(1311-04-20) Opening Afternoon at Le Requin
Summary: The Le Requin Club opens its doors for the first time in a decade. But not all of those in attendance would be usually allowed to be there.
RL Date: Sat Apr 20, 2019
Related: Noble Pastimes and The Gift of Thought
aurore bastien belmont cedoric marco oliver raphael 

Le Requin — Grand Plaza

An archway connects the entrance hall to the parlour, a large chamber with a high rounded ceiling. Looming there above the proceedings within the club is a fresco, a depiction of Naamah and Eisheth engaged in a playful dance within an idyllic scenery, on a clearing between flowers and bushes. Walls are covered with wine red damask of golden ornaments, and gilded pillars with capitals of stylized alcanthus leaves frame the archways leading in and out of this chamber. One side is governed by a huge hearth of red marble, where two sculptures of graceful and scarcely clad maidens playfully sit on the two sides of the mantlepiece. They are adequately lit during the day by the three large windows in the opposite wall, each framed with heavy dark red curtains that can be drawn at night. On evenings and late nights, two chandeliers suspended from the ceiling shed light with their many candles, lighting enhanced when needed by a number of oil lamps at the walls and others that have been placed on the side tables.

Comfortable couches and chairs of dark cherry wood and red upholstery have been scattered in small groups about tables throughout the parlor, and to the far end there is even a table for playing cards or dice when in need of diversion. The archway on the far side opens towards the spiral stairway to the upper floor, and a door leads out to the inner courtyard or atrium. Beside that door, framed in gold, the rules of the club are listed for everyone to see (type +requin/help for an overview of available commands).

<FS3> Aurore rolls Subterfuge: Good Success. (3 4 6 5 8 3 8 5 3 2)

For about a decade, the doors to the Le Requin Club had been closed, not only to non-members but also to those who had acquired a place on the selective membership list. And yet, today, doors are open, and people are allowed to filter in, as long as they fulfill the requirements of being male, and also of noble standing, as usually should be easily noticed from their attire. It is late afternoon, and hence not too early for a first sip of wine or uisghe, as flagons of these have been set upon a table, beside a variety of glasses. The club has its own hired guards, and for now, those guards helped in their duties by a young man who is peeking out of the door. Belmont Erresse Delaunay is clad in doublet and breeches of midnight blue, a white shirt flashing at the collar, and he seems to be in best spirits, senses alert and slightly on edge, as tonight will be the opening night of the club.

A fashionable coach pulls up with liveried servants and the Chalasse arms displayed. A slender young man of slightly above average height dressed in an extremely fashionable doublet in Bonnel colours, with matching hose and expensively worked boots steps out first. Dark hair is cut in the way the young dany's are all wearing it in the capital this season with the hat that just became a la mode. He eyes the entrance with the jaded expression of a youth about town.

As he has been told on more than one occasion that he needs to make his presence known in the social circles of the nobility, young Bastien finds himself at the doors of the Le Requin Club. Today he is dressed in the blues and golds of the Mereliot. He walks with poise and grace that is polished, though there is a touch of uncertainty in his eyes, that is easily enough given to his age.

Second out of the Chalasse carriage is a taller and older man in a dark blue shirt bound at the throat with a dark cloth, layered over with a long blue jacket in a fine quilted fabric, and a midnight blue overlayer on that, silver buttons unfastened. Either midnight blue is the season's fashionable color for men, or it is simply a good omen that his clothing should match his host's in that respect. This man joins his younger kinsman with a nod and gestures toward the door that stands open to welcome them. He seems reserved in manner now, though the libations awaiting inside may well change that first impression. There is no one currently present who would have reason to recognize him as someone other than the nobleman he presents himself as now.

Cedoric was not shy to be amongst the first, if not the first, to arrive, possibly getting in as early as the morning of on knowing the proprietor and 'helping' by making sure all and sundry was in place and that the uisghe was… pouring… properly. At any rate, by the time people begin to arrive in earnest he has already made himself appear as though he's been living here some of those abandoned years, just waiting for the place to open back up and let in some fresh air. His doublet is a pristine white trimmed in deep forest green to contrast, his breeches and hose match, and his boots rise knee high in a polished black. The boots take him on a stroll past the gaming table, one finger stretching aside to touch its edge even as his attention is already past it toward the flash of Mereliot colors at the door, and, what, are those Bonnel colors standing dubiously beyond? "Hallo," he calls, primarily to the former, though the latter is hardly shunned as Cedoric returns to the vicinity of the entrance. "Welcome by, good fellows," he adds, in good cheer. "Won't you come in and make yourselves at home?"

Belmont's eyes narrow a little in curiosity, as he takes in the arriving carriage. The Chalasse colors and the fine attire of the young lord that gets out of the vehicle has Belmont's eyes brighten. One can almost feel the excitement that is tearing at his senses. Even as the Chalasse lord makes his approach, another seems to be quicker at the door. Belmont inclines his head in greeting the young man in Mereliot colors, and gives him a smile. "My lord. I am Belmont Delaunay." That poise is impressive for a young man, and Bastien seems to move with effortless grace. Even so, Belmont asks, "I don't think we have met before, would you give me your name?" Belmont's gaze flicks towards the second man that joins the Chalasse in his approach, taking in briefly the appearance of the man, before his attention returns to Bastien. And then there is Cedoric, who elicits a soft sigh on Belmont's part, and he turns his head pointedly to regard his kinsman. "I was just about to ask them to," he tells his Eresse cousin of the distant sort.

The young man in Bonnel colours looks Cedoric over, obviously judging, and speaks to Belmont in the aristocratic accent of Kusheth, his voice a little husky, "So what is a Gentleman's club exactly? We weren't sure. I'm François Bonnel, and this is my kinsman by marriage Pierre Chalasse." If anyone did know Lord François Bonnel, the particular draw and arrogant tilt of the young man's head is exactly like.

