The Westmark Commission - Part 1

The Westmark Commission - Part 1
Summary: Lady Victricia introduces Master Johan to Countess Palatine Katarina, and the beginnings of a hefty commission are struck.
Date: July 26, 2013
Related: The Westmark Commission - Part 2
The Westmark Commission - Part 3
The Westmark Commission - Part 4
Players:
Johan Katarina Victricia Roltoff 

Blue Duck Inn, Laketown - Common Room
The Common Room of the Blue Duck Inn is a more intimate space of comfortable chairs and a roaring fireplace, away from the general public outside. Unlike the main room of the Inn, the Common Room is with exquisite appointments and fine glass, wood, and metal work. There is a shelf of the finest drinks available on display, waitstaff happy to serve, provided one can pay. Reds and oranges and other warm hues dominate this part of the Inn, with intricate rugs and upholstery that truly displays the craftsmanship manifest in Laketown or its ability to import whatever it cannot properly make locally. Heads of bears, deer, and other game are displayed on the walls with small plaques indicating the record hunts of the various animals native to the area.
The twin ornate ebony doors lead back to the main room of the Blue Duck Inn.
Fri Jul 26, 1329

There were still people talking about the Mother Superior's party, a fine and formal affair, up to a point. After which, who knows what happened! Yet the Queen had been there, making gifts and so had Victricia. Which shouldn't be a point of interest, but gossips say that the Lady was speaking…in the Prince's name, which was enough to turn a few ears as well as a few minds in speculation!

Regardless, there were lingering nobility and small folk alike, within Laketown, one blond in particular who'd taken up a table in the common room, chattering away with a slip of a dark haired maid at her side. Occasionally, one of the local wenches would drift by with a refill for the wine the pair seemed to be partaking, but the conversation…for such differences in stature, seemed to be intest. Though the near empty plate of sweet breads and cheeses that remained on the table, suggested that the evening meal had more recently been finished.

Johan's Fancy Tunic is getting its use this visit to Laketown, between the birthday t'do the night before, and tonight, a meeting of metalsmith masters in this very fine establishment. His hands are clean, he's got some fine smelling oil rubbed into his braids. He is a well t'do commoner out on the town! Truth be told, a night in a proper tavern competatively chugging kegs would be a finer night, but he is just finishing a discussion and an ale with the last of the guilders to remain with him. They look jovial enough, and are starting tolean back and drain off the last of their flagons. This meeting is clearly quite close to being adjourned, and eyes are starting to wander around the common room as the men come up for air from their surely, riveting, shop talk.

The sound of chatter from the rather crowded bar, along the the assorted scents to accompany a crowded room in which booze is served, drifts into the common room as Katarina steps through the door. For a woman who spends as little time in the South as possible, the Countess-Palatine seems to be moving quite comfortably under her own power while carrying a plate balanced on one hand and chatting rather amiable with the serving girl who seems a bit nonplussed to have the plate being carried by the customer (that being Kat ,that is) and encouraged along at Kat's side every step of the way. Yes, the serving girl is carrying a bottle of, with a glance at the label, spiced cider that Katarina has requested, and a clean goblet as well. While the serving girl is wiping off a table, Katarina glances around the room and with a start of surprise her attention alights upon Victricia's direction, surprise forming on her face and she alters course accordingly.

Shoptalk is riveting! The art of taking some soft hot piece of metal and banging it out into something long and hard and sharp enough to be dangerous? Why, half the women in the room should surely be keen to attention! To be fair, having seen the gentlemen the night before, Vi has no doubt looked once or twice in the groups direction and being caught, offered a polite nod of her head. Though as the conversation eases, the lady withdraws from her own to be more aware of those around her, like Johan; though it seems she's biding time until his company parts. Intrupting people is so.., "Count Kat!" Beaming grin, "Come join me!" The necklace on the lady is new, since their last conversation but the rest is par for the course. "Girl, get this table cleared away that the Countess-Palatine has room!" Poor maid. But she skuttles to quick enough!

