(1310-12-18) Terre d'Ange's Got Talent
Summary: Eglantine House hosts a talent contest for nobles to win tokens for the Longest Night Fete at Cereus House
RL Date: 2018-12-29
Related: Longest Night Plot Logs
daphne noire jeremie etienne symon yun nathaniel laure 

City Of Elua
Eglantine House, Hall Of Performance and Art

Passing through the doors that lead into Eglantine House, one enters the hall of performance and arts, a spacious room living and breathing the values of true artistry and creativity. Tapestries of finest craftsmanship adorn the walls, depicting the various areas Eglantine adepts are known to be versed in; such as dancing, playing of harps, lutes and other instruments; creating pieces of fashion, jewelry; and last but not least, composing music and poetry, and presenting the fruits of their creative labour right here on the podium in the receiving hall.

The floor is of polished walnut timber, enhanced with light maple wood inlay work in playful depiction of an eglantine flower. The white ceiling is constructed in the manner of an archway, a few nooks placed here and there, to be used for ropes or long colorful lengths of robust fabric for artistic performances. A variety of comfortable chairs and benches has been arranged into seating areas for conversation and entertaining patrons on a more personal level, but the furniture can be easily re-arranged to accommodate a moderately sized audience for the occasional evening of entertainment and performances.

The hall is well-lit through large windows during the day, with long heavy curtains of dark green brocade embroidered with a silver thread ready to be drawn and thus providing a more intimate atmosphere towards the evening. Oil lamps at the walls and the candles on a pair of chandeliers suspended from the ceiling will add a somewhat cozier note to the lighting on evenings and late nights.

The weather outside is frightful, but Eglantine House is so delightful. The entertainment capital of the Mont is full today with people. However, it is the courtesans that are the spectators. The podium in the receiving hall is set up with a candlelit lantern, acting as a spotlight. For today, tis the nobles of Terre d'Ange who shall be performing.

A bit away, and facing the podium, is a medium sized, rectangular table. Three Eglantine courtesans sit behind it. They are obviously the judges. One of the judges, a young woman with dark eyes and hair, scribbles something down as a busty noblewoman with a very high pitched voice finishes her solo. The young woman, one Daphne no Eglantine, the daughter of the famous Eglantine courtesans, Julien and Sophie, smiles politely. "Thank you." she says to the woman. "Please exit to the backstage area. Next!" She then sets down her quill and glances to each side of her, at her fellow judges, smiles and gives a little shrug, before frowning a bit. "Wait." she mutters, looking at each. "Who is next?"

Étienne steps in, both nervous and awed to be somewhere so grand and… well, expensive. He is handsome enough in the way of young D'Angeline men, though not in any extraordinary way. Until he smiles, his most striking feature is the intense blue of his eyes. It is his smile that makes him memorable in a way his looks never could, all dimples and naive delightat the eventure of being in the City of Elua, and in eglantine house particularly. He moves with an spare sort of grace, not a movement wasted, the tendancy to fidgit trained out of him young. He turns his dimples and his eyes towards the judges, his open expression hiding nothing of his sudden shyness and willingness to please.

He is freshly scrubbed in a formal, Northern cut tunic of black with forest green embroidery, wearing his best boots, dyed green to match. His shoulder length curly hair has been pomaded into a tail, that is likely to stay put, at least, instead of follow it's usual wayward tendency towards escape. The pomade has added a pleasant soft citrus tinge to the sea scent that clings to him and the natural musk of his skin. He has replaced the practical leather thong he usually uses to tie back his hair with a green ribbon. He has freshly trimmed his goatee and shaved around it. A ceremonial sword hangs at his hip, the leather sheath recently redyed black.

The Heir to Berck bows to the judges with a sweep as graceful as a heron's wing. His accent is very Azallese and not particularly elevated, though still noble. He clears his throat, "I'm Étienne d'Arguil, and… If someone might play a contre dance, I could…" He clears his throat again and shoots them an embarrassed smile, "I was… explaining to a friend how sword practice and dancing are rather similar. I was hoping to show you?" He blushes to his ears.

The glittering cold cat ears is what draws attention to the otherwise quiet Noire, her eyes are half closed as she watches the contestants, expression a rather serene smile. For the time being the overly dramatic Egalantine is not making issues for anyone. That could change rather quickly if she likes or dislikes something enough. When Etienne speaks up about it being his turn Noire says with an almost lyrical laugh, "Him, it seems. I didn't even look at the list of names."

To the left of Daphne sits a tall, dark haired young man. Those with an interest in the performing arts, singing especially, might very well recognize him as Jérémie nó Eglantine, a strikingly handsome young man lauded as one of the foremost vocal talents of his generation. He is currently giving a very polite applause at the performance that has just come to an end. "Thank you." he tells the woman with a small nod and a smile as she moves off the stage to make room for the next performance. As she does, he turns to the two women at his side, giving them a wide eyed look while containing a laugh behind closed lips that instead are pressed into a thin line. He runs a hand through his thick, black hair, rubbing the back of his neck for a short moment when his hand comes to rest there. "So far so good." He murmurs. He doesn't seem overly impressed, to say the least. Then, when Daphne muses about who the next contestant is, he turns his head to look around the room at the gathered people awaiting their turn to take to the stage. "Hmm, was it the tall lord with the accordien, next?" But then a newcomer steals his attention, and his eyes turn to the black and green clad young lord who has just entered. Jérémie leans a bit closer to Daphne, eyes still on Etienne. "What about him..?" He proposes, as much to himself as the two other judges, waving over the young lord before either of his fellow judges can answer. There's a bit of subtle murmuring in the corners, perhaps some people who have waited and aren't happy that someone who has just arrived get to step before the judges already, but it doesn't seem to bother the dark haired judge-of-the.-day in the least. If he has even noticed. He gives Etienne a quick look-over as he stands before them and introduces himself, before letting his eyes meet those of the Berck Heir. "Welcome, my lord, it is a pleasure to have you join us here tonight. Your planned performance sounds very intriguing, I look forward to see how you interpret the art of swordplay in dancing." He says to the man with a smile, before looking again to his fellow judges. There's an excited sparkle in his eye, indicating that perhaps the performances so far has been less than riveting. "Please." He then says, gesturing towards the stage. "We'll, aake sure that there will be music to accompany your dance."

