(1312-02-07) Best Fish Soup in Town
Summary: It's cold outside and the Kraken's fireplace is nice and warm.
RL Date: 2020-02-06
Related: None
andrei oliver theodosia 

The Kraken's Den

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

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

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

A short, petite dark haired young woman walks in, shedding a heavy cloak at the door, and remaining in a rather sheer red lace dress, it's a good thing she didn't go outside wearing only that, eh? She seems to be a fairly regular patron of the place as she heads to the bar and is served a glass of dark, spiced rum without having to ask. Once shes got it, she takes a sip, as if to warm herself, then looks around as if to see if she recognizes anyone else. Her cheeks are shining like glazed apples from what seems to have been a brisk walk in the harbour wind.

It is not likely that she recognises the blond man sitting at a table near the fire, nursing a drink. He does look a little over-dressed for the place, perhaps a little too merchant and not quite enough rowdy sailor, but then again, the Kraken does cater to a lot of different people, and the two men sharing his table at least look quite rough around the edges. Some sort of business transaction goes on there before a few coins wander from gloved hands to callused ditto, and the two sailors, thugs, whatever they are, wander off.

This in turn prompts the merchant to glance about idly as if he's not really made up his mind what to do next. Noticing, eventually, a young lady who looks quite out of a place to sit, he nods at her, and at one of the chairs at his table. "There's room over here," he murmurs, speaking in an accent that is decidedly not local.

Theodosia bats her long eyelashes at a couple of sailor, even waving a lace gloved hand at them, clearly she enjoys the rough neck of the woods, so to speak, there's a look of mischief in her deep blue eyes. As she hears the man speak, she raises her glass of rum for a refill, then she makes her way to sit across Andrei, and inclines her head. "Thank you, messire. The Den can be quite crowded when it gets cold outside. But then it can get crowded in summer too.." She laughs merrily and then smiles. "New to the City?"

The foreigner smiles lightly. "The City and I have survived one another a few weeks now but I do think I still qualify as fresh meat, yes. I am finding I rather like this watering hole. Very interesting people here — and certainly the occasional interesting brawl to watch, too. You are a native, I would wager?"

Theodosia takes a longer sip from her rum, and chuckles. "You speak very good d'Angeline though…and well, not exactly a native, I'm a country girl from Namarre.." Well, country noble-girl but that's another story. "And I like it too, mind you, if you want fine dining, this isn't the place, but …the drinks are properly strong and not overly watered." She extends a hand over the table, covered ina fingerless , elbo length red lace glove that matches her dress. "Theodosia de Fhirze, at your service."

The man must have missed any cues in the family name; at least he does not get up, bow, and brush his lips over the lady's knuckles like a gentleman to a noble lady. Instead, he offers a firm (but not finger crushing) hand shake as one member of the middle class might to another, at least where he's from. "Andrei Anghelescu, at your service in return. Out of the Chowat, which essentially translates to very east and somewhat north of here, near the Skaldi border. I find myself wanting good burnwine and company before candied jellyfish, personally."

Theo laughs again. "Now, that is certainly a new name..I've seen Menekhetan and Ephesian sailors here, and out of Aragonia and Carthage, but..this is a new one.." She inclines her head then lifts her glass of rum. "This is a new sort of drink they make in Terra Nova..and well, it's less refined than bear brandy, but..not without its pleasures. And…how are you finding Terre d'Ange, messire?'

"I find it quite pleasant, surprisingly so," Anghelescu says with a smile. "I was warned that this is a land that does not welcome foreigners, where I should expect to be treated as a nuisance simply for breathing — but the reality of the matter has been that most people are quite kind. There's the occasional exception but on the whole, I am finding that your culture is very open and indeed, very open-minded. There are definitely things we could learn from you."

Theo laughs again, a warm, throaty laughter. "Oh, and what things would you learn, messire? Have you visited the Night Court yet?" her gaze is playful and direct. "Besides, Marsilikos is a port, and they welcome ships from all over the Inner Sea. If you go to Namarre, my province in the heart of the country, you will find villages where they have not seen a foreigner in their entire lives. a more..pure life, but sometimes…less interesting, I find. After all that is why my father sent me here, to the City of the Lady…to..broaden my horizons."

