(2017-04-21) Rian's First Etiquette Lesson
Rian's First Etiquette Lesson
Location: Front Garden of House Chantris, in Amber
Date: April 21st, 2017 (played out on 4/22/2017)
Summary: Rian meets with Prudence Chantris and has a lesson about titles, introductions and noble society.
Characters: Prudence and Rian.
NPCs: none

Prudence is seated on a stone bench in the garden, a book held in one lace-clad hand as she watches the last fading streaks of dusk yeild to twilight.


Rian approaches the Mandrake gardens at the hour Prudence named in her invitation. "Good evening Pru-… Lady Prudence," he says as he strikes a rakish bow.


Prudence looks up and sets the book aside, smiling as she rises, "Lord Rian! Good evening! I trust this evening finds you well?" her head tilting with polite interest.


Rian nods and asks, "I'm well, but could you call me either Rian or Mister Rian for now?" He further explains, "I'm not very comfortable with the use of the title whether it is my right or not."


Prudence ahhs and answers carefully, "Well. Even if you are uncomfortable with it introducing you as Mister Rian would be setting others up for a socially embarrassing and awkward realization and reflect rather poorly on me. Do you perhaps have a rank you'd prefer?" she inquires hopefully.


Rian shakes his head as he answers: "I was raised as a commoner, I am not a Captain although I have been a captain," and the capitalization is clear, he's talking about a titled Minosian Captain with the first one, "And while I was an officer on my last ship that was nearly a decade ago and ended poorly. So no, I have no title. I am a bastard of the House," he waves about, "And a Royal, not a titled individual."


Prudence ahhhs and that seems to resolve the matter, "Very well, Mister…I'm sorry do you have a surname?"


Rian laughs and shakes his head. "Not really," he says, "Rian of Cameron was always unique enough for me and my mother didn't talk about family."


Prudence considers, "Would Mister Cameron suit you? Calling someone mister and first name is a bit strange in thari."


Rian blanches at the unintended offense that sugestion includes. "Oh no, that wouldn't be appropriate at all. The islands are named after the original Commodores of Minos and even d'Cameron would be wrong as I'd be claiming a line of heritage I have no right to claim. Mister Rian is fine… just like if you were a part of my crew I'd problably just call you Mister Pru."


Prudence blink-blinks, "Ah. I see. Well, Mister Rian, would you care to join me for tea?"


"Of course," he says, "Although I'd prefer rum or coffee and you can just call me Rian as far as I'm concerned you realize, right?" Oh yes, formality is clearly not his thing.


Prudence's cheeks color, "Ah, I fear that would be a bit too familiar for my comfort, Mister Rian. I am honored by the invitation. Coffee is certainly easily arranged. And run." She sends a soft whisper on the wind to the staff and then offers a polite smile as she gesters to a seat nearby, "What roused your interest in social protocol if I may ask?"


Rian laughs before explaining, "I got severe dressing downs from a cousin, my brother and one of my cousin's underlings."


Prudence ahhhs and shortly a service of finger foods, a coffee service, and yes, a carafe of rum is brought out. Prudence helps herself to a cup of coffee, "For any specific grievance?"


Rian nods and explains: "I had met my cousin at the Crown and Rose and he gave me his name with his title. I had been keeping my identity private so he did not yet know we were cousins. I felt I should approach him for help so I whispered to him and told him who I was and asked if we could meet. I didn't use his title but addressed him by his name. I later wrote a private note to him and addressed him in it as cousin. He took offense at the familarity. I took offense at him sharing a private communication with another… both times."


Prudence ahhs, "Which cousin was this and what is his title? Why did you expect confidentiality from a strange?" her brow knit in puzzlement.


"Family is why I would expect it. I've only known a few really in my life, my mother of course… until she left Minos… my father who kept my confidence and I've met my brothers…" he pauses and then says, "I've learned my lesson and I'm not sure if I should be name dropping. Is that proper, Lady Prudence?" He has by now sat down and poured himself a mug of coffee with a splash of rum added to it.


Prudence ahhhs, "Well perhaps his title? If you've given offense it is unlikely learning how to avoid offense is enough there may be an expectation of atonement."


Rian laughs, "I think his title is fairly distinctive and would identify him clearly. I also /believe/ that he's forgiving me as long as I stop blundering in that area." He then says, "It was Deputy Prince Marshal Carmichael, since it is apparently important for my lessons."