As the busty noblewoman departs the podium, Daphne bites her lip to keep from laughing, but there is amusement in her eyes when she looks at her companions. That sparkle gleams brighter as she sees Noire, looking bored and sleepy. However, her eyes go to the cat ears on her friend's head and she smiles. "As always," she says to her. "You have the cutest ears!" She winks and then turns to Jeremie, murmuring something into his ear, before the new arrival appears. There are a few gasps and low whistles from some of the courtesans seated as spectators. A few nudge their companions and whisper in appreciation of the young man's physique. Quite a few bat their lashes at him. Daphne merely smiles in welcome. She very regally, gestures for him to step forward, onto the podium. "Welcome, My Lord." she says to him. "You may perform for us next." She then looks back to the group of courtesans and cocks her head to three sitting in front, holding their instruments. They nod and stand. As they hurry over to the side of the podium to play, they giggle and one remarks upon his 'adorable country accent'. More flirting, before Daphne clears her throat, a sign to focus and start playing. One plays a lute. Another plays a flue. The other plays the viole. They look to Etienne for a sign to begin. "When you are ready, My Lord." Daphne says.

<FS3> Etienne rolls Blades: Good Success. (1 4 2 8 6 5 8 8 5 5)

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

Étienne studies the three with an expression that suggests the bumpkin may not be quite as foolish as he generally looks. The ears give him a moment of pause, but he flashes the three his best smile, gives another of those elegant bows, and straightens into a perfectly correct dance posture. Apparently even in the country one can find the occational competent dancing master.

Étienne stands poised for a measure getting a feel for the tune. Then he starts to dance and dance beautifully, his initial shyness forgotten in his animal pleasure at being in disciplined motion. Contre dances are intended to be danced by long lines of couples, and he is dancing alone, but he has modified the steps with practice to mime dancing with imaginary partners. The grace with which he does most physical things becomes something truly special when he moves with purpose like this. Gradually the pattern of the dance shifts so that he moves back and forth and circles, but the steps retain the perfect balance and poise of the original simple dance.

Gradually he shifts the way his arms move from the stylized attitudes this sort of dancing requires to the more forward attitude of attack and parry, but there is a similarity to be seen in both forms and an underlying discipline. In one fluid movement, he draws his blade, and duels invisible opponents, only in the beauty of it, it is hard to tell which steps came originally from the dance and which from the practice yard. There is something between joy and serenity in his face and that particular expression is transformative. He has forgetten them: judges and audience both. In this moment, perhaps, he displays a smidgen of the divine ancestry that still lives in his blood. Étienne d'Arguil was made to move and move this way, and even if his swordsmanship is not quite up to the skill of his daning, at least it is something different than one usually sees.

"I might do rabbit ears tomorrow." says Noire with another tinkling laugh. A hand lifts up to the gold and diamond ears to adjust them. "It is terribly difficult to find someone who will make them outside masks. Luckily I have someone on call to do them for me on the regular." As in likely nearly daily. She is profitable for said person! Towards Jeremie she glances, studying him, before looking to Etienne as he begins his dance of swords. "He seems skilled." she observes to her companions.

Jérémie flashes a short grin to Noir as she mentions her impressive collection of animal-ear accessories. As he watches the young Azzalese lord and the adepts that are going to play take to the stage and get ready, Jérémie straightens his posture slightly in his seat, takes a sip of the glass of water in front of him and leans closer to his fellow judges once more, speaking shortly in a lowered voice. Then the music slowly begins, and his focus is fully directed at the stage and the man currently inhabiting it. He watches intently as the lord starts moving and the dance begins, his eyes following every graceful movement with as much trained precision as the movements and steps are carried out. Every now and then, there is even a glance towards the three courtesans providing the soundscape for the performance, but his gaze is quickly back upon Etienne again every time. It's impossible to see if he is impressed or disappointed, his facial expression unreadable, but the way his eyes stay on the man indicates that his curiosity is peaked, if nothing else.

As the music begins to play and Etienne begins his sword dance, Daphne turns serious. She keeps her eye on the young Azzalleze lord, watching his every graceful move, just as Jeremie does. However, while the Eglantine man's face remains unreadable, Daphne's at least shows something of a hint. A very tiny curving upwards of her mouth in a small half smile. A very subtle nod of her head. Her eyes give it away, though. There is a certain gleam of acute appreciation there. Without taking her eyes off the performance, she chuckles softly. "I hope they are furry and fluffy!" she says to Noire. "And yes." she agrees. "He seems rather skilled." She says no more about her opinion. Not yet, at least. Instead, she leans close to Jeremie, listening to a murmur he gives her. She smiles fully now and nods her head to whatever he says. There is a very soft giggle at whatever he says, but it is very short and she cuts it off, composing herself quickly. She again turns her attention to Etienne's performance, paying close attention until it is completed.