Johan is not much longer before his table mate has departed and Johan is rising as well. He keeps his flagon with him. He would not be parted with it before he had left the doors. But he does carry it with him toward Vi's table, hanging back until all had settled, and only then stepping closer. One hand rested behind him, the other held the empty flagon infront of him, while he dipped his head and a slight bow to the noble women gathering up there. (Presumably.) "Ladies," is offtered to them both, though his attention does drift to Vi between the two. "I do hope that everyone was pleased with the gift?" That one, put together, for the Mother Superior. It's an obvious excuse, the quiet question, but it brings him to the table!

Lady Victricia, how delightful to see you again," Katarina declares as she arrives at the table at which Victricia is seated, nodding at the serving girl who does precisely as asked, hurries to clean away the surface of the table and only then sets the bottle of spiced cider on the table, and the goblet. The hustles off, with the remains of the meal, only to scurry back with another goblet, after all - Katarina might wish to share. By then, Katarina has seated herself, "You don't mind the company, I hope? And is that necklace new?" she wonders as she sets her own plate on the table, dusts her hands together then uses the napkin that her cutlery had been wrapped within to brush her hands off again before setting the fork and knife on the table. "The number of people that I recognize and run into repeatedly while here continues to surprise me," she says softly before her attention drifts upward to the tradesman as he arrives at thet able. "A gift?" she wonders, letting Vi answer that question, a small gleam of amusement in Katarina's blue eyes.

Entering the Inn and soon the common area is roltoff as he looks back to talk to a merchant. "Eh what do you mean, its bad luck. Nobody ever said it was bad luck to check out ones competition. " The merchant makes some odd remark as Roltoff waves him off. "just make sure the supplies arrive on time and I'll check the barrel last time you tried to slip less that perfect goods on us and that just dont fly. " The man says something and Rolt goes for his blade causing the merchant to scurry off in a hurry.

"Never company so fine as yourself, my lady," Vi offers and rises, so that she can offer due courtsey to the Countess. "Please," where a sweeping gesture indicates any place the woman may like to claim. It's as Kat's seated, that Vi reclaims her own, offering a smile both for her and for Master Johan. It leaves the question of the necklace unanswered for the moment. Though the Prince's sigil was plain as day, hanging there between her breasts, if stylized to a somewhat feminine air. "Lady Katarina, may I have the pleasure of introducing Master Johan. Master Johan, the Countess-Palantine Lady Katarina." So spoken, she continues, "Master Johan was responsible for that creation of the gift that Prince Jerric bestowed upon the Mother Superior for her nameday celebration. He's a clever mind, my lady and the skill to go with it."

"Milady," Johan addresses Katarina again when she is introduce more formally. He smiles to the compliments paid to his trade and craft, and rather than shy from them, only passes it along. "I am what my Master before me worked into my hands and my head."

"And how was the party?" Katarina wonders, pouring some of the spiced cider for herself and offering it to Victricia with a questioning glance, the bottle held poised in invitation. With the bottle thus poised, the drink offered, Katarina glances again to master Johan, "And what was this gift, good Master?" she wonders, still quite clearly curious. "And your master, i would imagine, helped refine your skills and the artistry that was within your reach, no master - no matter who exalted - can create, whole cloth, from nothing. The talent was always yours, I would surmise," she counters with a measured nod to accompany the glimpse of a calm smile.

"Oh please, thank you," the matter of the spiced cider settled so that she could delve into the question had hand, Vi looks..thoughtful. "It was an affair well suited to the Mother Superior, though this time all her clothes were kept on, it should be said." Vi replies, lips twitching in humor. "The Queen was there," though that's given in somewhat lower tones; eyes flicking towards the latest entrant into the common room. "Attempting to smooze by having all of the temple stores restocked and proud to announce to one and all that it was her house that was supplying it. I was polite enough to suggest that his Highness was of a mind towards simplicity for the day and not inclined to meddle with shows of politics and..overly grand gestures. Others could." With a mutter and a roll of her eyes, Vi took a sip of the cider, looking towards Johan with Kat's question. "Oh do please join us, if the Countess-Palantine doesn't mind. I'm sure she didn't mean to keep you standing through her interogation." Grin.

Roltoff turns as he hears voices and instantly recognizes tow of the three faces in the room. He heads for a table which happens to pass the countess and the lady Victricias. He smiles and bow to The countess and then lady vi in turn. "Countess, lady.. " he looks to Johan and nods to the man as well. Before taking a seat a few tables down and placing an order for a large flaggon of ale. he props-up his feet on one of the other chairs at the table he's at and seems to lean back in his chair a bit as he gets comfortable.

