Meeting Harold of Lyonesse...
Meeting Harold of Lyonesse…
Location: The Monsalvat Embassy in Amber
Date: September 19th, 14 (OOC Year 2017)
Summary: On a personal quest, Veronica goes to the Monsalvat embassy in Amber and meets the leader of the Graal Knights.
Characters: Harold and Veronica
NPCs: Monsalvat Embassy Guards, an embassy servant, Xander (Harold's squire)

The sun sinks into the western sky casting long shadows over the filth strewn streets of New Lyonesse. A stray dog barks at something rustling in the shadows, predators stir.

In the midst of this despair a manor rises, the cobble streets clear as one draws near. Guards in the livery of the Kingdom of Monsalvat flank the entrance, Bill's in hand, swords at their hips. They stare into the darkening street beyond the embassy. Stone faced sentinels.

Veronica approaches the embassy grounds carrying a purse-like pouch. She evaluates the guard's weapons with the eye of a crafter and the attitude of a warrior - - despite no apparent weapons on her person the way she carries herself would communicate this to the knights of Monsalvat, although she is not exhibiting an aggressive demeanor. "Good evening," she says to them in Mon-accented Lyon. "Is there anyone in residence who a supplicant could present an inquiry to?" she asks in the same.

The guards continue to stare straight ahead. After a moment the gate swings open and another Guard steps out. "Good eve M'lady" the man says in Lyon accented Thari, "It is past hours when Her Excellency accepts callers." his tone is polite and matter of fact. "However if it is a matter on importance, The Grand Master has just come from the list."

Veronica switches to Mon-accented Thari as she replies: "I would not attempt to mislead. This is a personal matter and I would not dare pretend it is important," she explains. "If this is a bad time I can call again at another hour of course." She pauses after making that offer and then asks, "Would it matter if my inquiry was regarding possible Marquess of Ascolat?"

The Guard officer considers for several moments, then steps aside "This way M'lady, the Grand Master is at the stables by now, whom shall I say is calling?"

"I am Veronica Nayelenor of House Chantris and Montevalno," she says in reply and then adds, "Possibly granddaughter of a Knight of Lyonesse if I understand my family history properly," to her normal title.

A servant arrives and gestures to follow. "Welcome to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Monsalvat Dame Nayelenor, you are the guest of Her Excellency Izett Mandrake Argent, Ambassador to Grandmaster Whitecliff of the Order of the Graal." the servant explains as he leads the way to the Embassy's Great hall. Tea and a small sideboard is being set even as the doors open, "Please take Your comfort and enjoy the hospitality of Monsalvat, the Grand Master will be here directly."

"Thank you, sir," Veronica says to the servant and then takes her choice of tea - - sweetened with honey - - and a hot crumpet which she butters before moving to a seat to wait for the Grand Master.

It is not a long wait, the rustle of armor announces the tall blond Knight. A young man of 14 or 15 walks a step or two behind him carrying his Knights peacock plumed helm. As the Knight stops the boy proceeds forward, "M'lady may I present Grandmaster, Sir Harold Whitecliff, Master of the Knights of the Graal, Lord of Monsalvat and Southern Albion, protector of the people, Shield of Lyoness." He then bows and retreats.

As others enter the hall, Veronica sets her half eaten crumpet on the saucer her tea cup is set upon and then puts the whole group down on a nearby table and stands. She inclines her head to the young man and then looks in the direction he came and went to watch for Harold's entrance.

Harold inclines his head, "welcome to Monsalvat." his tone pleasant. "Forgive my appearance, I was training my squire in the proper use of the lance." he explains.

Veronica curtsies to the Grand Master and says, "I am intruding, there is no need to apologize, sir." She then says, "In order to not keep you long I should get straight to the point of my visit," and reaches into her pouch and pulls out a piece of paper which she hands to him. "In order to know how much I may need to explain for it, I need to know if you know who that man is," she explains as she waits for him to unfold and look at the picture upon the paper.

Editor's Note: Veronica declared she holds token BNT which is titled "Picture of Mordred" which describes her encounter with Mordred on 12/26/2009 and a subsequent picture of the man she sketched while upset by this encounter. It bears a signoff from Mordred and any can view it on the MUSH.

Harold's smile fades, "The man in the picture is a villain and rouge" he says flattly, "The Marquess of Ascolat, Sir Mordred son of Her Royal Highness Deirdre of Amber and is my brother by law." he shakes his head, "He took the Graal of Lyoness nearly causing the death of my order, then nearly killed me when I took it back." Harold levels his icy blue eyes on hers, "What have you to do with him?"

