(1311-06-01) How to Lose a Frog Without Really Trying
Summary: Young nobles and an off-duty courtesan meet in a tavern for genial gossip, gambling, and frog redistribution.
RL Date: 01/06/2019
Related: Frogplot, and too many others to look up, but including Day of Camael: Duel Contest, Day of Elua: Closing Feast, and Discussions in the Rose Sauvage. Oh, and I Know Those Eyes is the one with the joie-infused cherries Étienne is so enthused about.
etienne symon yves clara 

Leaping Fish Inn

The Main Room of the Leaping Fish is tidy and well-kept - and warmed by a fire in the hearth to one side on colder days and evenings. An old tapestry depicting a pair of two leaping fish is adorning the opposite wall - a reference to both the ruling House of Mereliot and the name of the inn. The common room has five tables of sturdy oak with chairs and benches, between which two serving maids move to take orders or bring food and beverages. The air is filled with tasty smells of freshly cooked meals, and murmurs of conversation - and occasionally even melodies rippling through the room, when a lute player is around to provide entertainment. The fare is of good quality that even would not disappoint noble tastes.

There are stairs leading upstairs towards a number of comfortable and well kept rooms the inn has to offer.


Étienne arrives with the Perigeux heir, carrying a wooden box, which he sets under their table. "You'd best choose wine and nibbles. Your taste is better than mine." His accent is of the Azzallese mid ranked nobility. His eyes and the spare grace of his movements his most distinguishing features.

"Oh, all right," Symon the Siovalese says cheerfully, catching a barman so that he can make an order of the type of red wine he likes and some bread, cheese, and nuts for the table. Then he sits down opposite Étienne. "P-poor François," he says. "He m…must w-wonder what w…we can be thinking m-most times."

Coming from a backroom, Yves Valliers is looking a touch less put together than he usually does. Not that he ever looks incredibly expensive in his clothing choices, since his garments are almost universally made of the wool of his homeland. His deep red jacket with the white trim is a touch disheveled and his pants are a touch soiled from a rough day he'd spent training with the sword, and had not taken the time to 'put himself together' afterward. Spotting Étienne, he approaches their table and says, "My lord, I haven't had a chance to compliment you on your match at the tournament the other day, you did well against the Vicomte de Chavagne."

Étienne says, "I suspect he's too pretty to do much thinking." His curly black hair is tied back in a blue ribbon that matches the blue in his spring weight blue and green tunic. Matching parti-coloured hose round out the outfit. He's well rested and all dimpled smiles. He rises to offer his hand, "I still lost, but it was a good match all around. Care to sit with us? We were thinking of passing time with cards and wine. Have you met Lord Symon, the heir to Perigeux?""

"Terribly dangerous, though, all that!" Symon puts in his opinion, but he's soon smiling at Yves. "Did we m…meet?" he asks openly. "I can't remember. Things are always so chaotic in the festival days…"

The young Valliers nods his head at the words about the match from Étienne and replies, "He was in good form, I believe. I hadn't faced him previously, but he gave me quite a challenge in our second match," he mentions, being honest. The first match had been settled with a single blow from the young Valliers, so he doesn't dwell on that. Glancing at the seat, he nods at the offer and takes a seat. "Cards? I have to admit I'm terrible at card games, and yes, Lord Symon, we met at the table with Mlle. Garance. Though I think you left after our second hand," he recalls, though perhaps not the most accurately, he's reaching back a bit into his memory for that.

Étienne grins, "Oh we're just awful, but cards are fun, and we can keep the stakes low… I fear my cousin Boniface is not particularly warlike. I live too close to the border not to want to keep in trim. We should spar sometime to keep our skills up… Oh! Were you at the kissing game? Did you like the cards?"

"Oh, that's right," Symon says. "I thought I knew your face. B-but there w…were so m-many p-people. Did she fleece you in the end?" he asks, grinning. "Thank goodness the stakes w…were p-pleasant." He glances at Étienne and smiles again before returning his gaze to Yves

"Of course, I'm always happy to spar a touch," Yves answers without hesitation. "Yes, and I'd like to have her teach me cards a bit more in depth, but I haven't had a chance to seek her out." He blushes a touch at the mention of her fleecing him, and he shakes his head a little. "Did you two compete in any of the other days? I only made it to the equine, the archery, the performances, the duels and the celebration at the end of course. I missed the discourse and," he tries to remember what it was, "The ones without specific celebrations were sort of private observances, I guess?"