As the music builds towards the finale, one can see him fighting down the contre dance line, combating the imaginary dancers in the figure with him. He ends with the sort of fancy spin that in a real fight would get a man skewered like a brouchette, followed by a dramatic lunge that ends in him on his knees with a dramatic thrust that like the spin is far more of dancing than of war. He stays like that, breathing hard and flushed from the exertion, for several long beats. Then suddenly, he seems to remember he's not in some practice yard in the country messing about. He looks up at the judges and gives them a smile so sheepish one might expects a collie to trot up.

"I liked the performer. Quite appealing." says Noire, uncaring if she is over heard. Who the performer being talked about is unclear to everyone but the judges so there could be a lot of assumptions going on about who she is talking about. To Etienne she beams, "Lovely." THat is all she says, offering no insight to whether he is her choice or not.

Nathaniel arrives from the Mont Nuit.

Nathaniel has arrived.

One of those waiting to perform is Nathaniel. The golden haired heir to the Comte De Lafoneuil easily draws attention his way with his handsome appearance. Dressed in a silk shirt of a pale blue so light it almost seems silver and grey trousers and boots he looks elegant and refined. A half cape of the same blue as his shirt flutters down his back and is held in place with a glittering diamond pin shaped like a small snowflake. He stands calmly though he does applaud for the sword dance looking quite intrigued by it if his expression is anything to go on. He awaits his turn with a look of patience, his eyes drifting curiously over the room.

"I guess she has some talent with her mouth, even if singing isn't one of them, hmmm…..?" Jérémie comments idly but with a smirk to Noir, his tone one of casual amusement and his eyes still on the dancer on the stage and the increasingly fast-paced performance of blade and precise movements. His face remains largely unreadable throughout the performance, but there is a slight widening of eyes and the hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his full lips towards the end, when Etienne lunges forward unto his knees, thrusting his blade into one of the imaginary opponents. Then as the dance has come to an end, he looks shortly to the two courtesans at his side before his eyes again find the form of Etienne. A small, almost inaudible couple claps of elegant, long fingered hands at the performance as he looks the now flushed and exerted man. "Impressive. Thank you very much, my lord. That was a pleasure to behold. Feel free to stay and watch the other contestants. If you need any refreshments, Arima here will take care of you." He then says, gesturing to a novice standing off to one side, with an Azzalese dialect almost perfectly matching Etienne's own, before giving him a polite smile and a nod. Whether the performance was impressive enough to have made him the top of this particular judges list, he doesn't give any indication of. He gestures to the adepts who has been playing their instruments to accompany the dance, and seem rather taken with the sword dancer, to re-take their seats.., and then goes to scribble something down on the piece of paper in front of him. Then he looks to Daphne and Noir. "Now, who's next?"

Étienne stands, gives a final bow to the judges and scuttles out of the way in search of something to wet his dry throat from the indicated Arima. It is not clear how much of his flush is from the dance or from embarrassment.

Daphne 's mouth does finally turn into a full smile at the end of Etienne's performance. She tilts her head to the side, an expression of approval and appreciation of his talent upon her face. "I adored it!" she remarks honestly. "You are very well skilled in dance, My Lord." she says to him. "In the martial arts, as well." She then ponders a moment, deciding what else to say, how much or how how little to say to him. Finally, she speaks. "I don't know much about swords, but I know dance." she tells him. "You were very impressive." Again, a nod and a smile approval to the Azzalleze lord. "It was a wonder to behold." She gives him one last smile before he bows and scuttles out of the way, as Jeremie asks who is next. At the comment about the one contestant's mouth, Daphne cannot help but to laugh merrily. "I would not know, myself." she allows, blushing just a bit. "I can honestly say that I have never had an assignation with her." She winks at him then says, "That accent was perfect, darling!" she compliments. "It sounded identical." She flutters her lashes at him, then chuckles, elbowing him slightly. She then turns to Noire, leaning close to her friend to hear her whisper. Her eyes go wide and she bites back another merry laugh, pretending to cough, but nods and whispers back to her in reply. Her eyes then catch the golden haired newcomer. It seems the adepts and younger courtesans in the audience are getting many treats this day. There are more giggles and flutters of lashes. More nudging and blushing. All directed at Nathaniel. Etienne is still getting a lot of attention, too. As he makes his way to find refreshment, a group of pretty young adepts, both male and female rush to him, almost crowding him in order to serve him.

Daphne turns to Nathaniel and smiles. "It seems you are next, My Lord." she says to him, indicating the podium. "What talent do you wish to perform for us?" she asks him. As she waits for the reply, and the start of the performance, she gently nudges Jeremie again. "So, what color was he?" she asks, tilting her head to indicate Etienne.

<FS3> Nathaniel rolls Writing: Great Success. (2 3 4 4 3 7 4 7 5 7 8 4)

Taking the stage now Nathaniel smiles warmly to those gathered. In his hands rests a black leather bound book. However he has eyes only for the crowd as he flips open the book to a certain page. "Good evening. My name is Nathaniel Lafons and I would like to share with you part of a story I have been writing."

Bowing his head to the book he begins to pace slowly as he recites the story written in those pages. His low and sultry voice fills the room with its sound, both alluring and dramatic. "Today I bring to you a story from lands afar. From a land as cold as deepest winter where the sun shines only for a brief time each year. The people of this land are few not only because of the bitter cold, but because of the curse that brought that cold to this once fair land."