Bastien offers Belmont a slight but flourished bow and a smile, "I am Bastien Aubrey Mereliot, and I am positive that we have not yet have the opportunity of acquaintance, at least until now." He pauses, then explains himself further, "My father was Baron Auzonnet." Who recently died, legitimizing a previously unknown heir, which explains why his face is so unfamiliar to most of the nobility.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Belmont=Perception
< Aurore: Failure (3 3 5 3 6 3 5 1 5 4) Belmont: Failure (2 4 5 1 2 2 6 2)
< Net Result: Both Fail.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Belmont=Perception
< Aurore: Good Success (5 7 7 5 3 3 3 6 6 6) Belmont: Good Success (4 6 8 6 1 5 7 6)
< Net Result: DRAW

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Belmont=Perception
< Aurore: Amazing Success (8 7 1 2 7 7 7 5 7 2) Belmont: Success (3 8 6 4 6 6 3 1)
< Net Result: Aurore wins - Crushing Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Cedoric=Perception
< Aurore: Good Success (2 5 7 5 2 3 7 6 1 7) Cedoric: Success (3 2 8 4)
< Net Result: Aurore wins - Solid Victory

"I heard some rumor of this place from a kinsman /years/ ago," Raphael-as-Pierre is putting in, abstractedly making the perfunctory bows a man of nobility and distinction may be expected to make on introduction to his younger peers. He does not allow this gesture to interrupt his conversation: "But that it was shut. Imagine my surprise that it should reopen just at the time I make a visit." Pierre Chalasse is not known to favor visits to Marsilikos often. "It makes one wonder what has happened, to see such a young fellow throwing open the doors, now." He says this openly in Belmont's presence, but it isn't pitched as a question directly /to/ him.

"Oh, yes, quite," Cedoric yields place to Belmont without any further fuss than a genial, uisghe-pleased smile, allowing his coz to take to gathering introductions while he but listens on quite amiably. He doesn't happen to think to introduce himself in the midst of all these other introductions, but he's happy to pour himself a glass of wine, meanwhile, to follow down his earlier imbibition with something convivial and mild, and to lift in greeting to each of the arrivals as they make themselves known.

The Bonnel lord speaks, and Belmont realizes the man's origin at once, by the unmistakable Kusheline accent. "A gentlemen's club, my lord Francois," he replies with a smile, "is just that, a place reserved to noble men. Lord Pierre…" He looks towards Raphael. "Welcome to Le Requin." But there is the young Mereliot, and Belmont observes the perfectly executed bow with a bit of surprised awe. "Lord baron," he greets the young man, "Accept my condolences to the loss of your father. But be welcome nonetheless to these halls." Finally, he steps aside to allow the arrivals to enter. An ominous look is shot Cedoric's way, as if to make sure, his leisure-overindulgent cousin is not in any danger of misbehaving.

"Ah… my lord Pierre," Belmont catches the remark and almost challenge with another easy smile of his. "This young fellow has been blessed with marriage and station, and appropriate funds to spend somewhere. If there is interest in joining this club among the nobility, I'll be glad. If it should be otherwise, I would have to admit to have committed a folly, and sunk a considerable sum of ducats on renovations. But please… Have a look around and tell me… It does look quite homely. Homely, in a good way. Does it not?" His gaze brushes Cedoric and he lifts a brow.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Bastien=Perception
< Aurore: Good Success (4 1 7 5 3 7 5 6 8 2) Bastien: Failure (3 1 3 6 5)
< Net Result: Aurore wins - Solid Victory

François Bonnel looks around, "Perhaps something to drink." He eyes the Mereliot, "Are you much interested in cards or dice?"

"Have you, have you indeed," this faux-Pierre replies, and not unkindly but instead with interest. "Well, let us have a look at it. And where did you have the timber from? Local? I /tend/ to think that in Auvergne we have some of the very /finest/ timber for planking and framing, though of course you may not agree…" His tone suggests that while he is broad-minded enough to accept disagreement on this subject, really it would only reveal the other party's terrible taste. This is all said as he moves more deeply into the establishment and eyes the furnishings, the floors, the archways. "Fine chairs," he says. "Cherry wood?"

Biting his lower lip slightly, Bastien bows his head to Belmont, "Thank you, Good Sir. The whole matter has been quite a surprise to all." He walks inside, smokey gray eyes scanning the club. His attention is snapped back to the moment. "No, Lord Francois, alas I'm not. I have just come to money so to speak, I am in no great urge to be separated with it. I find a great deal of other things far more entertaining than games of chance or subterfuge. I am not that good of an actor to play cards. I might as well be playing with the cards facing the wrong direction." He offers an infectious grin, "Though a drink, now that does indeed sound sublime."

Cedoric returns the look from his coz with a loft of both brows, inquisitive, as though unsure what the look was ever for. But he doesn't say anything out loud, on that score, only lets it pass like water from a duck's back, expression shifting to a game and ready smile. "Homely, in a good way? I've never heard the word used that way before, but, then, I don't take much time with the lexicographers, and you would certainly know better than I. I take your meaning, however. It makes one very comfortable to look upon it. It's very well done," he appends rather casual but none the less heartfelt accolades to the prattle. Pierre's query as to the wood has him looking at a chair again, as though he would know anything at all about it. Which he wouldn't, it turns out, as he can only offer Pierre an affable shrug of uncertainty on that score. "It might be!" Which is professed with all due certainty, since it is, after all… quite true.

