alaric_rta (alaric_rta) wrote in roadtoamber,

Chess, life, and smoke

Sitting at a two-person table with a chess set on it, Alaric's face is brightened for a moment by a small flame as he prepares his pipe. It's a careful ritual involving tamping a few times. Finally smoke emerges and he draws on the stem, looking down at the pieces on the board. He has no opponent at present. Either he inherited the board setup or he's working a problem.

Dirk walks in looking very world worn and tan. He grins as he walks into the room. "Hello?"'

At this hour, there aren't many people here, and only one takes notice of the new arrival: Alaric gives Dirk a thorough once over before removing his pipe and gesturing towards the chair opposite. "Hello. Join me? Don't know that we've met." He takes another draw. Smoke comes out his mouth as it quirks into a half-smile. "Alaric. A son of Fiona's."

Dirk heads over and sits down. "The name is Dirk, just Dirk.

Alaric glances at Dirk's hair but says nothing of it. "There are worse titles than 'Just,'" he says, with a small smile. "You are awfully bronzed. Been at sea?"

Dirk shakes his head. "Just went out to shadow and sat in the sun for a while. Smoked some good stuff and rethought things a little.

"I won't deny I've done the same before," Alaric admits. "What is the cause of reassessment? New philosophy?" He lets out a puff of smoke. "A woman?"

Dirk smiles "I wish it was something that spiffy. I just need a job of some sorts. Ben kicked me out of the army."

Alaric considers Dirk anew, eyes narrowing slightly. "Uncle Benedict rarely acts rashly." He tilts his head to the side. "If you are truly of my family, you do not want for anything. You do not need a -job-, but perhaps a -cause-."

Dirk smiles "I am Gerard's spawn. I need something to do with myself."

"Is that why you joined the army? Avoiding idleness?" Alaric asks.

Marlene comes here from the direction of the Emerald Salon - Royal Palace.
Marlene has arrived.

Alaric is smoking a pipe, sitting across from Dirk at a table set for chess. It appears to be the middle of a game, but no one is paying attention to the board. Alaric is waiting expectantly for an answer to a question.

Dirk nods "I joined the army cause it wasn't the navy." He looks at the chess board curiously. "How do you play that?"

"It is a game of strategy. Not my favorite, but more popular here than 'go.'" He gestures at one piece, a Bishop, and then a Knight. "Each type of piece moves in its own way," he says, looking at Dirk significantly. "The player moves them in such a way as to force the enemy King's surrender." He brings the subject back to his new acquaintance: "Knowing what sort of person you are, you must find how best to use yourself to achieve your goal. But you still need a goal. Else you've already lost the game."
(Alaric poses that.)

Dirk says "So what if you are crazy and impulsive and reckless?"

"Then perhaps you seek self-destruction. With no goal, you need show no restraint. You've no reason to preserve yourself," Alaric notes. "Have you never found anything worth defending, someone worth living for, something that must be destroyed?"

Dirk nods "I have lots of people like that. There's Marley Barley, Elley and Arty just to name a few. But I was talking about the chess game?"

"Ah." Alaric pauses to draw on his pipe, leans back in the chair, and crosses his legs at the knee. "Reckless and impulsive play tends to lose out to those who think their moves through. Though it can surprise someone who expects you to behave rationally, it rarely wins the day."

Marlene is sweeping in, making her way toward one of the humidors, smiling warmly and piping up in somewhat airy tones of Begman aristocracy, "Actually, I find Dirk has quite a talent for the direct approach, when it comes to things such as that."

Dirk turns and says "Hey Marley Barley Pudding Pop!"

Alaric looks up at the latest arrival. "You are acquainted. Though that cannot possibly be your name, unless you are of a Shadow most strange." He gestures at himself with the pipe. "I am Alaric, son of Fiona. One of many," he says with a half-smile.

Marlene ahs, and laughs, a little, plucking up a slim cigarillo and offering a gloved hand genteelly. "Oh, I think you'll find cousin Dirk comes up with his own names for everyone, though, the 'Pudding' part is new. Marlene," she smiles. "So is this a welcome to Amber, or a welcome back?"

Dirk gets up and hugs Marlene tight. "its been a whole couple of days or so hasn't it? That's almost forever."

"A welcome back." Alaric rises from his chair after Dirk finishes hugging, takes Marlene's hand and bows over it, and gestures towards the seat he just vacated. "Here, sit. I'll grab another." Which he proceeds to do, picking up and carrying rather than sliding a new chair to the table.

Marlene laughs, "It must have been," she says to Dirk, and elects to take a seat. Pauses to light her little cigar, with a brass trench lighter sort of affair she produces from some pocket.

Dirk lets Marlene go a little.

Marlene laughs, "It must have been," she says to Dirk, and elects to take a seat. Pauses to light her little cigar, with a brass trench lighter sort of affair she produces from some pocket.

"I've been in Penglai of late," Alaric says as he reseats himself. "They have a game that is simpler and, I deem, deeper than chess. Do you play 'go'? Or chess?" he asks Marlene.

Marlene ahs, "Well, I've heard of it. And chess does seem to appear nearly everywhere, so I've played a bit. Is there any news of note from Penglai, incidentally? "

"Nothing of note. But I was paying more attention to the geography. Fascinating things, gates." Alaric's eyes wander back down the chessboard. "They let Penglai play by separate rules."

Marlene ohs, curiously. "With the gates, you mean. I've never been there, myself. "

Alaric explains, "They don't need to walk Shadow. Their mystics and magicians find locations where gates can be opened between their Shadows and others, and spend years opening them. Then they conquer whatever is on the far side. There are too many of them to resist." Smoke rises from his pipe's bowl, and he tamps it down once more. "They don't get to choose where to go, but they take whatever they get. It's chance that Jade is close enough for a shadowpath with us, really."

Marlene nods, and smiles. Considers a bit, "So, not to press with questions, but have you just come by that Shadowpath? Some of us have been making a study of their condition just lately, you see. If anything unusual occured on the path tself, you see." Adds, puffing on the cigarillo, a bit. "Been away ong, on the more pleasant side of things?"

Dirk returns his attention to Alaric and Marlene.

"I'm afraid not," Alaric answers. "I had errands further out in Shadow to run before I returned. I came back the old-fashioned way. Wouldn't want to return after more than a decade away without looking your best, you know." His small smile fades. "Is something wrong with the paths?"

Dirk says "I think you look just fine and dandy Alaric." He grins.

Marlene ohs, "Well, I hope not, not generally, at least, but with Grandfather gone, it's been deemed we should monitor them, is all. There have been, some upheavals until just recently, you see."

Alaric frowns. "That is unwelcome news." But he smiles slightly at Dirk. "Thank you." He looks down at his pipe, tapping it a moment. "I am out. A sign I should go, I'm afraid. I've got some business to see to, more family to see." He pushes his chair back and rises. "I glad to have met both of you. It can be hard to track the whole clan." He taps out his pipe into a waste basket for just that purpose, tucks the pipe away. "Farewell for now, cousins."

Dirk nods "Farewell and be safe."

Marlene smiles and nods. "Well, I hope I shall see you soon enough. I do recommend the humidor here, when you need a resupply," she winks.

Alaric nods back, reaches the door, and is gone.
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