2020-07-11 - At Daggers Drawn


Finally, the long-awaited dagger duel between Ambrose and Loki. Blood is drawn and somehow, nobody dies! Sigyn, Talbot, and Mira act as judges and peanut gallery. Excellent food and drink is had.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Jul 11 02:59:51 2020
Location: Cover Story - Back Room

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Theme Song



A bold, bold thing, claiming to Loki's face of a delight to show the Trickster God just how dangerous a Midgardian can be — and with a wager resting on a duel of daggers, there's Ambrose now, arriving at Cover Story. He's accompanied at the very least by his daughter, Kazimira, she of the dark curling hair, freckles along nose and cheeks, and eyes of Tanzanite-blue, darker than those of her father; she's got a pensive expression on her face and a cheerfully sunflower-patterned summer sun-dress on, cork-bottomed heels making soft sounds as she walks.

The Jackal is dressed very deliberately despite the weather: the shirt he wears is a fitted tee shirt, more meant for athletic affairs than this ageless challenge, and his pants are fatigue, tucked into his boots. At his temples, interestingly enough, still some moon-silvered paleness of hair, lending him an appearance at least some parts more distinguished. Maybe. His reserved smile to himself is thoughtful and yet…so, so filled with thrill.

The shop bells ring as they enter and he holds open the door for Mira to enter before closing it behind himself. "Prince Loki? Lady Sigyn?" calls out the Brit as he and his daughter linger by the front counter.

The door into the back of the shop swings open, and a little golden sparkle appears hanging mid-air before the pair of Midgardians, Sigyn's voice coming from it. "We're in the back in the garden, please come join us." The little gold spark glimmers and twinkles, leading the way to the back of the shop, then out to the garden area. Sigyn's there, a table and a couple of chairs have been added to the tiny garden, the area thick with floral and herbal perfumes and yet somehow cooler than the city has been recently. Sigyn smiles and gestures to the table, "We have mint, rose, or lychee iced teas, lavender lemonade, and a variety of cookies… please let me know if I can get you something else." She herself is enjoying the lemonade with some lime butter thin cookies.

He's a hair later than his husband and his step-daughter. There's a ripple of magic in the air, outside the shop, and a tall, dark-haired man with startlingly pale gray eyes appears, as if it were a cartoon doorway. He's in a summer-weight suit of light gray, complete with a fedora-styled Panama, and his expression is grave….but it lightens as he hears the sound of Ambrose's voice. He's through the shop door in a moment, removing his hat, and smiling a little smile.

Loki too has dressed for the occasion. He's dressed in full blown and very nicely tailored Victorian attire in his colors of green and gold. Narrow waist coat, snug pants, even a beauty mark on his face. The thing is - he looks /good/. There's nothing awkward or forced or unnatural about it. He is utterly at his ease and looks up with a smile as Ambrose and Kazmira follow the golden spark in, a green one is sent out to guide Talbot, so he too can join, the ripple of magic noted and the 'signature' recognizable as Loki's seen the wards at Talbot-Atherton manner.

The shop closes itself behind the man as he is guided to the back, the shop /layered/ in wards, artfully woven together into a formidable and subtle set of defenses worthy of 'The Mage of Asgard'. He offers Ambrose his hand. "Welcome, Lieutenant." And after that shake, will take Kazmira's hands, if she permits. "Welcome." And then he turns to the newest arriva. "Hello, Kent Talbot, I do believe. Thank you for the mother's day you sent with your mate, it was lovely." It is on the mantle upstairs too!

Kent had, of course, been properly greeted by his other half after arriving at the door: a slink over and all but a cat-like brush of body along with a whisper in the man's ear, warm and charming as is the Jackal's wont when dealing with the sorcerer. Mira had merely looked on with knowing amusement in matters. What a schmooze, her father.

