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Laurent Banquet

Times might be dark, with murders, succession crisis, disappearances and looming war, but the Compact continues to exist due to it's unity. What better to help build unity than to meet socially in a secure and congenial environment?

House Laurent has lacked a presence in the capital for some years but renovations of the ducal manse are now complete and the worthies of Arvum are invited to attend a banquet in honour of those who will fight in the coming battles. Whilst has an inherently martial tone, the invitation is to relax, socialise, ally and discuss future collaboration. A substantial continent of Crimson Blade mercenaries will be securing the Manse grounds and the Whisper Guild shall be lending their consummate skill to ensure it is an event to remember.


Feb. 11, 2017, 5 p.m.

Hosted By



Michael Percephon(RIP) Sylvie Blacktongue Mailys Calandra Barric(RIP) Donella Jasher Jackson(RIP) Samantha Luis Tobias Valencia Anabelle Selene Desiree Luca(RIP) Demura Joslyn(RIP) Jael



Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Laurent Manse - Main Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

The hall is busy with servants, hung with banners, though those do not obscure the more intricate stone decorations. Banquet tables are ready with appetisers and a profusion of alcohol, from Velenosian wines to Redrain ales, though the place of honour is definitely given to a variety of Laurent meads. The same theme for the appetisers, there is choice but also an copious supply of honeyed fruits, sweet biscuits, a whole variety of finger foods including glazed small game roasted to perfection.

To one side is a small orchestra in Laurent colours, hired for the event and providing unobtrusive instrumental background music:

Cristoph is waiting near the entrance to receive guests, wearing silk and velvet rather than armour, even if he does still have a sword.

Whether the Duchess Sylvie Zaffria is here as a Whisper or simply because she is a noble and she was invited on that alone, it does not, surely, matter either way. The Lycene is clad in ruby silk and lace, her gown dipped daringly low to her spine with only a cascade of silver feathers and chains strung from a amber-stoned choker providing any covering to the expanse of sunkissed skin. As she steps inside, she moves to greet Cristoph immediately, drawing close to brush a kiss against each cheek if he allows her in the Lycene manner, murmuring warmly, "My lord duke, a pleasure to see you again."

6 Thrax Guards arrives, following Donella.

Jael got herself cleaned up after a morning of training through the gauntlet, changed into her finest gown - which, while suitable, certainly doesn't look fashionable enough to have come from the capital - and is on her way to join her brother at the entrance. "It looks beautiful, Cris," she smiles warmly to her brother as she takes her place at his side, hands clasped politely in front of herself.

Desiree steps inside wearing a simple pink dress. She gives a friendly smile to Cristoph and others that she sees as she takes a long look at the decor.

Jasher is not one to arrive fashionably late. He's not one to arrive overly early either. He's on time. And when he enters the hall, he pauses to look around then steps over to one of the Laurent servants to lean in and quietly ask him a question. Given that both he and the servant look toward Cristoph, it was probably 'Which one is the Duke?' Nodding to the servant, Jasher continues forward. "Duke Laurent." he greets once the person ahead of him moves on. "Prince Jasher Thrax. A pleasure."

Stepping inside, Percephon is dressed in fine silks of mostly greys, allowing the pop of Telmar red to stand out upon the cuffs and collar of his shirt. Dark brown eyes peer out from behind his glasses as he works his way through, pausing only briefly to flash the host a warm, brilliant smile. "A most marvelous setting, Duke Cristoph, you've out done yourself. And good to see you once more, Lady Jael." The later gets a twinkle of mischief from the Scholar-Lord's features, but rather than take up more time at the entry way, he continues on inside to get a good view of the Main Hall.

Considering himself one of the worthies of the city and, thus, invited to this event, Prince Barric Grayson strides on into the main hall of the Laurent manse. Dressed in green and gray because he has little imagination and wears his House colors almost all the time, he takes a look around the room in an attempt to find the event's host and pay his respects. A few moments of observation no doubt reveals Christoph and the Sword marches over in that direction, arriving a few moments after Jasher.

Cristoph does grin to Jael as she joins him. "It amazes me to be honest, apparently it was fifteen years since any of our family last lived here, there was a single caretaker for the entire manse and he regarded it as a sinecure. The work to get the place presentable! But, well, stonework lasts, it was mostly an awful lot of cleaning and dusting." Then guests start to arrive, a bow of his head tiven to Desiree. "Welcome my lady, please, enjoy House Laurent's hospitality." Then Jasher. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance Prince Jasher. Please do consider yourself our guest."

Normally, Tobias wouldn't have time for parties with the majority of the Crimson Blades employed... but since one of their clients is doing it, seems he's making an exception.

So it is that Tobias Telmar comes inside, wearing his Crimson Blades tunic and a scabbarded sword. Behind him comes six Crimson Blade bodyguards, who keep in formation behind their Mercenary General. As he steps through the doorway, Tobias gives a low whistle. "Interesting design, Lord Laurent."

With a bright dimpled grin that reflects easily in his eyes, Michael Bisland enters the Main Hall and stops just askance to Lady Jael. He issues Percephon a small nod, and then issues an easy greeting to both. "Good evening, Lady Jael, Mi'lord." He actually chuckles, "I'm sure everyone is feeling particularly fine tonight in their finery. Some more fine than others, if I may say as much, Lady Laurent," good humour reflects in his eyes and that same smile, if at all possible, brightens further.

Cristoph follows with more greetings, a nod to Percephon, a bow of his head to Barric. "Prince Barric, Lord Percepon, welcome. It is an honour to have the Sword of Bastion present, not to mention good to see you again Percephon." <player will be a few poses behind keeping up with arrivals!?

Sylvie moves on where Cristoph's attention is captured elsewhere, slipping inside the banquet and stealing a glass of mead from a passing servant with a warm smile. Her gaze slides, briefly, towards Barric, though she doesn't approach the Grayson prince. Instead she moves to make the rounds.

"I'm glad you got here before I did, then," Jael chuckles to Cristoph, smile flashing broader as Percephon arrives. "And here I thought you'd be busy writing or painting," she teases. "Welcome, please, come in. Lord Bisland, I'm glad you could make it," she greets Michael, taking over at least a few greetings for her brother.

Unfashionably early arrives the once-feckless prince of Velenosa, Luca the Grim, dressed as he's dressed largely in recent weeks, fully in mourning black, his pants skin-tight jet dyed calfskin, his flowing shirt a rich dark silk with a velenosa fox button at the throat binding it at throat, a gaping parting of cloth below it exposing occasional flashes of bronzed muscle in daring Lycene fashion. His twin viper-pommeled blades rest at either hip, balanced and ready for draw despite the peacable surroundings. He's striding in with the fluid grace of duelist, but with his usual laid-back languid style turned to a stiff-backed stance more worthy of military than Champion rogue. The prince pauses in the line of those greeting the host, giving Cristoph a wan version of usual rakish half-grin and murmuring some words to him in passing with a pat on the duke's shoulder. As he's passing her, Jael in turn gets a polite nod and a pause to murmur some words her way softly.

Calandra arrives at the banquet while adorned in a lovely gold silk dress and matching jewels. Dark curls have been brushed to a silky sheen, coming to reach her tiny waist. A gentle smile touches her lips and reaches her dark eyes.

"Michael!" Barric is distracted for a moment as a familiar faces comes alongside. But he snaps his gaze back to Christoph and nods at the man, "Duke Laurent, hello. A pleasure. Good to see the old home occupied again." not that he's been here but he's been through the district. A nod and a smile are offered to Jael, catching her name from Michael, "My lady, hello. Prince Barric Grayson." he introduces himself briefly and then claps Michael on the shoulder, "Good to see you!" he's not going to steer Michael away from the Laurents, but he does move away from the receiving line so that he's not causing a jam.

"I shall." Jasher assures Cristoph and moves on to make room for someone else. Looking at Jael, he offers her a nod. "My Lady." Whoever she is, that's surely safe. "Everything looks quite fine."

Donella follows in her cousin Jasher in toward what seems to her to be the receiving line, arranging itself before Jael and Cristoph. She lingers there, in no particular hurry to swamp her hosts. And while there is music, she smiles, and keeps up the beat-- the small motions of her posture in swaying say that she knows the music that is being played, and the attendent dance.

The auburn haired man offers a dip of his head towards Michael when one is cast Percephon's way, a moment of calculating consideration before Jael's words force his head to jerk back round to peer at her. "I hope your arms aren't /too/ tired that you can't hold a cup of mead, Lady Laurent." The tease of hi sown offered up, onwards Percephon goes, sweeping by the collection of drinks. Tantalizing as they are, it's ultimately water that the scholar plucks up, along with a small plate to sample those delicious morsels before he heads on to find a spot to settle down at.

Percephon has joined the Southern Banquet Table.

"Lord Tobias, a pleasure, I am afraid that I have been putting your troops through their paces on horseback by riding instead of walking through the city by preference. They have coped admirably though." Cristoph then shrugs slightly. "The design of the manse is I think three centuries old? I am afraid I cannot take credit." Then a bow of his head to Luca. "Welcome Prince Luca, also thank you for attending. I hope that a night of celebration can bring some solace at least, though those words might well sound hollow." He turns his attention on though. "Whisper Calandra, thank you for receiving my message and blessing this gathering."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Simone before departing.

