(1310-08-15) Fame and Admiration
Summary: At a shady harbor tavern, a bard and actor with ambitions encounters a possible future mentor.
RL Date: 15+16/08/2018
Related: None
lysander sebastien 

The Kraken's Den — Port of Marsilikos

A tall-tottering inn with a variety of rooms to let on the upper floors, from three fine suites just above the main floor to a collection of ramshackle one-cot rooms that sway with the harder gusts of wind in off of the sea in the upper levels. It has seen its share of fires and renovations, and every time it falls in ashes it seems to rise higher in the aftermath. Outside, proudly burnt-carved signage displays a huge black-tentacled kraken winding its limbs about in repetitive knotwork patterns. It hangs from a post on four links of bronze chain, and creaks when the wind hits it.

The main floor is part restaurant, part lobby, with a warm hearth next to a counter at which guests in the rooms above can pay their bills or ask after vacancies, many fine chairs and some a little less fine to fill out the number. Small tables amid all the seating provide room just enough to have a tea or a beverage and maybe play a game of cards with your mates. A low bannister-fence separates off the dining area from the lobby, to keep some semblance of order among the diners and to keep out the riff-raff.

Riff-raff, of course, is welcome to make its way downstairs, or else to descend into the alleyway behind the tavern and find the rear entrance into the half-basement, where a bar slings some of the hardest-scorching liquor known in Port Marsilikos, and attracts some of the roughest elements of society. It's dimly lit, with rough stonework walls and flooring and sturdy oaken furniture which must have been built in order to best resist any effort to shatter said furniture over someone's head. Fights are the nightly norm here, black eyes and sopping intoxication, and for those without the coin to attract the contract of a proper courtesan, some affable ladies are usually present in the evenings in case any gentleman wants to buy one a drink.

Things had been going stale for Lysander Beaufort of late. The actor and bard, while still in employ at the opera, had been given merely small supporting parts in the repertoire of plays and opera pieces they had performed. In addition, a certain muse had been absent — whether due to health or lack of interest — and without the help of Etalon nó Heliotrope, Lysander simply had not felt bold enough to venture to the Palace and… pursue the unattainable fruit that was Ortolette Mereliot any further.

On this late evening, Lysander appears to be in the middle of a crisis. He sits at one of the tables, his eyes looking glassy as they stare into an almost empty clay mug, his garb something rather unflashy, unobtrusive greens and browns making him blend in more easily with the mass of other commoners. A dagger worn at his belt the only means of protection, taken along instead of his lute which would have marked his status as an artist.

A rounded figure casts a shadow on a young man's visage. It's a server of Kraken's Den. The middle-aged woman in mildly dirty clothes pours more wine into that almost empty clay mug without being asked by the owner. She rubs her chubby side with a free hand. Rosy cheek bares a small cheerful dimple. Her full thick bust even if tightly squeezed in a dark corset wobbles when the woman leans closer. "Why so somber, young lad? Smile, you never know when someone will fall for it!" She leans back after the mug is filled. The crack of her back is louder than the noise made by drunk and passionate customers. She lazily points at the corner where two young common women are settled. They both have eyes on Lysander. Their hands are covering lips which gossip and giggle. "Though, I guess you have that face," a woman continues, "that even without a smile charms women. These two stare your direction whole night but order little. Not very profitable, I must say… Anyway," she gestures toward a different direction, at the table where a lonely man is settled. "I bet that lord knows your artistic abilities since this drink is on him." A server wobbles to another table where she pours more wine to a couple of common sailors who seem to be indulged into the discussion about whom of the ladies they would love to fuck if they could have a chance.

The lonely man at the table is wearing a leather jacket on his shoulders but no shirt. The jacket is kept open to reveal a thick old silver snake pendant. Though, even more impressive are his two rings with large ocean blue gemstones. He offers a nod if Lysander decides to glance his direction. Sebastien seems to be a tad dizzy. He brushes his finger across the black eyeliner which marks his dark gaze. His hair seems to be quite messy. A free hand is wrapped around the mug as well. A sword lays beside him, removed from the belt that a man could sit more comfortably. He keeps one of his legs bended and rested on the bench so that he could lean against his own knee. The other leg is simply stretched under the table. Vicomte wears leather pants.