"It was a fine affair," Johan comments regarding the garden party, confirming Vi's opinion. He turns aside for a moment to catch a maid with a jug to refill his flagon. Ale must be had, if he were going to be standing about more than five minute longer. When he turns back, he answers, "A lamp. A copper cast globe designed to throw the firelight in the image of the marks of the Four on the walls it lands on." On the Queen's presence or intentions, he doesn't remark. Noble games left to noble ladies. He does nod to Roltoff as he passes by however, and reaches for one of the seats. He draws it half out, but waits to ensure the Countess has no complaints to the guildman joining before he'd actually take his seat.

"Well, I typically don't require men to stand during interrogations, no, not unless they've done something specific to warrant needing to remain properly on their feet while explaining their actions in as concise a summary as possible," Katarina replies even as she waves one hand to one of the empty chairs at the table she is now sharing with Victricia. "The Southern Queen is quite something, isn't she," is remarked in a quieter voice to Vic, which is to say that she remarks upon.. without actually saying anything about.. Queen Regina. "Ironically, Regina - in some old dialects - actually translates to the meaning of Queen. So her name translates to Queen she who is Queen, is that not ironic?" she wonders at the table in general before aiming another cordial nod - this time to Roltoff - before she smiles once more at Johan. "It sounds charming. Do you have others of the like, if not necessarily the same images to be cast?"

Chuckling, Vi gives a little nod to suggest that Johan go right on ahead and take the seat that he'd partially withdrew, while glancing towards a barmaid with a look that suggests the Master's tankard stays full as he should desire it to be. "I find her…to be rather engaging, truth be told. Though I had not known that about her name, how..quaint. Tell me," Vi lowers the cider, absently cradling the glass in the curve of her palm, "As a mother, would you ever saddle any of your children with such a name?"

"Thank you," is murmured as he slides into his seat. "I am afraid I do not," Johan tells Katarina about the shortage of globes. "It is not my usual work. I would normally be occupied crafting weapons for those taking up arms for Rhaedan," he explains. "But the request fell to me through the Guild, and I took it on. I am certain if you would like something similar I could, even for fear of becoming a common coppersmith, arrange to make something for you, Milady." The barmaid shall stay busy! Johan, when he stops speaking, routinely replaces words with ale, and listens to the back and forth.

"My children are all named rather aptly and no, I would not have named a child of mine thus," Katarina admits with a chuckle and a slow shake of her head. "It's akin to naming someone David Davidson or Albert Albertson, even if it's a family name, it seems that there should be some measure of 'each person is unique, in and of and to themselves' and should be named accordingly." She settles another of those long looks upon Johan before she nods, "I would be most interested in such a piece, I confess. It's been a rather long time since I've thought to shop for items for a nursery, other than as gifts. so I am finding the notion amusing and rather unexpectedly enchanting. which is not to say, mind, that I wouldn't inquire after your skills as weapons smith, but I do try to keep more than just the bloody minded business of war on my mind."

Roltoff continues to sip his ale as he relax's and seems to be quite pleased to get out of the tavern for a bit and just relax, although he licks his lips and sets the ale down as if finding something a bit off about it.

With a grin, Vi gives a nod of her head, though her laughter flirts when the suggested names that Katarina offers up. "Ah, but I am sure that somewhere, there's a poor inflicted child who bares such a name. Bless him. Or worse, Alberta." With a sudder, Victricia shakes her head and takes another sip of her cider; listening, ever so as the conversation flows around her. "Milady," the sound of her maids voice chimes near her ear, as the dark haired chit bows low to offer a few quiet words. Giving a little nod, Vi offers a bright smile to those assembled; a respectful dip of her head towards Roltoff and then, places the cider aside to rise up to her feet. "My lady, Master, my apologies for the shortness of our visit, but I fear I'm being called away. "Another time, perhaps?" And offering due courtsey to the pair, sweeps away.