"Wine or uisghe?", Belmont asks of Francois, already moving over to the table to pour a glass, all attentive host that he is. As to Pierre, he replies, "About the planking, I have no idea, as that didn't need fixing. It was mostly the fresco up there," he gestures with the empty glass he is about to pour towards the ceiling. "And the walls," a look is given the walls, and he smiles. "And a few other things. The card table over there is in fact the old one that is still to be replaced. I have commissioned a new one from a local artisan and marquetist. Cherry wood, yes. Most of the furniture was in good condition, so I could keep it. Only the upholstery needed to be re-done." Overhearing Bastien's statement towards Francois, he looks towards the young Mereliot baron. "What about you, my lord? Would you like some wine rather, or some uisghe?" A glance towards Cedoric, and Belmont raises his brow, this time in silent question, whether his cousin needs a refill.

François Bonnel's opinion of young bastien can be seen to be sinking by the second. He sighs, "Fine, a round of uisghe all around. What other entertainments are available?" He eyes his kinsman's wood based antics with a sigh, but does examine the ceiling fresco with a connoisseur's eye.

Raphael who is and is not Pierre turns to look at Bastien for a moment, though it's hard to say why. Perhaps the older nobleman is simply amazed by a young noble who does not play at games of chance. Whatever the reason, he does not sustain this curiosity long and instead is back to Belmont, stamping one foot lightly on the planking as though he is to be the judge of whether it needs replacement. But he doesn't say it does. "Upholstery, hm," he replies, perhaps feeling slighted that his home province has not apparently seen any of the windfall from construction, though the renovations of one single club house could hardly be a drop in the bucket of a region's income. "Oh yes, I'll have uisghe," he says, whether or not anyone has specifically asked /him/. "Thank you." He turns to regard this fresco. "Comely renderings, aren't they? Cheerful." He is saying this to no one in particular, or to everyone.

"Fine." After providing all those present with their drinks, Belmont regards Francois, and he smiles. "Currently, none, unfortunately. Let me give you a brief history of the place. It was founded some decades ago, by the husband to the late Duchesse of Eisande, and father to Her Grace, Lady Armandine. He — for some reason or other — found it refreshing to have a place of tranquility to return to, while his wife was dealing with the political challenges of her province. It was he who established the rule of now wives being allowed in. No women, in general. A rule, that was soon slightly adjusted, when the wish for occasional entertainment arose." Eisandine as he is, Belmont falls into the melodic narration, as if he were telling a tale, like a mendacant. "There have been some secret fetes that were thrown at this club, my lords. And no one ever heard of what occurred there." He smiles. "This is another rule. That a certain discretion has to be followed when it comes to what happens within these walls."

Cedoric lifts his still relatively full wine glass with an expression of gratitude to his coz for his thoughtfulness, but in declination of further drink. He is to the sipping stage of intoxication, lest he become too deep in his cups before it is a decent hour for a young man to retire for the evening. If he is bibulous, he at least knows how to pace himself. Then his neck is craning back and he's following Francois' attentions toward the ceiling, beginning to perambulate in a slow, blind circle in order to better orient himself to the painting's visage. "I suppose we shall not be without feminine supervision after all," he jests lightly, as though to himself, pleased though he is at the attribution of the word supervision to figures literally looking down from above. "Oh!" He is getting some more uisghe, despite himself, to juggle in the other hand from his wine. "I'm a two-fisted drinker, to-night," he remarks jovially to his cousin, waiting for all to attain their uisghe drams and then sipping gingerly from it at the proper moment to mark the round decreed by Francois.

Bastien moves about the room, taking note of all the gentlemen there. He moves with the artful dance that one almost expects of a courtesan charousing a salon. At the call for a round of uisghe, he nods his head in the direction of Francois. For a young man, he seems to be content to remain in the edge of the spotlight.

François Bonnel rolls his eyes at the older gentleman's antics and gives Bastien a look as if to enlist him in mocking the antics of the older generation. "Surely one low stakes hand wouldn't break the bank? I mean what else is there to do without adepts about?" He tosses back a good mouthful of the liquor with a practiced air and no sign of choking. Still he listens to the club's history. His eyebrows go up. "Secret amusements? I see. Well, discretion is practically my middle name." He flashes a smile at Cedoric, a little gard around the eyes, "It is true. They will be looking down at us the whole time."

"Certainly I can understand why it might be convenient to keep the wives from underfoot when one is losing money. Eh?" Pierre says in response to Belmont's history, flashing a smile that is surely meant to enlist Cedoric's agreement as well, since Belmont is mid-tale, Bastien does not seem as though he probably has a wife to struggle with, and Pierre is very much pretending that he does not see his younger kinsman's mockery, since there is nothing more devastating than to be mocked by the young and attractive whilst being the oldest man in a room.

"This is not a salon," Belmont clarifies towards Francois. "This is a gentlemen's club. Which means… lords can come here to engage in conversations, or simply be at leisure. Perhaps discuss even politics," what a daring thought, uttered in a province where titles usually are inherited by the female offspring. "Cards. Dice. Of course. We can play those here, have our little wagers. But if you allow me? I can show you around a little. I think, what Lord Auguste Trevalion de Mereliot had in mind, was to recreate a place they have in the capital, a place where high ranking nobility and meet and plot and scheme. Well, in the case of this club here, landed titles won't be a requirement. But I think, the exchanges we could have here, along with the entertainment…" He lets the sentence trail off. "The club has a set of rules as I mentioned, and one of them is that disagreements between two members of the club are to be settled at once, in a fist fight or through a duel to first blood."

Bastien swallows down the drink. "Ah, well, they do say that a fool and his money are meant to part ways, do they not? I suppose one small hand of cards, and is not foolishness the folly of youth." He listens to Belmont with curiosity to the history and now the rules of the gentleman's club. He reaches up and combs a few loose locks of hair from his eyes.

