ART: Marvelous Actors

5th Inktober = 4th Anniversary of Jacques-tober. (Okay, maybe I’m trying too hard to shoehorn a 4 into the festivities.) Are you ready for a whole month of daily updates for Lord Mettlebright’s Man? It’s a little early to begin (Jacques never has been much of a morning person), but Cat and Canary brought coffee and are quite willing to bolster their good friend in any way. (Ah, cats.)

Marvelous Actors | art by FoxOfTwilight

For those who may need a refresher, Cat & Canary (or more properly Canarian & Catalan Evernhold) are two of Deece’s “sexy older brothers.” Jacques met them back in Chapter 203: “Charmed, I’m Sure” of Lord Mettlebright’s Man. But of course, YOU first met them in Governed by Whimsy (Songs of the Amaranthine, #4), since they’re the founders of the acting troupe to which Ambrose belonged. If you’ve been reading ALL the things and paying attention to details, you’ll know that in the current LMM/SAGA timeline, Canarian still works closely with his uncle, Hisoka Twineshaft … and that he and Cat are quite cozy with Jacques. Sometimes. (Ah, cats.)

Note: There’s a whole chart to sort out Himeko Evernhold’s household, but here’s the short version:

::twinkle::

How Old is Sonnet?

Sonnet Skybellow. This question came up in comments today for Lord Mettlebright’s Man, and a blog post seems appropriate. As is usual with my writing, you have all the facts, but they’re somewhat scattered. I’ll go through his appearances in publishing order:

  • We first meet Sonnet in Hemmed in Silver (Songs of the Amaranthine, #5), which is set in post-war England (1950s or 60s, given Alfie’s reference to seeing things on the telly). Midway through that story, Sonnet’s father turns up, inadvertently outing his son to Alfie. Why’s his da there? Sentinel wants to tell Sonnet that he has two new baby sisters (twins Lyric and Lavish) & to invite him home so they can get a whiff of their big brother.

**That sets Hemmed in Silver roughly 80 years before the Emergence.

  • Sticking to publication order, Sonnet next appears in Lord Mettlebright’s Man. Why is our lone wolf in Keishi at the time? To attend the whelping feast of little Clarion Starmark (daughter of his Uncle Prospect, making Clarion his first cousin). This jives with the opening scene in Bk2: Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal, in which Prospect entrusts Eloquence with his baby girl while he goes to play music for Harmonious’ gathering of friends. (And hey! Lyric and Lavish are mentioned in passing in this scene.)
::twinkle::

ART: Dressage

Jacques & Nonny. While Nonny does show up briefly in the main books of the Amaranthine Saga, you only really get to know the goat-crosser if you read Lord Mettlebright’s Man. He first appears in Ch54: “Prat” and goes on to become Jacques’ apprentice. Fun Fact: for those not in the know, in the audio editions, Travis Baldree gives Nonny a Cockney accent.

“Dressage” | art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

Jacques took delivery of a parcel from Uppington and immediately sought out Nonny. “My years in dressage left me with more than high boots and a riding crop!”

Lord Mettlebright’s Man, Ch315: “Mentoring Style”

. . .

Zooming in, because Fox gave Jacques some very special badges:

::twinkle::

ART: Such a Gentleman

Jonnet. (Or Soques). I recently hosted a poll over on my Patreon, asking folks to weigh in on “Jacques x ???” People do tend to ship him variously, and I may have a small pile of new art pending that features Stately House’s butler/favorite uncle + various other cast members. Jacques and Sonnet won by a landslide, and the timing for this piece couldn’t be better. ::twinkle::

“Such a Gentleman” | art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

Who would you vote to see with our Mr. Smythe?
(He has so many good friends!)

ART: Not Too Outre

Jacques Smythe of the Uppington Smythes. You thought we were DONE with the Lord Mettlebright’s Man cover reveal? Non, mes amis! Because a few days ago, I realized that Jacques could (and should) dress the part during his cover reveal. Many thanks to Fox for turning around a celebratory portrait in short order!

Not Too Outre | art by FoxOfTwilight

If Jacques was doing this, he’d do it his own way. He preferred some tousle in his turn-out and flop in his foppery. —Lord Mettlebright’s Man

. . .

Something tasteful. Something appropriate. I’m partial to greens, but blues would better bring out your eyes.” Inspiration struck. “I wonder, would it be too outré for me to establish my own clan colors?”
Nonny snorted. “Clan Smythe?” —Lord Mettlebright’s Man

ART: Trust Building Exercise

Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate. Let’s call this a little encouragement to fit in a reread of Bk5 before the autumn release of Bk6: Pimiko and the Uncharted Island. Because this time, there’s no time skip. The events of the fifth miko flow right on into the sixth.