And here comes the majority of the Talbot-Atherton family out of the shop and into the garden proper, led by the twinkling spell-lights. Carefully, with the Bane set deep in his bones, Ambrose does return the handshake offered to him by Loki, smiling with dimples on full display (if a little challenge as well). Kazimira squeezes the Mage's hands when greeted, offering him a polite 'hello' before considering the spread of food and drink on display — someone forgot to eat lunch!

"Thank you both, truly, for hosting us here. We are honored," shares Ambrose, glancing over at Kent to make sure he appears at least comfortable.

Mira breaks off to go join Sigyn at the table after a warm greeting to the magess. "I would love some lavender lemonade. Did you use real lavender?" she asks of Sigyn.

Sigyn smiles warmly, "Indeed, I grow my own." She gives a modest little shrug, "I enjoy baking and magic, but in both cases I feel better with knowing fully where my ingredients come from. Some would say needlessly finicky, however there are some stories I could tell that would show otherwise."

The sheer level of magic here is enough to have Kent wearing the 'let me not show just how much I am actually impressed' pokerface. Ambrose knows that look, though…and can feel it in the magical link they share. He smiles at Ambrose with a lazy warmth, some of that iron reserve fading. "Yes, we are very honored," he agrees. His own accent is upper-crust English, only faintly elided by all these years in America. "A pleasure to meet you, sir," he says, smoothly. "And I'm so glad that trifle met with your approval." Sigyn also gets that smile, and a little bow. For those who've seen the home he shares with Ambrose, the signature of his magic is familiar: dark, subtle, and smoky, the kind most easily seen out of the corner of the eye.

Oh this is going to be FUN - that's the grin that Loki is sporting, eyes alight, eager even. "Ambrose, you are a friend, you and yours are welcome in our home." He barely restrains a laugh when Mira asks after the lavender. "Oh yes, we'll have to tell you the story of how Sigyn and Angrboda first met, it involved some fairly nasty mushrooms slipped into those she was about to prepare for dinner."

A hand is offered to Kent, the shake firm, and Loki's skin a bit cooler than one might expect, which makes sense, after all he is a Frost Jotun.

"The honor is ours, sir. And yes, it was as I said thoughtful, so few people realize that I am a mother and a father both. To have it recognized is…fun."

Loki sits and takes a moment to sip some tea. "Now, Master Talbot, my wife and the lovely Kazmira have agreed to be the judges of the duel to occur, would you consent to be the tie breaker should one be needed?"

"Oh, that's absolutely wonderful." Content to sit next to Sigyn, Mira then settles in with a glass of this lemonade and one of the aforementioned lime butter cookies. A bite of the cookie and she rolls her eyes up into her head with a pleased little smile of rosebud lips. "I may want to pay you for a plate of these sometime," she says to Sigyn merrily behind a lifting of her fingers, the better to stop any rare crumb from flying. Loki's promise of an eventual story has her nodding and smiling. "I look forward to the tale!"

The sidelong look towards Kent is indeed awareness of the poker-face on display; Ambrose's smile had softened a bit, shifted towards a more proper display, but it twitches big for a second. A teasing frisson of fondness down their personal, highly-private kythe-link, and an amused agreement — a LOT of magic on display indeed.

The Jackal does seat himself, but doesn't deign to touch any foodstuff just yet. Not hungry? Perpetually, yes, due to the Bane, but maybe there are some nerves involved. Kent will be able to tell via the kythe; it isn't obvious in how Ambrose settles back into the chair. The question to Kent has Ambrose giving his mate a look openly surprised — he hadn't been aware it was coming.

Sigyn chuckles, "She should have known better… do NOT try to poison an herbalist." She grins impishly, "Poisoners and herbalists have much the same skill sets. Just with different outcomes in mind." She offers a plate of chocolate chip cookies to Loki with a gleam in her eyes, "Try these, I got the chocolate from a speciality shop." And the chocolate is Chiptole Chocolate… quite spicy!

Kent's hand is warm and dry, with a gunman's calluses on the webbing and fingers. Someone may have given up his old vocation as a pistol-wielding vigilante, but he still keeps his hand in, as it were. "I will try," he agrees, with an inclination of his head, the smile going crooked, in turn. "But I admit to being biased, of course."

