11921122 The Forgiveness of a Lusignan?
|The Forgiveness of a Lusignan?|
The dwarf has left some minutes ago, and the Lusignan is on his own again. Rising from his seat, he starts to walk over to the hearth, which is not lit at this time of the day. His restless gaze returns to the archway leading to the antechamber, as if he were expecting another guest. And indeed, he has sent out a servant this morning, to find a certain young minstrel he had spotted at the Tourney on St. Zachery's day, most conveniently surrounded by a horde of giggling ladies-in-waiting. He returns to his place on the 'eastern side', and resumes his seat on one of the cushions. Grabbing his lute, an expensive, heavily ornamented instrument, Geoffrey starts playing a melody of his home Poitou. And soon the longing sadness of a common love song fills the Hall of Geoffrey de Lusignan's House.
After some time it seems an echo has stirred in the house for the song is taken up by a second voice. It is a rather pleasant young voice and clearly schooled. A few moments later the other singer falls silent though and a servant leads the young troubadour into the room, bowing deeply. "The singer is here, Mylord. Raimon de Baux." "Sir Geoffrey, what a honour to be summoned by you.", Raimon greets, bowing deeply as well.
While his fingers hurried over the strings with an elegance that might surprise some, the Lusignan's smile deepened as he perceived the singing voice, although he was a little startled at first due to the confusing acoustics of his home - had it at first appeared to him that the voice came from upstairs, from the direction of the gallery that leads to his and his absent wife's sleeping chambers. But then, as Geoffrey sees the young minstrel coming from the direction of the main door, he sighs with relief and putting the lute aside for a moment he rises to take a better look. "Raimon de Baux." he repeats while he studies the minstrel. "I am glad you were able to accept my... invitation. And you are right of course. An honour it is, although one that is most readily bestowed. Pray have a seat. A cup of wine, perhaps? Some refreshments?" And sending the servant off to fetch the required things with a gesture of the hand he resumes his seat again, on one of the cushions of the oriental style that seems to dominate this side of the hall. "You are of French origin, I suppose?"
"I'll have some wine.", Raimon decides before he takes a seat, declining whatever food may be on offer. "I need to be careful what I eat because food affects my voice.", he explains apologetically, his speaking voice as soft and melodious as his singing voice. At the last question his eyes widen slightly. "I am Provençal, Ser Geoffrey. I trust you have heard of Les Baux. My family has been guarding the Provence from invaders for many centuries. But of course I can speak French.", he assures the man, since he's obviously doing so already.
Geoffrey's brows furrow slightly at Raimon's declining of food. But then he shrugs. "I for my part am quite hungry." The servant returns with a exquisitely decorated flagon, to pour his master and the guest from one of the better brands of wine from the cellar. "Aye..." the Lusignan replies pensively, as he receives his cup. "Des Baux. Of course I've heard of your family, however far from the Lusignan lands it might be." Another servant appears, with a bowl of grapes, fresh figs and dates that he puts onto the low table before them. "How did you end up in these lands, young Raimon de Baux?" Geoffrey finally asks, after helping himself to some of the fruit.
"Of course, of course, I wouldn't keep you from your food.", Raimon assures the great man. He himself looks like he rarely eats at all, the dark-blue tunic rather loose around his skinny frame. It ain't easy being a fussy eater in foreign parts where all food is weird. He does gladly accept the wine though and takes a slow sip while the servants bring the food for their master.
At the question, he smiles faintly. "I had promised my parents to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. My cousin Adhemar came to the Holy Land with King Philipp and remained in Acre. I am keeping him company. I find it very inspirational here. Do you like music, Sir Geoffrey? Well, I trust you do and that's why you have summoned me, have you not? It's what most people do." The young minstrel pats his trusty lyre which he has brought along.