Lysander lifts his blue eyes and looks almost chastised for a moment, when the view of rather plump femininity pulls his gaze away from the mug, a mug the serving wench steals from his grasp to give it a refill. “Uh. Thank you.” A shadow of a smile flashes over his handsome features, his looks the only thing currently that might actually draw the eye. “And sorry,” he lifts his gaze to give the woman a wink, before his head turns to consider the two lasses at the table she points out to him. “Smallfolk.”, is his brief assessment that leaves his lips in a sigh. “I’m not looking for a tumble.” A confession made towards the mug of wine as he lifts it to his lips — his arm stopping midway as the generous sponsor of the refill is pointed out to him. Brows furrow, as the bard glances over to where Sebastien sits. The attire assessed with an efficient quick glance, the posture as well.

There is the sound of wood scraping over stone, as Lysander moves to stand from his chair and slowly walks over, mug in hand, not really hampered by overhearing wisps of conversation and swear words that are reaching his ears.

“The wench said, this was from you,” the bard addresses the shirtless man clad in leather. “It seems only adequate that I express my thanks.”

“I must admit I did not expect that someone might have at least a teeny understanding of an etiquette here. How judgemental of me, of course,” Vicomte de Montmarlon rolls his eyes and gestures for the other man to take a seat in front of him. His arm is resting on bended leg knee and sways idly in the air. The other one makes slow circles on the edge of the mug. “But I enjoy the freedom. No eyes are watching over you. No eyes are judging your capabilities and actions, or even words. Four years at sea steal away a small part of nobility from one.” Sebastien raises a mug and takes a gulp of his ale.

Once it’s lowered down on the table sprayed by some remnants of bread crumbs and spilled drinks, the nobleman adds, “And what are you drowning in that wine? Maybe a lost love or a lost job? Just don’t tell me that someone died because then situation will become too awkward. So, if someone died be creative and give something more interesting!” He grins at that and studies Lysander with that judgemental gaze Vicomte himself wants to avoid.

“Where I usually roam, courtesy is absolutely required,” Lysander says, his voice confident and devoid of any commoner accent. The offered seat is considered, before the bard chooses to accept and lowers himself onto it. His posture not as lax of course, as that of the man whose speech reveals him to be of noble birth. “My lord. Is this what you come here for? Time away from observant eyes and ears at court?” The question could come off as impertinent, would it not be accompanied by a more pronounced smile. “Four years at sea sound like martyrdom to me. I avoid sea voyages usually whenever I can.” The question draws his gaze away from Sebastien for a moment. “Ah. The usual, my lord. You wouldn’t wish to know, nor would I seek to emburden you with what is weighing so heavily upon my mind.” He sighs. “No one died. It is just the ever recurring question of what I wish to achieve, and what has prevented me from achieving it yet.”

“Hmm…” Sebastien drawls. He lowers his leg to lay with another under the table. A man shifts in his seat to fully focus on his new companion. “And what is it that you desire to achieve? Why aren’t you happy with what you have?” His eyebrow jumps up in question. A large sip of ale is taken and a wave to the wench is sent that the mug would be refilled. “Oh, by the way, aren’t you supposed to introduce yourself immediately to a noble? I mean, if you come from a place where courtesy is absolutely required, I guess you might be not the best at your job?” Maybe the comment might appear to be quite sharp but it’s followed by a teasing grin. Vicomte taps his fingers on the edge of the table making his silver ring add more sound to his action.

