(1312-04-22) For We Are Blithe And We Are Gay
Summary: Jehan-Pascal takes some of the lads out hunting, only of course the real quarry is the friends they make along the way.
RL Date: 22/04/2020
Related: Some references to the Performance Contest the night before.
antoine bastien jehan-pascal paris symon 

Into The Woods — Eisande

There's a nice day of downtime in the middle of all the bustle of the tourney— which is not to say that everybody's just catching up on his or her own beauty sleep. No, there's a lot to do, still, dinners being given and parties being hosted and elbows being rubbed and all the rest of the sort of phenomena which crop up when so great a portion of the nobility has convened in one place.

In the midst of all these events, Jehan-Pascal, heir to the county Avignon and soon-to-be newlywed has decided to host an excursion on horseback. A hunting trip almost in name only, it is a fine, fine time for him to show off his smart new riding trou and hunting jacket with the braid-lined tails, to gather some fine young men, at least a portion of whom are courtesans contracted to accompany the excursion, to ride out among the trees with a wineskin full of something delicious, sing a round or two of cheerful hunting songs, and maybe — only maybe — shoot an arrow at a rabbit if the opportunity presents itself.

Paris is not the most telented rider, the young man city born but he manages to stay in the saddle, his long hair fluttering in the wind behind him, for once wearing riding boots and pants, rather than his loose silks. He does seem to be enjoying himself though as he asks in a loud voice. "Is there anything to eat, milord Jehan-Pascal, all this riding and fresh air is making me hungry."

How exactly did he get invited is a surprise to him, but Bastien is out in riding attire, which looks brand new, because, well, it is. He is dressed in brown breeches, that tuck into a pair of riding boots. A white shirt with billowy sleeves covers his arms, while a tight fitting tan padded vest is laced around his torso. The young nobleman looks nervous as he rides, if one might call it that. The only thing that is keeping him upon the horses back is his natural grace. It is a hunting trip after all, so he has a bow and quiver of arrows along with him, but they are little more than decorations for the whole affair. The young lord is still quite on a high from winning the performance contest yesterday.

Symon is a champion of downtime. He doesn't have riding-specific clothes since he does it so rarely. His casual day clothes will have to do. Everyone can tell he is a rather poor horseman. But he certainly puts his all into singing the hunting songs. Even if he always ends up a little behind. "W…we have b-been at it a while," he says to back up Paris. "How about a b…break?"

While he's not the biggest hunting expert, it is good to get out and about for a little while, and so Antoine figured it was a good idea to come along for this. He's dressed in clothes that look to be well suited for the outdoors, looking rather relaxed as they ride along. He keeps quiet for the moment, just listening to the others as he looks around with a smile.

Jehan-Pascal, himself, is a facile rider, reins looped easily in one hand, guiding his mount more with his knees than with the reins themselves. But he only proceeds at pace, enjoying the fresh air and the good company and the wine and the quiver at his back, as yet to be opened. Does of the woodland, tremble not. As to Bastien's invitation, after the virtuoso performance last night, Jehan-Pascal is only pleased to have had his invitation accepted! Paris' request makes him smile. Not that he isn't, already. "Of course, Monsieur Paris. What do you say, Lord Bastien, Lord Antoine? Should we find a place to dismount and have our supper spread?" Because of course they can't subsist on only what they can carry, and so there are attendant riders as well, with packed gear ready to lay out blankets and serve out a faux-rustic meal. They're also packing more wine, in case the skins run dry.

Now this is more like it, of course it might give Paris the wrong impression on how peasants live, surely they do not get their meals on pristine white table cloths spread artistically in the grass, with delicate china plates and all sorts of dainties taken from wicker panniers. The boy sprals in the grass, munching on a petit four, a bit of cream on his upper lip and sipping at the wine. "Did you want to hunt too, milord?"

Bastien slows his horse down to the barest of trots. "Oh, by Elua, yes, we should stop." The young, grey-eyed Mereliot would agree to just about to anything at the moment. This being his first real ride of his seventeen years.

Symon's horse can tell that the energy to move forward is winding down, so it pulls against the reins to get slack to lower its head and eat some grass. Symon nudges with his heels, but the horse ignores him.

Antoine smiles. "It sounds like a good idea," he replies, with a nod. A brief grin as he looks to Symon's horse, before he looks to the others again. "This looks like a good place as any, doesn't it?"

Jehan-Pascal laughs aloud, a warm and cheersome noise. "Well, if Symon's horse ahs anything to say about it, I suppose so," he rejoins, dismounting readily once he's found a safe place to get his footing, one of the attendants coming to take his horse by the reins and lead her back where the rest will be kept. Jehan-Pascal, for his part, comes to help save Symon, "Here," he reaches up, asking for the reins with one hand and holding the other hand up to help Symon down off of the animal while the area is set up and the meal laid out. When he turns and sees Paris already luxuriating in the dainties, it brings another gentle laugh from his lips. "It really is a picturesque spot. Your mount has good taste," he tells Symon, then, distracted by a low, spreading tree, "Oh, is that a beech?"