Cedoric was quite busy making bad puns over there, and when Pierre seems to be trying to gather him in a-times he only echoes back, "Eh?" with a somewhat baffled-eyed look as if having been quite suddenly roused from his own thoughts. But soon his brain catches up on what his ears had taken in but had no notion what to do with, "Ah— yes, quite," he offers up rather congenially, for someone who is not, himself, taken of a wife. "Cedoric d'Eresse, by the by," he remembers to tell at least Pierre who he is, since he has accidentally begun a conversation with him, no matter of what little substance. "Oh, yes, let's have a walk 'round," he agrees with his coz.

Marco picks his way into the Requin with interest. The young nobleman looking around with open curiosity and fascination to see what mischief may be afoot in the place. He lets his eyes flick to each of those already arrived a hand lifting to trace his jaw with interest.

"That's the spirit, boy!" Raphael-as-Pierre encourages Bastien's newfound willingness to risk a coin, since Cedoric is not forthcoming with any witticisms about the trials of married life. Though this pretend-Pierre does not slight Cedoric's introduction, either. "Pierre de Chalasse," he returns as self-introduction, with a congenial smile. "How good to know you, you seem a fellow who can point the right direction to the best vintage in the room. Kinsman to our host, are you?" But he is willing to be herded on a tour, however selective the attention he pays to it. He glances over his shoulder at Marco as he makes this false introduction, but looks away again as if the young lord were unknown to him.

The guards would have let Marco in, and Belmont, in turning around to look towards the new arrival, issues a sketchy bow towards the lord. "Ah, it is Lord Marco Mereliot.", he remarks. "Wine or uisghe, before I give you a brief tour of the location?" No mischief seems to be afoot at the moment, at least not obvious mischief. Everyone seems to be equipped with a glass of uisghe — Cedoric has a second glass filled with wine as well — and Belmont smiles, holding himself with the confidence of a vicomte and a host.

Marco inclines his head to Belmont and he smiles, "I won't complain of a little uisghe." He says and he shrugs smiling to each of the others in tern 'Pierre' getting a curious look but he in general seems pleased to be seen, "I'm looking forward to seeing what you've arranged here. Please don't slow down on my account." He says encouraging falling in with the group smiling warmly enough at Bastien and Cedoric as well.

Bastien's attention is snapped to the newest arrival - that of yet another kinsman that he has yet to meet. For now, that meeting might wait a touch longer, as he is not want to interrupt the tour and story of their collective host.

François Bonnel looks surprised that his faux kinsman has said something sensible about why no wives. He shudders, "Politics. Worse than wives watching one lose money to the gambling tables. At least tell me there is music of an evening?" He gives Belmont a wicked grin, "Oh! Duels are fine entertainment. May we wager on them?"

He throws a friendly arm over Bastien's shoulder, "I promise to go easy on you, once we've had our little tour." He smells of a discreet amount of expensive fougere with just a scooch of civet. He looks over the newcomer with disdain, his Kusheline aristocratic draw absolutely perfect, "François Bonnel."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Marco=Perception
< Aurore: Success (1 4 5 2 5 4 2 2 4 7) Marco: Good Success (5 7 5 6 7 2 2 1 8 2 5)
< Net Result: Marco wins - Solid Victory

Their host gives Marco a moment to settle in, and another for introductions being made. Them, with his hand holding his glass of uisghe, Belmont heads towards the door at the opposite side, a quick glance and a smile cast back at those who may or may not be following in his wake. "These… special ways of sorting out conflict would be pursued in the inner courtyard," the Delaunay lord explains. "Most often with witnesses about, as to testify that the rules of dueling would be followed. I have heard of a few of such occurrences. One uncle of mine actually was member of this club.", he confides.

Cedoric is, yes, rather overburdened of drink, but he manages not to look too much like a lush standing there with a drink in each hand, taking a sip, now of this, now of the other. Finally he decides that this is an untenable position in the long term and simply puts away the uisghe in order that he might put down the glass before they go touring, so that he will have a hand free for the odd— who knows what he will want it for, but something will certainly come up. "I have been occasionally known to tell east from west where the vineyard's concerned," he retorts only half-sensically in response to the praise. "But I make no study of it. I mightn't be able to locate the equivalent of a cherry-wood chairframe at ten paces," he renders back compliments for the man's wood-eye. "Yes, I'm his cousin— I suppose he must, then, put up with me," gleams a boyish smile. The announcement of Marco into the chamber makes him turn around and lift his remaining glass in cheerful greeting.

Atrium — Le Requin

Enclosed within the building is a central court, in its appearance very much like a Tiberian style artrium. With only the sky above, the space in its center is exposed to the whims of the seasons, and even so, with the walls surrounding it, offers the privacy of a sheltered refuge. The square measures fifteen feet at each side, and it is surrounded by columns that are connected with arches carrying a porch-like roof, thus providing shade and shelter from occasional rain to the adjacent areas. The square in itself is slightly elevated, a podium of sorts that is worked in tiles of light grey travertine, accessible through a few stairs leading up at the front. In the very center is a small basin where rain water can gather, and each corner holds a small circle of greenery with a lemon tree.

A door on the opposite side of the courtyard leads to the quarters of the house staff, and to the right and to the left is where the kitchens and the privy can be found.

They step out into the inner courtyard, and a rare chill of an early spring evening greets them. There is indeed a space in its center, that can be used for settling disagreements this way or other. And Belmont steps to the side to allow the others to follow him out through the door.