“My name is Lysander Beaufort,” the bard introduces himself, his gaze veiling for a moment as he lowers his eyelashes. “Actor and bard, at your service.” He looks up, giving the lord a pointed look. “I wasn’t certain whether you’d prefer courtesy over anonymity.” Again, any possible offence taken will be acquiesced by a charming smile, and a soft chuckle. “What does an actor wish to achieve, my lord, other than fame and admiration.” There, his admission, laid out for Sebastien, as Lysander leans back in his seat and lifts his own mug in a toast. Blue eyes study the nobleman curiously, but the bard refrains from asking about the other man’s identity. The lord may give it or not, as so many other things, it will be up to the man of higher birth, a fact that a commoner will have to accept.

“Lysander Beaufort,” Sebastien repeats with a broad smile dancing in his mischievous features. “What background are you coming from? Who is your mother and who is your father? Do you have any siblings?” The man pouts his lips in a minute of quiet thinking. His gaze wanders off from the bard to the scratched table wood. But then Vicomte looks back with a vivid curiosity. “How do you imagine your fame and admiration? What would define that you are famous and how do you understand admiration? Those two women over there,” he points at two lasses, “Are admiring you already. Isn’t it enough? I am also pretty sure that if you call yourself an actor, you must be playing on a stage?” Sebastien leans back in his seat. Eyes on the bard.

“Quite a few questions, my lord,” the actor replies, gaze flicking down to the table briefly. “Would you like me to spin a tale? Or would you prefer the truth?” His smile deepens a little. “What would you expect to be the answer? That I am the unacknowledged bastard of a high ranking noble? A Duc or even a royal de la Courcel?” He slumps back in his seat. “My father was a bard, and my mother his muse. I have a sister and a brother, both of which I haven’t seen since I left Nimes.” The facts are stated in a neutral tone, and Lysander takes a moment to consider before he goes on with providing answers to the other questions. A pointed glance he gives the pair of giggling females. “They are not the kind I seek admiration from,” he states then towards Sebastien. “I am not aiming to impress the common born, but those of higher birth. I am seeking a mentor. Someone willing to spend money to advertise my talent. Right now, I am part of the ensemble at the Opera of Marsilikos. A player of supporting parts. Nothing grand. But I have more in me, my lord. I could easily become someone celebrated for his performances, be it on the stage or at fêtes held at noble residences or even at the Palace…”

“Neither I have heard you play, nor I have seen you act, nor that I heard you sing,” Sebastien starts, “But I do admire your ambitious desires and quite a huge self-confidence in your talent. I only hope that you perceive yourself without any touches of a fragile imagination and dreams. So often we think much better of ourselves than we truly are!” He laughs and grasps for a refilled mug. A gulp of ale is taken before he continues. “So, you seek a mentor who would pay to you and help you raise to the fame. What are you planning to give to your sponsor? A person will pay for your glory and once each second lady will dream ending up with their hands in your pants, will you become a narcissistic self-loving casanova or are you going to remain faithful to your supporter?” Vicomte shifts in his seat a bit again. This time raising his feet back on top of the bench and leaning against his knee. “You know how they say, the higher the rise, the harder the fall…”

“You will have to believe my own judgment,” Lysander counters. “I have it in me. The talent. The many possibilities…” He smirks faintly at the picture Sebastien paints, “Or you can choose not to believe me. A mentor would draw pleasure and contentment from the fact that it was them who brought me where I will be. No true artist is without a certain amount of narcissism, so yes, while I would like to indulge the wishes of ladies, as you say… I would think with unwavering fondness of the person that made it all happen in the first place.”

“I like how blunt you are. I hope it’s not only the wine what loosens up your tongue…” Vicomte jests mildly pouting at the thought that the artist may be different when his head is clear. “Do you have any other talents than amusing your audience?” The mug is raised in order to take a sip but is stopped in the midway. Sebastien takes a moment to ponder a one more question, but a shake of his head betrays the changed course of his mind. He takes a sip and waits for an answer instead.