Anghelescu laughs softly, and then nods. "I have, as a matter of fact. There is a lady in the — Coquelicot? house whom I am seeing. She is a skilled healer, and her work with herbs and massages seems to be quite beneficial for my failing health. I have yet to explore — other options. Poor health is what brought me here."

He cants his head slightly at the younger woman's detailing rural life. "And pray tell — what reception would a man get in such an isolated community, if he was to turn up speaking with an accent like mine, I wonder?"

Theodosia leans back in the chair, taking a longer gulp from her spiced rum. "Ah, the Coquelicot are fun, I tend to prefer the GLycine and their passions, along..with well, those are more…specialized desires when I visit the Rose Sauvage." She grins, winking a little. "And well, he might find a warm welcome from a lusty peasant girl..or peasant boy, depending on how their tastes go. And as long as they spend money, are not too nosy, I should say we're welcoming people. As long as you're not a Skaldi. Farmfolk have long memories."

The other man can't quite resist a small smile at that; the very idea of a young lady visiting establishments like that is about as normal to him as flying horses carrying spear launchers and strawberry ballistas. "I'll have to agree with your peasant boys and girls on the Skaldi, at least. My country shares a border with Skaldi territories. It has been… not so quiet at times. Fortunately we are a land of forest and mountain, and hence, not so hard to defend."

Oh, yes, that openness and well, some call it decadence and debauchery is what d'Angelines are most famous for. And after all, Namarre is the province of Naamah, the whore Angel, and the arts of love and desire flow through the blood of her descendants. Theo herself, might affect some tomboy mannerisms, such as downing the rest of her glass in one gulp, before raising a hand to summon a platter of olives and cheese, as well as another refill, her cheeks now pink not because of the cold but rather because of the drink. "Ah, that I can see. Mind you, I have no quarrel with them, they have some quite delightful representatives over here in the city, but… like I have said, the countryside holds on longer on hard memories."

"I have no quarrel with any Skaldi that the city sees fit to tolerate," Anghelescu says, nodding lightly. "I like to think that if they are judged fit to wander the streets here, then they are not expected to turn into a violent raiding party torching buildings and carrying off women at any moment now. One sometimes struggles to overcome prejudice but I like to think that at least I am trying — I did meet one Skaldi fellow who seemed quite decent, in fact. Very proud of myself for not stabbing him in the face, nevermind that he'd probably have wiped the floor with me without working up a sweat."

The young woman laughs and nods. "Well, that is commandable, Messire. After all, the Lady does not condone violence, and this is…a place to learn new things." She smiles and even flushes a bit. "I remember the time I showed a couple of Menethetan sailors..um, I mean..yes, anyway. How.. tell me about your own country and what brings you to Marsilikos." The way she sips at her drink is clearly meant to hide her face.

The Carpathian idly wonders just whom exactly the younger woman is hiding her face from, and whether that implies he's supposed to recognise her, but decides against commenting upon it. Instead, he sips his own wine — a clear liquid that no doubt has come out of a still and probably could cauterise wounds. "My country is one of forest. Lumber is literally our main export and, barring the occasional handicraft, only export. Fortunately for us, the rest of the world finds itself in regular need for tall spruces for mast and solid oak for furniture making. I take it that you are from wine country?"

"Lumber, I see..well, then you should do well in Marsilikos, a port always needs shipbuilding resources. And aye, wine, and horse breeding, my Father has stables of prized racers and hunters, and I must confess I am more at ease riding a horse than the waves. I grew up with them after all, though at the last games I did not manage to win a race. We also make pear and apple brandy, ours is a region blessed in fruit, orchards and such.."

Anghelescu smiles lightly. "I am indeed negotiating somewhat with local merchants… But I must join you on not feeling comfortable with the sea. I have yet to set foot on the deck of a ship. I think that being born in a land locked country, the idea of essentially walking on water somewhat horrifies me. If men were meant to do that, surely we would have gills and swim."

Theo laughs again. "Oh, I'm not as bad as that, I can be comfortable on a ship, I've even run up a mast or two since I got here." yes, she's clearly a tomboy. "It's just…I'm clearly a stranger and a guest on deck, as opposed to the jack-tars." She takes an olive and nibbles on it gently, before discretely spitting the pit in a bowl.

