(121-05-28) The Birth Of Valerio Vixenbane
The Birth of Valerio Vixenbane
Summary: The Laurel Lord finds some new actors for the Whimsy
Date: 28/05/2014
Related: None

At the Whimsy

After some days of very little activity, the Whimsy is slowly coming to life again. There's an early-morning busker on the small stage, performing for those who are already bored with themselves early on the day and loiter about, listening to fairly bawdy songs. There's also some noise coming from the actual amphitheatre, hinting at a new play being prepared. Rather lost among the bustle stands a lone young figure in rather expensive clothes, the green-gold giving away the House of Tyrell. Loryn just stands there, staring at the theatre, his thoughts obviously very far away, lost in some daydream.

"…and then, what does the light wench say, but 'they're hiring at the Whimsy!'" a hearty voice well steeped in wine careers from one of the entrances, "and as the days passed, I thought, actually, why not!"

The first sight is the footloose band laughing at the end of this story, half a dozen young men in their latter teens to their mid-twenties, their stations varying from well to do merchant's boy through Citadel novice, sprinked with a minor nobleman or two. But the speaker who has seemingly so entertained them drags his well-cobbled heels at the rear.

He's taller than the others, in the midst of their range of ages, but obviously far more lavishly dressed. Black miniver, gold satin and blue silk flow in generous counterpart to the long black hair and dark blue eyes that are fairly well known, even in the Reach, to donote the Baratheons of Storm's End. The only false, or at least incongruous note, are the three maester's links that dangle from the highborn lad's throat, revealing him as, after all, a mere acolyte. But his wide, mocking smile pays those small heed.

The sudden noise and laughter tears Loryn straight out of whatever acceptance speech for winning an award he was working on in his daydream. He blinks when he sees the curiously checkered troupe arrive and after a moment decides that the tall one must be their leader. At least he is the one Loryn turns to now to inquire politely: "Can I help you, gentlemen? The first performance is not until dusk, but I believe tickets are still available. If you turn that way…" He points the way to a small shed-like construction, half hidden behind a sausage stall, that apparently serves as the box office of the Whimsy.

The hangers-on part to let the Baratheon acolyte forward, and he offers an elaborate though not entirely sincere bow in Loryn's rough direction. "Good morn, my lord. I take it I am addressing the famed Laurel of the Whimsy? My name is Amadys, born to House Baratheon, presently of the Citadel. Some of my choicest friends here and I had heard that you were aiming to accrue new talent to your departed coz's enterprise…"

Loryn looks actually pleased to be adressed by his stage name (of sorts) and nods. "Indeed, you are, Mylord. I am Loryn Tyrell and it is true… with my brother's and Lord Arion's departures, I find myself short of two leading players and I could always use more players of course." His eyes wander from Amadys over the rag-tag group he's brought with him, then back to the Baratheon. "So you… wish to join the troupe?", he asks hopefully, "All of you?"

That raises another ragged laugh from the dissolute gang, and Amadys himself fingers at his three links with a strange, twisted smile. "You make it sound like such a life's commitment, my lord of Tyrell. Some of us have already, it seems, become faced with such burdens already. This little chain is nothing; my associate Fat Pendal over there had to wed a chandler's daughter last week! But we are certainly willing, nay, eager, to see if our luck and our talents…match up to your requirements."

"Ah, I am sure that parts can be found to … um, accommodate your respective talents.", Loryn replies diplomatically, "As it is, we have a troupe of mummers from Volantis as our main act right now since Garvin's sudden recall to Highgarden has left us rather in the lurch. He was preparing a new play, however, and has left me to finish it…" He looks Amadys up and down thoughtfully. "Could you envision yourself playing a swashbuckling pirate captain, Mylord? And you -", he looks towards the youngest or at least most baby-faced in the group, "A young pirate perhaps? And do any of you have qualms about putting on skirts to play the female parts?"

One of the knot of youths - burlier than the others and lower born, perhaps even an off-duty serjeant - bristles and blushes with annoyance at Loryn's last suggestion, but the others only laugh the harder. It may be the morning, but it's clear from the very breaths they release that these fellows breakfasted well, and not mearly upon food. The youngest one, a novice in the grey garb that signals him as barely having escaped from some errand, swells his chest proudly and attempts a fierce growl, but Amadys only looks canny,for all his vinousness, those blue eyes narrowing.

"A play about pirates? Was your cousin thinking of Ironborn, or Lysenes? What was the play like? I'll grant you I could finish it faster and better than Lord Pansy ever did. I'm much more learned, and funnier besides…"

"A bold claim, Mylord", Loryn replies to Amadys, his voice cooling a degree or several. "Your offer is very kind, but I am already working on finishing it. Lysene pirates of course… it is a comedy after all and I find the Ironborn don't have a single humourous bone between them. They'd probably declare war upon the Reach if we portrayed them thus on stage.", he chuckles. Then he considers for a moment. "I think you'll make a fine pirate captain, so I tell you what, I finish the play myself first and then you are welcome to read it and offer suggestions for improvement, alright?" He then looks at the burly youth who bristled at the suggestion of playing a female part. "I think you'd do a fine job as the young pirate's plain nursemaid. And I hope to still win a female player for the female lead. It's just different than a man in a wig."