Lysander considers the Vicomte, amusement glittering in his eyes. The bard seems to be more and more at ease, be it from the course of conversation or the wine he enjoys another good sip from. “Would it make any difference?”, he counters with a grin. “Whether it is my natural charm or the wine that speaks through me? I have been told I can be quite the charmer, a fetching personality can get someone a long way.” The smile fades a little when the bard notes the hesitation on Sebastien’s part. “As to answer your question… the only talent I have is to entertain. And when I do entertain, I do it with all my heart.”

“Well, I do not see a lute on you except a sword at your side…” He sounds mildly disappointed. Vicomte places the mug on a table and glances toward the door of Kraken’s Den. “The place seems to be quite crowded and I can not say that I enjoy ale they provide here. Plus, you caught my curiosity. If you are so talented as you say, I may desire you to perform at my upcoming wedding.” A beat. “What would you say about us going to my small residence? My servants can find necessary tools quite easily. I have a much better wine and brandy at my disposal. I would like to see you perform.”

“I left my lute at the opera,” Lysander replies in a low murmur. “And this here…”, his hand touches the pommel of his dagger, “is no sword but a meagre means to defend myself should the need occur.” His gaze shifts to the mug and despite Sebastien’s harsh verdict, the bard downs the wine. “A wedding? Why not? Even if I would like to hear more details… your name, for instance, would help me find the location.” His gaze sweeps to Sebastien. “What are you suggesting? That I should give you a demonstration of my skill?” His brows furrow for a brief moment as he considers this. “Of course. I can come along of you wish, and give you a demonstration right away.”

“Hesitation? Playing at the wedding is not enough for you?” An older man raises his brow. “Well, the wedding is planned to be quite a grand ball since I am Sebastien Basilisque, Vicomte de Montmarlon, and I am planning to marry a daughter of baron of Thiviers. You will definitely be able to show yourself off there! Of course, if I will enjoy your performance tonight. If not, you may need to come back to Kraken’s Den and drown your sorrow in a cheap wine mug…” He simply shrugs with an ironic grin in his features. The man raises to his feet. He attaches the belt with scabbard to his side and gestures for the young lad to move. “Do you know where the Basilisque residence may be found?”

There. Finally, a name and title is given, and Lysander moves to his feet to offer a bow to the Vicomte, executed with the easy grace of an actor. “My lord of Basilisque. It is an honor to make your acquaintance,” he greets, an irony indeed to greet the man so late in their exchange, when they are actually about to leave already. “That goes without saying,” the bard adds. “That you shall get your demonstration, wherever you like. Just name the place. Basilisque Residence, hmm?” He raises a brow. “I would go looking in the Noble District. And ask my way around till I find it… But as you say that you wish a demonstration right now, I shan’t worry as I just have to follow you, my lord, wherever you lead me.”

The lord of Basilisque gestures one more time for the man to follow. He does not wait for the bard to catch up and just simply leaves the Kraken’s den and takes a right turn in order to walk to the Noble district. Sebastien will be quiet even if quite observant. His gaze will be on the young man he is taking to his home to perform. Curiosity. Excitement. But more curiosity visible in Vicomte’s features when they approach the residence and a servant opens the door. The nobleman even will allow for the bard to step in first.

The bard follows along and gladly steps into the residence, when Sebastien allows him to enter first. The nonchalance in his bearing does not quite conceal the fact that Lysander never has been invited to a noble’s house before in his time at Marsilikos. His gaze sweeps the hall, brows lifting, his handsome features shifting into a very impressed cast. “This looks like a very fine and elegant residence to me,” he finally states, as if he were an expert in these things. “Where would you like me to play for you, my lord? Here in the parlor? There must be other residents… Do you want me to perform for them as well?”

“Find an instrument,” he simply states to the man who opened the door to the residence. Then with but a one gesture of his hand, Sebastien suggests to the bard to go further. “Let's go upstairs. Simply follow me.” Sebastien moves toward the indicated direction. When his feet touches the first step of the stair, he turns back toward the butler, “Oh, and bring us some apple brandy.” The man nods. The servant seems to be in his mid-twenties and has quite handsome features. His build is fit and one could offer him to become a soldier instead of a simple server but he seems to be content with his current position. A polite bow follows the nod and the young man is off to find the drink as well as an instrument.