"Your highness, a pleasure," Jael dips her chin to Barric, a smile for Jasher as well. "Prince Jasher, yes? Good to see you again." She tilts her head to Luca's whispered words, lowering her voice with an easy, reassuring smile to respond. "And in the meantime, I hope you will enjoy our hospitality here. Cristoph has brought out the very best mead, I assure you." Although Percephon isn't far off. She's got her hands clasped in front of herself, where she doesn't have to lift a thing.

Joslyn makes her way into the manse, her cloak pulled tighly around herself to sheild her from the autumn winds. Joslyn's eyes scan the room, looking through the crowd. She spots Calandra being addressed by the host of the event himself, and so she moves to join her, at least for a moment. She smiles at her, inclining her head. "Thank you for allowing me to join," she says to Christoph as she moves to Calandra's side. To Calandra she smiles. "I know you're likely to be busy, but I'll try to keep from distracting you from your duties."

"Barric!" Michael's smile turns crooked at the prince's hand on his shoulder. "Rather, //your highness//," there's a comical lift of his eyebrows that accompanies the words as he clears his throat, clearing ascribing to manners that he knows well enough to use. There's little question he should have such manners. "Killian--er--Lord Killian was just noting the other day that the three of us are well overdue for a sparring session. Which made me wonder, your grace," genuine humour reflects in his eyes, "whether the fear of being soundly trounced has delayed our imminent spar." He winks. The ribbing comes to an end and he, more genuinely notes, "It's good to see you."

Calandra has a gentle smile for Cristoph that touches her dark eyes. "I wouldn't dream of missing this banquet. Your inviation honored me." She says in his direction. She then notices Joslyn, smiling with pleasure toward the lovely brunette. Calandra brushes her lips over the woman's cheek in a gentle caress of a greeting. She has a smile for Prince Luca, of course she does. "Your Highness." She says, dipping into a graceful curtsy.

Sylvie's gaze slides over Luca as the other Lycene enters the Laurents' hall, a touch of a smile tipping at her lips only briefly from across the space where she has moved away from the receiving lines and into the banquet.

Cristoph grins slightly at Michael's words there. "Personally I am of the view that a sparring session where one is soundly trounced is one where there is much to be learnt. Of course, given some of the people I have tried to spar against since arriving here in Arx, that is a very convenient view to have. I did not manage to land a tingle telling strike on Prince Luca when I tried to face him."

Cristoph continues to do the general nodding and greeting of fresh arrivals, servants are moving to offer mead to people also, the best mead, obviously.

Barric rolls his eyes, though it's not as dramatic as it could be, when Michael addresses him more formally. "Though, it's Your Highness Prince Barric Grayson, Sword of Bastion and Voice of House Grayson. Not to mention dashing hero and charming bachelor." another pat to Michael's shoulder as he laughs, "I have been sparring earlier today. Against the Deepwood vassal, Zhayla? Short woman, enormous sword. No armor." he shakes his head, "It was embarrassing, really. Terribly embarrassing, but an educational experience nonetheless. Come along, do you know Duchess Sylvie Zaffria?" whether Michael does or not, Barric is going to try to drag him over to the woman and make an introduction.

"Hmm." Is the reply Tobias gives, before he gives a nod. "I don't see many of these is all. As for my men, I haven't heard any complaints from the Major." Tobias smirks, before he heads for one of the wine tables. A few people get his gaze, before he settles on Donella. "Now you've gotten me wanting to dance too, Your Highness, and I don't know this one." Tobias jokes goodnaturely.

"Would that I could bring myself to have more than a sip. I'm keeping dry and sober until I ride to the front." Luca's lamenting grimly as his latest faux-title to talk of the finest meads having been brought in. Luca Velenosa. Sober at a party. The world is upside down. He's looking mildly embarrassed though to something Jael whispered, offering up. "Of course, not talk for the party probably." With that, he's nodding apology and slipping away to let her greet others. His sad cinnamon eyes briefly light a bit more as they fall on Calandra, familiarity and fondness showing as he extends a hand out to the Whisper, murmuring something to her as he bows over her hand without kissing it or anything quite so gauche. Rising up from that, he's tossing back over to Cristoph. "Oh come now, Cris. You've held your own beside me against onslaught of others. That's far more impressive than landing a hit on a slippery bastard like myself." This. _This_ is why Luca shouldn't be at parties without a handler.

Again? After a moment, it comes to him and he nods once to himself. Ah, yes. The shrine. "I'll be sure to try some, Lady Jael. I'm partial to mead so I'm certain I'll enjoy it." Stepping off to the side, he turns to see who else has arrived he might know.

Donella comes to stand before the host and hostess, making them a reverence. "Thank you for opening your home in honor of our defenders. A most galant gesture. Lady Calista speaks very well of your, and recommended your hospitality." As she turns off toward Tobias, she offers him her hand, and says, "Well, I believe it's simple enough. This one's only a tripping pace. Have you any foot-injuries I ought to know about?" she teases.

Selene steps inside with a rustle of silks, crimson and gold fabrics clinging to her halfway covered beneath a blood cloak against the autumn cold. A bottle of rum kept under one arm and otherwise merely wielding a perfect and praticed smile. The cloak is soon shrugged off and handed to a servant before there are a few curtseys and nods given as she makes her way through the crowds, making her way towards Cristoph.

Cristoph is overheard praising Luca for: I did not manage to land a tingle telling strike on Prince Luca when I tried to face him in the sparring ring. Despite best efforts.

A Harlequin in monochromatic grays and blacks from his neck down to his boots appears, sans motley and bells. Blacktongue's brows are raised, piercing eyes scanning the crowds as he walks with a languid gait, hands clasped behind his back.

Donella is overheard praising Cristoph for: Most galant, opening your home in honor of our defenders on the field.

Michael chuckles at Cristoph's assertion about learning in sparring. "You, Duke Laurent, are someone I should aspire to spar with in the future," he notes with an easy half-smile before following Barric towards the Duchess. "And excuse me, your grace, I should aim to remember the entirety of your very long title into the future. And, I suppose," he nose wrinkles, "we should all aspire to be more than 'hey, you,'" the laugh in his voice is unmissable. "You, however, are well above the 'hey you' syllables, your grace." When he arrives in front of Duchess Sylvie he manages a small nod and bow. "I've not yet had this pleasure. Duchess Sylvie Zaffria, a pleasure." He lifts his gaze and he offers brightly, "Lord Michael Bisland."

A subtle pink heat blooms on Calandra's cheeks while Luca's attention is upon her. She listens to his softly spoken words, giving the man a be-dimpled smile in response. "Have you met Lady Joslyn, Prince Luca?" She says, speaking of the lovely brunette who is nearby. When Selene arrives, Calandra has a gentle smile for the Radiant.

"You are entirely welcome Princess Donella, please, enjoy the hospitality of House Laurent, I shall try to remember to thank Princess Calista for her praise of me." Cristoph gives a bow of his head to Donella at that, then a nod to Selene. "Radiant, thank you most kindly for attending, it is most gratifying that you grace the occasion."

Joslyn plants a gentle kiss on Calandra's cheek in return. "This is quite a gathering," she comments with a smile, accepting the glass offered with a nod. Her eyes scan the crowd and look about to try and see who is present. She sips gently at the mead in her glass and inclines her head towards Luca. "A pleasure to meet you, Prince Luca," she says bowing her head politely.

Donella tobias=The former. I would never presume!

Cristoph grins to Michael now, taking a flagon of mead in one hand as he does so. "I look forward to it then Lord Michael. My only condition is that you do not leave me in no fit state to ride, I will be personally leading my troops when we ride into the Grey Forest. So please, no broken bones."

Sylvie checked intellect + diplomacy against difficulty 15, resulting in 34, 19 higher than the difficulty.

Left with mead and left alone by most everyone else, it isn't until Prince Barric approaches with the younger man in tow that Sylvie catches sight, noticing. She smiles, greeting the former with a light, "Prince Barric, hello. A pleasure to meet you as well, Lord Michael. I suppose, in fact, this party is in honor of you in some way, isn't it? I'd heard rumors that the Duke Bisland's son had joined the Iron Guard." She nods to a servant, securing a second glass of mead and offering it to the man with a smile.

"And here I was going to suggest you try the gauntlet," Jael chuckles to Cristoph. "Yet once again, you've an entirely too sensible reason not to do it. I did this morning, though," she grins at her brother. "Mostly. I did finish it, and I didn't injure myself, so I'm going to consider that a success."

"You flatter, my lord." Selene muses, although judging by her tone it is hardly a criticism. Her smile a pleasant thing as she offers the bottle of rum to the Duke after lowering herself in a curtsey "A gift from Lord Grayward, who very much regretted being unable to attend." her words quite sincere. "As he should." collecting a glass for herself from one of the many servants.

Hearing a familiar name, Jasher looks over toward Cristoph. "Donella." he says, moving toward her. "I didn't know you were planning to be here. If I had, I would have offered to escort you. I was just about to get some mead. Would you like a glass?"

"In passing only I believe, but a pleasure in turn, Lady Joslyn." Luca replies to the brunette with the title Calandra ascribed her, offering out hand to her in turn and bowing over hers similar to how he did over Calandra. He's coming up from the bow a little distracted by talk of sparring and broken bones and the Gray Forest in turn, but Michael's off talking to Sylvie and so Luca's eyes just trail that way, giving the Duchess a wan version of his usual rakish half-grin across the crowds, the strain already showing on him a bit amidst the people, but a polite greeting her way nonetheless offered.

