(1310-12-17) Beginner's Luck
Summary: Symon takes Étienne to Bryony House, where Faisan teaches him kottabos.
RL Date: 12/17/18
Related: None.
faisan symon etienne 

Bryony House

The House of Bryony can already be spotted from afar, being three stories high and thus protruding from the other houses situated along the road that leads up to the top of Mont Nuit. Colorful lampions and sounds of laughter lure potential visitors inside, and indeed, an ever present ruckus of those gathered around the various diversions on display fills the reception hall that is slightly reminiscent of the Hall of Games in the palace.

Between tables of card and dice games stroll the adepts and courtesans of the house, assisting and even competing here and there, calling out wagers or just proving their skill at the kottabos stand. The contained luxury of the interior hints at the wealth of this house, and there are rumors about the immense security surrounding its treasury.


The evening has not yet begun to roar— yet, the dinner hour is not entirely wasted and already the promise of an evening of excitement and intrigue runs high with the early laughter of those already drifting up and down the lush purple-quilted marble stairwells that embrace the salon floor in a sweep of decadent extravagance. Faisan, himself, is just returned from an excursion of his own, and, whatever it might have been, it must not have exerted him any; his riding-gear is unfussed, his hair a picture of hapless elegance, and his habit is a thing of substantial practicality, but even further beauty. There's a young man below his arm, whose ear he attends warmly in mid-stride, then, pulling half-away, he raises a brow and utters a few words of assured confirmation, a press of a hand before they part ways, and Faisan makes his way to the novices who are stirring the krater for the evening's kottabos. Satisfied enough with their form, he drifts past in his orbit, taking up the ladle in turn and pouring for himself a small sample to taste, and, after a moment, to nod his approval.

"B-Bryony house has the m…most fun sorts," Symon is saying to Étienne on the way in. "You never /quite/ know what you might get, b-but the courtesans are usually lively types and sharp-minded. The other side of that is that often you find yourself w…walking out of the house a good deal lighter in the p-purse than you expected. But w…we hardly had anything at dinner so I think we could be in w…worse shape to start a night at Bryony."

Étienne walks a few steps behind his richer friend. His tunic is of a length and style suggesting the Northern Provinces rather than the high fashion of the capital. He is all in green and black and the clothes are at least of good fabric and the needle that stitched the brocade was skilled. His shoulder length black hair has large natural curls. His goatee is freshly shaved. Under his tan, his cheeks are a touch reddened, but his walk is pure Azzallese grace, as elegant as the sweep of a crane's wing. He looks around him with the wonder of a country lad inside his first fine house of the Night court in the greatest city in Terre D'Ange. He takes a couple quick steps to catch up with the slighter built man when he begins to speak. "Lively and sharp witted does sound like more my style of entertainment. He flashes his friend a quick smile. His teeth are good, and when he smiles, he comes closest to handsome.

Faisan hands off the kalyx into which he'd ladled the taste of the evening's kottabos once more to one of the krater's attendants, then takes an easy moment surveying the floor while his fingers tug the glove free from his other fingers, coming away with the supple tanned leather, then reversing the process and taking both bared hands to his collar to unfasten his riding-cape. It's not really anything approaching a strip-tease, but there is a certain majesty in the way he handles such expensive fabrics and drapes them as casually over his arm as a soldier might his woolen guard-cape, and with just as much strength of purpose. Elua is thronging already with visitors for the Longest Night, but the two just presenting themselves draw his eye. Instead of withdrawing to put his cloak away, he instead uses it to lay claim to one of the long, backless lounges positioned around the krater, proceeding out of the circle to approach the new arrivals. "Look at that shoulder," he grins for the visitor from the north, then, to his companion, "Did you bring us a ringer for the krater?"

Symon grins easily at Faisan as if they'd been introduced already, though they've never met before. "Not a ringer," he replies. "I think he m…may not know our game b-but surely you w…would be w-willing to teach?" he looks to Etienne. "W…what do you say to learning kottabos?" he asks, demeanor bright with the promise of fresh amusements. "Or do you know the game already?"

Étienne 's accent is distinctly Azzallese, noble, but not particularly elevated. He is of a size with his friend, though noticeably wider of the soldier. He looks to the older man, "Oh yes! I Would like to learn, Symon! Might we?" Another one of those bright bedimpled smiles, "Is it hard?"

"Mmm, that's what you would say," Faisan teases, of Symon, when he claims not to have brought him a kottabos shark, though— quite playful, honestly, the teasing, and he reaches out an arm toward each of the men to give theirs a hearty clasp in greeting. "I'd be pleased, of course. Faisan of the Bryony," he goes on to introduce himself, then, arms released, he lifts his hands to his fur and white silk doublet, beginning to unfasten it and let it hang open at the front. Maybe he does believe them to be novices at the sport, after all. Or else kottabos is only a little cozier without a shirt. "It can be," he answers Etienne with a rakish smile. "Come, join me, I've gotten us a couch," he tips his head back toward the one he'd claimed, then returns there to sweep his cloak free of the surface and to an adept who will get it and his gloves back to his room for him. "You'll want to recline with your head toward the krater— on your left elbow. It rests three rather well, only decide whether you would like the top or the bottom of the seating." And he indicates the manner of seating, first, climbing up with a knee and then angling himself across the center of the lounge, leaving space for one of them to recline above his back, the other below him, as they care to arrange themselves.

"I think it helps to b-be just the right amount of drunk," Symon answers, but his friend's enthusiasm makes him all the more excited to play. He looks to Etienne. "Shall w…we join in?" he suggests, and steps up to situate himself above, looking off toward the spire and plastinx.