"My dear lady, if you are a guest, then imagine what role I should play," the other man says with a smile. "Locked in my cabin in order to not cause any naval disasters, I suppose. You are a merchant's daughter? A trader in your own right, perchance?"

Another throaty laughter but she nods. "Well, my father's a Baron, but well, to bring money to one's lands..one trades..whether it is horses for the army, or expensive mounts for racing and delivering the sweetest wines to the benighted places which cannot grow wines..one dabbles. And since I have no older brothers, Father decided I should have an education further than the old lays of Ephesium and Tiberian history. My Seneschal has had trouble enough as i was growing up instructing me in double-entry accounting, all I wanted to do was run around and ride and climb into the apple trees. Which sin't exactly..non-traditional in the country, nor were the arts of love neglected, after all we have a Temple of Naamah on the grounds of our estate, but still, he thought I could do with some.." She makes a little face. "Sophistication."

"A baron's daughter," Anghelescu murmurs with mild, but not reproving amusement. "In my country, my lady, a lady of such standing would not wander around the city unescorted, and she certainly would not be speaking with strange merchants in questionable alehouses. This is what I mean when I say that the d'Angeline have very different customs — though not necessarily bad ones. It does mean that I get to speak with you, yes?"

Theo laughs again and nods. "Well, I will admit you might not find many noble ladies in the Kraken..but..it's what I was saying..I required sophistication and..I am sometimes lacking it." She bats her eyelashes warmly and smiles. "But..also, we d'Angelines .. have less of a class divide than other countries I know. After all, when you go in the deep country , you mioght find villages where the blood of the Companions has kept more pure than anywhere else, where you can see Angels shining on their faces..so how can you claim superior bloodlines. Now, we are snobs, but..it is a different kind of snobbery." She shrigs her almost bare shoulders and adds. "Besides, as I have said, I do enjoy a lusty Menekhetan or Hellene sailor myself." Yes, it seems d'Angelines are a lot more frank when discussing sexuality too.

"From what I am given to understand, your claim to descend from angels is not merely a convenient myth," the Carpathian observes with some amusement. "But yes, you are quite right — the divide between high and low here is far narrower than what I am accustomed to. I am not entirely convinced that you are in the wrong, however - this city is rich and graceful, one might argue that the d'Angeline must be doing something right."

With a slightly more amused smile yet he adds, "And interestingly, this alehouse is the first place I met a noble lady of the city. The Lady Philomène who had just finished beating the snot out of a couple of rowdy sailors. She somewhat defined my expectations, I'll admit."

"Oh, it's no myth..though of course it's sometimes not easy to believe for those who have not seen us. But it is part of our blood, and also why we follow Blessed Elua's creed of "Love as Thou Wilt." She chuckles a little, leaning back into her chair, allowing the warmth of several drinks to spread through her body. "Oh, LAdy Philomene. She is…well, outspoken and with no patience for fools, I should say."

Anghelescu sips his burnwine again and nods. "She certainly is. I find it quite enjoyable. The world is full of men and women who will say what they think you want to hear. I rather approve of someone calling me an idiot if they think I am acting like one. Something which, indeed, that lady has proven herself not at all shy about doing. You are acquainted with her? Ah, yes. Of course you are — I imagine that most nobles in the city will know of one another."

"Oh, I know her..and I believe you would not be the first person she's been …straighforward with." She Looks towards the bar and she summons a waiter. "Leave the bottle, no need for you to keep coming over." She pours herself some more of that spiced rum, then nods. "Though I am not part of her social circle, we have just met occasionally. Once at the races where she beat me thoroughly I should say."

"Then you are an equestrian as well, as opposed to merely being the daughter of a man who breeds horses," Anghelescu observes. "Myself, I can ride — but I do not consider myself one who should enter a race unless my purpose was to give the audience a good laugh while they waited for the real event. Tell me — do you feel that you are learning what you were sent here to learn? I am sometimes finding myself wondering just how much time the d'Angeline actually spend in the pursuit of pleasure. When most speak of such matters they make it sound as if getting out of bed is a rare occasion, but a city like this would not thrive if its leadership was never upright, so to speak."