"Gods, just Barric. I'll make everyone else call me 'your highness' but there's no need. Really. Even in public. I'm only very slightly embarrassed to be seen with you." the prince is in an affable mood. A mood in which he joshes his oldest friends and companions, apparently. The Grayson is about to make introductions, but he's done enough so that Michael and Sylvie can do it themselves, though he adds, "Michael is Duke Gabriel's son. We, along with everyone else I suppose, grew up together. Too many to count, all of us running around causing trouble. Except for me, of course. Always diligent and serious, of course." that reeks of a lie. "Why does no one hold a party in honor of me?" he asks, curious and not at all serious.

As the hand is offered, Tobias takes it with a gentle strength. It becomes clear as Donella takes his hand that the man has massive hands, "I look forward to learning it, then. I haven't had a proper dance in about three years." Tobias replies as he smirks. As Jasher heads over, Tobias gives a raises brow in question to her.

Blacktongue has found his stride leads him to the banquet table, where a deft flick of the wrist and quick fingers leave an apple to vanish - only to appear in some poor guard's removed helmet as he passes. The older man is slowly circling the circumference of the room with a cheshire smile, taking it and its occupants measure.

Sylvie has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Joslyn laughs then, holding a hand to her lips with a shake of her head. "Oh! I hadn't noticed..." she smiles, shaking her head again, deciding it's best to clear this up now rather than let it drag on too long. "I'm afraid it's just Joslyn. Messere Joslyn Mannicelli. I'm Duchess Calista's handmaiden." she explains. She does hold herself as a Lady, however, so it's likely she gets mistaken for one all the time.

"Thank you, Radiant." Cristoph takes the bottle of rum, admires it a moment, then passes it to one of the servants as he savours a careful sup of his mead. "And what kind of host would I be if I did not event offer justifiable flattery of my guests? My thanks for conveying Lord Grayward's gift and words. Then to Jael. "I will pass then sister, if you were unable to complete the thing I suspect my only fate would be a painful and embarrassing one." Then in the direction of Barric. "Bring more Bringer of Silence heads back from the coming campaign than anyone else does and I will happily host a tournament in your honour Prince Barric. Of course, that offer stands open to anyone."

Michael chuckles at the notion of the party at all in his honour. "I believe this party is to honour many, Lady Sylvie, but yes, I have joined the Iron Guard. My father has left some big shoes to fill, and I aim to train to fill them, well, early." He issues the woman another grin as he accepts the mead, "You, dear Lady, are good company to have at a party. Anyone who finds the drink--now that's a friend to keep." He cackles at Barric, "Even without them here, I can almost //feel// my parents correcting stares as I call you by your first name in," he glances pointedly towards Sylvie, "polite company." He shrugs, but he smirks and notes, "And, I shall be sure to have the adage 'the serious' added to your many titles, my friend. Prince Barric Grayson..." and not quite remembering each of the titles he offers "...blah blah blah the serious. Of course, we'd use it ironically." He nods towards Sylvie, "And what say you, fair Lady? Does Barric merit the title 'the serious?' It seems you are acquainted with my old friend..."

Desiree keeps mostly to herself, but she still gives a friendly smile here and there. She shows interest in the banquet table as she casually walks toward it.

Well, everyone knows what they say about men with large hands. ... Mostly that they pay a fortune for gloves that fit. She grins and says, "That's a long time to go without. I will try to be a good partner. First a salute to the partner, and take hands, then double left, right, left..." she says demonstrating. "Oh, cousin," she greets Jasher as her approaches. "Don't distress yourself. If I don't have someone managing the itinerary, I never know where I will be until I end up there."

Calandra has the grace to blush as Joslyn speaks. "It is hard to remember that you are not." She says gently toward Joslyn. She has a smile for her and Prince Luca, seeming to like that they are talking.

Well, everyone knows what they say about men with large hands. ... Mostly that they pay a fortune for gloves that fit. Donella grins and says, "That's a long time to go without. I will try to be a good partner. First a salute to the partner, and take hands, then double left, right, left..." she says demonstrating. "Oh, cousin," she greets Jasher as her approaches. "Don't distress yourself. If I don't have someone managing the itinerary, I never know where I will be until I end up there."

The banquet tables are currently set out with starters, finger food basically, though this is very much the 'rich noble' tier of finger food so it includes everything from honeyed cakes to sugared fruits, to roast quail and intricate little pies.

Luca gives a wry wink at Joslyn's correction, even if it's kind of a shadow of his usual effusive ease. "Well, I'm utter shit for titles and such as it is, so I'll just assume no offense given for the bump in title from Pretty Eyes and myself." To Cristoph's declaration then, Luca's distractedly turning back to loudly declare. "As long as I don't have to ride in the tournament or deal with the great ugly beasts..." someone has an issue with horses. "...then I'll have you live up to that, Cristoph. Sorry Barric, but I'll be bringing the most home."

Percephon has left the Southern Banquet Table.

6 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.

"We are waiting for you to do something honorable, Barric," counters Sylvie lightly to the prince's unserious question, her brow curvine upwards. She likely uses the single name only in a point as Michael refers to her as polite company, amusement sparking in smoky eyes as they drag over the Bisland as she says it. "My lord, I believe I am acquainted with your old friend. He would have us all believe that he has not a serious, nor political, nor intelligent and thoughtful bone in his body, but I can assure you that they are there. Enough to merit the title? ... Perhaps not." Her smile flashes wider at that, tipping her chin to Michael. Her attention is only distracted for a moment where her sweeping gaze catches on Luca's, lingering for a long moment of worried study of the man. She nods to him, but she turns back to her company.

Joslyn pulls Calandra close with a smile, laughing with a nod. "No offense taken. I don't think I'd mind being a Lady. I spend all my days surrounded by them, and I rather think that I'd fit in nicely," she adds with a beaming grin.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Donella before departing.

Barric waves off Michael's remark about his parents, "Hardly. Well, perhaps. They treat us like children still, though, which I suppose is to be expected. We're young yet. It still rankles." though his tone is more fond than annoyed with the admission. When he hears his name from Luca, he turns to look over a shoulder and lifts a hand to the man, "It's hardly a competition, is it Prince Luca? We're fighting for the survival of our people, not for glory." he knows how to bring a room down, but his expression suggests he's only teasing. Attention refocusing on Sylvie and Michael, he secures his own drink from a server, "They are there, perhaps, like they are in everyone. But at a terrible deficit, I assure you. I cannot even defeat a woman five feet tall in a spar so I do not even have military prowess to fall back on. I shall have to rely on my looks and charm alone, gods help us. Perhaps I'll become a Whisper like you, Duchess." not likely. The prince excuses himself for just a moment to speak with an incoming messenger. Better not be some damned beagle.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Barric before departing.

"I didn't know I was going to be attending either." Jasher admits. "But I heard the herald and decided I was tired of having fish for dinner." This said with a completely straight face. Shifting his gaze to Tobias, he gives the man a nod. "My Lord. Jasher Thrax. I'll entrust my cousin to your capable hands." Quite large ones too.

"Oh, I completed it. Eventually." Jael winks at Cristoph, taking a step back as the initial flow of guests slows. "I'll be right back," she promises with a brush of her hand to Cristoph's arm, headed directly toward the table of drinks. Because it's a party, that's why. 'Right back' may or may not happen. Two glasses of mead are claimed, but her path back takes a more circuitous route through the crowd of guests. "Great ugly beasts is a terrible thing to call your fellow knights," she grins to Luca in passing.

    Marquessa Lyonesse enters the main hall and gives a quick look about at all the faces gathered here today. She has her hair pulled back into a ponytail as always, so that the wild is tamed. She has left the armor at home for a change and is, instead, wearing a simple white cotton shirt with a leather vest which is dyed black. The shirt is loose fitted upon her toned frame, and frilled at the cuff while also baggy in the upper arm. A simple lace interlocks the collar together, as though it's more or less something that would be worn under armor but has been tailored to stand alone. She also has a pair of black leather pants along with the fitting boots that are heeled in the back, making her a couple inches taller. The poise she exhibits is slightly different than normal, an emphasis being cast on the fact that she is a lady and attractive at that. Still, she lacks the lavish embellishment that would be standard for someone of her position.
    She takes a breath and simply waits on someone to make their grand entrance, as always, before taking to the mingle. There is a notice of Prince Luca, firstly, and he gets a wave. Then there is a wave cast towards Joslyn afterwards.

There's a perfect and praticed smile given to Cristoph as Selene steps away, slowly spinning the glass in her hand as she makes her way towards the northern table, and the little group of Sylvie, Michael and Barric. "My lords." a fittingly radiant smile acompanying the greeting before her attention settles on Sylvie "Are you here for the family or the house, my lady?" a matter of cermony, afterall. "Regardless, it's a joy to see you are well." a brief questioning look, the words as much statement as an inquiry.

Calandra smiles gently toward Luca. She seem at least a bit concerned for him, but the delicate Whisper doesn't ask any questions about his state. She leans in close to Joslyn, giving her yet another smile. "I blame your Lady Caliste and Lady Juliet." She says genly to her. When Anabelle looks toward Joslyn, Calandra gives her a smile.

Cristoph nods to Jael, watching incoming arrivals, then smiles warmly as Demura arrives, a slight bow of his head given as he steps forward to intercept her attempt to mingle "Marquiessa Demura, thank you for attending, please, make yourself at home."