Then he's taking lemonade and cookies, with every sign of enjoyment. "I may have to beg for your recipes. I sympathize with your concerns about the origins of ingredients. I make incenses and blend teas, and in many cases, I've had no choice but to do my best to grow my own herbs, for precisely that reason…."

Loki takes one of the cookies and plops it into his mouth, a brief blink of surprise, and then a laugh. "Oh, delightful. You /must/ share with our guests, beloved wife." Yes, she got him, his expression much the same as a fencer acknowledging a touch.

Dabbing at his mouth with a napkin, he smiles. "Kazmira, please. You are a friend of the family, you need only ask for the cookies, indeed, you're all welcome to drop by for dinner any time. We do not entertain nearly enough, perhaps we should see about restoring that estate in France?" This last to Sigyn before he turns to Kent. "Thank you, sir. And of course you're biased, as is my wife, hopefully at least Kazmira is not, so the biases cancel."

Setting aside his drink and napkin, Loki rises then, and looks to Ambrose. "So…if you're ready, shall we proceed?" There's a glitter to Loki's eyes, ut oh, he has something planned.

"It's true," agrees Mira quietly with a note of knowledge in the matter of herbalists and poisoners alike. Perhaps odd coming from someone her age, but then again…appearances are deceiving all over in this family. She's seemingly quite content in being a silent judge for the moment, keeping her thoughts on matters to herself but for her thoughtful look at the faces around the table.

Ambrose can't help the mirrored smirk in return for the admission from his mate. His eyes slide to Loki and half-lid in a heartbeat's worth of smugness quickly swept under the mask of manners. "Might I speak for the incense evoking the high mountains in particular," the brunet with silvered temples offers. "Never have I been able to close my eyes and be immediately transported elsewhere. This, and the gamut of purifying incenses he has created. Kent is masterful at it." A smile for his mate just that touch cheeky.

The smile fades momentarily as Loki addresses him and then…how the smile returns tenfold, full of challenge and sparkling self-confidence. "Do let us proceed, yes. Please, dictate the pitch and one of the judges shall call for a start." Rising to his feet in an unfolding of body very clearly demonstrating a knowledge of it from crown to toes, the master-thief then meanders over to the area in question set aside for the duel. A jaunty two-fingered salute off his temple for mate and daughter, the latter of whom presses fingers to her own mouth as if to stop up a laugh-snort. Nice knowing you, Dad.

Sigyn nods to Loki about the French estate. "I've had contractors come out to give estimates on repairing the manor. The fields are still producing well, but the manor isn't livable after one of those wars I missed." She isn't sure if it was World War I or II that damaged the roof, either way she is a bit miffed that it went unrepaired this long. No sense in asking her husband why he didn't get it done. He was distracted or busy elsewhere.

The mention of Kent's compounding incenses and teas definitely gets Sigyn's attention. "We shall have to trade recipes and cuttings sometime. I find some of the newer varieties of mint quite charming, but what breeders have done to -roses- is -appalling-. It's as bad as what they've done with some dog breeds I swear!"

Any further ranting is cut off by Ambrose and Loki wanting to get on with their little contest. Sigyn sighs and gestures, the table and any unoccupied seats relocating to the edge of the garden, clearing the center for the duel. When she stands (or anyone else) then those chairs relocate as well. No, she doesn't relocate people or the chairs they are in. That would be /rude/.

Try as he might, Kent does have a touch of that air of being a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It's not that he's afraid of the Asgardians *right now*, it's more that he's trying to decide how afraid he may need to be in the future….for Loki in full malice may be one thing, but Loki merely feeling mischievous is bad enough. "France is so lovely," he says, a little wistfully. "Especially in the south." He bows his head in agreement to Loki's statement about biases cancelling.