"Oh, I do love riding, yes." Theo chuckles a little and nods. "That is what most foreigners always have trouble understanding. Yes, we spend an …inordinate time as they think pursuing pleasure..and I must confess an investment in sturdy beds and comfortable matresses will never go wrong." She winks playfully. "We are a decadent people, and our country is rich and as such..we can indulge our pleasures, whether we do so in the Night Court, or choosing lovers off the street..or off the fields." She shrugs. "But that does not mean we are not warlike when needed, or shun work, except..we will not deny ourselves the pleasure of living."

"d'Angeline soldiers and knights are renowned for their prowess," Anghelescu murmurs. "That's definitely a point that I shall not contest, my lady. It is a well known fact in my homeland that were the Skaldi not busy throwing themselves against your borders, the nations of the Chowat would be speaking another language and raising our children to be an entirely different breed of warriors."

Theo nods. "And you fill find no better inventors than those guided by Shemhazai's love of learning in Siovale..or healers more skilled than the adepts of Eisheth in this province. We have been..blessed with many gifts, messire, and we do not shun them. Even if all the world whispers is our whores. Which truly have no rival in all the world. It is why..sometimes it is hard for a foreigner to fathom..we relish our legacy and aim for new heights.." The girl might have the allure of a tomboy but she's clearly not lacking in pride. "I might spend a night or two indulging my desires..but that doesn't mean I won't have to fill in my ledgers the next day.."

The older man steeples his gloved fingers under his chin, smiling lightly. "You do have that reputation abroad, yes. But we of the Chowat have a reputation for being conservative, obsessed about our faith, cruel, and manipulative, merciless in our little succession wars — so I must question, my lady, whom amonst us has the worst reputation?" As he sits there at the table by the fire with the much younger girl, one might also be tempted to question any right on his behalf to speak of whores; one could certainly draw all the wrong conclusions about his intentions.

Theodosia laughs and opens her palm above the table. "I must confess I do not know about your people , so I cannot speak. I am a child of Terre d'Ange and as such I love her.. besides, our reputation always helps us in commerce, where people think we are just indolent pleasure seekers. Many have fallen prey to an Azzalese or Eisandine's merchant's first impressions. But if you wish to see whether we are successful merchants..go outside and look at the Dome of the Lady, which is built and maintained with the money flows into MArsilikos. And if you wish to relax…well, our whores..or our noble women alike might indulge in curiosity.." She winks.

The older man observes, with obvious amusement, "A degrading reputation can indeed be turned to an advantage, I find. And one does indeed not need to roam far and wide in Marsilikos to detect its wealth. I have yet to see beggars and lepers in the streets — and I have certainly traveled through no other country able to boast such a feat."

His smile widens even further as he upends the glass of burnwine and motions at the poor servant for another; it may be that he needs not come running with spiced rum for the lady no longer, but now he can deliver the local schnapps for the gentleman instead. "I must say, though, I find myself often confessing to d'Angelines that I did not come here to seek a mistress nor a wife. Not because they desire to educate me otherwise but because apparently, that is indeed why foreigners generally seek these shores."

A young man wearing plain clothes enters the Den. Black pants, black shirt and a leather cloak for the cold and snow. His eyes look around slowly and he tries to see everything before he turns and moves over to get something to eat. A soup is ordered as the youth turns and moves over to the heat and takes a seat. He's quiet as he moves and he takes a seat, leaning close to the fire putting his hands out to get more warmth from the fire. He's very young looking though with his hair swept over to the side a nice scar over his temple can be seen. He doesn't look around as he's focused on gaining a little bit of heat.

Theo is leaning back in her chair, crossing her legs and smiles. "Well, if you had been searching for any of those, I am sure you would have had quite a choice..but do tell me please that you are not celibate? I mean..if one comes to Terre d'Ange and does not..experience it fully, it is a shame.." She winks again, teasing. "As for beggars…the LAdy would not stand for it, as I have said we are rich, and while we have our poor, there is enough to spread around so that no one starves." She says, before she notices Olivier, whom she must have met randomly at an event or two, giving him a slow wave.

Anghelescu shakes his head, blue gaze wandering also to the newest arrival; so much black. Then he looks back at the young lady and replies, "No, I am not. I am simply not at a time in my life where female companionship is a priority. I am certain that if I manage to recover my health, this may change."