"I have taken a forge in Brivey, to be closer to the need. I should be returning to it tomorrow, if my apprentices have not burned it down, but I can delay my departure to speak with you about a design," Johan assures Katarina. "But if I might say, a sword is much more than a bloody implement of war," is added with a slight smile. Johan glances sideways, toward Roltoff, and the shunned ale, before glancing into his own. He tips his flagon left and right, and takes another swallow to measure it's taste. Second, third, he might need another refill to really be sure, and even then, he looks like he might ask the other man something, but Vi's departure interupts. Johan rises from his seat when she rises, and it is not until she has made her way away with all formalities that he returns to his seat

Roltoff stands up and hands the flaggon back to the server. "let me know when the get something worth while to pass for ale instead of this Goat… " he pauses as he recalls a noble lady is present and shakes his head as he moves to leave the common room. Giving Katarina one more bow and a polite not to the man she's speaking with.

"A sword can be, and sometimes is, a work of art. A statement piece. Something that is more than just a wodge of sharpened steel. It should be suited to the hand of the one wielding it, crafted with the sense of the person who will live, or die, with it at their side, in their hand. Swords, any weapon really, are as much about preventing war as about making war, doing war, as necessary. Throwing blades, however, are even more specific and exacting to the hand that wields them," Katarina agrees with a measured nod, a smile cast toward Vic as the young lady departs, before she turns her attention back to Johan. "A good sword, the sort worthy of passing from hand to hand, from generation to the next, takes a great deal of time to design and then forge."

Johan is hard pressed not to crack a grin when the quality of the ale is thrown into question. Commentary, however, is carefully bitten back in a swallow of his own. He nods to Roltoff however, matching the gesture, when the man passes. Looking back to Katarina, and her words, Johan sits quietly for a moment, without even drinking! to consider them, and nods once in the end. "A sword meant to become part of a heritage, it becomes a symbol. They do indeed take some great time and insight to bring to life."

Roltoff looks to katarina and johan again as he slips out of the common room and leaves the Inn. Seeming disqusted with the quality of the drink here.

Katarina gives another of those measured nods as she refills the goblet of spiced cider she's enjoying, eating quietly while Johan responds, even glancing around the room briefly before she turns back to Johan. "What's your usual turn around time for a unique piece?" is wondered, "And have you had your meal this evening?" is wondered next. "It's terribly rude of me to be eating if you aren't or haven't," she notes.

"I ate with the other Masters over our meeting," he answers, lifting a hand to gesture to her plate. "Please do eat, I would not wish to make you wait." The question of the turn around time has him tipping his head slightly and a hand lifting in that universal 'Depends' kind of manner. "If we are speaking to a truly unique and ornate weapon, it would take some time longer than the simple blades turned out for the armsmen. For something, as we've spoken of, to live for generations, a month of dedicated time might be conservative, somewhat more than that as a dedicated month might be hard to come by."

Katarina gives a rather somber nod as she considers Johan's words, "A month or so, give or take, for one blade of the kind of craftsmanship we're speaking of. Longer if I want to commission more than one blade," she muses. "Lets talk then, shall we, of the a more specific set of details, shall we? My husband, for one, I should like to see something unique crafted for him. But my eldest set of twins, also, now that I'm thinking on it, and my youngest. I should like to see blades for all of them crafted and ready by winter festival. That's near on to four months of time, with a war on as well, or near to - there is always a war on or near to at one point or another." She gives a gleam of a measured smile, "I'm Katarina Westmark, by the way, and yes, I have the resources for the commission that I've in mind."

"Four months for four superior blades, and with a war on," he muses, cracking a small grin. "You test my merit, Milady." He dips his head once and assures, "I do not doubt you have the resources, Milady. There is some issue of the Guild. Taking commisions out side of it is limited, and this is a sizable commision that might be split among Masters. I might be able to make an argument that you wish them to be made by the same hand, a family of noble swords for a family of noble souls…" He trails off a moment to gesture across the table to her and then leans back in his seat, glancing down into the flagon. "I believe I can manage that, though. What did you have in mind for these? All to match? Or the three children of the one, grander sword?"

"If need be, I'll address the matter to the guild in person, if it would facilitate the commission," Katarina muses aloud in return, one hand curled around the goblet that she's holding, considering the possible push back that might arise. "I can see how it would be a matter of politics, as all things are, when related to any of the guilds. But. As each blade will be carried by either one of my children or my husband, then I would see them all crafted by the same craftsman, by the same hand. This being you. The man who can create a gift that is the delight of one my oldest friends, so commissioned by Prince Jerric, is a craftsman of note. The blades for my eldest twins, I believe those should match. Twins are more than just siblings, after all. My youngest will be training with light blades and throwing knives instead of heavier blades, but hers and Paules should be unique. I believe I can hold off on selecting weapons for our next child until he or she is born," a touch of humor makes her lips curl, "but I have the feeling that once these four are crafted that I'll get around to having you make on for myself as well."