Étienne takes out a rather simply painted deck of cards and starts shuffling as the wine and food arrives. "It sounds like a game with no losers. I'm sorry I missed it. I managed not to fall off my horse at the races and I did all right at the archer. I'm not the horseman my sister Agnès is, nor the archer."

"I didn't have anything to compete in," Symon answers cheerfully to Yves. "Oh, b-but it w…was a fun game," Symon says to Étienne. "You m…must join the next."

"It was that. I don't think anyone left that card game feeling like they'd lost something," Yves confirms from his perspective, then again, he doesn't often get the chance to kiss a woman as gorgeous as her without feeling like he'd had to put himself through the gauntlet to earn it. "Perhaps next year, Symon, a goal to achieve. Become competitive in one of the events?" he proposes and watches the cards. Looking to the waiter when they bring Symon and Étienne's particulars, he requests something a bit more angled to his preferences, but does it quickly so as to not break the flow of conversation. "So, what's the card game?" he asks, "The rules, I mean."

Étienne grins at Symon, "I'd very much like to. Oh! You're a brilliant dancer. Maybe next year we can do something along those lines. We should probably play something simple. I'm not particularly clever with cards." His fingers are as graceful as the rest of him, but he shuffles like a child, two handed and with only the two simplest methods.

"Oh, I don't think so," Symon replies to Yves. "I'm not exactly the competitive type." He looks to Étienne and shrugs. "I think your dancing is ever so m…much more fun," he says. "B-besides, w…we had such luck at Longest Night this year."

"What did you do at Longest Night? I wasn't there," Yves mentions and spares the cards a glance but doesn't dwell on them like he suspects some sort of cardsharp techniques might be being used. They aren't even gambling at this point. "There was the performances? An excellent dance might have worked there?" he questions, uncertain.

Étienne smiles softly at Symon, "But imagine us doing a sword dance routine together. The wooden blades tapping punctuation to the music. We were lucky at Longest Night, but we could be luckier together." He passes Yves the cards, "Why don't you shuffle them some more. I never did learn to do it properly. I won a token with my sword dancing and Symon won his being terribly clever at a guessing game. It was amazing! All those costumes! I've never seen anything like it!"

"W…we did everything," Symon concludes laughingly. He looks curiously to Étienne. "W…we could compete together?" he asks. That seems to change his tone. "M…maybe then."

"I wish I'd been there," Yves sighs and takes the cards and begins to shuffle them with no particular adeptness either, but with the dexterity of a young man who works with his hands, so he has that going for him. After several good shuffles, he sets them on the table for Étienne to cut and deal. "Sword dancing," he thinks out loud. Looking to Symon, he thinks for a moment and says, "I would think so. If a single person dancing could do it, then a group could?" he suggests.

Étienne lowers his eyes, blushing, "I didn't expect to. I was just there for the costumes and the dancing." He flashes Symon a sunny smile, "I think it would be worth a try. We could ask at least?" He cuts and deals, "I think we shouldn't do wild cards or fancy versions. I have enough trouble keeping which hands are better than others straight as it is. Does five cards work for everyone?" He visibly moves his lips as he counts out the cards. "It's just a thing I like to do for practice, but people seem to like it. It occurred to me that sword forms and dancing have a lot of things in common: posture, coordination, steps, set movements with the arms, so I sort of combined them."

Symon smiles with uncharacteristic shyness and nods at the proposal, but is now watching the cards. "Simple is best," he concurs. "Five cards." He smiles at Yves. "It is really something to see, sword dancing."

"I know some dancing, and sword work of course, but I don't think I've ever seen someone sword dancing," Yves mentions, making idle conversation as he looks at the cards as they are sent his way. Cupping the cards he looks at them for a long moment and then finally starts to re-arrange them into a more logical sort of order. Not to say they are better for the hand he is supposed to put together, but they're organized by value! "And what is the trip there like?" he asks.

<FS3> Symon rolls Gambling: Great Success. (8 8 5 5 8 6 8)

<FS3> Yves rolls Mind: Failure. (4 1)

<FS3> Étienne rolls Cards: Failure. (2 1 1)

Étienne says, "It's just a thing I do. I'm teaching Symon, and I tried it with a dancer once and she picked it up all right." He is organizing his hand such as it is, brow knit in concentration. He has a transparency of expression that makes him ill suited for this game. "We were so sore we could barely walk when we got there from all that riding."