Then Sebastien continues to go upstairs. If the bard decides to follow, he will be lead to the last door on the second floor. When a heavy door is opened, the artists is encouraged to enter private chambers of the Vicomte. The room is decently large and has similar decorations as the residence itself. At this moment an empty fireplace may be found in one of the corners together with two armchairs. The rest is a working table, shelves filled with books and a bed.

Lord de Basilisque himself moves to settle down in an armchair. “You will perform only to me. My brother is currently absent.” With these words a young server comes back. He has a tray with two goblets of apple brandy. There is also a glassy bottle with a possible refilment. A lute is laying on the tray as well. The lad pushes that tray toward where Sebastien is seated. He bows and leaves the room closing the door behind himself.

Some bard may have wondered and perhaps felt a little unease at the rather private setting, the Vicomte apparently has in mind. But then again, perhaps his mentorship to the artist is supposed to be a secret at first? Who can tell, with the twisted motivations of nobles and their little games of intrigues? Lysander Beaufort follows Sebastien up the stairs and then steps into the suite of the Vicomte de Montmarlon. He makes note of the elaborate interior, of the arrangement of furniture. The attentive staff is noticed as well, when Lysander steps aside to inspect the tray that is brought, the apple brandy, the two goblets; the lute.

“Are you meaning to get me all drunk?”, the handsome commoner asks with a wink, taking it all in good nature. When Sebastien sits down in his chair, Lysander remains standing at first. Leaning over to pick up the instrument, he inspects it with that brief thoroughness of someone recognizing a lute’s quality in a mere second. The bard begins to tune the strings, and in doing so, leans against a table, blue eyes lifting to shoot Sebastien de Basilisque a glance.

“I shan’t drink before I’ve convinced you,” Lysander announces in that melodious voice of his. “By my lute playing alone.” And he begins to play.

<FS3> Lysander rolls Lute: Good Success. (1 3 8 7 2 2 3 4 2 2 5 1)

Fingers move over the strings slowly at first, building into something more, tones rippling through Sebastien’s suite like drops of rain pattering against a window.

<FS3> Lysander rolls Lute: Good Success. (1 3 1 8 8 8 5 5 1 1 2 5)

There is a slight crescendo there, as the melody builds, his fingers picking up pace as the run over the strings in skilled runs.

<FS3> Lysander rolls Lute: Great Success. (4 7 6 6 5 1 7 8 4 7 5 4)

Until the notes become a structure, sophisticated chords into which he embeds the tune, an old folk song, rearranged to gleam in new brilliance. The bard strums with the expertise of at least a decade of practice, agility in fingers that together with a great musical ear creates a memorable performance.

Vicomte de Montmarlon does not answer to any questions or jests of the bard. He pours brandy in both glasses and then takes his own. He sets it in his lap and turns his gaze more toward the fireplace which is currently empty. His eyes study the dusts and ashes. He waits.

When the music starts, Sebastien takes only one glance at the bard before focusing his gaze on an insignificant spot on the edge of the shelf. The music seems to carry the young man away from whatever hardships might have been laying in his heart. A sip of his drink is taken now and then. One of his feet seems to sway slowly according to the melody. Though, barely noticeable.

When the song moves to the second part of it, Sebastien raises his hand up indicating for the bard to stop. The Vicomte looks back at the artist. His gaze runs from top to bottom scanning the younger man in deep ponder. “The wedding has to be perfect. Let’s just say that my wife definitely enjoys and is worthy of complete perfection. We will want staff to be dressed in quite specific attires which would match our theme.” A beat. “Do you have any scars? Would you mind taking off your shirt that I could take a look at how you may look if we use only flowers to dress you in?” The man raises his brow and his lips quirk into a mischievous grin.