Étienne 's own clasp is firm and calloused. He does have the sort of face that shows nearly everything he is thinking. Right now he is really excited just to be here, and a bit overwhelmed by all of the beauty and grandeur. He clutches his friend's arm as they approach the playing area his bright blue eyes trailing over the revealed flesh. They then flick up to Faisen's face and Symon's quick, "Do you want to be in the middle, Symon? Or should our host be?"

Symon pats Étienne 's shoulder. "He's all right in the m…middle," he judges. "There he can p-pay us equal attention. There, you settle in," he bids. "Now, you are usually /too/ drunk to p-play if you feel you m…might fall off the couch."

Étienne laughs, warm and sweet as toffee and climbs on, "Are you saying I should stop if I feel like I might fall off, or is that a sign to drink faster?" He leans on his left elbow, smelling of citrus and musk and a hint of spice.

"If you're not the right amount of drunk, just yet, you will be, soon," Faisan assures Symon as he settles in above him. He props himself easily on his left elbow, arm tucked genially below him, and he lifts his right into the air for a fresh kylix, a low cup with two generous, wide handles, one on each side. "This is your kylix," he begins at the beginning, "And there, in the center, is the krater. And you see the little lamp-stand in its middle, with the bronze disk balanced on top? That is the spire, that the plastinx." He looks back over his left shoulder, "It's so important to start with all the proper names of things, isn't it?" he asks Symon, then, turning to Etienne, a quirk of the brows only reiterates the question. "Settle in, and we'll have our first round." His own kylix, he holds it out, and a boy comes with a ladle to fill it with wine. A drinking game!

Symon chuckles. "If you're falling off, it's a good time to stop," he tells Etienne. "And find lodgings." He smells much better than after the previous day's riding, himself, wearing a scent based on almond oil with a bit of lily and something greener. "Oh, rather," he agrees with Faisan's question, though it's not clear how closely he was listening.

Étienne watches carefully and imitates Faisan, lips murmuring each vocabulary word after Faisan says it. "This looks like the sort of game some might play to lose…" He takes his own kylix eagerly.

"It all depends on the stakes, shoulders," Faisan teases generously, waiting for the gentlemen to either side of him to be served their wine. He crooks a knee tenderly to the back of Etienne's thigh, shifting his own shapely hind end to rest against Symon's leg behind him. Just cozy enough. "Now part of the game is knowing how much to drink and how much to throw. You swallow your wine to your satisfaction, then use the kylix to throw the rest of the wine at the plastinx— you try to knock it down. Leave too much wine in the cup and it'll never get there. Leave too little and it won't budge the disk. You'll know you've won when you hear the plastinx sing against the plate below. Shall I demonstrate?

Symon holds the kylix properly so as not to spill the wine that is poured. "Demonstrate," he requests, glancing down to Faisan's form and then over to Etienne. "B-Bryony really /is/ the m…most fun."

Étienne leans briefly back as he nods an eager affirmative, then arcs his neck the better to watch Faisan's demonstration. Etienne flashes them a dazzling grin, "It is certainly very much to my taste so far. Please do!"

Faisan lets the conversation between visitors flow over him, pleased well enough that they're enjoying their time, but not about to comment upon it, himself— he's biased, after all. He hides his edification behind a long tip of that shallow kylix— his throat moves through a few long, thirsty swallows, then, leveling the kylix, he loops two fingers into one of its handles, and, lifting his left hand only to rest on Etienne's shoulder before him, he twirls the cup twice, three times, then catches the handle with his thumb, sending the remnants of the wine flying for the lamp-stand.

"Shall I go next?" Symon suggests, perhaps to give Etienne one more example before his first throw. A less professional example, perhaps, but it isn't his first time playing, either." He takes a moment to drink from the cup, then holds it by both handles to give it a swirl and look inside. He lifts his chin and squints at the disc in the not-so-distant distance. Then he leans on his left elbow and makes his bid to knock the plastinx off.

Étienne watches Faisan carefully, then murmurs to himself, "Sunset on stone…" He clears his throat, eyes a little wide and says at a normal volume, "It's beautiful as dancing in it's way. The way you use your wrist and fingers!" He flashes Symon a grateful grin. "Oh, close!" He drinks his carefully, doing his best to match the experienced players. He starts to try Faisan's trick with his fingers, thinks better of it, and uses both hands for the swirling, though he does his best to do the actual flick like Faisan.

Faisan squeezes Etienne's shoulder, a firm touch waxing fond with the praise from the northerner, a cat-like gaze promising, perhaps, that there was more skill to his fingers and wrist than to play at kottabos. But all that remains unspoken in the rising roar of the evening's games, and he issues a nod of support as he the tiro swirls the wine and then flicks it at the plastinx— and making it sing! "I thought you had brought me a shark," he laughs warmly to Symon. "Or maybe you've just brought me a natural," he goes on with a ready huntsman's grin. "You've got an arm for it, for sure."

"Aaayyyy!" Symon cries in enthusiasm as Étienne 's very first throw casts the plastinx into the crater. "Good show!" He grins at Faisan. "P-pure natural," he agrees. "He p-picks up all the w…ways so quickly! Well thrown, Etienne."

From his lowered lashes it is likely Étienne is aware of the implications of his praise. He laughs on of his warm, unselfconscious laughs, "Beginner's luck, and I'm sure you both knocked it off balance…." Another once of those transforming smiles, "Oh, my sword master said I had a strong arm, even if my discipline was not of the best." Then he is smiling at Symon, "I'm sure you'll over take me soon enough.

"Beginner's luck has better staying power in kottabos than in many another game— especially as, each round, the players by the very need of the game become deeper and deeper into our cups," Faisan purrs low and comfortable between the gentlemen visitors to the salon. "So lift up your kylikes, men, and, boy, bring the ladle. We drink again, and throw."

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