Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 6

Ludovico strummed idly at his lute, as he watched soup bubble. "Will it be finished soon?"

"Soon enough," answered Red Rosalyn, with a nod that made the red hair she was named for sway.  It was not as red as it had been, that hair, was now streaked with grey, but Ludovico thought her a handsome woman despite that.  "You could spend your time playin' as you wait," she noted, as her weathered hand stirred the soup.  "You ain't eating for free, after all, no matter what you might think."

"Very well," said Ludovico, with a sigh. He started to play 'The Snow It Melts the Soonest,' and just as the tavern's patrons were beginning to sway along with the tune, the door opened.  "Damn it, it's so cold!" came a woman's voice.  "How did it get so cold here, so fast?  How?"

Ludovico decided to stick with a little improvised playing as he turned to see who the new patron was, and nearly lost time as he watched the Badb walking in, her husband following after her.

"Doubtless the weather is trying to annoy you, nightshade petals," said Mansemat Cthonique.

"Don't kid me on this, Manny," said Viviane du Lac, as she shivered. "I'm a Marsh girl.  We like it hot."  The Dark Lords turned to regard the other patrons, both looking somewhat embarassed.  "Ahh... hello."

"Please, do not mind us," said Mansemat Cthonique.  "Merely ignore our dread reputations, and think of us as humble patrons of this fine establishment such as yourselves."

Viviane blinked. "Yeah.  You really shouldn't have mentioned the 'dread reputations', Manny..."

"Well, we know they're thinking it," he replied.

Viviane slapped a hand to her forehead.  "Still shouldn't have mentioned it."  She turned to the crowd and smiled broadly.  "Remember, we're on your side now."

"And for the foreseeable future," added Mansemat.

"That is a given," agreed Viviane, with a hasty nod.  She turned to Red Rosalyn.  "So, if I were a young woman looking to warm up--which I pretty much am--what would you recommend from your menu?"

Red Rosalyn looked somewhat askance at this mention of menus, something Ludovico knew for a fact she considered a heresy not to be bothered with, or even considered.  "We serve savory soup here," said Red Rosalyn.  "Lentils, squash, onions, fennel, and a bit of salt and spice to flavor it well."

"And... it'll warm you up on a cold day?" asked Viviane hopefully.

"From the top of your head to the tips of your toes," answered Red Rosalyn.

"Well, my toes do need warming," said Viviane stomping her feet.

Red Rosalyn smiled.  "Be ready in a moment."

The Dark Lords leaned against the counter, warming up, as Ludovico went back to playing his lute.  The Badb turned to watch him.  "I know this one," she said, her face delighted.  "Oh, the snow it melts the soonest when the winds begin to sing..."  She blinked and coughed.  "Umm... sorry.  Intruding on your... thing."

"From that sort of voice, my lady," answered Ludovico gallantly, "I do not mind."

"She is good," said Mansemat with a nod.  "I've tried to accompany her on my flute..."

"But you don't really play the flute," said Viviane.

"Well, I try to," noted Mansemat.

"If His Magnificence will excuse my saying so," noted Ludovico "attempting to play the flute is like attempting to fly. Quite another thing than succeeding."

Mansemat sighed and rubbed his temples. "Oh, I know that," he agreed.

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