(123-09-28) Maesters and Merchants
Maesters and Merchants
Summary: Two very different people find themselves at the same vendor of scrolls and tomes. Common ground is… almost found.
Date: Date of play (28/09/2016)
Related: Related Logs (None)

Leandro's dressed as a maester today, in his luxuriously well-made robes, that maester's chain around his neck highly polished and gleaming. He makes his way through the crowds, heading directly for a specific seller, one who sent word earlier that he'd discovered some rare scrolls in a strange language. It might be a fake, it might be a forgery, it may just be some weird scribbles, or common blurred, but… well so many possibilities.

Valaerys is already here, poring over the 'exotic offerings' in High Valyrian. For most market days, she prefers elegant simplicity - especially when the weather is so nice as to offer sun to warm her skin - but when on errands like these, she's found that she can skip over most (if not all) of a given merchant's penchant for dismissing 'silly ladies' if she simply brings the full force of Targaryen wealth and fashion to bear. So it is a spectacle she offers, cool and collected while pretending to listen to this bookseller babble about this scroll and that scroll. Her attendants remain close enough to aid in that presentation of power, but are not so rude as to crowd other patrons back from the stall as well. The glint of sunlight off a maester's chain is enough to catch her attention, eyeing the stranger; as he draws closer, she draws herself up. Small of stature, she's got the deck stacked against her in the intimidating front, but that does not prevent her ability to command attention. "I was told you had tomes from Essos among your wares. 'Ancient texts on the mating habits of dragons' I do believe were your exact words." It certainly doesn't prevent her from cutting into the ebullient merchant like a piece of wet paper. "Pray, where are these most excellent volumes? It was they that sparked my interest."

Leandro doesn't bow, not to all that Targaryen wealth and power. Instead he meets Valaerys' gaze directly, it's more curious than a challenge at least for now. At least until she speaks and then his eyes narrow, slightly. "You did not tell me of those tomes," he accuses the merchant. "You know that the Citadel will pay well for such books. Of course we would need to check their veracity first. There's been many such books that are just made up from those that have not even glimpsed a dragon."

Rather than focusing on the part where this maester seems perfectly inclined to swoop in and strongarm her from new books, Valaerys finds her attention riveted on the logical progression of events now that Leandro has so helpfully provided a new piece of information. "That certainly does increase the likelihood of forgery," she adds primly, amethyst gaze flicking toward the maester once in an… almost conspiratorial fashion before turning on the merchant with cold, hard disapproval. "And a knowing one at that. If I were in possession of forged works and wanted to dispose of them for a profit, I would aim for the most gold and the least scrutiny." Which only makes sense, but there's one fatal error. "Was that the game?" she asks, voice almost sweet now that she's addressing the merchant directly - the merchant who seems to have the good sense of a mouse sitting perilously close to a cat's paws. "To dupe the silly little princess into parting with gold for your rubbish? Hmm?"

Leandro's looking amused now by Valaerys' response to the merchant, watching her turn upon the merchant. "It's only natural that people wish to profit from all the Targaryens and Dragons that are around. Not wise, mind you, but natural. Of course if he offered the books to me, I'd be able to tell rather quickly if they were genuine or forgeries. Although I'd imagine you'd also be able to tell if there were inaccuracies in the text." He lowers his voice. "There've also been a number of maesters, who've never so much as visited King's Landing, nor Dragonstone, who've written texts on the subject. The book might not even be from Essos at all, but some student hoping to make money on a subject he knows nothing about.."

"Oh, certainly," Vala agrees, her tone still prim but entirely civil when addressing the maester's commentary. "I cannot fault a man for doing what he must to make a living, even to get ahead." It's so mild, so reasonable… it has to be a trap. "What I can fault him for is doing it badly." Yep, there it is. She listens to the rest of Leandro's lowered-voice musings, nodding at relevant places and humming agreement there at the end. "I once had a man try to sell me a Braavosi book on the training of prostitutes as a treatise on anatomy from Old Valyria. I understand it is not at all an uncommon scheme, but I am dismayed to hear that there are maesters who abuse their positions of trust to participate as well."

"You did not hear such things from me," Leandro says. "I'm sure they failed to forge their chains and were just trying to scrape by, or something. That book must have been a terrible shock for you. I hope that it did not trouble you too much. I can't imagine that the anatomy of the Old Valyrians varied all that much from our own though, did it? There's some books in the citadel library of course, on the subject. They're terribly dry though."

"Hear what from you?" The question is asked with all due innocence and just the faintest quirk of a smile to curve her lips. But the good humor fades when he mentions terrible shocks - though the smile remains in place, the life behind it, the vitality in it, they vanish like so much smoke. "Indeed." And there's a moment where it looks like she might continue on that train of thought, make the point and see if it makes any difference… but alas, it is not a mantle she takes up today. "Their physical anatomy? Nearly identical, as I understand it. But their study of the field… My mother has one of their books on midwifery in her collection. There is so much knowledge that has been lost. I had hoped to find a little piece of it. Instead I found a foolish, greedy merchant." In which endeavor she seems likely to be similarly disappointed today. Except… except now he has her full attention. "You have texts from Old Valryia in your libraries? Which ones? From which House? I'd heard rumor there were some tomes written by Sappho tucked away in Westeros, but I had no idea they'd be here."

"There are more books than any one person could list in the library," Leandro says. "There are ancient scrolls and tomes written in languages that we no longer understand. Of course, there are diagrams in some of those. There's corners of the library few venture into. Pages so brittle they'll turn to dust if you touch them, but have been meticulously copied. The Citadel is a place of knowledge and learning. Of course subjects such as midwifery, and other womanly things are rarely written down, let alone paid much heed." He doesn't actually seem to approve, frowning slightly.

This entire monologue begins harmlessly enough, though Valaerys' wistful expression is soon poisoned by the bitter knowledge that this magical place is deemed 'too much' for her. And it almost goes horridly pear-shaped there at the end, but the disapproval is what saves him from total ruin. "Knowledge is knowledge," she replies, though there is a slight tightness to the tone that wasn't there before. "What if a maester trained by his Citadel is trapped with his castle's Lady while she begins her birthing labors? Mother forbid, but what if the babe is breach? Or if after a seemingly healthy birth the lady does not stop bleeding? If he has scorned such 'womanly knowledge' as his teachers before him scorn everything female, then there may be two deaths on his hands when there need not even be one." And there again is that moment where it looks like she may say more, carry the point further, but decides against it in the end. Some debates are not made for dusty, thirsty market stalls.

"There are Maesters who study the subject of course," Leandro says. "But none would call themselves midwives. There is no midwife link to our chain, just a healing one. And of course they prize their own knowledge above those who have learned in different ways. I would think few such maesters would seek knowledge from a midwife on such subjects. Nor do I think any would try and write such things down." He's about to say more when he spots another Maester, from the corner of his eye, heading in their direction. "Alas, excuse me, I should be going." He then say sto the merchant. "Keep those scrolls, I'll be back shortly to look upon them. Do not sell them to others." And then he quickly hurries off in the opposite direction of the approaching Maester.

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