Oliver lifts his eyes to see Theo and he bows his head to her. His voice lifts, "If it's healing you seek, go to the temple of Eisheth. There is a priestess there…she healed me. I am witness to a miracle. Go to her." His voice cracks as he speaks. His soup arrives and he doesn't touch it. The young man's eyes are on the fire that's warming his hands.

Theo lifts her glass of spiced rum and nods. "Of course, messire.. that is what we mean by Love as Thour Wilt. Love now, or love later..or just …feel comfortable as you are." She sips deeply then realzies she has heard of Oliver's miracle, the girl's eyes widening. "Join us, milord. It does not seem as if you are very hungry and I trust the Kraken's drinks more than I trust its cuisine."

"Indeed, please do," the older man murmurs. He has a definite accent, and from the extent of his smile at the moment, something about this discussion strikes him as amusing. "I am not quite yet at the point where I am willing to absolve myself of my faith and adopt the d'Angeline beliefs. I reserve the right to change my mind if the more mundane attentions of your healers and herbalists fail to take effect."

He stands, takes his soup and then moves over to the table. He sits slowly and he lifts his brow slowly. "Mundane?" He shakes his head. "You do not have to absolve your faith to be healed." He sits back and takes a deep breath. "They are not mundane." He sounds a little offended. "I have seen a miracle and it's not just hearsay. I see you. That is a miracle."

Theodosia looks at Olivier and she raises her glass, whispering a small blessing to Eisheth, then she nods. "That is… something I am sure will be spoken in song for a long time, but more importantly, I am glad for you, milord." Theo's smile is warm towards Andrei too. "But I do hope your health improves too."

"No, my lord," replies Anghelescu and accepts the desired glass of strong spirits from the servant. "I do not claim that what you proclaim is not true. I have no reason to believe that your claims of miraculous healings are not true. The miracles of angels are quite real; I have no reason to think otherwise. But I myself belong to a faith that denounces these angels for disobeying their maker, and thus — for me to accept their aid would require me to be willing to abandon my name and reputation in my homeland. I may reach that point. I have not reached it yet."

Oliver thinks on it and then lifts his eyes to Andrei, "Then why are you here? Are their not herbalists in your country? You do not seek a wife, or a lover, but healing but are unwilling to be healed." He shakes his head and then starts sipping his soup. He lifts his eyes and looks at Theo. "My health is my fault, milady. I'm sorry." He speaks softly.

Theo raises a hand. "Peace, milord… it is not easy for one who has not grown here to understand." She lowers that hand to gently toch the back of Oliver's palm. "And one who has not seen, may not believe our claims of our descendants..the same way others clamed the Master of the Straits was just a legend, those who have not seen the Face on the Waters." She sighs. "And besides, even without the intervention of the Companions, our science in healing and other matters has gone pas what other countries have, so if Messire Andrei wishes just the most conventional treatments, why not?"

Anghelescu does not appear to take offense in any fashion at the younger man's rebuke and inquiry. "I am here because my physician at home denied me any hope at all; the herbalists here at least offer me a matter of months, perhaps more. And on some level, I am here because my mother was d'Angeline and I felt I wanted to know the world she came from."

Oliver keeps his eyes on Andrei and frowns. "It sounds like you need a miracle." Then his hand is touched and he blushes a little and pulls it away. He nods to Theo and his jaw tenses. He looks rebuked himself so he starts to quietly sip his soup. His eyes stay down on the table and he keeps focusing on his soup silently now.

"Ah, a d'Angeline mother? Now that is a story in itself, I am sure..after all, you come frm so far away?" Theo looks more curious, then keeps peeking towards Olivier, as if concerned about his soup. The Kraken's not where she'd come to eat, after all, but she may be amused a little.

"Maybe I do," the Carpathian says softly. "Maybe I just need a competent herbalist and chirurgeon. The lady I spoke with here and indeed ended up employing was … decidedly unimpressed with the efforts of my physician back home. I am not certain. We have a saying — that a man finds faith in the trenches. Perhaps I may change my mind and let my name be damned if it does indeed become a matter of living or dying."

With a smile towards Theodosia he murmurs, "I am told that my mother was of a Kushielite — Kushel? house of no particular importance. She wed my father for his wealth, or more likely, her family wed her to him. She was never happy in the Chowat."