Prudence frowns gently, "Oh, if that is true you have errored greatly and he is MOST gracious to have forgiven you." She exhales, "That is…" She seems startled, "He has been MOST gracious and you should be VERY grateful."


"I'll have to take your word for it," Rian says, "Because by the standards of my past he hasn't been very polite at all really."


Prudence stares a big dumbfounded. She considers carefully, "He is not obligated to hear your request, awknowledge you, forgive you, or associate further but as I understand he has chosen to do all of this unless I am mistaken. That is EXTREMELY gracious and if you wish to show that you are serious mending your ways a good start would be awknowledging this." She lifts a gloved hand, "For now, perhaps, let us focus on basic social graces unless you wished to begin elsewhere?"


Rian accepts Prudence's comments on Carmichael with an "Okay, I'll take that under advisement," and then, after a sip of his rum-laced coffee, he answers her question with, "I think we should start where ever you feel we aught to begin, m'Lady."


Prudence offers a dimpled smile, "The let us begin with beginnings. Introductions. Now if you are in the company of someone the greater status makes introductions. When in company of peers the one established within a peer group makes introductions. If it is a formal setting you should include your full name followed by your title. Then you may introduce your companion. If you are introducing yourself to someone of equal status you are not obligated to bow.." She smiles gently, "However since you hold no title or rank it is likely you will be required to bow. Why don't we begin with you introducing yourself to me?"


Rian nods but instead asks, "What if I am introducing myself to someone or near someone who believes I am owed a title? Is there a way to acknowledge that and dismiss it at the same time? You had a valid point earlier, if I'm due the title Lord and people should know that…?"


Prudence looks amused by the question and smiles, "The only opinion who matters where titles are concerned is the crown or a Noble household including Barons, Counts, Duke. I can arrange a meeting with her grace if you would like to pledge your loyalty to her? If it is their pleasure that you have a title then one will no doubt be bestowed upon you. I have known many noble men who held no title at all but I fear when it comes to social graces there is no almost. You have a title or you do not. IF her grace has not awknowledged you as a Lord of Chantris-something which comes with expectations and duty-then you are not yet a lord though it would be awkward for anyone to refuse to call you lord if you ask it. Even if it improper for you ask it before you are granted that birthright by Her Grace."


Rian nods and says, "Its just that I was told that by definition I'm a Lord due to my father's identity, but lets forget that for now…." he stands and bows to Prudence, "I am Mister Rian of Cameron, m'lady," he obviously finds it easy to call a noble woman Lady as seen previously and now. He then also adds, "I'd like to meet the Duchess, I honestly don't remember if Duke Cyrus and his wife formally acknowledged me when I was last in Amber."


Prudence smiles and rises, curtseying politely, "Well, since you are lord by birthright I will show you the considerations of lord. No doubt it is wiser to error on the safer side of respect." She settles back down and offers more coffee, "As for manners betweem lords and ladies. IT is appropriate to use Lord or Lady to address friends and family in public. So even if you are familiar with a person if the company is mixed you are expected to address them as lord or Lady. If it is in private or an intimate affair between family or close friends first names may be used providing a lord is not addressing a lady. Addressing a lady familiarly in public or mixed company carries with it a potentially unseemly level of failiarity." She flushes and lowers her gaze into her coffee.


Rian smirks at the 'unseemly level of familiarity' comment and says, "Yes, I had a talking to years ago from a noble because I showed a level I thought I'd earned but should not have expressed in public apparently." He then adds, "Its actually fairly confusing."


Prudence looks up, "What is, my lord?"


"When one can be familiar and when one cannot," Rian says as he sits back down next to her. "Its much easier on the deck of a ship."


Prudence smiles ahhh, "No doubt. The ship has it's own rules. Most nobles would be just as lost on deck as you've found yourself amoungst the peerage."


Rian frowns slightly and says, "But on a ship there are practical reasons for it all while as among the nobles it seems more whimsy and pride." There's actually no malace in how he voices his opinion, just him stating a fact as he sees it.


Prudence's eyebrows lift, "It exists for different purposes. To separate themselves from the common. To have a common means to interact which avoids confusion, misunderstandings, and keeps civilized discourse civilized. IF I were to point out the diffciencies of manners I would say it makes genuine consideration harder to spot. As our lessons progress and you have occasion to use your new skills in public I am very certain you will come to see their value. IT is the art of concealing oneself while offering a socially acceptable veneer."