Marco considers Francois' tale and his eyebrow lifts. He seems amused, "François Bonnel? I don't think we've had the opportunity to be acquainted." He says as he watches, "I'll have to thank the host for already drawing together such an… eclectic and varied group. Have you been in the city long? Lord Bonnel?" He asks as he takes up the glass of Uisghe. His eyes meandering as they move out and he lifts his drink in return cheers to Cedoric as they meander out. "It seems a pleasant little hideaway. It's a pity there isn't a pool to lounge in while others fight." He admits looking to Belmont perhaps hoping with the suggestion.

Raphael (or Pierre) is sipping occasionally at his whiskey, following in the wake of their host with a mildthough not intensecuriosity. "Naturally, if you live as long as I have so near our beautiful forests, you learn a thing or two about wood," this supposed Chalasse says, with all the hallmarks of a middle-aged bore who does not know he is being a bore. He seems on the contrary proud that his expertise should be appreciated. He takes a sip of the uisghe, looking over the glass toward his kinsman. "Very fine atrium. Just the spot for a lively duel."

<FS3> Aurore rolls Composure: Great Success. (6 5 8 7 8 2 6 1 7 5 5 8)

From his expression François Bonnel actually seems to vaguely approve of the Atrium, at least by contrast with the frescoes in the other room. "I have only just arrived on a visit to my aunt's husband." He gestures to Pierre. His tone suggests the Aunt is not particularly beloved. His walk and gestures are very convincing. Aurore is tall for a woman and lithe. With bound breasts and shaved face, with a good wig and her oh so fashionable clothes, it is not surprising she managed to pass. "He was kind enough to show me what amusements were on offer locally." François manages not to laugh when Pierre makes the comment about wood. Indeed, there is no crack at all in his perfect composure. "I admit, I would like to see the crossing of exposed blades.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aurore=subterfuge Vs Oliver=Perception
< Aurore: Great Success (1 8 2 6 8 3 4 7 8 8) Oliver: Good Success (4 5 3 7 2 8 5 6 6 6)
< Net Result: Aurore wins - Solid Victory

"No pool," Belmont clarifies towards Marco. "After all, these are not supposed to become competition to the temple baths." It is a light jest, offered with a wink. If there was a jest of wood made by the others, Belmont seems to be perfectly oblivious to it. "A duel here," he remarks then, towards 'Francois', "would require an insult or a disagreement. I haven't planned to get myself bloodied tonight, but… I plan to compete, actually, on the Day of Camael, in the duel contests."

And Cedoric, for his part, is not offering flattery, but was regularly impressed by Pierre's wood-identification stunt. That manner of thing could win a fellow a bar bet or three before people caught onto him, after all. A fine trick, the explanation for which Cedoric accepts with a grin. Then he's looking about the atrium, and his eyes light up with a certain pleased anticipation, "Or else," he offers, as an alternative to those with an evident thirst to see blood, "It could stand lovely for a jeu de paume court."

Blind men have a schedule. It's their own. He heard this place was opening and decided to get all fancy and head over. He's wearing leather pants, a white tunic and a navy jacket overtop. He walks into the place using his long black cane. There is no Henri in sight to help him and he's trying to be self sufficient. He taps his cane along the floor and stops to listen to the voices in the room. He tilts his head as he listens for someone he recognizes. His hair is brushed back out of his beautiful blue eyes and he actually looks rather good..

Marco glances over at Raphael's words and snorts faintly, "I can think of so many better things to do there than fight though." He says and he then looks between François and Pierre. He studies Pierre with more interest then "OIh and what kind of amusements have you found pleasant so far?" He asks and he waves a hand at Belmont, "Not a competition but…" He shrugs his shoulders, "But I suppose if you don't think it's appropriate." He sounds utterly disappointed. He glances over as he sees Oliver and he smiles at the man, "Oliver, you're looking well."

Oliver would have had to give his name at the door, or he wouldn't have been admitted by the guards. One of those guards probably was so kind as to show him into the parlor, and from there out to the atrium, the inner courtyard.

Bastien looks to Francois, "Ah yes. Please do… I am not much of a gambling man." He then looks to the yet newest arrival and says to Francois, "If you would excuse me."moves over to the blind man, as well. "Hello, Oliver." He looks over offering a polite, and somewhat friendly smile to Marco, bowing his head slightly as he does so.

"My kinsman enjoys a hand of cards, so I admit we did stop in at the Glycine earlier in the week to get fleeced by the Bryonies," this supposed Pierre replies to Marco, moving that way after sharing a quiet, "Quite, quite," with Cedoric. To Marco: "Your name is familiar. Are you one of the ones getting married this summer? I ought to congratulate you…" But then here comes Oliver, and this non-Pierre is distracted. "Ah, my young lord," he says, crossing toward the blind man, "You must take care of your footing here so you will not stumble." He moves to take the fellow's arm, perhaps rudely cutting him off from Bastien, and says something in Oliver's ear, perhaps warning of the obstacles the atrium could present, with its columns and podium and basin.

Belmont grins actually at Cedoric's suggestion, as he lets his gaze drift over those porch-like roofs surrounding the inner space. "Ah… this would be something to consider," he agrees then, a bit thoughtfully perhaps. "The question is… would we manage to get enough for two teams? Or would it end up in a one-on-one?" But there is a new arrival, and Belmont steps forward to greet the young man. "Good day, my lord. I am Belmont Delaunay, and I see you have elected to pay our fine club a visit." He looks towards Marco, as Marco seems to be acquainted with the young lad. Bastien too. If only someone would have mercy and introduce him?

He grins warmly at Marco and bows his head. "I am sure you are too, Marco." He speaks softly. He hears Bastien and he smiles brightly and then someone is holding his arm. He recognizes that voice. He tilts his head slowly and licks his lips. He nods his head and grins. "Very kind of you, my lord." He says to Pierre. He holds his hand out. "Lord Bastien would be so kind as to be my guide this evening?" His voice is kind.