Listening to Raimon's explanation with mild interest, Geoffrey continues to eat a date and then a fig. "Your cousin is a knight then? Hmm. Whereas you chose the path of a minstrel? You know that there are many knights, even here at Acre who are capable of delivering a song or two, and even play an instrument? Even I find it most relaxing now and then. But I am not a singer. And I play mostly for myself." A handful of grapes is attacked next. "Charming as the thought might be, I did not summon you for the music, good Raimon. It is because I noticed, at the tourney, that you of all seem quite popular with the young noble ladies..." He eyes the minstrel with a smirk, still munching on a grape or two.
"Just as war is an art in itself, so is music.", Raimon replies softly, "I can wield a sword, but I dare not consider myself schooled in the art of war, nor could I command an army of men in battle. It is the same with music. Many can pluck at a lyre or repeat the words to a song, but it does take art to make music truly come to life. Perhaps some day you will grant me the pleasure of showing you.", he smiles, "It is not only young noble ladies who appreciate music. But they seem particularly keen as you have noticed?" He looks intrigued, the last remark more like a question to find out whatever is going through the man's head.
"I am sure to be the focus of such keen interest can have its benefits?" Geoffrey remarks with a wink. "It has given you some experience in charming them, even those that claim to be not charmed that easily?" Another sip of wine and the Lusignan runs his hand through his hair, bringing some order into his impressive mahogany locks before he adds: "I might have a quest for you, young minstrel. If you're up to the task."
"I believe that the young ladies are merely appreciative of my music, Sir.", Raimon replies with a guileless smile and an innocent expression in his eyes. His eyes follow the other man whose last remark makes him look up with fresh interest. "A quest, Mylord? Don't you know it's every singer's dream to embark upon a quest of honor that will lead to a lady's fair hand? Is it such a quest, Mylord?", he wonders.
"Certainly. Music does play a part in getting their admiration," the Lusignan is quick to answer, although his brown eyes glint a little with amusement at the young minstrel's display of innocence. "A quest it is indeed. And while I can not promise you any lady's fair hand in this, you might obtain it in the end, through your undeterred courage. Who knows?" Geoffrey gives a light chuckle at that. "There is a certain young lady at the Palace. She is actually quite nice I am sure, were it not for her hard sentiments against some. She is very uptight, can often be seen running out of the room - in tears. A poor soul indeed. I wonder, if you could engage her in conversation, about music for instance. Cheer her up. Make her forget about what troubles her so deeply. Teach her how to giggle again. Now, how does that sound to you?"
"A veritable quest indeed, good Sir.", Raimon agrees, "And a true challenge. May I inquire about the lady's name? And the cause of her troubles? And what is she to you, Mylord? Do you indeed to woo the damsel?"
The minstrel's questions make Geoffrey smirk a little, as he leans back into those comfortable cushions. "Our families used to be quite close, so I have heard, some years ago. Her aunt Agnes de Courtenay, divorced wife of King Amalric I of Jerusalem, mother to the late Queen Sibylla is said to have been quite in favour with my brother the Constable of Jerusalem. Indeed I cannot woo the lady in question, and probably would not anyway, as I am already wed, young minstrel. Even if these deserted halls might suggest otherwise. To be honest, Beatrice de Courtenay, the Countess of Petra and Edessa is quite wroth at us Lusignans due to a little misunderstanding. She sees herself as some goddess of revenge, which does not become a girl of her age at all. And it doesn't attract suitors, either. So, while she never really could succeed at causing our downfall, I pity the girl. And would gladly help her to some amusement that would be natural for a lady of her age... *That* is the forgiveness of a Lusignan." The cup is refilled, while Geoffrey eyes the minstrel attentively.
Raimon listens attentively, his eyes lighting up a second when the name of the lady in question is mentioned, though if he knows her, he makes no mention of the fact. Or whether he knows anything of the affairs at court. "I see.", he finally says softly, "Well, I am but a humble servant of the muses and the Countess of Petra and Edessa is far above my station, Sir. But if she would agree to listen to my song, I would be happy to try and bring a smile to her lips. Young ladies are so much prettier with a smile, wouldn't you agree?", he says and lifts his glass in a silent toast to the Ladies Who Smile before emptying it of the last wine.