Ambrose's compliment gets him that warm little smile. "You're too kind, dear," he says, a bit less formally. Then he's following husband and step-daughter at an easy saunter, hat still in hand. Sigyn has apparently landed right on one of Kent's hobby horses. The gray eyes widen. "Madame," he says, with real fervor piercing his usual languid tones. "I could not agree more on both counts. And don't get me started on what they've done to some of the most beautiful varieties of Earth's horses…."

But then he, too, is turning his attention to the match, stiffening a little, even as he seats himself. Yes, he's nervous, too.

Loki strips to the waist, jacket and silken shirt folded neatly and set on his chair as it scuttles. His body is in formidable shape, broad of chest and his musculature beyond well defined. It speaks to grace over power, but truly - it is a close thing, a hard call to determine which truly has precedence. Shapeshifter or not, this is /Loki/, he is without a question a being of great power, and his calm assurance is manifest.

He raises his hand, offering a box to Mira. "Choose our weapons, lovely lady, an it please thee." The box proves to be larger on the inside than the exterior could encompass, there's hundreds of daggers, all good steel, and all utterly bare of any enchantments, just well crafted metal from a variety of sources including the Dwarves.

Once the daggers are presented, he offers the Master Thief a feral grin. "Draw you half of the circle, I will draw mine, once the circle ends touch we await the judges call to begin. Three touches, the best of three is the winner, blood must be drawn. This is a contest of skill, not a duello mortis. Agreed?"

Mira blinks at the sudden relocation of the table and can't help but laugh in surprise as she moves with the group. "What have they done with the horses, Kent?" she asks with a familiar impish note no doubt heard in her father from time to time. She settles herself again and then has enough sangfroid to pluck another lime butter cookie — well, pluck it and then set it aside as Loki offers out a box. She rises to take it and set it on the table to look into it. A thoughtful sound. The pair she picks for Loki seem representative of him: sleek, refined, deadly. For her father, a pair with grips familiar to him, their blade-edges subtly waved. He smiles to himself, appearing very much like a cat eyeing a canary to see the pair picked.

"Agreed, your highness," replies the demi-immortal once he has his weaponry. "I was not intending to die today." Nobody is, but hey, it merited mention. He stoops and takes one of the blades to the ground, beginning his drawing of his half-circle. Sunlight gleams off his right hand, where there sits a golden ring inset flat to the band by a plain opaque stone.

His half of the circle completed, he then straightens. A centering inhale…and slow sigh…and he then settles into a balanced martial stance. Loki, in his long-lived knowledge, will recognize elements taken from many cultures in the posture: the grace of the Far East, the fluid habits of the Middle East, militancy from Western officer-ship. All sense of charm melts from his face to be replaced by a far cooler, intent set of mouth; the Bane flickers carmine in his pupils as it's released from its fetters and sleeks up under his skin.

Mira inhales and bites her bottom lip for a second. Then, like a falling flag, she instructs: "Begin."

Kent will feel the frostbite of the inhuman focus drop into place in the kythe.

In a kick-off of dirt and flicker of his thumb along the ring, Ambrose is there and instantly invisible in the next breath — darting in close in a ballsy, suicidal rush to go for the first pink of the duel. The Bane sleeks through his blood like nitrous — like starfire — and there's suddenly a shallow slice across Loki's left pectoral about four inches in length which appears like red ink on paper. A quick scuffling sounds like Ambrose all but landed the hit and immediately dropped to slide on the grass within the circle; displaced dirt and greenery prove his presence even if he remains unseen.

"Touch!" Mira announces with a breathy undercurrent of shock.

Sigyn takes a deep breath, "I used to breed horses, a century or so ago. We will have to talk later." And she will want to hear his opinions on what has happened while she was away. Loki may have to talk her out of going after some of those who help set modern breed standards, though… it's Loki. He might just sit back with popcorn and watch.

Sigyn gives the duel her full attention now, however. Discussion will have to wait. The duel begins, and the first touch is scored. Sigyn arches a brow, but agrees, "Touch."