Marco inclines his head to Pierre, "I am. You seem familiar as well. Have you been visiting the city for long? Gambling can always be fun, I find that a little risk makes much more fun, especially the idea one can get one up on their opponents." He says to Pierre considering for a time. He shrugs though not seeming overly concerned. He then looks to Belmont, "I'm sure you could manage to find enough teams for most things." He then glances to Bastien and between him and Oliver with interest and he smiles warmly at the two. "Vicomte this is Lord Oliver de Basilisque. Oliver this is Vicomte de Rognac our host."

<FS3> Belmont rolls Perception: Good Success. (4 8 8 2 3 6 3 5)

Bastien showed no signs of offense when Pierre slipped between him and Oliver, but not amount of restraint could hide the mild amount of amusement as Oliver ask him to act as his guide. Bastien moves up to take Oliver's hand and placing it upon his forearm. "It would be my pleasure, Oliver. I trust that you are feeling well, this day?"

The faux Pierre relinquishes Oliver to Bastien's guidance. That's all taken care of, surely. He gets out of the way. Now back to Marco. "Only a short while," he says. "My wife…" He pauses and drinks the rest of his uisghe, "Heard there was a particularly excellent clothier here, and so we shall be in residence until the new wardrobe is made. I wonder whether I shall be still be here by the time of your nuptials. You speak so fondly of risk. But does a man soon to be married engage lightly in hazard?" Are his eyes glimmering with challenging coldness as he asks? "I confess it has been so long I have forgotten." No, surely it is friendly warmth.

"I am glad to make your acquaintance, Lord Oliver.", Belmont says. And as he probably overheard Oliver's request towards Bastien, this young lord steps closer to pat the younger lord gently, in a brief but respectful contact. As Basilisque lord is already in the competent hands of the younger Mereliot, Belmont takes the opportunity to continue with his tour of the location. "Very well. Duels, jeu de paume. I assume, that no one insists for me to demonstrate one or the other. So we may as well proceed. Let us go back inside, iof there is nothing else, you'd like to know about the inner courtyard."

He brushes his fingers over Pierre's arm and bites his bottom lip. Once he releases his arm to take Bastien's his other hand moves to his chest and rubs from chest to stomach lightly, adjusting his shirt most likely. He listens to Marco introduce him and he bows his head. "A pleasure Vicomte de Rognac. It does sound lovely in here." He holds Bastien's arm and his cane in the other. He listens a moment to Pierre and his facial expression doesn't change but he does hold Bastien's arm a little tighter. "I am feeling well indeed, my lord." He blinks a few times. "Duels? I am sure I'd win all of them." He teases.

And just like that Cedoric is wrapped up in measuring out the court with his eyes, looking for positions of advantage, considering where score may be kept. "Oh, I never mind a one-on-one. I'd prefer it to a duel with swords, at any rate," he grins a great beaming grin. "Less blood, don't you know. Maybe we could set it in a by-law, if it came to that," he laughs, a rather ridiculous suggestion, but at least recognized as such. "I'll see whether I can get together enough fellows to make up teams, though. That would be terrible fun. We could have a league and standings and the lot," he considers, eyes still a-glow with the possibilities.

Marco smirks at Raphael and not seeming overly concerned at the lack of warmth, "Oh? One often looks for a wife who embraces the hazards that one pursues. I enjoy risk but I suppose I might change by the time my nuptials come around. But I still have some time. And the match is not the worst I could have been given." He says with a shrug, "Is your Lady Wife here in the city then?" He asks of Raphael continuing to probe the story with amusement. He looks to Belmont and smiles, "No… no other questions I look forward to the display."

Bastien looks between Oliver and Pierre for a moment. He drags his canine over his lower lip, then smiles. "Well, it is to the first blood, Oliver, and by hearing of your fighting tactics, I daresay you might very well step out the victor on more than one occasion." His tone is one of good humor and lacking the bitterness of teasing.

"Maybe," Belmont replies to Cedoric with a light shrug of his shoulders. "Either way. This place won't be open to the public. It is a gentlemen's club, and so we will accept members of noble standing, as I mentioned before. To pay for the upkeep of this place, there is a small monthly fee," he names an amount of ducats that sounds acceptible. "Members are allowed to bring a friend along. But." And here he smiles. "No ladies are allowed. There is the possibility of occasional fêtes, where courtesans may be assigned for." Belmont looks to Bastien and Oliver then, chuckling lightly. "Today is not the day for duels, young lord. Let us go inside, so that I can show you the remaining rooms." He gestures towards doors at the opposite sides, "Kitchen and chambers for the house staff won't be of much interest to you, I'd wager." After which, indeed, he leads the way back inside, to the parlor.

Le Requin — Grand Plaza

An archway connects the entrance hall to the parlour, a large chamber with a high rounded ceiling. Looming there above the proceedings within the club is a fresco, a depiction of Naamah and Eisheth engaged in a playful dance within an idyllic scenery, on a clearing between flowers and bushes. Walls are covered with wine red damask of golden ornaments, and gilded pillars with capitals of stylized alcanthus leaves frame the archways leading in and out of this chamber. One side is governed by a huge hearth of red marble, where two sculptures of graceful and scarcely clad maidens playfully sit on the two sides of the mantlepiece. They are adequately lit during the day by the three large windows in the opposite wall, each framed with heavy dark red curtains that can be drawn at night. On evenings and late nights, two chandeliers suspended from the ceiling shed light with their many candles, lighting enhanced when needed by a number of oil lamps at the walls and others that have been placed on the side tables.