Veronica's expression goes neutral though Harold's response. She nods with his first words and then the second. A slight expression of surprise at the mention of brother-in-law but that vanishes on the further tales. Then there is the question and she just looks into those icy blue eyes for a few moments before saying, "I have the dishonor of informing you that you have described my grandfather to a tee as far as I am aware of the man."

"I try not to hold the sins of the father against his offspring, but having met Tariq1 I tend to think most of the tree is rotten." Harold sighs "Forgive me, that was unkind." he clears his throat, "How may I be of service?"

Veronica shows no recognition at the mention of Tariq. On the subject of his tree she says, "In my case he planted a seed but had no hand in the raising of my mother and as for myself I did not meet him until I was an adult. And in that he tried to rape me because I resembled my grandmother and said no." She says this like one might say they met someone during intermission at the theater. Changing the subject, a bit, she says, "I am trying to pin down my metaphysical ancestry. I was curious if you might know if Mordred " she gives him no honorific, feeling he's unworthy of any " carried the Blood of Lyonesse and if so, if there might either be some way of knowing if I inherited or - - if not - - there might be someone with the bloodlines of Lyonesse who would be willing to help me in an alchemical test."

Harold's brow furrows, "I had always assumed he had?" the Knight tugs off his gauntlets, and scratches his chin. "I could ask my wife if she knew?" he offers, "I know of no test." he blinks "You wish some of my blood?" he asks a bit surprised "to what end?"

"One of my cousins, an alchemist, has theorized the ability to try to discern if I carry the Blood of Oberon by eliminating those that I might carry that we aren't interested in," Veronica explains. "If you, or someone else, was willing to allow her to take a small sample I would greatly appreciate it."

"Not impossible, whom is your cousin?" Harold asks in a polite tone.

"The cousin in question is named Giselle," Veronica says, "Prince Bleys' daughter."

Harold frowns slightly, "I have heard of her, I can't recall if we have met formally…so she will take a bit of my blood?"

Veronica nods. Smiling as she speaks, she says, "I believe that is correct. Not being an alchemist myself I don't know how exactly it would work and as I'm not sure if she is available tonight I would need to arrange for the two of you to discuss it further."

"I will be in the city for some time." Harold explains, "My wife needs me near" he adds, "even if she will not admit it."

Veronica laughs softly at the marital comment from the martial man. "Thank you for being willing to consider this favor for me. Please let me know if there is any way I can assist you - - scholarly or as a crafter," she says before asking, "You mentioned she is my great-aunt, correct?"

Harold hands his gauntlets to his squire, "That will be all." He says to the boy.

The squire accepts his Knights gaintlets and departs. He casts a glance to Veronica before slipping off into toward the living quarters.

Harold waits for him to depart. "Has anyone ever told you how Xander came to me service?" he says in what must seem to be a great veering off topic. "Would you care for wine, or Scotch, Monsalvat makes a very fine Single malt, and my sister Izett keeps a bottle that is aged twenty years."

"I normally prefer a good Fiorran red, but I'd be honored to partake in Monsalvat's scotch with you, Sir Harold," Veronica says in response to the offered drink. Then, regarding Xander, she says, "I would have had to have heard of the young man before, so no." A bit pedantic but what would you expect from a librarian from a family of librarians in what she is still treating as a formal setting.

Harold removes a small key from around his neck, and proceeds to unlock a cabinet. A crystal decanter filled with an Amber liquid is removed, with grace and reverence he pours to measures into ornate crystal glasses offering one to Veronica before he gestures to a pair of comfortable looking chairs near the fire.

"Before my marriage to Igraine, adopted daughter of Her Royal Highness Deirdre of Amber, there was a fearsome Black Knight, the Dame of Blackmoor Vale, Black Bitch of Lyoness. Dame Blackmoor skinned Xanders father alive, along with the man who pointed her to Xander's family, then sent his widow and orphans to my Kingdom." He says as he stares at the play of flickering fire light on the glass in his hand. "Xanders Mother and brother are now farmers on a stretch of land in Monsalvat, Xander begged to be trained so he could take vengeance upon her one day." he raises his glass in salute, "The light guard and protect them" he says quietly.

Veronica takes the short tumbler of scotch and takes a sip of the fluid. She listens to the story. She smiles as she stifles a smirk, hiding it behind the curve of her glass, at the description of Queen Igraine as two different people. She nods at the wishes for the departed but doesn't chime in with the spoken wishes - - remaining silent and somber despite her earlier mirth. She then asks, "Does he know the truth?" putting in words the fact that she knows the wife and the Dame are one and the same without actually saying it.