Pausing for dramatic affect he whirls about cape fluttering softly as he fixes the crowd with an intense stare. His voice continues to relay the story as his eyes slowly sweep the room. "Once the land I speak of was lush and green, animals and people roamed the plains and forests there freely. The different tribes of people traded among themselves without issue. The tribes even had festivals together, every year during summer they would all gather at a different tribes village to celebrate. The Orin tribe was hosting the festival that year. The Orin were among the most blessed of the tribes due to their Oracle, a young girl of etheral beauty who was rumored to see the future and be able to offer warnings and advice. However no one outside the tribe had ever seen this supposedly grand beauty."

Nathaniel paces in an agitated fashion now as the story continues, the dramatic affect in his voice growing. "Lack of knowledge often brings agitation to those who suffer from it. One such person was Syra the leader of the Jahar Tribe. He demanded to see the Oracle for himself and when he convinced the other tribe leaders to demand the same the Orin relented and the Oracle was revealed. A girl no more than eighteen, with silver hair and eyes as golden as the summer sun. Her ivory skin was fair and soft and all the men where stunned by her beauty.None where more impressed however than Syra, he extended an offer of marriage to her only to be shocked by the looks of disgust the Orin sent him. The Oracle looked at him with those molten gold eyes and smiled. "You have come to set me free. But in doing so you will condemn these people. Are you sure?" The Orin moved to surround her but it was too late Syra had already kissed the beautiful woman.

Nathaniel pauses his gaze once more sweeping the room his eyes showing a look of deep sorrow. "Little did Syra know the Oracle was not a blessing to the Orin. But a demon of winter and change bound and forced to serve as an advisor to them until such a time as she could make men love her. It was her powers unleashed that froze the land and killed over half its people and nearly all the animals. Syra died with that first kiss and his frozen body still remains outside the door to the tower of ice she built over the bones of those who enslaved her for so long. There she lies in wait, drawing men in still should they be foolish enough to venture into her domain.

Once more Noire is silent, dipping her head in thanks to Etienne after he finishes. Then Nathanial is up with his story and to him hr head cants to listen. As one would expect from someone who specializes in the theatre her expression is unreadable and graced with a smile. The gold and diamond cat ears still sparkling in her hair,

Jérémie glances towards where the group of younger courtesans are gathering around Etienne, all of them eager to make sure he is well provided for, and some of them most certainly trying to catch his eye for a future assignation. He smiles at the excitement displayed by the small group, remembering well how it was before his Marque was completed. Then Nathaniel takes to the stage and introduces himself. "Welcome. It is a pleasure to have you performing for us here today, my lord." He tells the man with a polite smile and gesturing idly with one hand. "Whenever you are ready." The black haired courtesan then turns shortly to Daphne when she nudges him and poses her question, giving her a soft smile and a wink that shows far more emotion than anything shown towards any of the contestants so far. "Orange with a tint of red. Darker than I had expected." He answers her shortly. He then scribbles another few things on the note in front of him before leaning back in his seat and resting his eyes on Nathaniel as he gets ready to start his story. He listens intently as the Lafons lord tells his story, his eyes fixated on the man as he moves around the stage, gesturing dramatically in accordance with the ups and downs of the story. He seems to enjoy it, his own body moving slightly in tune to the words spoken as the story unfolds. When it comes to an end, he doesn't speak immediately, turning to his fellow judges and whispering something before turning his head to address the storyteller. "That was very impressive, my lord. Thank you for sharing that tale with us." He gives the man a polite nod and a smile.

Symon has arrived.

Yun has arrived.

Étienne blushes to his ears, "It's just something I do for… for fun. It's nothing like the one time I saw an Eglatine Adept dance." He is far too well brought up to respond to the accent, especially as he's not sure if it was a form of mockery of simply art. Then he is being overwhelmed by a crowd of adepts he has no idea what just what he is meant to say to and so falls back on his company manners, all please and thank yous, while seriously contemplate full on terrified panicky flight. He stills as Nathaniel starts his story, arrested in his contemplated retreat. he returns Jérémie's look with his own wide eyed expression of a deer who has wandered into the path of a hunter.

Nathaniel bows as he finishes his tale. Looking to Jeremie he smiles a warm and rather dazzling smile. "You are most welcome, thank you for allowing me to share it." He moves to vacate the stage and drifts over, near to where Etienne is standing. He smiles to the other nobleman. "You did quite well with your dance if I may say so." He offers to the other man with a smile before turning to see who might be next. The gaggle of courtesans and adepts are met with a shy timid looking smile should they move his way.

Eglantine is a favorite of Symon's, so it is not so surprising that he should drop by of an evening when he is finished with whatever he had been doing beforehand. He walks in backwards, still calling, "I'll hold you to that!" to whoever he was with previously. He pauses, trying to make visual sense of all that is happening. "I say."

Yun is from a long, long…long, way away. And one of the reasons she is in the country is to study the natives. And what better place to study them than some form of ceremonial gathering? Dressed in white - pants and blouse rather than a dress - the young woman strides in, curious and confident. A satchel bag over one shoulder contains pen, parchment, and cartographic instruments. She has forsaken weapons for the evening at least. A stage? Interesting. The Ch'in woman finding a spot where she can view the events easily.

Daphne sits back in her seat as Nathaniel takes his place up on on the podium. All goes quiet as he begins to speak. She listens raptly to the tale he weaves, soon leaning forward, leaning a bit over the table in her captured interest. She is extremely attentive, at as the story comes to a close, she smiles and sighs. "Very engaging, My Lord." she says to him. "I was absolutely spellbound!" She also gives him a nod of approval, then leans close to Jeremie and Noire, listening to the whisper. She nods and whispers back, then scribbles on her parchment. "What color is he?" she asks again to Jeremie. "Also…" She chuckles softly. "Try and do his voice, too!" She winks a him. "I want to hear it!" She then looks to Noire and her cat ears again. "Elua, but they are so cute!" she sighs. "By the way…" She grins. "The evil woman in that story had silver hair just like you!" She grins as she teases her best friend, then glances at Etienne and his new crowd of admirers. She smiles. "I think they have a new crush." she says to her friends before she looks around the gathering. "Yes, who is next…" There are two new faces who have appeared. The foreign one makes her tilt her head in interest, while her then glance towards the man that appears. "I wonder what is being held to?" she asks, her eyes dancing. She looks between the two. "Are you both here to compete?" she asks them.