Comfortable couches and chairs of dark cherry wood and red upholstery have been scattered in small groups about tables throughout the parlor, and to the far end there is even a table for playing cards or dice when in need of diversion. The archway on the far side opens towards the spiral stairway to the upper floor, and a door leads out to the inner courtyard or atrium. Beside that door, framed in gold, the rules of the club are listed for everyone to see.

Oli laughs lightly. "To all those present confused… my fighting tactic is swinging this around at high speed." He lifts his cane and shakes his head. "Or flailing it in the direction I hear something." He holds Bastien's arm as they follow Belmont. He's trying to be super careful not to break in Le Requin by breaking his foot on one of those beautiful pillars he heard about. He seems rather content now to be Bastien's arm candy.

"Indeed," Raphael-as-Pierre replies to Marco, "But I do not bother her when she is dress hunting. I have not survived so many seasons by being a fool." Not that he is truly /aged/, but he remains the oldest man in the room. "But surely your match is to be celebrated if your bride to be shares your tastes," he suggests.

Marco smiles at Raphael, "One will see so far she's been a good complement to myself." He says with a shrug and then he chuckles, "Always good to leave them to their dress hunting. But perhaps you will at some time meet with me offer some advice. "He looks to Belmont, "Is such advice acceptable discussion for this place?"

François Bonnel eyes Belmont, "But in a way you are competing with the Glycine." He nods to Belmont, "The Duels on the Day of Camael will be worth watching I think." To Marco he says, "I am rather fond of cards and dice, and I do plan to stay for festival season at least. Spring is lovely in the south, don't you think? And I've several Houses to try my luck in." He leaves the guiding to his supposed kinsman, but does ask Oliver, "Do you fancy wine or uisghe. I'm François Bonnel, by the way." He rolls his eyes when his supposed kinsman claims not to be a fool, but sips his drink rather than contradicting.

Bastien has been quietly describing the club's interior to Oliver. He is the one that is acting in many ways as arm candy to Oliver, than the reverse. Other than acting as Oliver's eyes, the young Mereliot is mostly silent.

Belmont waits a moment, until everyone has had time to rejoin him in the parlor. Of course, he does not mean to interrupt any ongoing conversations, but after all, the occasion demands that they continue. That is, until he is addressed directly, by Marco Mereliot. "Advice, my lord? Advice about dress hunting?" The Vicomte de Rognac looks slightly bewildered, perhaps he wasn't paying attention? He blinks, he smiles. And then he continues. "What you see here is the stairwell that leads to the upper gallery." He points towards the archway with the stairs, and then up, to the balustrade that can even be seen from where they are standing now. "There are a few rooms there, for conspicuous meetings, or other uses." Explanation given, when he suddenly finds himself addressed by 'François Bonnel'. "Ah… Glycine… You mean, if we play a bit of cards and dice here, we are not better than any gambling den? You mistake me, my lord, and the purpose of this place. This won't be about large sums, and wagers, as far as I heard, have been more about favours, in that those losing to the winner owe that winner something — not exactly monetary, but… a debt nonetheless,"

He takes a deep breath and tries to hide his sad eyes at Marco's words. He just closes them so people cannot see. He tilts his head to François and takes a deep breath. "I … don't know what uisghe is?" He clears his throat and frowns. "Well met François Bonnel." He bows his head and brings Bastien closer to his chest. He listens to Bastien describe things before he grins at Belmont. Not even opening his eyes he quips, "It sounds lovely." His hand slowly brushes over Bastien's arm to his hand, holding it.

Pierre glances aside at Bastien and Oliver, perhaps curious as to the running description for the blind. "About married life, I think," he supplies for Belmont, smiling. "Perhaps lord Marco has remained pure in advance of his wedding." Surely only a person from outside of Marsilikos could suggest such a thing with a straight face. He looks to his supposed kinsman. "Ah," he says. "Well there is the difference with the Glycine. /Here/ you could perhaps win a favor that did not intend all along to be lost." That one at least must be an intentional jest.

François eyes Oliver, "Perhaps dice instead of cards would be the more fitting amusement. Never had uisghe! But we must remedy that right away!" He eyes Belmont, raising those perfect eyebrows, "Have you something against the Glycine and the sacred calling of the Adepts there? Not a religious man, I take it." He thinks it over, eyes narrowing, "Favors. so it is a political endeavor of sorts." He smiles at his faux step Uncle, "I am curious to see how that turns out."

Marco looks between Belmont and François with interest. He chuckles and then he looks to Pierre and nods, "Oh certainly the purest in the city I've no doubt." He says wryly and he chuckles, "Oh? What kind of bets would we take here. Dice and cards are fun but it's always fun to try other games of chance or challenges."

Cedoric is at the tail in of those trailing in from the atrium, and, yet, not too late to listen to Oliver describe his idiosyncratic fighting style. "Is it? My," is all he has to say about that, which is, on its own, hardly worth mentioning, but that it's paired with a speculative glance which Oliver almost certainly misses. Then François is bringing up the Glycine, and he pays list to dear Coz' reply, before adding his own thoughts, such as they are, "I would only think that a Lord going to gamble among the Glycines is probably looking for a substantially different outcome to his outing than one coming here." Pierre's jest isn't lost on him, and he gives the fellow a big grin in turn before he's back on topic, "I only think it a rare evening where one person might equally wish to go to one or to the other, I mean."

<FS3> Belmont rolls Composure: Good Success. (4 8 4 1 8 2 4)

"You are once again mistaking me and the purpose of this club, Lord Francois," Belmont replies gently. "I do hold those in service to Naamah in great esteem. But this club here can never aim to replace a salon. There are times for diversion, and times for relaxation, which will basically occur here. Of course, there may be the occasional entertainment. But it is not the main purpose. The main purpose is to meet and engage in discourse with other members — such as we are now — and stay in the loop of things."

