He asks as an aside, tilting his head to look past Veronica's shoulder as he whispers in her ear, as if they were talking about something beyond scandal, "Is this a formal or informal dress portrait?" They could be talking about smuggling Lords of Chaos into the city from how he presents this conversation to outsiders.

Veronica smiles and says, "I have an outfit I was planning on making that I'll wear. Its a formal to semi-formal outfit," in answer to the question. "How does that affect your answer though, dear cousin?" she asks.
"It's more fun for me when it's formal to semi-formal, which means I'm willing to give you more." He lifts his hand, now the fingers counting each other as he says, "Jewelry if it's formal to semi, nice occasion. Some thing you'll remember fondly, which means you'll remember me fondly. Probably longer, so it costs more of your time." He mutters to himself. It's clearly a game, but he might as well play it for all it's worth.

His mutterings elicit a laugh from Veronica. She then says, "While you contemplate it let me see you in your guard position and then lend me your sword for a few moments please," in a fairly business-like fashion.
"Asking for someone's sword is the easiest way to disarm them," Tristan notes in a general tone, pulling back enough to wink at her before he simply loosens it in his scabbard, before saying, "Guard position really kind of depends on the situation. I tend to leave it lowered, guard up, twisted so that I can bring it up rapidly if needed, but." He takes a step back, doing as he just described, lowering the saber in an easy motion. After those moments he tilts the weapon, offering it hilt first to Veronica.

"Perhaps," Veronica says, "I was wrong in suggesting I could make you a sword… as this one is a masterpiece. Perhaps I should make you a knife to accompany it and matching sheaths for both weapons. May I take the sword's measurements?"

"Absolutely. Though," Tristan makes a gesture, as if indicating the blade that Veronica holds, "I want to note I was asking for the sword because you would make it. Every blade is a masterpiece, because there is a story to it. I have more than one blade, more than one sword. I hang them on the wall, and I look, and there's a memory, a story. If, Unicorn blessed, I have to use it in battle? Then I'm reminded of some part of my life, and what I am fighting for." Tristan flashes a disarming grin, and asks, as if he were asking for permission to sneak out to a movie, or an opera, without Father Eric knowing, "Please make one for me?"

Veronica smiles in a way that communicates the fact that she feels honored to get such a request. "Very well," she says. With a practiced twist of her wrist she spins the blade so that the hilt is pointing to Tristan and the blade is between her arm and body as she offers the silver blade back to its owner. "I have a sense of the type of blade you'd be comfortable wielding and will make one for you," she says, adding, "Naturally it will take some time to make it properly."

"Naturally," Tristan answers with a smile that some might consider downright winning as Veronica agrees. He also seems pleased at the motion of the blade. "So you are classically trained, or self taught? If you know how to fight with a dagger, I'd enjoy some pointers on using both weapons in combination. Or, even, perhaps make it part of the deal. You can see how I fight and go from there, and I like the exercise." He reaches to take the sword, then, carefully moving it back to his scabbard and tightening the blade in with a flick of his thumb after. "Or are we making it too complicated at that point?"

Veronica half-shrugs with her left shoulder and then smiles yet again. "I am a classically trained master of arms from Montevalno," she says without explaining this in more detail. She adds, "And I am alright with sparing with you." After a moment of contemplation she says, "Tell me about your background as a warrior, Tristan."

Thinking about that for a moment, Tristan takes his mind off the number of trumps they are negotiating and says, "Complicated. I've trained all my life because I've wanted to defend, protect. When I was younger, about twenty years ago, I failed to protect a cousin - at least with my sword. I ended up tackling a horseman, and his horse, off a bridge, and she thought me dead. It's left something of a chip on my shoulder. It's been extensive training in one on one and group tactics, but. Most of my actual military service has been in the navy as a change of pace and a favor to Corwin when he was running things around here. I never really made a splash there," a pause to let that terrible, terrible pun, "To the point I think I'm just a passing reference to Caine or Gerard. I've rarely gone on campaigns. I just practice, regularly, terribly, and brutally of ten becasuse I'm terrified of losing." He reaches back to run a hand through his hair, as he asks, studying Veronica, "Too much information?"

Veronica shake her head, scrunching her features at the same time. "No, not at all," she says. "Although, I must admit I'm now curious if the cousin survived your failure," she admits.

"She did, but she never quite … . forgave me. I never told her I was a weir, and that's how I took the horseman off the bridge. I don't think she ever quite looked at me the same after that." The tone indicates the 'I don't think' is spurious. Tristan flashes that smile, again, then, and asks, "Jewelry for the portrait?"

"I wouldn't be dressed appropriately without jewelry… not in the outfit I plan to wear, Tristan," Veronica says. "I didn't think it needed to be addressed," she says with a grin. "Weir, huh? So you can change form, what happens to your clothing when you change. Does it rip or fall away or…?"