Oliver frowns. Krakens fish soup is amazing and the only food item worth eating. The young man keeps sipping it slowly. "People are rarely happy away from home." He speaks softly. The young man listens more and sips even more. He finishes off his soup and stares at the bowl. He doesn't care that there is crust on the bowl or that the spoon wasn't the cleanest, he wanted something warm and he seems a little happier now.

It's true that bouillabaisse in MArsilokos is probably found in the dingier places, so she might need to try some herself sometime. "Oh, my..a Kusheline.." She shudders a bit. "We in house Fhirze supposedly share some of Kushiel's blood which..accounts for some of the desires that one feels at times. I cannot imagine they do well in other countries. I mean even those we know well, like the Caerdicci, who have seen plenty of d'Angelines at the University, or into whos families we married, like La Serenissima, do not always understand us."

The Carpathian nods slowly and sips his burnwine before glancing at Oliver. "If it's not too private to ask, monsieur — what is your injury that was miraculously repaired?"

Oliver nods slowly to Theo before he's asked. He lifts his eyes up and a finger goes to his temple. "I was blinded when I was a child. I could not see. Attesting to this fact… people used to push me in bushes. My caretaker pushed me off a balcony and I fell off a small cliff. Last year, I asked the healers at the temple if anything could be done to help me be more mobile. The day before my birthday a priestess used the power of Eisheth and I felt heat radiating my eyes and then I could see. It was burry for a time but … I can see you clearly now."

Anghelescu frowns. "What unnecessary cruelty. Surely abusing a child is not covered by the edict of love as thou wilt?" There is not so much pity in his blue gaze as there is indignation, that adults would strike a child.

Oliver watches Theo leave before turning his eyes to Andrei. "My father was a cruel man. I frequently was beaten. His last words to me were I wished you had died in that accident." He shrugs his shoulders. "Not all in any country or faith are identical. Nor are all men good or evil. There are shades. Though my father was more evil than most."

The frown deepens and then the Carpathian nods. "Parents do not always have their childrens' best interest in mind, I find. I am glad to hear that you overcame, that you were healed. No one should be made to suffer for something so clearly beyond their control, and no child should be made to feel unwanted."

Oliver shakes his head. "I was out riding with my brother. My horse was spooked and I got bucked off. I sat up too quickly and he… kicked me in the head. My brother got my horse and myself to my father. I begged my father not to blame the horse. He … cut his head off and I had to listen." He looks down at the bowl. He starts to move the spoon around. "He said he'd bring in healers to fix me but he just got our maid to pretend to be a healer. He didn't feel the expense was worth it." His jaw tightens. "I had to figure out how to live as a blind man. My dreams gone. After my father died, I came here to be closer to my brothers. Neither pay me any mind. My older brother left to go back home leaving me alone. Then my mother died and no one told me." He pushes the spoon away. "This country is full of love but some will never feel it and that is the burden I have. As their must be a balance."

"It seems to me that you were very poorly treated," the other man says gently. "And indeed, I understand why you feel so deeply about your faith. Now that you can indeed see — please tell me that you have not gone back to these people? If an angel judges you worthy where they did not, then it seems to me that the angel's judgement is the better one."

Oliver lifts his eyes up and looks at Andrei. "I am alone." He speaks softly. "While the angels judge me as worthy, I stay alone." He sighs. "I tried to get closer to a courtesan but he's not returned my mail as he used to so I assume I've been dropped off his client list." The young man shakes his head. "I have a cat. I love my cat."

"Better alone than with people who would abuse a child," Anghelescu murmurs. "God knows I am no saint but there are limits even to what I will do. I have never laid a hand on a child or knowingly caused one to suffer, and I do not intend to start." He seems to not have noticed invoking an article of faith rarely heard in Terre d'Ange.

Oliver shakes his head. "I'm not a child anymore. I'm seventeen." He grumbles a little. "I enjoy pain sometimes." His voice quiet. "Which is who my contract was with. A Thorn. I enjoyed it." He crosses his arms as he sits back. "I'm odd I'm sorry." He clears his throat. "My father was an asshole."

"Good," Anghelescu says, probably referring to not being a child anymore and not having to run back to family. "As for what a man enjoys — to each their own. The best sergeant I served with liked putting on a dress in his tent at night and walking about in high heels, speaking in a very shrill voice. I do not know what he derived from it, but every man whose life he saved was quite willing to indulge his fantasies."