"With all respect, Milady, it would be better handled in house. A noble trying to sway Guild affairs, in any one's favor, begins to muddle the waters and intergrity of the system." Integrity might be used a little loosely there. Clearly it could be swayed internally. With the right manuevers. He makes some nods, listening to her musings, and what she would like for the different blades. He starts to reach for his side, only to remember after that he is not in clothes of his trade and his coal pencil is not there, nor any of his other tools. Shaking his head, he looks back to her with a warmed smile. "Right…so the four of them, and then, perhaps one…two others." A glance is drifted down toward the table, an then back up toward Katarina. "Are you expecting?"

With another nod, slowly given at that, "I'll stay out of the fight then, should it become a guild fight that is, but only so far that it doesn't interfere with the project. If it becomes a issue of weight, however, it might be helpful to remember that my husband and I have been tasked with straightening out the ledger and balance of the state of the currency managed by the crown. I can always call in to question any number of things, and no guild has ever appreciated having accounts called into question and then raked over, slowly, in excruciating detail, for days on end," Katarina muses with a touch of a smile. "Though, to be fair, we're untangling the accounts of the crown, first, and then moving on from there." She sounds so bloody practical, but then. . "Math is beautiful, after all, input matches output as long as all the figures are correct on every line. And yes," she adds with another glance, her left hand briefly resting on her abdomen, "we are. Rather unexpectedly," a touch of amusement is now on her face, "though I'm only about seven weeks along now so there's a lot yet to be seen. As long as I can still fit into my armor I plan on wearing it until I can't."

There is a twitch in Johan's brow listening to Katrina. Perhaps a small ball knotting in his stomach. Hopefully his own politicking would be successful; the fall out if it weren't could get hairy. "I am certain that noting the mouth that speaks the request will be enough, Milady," he murmrus quietly. "I have not always gotten along with numbers," he admits. "It took me some time to learn to keep the books, and even now…I do not always trust my sums." Unless he's had enough drink that night to feel a bouyed confidence! He lifts his flagon some to the news of the child, grinning, "Expected, or unexpected, a child is blessed news."

"The trick is to take your time with your number, dedicate one day per week to simply doing your books, only do that, and that one thing only, when you're working on the numbers. If you don't enjoy the work, and a lot of people do not enjoy the numbers or the math side of business, then consider a trade with someone who does enjoy the numbers and would perhaps, in return, wish to have their blades sharpened on a regular basis or something else useful that won't occupy all your time and.." a trace of a grin, "keep your numbers in correct order." She tilts her head in a nod of thanks, "Our thanks. And we have three healthy children, we are happy to welcome another."

"I believe that might well be the very best case," he agrees. "That some other handle the books. The guild wishes their accountings, and then there are the costs of maintaining my own home and forge, my commisions separate from the guild's-" He trail off some, visibly dulling in the keen blue eyes for a moment, the briefest moment. He shakes it off though and looks back to the woman opposite him. "If you might come 'round tomorrow, we might go over some ideas. I beleive starting with your husband's blade will be best, and deriving the others from it. I can muse on some ideas in the morning, but I fear for now, the hour is growing short for me."

"Remember that numbers are not the enemy," Katarina suggests with a quiet chuckle, seeing that subtle dulling and understanding it utterly. "Tomorrow it is then, my good man, and we'll speak on it more at that time. I hope I haven't taken too much of your time this evening. And, if I have, I thank you for having had the time to spare. I will meet with you tomorrow," she promises.

Johan rises from his chair, being certain to drain his flagon befoe leaving it on the table for the next maid to clear away. "For the fair women of Rhaedan, there is always time to be spared, Milady," he tells her with a small flash of a grin. That this fair woman came with a fair weighted coinpurse surely did not matter at all. He takes a bow to her, a half dip from the waist, and finishes with a, "Good evening," as he rises to take his leave.

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