"Oh, nothing so scandalous. As much _fun_ as that would be. It merges, and it feels …weird?" Tristan grins slightly. "And jewelry is doubly pleasurable to draw. So, a beautiful woman letting me do her portrait in formal to semi-formal, who will be crafting me a blade, helping to make me appear to be devilishly handsome with the clothing she is providing, who will show me tips on Mons sword and knife fighting, and willing to spare since it's hard to find good competition these days?" Tristan runs his fingers under his chin, studying her playfully. "Five if I win the duel, eight if you do." It's a statement, but the weight of the pause is gauging her reaction.

Veronica smirks at the offer and playfully counters, "How about six or nine?" With a friendly smile she points out, "I will be doing two blades after all instead of just one," and waits for his response to this.

"True, and I do like upping the stakes." Tristan thinks about that, studying for a time again, as if weighing up the sort of trouble he'll be getting into crossing blades with his cousin (twice removed). "And honestly, I'm getting everything I've asked for, but . .. ." He taps his fingers along a nearby chair, stroking the leather. "Eight and twelve, respectively, but you need to put something else on the table. Nothing possessive. A story, a fact about you. I always take kisses. A memory from your time away you intended to keep private. The future that you want, now that you're back."

Tristan says, "Something like that."

Veronica says, "I'm okay with that, but I get to choose when you get the tale or its nine and twelve." She grins and asks, "How much control do you want to retain?"

"Nine and twelve and you still get to choose when to tell the tale." Tristan grins, and says, "It's not about control, I just wanted to see how far you'd bend." A wink, then. "You don't even have to tell me what it will be about, it just has to be true. And only if I win. If you win, you don't have to tell me, though I might try to get you to."

Veronica says, "And I might still tell you, but…" she pauses before saying, "It doesn't have to be true then after all," punctuating this with a return wink of her own.

More laughter from that. Tristan liked that answer. He glances around for a moment, debating how to reply to such a response, before looking back at her and saying simply, "I like you. Deal." He walks over, then, to extend his hand in offering to c ement the deal.

Veronica takes Tristan's hand but, instead of shaking it she pulls him closer and presses her lips go his /kissing/ him to seal the deal.

Perhaps forgotten, Pansy makes a wooo sound in the background and is promptly hushed by her grandmother who quietly chastises her on such behavior directed at royals reminding her that such things simply aren't safe with certain members of that family.

If Tristan is one to take furious vengeance for a teenager's wooping catcall of encouragement, he doesn't show it. There is laughter in outright surprise as Tristan is drawn into that kiss, his fingers reaching up to touch Veronica's jaw, stroking to her ear. It may be a simple kiss to seal the deal, but the man finds kisses fascinating. Especially a first kiss, even a surprise one, says a lot, even if it doesn't say things that can be understood at the time. Lips playing, catching, drawing the kiss out though any temptation to deepen it is held back to avoid completely causing scandal within the clothing store. So his lips play with hers before he draws away just enough to offer, "I guess you like me too?"

Veronica playfully taps Tristan's chest after the question is asked and notably does not answer it. Instead she turns and smiles knowingly at Polly and Pansy, the former returning the smile and the latter grinning like she got let in on a secret. While he sees the older and younger women's expressions, when Veronica turns back to Tristan her expression is all business and she asks, "Are black and red your preferred colors or your only choice in color, Tristan?"

A mask of seriousness and business formality as Tristan answers, "Preferred, but I find myself fascinated by what colors you would pick. After all," he makes a hand gesture at the clothing store around them, "I would say you are far more the expert in this arena than I am, and I find part of the benefit of visiting an establishment such as this is the understanding they are more qualified than I am to make that sort of determination."

"Okay then," Veronica says and the smile returns. "How should I get in touch with you, Tristan?"
Tristan says, "Oh, that's easy enough." He walks over to his coat, moving to shrug it on from the coat hanger easily. Once it rests on his shoulders once more, he reaches into an inside coat pocket, withdrawing a trump and turning it in an easy motion over to Veronica. "On the house. Reach out to me anytime."

Veronica takes the Trump and glances at the picture. She smiles and says, "Thank you. I'd offer you one of me but I have none of me to give out." She winks and says, "But you either have a spare or will get one soon anyway after all."

"I have one, of course." His smile widens at the wink as he says, "But I admit, I would much rather have the one that we've been talking about. But I can reach out if needed, though I think that we will let you dictate our next appearance. Let me ask this first, though. Duel or portrait first? I might suggest portrait so you can verify that the work is to your satisfaction prior to proceeding with our arrangement." Tristan pulls on his gloves as he talks, getting ready to head outside once more.

"That sounds like a plan. I might be able to give you a sketches of the outfit and weapons at the same time," Veronica suggests.

Tristan answers, "That does sound like a plan indeed. We can qualitatively compare." He says, then, "Well, Veronica. I will be completely honest and state this was not how I anticipated coming here today would be, but life rarely presents such delightful surprises." He offers one last smile, lowering his head in farewell and saying, "Welcome home."

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