Symon just looks cheerful. He plays an opening card as they chat along. "All m…my fault," he says. "I completely m…mangled the travel arrangements." This all seems to be amusing in retrospect.

"You could have taken a carriage?" Yves questions, he would have to keep that in mind for his own trip next year. He definitely didn't want to miss it next year. Focusing on the game, he answers the opening card with a poor card of his own, but doesn't seem too upset by the play. He isn't good at cards and knows it. "And the city itself, how was it? I've heard only good things, tell me something bad," he requests.

Étienne sets a small pile of coin in front of him. He gives Symon an indulgent smile, "It was likely for the best. I'm no good with princesses." He explains to Yves, "He got the dates tangled and completely missed the carriage, so we had a hard ride on post horses to arrive in time." He bites his lip, thinking, and nervously pushes a small coin into the center of the table. "I can't really think about anything bad, really except the saddle sores."

"It's cold," Symon answers in response to this request for bad news about Elua. He puts some coins up meanwhile as well. "I w…wish I'd w-won that cloak off of Faisan."

"And what sort of contests were there? I mean, you mentioned two so far, I'd like to go prepared to compete at something if there are contests. And I doubt it'll be a chance for me to show my sword work," he reckons and pulls out some pocket change as well, answering the card play with a coin of his own. Then withdraws it and folds his hand, leaving the gambling and cardplay to the other two—instead he turns his attention to his food and wine, sipping and eating in equal parts.

Étienne laughs, "Just a chance to look at Faisan felt like winning though. He's so pretty I'm not sure I could have spoken to him sober. Everyone there was so pretty it was hard to wrap one's head around. Well, with the performance contest you could do anything. Reciting poems, singing… I'm not sure what other contests there were."

Symon takes the first hand and then reaches for the deck to shuffle it and deal again. He is a bit more practiced with his shuffling than the others. He puts the deck forward for Yves to deal. Meanwhile he laughs at what Étienne is saying. "For Longest Night?" he asks. "You don't have to do a formal contest, necessarily. The courtesans each get one token so you can m…manage it b-between yourselves if you like."

<FS3> Étienne rolls Cards: Success. (7 5 4)

"Any of the courtesans in Marsilikos seem like they might be um.. knowledgeable about it? Someone I could ask questions of?" Yves questions when they don't seem overly informative. He doesn't seem to be asking because he thinks they're missing something, but perhaps because they aren't able to list all of the pertinent details off the top of their head and he doesn't want to keep drilling about it. Picking up the cards, he deals them out smoothly, and afterwards picks up his hand and gives it an examining look before he re-arranges things to his liking. Eating a grape off his plate, he muses over his cards.

Étienne nods, blushing, "I'm pretty sure he set a contest he knew Symon would win, Symon being so good looking. I think he just liked us." He sips his wine, "I don't really know any courtesans in Marsilikos, except maybe that one Eglantine we saw dancing at the Lady Ortolette's party. I'm not really much for courtesans at all… Oh! I think my cousin Jehan-Pascal knew that one at the yacht party? He might know? But I don't think he had time to… get out much when we were in Elua."

"M…maybe," Symon agrees with a sly smile. "Some of the courtesans w…will know, especially the ones from Elua," he replies. "B-but really you'll understand it all if you just go. That's what I would recommend." Again he doesn't bother to order his cards, but he does eat some bread.

<FS3> Yves rolls Mind: Failure. (6 5)

Listening to Étienne, Yves nods his head a little and purses his lips a little in thought, not sure what to do with that. He would have to ask someone else. His cousin perhaps. He'd pursue it elsewhere, and follow through. He has plenty of time to figure out what to do, optionally. Pushing out a card, he shrugs at himself and sips at his wine a little. "I'll stop asking questions about it. Where are you both from?" he asks, having already forgotten their surnames, and so, their provinces of origin.

<FS3> Yves rolls Chess: Success. (8 6 6 3 1 1)

Étienne is ordering his cards again, like a novice, but looks a tad happier this time with the result. "I'm heir to Berck. That's up on the Azallese cost near the Skadi border. We're the cadet branch of house d'Arguil.