I have planned a whole array of trust-building exercises. ’Twould be a shame if they went to waste.”
Akira bit. “Like what?”
“Walking together, shopping together, dining together. I’m told cycling and snorkeling are popular activities for tourists. And did I mention shopping? Because boutiques are on my agenda. And Rafter passed me Wind-and-Tide’s food truck bingo board.”   
“That … actually sounds kind of fun,” ventured Akira.  
Fun is one of the perks of traveling with the well-heeled, somewhat dubious second son of Smythe Manor. My tastes are expensive, my pockets are deep, and our time is short. Let’s frivol away the next five days in extravagant ways … because this, too, is part of Argent’s plan.”

Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate
Amaranthine Saga, #5

Trust Building Exercise | art by Fox of Twilight

. . .

Within ten minutes, it was abundantly clear that Magda was out to have fun, and she seemed intent on dragging Hallow and Suuzu straight into more. Barely a block along their way, and Hallow sported a new pair of sunglasses, and she’d wrapped Suuzu’s head in a fancy turban.
Jacques approved. And snapped pictures. And found some shimmery gloss that he applied to Akira’s lower lip.
“Where’s your usual sparkle?” he asked softly. “Are you actually intimidated by pastels?”
“I feel like a one-man boy band.”
Uncle Jackie took his hand. “Rather the goal. But I need you to relax into this role. If not for my sake, then for his.” He angled his head toward Suuzu, who was undergoing similar indignities.
Suuzu barely resembled Spokesperson Farroost anymore. The lavish headcloth might count as a disguise, and the freshly-applied shimmer of gold on his bottom lip was sort of pretty. But the concern in his best friend’s gaze snapped Akira to attention.
“Better,” murmured Uncle Jackie. “Now stop trying to decide how to act.”
“I can’t act.”
“That is painfully obvious. So how about this? You drag him about like you usually do, and we’ll improvise around you.” After a beat, he leaned close to whisper, “And avoid mirrors.”
Akira glanced around, wary of reflective surfaces. “Why?”
“Pastels.” With a teasing smile, he said, “We need more time to build up your resistance.”

Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate

::close crop::

Jacques All June

Lord Mettlebright’s Man. I hope you’ve been enjoying the (mostly) daily updates to LMM all month. As we’re nearing the last handful of days, I’ve decided to open up an offer for MOAR Jacques, this time in your mailbox. This is the sort of thing I send to patrons who support me over on my Patreon account. (Incentives abound!) However, I printed extras, and Jacques is generous. (Well, sort of.) So on this Fandom Foray day, when I’ll already be hanging out on my Ko-fi account, I invite you to buy Jacques a coffee. Your $4 will help cover printing & postage … and give you something nice in the mail.

forthright on Ko-fi >>

Splurge on a Ko-fi, then PM/DM me your address. Or email me the particulars: always.forthright at gmail.com

ART: Catnap

Long Sleep. Amaranthine don’t need sleep often, but when they “go deep,” it’s often for days. Of all those you’ve met, Hisoka-sensei may have the most difficult time catching enough rest. His many obligations tend to infringe upon a normal sleep pattern. But Argent (ever the strategist) has found an effective counter. While Hisoka cannot indulge every month (and still pushes his limits), he’s found a safe haven in Jacques Smythe.

Catnap | art by FoxOfTwilight

close crop

ART: Fundoshi Swim Club

He strolled toward a line of festive banners rippling on a line above the cliff wall. Jacques smirked when he recognized the shameless display. His own green fundoshi hung among the rest. Lifting his coffee cup, he toasted the freshly-painted sign—FUNDOSHI SWIM CLUB.

Lord Mettlebright’s Man
Ch151: “Morning Meander”

Fundoshi Swim Club | FoxOfTwilight

ART: Connoisseur

Jacques Smythe of the Uppington Smythes. Maybe he wasn’t your favorite character in Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox, but Uncle Jackie is here to stay. Lord Mettlebright’s Man will probably hang around for several hundred (admittedly short) chapters, skimming through the backdrop of the series, giving you glimpses of life at Stately House from the point of view of an ordinary, unendowed, freeloading gentleman’s gentleman.

Jacques Smythe_Connoisseur by FoxOfTwilight

Connoisseur | art by FoxOfTwilight

•  •  •

He was still sulking in his linen cupboard when the younger Starmark tapped lightly and proffered a dainty crystal goblet. “My father sends his compliments and would like your opinion of his gift.”

“Why?”

“Argent spoke highly of your palate.”

Naturellement.” Jacques lifted, tilted, swirled, and sniffed with patent hauteur. Thick amber, bedizened by tiny galaxies. Holding the first sip in his mouth, he closed his eyes and knew bliss. “What is this?” he sighed.

“Star wine.”

Lord Mettlebright’s Man, Chapter 59: “Discerning Palate”

•  •  •

Who else has high hopes for Jacques? ::twinkle::

Lord Mettlebright’s Man begins here.