Luca turns cinnamon eyes back to Joslyn and Calandra from his boasting about Bringer heads, smiling a bit broader to the pair of them and leaning in to whisper something. Jael's quip in passing earns her a rich laugh and a called after. "You have to see the way some men get in the field after a few days sweaty battle before saying I can't call them that. Or their horses."

Servants are circulating with drinks, well, mostly mead, also a variety of finger food, though the tables themselves are being cleared now as more substantial food begins to arrive. Venison, roast boar, vegetable and fruits.

Michael casts Sylvie a large toothy grin at Barric's suggestions. "A Whisper then?" he offers back to Sylvie. "Gentility is something my charming friend, Barric, has much to learn. Although," he lifts his glass into the air declaring cheers, "charm? Well, he has that in droves. You, dear Lady, likely have talents my dear Father and Mother likely wish I would learn." He casts a mischievous glance back towards Barric, "You must always watch the short ones." Selene's greeting earns a bright grin and a nod, "I don't believe I've made your acquaintance. I am Lord Michael Bisland. Although, it seems honorifics may be in short supply," he arches an wry eyebrow at Selene.

Michael has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

The wave from the Marquessa Demura earns an arch of dark brow from Luca, but he caught it as he was chasing that comment after Jael, and he returns it with a subtle little backward glance, as if not quite sure whether he's the one she waved at.

Joslyn speaks quietly with Calandra and Luca, a smile across her face, but Demura's wave does bring a wave of her own as she inclines her head towards the Marquessa.

Bird the Sparrow arrives, following Mailys.

Mailys arrives, following Jackson.

"Oh, I have," Jael laughs to Luca, raising one glass in salute. "I think I prefer the horses." She grins, delivering the second glass of mead to Cristoph at the entrance. "I suspect you're going to need this before the night is through, if only to keep your voice through all the greetings."

Selene has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Barric has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

"I've heard a lot of different descriptions of me over the years, Lord Jasher... but I do believe that's the first 'capable hands' I've received. I'm pretty sure your cousin will be the one handling things." Tobias gives charmingly, as he follows in step with Donella, his eyes focused on both her movements and her face. "And here I was thinking I'd just be on the sidelines for the day." Tobias gives in a grin, "but then, that's what subordinates are for. A pleasure to finally meet you, Your Highness. I haven't had much chance to speak with those from House Thrax, let alone their women." Tobias conitunes as he tries to keep up with Donella.

     Grand entrance? Is her sister waiting for her? Because Anabelle never makes a grand entrance. Okay, well she tries not too. A swish of fabrics as Lady Lyonesse makes her way into the main hall. She's wearing her usual as of late, the pale yellow silk dress with the purple overdress over top of it. Laces running up along the front, and her cloak left... wherever? You know, at the door-ish. Her amber hair was left free, only a few strands escaping and making a break for the heavens. Ahhh hair and static.
     As she steps through the threshold she looks about, first one way, then the other, before spotting her target. Her sister was around here somewhere. Her leather boots lightly step across the floor as she moves with purpose toward her. Waiting till she's closer to say to her, "Mur! You beat me here! Am I really that late? I was shooting for fashionably." Her head turns to see Cristoph making his rounds presumably, and she dips into a curtsy, "Duke! How're you this lovely evening? It looks as though your festivities are in full swing."

Cristoph gives a nod of his head to Anabelle, he is positioned near the entrance to intercept arrivals. "Lady Anabelle, you have missed most of the starter course, but are very much in time for the start of the main course, thank you for attending."

Jackson may not know a lot of people but that doesn't mean he's not beyond making new friends. And it just so happens he wasn't all that busy at the moment, so he decided to drop by. Wasn't even going to go until he spent some time talking to a certain Whisper who sounded like she wanted to go, but didn't really want to go stag, so it could be said that the Argento-sworn Captain is more Mailys' arm-candy that she is for him. Either way, he arrives with the Whisper on his arm, taking a look about, making a gesture with his free arm towards her. "Well, we're here. Now, I suppose I get to see how you work your stuff, aye?" he grins at her, then glancing down at her footwear. "See, even helping you show off those new boots you were talking about."

    Demura just shrugs at her sister, "Well, late you are and I would say that you have come far more fashionably than I, so good shot." There is a smirk flashed towards Anabelle before she too is giving the Duke her regards, "Ah, my lord Cristoph, thank you for the invitation. I look forward to speaking with you later this evening if you have the time." She gives a polite, respectable bow and moves away, looking for Luca first.
    "Prince Luca, a pleasure to see you here. I'm Demura Lyonesse. I just wanted to make your acquaintance and perhaps discuss some business when you have the time?" She wears a bright smile that is convincing to all but her sister, of course. Still, an effort like this means that it's something important to her.

Donella smiles an encouragingly vibrant smile to Jasher. This particular Thrax lady may be left in capable hands, but her own are not idle upon the strings. "I'm sure we'll get on famously, assuming I don't lame him before he has to go fight. Try some of the ale for me," she encourages him, siding with her partner, and looking up Tobias's shoulder. "Likewise, my lord. I know of your lord Duke only by reputation, though I have visited with Sir Ansel's bird a little." The dance calls for them to exchange their places, and she does with a little decorative turn. "I think we spoke briefly at the... curry picnic over the summer. But we never do manage to hold still long enough. Am I appropriately dour?"

Desiree is usually fairly social, but she just doesn't seem to be very talkative today. Once she finishes her meal she stands and makes her way out.

Joslyn inclines her head to Luca as he moves to mingle a little, after speaking quietly with him. She smiles a litle towards Calandra, but Demura catches her attention afterwards, the Marquessa having caught her eye with a wave. "Marquessa Lyonesse?" she repeats having overheard. "A pleasure. Did you recognize me from somewhere? I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage," she says. "Messere Joslyn Manicelli, personal handmaiden to Duchess Calista."

Cristoph takes a long sip of his mead now, straightens, then turns to the circular hall. He speaks, pitching his voice to be clearly audible across the chamber, not raising it to do so, an expertly practised battlefield address. "My ladies, lords, princesses and princes! I would like to thank you all for travelling here to enjoy the hospitality of House Laurent and blessing this manse with your presence. We have here assembled and august and noble gathering." He pauses for a breath.

"I would like to remind everyone here that we face a menace entirely unprecedented for our generation. Demons, Magic, elves, a year ago most of us would have regarded talk of any of these as manic fantasy but now an army marches upon our lands, a horde sworn to the Abyss and in service of dark powers beyond the Reflection. This is a dire threat that we never anticipated to stand again. But remember, this is a threat that our ancestors faced, fought, ultimately defeated. Our noble ancestors were victorious in their struggle despite terrible cost."

"I have full confidence that if we all do our duty, if every preparation is made and nothing is neglected, we fill find ourselves once again able to defend our lands and our people. That is our will, that is our charge, that we will unite together and defend to the death all that is right and good in this world. We shall not flag, we shall not fail, when any of us fall it will be in the light of the gods and in service to their aims. These are times of unprecedented and terrifying darkness but we will be victorious!"

Luca's just breaking away from Calandra and Joslyn with a wink when he's turning to find the Lyonesse sisters upon him. The mourning-black-clad Velenosa pauses, mouth opening a little as if in frozen reply of confusion or apology, then the business part is reached, and he's arching dark brow once again. "Umm, yes, of course, Marquessa, Lady. A pleasure. Perhaps we can join the tables and try some of this wonderful food Cris has had laid out for us?" He's gesturing to the table least occupied at present, starting that way, though waiting for the women to be seated before he languidly sprawls into a chair, his twin sabres expertly angled not to get in way of his comfort.

Easily Mailys keeps to her spot at Jackson's side, her hand resting on the crook of his arm. "I might not be as interesting or regal as my Radiant, though." says Mailys with a laugh. She notes Cristoph by the door for interferign and to him she flashes a brillint grin, her fingers runnign along Jackson's arm to draw him to a halt just in case the host has further plans for new arrivals. When JAckson looks down at her boots she shifts her leg a little so he can see the fancy things better. Though, she does not move the skirt of her dress up or anything. That would be for antoher setting.

Luca has joined the Banquet Table.

Calandra joins the feast, trying to encourage Joslyn to join her at the table.

Calandra has joined the Southern Banquet Table.

Joslyn has joined the Southern Banquet Table.

     A smiles is given to Cristoph and she responds, "That's very kind of you to say, Duke Cristoph. Oh! I've been meaning to ask. Duke, honey mead is one of the exports of Laurent is it not? If not -- I was thinking that perhaps we should discuss a meadery. I brought it up a week or so ago, but haven't had the chance to get back to you." Anabelle gives the Duke a wide smile, all teeth, as her sister begins to move away toward Luca. She gives another curtsy, and adds, "When you have time, I know you must be quite busy, my lord."
     And that's how Anabelle ended up at her sister's side when Luca found the sisters upon him! Yes, quite deadly indeed. She dips once more into a curtsy, "Prince Luca, a pleasure to meet you as well. I would love to try some, but there does seem to be quite the spread. Do you have any recommendations?"

Joslyn nods then as Calandra gets her attention, nodding as she pulls up a chair beside the whisper.