<FS3> Symon rolls Gambling: Success. (1 5 1 1 4 2 7)

Symon just plays along merrily without seeming to pay much attention to what he is putting down. "I come from Siovale," he answers. "B-but I've been hiding out in M…Marsilikos."

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

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Symon=Perception Vs Étienne=Composure
< Symon: Success (6 8 5 4 3 5 4 4 1) Étienne: Success (6 3 8)
< Net Result: DRAW

It's evening in the Leaping Frog. Yves, Étienne and Symon are all seated at a table against one of the walls with a seat to spare, all three have a motley assortment of food and cards in front of them, and a small pile of ducats seems to be getting bet back and forth. Nothing grand, no duchy would be changing hands with these hands of cards, but they do seem to be gambling some. The airy amiable voice of Yves can be heard, speaking mid conversation: "Siovale, and the coast," Yves repeats them both back and nods a touch at both of them in consideration, like he's trying to imagine them both. "What are they like? My family is also from near the Skaldi border," he mentions to Étienne, in case that wasn't already a commonly known fact. Being from Camlach as he is. "We have a sort of mountainy region, lots of sheep, some vineyards where we make joie," he mentions a few things about his family lands.

It can't all be sex, right? Sometimes you have to eat and drink, and want things other than what they give out in the House. And so a petite redhead wearing a blue-green backless dress and the matque of the Rose Sauvage steps in to the Leaping Fish just in time for Yves' words to float to her. She smirks, and makes her way over toward the table he is sitting at. "Sort of a mountainy region? You do our homeland such justice, coz." Even if she is being sassy to Yves, she gives a polite curtsy to the other two men at the table.

Étienne gives Yves one of his sunny smiles, "Oh! What's your Coast like? We've got a really good harbor and fine beaches for clamming, but also good cliffs for defense. The sea is so pretty in the south, don't you think?" His accent is Azallese mid-level noble. His eyes are a startlingly intense blue and the most noticeable thing about him just now. He has no clear memory of Yve's house name either, so it's all news to him, "No wonder you've a good sword arm! Oooo! Do your people make joie infused fruit? I had some cherries like that in Elua. They were indescribably good! We're mostly known for our cheese and herring." He rises to give the newcomer an efficiently graceful bow. "I'm Étienne D'Arguil. Do you play cards?" He sits back down and eyes Symon over his cards. After some thought he raises him double.

"P-pretty," Symon answers. "There are m…mountains there, too." But apparently he's not inclined to go into further detail. Or he just wants to match the description that Clara is already teasing Yves about. Meanwhile he waggles his eyebrows at Étienne over the hand of cards they have. But Étienne calls his bluff and he must reveal that his hand is the inferior. He laughingly pushes coins at Étienne, then belatedly nods toward Clara.

Turning his attention towards Clara at her entrance, Yves beams up at his cousin and then introduces her to the other gentlemen, "My lords, allow me to introduce this fair beauty beyond compare, she of the endless needling, and my cousin, Clara of Rose Sauvage," he probably didn't use her title perfectly, but that was sufficient. Rising to his feet as befitting the arrival of a lady, he pulls out the chair next to him for her, and gestures for her to join him. Sitting again a moment later, he looks to them at the questions of geography, and explains, "We have no coast, my lord. We produce a variety of wine, yes," he answers about fruit. "Joie infused fruit as well, yes."

Clara smiles to Étienne as he stands up, and grins to Yves. "I was going to sit in your lap before you pulled out the seat," she teases, giving a little bit of a pout. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Étienne, and my lord," she offers to Symon as she moves to take her seat. "As my cousin so gallantly introduced, I'm Clara Valliers nó Rose Sauvage," she beams a smile. "I know the basics of card games, but I'll admit it's not my specialty. Normally they do like us to lose our clothes when we're playing card games, after all."

Étienne blushes at Symon's regard, and his grin widens, "I won a hand!" This really seems to surprise him. He has a bit of bread and cheese, "Whose deal is it again? I will happily trade you some pickled herring and a wheel of camembert for some so I can show Symon. He missed them." He gives Clara a bright smile, "Maybe you know! Have you any idea what sort of token contests are common for Longest Night? It's all right, none of us are particularly good and the stakes are low."

Symon looks a little surprised to hear the name of Rose Sauvage, but then he covers with a smile, dipping his head again. "Oh yes," he says about these infused fruits. "That sounds delightful, do share." He shuffles again and passes the deck to Yves once more. "Shall w…we offer our interesting w-wager?" he asks Étienne.