Bastien looks over to Belmont, "What you are saying, if I am correct, is that this is meant to be a place for men of standing, to be able to converse about worldly things, so that our grasp of politics stays as sharp as possible. Should, while we are here, choose to entertain ourselves with a bet or two, then that is fine, but one should not come here for the sole intention of gambling, as such already has a place in our fair city." He pauses, "Or am I mistaken?"

Oliver grumbles quietly. "I am not good at dice. I always lose." He keeps those eyes closed. He tilts his head. He feels the tension in the air and he shivers a little. His hand brushing from his chest to his stomach as he seems to focus his mind. He listens to Bastien and chews his bottom lip. "A place to relax." He says quietly.

Pierre smiles at Marco, expression all friendly lightness. He shares the smile with Cedoric. The discourse, it sparkles. "And what would you wager of yourself, Lord Marco?" he asks, since the Mereliot is asking about the type of bets. "Or what other challenges would you seek? Kottabos? Or something else?"

François snorts in real amusement at Cedoric, "It can be hard to tell, so to speak." He looks at Marco over a long nose perfectly designed for metaphorically looking down at people over. "What constitutes pure these days?" He cocks his head at Belmont, "Ah. I think now i understand. Thank you." Pierre's question to Marco has him watching Marco with sharp, all too intelligent attention.

Marco chuckles, "It's a different form of relaxation than the Salon's I think. More quiet, calm and to simply speak one's mind?" He suggests and he glances to Pierre and he smiles, "What would I wager? Oh? Coins…favors perhaps? Knowledge is always intriguing" He suggests and he smiles, "Kottabos is a good idea or trivia perhaps or stones." He then winks at Francois, "Why I am the measure of pure of course."

"There can be an evening of gambling, of course," Belmont allows towards Bastien. "Where we would assign a few Glycines perhaps, or others for other events, but these would need to be discussed and decided on by the members. They would be exceptions, not a daily occurence." He exhales through his nose, brows lifting. "That would be too costly. And as you say, Lord Bastien… the main purpose of this place would be discourse and occasional bets. Asking about advice and receiving advice on many topics," this added towards Marco and Pierre.

"Oh, can it?" Cedoric asks of Francois. "I had no notion," he goes on, possibly less of a coherent conclusion to his end of the conversation as a genial sort of way to back off of anything that might be considered a disagreement. He's very agreeable, after all. And just going to top off his wine glass while the others go to and fro on plans and purposes.

Oli blinks a little and takes a deep breath. "Steal is sharpened on a whetstone. The members here will be the whetstone's to those seeking to be sharper." He offers. He finally breaks and opens his eyes, looking towards where Marco's voice is coming from. "You sir, are not pure. This I would wager on." He turns his face towards where he hears Pierre. He bites his bottom lip as he holds Bastien's hand. He turns to the man. "Perhaps you could take me to the baths after?"

Bastien nods to Belmont's explanation. "A place for gentlemen to converse with gentlemen." He looks over at Oliver and nods. He then grins towards Marco, "No, no. I dear say, let me cousin stand as the mark of purity. It does us who have not yet lived as much quite well and gives us leeway with out own graces."

"And here our tour of Le Requin concludes," Belmont announces with a smile to those that have come around to see the location. "If any of you consider membership of Le Requin Club… You may come by in the next days, so that we can settle the formalities. For now, I thank you for coming by and taking Le Requin into consideration."

François eyes Marcos and gives a loud sceptical snort. He eyes Oliver and Bastien with some amusement and sips his whiskey. To Belmont and his coz, he says, "We shall certainly consider it.

"How kind of you to give us such a tour," Pierre says to Belmont. "A fine place. Though I don't know whether I will be in town enough to take advantage." He looks to his kinsman to see whether François has had his fill of the club's amusements for the day.

Bastien looks to Oliver, realizing that he had just nodded to the blind man. "Of course, I will take you where ever you wish to go afterwards." He looks over to Marco, "And allow me to offer my congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I am Bastien Aubrey .. Mereliot."

Marco ahs and smiles warmly at Bastien, "Delighted to meet you and thank you. Always good to have more Mereliot's in the city and it's good to see Lord Oliver making friends." His eyes twinkle as Oliver contests his claim and he laughs warmly. He then looks to Belmont nodding and thanking him before he looks to Pierre and François and he smiles, "Don't be strangers." He says and he admits, "But I should suppose go myself. But it's been a delight." His gaze back to Francois, "I'm sure we'll all see each other soon."

François nods to his cousin "We shall think it over. Dinner next I think. You know the most amusing places and I am suddenly famished. To Marco he says straight faced, "May your Lady Wife be as pure as yourself and exactly as deserving." He bobs his head to Belmont and Cedoric, "Thank you for an illuminating afternoon.

Oli grips Bastien's hand more tightly as Marco speaks. He takes a deep breath and shakes his head. "It's nice to hear from you Marco." His voice cracks unhappily. "Bastien, may we go?" He grumbles quietly. His body starts shaking slightly. He takes in a breath and bows his head. "Please?"

"Very good," Pierre replies to Francois. "And what a kind blessing for our new friend." He smiles, and pretends not to notice the tensions between Marco and Oliver. "Shall we?" he says to his young kinsman, and makes for the door.

Bastien nods, to Oliver. He just can't help it. This time he realizes it immediately. "Of course," He reaches over and takes Oli's hand in both of his. "This way." He smiles to Marco, "Pleasure to meet you, Marco." He nods to everyone else, to Francois, "My apologies, but our card game will have to wait for another occasion."

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