"Oh," Symon says, blinking at Daphne's question. "W…well, rather." That is his answer, though it's unclear whether he has any clue what is happening. And he has probably had some drinks. But he smiles. Then cranes his neck. Oh, it's Etienne! He waves cheerfully.

Étienne nods to the other nobleman, "Your tale was quite good." He drinks of half of the goblet he was handed in an attempt to steady himself. It is then a familiar voice catches his notice and he looks towards the bellowing newcomer rather like a man who's fallen overboard looks towards a rope. He blurts out, "Symon, you should dance!" in his country accent.

"Compete?" Yun is a little surprised at Daphne's question before looking around at those in the hall. Not many weapons. No one seems to be fighting with their bare hands either. Martial competitions she understands but this does not seem to be one of those. "Compete in what way?" She missed the storyteller and dancers.

Jérémie chuckles faintly when Daphne asks him about the color of Nathaniel's voice and her wish to hear his impersonation of the mans voice and dialect. "Brown, with a hint of turqoise. Quite beautiful actually, although you might not think so." He answers her in a near perfect impersonation of the man who has just been sharing with them that most enrapturing story. Then his attention is caught by the two newcomers, and the white clad, and clearly foreign, woman especially, when Daphne addresses them, his eyes alight at the sight of more potential contestants. He grins at the confusion of the young Chi'in woman. "We are having a contest to see who can express whatever talent they hold in the most impressive and entertaining way. People will have today to come here and perform, and the three of us will award our particular favourite with a token for the Longest Night Fete held at Cereus House. You are welcome to enter, if you so wish, or to simply partake in some refreshments and watch the other contestants make their bid for one of the aforementioned tokens." He answers her question with a smile. "the same goes for you, naturally, my lord." He then says to Symon, the same polite smile staying on his lips, his hand gesturing towards the stage when he mentions performing, and to the spectators seats when mentioning simply watching. "So which of you wants to make the stage yours, next?" He then says, his smile and tone both tunring slightly challenging but no less friendly or polite.

"Should I?" Symon replies to Etienne, sparing a glance for Yun and then blinking at Jeremie. "If you insist, I can offer a dance, though w…whether it shall be of any p…particular talent, I cannot say. Can w…we have music?" He comes forward to see what he can muster in the way of solo dance, more suited though his skills may be for partnered court dances. He steals bits of choreography from here and there, including Eglantine dances he has seen in the past in various places.

<FS3> Symon rolls Dancing: Failure. (5 2 6 4 5 2 5 4 4)

Symon spends 1 luck points on Reroll Dance for competition.

<FS3> Symon rolls Dancing: Good Success. (4 5 3 4 7 5 1 1 7)

Daphne lets Jeremie explain the event to the newcomers and smiles encouragingly at them. As Symon takes the podium and asks for some music, she motions for the adepts with the instruments to come forward again. They had been ooing and ahhing over Etienne and Nathaniel but come hurrying over into place as soon as they see Daphne's gestures. She holds a hand up, though. "First, tell us your name, My Lord." she calls out. "Then you may begin to entertain us!" To Yun, she sends a smile. "You may go next, if you wish." she tells her. She then nudges Jeremie with a smile. "I love it when you mimic voices." she tells him. "You are so good at it!" She chuckles. "Also, brown and turquoise go well together." she tells him. "I think they are attractive together." she chuckles once more and then turns her attention to Symon.

Nathaniel bows his head to Etienne and smiles. "Thank you." He looks over at the judges briefly and then his eyes sweep over to the newcomers curiously. He watches with interest, accepting a glass of wine and watching the next performance quietly.

Étienne flashes Symon and encouraging smile and cheers him on. He taps his foot along with the dance music and is clearly honestly hoping his friend will do well, without thought of how that might affect his own chances.

Symon supplies his true name first, "Symon de P…Perigeux." He doesn't do badly, turning an early stumble into an opportunity for an energetic leap and then using that risk to propel himself through a number of turns and reversals. There is a springy lightness to his movements and despite the drinks he's had earlier, he doesn't seem to get dizzy easily. His improvised choreography lacks a certain cohesion, but his dance is sincere and upbeat. And he concludes it at the first musical cue that might suggest it is a good time to stop, not risking running over his appropriate time when there may be others to take their turn.

Yun nods slowly to Jérémie's explanation. "Ah, I see. And this prize is important?" She's still trying to deal with the honor shown courtesans in this country. Still, investigating an invitation only event would be good for her studies. As Symon offers to dance, Yun tries a different tack. "I can sing a little. You probably won't understand the words though. And you will not know the music either. I shall have to sing unaccompanied." A pause. "So I will apologise now if I dishonor your competition." She watches Symon…who is a Lord? Nobles prancing around on stage is also a new thing for her, yet he seems to be more than acceptable.

Étienne cheers enthusiastically and sets aside his goblet to clap loudly for his friend, clearly oblivious to any flaws.