"I think that might have become uncomfortable for you," Yves mentions of her proposed seating with only a mild blush, taking her needling seriously, or perhaps he just finds his own joke a bit uncomfortable. "I don't know any card game from any other, so you can join me in being awful," he mentions to Clara and reaching into his pocket, pulls out some coins for her to use for the purposes of gambling. Not wanting her to have to reach into whatever money she has personally outside of the house. He also raises a hand to request another glass for Clara, and pushes some of his food a bit closer for her. It's an assortment of finger foods, for the most part. "It's Symon's," he answers the question of who should be dealing. "Of course, send someone with some, and I'll send something back," he answers at the asking of some of their better product. "My father is always glad to hear I'm promoting trade by giving or trading it away to people who might buy more," he mentions.

Clara hmms. "It depends on the House. I know they don't always do a specific competition, sometimes it's just for the courtesans to give out the tokens," she explains. She smiles to Yves as he hands over coins. "I appreciate being fronted, coz. When it turns out I'm a con artist here as an expert gambler, I'll pay you back. And when it turns out that I'm not, I'll…look pretty and pout and try to get out of feeling bad?" She says hopefully, before she smiles. "I'm open to an interesting wager, or just money."

Étienne looks at Symon with obvious confusion for several beats, then remembers, "Oh! Yes! It's under the table." To Yves he says, "Where are you staying? I'm here in part for the same purpose." He retrieves the wooden box and sets it by Symon's elbow.

Symon tilts the box and lifts the lid briefly so that their companions can see what they have inside: a frog not as big as a fist, with shockingly bright skin in hues of red, green, and blue. He shuts the lid again and grins at Clara and Yves. "Shall we p…play for the frog?" he suggests.

"The Valliers house in the Camlach section," Yves answers, with small pauses like he would think that would be obvious, but with a smile, to show that he doesn't mind needing to clarify. Turning his attention to Clara, he smiles at her a moment and nods his head at her words, he doesn't need her to repay him for the amounts they're gambling. Even Yves, who spends hardly any of the money made available to him, spends more than the amounts they're gambling on a very regular basis. This is pocket change for nobility. "If you'd like to make a wager aside from money, you let us know," he adds to her and then looks at the box brought forth by Étienne, curious. "Play for a frog? Is it some sort of .. special frog?" he asks.

"You know, when most people say they are going to make a special bet with a courtesan, they don't tend to mean 'for a frog'," Clara offers. "But it is somewhat charming, I'll admit, so I could be up for it." She arches a red eyebrow and looks over to her cousin. "Oh, did you have something in mind?"

Étienne says, "Ah! We have rooms at Les Tanières… It's a very pretty frog. Lots of colours from Terra Nova." He blinks several times at Clara's statement, then blushes to his ears. "I didn't think. My apologies. I… thought you were on your own time. It didn't occur to me… this is just for fun, not… Nevermind." He sputters to an embarrassed halt, having realised everything he says makes it worse."

Symon looks stunned that Yves does not see the value of the frog. "Did you not see it?" he asks. "Have you ever seen such a frog in Terre d'Ange?" He pats Étienne's shoulder. "Do p-play for the frog," Symon encourages Clara. "B-but we w…wouldn't have you b-bid your time; it is too v…v…valuable!" That's his attempt at smoothing over for Étienne.

<FS3> Symon rolls Gambling: Good Success. (6 3 5 7 7 5 3)

<FS3> Yves rolls Mind: Failure. (5 6)

<FS3> Clara rolls Mind: Success. (7 2 3)

"Did you have something in mind?" Yves asks of Clara, blushing, and looks to Étienne at the explanation about the frog. "From Terra Nova? Very exotic!" he says with a smile and glances after it, a bit surprised at Étienne's reaction to Clara. Then to Symon, he answers, "I never really saw many frogs. Living in the mountains, I'm not familiar, had I known its origin, I'd not have asked!" Betting and playing cards as they talk, he isn't doing very well.