With her brother thus cared for, Jael goes in search of a seat for herself, and a chance to at least enjoy a little bit of the feast. It's Michael that she sets her sights on, claiming another spare glass of mead on her way to the Bisland. "And that is for saying you should come to a party and then being busy being a responsible sister," she announces, smile flashing. "Room for another?"

Calandra has a gentle smile toward Joslyn. She gets a glass of mead for herself, because well it is very yummy. She then looks over toward the sisters, giving them both a smile.

"Nonsense. You're just as intersting, my dear. Don't sell yourself short." Jackson shakes his head at Mailys. While he has no problem navigating these kind of events, he seems to be the sort to tak his time with them, stopping when she does. A blink. Then he's looking down at the boots she's showing off to him. "Look better than mine." he offers. His are standard sailing boots, not much there, but they're also armored, so they might not help. Then he's leaning to speak to the Whisper quietly.

Jasher walks over to the refreshments table, pours himself a glass of mead then assembles a plate of food, heavy on the meat. Looking around for a place to sit, he takes an empty spot near Jael.

Jasher has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Cristoph, in the wake of giving his speech, gives an inclination of his head to Anabelle. "Honey mead is indeed one of the main exports of House Laurent my lady, the greatest meadery found within the granite walls of Artshall itself." He then drains off what remains of the mead in his own cup, before exchanging it with a fresh one from a servant.

    Demura just smiles towards Joslyn, "Oh goodness, no. I've no idea who you are. I just thought you seemed rather pretty." The Marquessa gives her a nod with polite smile. "Still, as you say, a pleasure to meet you, Messere Joslyn Manicelli. Please, join us." She states before moving towards the table, listening to her sister's question as to what to recommendations before taking a seat. She then redirects towards Luca, "My lord, as you are aware, Valardin and Velenosa are quite close to one another and are viable shipping partners. I've come up with a way to making the moving of goods from the Velenosa lands to Valardin much quicker. How are you regarding traded? I've a proposition that will naturally generate an increased amount of capital." As she relaxes into the comfy chair, she unfolds her napkin and lays it over her lap, eloquently before interlocking her hands in front of her upon the table.

Demura has joined the Banquet Table.

Michael grins brightly at Sylvie's assertion and the hand at his arm meets easy fingers atop it. "Then I will have to visit more often." He manages another chuckle. "You will likely have a visitor then. Assuming you still want it when tonight is through." He nods towards Jael, "Please, Lady Jael, do join us!" He motions to the seat beside him. A grin is cast towards Jasher, "And Prince Jasher, I believe we met at the Temple of Gloria. When I so... uh... unchivalrously interrupted Lady Jael's prayers."

Jael has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

"I'm sure Duke Telmar has plenty of things to say about me, but I couldn't tell you what they are at this point." Tobias gives in amused reply as he goes into the turn. "Possibly! I've been dealing with business for a while, so the last year has been a blur for me. With most of my men deployed, I just haven't had time to just enjoy myself like this." Tobias gives a small smile. "I have no doubt you can be, but I think I prefer you enjoying yourself in the dance like you are now." Then, Duke Laurent speaks, and while Tobias doesn't stop the dance, he does glance in his direction as he continues with Donella. "Well, he certainly knows how to brighten the room." Tobias gives in a goodnatured comment.

Mailys touches her figners along JAckson's arm once more and leads him to where Selene and Sylvie are. Seems a good spot where multiple Whispers are. "My lovely Radiant is a different style of interesting than me." Only when at the table does she release his arm to take a seat.

Mailys has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Michael has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Jackson has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

     As her sister moves, so does she, a smile for both Joslyn and nod to Calandra as Anabelle moves toward the table as well. She slides down into the chair near her sister, her hands reaching for the napkin and laying it out upon her lap with her hands over top of it.

Anabelle has joined the Banquet Table.

Cristoph takes another sip of mead, eyes closing a moment, then shrugs, a look given over toward Tobias, a hint of a smile. "Times are grim for many Lord Tobias." He notes. "This might eve is for celebration and enjoyment, but it is for celebration of the courage we show in the face of what is, a terribble threat that none of out predecessors have faced for a dozen or more generations. Perhaps, ultimately, we are blessed in being able to show our true worth to the gods in the face of such threat."

The main course is very much in swing now, the tables groaning with the weight of roast boar, deer, generally the the whole six thousand calorie medieval meal theme that overburdens them despite two inch thick aged oak.

Joslyn seems surprised by the invitation from the Marquessa, as she's already begun loading up her plate with a polite blush. "Perhaps, we can speak a little later," she says from beside Calandra, looking quite apologetic towards Demura.

By the northern banquet table, Selene throws Luca a look across the room as she speaks, before looking back to Prince Barric.

Donella turns round with Tobias once more to end the measure. She says in response to the host, "The threat is indeed terrible, my lord. And we are as children before the weight of what we are going to have to learn to bear." She sinks into a curtsy for her partner. "But it is important to have memories, too, of the innocent times."

Calandra looks from Joslyn and then over to Demura, giving her a gentle smile. "We can join them if you want, Joslyn." She says in her direction, her voice gentle.

    "I'm sure." Demura states cooly while leaning into those hands, eyeing down the Prince. "Still, it's more an offer to be passed along. I'm still not familiar with the way your family operates and I'm still vaguely in the dark about who's who, to my shame. So, as you ask, I'll pass you the idea anyway and see where it goes. Does that settle with you?" A white smile, "Lovely. So, at the moment, Valardin and Velenosa are both utilizing ships to pass merchandise back and forth. The only problem is, it takes time to do this. Sailing around the coast, having to be at the mercy of open sea. I have a proposition to make the process much quicker and in turn bringing about more profit from cheaper prices." She examines the glass of creamy liquid that has been poured, perhaps a chardonnay or champagne. Either way, she brings it to her rosy lips and takes a sip before continuing.
    "So, I propose using the Lycene instead and utilizing Lyon's Redoubt as a trade hub. From there we will be able to not only secure the goods properly, but also move it rather quickly over land and even warehouse for good measure." She smiles once again, warm and polite, "I'm sure that regardless of your involvement, you too want to see the people of our lands to flourish and be afforded the opportunity to succeed in the free market. Naturally, the same pitch is going to go towards the Duke and Edain. Perhaps others as well."

Joslyn seems as tough she's considering Calandra's offer to join them, but upon overhearing them, she shakes her head politely. "Oh, perhaps later when their business has concluded," she says. "Not a time for idle chatter to distract from business at hand." she says as she begins to eat the provided food.

Cristoph bows his head to Donella, then grins and lofts hug flagon of mead. "And so, we celebrate, we meet together, we feast and dance, we exalt in ourselves and our company. Tomorrow we ride or march to war, but for tonight? We enjoy. We meet with friends or encounter fresh allies. When darker times impose, we meet them stronger than ever. To The Compact!" He calls for a toast.

Calandra smiles gently toward Joslyn, her dimples briefly appearing. She takes another sip of her mead. A smile of greeting is given to Mailys. She then hears the toast, lifting her glass in response.

Calandra is overheard praising Cristoph for: A great banquet before the battle. Cristoph is a leader of men and women.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Calandra before departing.

After a moment, Tobias gives Donella a bit of space, before he gives her a bow. "We should do that more often." Then, one of the Crimson Blades comes over and whispers in his ear, and Tobias breathes a sigh out of his nostrils. "Looks like I've got work to do." Tobias gives a warm smile to Donella. "I'd love to continue this another time, if you're interested, Your Highness." Formal bow, before Tobias looka to Duke Laurent. "And thank you for hosting us, My Lord. I hope this continues to go well for you." With that, Tobias heads for the exit, along with his bodyguards.

Mailys continues to idly murmurs to Jackson but does notice the smile from Calandra. She wriggles her fingers in greeting to her and beams a smile over.

"I would have given the credit to Duke Cristoph, as I said, but alas--," Sylvie answers to Jael with a quick, humored smile. As Barric rises, she moves to twine her arm through his, guiding him towards the estate grounds to draw air as the hall warms with the press of bodies and food. She'll be back, surely, to mingle more but they are gone for a while.

Barric has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Sylvie has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Ariadne, 3 Rubino and Zaffria guards, Barric leave, following Sylvie.

Donella inclines her head to Tobias, to signify her interest. She goes to collect a glass from the banqueting space, and raises it at Cristoph's insistance.

Donella has joined the Southern Banquet Table.

Samantha makes er way to one of the banquet tables, taking a seat and having a solid view of the room.

Samantha has joined the Banquet Table.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Selene before departing.

Calandra smiles over to the Princess Donella when she joins their table. "Your Highness, you honor me by joining." She says. Still the delicate songbird rises to her feet. "This was such a lovely party. Thank you Duke Cristoph." She then is starting on her way from the gathering. It seems like she would be content to have Joslyn follow her or not.

"Thus far the Oathlands have taken a secondary role in facing our new foe." Cristoph notes to the room, he is pretty good at being clearly audible in large open spaces it seems. "But we will be riding in the van as the assembled host of the compact faces out mutual foe. I know that many of you will contribute more than myself when it comes to personal valour and skill in the face of our enemy, but it is through our combined efforts, our coordinated strength, the massed might of the noble houses of the Compact, that we will triumph over our foes and prove ourselves every bit equal to our predecessors during the age of Queen Alarice. For now though I will cease to extort people and become rather quieter. My sister, Jael, which table to you think I should join as I quieten my exhortations and become more mellow?"