Oliver nods his head. "I like many things. I just do not get many things." He points out. "I live in a giant house with just my cat. I wish I could be with someone who wanted me but that's not going to happen. I don't go to balls or fete anymore because they make me sad. People having fun and holding each other and I am standing alone." He shrugs his shoulders. "If he liked doing that than why would it matter? He did his job when he needed too."

"In my country, a man dressing like a woman is a great offence," the other man clarifies. "I was trying to underline, indeed, that a good man pursuing strange pleasures is no less of a good man. Have you considered other pursuits? I am not one for high society myself. I find my mind better occupied trading and learning."

Oliver speaks softly. "My father taught me economy and how to make money. My brother Anse put me into philosophy." He chews his bottom lip. "I am have been working in Sculpting. It is easier when I cannot see. I have also tried cooking." He rubs his eyes. "I'm horrible at baking but cooking.. I can do that."

"Then it seems to me that we both have found pursuits more pleasurable to our tastes than standing around at balls and galas where we feel like peacocks on parade, yes?" Anghelescu smiles lightly. "Not that I am a member of high society here, mind. In my home, my word carries somewhat more weight, and it can be quite… inconvenient at times."

Oliver frowns. "I wouldn't know how to peacock." He grumbles a little. "I barely know how to dress myself. Then there is the faces I see but I recognize the voices and it becomes disorienting so I stand and close my eyes. Hoping the sound goes away." He shakes his head. "A lot is more pleasurable than fete's. Much of wish I don't get…"

"It is a dance with no great point and much time wasted. That, of course, is merely my opinion, and one which few members of the d'Angeline gentry shares, I suspect." Anghelescu offers a crooked smile. "We do not live for others, monsieur. Do as thou wilt."

Oliver shakes his head a little and sighs. "We don't live for others." He echoes. "It's not Do as thou wilt. It's love as thou wilt." He corrects. "There is much that is illegal here so that tenant would not work. The Love as Thou Wilt is a painful one when you realize you are not what anyone wants. So while you have all this love to give, no one is even looking your way. Eventually the hope of any love goes away and you are left feeling bitter and alone." He keeps his head bowed. "Have you loved before sir?"

The other man shakes his head. "I have not. Hence I say, do as thou wilt, instead. Not all of us were made to be lovers, I suspect. I for one tend to find myself too short on time to pursue romance, and not interested enough to pursue mere physical pleasures."

Oliver nods his head. "Well, I have loved with no return. Twice." He shakes his head. "Physical pleasures are acceptable if you need them but romance…" He nods his head. "I could not imagine feeling like you have no time to romance. Even one moment of happiness from romance should make a life longer."

"I shall perhaps agree with you on that if I live long enough to meet a woman I deem worthy of the time it would take to win her," the other man says with a small smile. "We must all discover what interests us. To me, the machinations of politics and trade are far more exciting than the potential wooing of a wife."

Oliver shakes his head. "Women are like cats. You do not choose a woman. A woman chooses you. It is the greatest honor to be chosen by a woman." He points out to the man. "Though I am not into women. I prefer men." He clarifies to the man. "That's probably a hanging in your country."

"A scorning, at least. We tend to not care quite as much as the Lord's priests tell us we should, at least not if the men in question do not make it a business of the public." Anghelescu shrugs lightly; he seems not particularly disturbed. "Well, then, perhaps some day a woman will set her sights on me. I can't say that it has happened yet, or if it has, I have been blissfully oblivious."

Oliver points at himself. "It's obvious what I enjoy." He grumbles at Andrei. Another shrug from the youth. "Men typically are oblivious to the machinations of women." He rubs his temple and lifts his eyes up again. "Are you sure you'd want a D'Angeline women though? You are conservative and usually d'Angeline marriages aren't monogamous."

"I do not lie awake at night worrying that d'Angeline women will come knocking down my door, indeed." Blue eyes glitter with amusement. "If for some reason one indeed does — I'll certainly make certain she understands whom she is approaching and how she may regret that choice. It is not much of a concern for me. I spend far more time worrying whether I will be able to make the best possible deal on the export of spruce for ships' masts."

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