Clara smiles reassuringly to Étienne. "My lord, I was teasing. As my cousin pointed out, I do like to do that. I am off the clock unless someone very much wants me to be on, and as a fully marqued courtesan I get to dictate that schedule. I thought it was charming that we are playing for a frog, although I'll confess if I win it then it will just live in the garden of the Rose Sauvage," she offers wryly. And she smiles to Symon. "Oh, you are too kind my lord," she beams. SHe puts in the coins, and takes some cards. "I didn't have any particular ideas, coz, I just figured I would stir the pot."

<FS3> Étienne rolls Cards: Success. (2 8 3)

Étienne beams at them, pleased that they now understand the value of Symon's amphibian. He does his simple, childish shuffle and deals them each five cards. "His name is François and he likes insects and bits of ground meat." He looks at her a little shyly, "I like watching the dancing and performances and things like kottabos, but I don't really spend much time with those of your sacred calling. I wouldn't presume." He carefully studies his cards, biting his lip as he arranges them.

"You always have ideas," Yves mentions to Clara, not believing that she didn't have something in mind when she acted like he was the one who was trying to figure something out. Or was he? Now he isn't certain where his mind is, and he ends up looking at his cousin for a long moment, and then averts his eyes to his cards and pushes a few coins into the pot. "I don't think I'm going to win this one either," he mentions, not that anyone seemed to think he was going to. "So, how was your day, Clara? We've just been discussing the Longest Night and geography," he mentions. Hearing the details of the frog he takes his new cards and starts to study them again.

"There is nothing to presume, my lord," Clara responds genuinely to Étienne. "A member of the House of Arguil is always welcome in the Night Court, no matter the House. Even if you are not interested in my House and our specialties, there are sisters and brothers in my calling that would be happy to attend to your interests." She takes the cards and blinks a little bit as she considers them.

Étienne is too busy blushing and not looking at Clara to study her the way he did Symon in the previous round. He slides in an initial ante, but folds right after that. He says with regret, "I fear neither Rose nor Thorn are to my taste. My apologies, but I have huge respect for your sacred calling. It's not something I can do and it clearly requires great skill and empathy.”

Hearing Étienne, Yves nods his head a little at the words and watches the man fold then turns his attention to his cousin as they continue to gamble. Apparently over a frog, now? Or was it before? It's still on the table, right? What does a guy do with a frog? "Do I blush that much?" he asks of his cousin, who only because of her tangential relation he manages to mostly stave off blushing. She has an effect on him, but it's a bit less because he can get his brain in the way, a little.

"Not with me," Clara responds to Yves. "But I've noticed you have a tendency to do so around other pretty girls, yes. You blushed a fair bit around Lillian and Odette, if you recall," she points out, not unkindly but factually. "If we weren't cousins I would take a little offense, but as it is I think its charming." She smiles to Étienne and continues with the cards as well. "Oh, everyone is allowed their tastes, Lord Étienne. I could not begrudge it without allowing others to begrudge those who do like our House."

The frog box is in the center of the table with the coin, so it must surely be the wager. Even with a tan from all his sword practice, he has a very readable face and still really shows his blushes on what is likely very pale skin come winter. "I fear my manners are a little rough for the south. I am trying to amend… I don't think I've met a Lillian or an Odette." He does look at her then with earnest angel kissed eyes, "Oh! I definitely mean only respect. Thank you for understanding."

<FS3> Yves rolls Mind: Failure. (6 5)

<FS3> Clara rolls Mind: Failure. (6 1 6)

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Clara=composure Vs Yves=alertness
< Clara: Good Success (5 7 5 6 1 3 1 5 7 1) Yves: Failure (6 1)
< Net Result: Clara wins - Solid Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Clara=composure Vs Yves=perception
< Clara: Good Success (6 1 2 6 3 3 7 8 4 7) Yves: Good Success (7 2 1 2 7 5 1 4)
< Net Result: Clara wins - Marginal Victory

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Yves=composure Vs Clara=perception
< Yves: Good Success (1 5 8 8 5) Clara: Good Success (5 1 5 8 2 8 6)
< Net Result: DRAW

"Right, because you're my cousin," Yves mentions and is keenly aware that he has blushed at least a few times at Clara, but he doesn't belabor the point. Instead he turns his attention to the card game and promptly loses the card game to her when she seems to pick up on his mediocre poker face. "Looks like you win," he points out and pushes the box over to her, along with the small pile of coins for that. "I'm not necessarily in love with the idea of either house, myself, but I intend to try it a few times, just to learn a bit about myself. You know, exploration," he mentions softly, and blushes a touch at Clara. Shifting in his seat. "I tried to come up with something I thought Lillian would find interesting, for the auction the other day, apparently I wasn't convincing enough to overcome the uh, fourteen thousand I was short of the high bid," he half laughs. "I think it might be fun though, what I suggested, a bit.. naughty, but fun!" he mentions, blushing. He takes a strong sip of wine.