Paris may even be joining in with the servants to pour wine into cups and bringing it to everyone from Symon, Antoine, Bastien and finally JP, smiling as he stands on his tip toes to kiss the cheek of the other young man. "A beech, milord?" He tilts his head and shakes his head playfully. "I would not know..I am alas unfamiliar with the wilderness.." the little Eisandine forest hardly qualifies as 'wilderness' but…

Quite happily and most eagerly, Bastien dismounts from his horse. He offers a quiet, "thank you." To the servant who takes the beast away. Now that he is no longer focusing on not falling off the horse, he takes a good look around. He smiles gently, "So it would seem…" Paris garners a gentle smile from Bastien as he hands him a glass of wine. "Thank you."

Symon is glad of the help and shows no embarrassment in excepting it, hopping lightly down from the horse with one hand in Jehan-Pascal's. "Oh, it is," he agrees warmly. "I feel nymphs might spring forth." He takes a cup of wine from Paris, smiling.

Antoine smiles as he looks around. There's a nod as he hears the part about the beech, nodding a little. "Thank you," he offers to Paris as he takes the offered wine.

"I had just the same thought," Jehan-Pascal agrees with Symon, giving his hand a tender squeeze and leaning in to accept a kiss from Paris as well as a glass of wine, which he swallows down in great thirst before returning the kiss almost a moment later. "You needn't serve if you don't like, Paris," he teases the courtesan as a little aside, but certainly won't stop him from bustling about if it suits him. An attendant is ready to refill his wine glass, in turn, as Paris sees to the others. "The Beech was a signal bit of foliage for the great Bucolics," he goes on, "And yet I don't quite know one when I see one. I would offer it an apostrophe, but I would feel disrespectful to its particular nymph if I were to be mistaken. And you know what terrible things happen then," he laughs, swallowing his second glass of wine. "But let's see to breathing the curse of a beautiful place, shall we, my fellows? We'll drink, and dine, and be contented," he toasts, with his third glass, as soon as it's filled.

"Terrible things…with nymphs?" Paris asks softly, his eyes laughing..and he does enjoy serving , so it seems like no great burden on im, still eyeing the tree doubtfully. "What do the nymphs of the beeches do? And what do other nymphs do too?" The courtesan seems curious about it all, though he picks up another dainty and offers it to Jehan-Pascal to nibble on it.

Bastien takes a few languid steps. He stretches out a bit, "Yes, this is quite a lovely spot." He looks to Jehan-Pascal, "Yes, my lord, this is indeed my idea of a hunting trip, though it is not what I was expecting. I was anticipating it being more rustic, not quite so picturesque. It is quite inspiring, nymphs and all."

Symon drinks, then lobs a question at jehan-Pascal. "W…what is the difference b-between a nymph and a dryad, anyway?" he wants to know. He shoots a smile at Bastien. "Are you the rustic type?"

Antoine chuckles as he listens, taking a sip from the wine. "Now this part about the nymphs is sounding a bit interesting," he replies, with a smile. Glancing around again, he nods a bit at Symon's question.

Jehan-Pascal doesn't take to service, himself, though Symon may be surprised at the fact (Jehan-Pascal, when living the bachelor's life in Les Tanieres, used to be his own house-servant and serve the tea and meals when visitors came), but he does give the area a once-over and make sure everything is suitable before he removes his boots and steps onto the blankets, settling down with a sigh of relief and then leaning back onto the prop one hand provides, taking the dainty from Paris' fingers and looking into his eyes the meanwhile. "Mm," he murmurs, then swallows. "The trope stands that if a young man found a beautiful spot to rest while he was hunting, it would no doubt be haunted by a nymph of some strange design, or a goddess, or— spirit. Probably the best examplar of the trope is the story of Salmacis," he goes on, but, before he can be roped into telling the story, there's a debate about nymphs and dryads. "Dryads are a sort of nymph, the ones that live in trees— specifically oak, presumably, based on their names. Then there are Oreads, the mountain nymphs, Naiads, the sea nymphs… I'm sure there are others not coming to mind at present."

Bastien shakes his head, laughing as he does. He looks to Symon, "I might be called many things, but rustic is not one of them. If I had my way, I would be surrounded by silken pillows and scented oils. I would much prefer a pampered life than a rustic one. Of course, my life now requires more restraint."

Paris giggles and sits crosslegged in the grass, taking a cup of wine and sipping on it himself, as he lsitens to the story wide eyed, the boy is still quite young after all. "One should be careful where they hun, then?" he asks, then his cheeks dimple and he nods towards Bastien, clearly sharing that attitude.