"Only if you wish to attend the Fete at Cereus House." Jérémie answers Yun with a faint shrug of shoulders and a jovial smile. "It's quite prestigious to get an opportunity to attend it, only those few who manages to get a token will be allowed entrance." His eyes sparkle when she mentions singing, and he seems just a little more interested right away. "Do not worry about such things as language, I am sure your performance will transcend any such barriers. Art is a language all of it's own." Jérémie then let's Symon take to the stage and introduce himself. "Welcome Lord Symon." He gestures to the stage. "Whenever you are ready." His tone is once again a near perfect mimicry of the voice of the man he addresses. It doesn't seem to be meant as a mockery in anyway if his features give any indication of such. He gives Daphne a warm smile as she speaks to him, but, giving her a wink and a slight nudge of one elbow as he gets ready for Symon to start. He watches as the Perigeux lord dances, his eyes widening slightly when there is almost a stumble at the beginning, but smiles as Symon manages to use the momentum to his advantage. His eyes stay on the stage during the performance. When the performance ends, he gives the man a small nod and a polite smile. "Thank you, my lord. An excellent display of skill." His tone is as polite as his expression, but he doesn't seem overly impressed. Then again, he hasn't by any of the performances so far, his features still hard to read at any rate.

Symon doesn't take it hard that Jeremie doesn't seem all that excited about his performance. After all, this is Eglantine House; why should professional entertainers be impressed with amateur dancing? He looks cheerful and goes over to grab Etienne by the shoulder. "Did I m…miss yours?"

Daphne smiles as Jeremie explains to Yun the tradition. "Every year, on the Longest Night, Cereus House holds a grand fete." she says, eyes shining. "There is dancing, music, wonderful food and joie overflowing!" she says. "Plus, of course, tis a night that truly celebrates Elua's precept of "Love as thy wilt"." She then turns to the podium as Symon introduces himself. She does notice the stutter, but does not remark upon it. Instead, she keeps that smile on her face as the music starts and the Peregeux lord begins his dance. A dancer herself, Daphne's gaze is keen. She watches him closely, her serious and pointed facial expression a telling of her technical thoughts. She winces slightly at one point, but then gives a little half smile when the lord doesn't let his stumble ruin his performance. She nods slightly, then turns to look at her friends as the dance is completed. She claps softly. "Thank you, My Lord." she says to him. "You dance very well." She then looks thoughtful. "It is plain to see that you are not a professional." she says to him. "Yet, you danced with such a joy and abandon." Her smile grows. "You danced because you liked to danced." she says to him. "It is fun for you." Her gaze is gentle and warm. "That is why we should dance, after all." She then turns to Yun as Symon exits. "I am very much looking forward to hearing your song." she says to her. "Please, step upon the podium, tell us your name, and then you may begin."

Étienne nods, "I am so glad to see you! There is wine!" Also rather a lot of enthusiastic Adepts he has no idea what to do with. He blushes, "I… showed them the sword dance thing. I'm not sure it counts as a talent, but they seemed to like it? Mostly?" After a sip of his wine, he is struck with an idea, "Oh! Maybe we can get someone to sing your song later!" He lowers his voice, "I wonder what she'll sing?"

<FS3> Yun rolls Singing: Failure. (6 1 2 5 1 6 3)

Laure arrives from the Mont Nuit.

Laure has arrived.

It sounds like this prize is worth winning, so with complete confidence, Yun takes to the stage. She stands still, surveying the crowd before offering a slight nod. "I am Yun Tien from the lands of Ch'in. I now travel the world to learn of new lands. To hear their stories. To document the lives of the rich and poor. I would like to sing for you a song I learned from remote tribesmen in the High Mountains. It is the tale of a yak farmer who is lost in a storm. His bride to be is distraught and heads into the blizzards to find him. At the peak of the storm, they find each other and hide in a cave, warm with their love. The cave turns out to be the home of a Monster Man…who eats them." She clears her throat after that explanation and starts to sing.

Yun may be the only one that calls it singing. To the ears of those present, it sounds more like a cat being stretched on a rack…while a dog howls from having its testicles in a vice. The 'singer' does not seem perturbed by the caterwauling. To her, it sounds perfectly fine. Different musical scale to what her audience is used to. Or even what one glass is used to as it shatters. Yun suddenly stops and bows. "Thank you." She departs the stage.

"Great fun!" Symon replies enthusiastically to Daphne. Since he wandered into the competition by chance, he seems not at all bothered about actually winning. Back to Etienne: "They m…must have loved it," he replies. And then his attention on Yun. "Ooh, how novel," he says. "B-but it w…would take so long to write it out again and w…we can't have an Eglantine sing such a low song." He grins. "W…we'll have to hire a sailor at some p-point." He closes one eye, wincing at this anticipated performance from a foreign land. "Doesn't translate, eh."

Symon has left.

<FS3> Etienne rolls Composure: Failure. (1 4 6)

<FS3> Jeremie rolls Composure: Great Success. (5 3 7 7 1 3 4 4 7 5 3 7)

<FS3> Daphne rolls Composure: Good Success. (6 3 4 7 1 3 8 2)

Étienne is rather wide eyed at the libretto, but settles in to listen with real interest. Until he hears the result that is. He has one of those faces that hides nothing really. His wince is followed by a look of alarm. He looks Yun over to make sure she is really not torturing a cat or obviously injured, then drifts off in Symon's wake in search of quieter amusements.

Etienne leaves, heading towards the Mont Nuit [O].

Etienne has left.