Clara looks at the frog in the center of the table warily as the game continues and it becomes clear that she is going to be winning. "…hooray?" She offers, reaching out tentatively to the frog. The coins she takes more readily, but the frog continues to get concerned glances. "Exploration is the part of the d'Angeline soul," she agrees happily. "And creativity is valued, but at a debut a deficit of 14,000 is difficult to overcome for all but the most creative soul."

Étienne looks wildly relieved as the courtesan taking the frog, his guileless face hiding absolutely nothing. He blushes to his ears at the mention of exploration, "Have you… uh, tried Gentian yet? It can be revelatory." He clears his throat, "You may want a better box. Catherine Valais knows the frog and is very skilled at box making, especially if you phrase it as a challenge. Um… I should warn you never to touch François without gloves and to wash them well after just in case. I'm sorry you had so much deficit."

"The winning bid was twenty-two thousand, I think," Yves mentions to all present, in case Clara hadn't caught. "Or, that was the last announced bid," he clarifies and shrugs a bit at them both. "A Gentian? No, so far, an Orchis and a Lis d'Or," he answers clearly and looks between them, managing not to blush overly much at the saying. He's blushing more at Clara than anything, now that he's thinking about it. "A Gentian might be interesting," he agrees, "Though I don't think I've met one yet."

"Ok," Clara says after a moment of considering Étienne's words. She pushes the frog back in to the center of the table. "I'm…not comfortable with a frog that I can't touch, and that I have to wash my gloves after touching. I live in a very populated house of men and women and children, and that sounds…scary. So what, exactly, is this frog and why can't I touch it?" She asks seriously.

Étienne says, "Oh! I really like Orchis. I saw a really good pantomime dance at their house in Elua. It was beautiful and educational." Oddly enough, here he doesn't blush, so likely it wasn't that sort of performance. “I met a really nice Gentian when we were there for Longest Night. Very relaxing and the tea was quite good." He looks around for Symon, who has disappeared in search of a privy. His shoulders slump, "Someone foisted it on Symon." He hastily explains, "He's very sweet natured and easily talked into things, and it really is very pretty. It got loose while I was feeding it and I… uh, fell down. I was fine in a few days, it was mostly just embarrassing, me lying there unable to talk and poor Symon so distressed he couldn't explain properly, but he used gloves when he caught it and he was fine, and the healer gave us some tea for me to drink, only she thought I was some sailor he picked up on the docks. It's really funny in retrospect."

"They were both wonderful experiences," Yves mentions, not really getting too deep into his experiences, because he doesn't want to get all awkward and blush heavy, as he definitely blushes slightly at even the memory. But he nods his head at Étienne's explanation. "You should take it Clara, you won, I'm sure you can find someone in the House who might be interested in an exotic pet? It's from the new world," he adds, if he'd understood correctly. "I wouldn't know what to do with it either," he adds.

<FS3> Clara rolls Mind: Good Success. (7 1 7)

Clara shakes her head a little bit as she listens to the story. It all seems so reasonable, and yet…she is not quite convinced, it seems. She purses her lips. "I don't know anyone at the house who is in a position to take such a pet and yet would also be interested in it. But I do have an idea." She says with a smile. "The Temple of Anael and the Temple of Shemhazai would no doubt be very curious about such a delightful little gentleman, and be no doubt very happy to keep him in good style. Perhaps I will speak to them tomorrow, and see if they have an interest in keeping him as the king of their menagerie and in all the flies he can eat.”

Étienne says, "I've asked around the university, but no one seems interested in studying it. I never thought of the temples! It would be wonderful if you'd ask around. My cousin didn't think they'd want him at the healers. A menagerie would be perfect!”

"There we go," Yves confirms and reaches out to push the box back over to Clara, so that the situation can be resolved and they can talk about something other than the frog. Situation resolved. "What is the tradition with the Festival of Lights in Beziers, then?" he asks, referring to the festival tomorrow. He had some recollection from home as to the celebrations, but not those celebrated in this region.