Kent really does look like a cat about ready to jump at the least provocation. The sorcerer's face is set and pale, lips thinned out into a grim line. He should be trying to play this all off insouciantly, but…no chance of that. The box of a thousand daggers does make his brows rise. Surely he's seen effects like that before, but it's still impressive. To Mira he says, in a stage-whispered aside, "Blasphemous things, my dear. The way Arabians alone have been overbred is enough to make Doctor Frankenstein weep." He does not pronounce it Fronkenshteen. He's forgotten his lemonade and cookies, it seems.

He watches the first pass sitting painfully upright….and blows out a slow breath, when the judges agree that it's a fair touch. Yes, they've agreed it's not to the death, but Loki is still a god and Ambrose bears a weapon fit to kill gods. It could get ugly.

The Liesmith is pleased with the daggers chosen for him, twirling them experimentally to remember their balance, and then a soft. "Mmmf." Of approval offered. He draws his half of the circle without even looking, the move very very clearly one he's had a lot of practice at. Sigyn would know he's showing off a little, but Loki is prone to do that, the man is so vain that the song really IS about him.

The invisibility did catch the deity off guard. A rare thing. Even before the command to proceed fades, the first touch lands. Loki's expression darkens a moment, and then his eyes /light/, and he *laughs*. "Well struck sir, point to Lieutenant Atherton." A finger is drawn across Loki's eyes, and they shimmer. Oh, do please /try/ that again.

Loki lets the wound bleed, and takes up position across from the man even as Ambrose does the same.

This time when Mira gives the go ahead, it is Loki that springs into motion - his blades moving with nearly supernatural speed and precision, a feint at the eyes, another at the groin and the Norse god of trickery twists like his spine is made of rubber, each of his blade tips darting past any defense to make a tiny 'L' shaped incision just below Ambrose's voice box, deep enough enough to bleed, nothing even close to vital cut.

Clear warning, and a challenge - this is no tyro, not at all.

A swift motion back to his half of the pitch and Ambrose shimmers into view again. There's an idle flick of his blade without eye contact; that's a little too dangerous of a display, too risky to be construed as rude if one meets a god's eyes while removing his blood from the edge. Still…still…the ghost of a curl at both corners of his lips. In the kythe to Kent, a shimmering firework of pride, communication wordless but clear enough — LOOK, LOOK, LOOK WHAT I MANAGED!

To see Loki gesture at his own eyes makes Ambrose stiffen a leery amount. Uh oh. Still, he takes up his readied stance again. Mira swallows and nods before inhaling again: "Begin."

And even as the invisibility is falling into place once more, Ambrose is having to react to the sudden invasion of his space. The feints make him dance like a pole-cat on a hot stove — the kythe flares in unpleasant shock to realize he's evenly-matched in reaction time — and there's an unfortunate sounding "GLRK?!" of fear to feel the bright heat of cut skin at his neck.

Into view, he shimmers again, flat on his ass on the grass and with a hand at his neck, staring up at Loki with unfeigned stupefaction. It'll be easy enough to see, that L-shaped cut, when he removes his hand and carefully swallows.

"Well-played, your highness," comes the quiet admission even as the Jackal gets to his feet. Mira pipes up with 'Touch', looking over at Kent with an expression mildly stricken.

Still, the final set of stance — dead-locked at touches — until the daughter of the Jackal says to begin once again.

Fully visible (because the ring means nothing now, not after the enchantment to Loki's vision), Ambrose is in with a more cautious fury this time, dancing about and ducking. Blades chime once, twice, thrice, a fourth time, and it's clear he's pushed to the edge of his limits by how the blurring of Loki's daggers barely miss if not feint again. And then, suddenly, blood blossoms on each fighter.

Ambrose disengages, clutching at his side with a harsh sound as blood stains his shirt. But what of Loki?