Jael rises from the northern table at Cristoph's words, raising her glass in a salute. "This way, brother," she laughs. "If you're quick enough, there may be food left for you when I'm finished filling my plate."

    "Ah, Marquessa Deepwood! How nice of you to join us. Now, we are indeed the most honored table." Demura silks out with a smile before turning back to Luca, hoping that Samantha actually heard some of the pitch so that she wouldn't have to do it again. "Anyway. I think that is an excellent idea, your highness and I shall be honored to support you as well. As a matter of fact, we shall say it has already happened, just to be clear." There is a flicker towards Cristoph as well, but she is betting he caught the jist of it. "At any rate, let us enjoy this fine cuisine that has be lavishly presented to us by the good Duke; It seems your gala is quite the success. Congratulations." She pauses and waits for any responses, hoping that those house leaders will have an interest in it.

Calandra has left the Southern Banquet Table.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Samantha before departing.

Cristoph has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Cristoph grins to Jael, lofting his flagon. "I shall follow your consol, my esteemed sister and Voice of House Laurent." With this he approaches the table in question, though he turns to incline his head to Demura. "Thank you Marquessa, I look forward to many such events in future, of course if you host your own events in future I will of course be honoured to attend."

    "Why, yes. I do believe we crossed paths at the vigil, though I'm sure after meeting my sister I was stricken from your mind, Samantha." Demura smirks a bit at the thought while plating her food, not waiting any longer as it looks delectable. "Still, I agree and have taken up a march within the Oathlands for that purpose and I'm going to accompany Prince Edain and Duke Cristoph in the pursuit of the Bringers as well. They are a group that must be stopped." She nods politely towards the others before taking a bit, "Mmft. Just delicious. My compliments to the chef." She then wets her whistle and continues speaking, "However, I'm not going to wait as my forces are already marching, they might as well clear and make the roads ready. I really just need more resources for expansion and any given will be given in return, naturally." She lifts her head once again and pans those blues over the table before narrowing on her sister. "Oh yes, this meal reminds me of home as well. Perhaps that's why it's so good!"

"Not at all, my lady." Samantha says firmly. "I would not forget you, but we had such a brief time to acquaint ourselves. I suspect your forces will be joining those basing at Pridehall? If you push as far as Deepwood you'll have any support my March can provide. My forces are already with Duke Bisland's, naturally." Luca's remarks make her smile. "I fear you may be sorely tempted, when you come to the March, by our cider production. I daresay worthy to be called the best of Arvum."

Selene rises from her seat with a rustle of skirts, a pleasant smile given to those at the table. "You will excuse me, lords, ladies." summoning a servant with her cloak, before making her way outside with a smile and nod to various people as she moves through the crowd.

Selene has left the Northern Banquet Table.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Demura before departing.

Lord Luis Igniseri of Granato enters in, just as Selene is leaving. He gives a bit of a wave and then shrugs his shoulders. His dark eyes scan the ro--There's Jael. Expected. He will have to stop by and speak to her too. But first comes first, he must thank the Duke. He approaches Cristoph, waiting for a good time to speak, before bowing. "My Lord, I wanted to thank you for the kind invitation in your letter. I am sorry for my lateness, but wanted you to know that I appreciated your consideration."

Cristoph has a flagon of mead in hand as he walks to the northernmost banquet table. "Well you have invited me Jael, please, introduce me to your companions." He looks to those presence then, nodding to eath as he kicks out a chair with the heel of one boot and secures a place to sit. He has been standing thus far, he settles rather heavily.

Jael has a plate well-loaded with food, which...she actually slides over to her brother when he sits down. She may not be the best at organizing a feast, but she'll at least make sure her brother doesn't forget to eat. "It seems the table has been shifting while I was filling a plate," she admits, smile rueful. "But this is Prince Jasher, of Thrax, who has been appreciating our mead here. And..." As Luis arrives. "Lord Luis Igniseri, I'm glad you could make it," she smiles swiftly to the lord.

    Demura laughs towards her sister and offers up a smirk in her direction before regarding Samantha. "Of course, and I'm sure my men look forward to 'testing' what the best cider in Arvum tastes like." She states with a grin, knowing the hearts of those that would fight. "I'm glad to hear that trade routes are just as important to other Marquessas as well though. Surely, these agreements will bring about prosperity to the Oathlands and provide Sanctum with greater economic capital." And at that, she concludes the business and moves on towards picking over that plate of food.

"And the Crownlands." Samantha adds a touch impishly. She too sees to her food as she offers a grin to Luca, "Perhaps Deepwood's orchards will sway you." She leaves it at that, asking the Lyonesse sisters, "Have you had occasion for a reunion with your brother? I know I've made mention of how highly he speaks of you both. I don't know if you come often to Arx, but I'd be glad to suggest locales, personages, means of pursuits if you have any you care to follow."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Samantha before departing.

Mailys tucks her arm through JAckson's after dipping into a curtsy to those at her table. Towards the exit she guides him so they can go off, "You can choose." She tells him.

Jackson has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Mailys has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Bird the Sparrow leaves, following Mailys.

Mailys leaves, following Jackson.

    "Mmm, yes." Demura states, waiting for a swallow before proceeding, "Several times, actually. I'm glad to hear that he still holds us in high regards, as hold him to the same. You should know, he speaks highly of you as well Marquessa Deepwood. We should all start a club." She jests before continuing with the meal at hand, only stopping to shake her head at her sister and offer up a light laugh as the girl is truly laying it on thick this eve.

Luca rises up from the table he's at, shifting away so his twin blades at hips don't catch on chair as he bows to the three ladies at the table, smirking a bit to Samantha's talk of being swayed by Deepwood orchards. Anabelle gets her own rakish smirk and some murmurred words just for her, and then he's stepping away from their table and starting over towards Cristoph at the Northern. Luis is given an easy nod while the Velenosan duelist prince holds off to make sure he's not interrupting that one's conversation with the Laurent siblings.

Cristoph certainly does not object as Jael slides a platter his way, spearing an overly large piece of boar meat with a knife, devouring it, licking his lips, he grins, after savouring the partial fast. "Thank you Jael!" This to Jael, obviously, another sip of his flagon of mead as he settles into the chair, one hand ajusting his scabbarded sword to ensure it does not impact anyone.

Luca has left the Banquet Table.

Luca has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Servants continue to provide essentially limitless quantities of mead, also alcohol, the mead is a mere 160 proof and thus utterly lethal to anyone used to mere wine.

"Lady Jael," Luis says with a sinister little grin. "It is, of course, always a pleasure. Where are our third and fourth?" He twists at the waist as if looking around for Tomwell and Michael. "If there are only two of us I am not sure if we can get into quite the same amount of trouble. We can try, of course." When Luca regards him, Luis gives him a deep bow. Respect from his family means Luis also gives the same respect, despite their odd first meeting.

The servants are providing essentially limetless quantities of meat that is. But, yes, also mead. There is so much mead, the hexagonal hall basically decorated with barrels of the stuff.

Luca's actually caught wrinkling his nose a little to Luis' bow. "Oh come on, Luis. None of that. Do you genuinely think after my terrible showing with your cousin at the Ambassador Salon that I'm at _all_ the sort to expect bows from?" Let alone titles or really anything regarding proper propriety. He really _is_ a horribad prince sometimes.

Jasher just nods when Jael mentions him as he and Cristoph spoke briefly earlier. "Your mead is everything claimed about it." he agrees then looks over at the newest arrival when she greets Luis. "Do you produce enough to sell elsewhere?" he continues to the Duke. "I'm sure there'd be a market for it and my ships have been known to escort traders on occasion."

"I'm afraid Michael was called away earlier," Jael shakes her head to Luis, though she does twist to take a look around the room in case he got caught somewhere else. "But I've not seen Lord Tomwell. You'll just have to pick up the slack yourself. Or else convince your cousin to take up a share of it," she adds with a wry smile as Luca approaches, dipping her chin politely. Of course, now that Cristoph has her plate, she needs to load another one to its former obscene heights.

Samantha tsks at Anabelle. "I'm quite certain you are well aware of how charming you are, my lady." There's a knowing smile as she sips some of her drink. "Do you have some pursuit that interests you? Art, some manner of design, music, academia? I'd be happy to put you in the direction of those who share your interests."

Cristoph lifts his flagon is salute to Jasher. "Mead, honey and other related products are the main export of House Laurent my lord, I fully admit that this event is a cynical effort to introduce the notable of Arx to our produce." A smile to Jasher also as servants continue to ensure the oak trestle tables groan with the weight of food and alcohol.

Donella smiles to Joslyn, and says as she rises, "I am very pleased to have met another of the Fidante household. And I hope that you will come and visit us, in the Thrax ward. Possibly drink some of the mead, first, but... do come." She gives a skirt a brushing down, and does honor to the hosts at their table in preparation for taking her leave.

Sunrise, lilac breasted roller arrives, delivering a message to Donella before departing.

"A shame," Luis says to Jael. "Better start with the mead." He calls over a servant and takes his first glass and plugs it away. "It is fantastic as the man says," Luis nods to Jasher. He gives a fakingly sour look to Luca, "If not for you, my cousin may have gotten himself into some real trouble." There's a sideways nod towards Jael, "Something we excel at."

Joslyn rises from the table alongside the princess, dipping into a respectful curtsey. "It was lovely meeting you as well. I hope we can share a drink together again sometime," she says, casting a kind smile to the Thrax Princess.