<FS3> Laure rolls Composure: Good Success. (3 1 6 3 8 6 7 5 1 8 1)

To say Laure Shahrizai is late would be wholly inaccurate; this is a woman who is exactly where she intended to be at exactly when she intended. Her gown is simple but immaculate, of the finest midnight blue silk, carefully kept and masterfully fitted. She's already disposed of her cloak via her guard, though the man hardly seems necessary — her presence overshadows his quiet competence. A novice is accosted to fetch her drink (for what do we have novices for, otherwise?) as she takes in the merry salon. A single imperious brow is all that's spared for the Ch'in woman's performance, though there's a certain something about it that appeals to her senses.

"Well, this should be interesting." Jérémie remarks to Daphne and Noir as he watches the foreign woman take to the stage. There's even small signs of something akin to actual excitement on his features, perhaps at the chance to hear a song from a land as far off as Chi'in. He settles into his seat, giving the other two judges of the day another glance with eyebrows raised and a wide smile. A wide smile that quickly turns less wide, then fades, and then turns into a flat smile, probably to hide a frown. His whole body tenses a little as he manages to mostly hide a winch. His eyes even twitch a little, but he manages to hide his true thoughts pretty well, A very faint clearing of his throat and a subtle sigh making his body relax once more. "Thank you very much Mademoiselle Yun, that was….very different from anything we have heard so far today." He then tells Yun with a polite smile, before looking to Daphne and Noir again, speaking in a low voice that only they can hear. "So, who's next?" he then asks off the room, looking around the room, seemingly intent on moving on from that most recent experience as fast as possible. His eyes catches Laure as she enters. "Ah, welcome my Lady. Are you here for a chance at one of the tokens?" He asks of her with a smile?

'A job well done and a song well sung' is Yun's interpretation of the quiet response to her song. It is a sad tale so of course there is no clapping and some sobbing. She nods to Jérémie's words. "Thank you. The moral of the tale is 'Though love may keep you warm, it is no armor to a beast's teeth'. There are numerous metaphors at work there too." Courtesans would appreciate such philosophies. The Ch'in woman then finds a place to stand and watch the next performance. It doesn't have a hope against hers, but she will be polite and listen/watch.

<FS3> Laure rolls Investigation: Great Success. (6 8 4 8 2 6 7 4 7 1 2)

<FS3> Laure rolls Investigation: Good Success. (7 7 3 4 3 4 1 2 4 3 1)

Daphne also looks rather excited at the upcoming performance by Yun. "I have never heard Ch'In music before." she says to the other two judges. She clasps her hands together in anticipation and leans forward again, a little bit over the table. She seems enchanted with the back story Yun tells them. She gives her a nod, her dark eyes sparkling at the tale. Then, the 'music' starts. There is an abrupt stiffening of the courtesan's muscles as she tries her best to keep her natural reactions at bay. Like Jeremie, there is a slight wince but her smile stays in place. It's just….a rather stiff smile. Her clasped hands clasp together tighter. Finally, blessed Elua, the song is over. Flashing a dazzling smile, though with gritted teeth, Daphne regards Yun sweetly. "Thank you, Madamoiselle Yun." she says to her. "That was so very…." She clears her throat. "Interesting." She nods emphatically. "It is always wonderful to learn something of other cultures." Then, she gives a very quiet sigh of relief under her breath as Yun departs. "Next!" she calls out, catching sight of the Shahrizai woman. Of course, with her appearance, she couldn't be from any other family. Whether or not she has ever laid eyes on her before, it is obvious. "My Lady." she greets and rises, dropping into a respectful curtsy. "Might you wish to compete?" she asks her.

Jeremie no Eglantine, isn't it?" the name rolls off Laure's tongue, accent strongly Kusheline, "I do wonder, what does music from Ch'in look like?" Her cool gaze regards Yun critically but not unkindly, addressing the woman, "The music does not move in the same way, does it? How queer ours must seem to ears so tuned." Carmine-brushed lips curl unnervingly at Daphne as the courtesan greets her. "And Daphne no Eglantine. Tell me," the Lady pauses, making a show of considering yon stage before returning her weighty regard to the Eglantines, "what prize is it we compete for this eve?"

Jérémie tilts his head slightly and regards the Sharizai lady a bit more thoroughly when she addresses him by his name so directly. He is well known enough among artistic circles that he is not unaccustomed to being recognized by members of the public, especially those of noble stock. And still, there's a curious glance in his pale blue eyes as he regards her there. He takes a short moment to answer, and when he does, his tone is calm and tinted with amusement, yet no less polite or inviting for it. On the contrary. "Unlike anything I have ever seen before, my lady." He answers her with a humored half-smile. "The structure is very different." He then elaborates slightly. "But I believe you have me at a disadvantage. You seem to know who I am, but I am afraid I am not aware of your name. A shirazai, clearly, but more than that I am at a loss I fear." He glances to Daphne as his partner raises from her seat to offer the recently arrived lady a graceful curtsy, one brow raised slightly and a small chuckle escaping his lips. "Always so very proper.." He muses to himself in a tone of both amusement and adoration.

Since Laure seems to be an important noblewoman, Yun bows to her when addressed. "There are different musical scales and tones in use around the world. I find the music of this country pleasant. Remarkably conformist but pleasing. The song I sang was of a more atonal scale but it was appreciated by the audience. I expect I shall receive one of the tokens. May I ask your name, M'Lady?" Though she will step back when Laure speaks with Jérémie and Daphne, choosing instead to watch and listen with cultural interest.

Daphne rises from her curtsy and slides a very small smile to Jeremie. "Of course." she tells him. "It is my duty to show propriety to the nobility." She then looks back to the Sharizai woman. "I am humbled to learn that you know who I am, My Lady." she says to her. She then gestures around the hall. "It is a talent show." she explains to her. "To decide to whom we shall bestow our tokens to this year, for the Longest Night fete at Cereus House." Once more, she offers the noblewoman a chance to compete. "We have just enough time for one more contestant before we take a small break." she says to her. "Again, if you are interested." To Yun, she bites bite a small giggle. "I am happy to hear that you like our music, madamoiselle." she says to her. "Many of us here at Eglantine House have spent our whole lives studying it and performing, perfecting our art to share with others."