"Yellow wigs all round, then?" Amadys enquires with an easy, unconfrontational shrug. "It'd better be real hair. Spare no coin in finding humble whores filling to sacrifice a tress or two for art and sustenance…" Loryn's offer coaxes a smile which is more genuine and lingering out of him. "I like the sound of that. I may accept your terms under a name not exactly my own; it seems I have relatives newly appeared in town, and don't think my superiors in the Citadel are quite ready to watch me flourish yet, either. But other than all that…it sounds quite well, aye. And stop grousing, Marden. Do as he says; you'll look bloody amusing in a wig, especially a yellow one…"

"Oh, that is rather wonderful!" Loryn claps his hands together in delight, "And of course you'll be welcome to adapt any stage name you wish. Between that and a wig and some stage paint - perhaps a big moustache even? - I doubt that even your own mother would recognize you, much less some relatives. How is your singing voice, Mylord, do you think you could belt out a song on stage? I think it would make for a marvellous entrance of the pirate king. Now…" He looks around, "If you'll excuse me for just one second, I'll fetch a quill and some parchment to write down your names and where I can reach you. Have some ale, if you like… put it on the Whimsy's account." He points towards the nearest stand that's already open, then dashes off to find something to write on.

"Pirate king? I was only a captain a couple of minutes ago," Amadys observes wryly. "Seems all the greybeards and high lords really did get it wrong - there's no faster way to regal honours than the stage. Talking of which…" He smirks, pondering Loryn's question, then issues a couple of commands that lose no force for all the languor in his voice. "Pendal, fetch us that ale. Cynric, that lute. Let's give the Laurel something to conjure with."

Accompanied by one of the better looking and better dressed of his comrades, bearing a lyre, Amadys Baratheon takes to the Forecourt's small stage, readied to astonish Loryn with a rousing number on his imminent return.

"Captain, King… whatever… I'm not sure what you'd call a pirate leader and king certainly does sound grander, doesn't it?", Loryn replies, a little sheepishly perhaps that he hasn't got a grip on his play yet. He dashes off and returns only a few minutes later with quill and parchment, smiling when he sees that the Baratheon has moved onto the stage with a lyre. "Well, surprise me, Mylord!", he urges and while Amadys sings, he'll go around taking everyone's name and place where a messenger would find them.

"Oh, the Tully girls will do it for pearls, and the Martell maids for water," Amadys and his side-kick carol out with cheerfulness, vim, and melody, if relatively little originality, "but if you fancy dames like consuming flames, there's none like Baratheon's daaaauughteeerr…"

Loryn blinks. And blinks again. Then he can't help chuckling and finally he laughs out loud. "Is this how you to sing about your sister, Mylord of Baratheon?", he asks teasingly.

"My nieces," Amadys explains with a mock modest grin. "You see there are pressing reasons why I had rather play in disguise. Family pieties can be such a bore to a man of spirit…"

"Well, you won't be singing about your nieces on stage…", Loryn points out, looking ever so slightly worried now about the potential of ad-libs. Then brushes the worry aside. "You have a fine voice though and I would like for you to sing a big song upon your entrance. Would you like to write it yourself? While I fancy myself a rather able playrwight, I haven't yet tried my hand at composing."

"Couldn't be easier. I was born to write songs, not right wrongs. I string up tunes as easily as other men pass water," Amadys declares with contented hauteur. "I'll just half-shut my eyes and remember my last damn bout of seasickness on Shipbreaker Bay, and you'll have the most piratical tune since music came to the Stepstones, within the hour…"

"Wonderful, excellent. If music comes this easy to you, we could turn this into a play with music. I find people enjoy that anyway and popular tunes will be sung outside the theatre as well… and thus provide advertising for our performances. Write me some good songs, and you shall have a cut of our intakes, does that sound fair, Mylord? We should have regular meetings, too, until rehearsals begin. I'd suggest…. in three or four weeks we'll be ready for rehearsals?"

"It sounds fair, indeed," Amadys murmurs with a rich note of slyness, "though I've yet to hear talk of coin or to sign a jot. My brother's emoluments are…irregular. I could do with a generous supplement!"

"Well… coin is not easy to come by in the theatre.", Loryn admits, "It's more a work of passion than a way to gather riches. I have been going through my cousin's accounts and it's turned out that he had generously funded the Whimsy from his own coffers. However, I am not as rich as my dear cousin. So it is my goal to MAKE money - selling tickets, foods, drinks, souvenirs, hiring out the stages to other performers to cover all our expenses and from what's left, pay our salaries. And we will not know how much that will be until we've put on a show, will it?"

Some of the Baratheon's companions look distinctly lary at that, but Amadys's own expression sets to a rare firmness. "A gamble, then? It would be craven to turn aside from such a wager. Show me your parchment and quill, Lord Laurel. I shall scribble the promise you require, my name and my lodgings in the eastern Citadel…though, as we have agreed, they must not for the present go further!" He takes a recuperative swig of the ale Pendal brought, as if he needs drink to produce ink…

"Gentlemen, how much you will earn will depend on you.", Loryn tries to rally them, "You put in spectacular performances, that sell out the Whimsy every night, you will soon be rolling in silver." He looks very pleased by Amadys' words and holds out the quill and parchment to him so he can sign when he's done drinking. "And do let me know when you've come up with a stage name, Mylord, then I shall keep you on the roster under that name."

As the pint fades to nothing, Amadys's eyes gleam bright and cold. "Do you know, I think I just have." He seizes the quill and scribbles at chaotic speed, "Valerio Vixenbane, care of Amadys Baratheon, north east lodgings, the Citadel", before presenting the slip o f vellum with a wild grin. "I can vouch for my fellows, too. I think that concludes our business for this morn!"

Loryn laughs at the name and nods. "Excellent - Valerio. And welcome to the Whimsy, all of you. Valerio and I shall see to completing the play speedily and I shall recruit a dame to play the female lead… and then hopefully we can soon start rehearsals here on stage. I will send word, though I'm sure that Valerio will let you know anyway.", he promises them, looking quite happy. "A fruitful morn it was indeed. Thank you for coming to see me!"

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