Clara smiles as she finds a proper solution, reaching out to take the basket and put it on the ground next to her. But not too close to her. She raises an eyebrow. "Yes, I've heard people are going to go to it. Is it…a holiday, or is it a memorial for what happened last year?" She asks curiously.

Étienne looks curious. “What happened last year? I only came in autumn. I wasn't here for last year. It's not a local custom?"

Looking between them when neither has an explanation, Yves mentions, "Well, cousin, if you wish to go to Beziers tomorrow, do send a message around to the townhouse?" Just in case she wanted to go and didn't have other arrangements. He would likely be riding by himself if he went, otherwise. Sipping at his wine a little, he picks up the deck of cards and begins shuffling them before throwing out another round of cards to everyone. "I'm trying to get out more, dad is going to want me to have made some progress on the whole 'make a good impression' front, whenever he inevitably comes to visit," he mentions.

Clara winces a little bit. "The branch of the Mereliot family in charge of Beziers was…murdered," Clara says, struggling for a more delicate word and failing to find it. "Rather horribly, shortly after the Festival. A member of our house, Lady Desarae Mereliot, was their daughter; she had to be pulled from the house in order to take up her family's lands." She looks to Yves. "I will think about it and let you know," she says, reaching out to squeeze his shoulder.

Étienne sips his wine, "I'm supposed to be looking for a wife, but I don't think I mingle with the right people for that." He looks really horrified at this news from Clara, "That's awful! I'm so sorry to hear that about them. Is… murder common in the city? I heard they found a nobleman stabbed recently here.”

Yves simply nods his head once at Clara and her explanation, and there is a slight widening of his eyes at the explanation, and he mentions, "You'd be safe with me, Clara. Did they catch whoever did it?" he asks, after a moment of thinking about it. Picking up his cards, he stares at them for a moment before the macabre is furthered by Étienne. "In a duel, yes? I'd heard as much as well, Victor Delaunay was killed by one of my relatives on the Montchapetre side," he clarifies.

"I'm not worried about being attacked any more, Lady Desarae executed the person responsible," Clara explains softly, shaking her head. She then shakes her head again to Étienne. "No, but we are the second largest city in the Kingdom. More people means more things are going to happen, naturally. I don't think it's that common." She looks down at the cards before she blinks. "Oh…I didn't know that there was some family involvement, I'd just heard rumors. I'm so sorry."

Étienne says, "Symon and I were trying to think what a gentleman's club even was. We were thinking of finding out, but if they are just for dueling to the death, it sounds like it is a terrible idea…Oh!" His looks at her with real distress, "I'm terrible at keeping track of family relationships. I'm really sorry to have brought up something so distressing. You must think me a terrible clod. Can you forgive me?"

"I'd never met either man, I'm not familiar with what transpired between them," Yves asides to Clara and reaches out to take her hand and let her know that she needn't feel like she stepped in something. "I believe the results of that little incident are what sparked some of the awkwardness when I was dueling, um, Aidan at the tournament? And he took forever to concede? People thought it was meaningful, given him being a Delaunay, and myself being Camaeline and maybe even some were aware of mom's side of the family," he is explaining and waves off the words from Étienne for similar reason. "No harm. I'd suggest you handle it more delicate with the Delaunays however," he advises.

Clara smiles to Etienne, and reaches out to squeeze his hand in return. "Oh, no, I didn't mean it directly. I didn't know either party either, and they are Yves' cousins through the Montchapetre like he said. But that means at least some family is involved, because Yves dealt with some of the results." She nods to Yves.

Étienne's eyes go wide, "Oh! I hadn't realised! That is distressing, yes. I'll keep that in mind. I fear I'm out of the loop in alliances not directly connected to my family." He squeezes her hand back, "I really wish I were better at… well nearly everything, but especially at not putting my foot in my mouth."

"You didn't put your foot in your mouth, but if you can't keep what happened to what family straight, you might avoid topics of scandal and murder," Yves suggests with a grin over his cards and pushes a few coins into the pot once he has pulled his hand back from Clara. "I'm a bit like you though, Étienne, I don't really do the best job keeping track of gossip and current events," he admits with a smile. "Unless we're talking about swords, I tend to get uh, bored," he admits with a slight grimace. At least he isn't blushing too much. Good topics in that regard.

(end missing?)

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