"So a dryad is a type of nymph like a robin is a type of b-bird," Symon concludes, nodding at his lesson. "I'm starting to feel rather insulted that there are so many kinds of nymphs and yet I've never m…met one." He follows his host's lead to ditch his boots and drop onto the blanket. Much more graceful at that than riding.

"I think my parents told me a story about oreads once," Antoine says after a few moments. "At least I remember it vaguely." Following the others, he kicks off his boots and sits down. "Ah, good," he mutters.

“Or at least where they rest from hunting," Jehan-Pascal answers, but doesn't pursue the notion further, just leaning back and looking up to the boughs of something that might or might not be a beech while he lets the three cups of wine he's had so far soak in so genially to his bloodstream. "More restraint than what, Lord Bastien? Or may I have the honor to call you Bastien?" He usually would wait until someone offers to dispense with titles before asking after the luxury, but the comfortable gathering is lending itself to a casual boldness. "Exactly so, Symon," whose given name he's been using freely for some while now. "And if I have met one, I haven't known it," he chuckles. "Oh, what story is that, Lord Antoine?"

Paris leans in a bit against Jehan-Pascal, cuddling in the young man's arms, while he sips daintily on his wine, resting his head on JP"s shoulder and smiling, his free hand on the young lord's knee as he seems to relax, even to purr like an exotic kitten, while he looks towards Antoine, curiosity in his eyes for thats tory too.

Bastien smiles and nods, "Please, I would much prefer to be called Bastien. Well, I can't exactly lay about all day sipping sweet wine and eating grapes. " He lays onto his side with his head propped up on his palm, elbow to the ground. His right knee bent upward. "That was the dreams of youth… but things were going to be very much different two years ago." He chuckles, "Oh, I'm sure that we have all met our share of nymphs, just called by other named."

"Then we m-must make it a goal today to m…meet one," Symon declares. Is he being deliberately fanciful, or is he being serious? Impossible to tell. But he's certainly not being sober much longer, since he refills his cup. He looks to Bastien. "Oh? Who are your nymphs?"

Antoine lets out a bit of a breath as he hears that question. "As I said, I only vaguely remember it. Something about one living in one of the mountain passes near Marcoux, helping one of our ancestors with something. I wish I had paid more attention back in those days," he replies.

Jehan-Pascal doesn't mind any ounce of a bit of a smidge having a Paris curled all kittenish to his side. Even if he does have to sit up a little bit in order to support his drinking habit with the hand that had been propping him up. Evidently that dainty will do him well enough for food, as long as the wine keeps flowing, but the attendants are assiduous in being on hand to present options to the diners where they sit. "And you should call me Jehan-Pascal. All of you," he nods to Antoine, as well, extending the privilege easy-handedly. So to speak. "And, of course, etymologically, nymph merely means 'bride,'" he mentions, "So I suppose I, at least, have met mine," he chuckles. "Oh!" to Antoine, "You have your own foundational myth. I'd like to hear it in its entirety, if you have a chance to ask after it when we are returned to civilization," he speaks as if they weren't just a few hours' ride out from the city.

Paris is mellow too, cuddling in JP's arms, sipping at his wine and quite curious to hear more, it seems he may not have heard too many of these legends, so he's just enjoying it, arching his back a bit to place a soft kiss on JP's neck under his earlobe.

Bastien finishes off his glass of wine before rolling over onto his back. His stares up at the sky, as a calmed expression covers his face. "Well, if nymph means bride, then I hope not to meet mine for quite some time. I am too young and have a lot of oats yet to sew."

Symon laughs and raises his cup to Bastien. "Although, you should take it from m…me that it sneaks up on you m…more quickly than you realize, the time when you simply have to find one."

"I'll see what I can find out the next time I head home," Antoine replies to Jehan-Pascal, before the mention of brides makes him look a bit thoughtful for now. Taking a long sip of the wine, he glances around again, before he looks back to the others.

"Listen to him, Bastien. It comes for all of us, in time," Jehan-Pascal speaks from the very precipice, as it were, and he's honestly left it far too late; if he were not proving himself amply useful in county management already his father would have found him a wife ages ago. As it stands, his girlfriend has had to push him into the making the arrangements. "It would be better to start early and find someone you really connect with, you know? I'm glad I had time to correspond with the Lady Favourite before our engagement. I think she'll make a tremendous Comtesse." Oh, and there's a Paris, kissing behind his ear. "But maybe we'll leave the talk of brides for another day," he appends with an intoxicated smile. Symon, at least, will know he's too much devoted to his cups to be fazed by three mere drinks of wine, so it's quite probably just the kisses doing the trick. "Bastien, you are to be congratulated again on your success last night. Your performance was a rare delight."