Now that is something that catches Rian's attention and he nods. "Never thought of it that way," he says before asking, "So, when Dirk's in cat form do I have to refer to him as a Lord still then or can I bypass that? He seems really laid back anyway."


Prudence ahs and looks puzzled, "If you are in mixed company and he holds a title it is appropriate to use the corresponding form of address. So yes, Lord Dirk. In smaller gatherings in an informal setting you may call him Dirk if he has invited you to do so."


Rian laughs and says, "So I guess I need to start learning people's titles. I know some people's but not Dirk's or his son's yet."


Prudence ahhs, "I believe Dirk may have a rank but not a title. Typically it should be offered when introductions are made." She blinks, "Dirk has a child?"


"A son, yes," Rian says. "Alec isn't a child though. He was the first member of my family I recall meeting depending on how you look at my experiences… subjectively rather than objectively," he adds proving that pirate does not mean uneducated. He then lounges more in his seat, possibly in a manor that could be construed as improper, and finishes his coffee only to then fill the mug with rum and add a splash of the dark brew in as if balancing the first drink with the second.


Prudence sits pim and proper, "Tell me, Lord Rian, how important was carriage or appearance to sailors? How do they measure one another?"


"Looks? Not so important in general really," Rian says, "Although there are some that consider personal appearance important." He takes a sip of his rum and ponders for a moment and then says, "But if you mean if there is a time and a place for doing things just so, sure." He then sits up a bit and says, "I guess I know what you are getting at and I'm sorry if I was being to relaxed in your presence, Lady Prudence."


Prudence smiles gently, "I am not owed an apology, Lord Rian, but it did remind me of a function of genteel manners. I thought to find some grounds for comparison or a shift in perspective that might make the subject matter easier to relate to. " She considrs, "What is it you think nobility is, Lord Rian? Why are some granted more esteem and privledge than others?"


Rian nods to acknowlege the question but rather than answering he simply says, "I insist you call me Rian or Mister Rian if you must, Lady Prudence," in a calm and polite manner. He then grins at her as he applies an earlier part of the lesson before he sips at his mug of coffee-flavored rum.


Prudence dips her head, "Very well, Mister Rian. Would you be so kind as to answer my question?"


"Of course I would," Rian says with a smile before stating, "Those who gained power first set the rules. Its really how all societies work in my experience."


Prudence dips her chin, "That is certainly the how they did so. Why do you suppose society bides by this rule in Amber? You don't suppose there's any reason for peerage other than propogation?"


Rian says, "I imagine that its because Oberon set it up that way," intentionally not referring to his grandfather by anything but his name.


Prudence considers this, sipping her coffee, "What do you suppose it means to be a noble? Do you suppose we serve any function at all?"


Rian nods and says, "I'm sure there is one but I've not really thought much on it. I know though, for example, that the Mandrakes have a charity hospital in the lower city."


Prudence dips her head, "I think I may assign you some reading. Understanding why things are as they are is not solely a matter of ego and snobbery though there's no doubt that some see themselves as better than others but no matter where you look-even far away from amber where things are quite different-you see it shape in different ways. The founders of the houses were men and women of insight, knowledge, and bravery. Each house has a responsibility to those who serve it-for Chantris this would be our shipbuilders, the commoners who live on our lands, and the crown itself. IT our obligations to keep those who depend on us safe, to maintain a fair and balanced legal system to keep order and settle disputes, to collect taxes which do not unduely burden our commoners but allow us to maintain roads, bridges, law enforcement, court systems, and be able to afford to maintain our fleet. Fortunately most of our income comes not from tilling of land but of trade and commerce but for most houses it is indeed land and those who till it. Peerage are afforded respect not merely because they possess power and influence which makes it unwise to vex them-but each was born into a duty and will serve that duty until they die. I am rather plain and shy but some day, the sister of a duchess-I will be expected to accept a husband which brings the house closer to some goal. Commoners may sow, and toil, and live more modestly than you and I but the burdens Chantris accepts allows them to live their lives without fear of marauding bandits, or petty bloodfueds, struggles for power, or cruel tyrants. So, we are held to a higher ideal. Our lives are not our own-our lives belong to Chantris, and in service to the crown. How you and I are received, is a relfection upon our house."


Rian says, "I'll add the reading to my list then," with a laugh. He then says, "On the topic of reading, will you be proving the copy of the book we discussed earlier in the week along with any other books you want me to study?"


Prudence smiles broadly, "I certainly will, yes." She assures, "I had mine on loan but expect it back in the morning." she assures.

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