"He does" Harold says, a slight smile on his face, "he is intelligent and stout of heart, he will be a credit to the order when he earns his spurs" Harold clears his throat, trying to hide the pride in his voice. "He was angry when he came to me, he now knows vengeance is not for Graal Knights." he sighs "Igraine is complicated…I believe in my heart no one is beyond redemption if they wish it" he sips his own drink. "Do you know what the Graal is?" he asks after a moment, people think the order worship the Graal…that is not accurate, we serve the Graal, and I am it's hand. As you may have guessed Igraine is the Dame of Blackmoor Vale…she knows how to vex me as no other person in all the worlds can." a slight smile graces his lips, "Even Your Grandfather, my sworn enemy cannot drive to the rages that woman can."

Veronica nods about her grandfather, shakes her head about the Graal and says, "It is good that he has set aside his vengeance, it is not a good thing to set your life towards… although a good vendetta is not something to turn away from as an adult I believe. It's just not something one should make one's life goal as a child… because then success destroys you."

Harold nods "it will make a Graal Knight into a Black Knight, and his suffering would be eternal. Perhaps someday I will show you the Graal, it effects those who see it, those who stand in its light are forever changed by the experience." he sets his glass aside, "I told you the tale because I want you to understand when I say my relationship with my wife is complicated." he frowns "The bards will one day sing of it, the current betting on the docks in Brentinor is which of us will kill the other, I hope that day never comes. Should she kill me she will be lost, if I kill her…I will forever wish she had killed me." he stares into the fire a moment, "You say you are a crafter?" Harold asks perhaps trying to turn the conversation to something with a bit less drama.

As a Mon, Veronica is not adverse to a bit of drama in her life but she accepts the change of subject. As she was taking a sip of the scotch from her glass she is able to have a pregnant pause before she smiles at the question and nods. Then, putting voice to her answer, she says, "Yes, I am an artist - - you saw a poor sample of my work in the sketch of Mordred earlier - - a clothier, and a smith - - both silver and weapon smithing," to be more complete in her answer.

"My father good man that he was decided if I was to spend a life wearing armor I had best learn how it was crafted." Harold turns a slow circle to allow his armor to be seen more fully, "It is named Shoud of Light" Harold explains "I can also craft weapons, some of which I alone have gleaned the secret of how to craft."

Veronica's curiosity is piqued at the mention of crafting secrets and she leans forward. "Would…" she starts to ask a question and then shakes her head, choosing not to ask it as it would be impertinent. "I have no deeply secret crafting techniques myself I fear but… I do enjoy both learning new things and making things that can be useful for either myself or others," she says and then admits, "I actually have, on my person now, a ring I made for a distant relative of mine who I believe is also from your world - - a mix that prevents her from helping with my quest for personal information I fear."

Harold hmmmss "I have made jewelry, but it is simple I fear." he looks to Veronica "May I see the ring you mentioned?"

Veronica reaches into her pouch and pulls out a ring that looks to be made of silver and gold - - seamlessly connected - - with a setting consisting of mutton fat jade and wood and holds it out for Harold to look at.

Harold regards the ring with the eye of a metal crafter although such fine work is beyond his skills, he none the less seems to admire the ring, "Tis a work of art M'Lady" he says softly, he holds up a callused hand, scarred and toughened by years of practice at arms and the forge. "would that I could create such a thing." although he does not seem the type of man who wears jewelry.

"You should visit me at Chantris Manor some time. Until my cousin Tristan returns to Amber and I can present it to him I could show you a sabre I crafted for him," she says, adding, "I approach even weapons as things of potential beauty. A functional form can always be made to be a thing of beauty as well."

Harold shakes his head, "I do not think that would be such a good idea, the Solaris do not care for me at all, and they are part of Chantris I believe…are they not?"

Veronica shakes her head as she puts away the ring. "Solaris is a cadet house and are all Chantrises by blood but… they are separate and are - - themselves - - guests at Chantris Manor. Although Melina, the cousin for whom that ring was made, is herself a Solaris."

Harold frowns "I always liked Melina, her brother Taran was…" as he is about to launch into another complicated bit of Lyon drama a servant enters and whispers something in Harold's ear. He nods and rises "was a tale that you should ask her about, I fear I am required elsewhere….I will order an escourt back to Chantris for you M'lady, the Streets of New Lyonesse only see the city watch when I set about running the rats from their holes…it was a pleasure to meet you." Harold bows and departs. A few minutes later several guards in the livery of Monsalvat arrive to see Veronica safely back to house Chantris.

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