Paris doesn't stop his kisses, his hand moving over Jehan-Pascal's knee, the boy smiling as the young men talk of brides, but he also nods. "i did hear about it, milord Bastien, I am sorry I could not be there to watch it..but everyone said it was really nice!"

Bastien chuckles softly, "For now at least, marriage is a hunter that I shall do my best to avoid for a while. I would be the clever fox and slip past the hunter's dogs all day and night, so that I can slip into the chicken coup and satisfy my hungers." He sighs, "But the truth of the matter, Her Grace will probably arrange a marriage of political gain, and I will have little say in the matter. At least, so I was told. Until that day, I shall enjoy life as I can." Talks of the contest brings a wide grin to his lips, "Thank you, though I will admit that I was in rare company on that stage. But if you all would like, I could sing a bit."

Symon smiles brilliantly at Jehan-Pascal, a reward for changing the topic off of marriage. "Oh, did B-Bastien w…win?" Symon asks, apparently not having caught the gossip yet on the tourney results. He lets out a laugh as he has his cup filled again. "You sound exactly like m…me a few years ago," he observes. "Oh, b-but do sing. Then you can't p-possibly sound like m-me."

"Hmmm…" Antoine mutters, mostly to himself, before he looks back to the others, offering them a smile. "Congratulations, Bastien," he offers to the man, with a bit of a grin. "Good to see someone winning something."

"Oh, would you mind?" Jehan-Pascal asks, voice pitched upward slightly. "I swear I did not invite you along for the sake of the chance of entertainment, but if you are keen to sing for us, I would thoroughly enjoy it," he promises, handing up his wine glass to an attendant and leaning back on his elbow, this time drawing Paris in alongside him and resting quite comfortably and casually just there. "He did win," he confirms for Symon. "It was awe-inspiring."

<FS3> Bastien rolls Singing: Success. (1 6 3 3 3 1 4 5 3 1 1 4 2 8 3 1)

Bastien sits up, taking a sip of wine. The grey-eyed boy laughs, "I offered, Jehan-Pascal. The thought never crossed my mind. I like to sing. Music is the essence of my soul, without it, I would be hollow." He closes his eyes for a second, before a smile crosses his lips, before he starts to sing. "Nymphs and shepherds, come away, In this grove let's sport and play; For this is Flora's holiday, Sacred to ease and happy love, To music, to dancing and to poetry. Your flocks may now securely rest While you express your jollity! Nymphs and shepherds, come away. Nymphs and shepherds, pipe and play, Tune a song, a festal lay; For this is Flora's holiday, Lightly we tread o'er all the ground, With music, with dancing and with poetry. Then trip we round with merry sound, And pass the day in jollity! Nymphs and shepherds, come away".

Symon eats something an attendant passes him, then stretches out on the cloth to listen to the song, one bent elbow under his ear. The song seems to please him well, and he claps his hands behind his head.

Antoine leans back a bit as he listens, expression a bit distant. There's a smile on his face as he does, looking rather relaxed.

Paris beams as he sees Bastien stand..and then begin to sing, the Glycine courtesan's eyes fogging up a bit as he cuddles tighter with JP> "Isn't that beautiful?" he sighs..

Jehan-Pascal is charmed by the idyllic content, the choice of tune, and he listens with an enchanted expression while reclining more fully along parallel with Symon and snugging a Paris in beside him. This is what every hunting trip ought to be like. "What a lovely song," he commends Bastien warmly, then, resting his hand on the blanket between him and Symon, "Come and rest with us? It's very comfortable," he invites, perhaps intent upon a full cuddle pile. "Antoine? Your eyes look quite heavy as well," he lures.

Symon does not give the maatter a second thought, sliding over to lay his head on Jehan-Pascal's legs rather than his own elbow. Perfect for a late spring nap.

A grin spreads across his lips, as Bastien nods. As he walks over to the puppy pile, he shakes his head, "I could have done better… I should have done better…" He says more to himself than the others. The young nobleman is more than happy to lay down with them. "It is indeed a lovely day."

"Hmmm?" Antoine says, before he grimaces. "I'm good… Just… tired…" With a yawn, it would seem he's actually dozing off where he's placed himself.

Jehan-Pascal recognizes so much of himself in Bastien, beating himself up for a job he doesn't deem well enough for his standards. But it's easier for JP to offer acceptance for someone else besides his own person, and, "Sh-h-h," he whispers soothingly. "It was beautiful, Bastien," he assures him, "Just beautiful," he smiles drowsily, turning his head to kiss Paris, rather lingering, then turning to reach out his other arm and gather in Bastien, too, offering just-kissed lips to his own lips to welcome him to the pile, if he cares so to be welcomed.

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