"Did I ask you for anything else?" Geoffrey inquires, with a look that tries too hard to appear innocent. "And yes, she is, of course, above your station. Although in these times, who can tell? We are far from home, young Raimon, and here in the kingdom of Outremer many things seem to be possible... More wine?" A gesture to the servant with the flagon for a refill follows. "But let me say this: Any endeavours that lead to Countess Beatrice's 'happiness', might be rewarded. And we Lusignan's are quite wealthy, I assure you. Take a look at this humble abode and you will know." A confident chuckle follows, as Geoffrey seems to be quite amused by his own little jest. But soon the laughter fades and the Lusignan leans back again in those cushions. "I might be in the humour for a demonstration of your musical skills now, if you feel so inclined?" he remarks, studying Raimon lazily from his comfortable position.
Raimon nods to the offer of more wine - like he'd pass up the opportunity to guzzle the expensive wines the Lusignans can offer. "I'll see what I can do about Countess Beatrice's happiness.", he promises, "I have only seen her from afar at the tourney, but I did detect a note of sadness in her demeanor..." He pauses to let the servant refill his wine glass, then takes a sip and sets the glass down. "Of course.", he readily agrees when the man suggests a demonstration, "Do you have any particular requests for a song, Sir?" He picks up his lyre and plucks each strand as if for a test.
Geoffrey nods with light irritation, as if no longer in the mood to speak about the Courtenay. "Aye, sadness, displeasure, whatever." he waves it off. "The sooner you cheer her up the better I suppose." And taking another sip from the exquisite wine he hesitates before he replies with a curious grin: "Why not treat me to a song you would pick for impressing the fair countess?"
Raimon laughs at that. "Oh, I believe fair maidens wish to hear different tales than proud warriors. But let's see... perhaps a song from the time of the legendary King Arthur? Or the story of the Castilian hero they called El Cid? I learned it in Toledo, it is a tale fit for a warrior. Though if you prefer something more genteel, how about the tragic story of Tristan and Yseult? The ladies do love this story."
"Given her own sour mood, I suspect the latter one might be appropriate..." Geoffrey muses lethargically. "Genteel, eh? So tell me the tragic tale of Tristan and Ys... whatever her name is." The cup of wine is put down onto the table while he waits for the performance to commence.
"Yseult.", Raimon repeats the lady's name, then adds: "Though to the Frankish tongue her name is known as Isolde, too." He pauses a moment to concentrate and get into the zone, then starts playing the song. It is a long ballad of course, the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers who wind up dead instead of happy. Sob. All in all a good quarter of an hour has passed until the song finally comes to an end.
Geoffrey's eyes are on Raimon's fingers as they brush the strings of the lyre, then on the minstrel's face as the song commences in all its tragic glory. Listening intently to the delivery the Lusignan's attention is on other things as well, like the way Raimon uses his eyes and pauses in his delivery for more emphasis. And although Geoffrey does not directly break out in tears, it is evident he is very impressed when the song is over. Especially since he lifts himself to his feet to applaud for the minstrel with genuine praise. "A very gifted young minstrel you are, Raimon de Baux. I trust you can succeed, if you pull it off this convincingly." He grins, obviously quite pleased with himself and the arrangement. "I must retire now, some other engagements await my attendance. But thank you for following my invitation and agreeing to this little favour."
Raimon blushes a little at the praise, which he feels is genuine and gets to his feet for a deep bow. "Thank you, Sir Geoffrey, you are very kind. I am pleased that my song met with your favour. I shall endeavour to not disappoint you." He picks up his lyre, hovers a little to see if any financial reward is forthcoming, before he finally turns to leave.
Noticing the minstrel's tarrying, Geoffrey chuckles, as he removes a little purse from the depths of his garb. "Ah, I almost forgot. A little recompense for your time and attention. More will follow, if your quest should prove successful..." And with an elegant move of his hand he tosses the small purse over to Raimon. "Persue it with the appropriate discretion..." he adds with a wink, his gaze following the minstrel as he moves towards the door.
Raimon catches the purse and bows again before finally making his departure, a happy smile now on his lips.