Sigyn agrees with the second touch as well. Then the third time, and both are scored and Sigyn says calmly, "Hold." She draws a Symbol in the air, and there is a faint shimmer around the pair, which then … ghostly images of the pair play out the duel in reverse, full speed, back to the point where the final bout began. "We will watch this in a bit, but the third touch has been scored, no matter which of you scored it first, so I declare this match ended."

Sigyn crosses to the circle, then gently dissolves it. Her husband she heals in a rush of power and affection, however Ambrose… She is more cautious, and sends a ball of healing energy to hover before him, unconnected to her any longer. "If you will but touch that, Ambrose, it should put you more or less to rights. Well… as right as you get." Her tone is gently teasing.

Loki's expression darkens, and Kent all but freezes. He's doing a terrible job at hiding his unease….though he's kept the link between himself and his husband as calm as he can. No distracting Ambrose with his own freaking out. Not now, surely.

Then Ambrose is cut, and he stiffens in earnest. No offense on his human features…but within, his beast self is snarling in anger, try as he might to calm it. Ambrose can feel him restraining it as best he can. The silvery gray eyes are wide and intent, and his face is set in that mask. He shoots Sigyn a look of mute gratitude, however….and very visibly unlocks his knuckles so he can stop gripping the arms of his chair. "Well fought, gentlemen," he says. His voice is a *little* faint.

Smirking, almost a sneer, Loki flicks one dagger to the other hand, that hand holding both as he offers Ambrose the empty hand to help him to his feet, a friendly enough gesture. "Well, thank you, Lieutenant." Clearly the Prince had no trouble seeing through the invisibility - though - to arcanists such as Sigyn and Kent, there's little doubt that all Loki chose to do was neutralize the advantage that was granted, it is a surprisingly honorable gesture for a god of lies.

Regardless, Loki is grinning the whole time they cross blades for the final passes, the blades moving with such speed and grace, and backed by /precisely/ matched power that they throw sparks at every impact. The garden rings with the bell of steel on steel, the men shifting and stepping with each making cunning strikes, and subtle evasions and counters. And then the double touch - literally - /exactly/ they land within fractions of a millisecond apart, even with magic the margin between their cuts, just over the kidneys land at the same moment.

Loki smiles at his wife, the 'wheeeee!' smile, and inclines his head to her as she heals him of his minor cuts. He turns then to the Jackal. "Satisfied, sir, or do you wish a rematch?" Loki waits - poised in enigma for the answer, whatever he says, there is consequence to the decision that Ambrose utters.

The word on Mira's tongue dies when she hearings Sigyn speak. A glance between the magess and the dueling pair widens as she sees the faint ghosts of what must the magical equivalent of instant-replay. Still, she agrees with her own variant of Kent's faintness: "Seven hells."

Hovering before him, the healing ball of light, and Ambrose looks from it to Sigyn with chariness slowly shifting into understanding and gratitude; aloud, he says, "Thank you, my lady." There is a quick little smirk at her teasing, agreement in its way, and he reaches out to touch the orb of magic. It rapidly melts away into his hand and suffuses through him head to toes, righting all wrongs. No more cuts or L-shaped marks. A sigh from him and roll of his shoulders as he wills the Bane down and away. His shirt holds proof of the touches, stained at neck and side in counter to his unbroken skin.

Be at ease, «Azizam», all will be well, he whispers mentally through the private kythe to Kent, attempting to soothe the snarling with the gentle words.

"I am satisfied for now, your highness," the Jackal decides in a rare show of what could be wisdom. He still holds Loki's eyes nonetheless as he adds, "Though I look forward to our next bout in the future. No doubt both of us will have learned more as such."

Mira sighs and gives Kent a faint smile insinuating he might need to do something about his mate's towering self-confidence.

Sigyn nods with approval as Ambrose says he's satisfied for now, and visibly restrains a sigh when the mention of a next bout is mentioned, because of COURSE there will be a next time. For now, however, she fusses. She's hostess, the bout is over, so they need to sit down, be handed lemonade or iced tea, and cookies and small iced cakes that weren't there earlier. Loki knows she doesn't make them with magic, she bakes the old fashioned way. She stores and pulls them out of storage by magic, that's an entirely different thing. Whether it's friendship or malice that results in some of the spiced chocolate chip cookies ending up on Ambrose's plate is a matter for debate.