Donella has left the Southern Banquet Table.

6 Thrax Guards leaves, following Donella.

"Oh, I think everything went well enough," Jael nudges an elbow at Luis. "I once- You know, I realize that I should //not// say what I once did in a fit of temper in polite company. Especially since saying I only did it once would be a lie," she adds with a smirk.

Luca is overheard praising Cristoph for: A fantastic feast and worthy of those going to war. Especially the boar!

Samantha laughs a little, saluting Demura with her cup. "A mutual admiration society? That might be quite entertaining. We'd sit around in our cups, coming up with the most effluent compliments and voting on the most florid." There's a chuckle.

Luca actually hangs his head at those words from Luis, some revelation coming over him that seems to have kicked the Champion prince right in the gut. "Oh gods. I've become the responsible one. Why in the Abyss have I let this happen to myself?" The man's truly stricken here! Just weeks ago he was fighting naked in free for all melee expositions and nearly causing inter-species incidents with elves he was tasked to guard. Now he's sober at a party being chided for stopping someone from getting himself into trouble in public. Luca's coming out of his daze as he's given well-wishing by their host, rising up from Cristoph's side and smirking aside to Jael at that comment. "Now I'm even more regretful I didn't get that opportunity to take you shopping for that armor, Lady Jael. Comments like that would have me curious as the Abyss."

Cristoph has left the Northern Banquet Table.

6 Crimson Blades Sergeant have been dismissed.

Joslyn rises from her table, carrying a cup of mead along with her, offering a bright smile then to Demura. "Aplogies before, there was so much going on, when I realized there was an invitation, I saw you were talking business, and I had no desire to interupt."

"I think you should and will say it, Lady Jael," Luis interjects and nods towards Luca. "We had an excellent rolemodel, of course. Now it's all of us. My second cousins in Granato play with their wooden swords pretending to be the great Luca the Champion." His mouth twists. "Used to pretend to be me."

    Demura is on the cusp of departing herself, scooting her chair out from the table and rising into place to gather herself whilst wiping away the excess from the fine cuisine. She dabs about before regarding her sister briefly and then turning to move away, to the position that Joslyn catches her in. "Oh, no need to apologize. I didn't know if you had company or not. I'm about to leave, however. I'm afraid that Duke Laurent is quite busy and I should tend to some other matters. Though, if you're ever free, stop by the Lyonesse Chateau. I would an honor to host you, my dear." She smiles and nods cordially before dismissing herself politely and leaving the gala.

"As it happens, one needn't actually have an excuse to explore the city," Jael assures Luca, smile easy. "I promise not to hold it against you if you'd like to try another time. I expect I'll be riding out with the troops as well, though. Once I speak with my brother and determine just where I'll be best suited. Though it may be with some of those great beasts," she cautions, the corners of her eyes crinkling with humor. "As for my temper," she smirks at Luis, "Let's just avoid it for now. There's music," she points out. "You could prove you really do know how to dance."

"That sounded perilously close to a challenge, Luis. Can't let her get away with accusing a Lycene of inability to dance, whether it's blade or footwork." Luca's teasing the slightly younger swordsman, having just wrinkled his nose a bit again at idea of children playing at being his feckless self. Either way, he's slapping the other Lycene on the back hard enough to stagger and laughingly adding. "Go prove thyself, warrior." After which, aside to Jael, he's offering a nod. "Regarding the armor, perhaps we'll have opportunity before we both ride off." Leaning in a little so only she and Luis can hear, he murmurs something conspiratorially.

Joslyn nods to Demura, inclining her head to the Marquessa. "I shall find myself there at your first invitation," she smiles. "If you'll be heading out, I think I'll take my leave as well," she says, as she moves to thank the host.

A Deepwood guard makes his way to Samantha, bending and murmuring in her ear. "Ah," she says, and rises. "Excuse me, everyone. Thank you for welcoming me." And with that, she rises and slips out.

Samantha has left the Banquet Table.

Luis can't help but smile at Luca's words. All of them. He seems stretching. He then leans in to whisper something back to Luca before he straightens and declares, "Lady Jael. We should dance. Make the rest of the room jealous of you and take my hand."

Jael smirks at the whispered words, reluctantly leaving her plate to stand. "The lady accepts on her own behalf," she drawls with a bit of a look to Luis, though there's still humor in her features. "I will look forward to it," she adds to Luca. "The trip. I'm still not convinced about this dancing thing. We'll have to wait and see."

"Yup. you're definitely Pie's cousin. Trouble-addict if ever I've seen one." Luca's proclaiming mock-gravely to Luis after the quieter words. Shaking his head ruefully, he nods to Jael's acceptance of whatever it is they were talking to, then he's reaching hands to them both and sending the pair of them off with laughing. "Go forth. Make merry. Luis, the honor of the entirety of Lyceum rests on your shoulders and dancing skills. Don't fuck it up." No pressure! With that, Luca's looking around briefly for if there's any others propriety would dictate he has to greet or say farewell to, and with none, he's making his way in fluid-motioned retreat out, perhaps giving a wave to the Lyonesse sisters on way, but otherwise making haste. Fleeeee!

Joslyn has left the Southern Banquet Table.

     Soon Anabelle finds not just one, but most of her table leaving. Even her sister stands up and she casts a suppressed grin in her direction with a little shake of her head. The comment previously made by Samantha may have been true, but who's to really say? In the end though, Anabelle too slips free from the confines of the chair and glances around at the people all about. A final glance toward her sister, a quirk of an eyebrow, and then she too starts to make her way toward one of the exits. The sight of Luca and she gives a curtsy to him as he gives a wave in her direction.

"Apparently she needs me to prove to her I can dance to take my hand," Luis says with a tilt of his head as an aside to the rest of the room. "Make a mess of it? Me? Never." He begins to prance around ridiculously, almost as a comedian might, trying to make Luca, on his way out, and Jael, smile.

Anabelle has left the Banquet Table.

Demura has left the Banquet Table.

Luca has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Jasher has left the Northern Banquet Table.

"Oh. Oh, this is going to poorly," Jael snickers at the prancing, keeping a solid arm's length as she follows him toward the dance floor. "I'm going to war, Luis. Please try not to cripple me."

"Going to war with me or with someone else," asks Luis with a grin. He continues dancing his little jig and when the song ends he does a little bow towards her. "And I would never cripple anything except for your heart, your mind, and your soul. Your body, however, would remain intact."

"The Bringers," Jael notes, dry, though a smile lingers as a new song starts and she steps into the proper position. "Maybe take it easy on the crippling in general. I like all of my parts intact. I'm glad you could come, though. It all seems to have gone well."

Luis takes her hand and brings her close. Probably too close. But it's Luis, so that's normal, and he smells like the sea. "All of them? That's no fun." He tilts his head as they begin to dance, "I think it was a pretty good party. The food smells good and the mead, well, the first glass was amazing." He looks turn sour, "The Bringers?" He sighs a bit, "I am not coming, though it's not because I don't wish to be there."

"I wasn't expecting to," Jael admits. "But it seems my brother has gotten us and a rather large number of troops involved, and I won't leave him to do it all alone. Someone has to make sure he doesn't get too wrapped up in the excitement and the glory of it, otherwise I'm going to end up with significantly more responsibility than I'd like. It's really in my best interest to keep him alive."

"Because of sentimentality or because of something else?" Luis asks, actually serious for once as he leads her around the dance floor. He even stops to dip her. Aw. What a guy.

"Well. I love my brother, of course." Jael moves through the steps of the dance, following along. She's not particularly skilled, but she does seem to be light on her feet. "But we can only go so far down the chain. Cassandra joined the faith, leaving it to him. And if something happened to him, then running everything would be left to me. And honestly, I'm just not the leader that he is."

"Yet," Luis interjects. "You're not the leader he is, yet. That being said, I shall pray to the gods for your brother's safe return. As well as yours." Luis doesn't pay her skill or lack of skill any mind and continues on.

"Yet," Jael allows with a faint smirk. "I //am// working on it. But I will be most appreciative for your prayers, because I have the feeling this is going to be...Much larger than anything I've ever dealt with. A worthy challenge, though." She seems to mean it, though there's still an undercurrent of concern in her voice.

"It will be fine. I believe that. If I can be of any help, you only need to ask," Luis adds. "You will fight admirably and heroically. And so will your brother."

After having seen to several things, Michael Bisland returns to the Laurent Manse. He lingers along the edge of the room for several long moments with a ridiculously large grin pulling at the edges of his lips. The two deep dimples cratered in each of his cheeks makes him appear more innocent than he most certainly is, and a glass of mead plucked from a passing server remains lightly resting in his grasp.

"I'd prefer if my brother did the commanding from a safe distance," Jael points out, smile crooked. "So if we're going to be praying, let's be properly specific. Just enough glory for Cristoph's esteem, but not so much that he's actually in danger, and he should come out of it unharmed. I would also like to be unharmed, because like I said, I prefer to be in one piece, but that's a less important concern." She and Luca are enjoying a dance, though the song seems to be wrapping up.

"Your wish," Luis says without finishing the thought. As the song ends, he gives her a bow, and leads her back towards the table where he comes to see Michael, "Ah-hah!" Luis' smile is wide. "Look what the panther hath produced!"

