From the Private Journals of Comtesse du Paix:
Quartus the 5th, the 1669th year of Theus:
Today the most odd series of events occurred. The day started like any other. My handmaiden, Brianna, set out into the town on some errands for the house, and was gone for the majority of the day. Aside from the town’s regulars, there were three new men who entered my establishment that evening. When darkness fell a disreputable looking Avalon man entered came through the door. He looked most unrefined, and I must say here that a strong order of, what I can only describe as… unwashed lion, pervaded the man’s clothes. Imagine the surprise I felt when I discovered that this individual was none other than the distinguished Professor of Archeology, a Monsignor Harrison. He certainly had the requisite manners, as well as funds to be welcomed at _La Belladonna, so I sent Anna to him, who directed him courteously, but firmly, towards the baths.
The next individual to enter that evening was a well built, well dressed nobleman from Ussura. I must confess that there is something of the air of an untamed beast in the men that I’ve encountered from Ussura that I find most appealing. While I would hardly ever wish to have such ruffians at a society party, I could certainly find other practical uses for such men. While he did introduce himself, I must admit I was to busy imagining those practical uses, to have caught his name. Terribly bad manners I know, but I’m certain he will forgive me. He was charmingly awkward when I introduced myself, seeming to be at a disadvantage as to what proper manners were expected of him, which I found absolutely adorable. I had hardly sent Mary over to entertain him before the third man entered the house.
This man confused me, and as the night wore on he also displeased me greatly. His clothing and accent proclaimed him to be of the Northmen, the Vesten. Imagine my shock when he introduced himself as “Sid”. “Sid”, I nearly fainted away! A Northman who dresses like a Vesten, but one who doesn’t subscribe to the Good Ways as evidenced by the fact that he followed the Vendel naming convention, shortening his name to one syllable. He also smelled. I’ll be gentle and simply say the smell was… foul. For a moment I felt relieved when it looked like he lacked the funds to gain admittance, but he was apparently acquainted with the handsome nobleman who proceeded him. I must say that this diminished my interest in the man quite significantly. I almost couldn’t send Genevieve to him fast enough, with instructions to bath him, send his cloths to the laundry, and have them removed from the house for the night. I felt bad for her, but I’ll make it up to her.
The gentleman seemed to be greatly impressed by the services and amenities available, especially Professor Harrison. I believe Anna told me she had discovered he was writing to his University for a line of funding in order to stay more often. This might have had something to do with me. When I eventually had time to introduce myself to him I saw ‘the’ expression on his face. I’m well used to seeing that expression on a man’s face and what it means. We shall see.
In any event the night proceeded much as it usually does, except for an incident which occurred after I had retired for the evening. I was told that Sid instigated a drinking contest which the nobleman from Ussura participated in. The stains and broken glass that resulted I’m sure will need a good deal of expenditure to put right.
The next morning, Brianna had still not returned, which was unusual, and the morning was mostly over by the time I was able to see all the gentlemen out the doors. I wasn’t absent their company for long however. Shortly there was a commotion outside and I saw a group of men forcibly escorting a young woman through the streets. The woman looked like she might be Brianna, so I went out to ascertain for myself. By the time I got outside the street had degenerated into a full on brawl. A Brawl! In front of La Belladonna, the infamy! The fight also seemed to have been instigated by an unknown Montaigne Nobleman who had attacked them. I was so angry! I ordered the ruffians in the street to cease their fighting, and the majority of them did so. The notable exceptions were one of the strange men, and all three of the gentleman who had stayed at _La Belladonna the previous night. I was most disappointed in Professor Harrison.
One of the strange man attempted to attack me! Me, an unarmed woman! I could hardly believe it. I quick slap to the face introduced him in a forcible manner to the street. By the time I had dealt with the ruffian I noticed the Ussran Noble had retrieved the girl and was guarding her from renewed hostilities from the gang of men. Professor Harrison and “Sid” however continued to merrily attack them, even though they had ceased fighting. I regret to say that as the time I formed the opinion that neither of the men is worthy of the title Gentleman. When they had dispatched the last of the Ruffians I sent one of my maids off for the Constables and discovered that the young woman was not Brianna, but a homeless girl they had picked up off the streets. I left her in the care of Anna, and if she doesn’t abuse my trust, I’ll see what I can do to help her. I know better than anyone how cruel the world can be a to a girl who is alone.
As for the rest of the combatants, I discovered that the Montaigne nobleman was Brianna’s brother who had been searching for her, and mistook the girl being escorted by the ruffians for her. I currently have him in residence at the house until I am able to speak with Brianna about her wishes regarding him. Which lead me to worry over her safety, as she hadn’t been home since yesterday. I dispatched Professor Harrison and “Sid” to look for her and to being her safely home. Professor Harrison readily agreed, which gives me hope that he might be worth my trouble. “Sid” I had to threaten with the city watch before he agreed to help. They have been away investigating most of the day,… however I think I hear them returning now. I hope they found Brianna safe.