Once everyone is settled with food and drink, then Sigyn will have the last bout play forward in slow motion so the men can properly admire themselves.

Well, it was done in play, rather than deadly earnest. Kent's watching Loki thoughtfully, caught up for a moment in the thread of the dance, as it were. Then it's all over and he's relaxing.

That question, however, makes him tense again, and he shoots his husband a pleading look. No word to him, though, spoken or sent. Then Ambrose consents to another match, and he can't help but roll his eyes. Of course he can't resist. Kent may be just a teeny bit displeased, but he's not in the least surprised. He relents enough to take more lemonade and sweets, watching the replay with every sign of interest. It is impressive, after all.

Loki claps Ambrose on the shoulder, and nods. "Very well, another bout, so we might compare what we have learned." He looks thoughtful, hand at his cheek the elbow of that arm held by his free hand. "I wonder, do you ever play with longer blades?" In truth Loki is better with Daggers, though still one of the deadliest swordsmen in the nine realms, capable of going toe to toe even with some of the gods more closely associated with war.

No doubt Sigyn is well aware that Loki was fighting for the challenge of making the tie, not to win, she's nearly as good with daggers as he is after all.

Eyes of glacier-heart green glitter a moment, but then they soften and he smiles as he starts donning his shirt once more a whisper of heat from the fire god, and then chill with the scent of new frost after from his Jotun before he gets himself once more properly attired. After all, Sigyn is a devoted hostess, and he respects that. Also, she knows where he sleeps!

A glance to Mira and Talbot, studying their reactions, measuring. "I do hope you're all hungry…this is but the beginning, if I know my lady wife, there's plenty and more to come."

Loki cannot help but study and enjoy the slow-mo replay of the bout, noting his technique, and that of Ambrose, and without a doubt admiring himself. Vanity is one of Loki's greatest flaws, even as hubris is one of Ambrose's.

"The longer blades? Swords? Rarely, your highness," admits Ambrose, though this question sends a thrill through him. It's visible in how his eyes twinkle even if he keeps the smile low-wattage. "Though I would not mind learning more of them. I know of the refined fencing, not so nearly much the art of war."

Seating himself at the table, Ambrose does blow a sigh as if even he's acknowledging he's done for the time being with the idea of a dagger duel. He gladly accepts some tea from the hostess with Victorian politesse in gratitude and manners. No doubt the first bite into one of the heat-laced cookies garners a laugh from someone — he cough-splutters before continuing to chew, giving Sigyn a flatly-amused look. Touche, baker, touche, now his tongue is on fire.

"We are content to stay longer and enjoy the repast, thank you." Ambrose glances between both his daughter and mate before back to the magical replay. A blink. "Good ruddy lord, how did you…" Ambrose leans forward in his chair to peer at one particular twist of his opponent's body. "…you managed that without dislocating your shoulder. Bloody hell." A glance at Loki is plainly impressed. "Are you double-jointed?"

A beat and Mira adds, "I think it was simultaneous, those touches…if I'm still a judge and all." She shrugs when her father looks to her. "It looks like identical timing to me. That face you're making is impressive too, «Baba»." She titters. Ambrose all but rolls his eyes. Oh joy, slow-mo concentrating face.

Sigyn smiles, "Double jointed and then some." Smug? Perhaps a tad. Very happily married? Definitely. "And yes, I have a full meal prepared, if you wish to stay for an early dinner." She sits and watches the duel play out, sipping her tea. "If it wasn't an exact tie, it's so close to one as to make no never mind." She warns Mira, "Watch out for the chocolate chip cookies, I used a chipotle spiced chocolate from Mexico." She'll warn the daughter but not the sire! It does explain Ambrose's coughing fit earlier.

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