"Laure Shahrizai, Vicomtesse de Saumur," the woman provides. While her tone is in no way haughty, it conveys that she views her identity as a Thing That Ought to be Known Already. The Ch'in woman is spared the air of contempt, Laure eyeing her as someone might a particularly sumptuous roast seasoned with an unfamiliar spice, "I would like to hear more, sometime, when the mood suits." The woman even goes so far to return the bow in the Ch'in fashion; not one that puts them on a level, but it's a courtesy ungranted to any of the others present. Is it possible she actually did appreciate the caterwauling? There's the slightest hint in her mien of quiet approval with regards to Daphne's obeisance and her attention again wanders to the stage. "Well, and why not?" Without thought, her glass of wine that the novice fetched her is abandoned on the corner of the judge's table and she sweeps onto the modest stage.

Jérémie nods to the words of Daphne as she speaks, his eyes moving between her, Laure and Yun. There's a low sound of disgruntled surprise and a quick, sharp glance from Jérémie towards Daphne, before the dark haired courtesan reaches an arm down towards his ankle. He looks at Daphne with mild annoyance, but his eyes quickly finds the floor for a short second as he clears his throat subtly. Then he rises from his own seat and offers the Shahrizai lady a gracious and clearly practiced bow. "Excuse my manners, my lady. It's an honor to have you attend the arrangements here tonight." He tells her with a smile that seems just slightly more humble than those offered to most of the other guests. Another short glance at Daphne. He looks a bit surprised as Laure apparently intends to take to the small podium that has been set up and display one of her, likely plentiful, talents, but he simply smiles and remains quiet until she has found her place there. "Whenever you are ready, my lady." He tells her. "Do you require any musical assistance for you act?" He adds shortly after, indicating to the adepts with the instruments who has been assisting some of the previous contestants in their performances.

<FS3> Laure rolls Ars Oratoria+Philosophy+1: Good Success. (8 2 7 1 6 6 2 1 8)

<FS3> Laure rolls Philosophy: Success. (5 2 1 2 4 2 7 2)

Yun nods to Daphne's explanation about the constant practicing that the Eglantine's do. Seems excessive about something so simple, but nothing wrong with getting easy things perfect. Another bow to Laure. "Of course, Vicomtesse de Samur, I shall make myself available as you require." And then it is time to watch the noblewoman perform…something.

Daphne looks surprised and delighted when Laure announces that she will participate. "I am excited to see what you shall share for us." she says to her. She then gives Jeremie a grin when he stands and bows, finally. She nods to him, in gentle approval, before she looks to Yun. "I am sure you do not have issues with practicing, madamoiselle." she tells her softly, though her eyes twinkle. "Our arts do not come so…" She considers her words carefully. "Easy to perform for us, as yours seem to do." She gives a respectful nod to her, and then looks to Laure. She gestures for the adepts to be ready to play, if they are needed.

Yun nods to Daphne's words. "The song I sang is one of emotion, of a warning to the next generation, it is drawn from the soul. So, yes, music and song such as that does not need to be practiced. Would you reduce emotion and knowledge to mere technique? Is a lover not allowed to show their love without first learning for ten years which string to pluck first? Is a tale of courage and honor not allowed to be spoken until the teller can also blow the right note after twenty years of practice? There is a place for both types of music. They both hold their wonders. They both hold their truths. But not everything has to be practiced forever before it can be revealed. Some things even lose their truth in such overthinking. At the same time, perfect technique can definitely enhance the pleasure where the message is more universal." There is no bite in Yun's words. More an honest attempt to understand all that is offered.

The exchange between the Eglantine courtesans is duly noted, lashes flickering at the woman — more her kin that she had supposed. A sense of great possessiveness overtakes Laure as she settles on stage; possession of space, attention, time, all simply assumed as her due. At length, she speaks. Her rich voice is imbued with the sonorous quality of a trained orator, carrying effortlessly with achingly precise diction. "I am not given to perform the Cynic askesis of talaiporia, of performing hardship for the sake of such. We are, after all, the Children of Blessed Elua; when one speaks of living akin to physis, it is to him I turn, and not Diogenes of Sinope who sought to walk barefoot in search of virtue." She allows a heady pause. "Yet ponos and hedone are not disparate sides of a coin, never given to touch. When giving thought to the goodness of pleasure, and of hedonistically delighting in it, we also must face the badness of displeasure. For there, in that liminal area of intersection, do we find the nature of morality." Thus contemplative, the Lady departs the platform, not needing to wait for any sense of acknowledgement.

Daphne listens to the Shahrizai noblewoman's speech, paying close attention. Or, rather, trying to pay close attention. A bit of a confused furrow creases her brow at one point, but it soon smooths out to a neutral expression again. Once she is done, the courtesan smiles pleasantly to her. "Thank you, My Lady." she says to her. "That was very…inspiring." Again, she chooses to word her comment very carefully. Once Laure has exited the podium, she rises to her feet and walks up there herself. "Thank you everyone for coming." she says. "We judges shall discuss the performances amongst ourselves." She smiles to each contestant, before continuing. "The winners shall have their token delivered to them in the next few days, and we shall be posting the results upon the door of the House." With that, she gives a graceful, respectful curtsy to the nobles and another, smaller one to her fellow courtesans in the audience.

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