Lysander had been getting into the performance, eyes almost closed as he played, not really needing to see the strings to play the instrument. And yet. That lift of the hand is noted, eyes open fully as he interrupts his playing instantly. "I hope the piece was to your liking?", the bard asks, half-anxious, half-apologetic, that combination of a smile and look he gives Sebastien, only to find himself looked over from head to toe. Lysander straightens after he puts the lute onto the table he had leaned against, placing it gently there with all due respect to the instrument.

"Scars?", the question takes Lysander by surprise, and with a grin he shakes his head. "No, my lord. I have so far avoided any scars. Not that I didn't get into trouble now and then." A faint eyeroll there. The request, though, for him to take off his shirt, earns Sebastien a glance. "Flowers. Flowers, hmm?" Slowly he obliges, pulling the shirt up over his head to reveal his torso, muscles defined a little here and there from regular gymnastics, a bard and actor needs to keep flexible. Glancing down, he runs the tip of his index finger along an almost invisible line at his side. "Hmm… I don't believe this counts as scar, does it?" An inquiring glance is shot towards the Vicomte.

The Vicomte stands up slowly. He sets his glass on the tray and takes the glass which should be in the hands of the artist. The man approaches the younger one and offers him that goblet while his own gaze slides across barely visible line on the side.

If allowed, Sebastien would try to touch the end of that line with his thumb and trace it up where it’s supposedly starts. If he is allowed to do that, the lord will focus on Lysander’s eyes while doing so.

“No, that should not be considered a scar.”

Lysander watches the Vicomte’s approach, his stance somewhat relaxed. A grateful smile flashes across his features when Sebastien hands him the goblet, and the bard lifts it to his lips to enjoy a first sip, almost choking on it. “Companions, this is strong. My lord. Apple brandy, hmm?” His gaze flickers a little, as his eyes meet those of Sebastien, when the Vicomte elects to touch the faint scar, a contact the bard does not shy away from. He blinks slowly, and one corner of his mouth lifts, in a wry grin. “Then that should not keep me from performing at your wedding, my lord.” He enjoys another sip of the apple brandy, which will cause a slow ripple of his throat, eyes locked with Sebastien’s. “I am curious. Where else would you wish me to perform?” His tone has changed a little, from narcissistic confidence into a quieter more reflective sort.

Seeing that Lysander doesn’t mind his touch, Sebastien tries to place his hands on the young man’s shoulders. He considers those words which leave the bard’s throat but chooses not to add any comments of his own. Instead, the Vicomte releases the artist but just to remove his own leather jacket and casually throw it on an armchair. Then he sets his one hand on the other man’s shoulder if allowed.

Vicomte has a couple of scars as remnants of hard work on a ship and training, maybe a few battles. But none of the scars look disgusting. It’s just a touch of strength and power to his looks. He looks into bard’s eyes, “I consider you for a couple different services. If you prove to be a trustworthy assistant and if you do well, I can perceive fame and admiration in your near future.”

His hand presses the man’s shoulder more firmly and a small push to go down is given as a very clear suggestion.

Lysander Beaufort has made it far — from the common room of the Kraken’s Den right into the private chambers of a Vicomte. He has been asked to take off his shirt, he has been touched at the side of his torso, and he has taken it all in good spirit. His eyes glint with a bit of vague amusement, when they observe how his host discards the leather jacket and bares that impressive torso to him, a place where scars look by no means misplaced, but rather enhance the image of a battle-hardened Camaeline. To his words, Lysander inclines his head in a nod, a smile curving his lips as he replies, “Fame and admiration, my lord. I shall take you by your word.”

His hand lifts, the palm touching lightly against Sebastien’s cheek, and Lysander’s gaze becomes veiled by his eyelashes. When he moves to follow the subtle encouragement of hands upon his shoulders, sinking into a kneeling position before the Vicomte as nimble fingers begin to undo the laces of leather pants.

“For now, I believe, you’ll need my assistance.”

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