As winter begins, that season when it is always good to have fresh, interesting faces about the place, the fates find the following strangers guesting with Lady Honor Worthington:
Two striking, yet somewhat haunted, young nobles of Vodacce, Antonio Fausto Malvolente and his younger sister, Alessandra Illaria Malvolente. Blown into the harbor at Caerleon on a foul storm, with a letter of introduction to Lady Honor, accompanied only by a single servant, a sharp tongued, narrow eyed older man who seems distrustful and jumpy. Lady Honor has said only that she knew and was very fond of their mother, who apparently died many years ago. Some serious blow to the family fortunes has left Antonio and Alessandra dispossessed of everything but the clothes on their backs and a single retainer, Onesto. Alessandra seems not to have been very much out in the world, while her brother Antonio seems the opposite, very worldly, and with his eyes open to take whatever advantages he can. She is beautiful, he is handsome, and they are certain to draw interest and have others seek invitations to Lady Honor’s social events for the opportunity to meet them.
A playwright, Mr Edward Fisher, has been invited to lodge, and to compose his works under patronage of Lady Honor. Clearly a well travelled young man, he surprised and delighted Alessandra and Antonio by conversing with them fluently in Vodacce, like a native, revealing he had spent some years travelling in that country. He apparently also speaks Eissen, Montaigne and Castillian with equal fluency. Multi-talented, Mr Fisher writes, composes songs, plays the lute, dances well and can even sing a little. He is not quite a gentleman, having not attended any sword school and being of no family worth the mentioning, but he is undoubtedly skillful in fencing and has entertained with demonstration bouts. His fluency in Vodacce and warmth towards Antonio and Alessandra seems to have eased any tensions the difference in status might cause, at least for now.
Troy D’espion comes from a Montaigne noble family with some connection to the Worthington family. The connection is in the past, something to do with Lady Honor’s father, or perhaps her her Grandfather? It’s all been left rather vague, except that Troy is to stay under Lady Honor’s patronage, and she will endeavour to help him establish social connections within Caerleon. Troy’s manner is not exactly what you’d expect – there’s something shifty, sneaky, or perhaps its just nervousness. He often seems overwhelmed. Some of the servants clearly don’t like him, there’s been comments like “he’ll steal the silverware, that one, mark my words!” and dark looks. His fashion sense is unremarkable though he’s very willing to be guided, he only knows dances from about ten years ago but is eager to learn new ones, and he has the mere basics of attending someone of Lady Honor’s station. But no one could accuse him of not trying. Some great scandal in Montaigne concerning Troy’s family makes it extremely unlikely he will return to court there.
Lobelia (sometimes called Lobelia Wintergarden because of where she was discovered) is a foundling, who until fairly recently was under the care of a rather strict nurse, Elizabeth Fowthorpe. Raised quietly away from court, she’s only recently come to stay with Lady Honor, her guardian and this will be her first season in Caerleon. She will either make a splash, or be eaten alive. Lady Honor wants to make sure it’s the first, and has asked those guesting with her to give Lobelia every consideration, and assist her transition to court life. This could be difficult, as Lobelia’s beauty is astonishing. People have been known to drop wine glasses and walk into walls when glimpsing her. A coachman seeing her in the street tried to drive his horses through the door of the tavern, rather than into the post yard. Hers is not a face soon forgotten. It will make her the centre of attention, not all of it positive. Lobelia’s beauty is clearly a Sidhe power, and it invites love trysts, secret elopements, duels at dawn, abduction. Who can say that Lobelia herself will not find enjoyment in how she can use it to manipulate others to her amusement and whim? Though incredible beauty may see much forgiven, any scandal or disgrace Lobelia is involved in will attach itself to Lady Honor.
Strictly speaking, Rudiger Von Gießen is not a house guest. Rather, Lady Honor has hired the Eissen mercenary to attend on Lobelia, after the unfortunate event of the coach and horses and a near brawl in the street. She employs a number of Eissen mercenaries, finding that you get a lot of intimidation for your gilder, but Rudi has particularly been asked to accompany Lobelia when she wishes to go out and to social events. He is a a quiet, handsome young man, watchful, who tends to assess a room or situation before moving into it. Once he is assured that all is well, his military bearing relaxes. Though initially reserved, he’s been getting friendlier as he spends more time with Lady Honor’s guests and proteges. He seems out of his depths with the finer social niceities (and with noble ladies), but at least he doesn’t throw his bones under the table for the dogs (any more).