Michael's lips hitch up on one side in a lopsided grin. He manages a small nod towards Luis, and then a near-bow towards Jael. "Milord, milady." He whistles sharply and then notes, as he runs a hand across his chin, "I hope I look better than if a panther brought me here. I can only imagine that would create a truly rugged appearance." He chuckles lightly.

"Michael, you made it back," Jael smiles swiftly as the pair steps off the dance floor. "Good. I was starting to worry you might not have had a chance to enjoy some of the mead. Luis was worried he might have missed you, too. We met another fellow Luis thinks is perfect for our merry band of misfits."

"Well, slightly, but not after the maidens have their way with you," Luis jokes. As he meets Michael he gives him a slap on the shoulder, "It's good to see you, friend. Jael was just telling me she is heading to the front, soon. Surely you'll need to give her something for luck before she leaves."

Distinct mischief reflects in Michael's gaze as he quips back to Jael, "Panthers, apparently, couldn't keep me away." With an idle chuckle he looks back to Luis and laughs. "And good to see you, Luis," evidently all signs of title have disappeared with the turn of the tide. "Heading to the front?" he lifts an eyebrow. "Along with my Father's men then?"

"And my brother's," Jael nods to Michael. "Though I'm going to need to speak with Cristoph, see where he'd like me to be. Prince Tristam had mentioned he'd have a unit of mounted cavalry, which would suit me well enough. But I'll go where Cristoph needs me. And Luis says he'll pray for us, though we could probably find someone more used to it," she teases the Lycene.

"I'm biting my thumb at you in my mind," Luis says to Jael almost woodenly. He turns his whole body to face her, "Let's be honest, though, it might not be best to rely upon my prayers.

"Go with Prince Tristram then," Michael offers easily. "Your brother will want you somewhere you can be of use, and with your bow, Jael, riding seems most apt." A smirk is directed towards Luis, "Your prayers cannot be nearly as clumsy as mine, Luis. Believe me. Jael can testify to that end." He clears his throat, "Tell me about this other fellow for our band of... what did you call us?"

"Misfits," Jael supplies to Michael with a wink, moving back to a table and loading up a plate yet again. This time, she doesn't wait for anything else to start eating. It's been a busy day. She's earned it. "I'm going to rely upon my bow and my armor, though, rather than just prayers. Those are more Cassandra's realm."

"Tomwell," Luis says. "He comes from the Leahy family. Plays violin. You'd like him." The Lycene looks back to Jael, "You are most ungrateful."

"Misfits, indeed," Michael offers slowly. "Here are the Misfits of Mischief and Mayhem. Seems fitting enough." A chuckle follows the notion of Jael as ungrateful, "Ah, not ungrateful, just confident, perhaps." His eyes narrow slightly. "Gloria will only rain glory on the faithful if their bows shoot straight and their armour holds." More pointedly, he asserts, "But Luis, is not wrong. There's little to be done here aside from prayer, so prayers you shall have." He clucks his tongue. "May your arrows meet their mark."

"It was your suggestion!" Jael protests laughingly to Luis. "I was only trying to reassure you that I wasn't going to get myself killed and leave you short of the honorable face to your new gang. Though Michael could probably fill in in a pinch. Those eyes and that smile, people will just roll out the trust."

Luis tilts his head at her and just starts shaking it. "Minced liver over here. I swear," he shakes his head. "Last time I dance with you, for certain."

Michael laughs and claps a hand on Luis's shoulder, "Surely, you jest, friend." His smile quirks higher, "The Lady has far more charms than she alludes to, and, I suspect," he notes towards Luis, "if she were to offer you a dance once more, you would take her up on those charms." His eyes glimmer with unbridled playfulness--his enjoyment is readily apparent. "Jael only knows that I'm little more than a sword and a pretty face."

"Don't be silly, you're the brains of this operation, not the liver. Maybe the heart," Jael grins at Luis, taking a glass of mead from a servant as they pass by. Have to wash down the boar with something, after all. "How are you with a sword, by the way?" she asks of both, curious.

Luis snorts and chuckles, stopping with the putting on that he's upset with her. He takes a glass of mead as well, and downs half of it straight away. "How am I with a sword?" Pfft. The idea almost hurts his feelings.

The sword attached to Michael's hip gets momentary regard at the question. "I... have some talent, I've been told," his eyebrows draw together and he has a hint of hesitation in his voice. "Mind, my father wouldn't allow his son not to be trained with the sword. Such things would be unacceptable for Duke Bisland and his kin." He swallows hard, "I suspect I will also be riding out, although, that will be contingent on my Father's plans and the city's needs. We still require peacekeeping from our Iron Guard."

"You can't blame me for asking," Jael nudges Luis, taking a bite of her food. "I just gave you a wide open door for either a brag, or a truly terrible joke. And you just walked right by it," she tsks, shaking her head. She catches the note of family drama in Michael's voice, glancing toward him, but she doesn't comment on it.

Luis grins, "Well, I'm either too sharp for your wits, Lady Jael, or I'm unable to be put in anyone's box." He smiles towards Michael, "It looks like the only one who doesn't get to go is me, despite my begging. Pietro wouldn't budge."

Michael shoots Luis a lopsided grin, "I'm sure your cousin has his reasons. And, to be honest, I suspect the Guardsmen will be marching on anyways. Our city needs continued protection." He shrugs lightly. "We still need bodies here though. There is plenty of glory to be shared. Believe that."

"That just means that if I'm horribly maimed, I can at least comfort myself with the thought that the two of you will be here to nurse me through recovery." Jael is at least taking the potential for her own injury in stride. Just like the food. While she's not a complete barbarian, she also doesn't waste any time replenishing calories.

"Just tell them not to hit you in the face," Luis says to Jael, teasing her. "It's one of your few good assets and it will be terrible to think of what we would have to do then." A little less jokey, he responds to Michael, "He does, I'm sure, but that doesn't change my desire to be out there to fight by his side." Down goes the rest of that meade.

"Luis suggests that should something maim your countenance that you would be unable to face us, Lady Jael," Michael's eyebrows lift comically. "As I said, we need equipped men and women here. Without that... the city could go to madness and mayhem. I know things in the Burroughs are already problematic." He finishes his own glass of mead.

"Ooooh." Jael can't help it. Michael drops the face pun, and she almost chokes on her mead, head turned to cough into her shoulder as she pounds at her chest with one hand. It's a truly dangerous level of laughter.

"We'd have to teach her to walk backwards if worse comes to worst," Luis laughs at Michael's joke. He takes a breath and looks to a messenger to run something for him.

If it were at all possible for Michael's smile to grows, it does with the laughter he earns from Jael. He beams from ear to ear, and breaks into laughter of his own at Luis's assertion. "Walking backwards would definitely allow Jael an about-face." He chuckles again. "Perhaps that could bring the entire thing in reverse?" He issues the pair a one shouldered shrug, but it's clear he's joking.

It takes a few minutes for Jael to get her laughter under control, and by the time it's managed, she has to wipe a few tears from her eyes. "Stop," she pleads. "You have to stop, or I'm just going to die. But just for now, because //wow//, that was..." She snickers a bit, catching her breath. "Glorious."

Luis snickers and shakes his head, "Puns. Who knew?" He folds his arms and leans against a supporting post until another servant passes by with some meat and mead and he takes a bit of both.

Michael can't help the smug cat-the-caught-the-canary smile that pulls at each nuance of his expression. His chin lifts and he shrugs at Luis, "Unfortunately I felt the need to punish both of you." He casts a side-smile to Jael and winks. His throat clears, "I'm glad I can still be diverting. From time to time."

Jael groans, dragging a hand down her face. "I hate you," she informs Michael, though she can't quite keep a smirk from one corner of her lips. "And I'm going to find a way to get even with you for that. Be ready." He has been thusly warned. Now that the laughter is under control, she gets back to eating, looking over the dwindling crowd of guests with a contented expression. "I'm glad you both could come, though."

"Same," Luis says absently as he grabs still another glass of mead after finishing another. "Although I think the Princess I invited does not appear to be coming." His eyes look to the entrance hopefully, but there is no dice.

Jael's declared hatred for him, elicits a reply: "Excellent!" Michael twinkles, "Whether or not you know you wanted it, Jael, the laugh was something you needed. And, that declaration of hatred is only one step towards something else," his smile quirks further, but he leaves that much unspoken. And the smile doesn't ease as he turns back to Luis, "I'm glad I got to spend time with both of you, and am grateful I made it back after--blah, duties. Not even exciting duties," he nose wrinkles, "the most inane kinds." He reaches out to squeeze Luis's shoulder, "Well, then your charms should push the Princess more. Which Princess?"

"Yes, which princess?" Jael echoes, brows rising in question. "Also, you may want to take it easy on the mead," she cautions, a flicker of amusement in her eyes. "It's a bit stronger than your average glass of wine."

"One, I don't need to take it easy. Thank you, Mother Jael. Second, I met the Princess Valencia a few days ago. We exchanged correspondence and both stated we would like to see each other again. I'm not sure what will come of it, but she seems nice. And clearly, she will be missing out if nothing does."

"Clearly," Michael agrees lightly. "Invite her someplace else, perhaps? This is a large gathering--not everyone loves large gatherings." He quirks an easy smile towards Luis. "Invite her for a meal? You could go to the Ambassador's Salon or the House of Spirits--both offer easy atmospheres. And any invitation, I imagine, would clearly display your intentions." His smile turns playful.

"What sort of princess is she?" Jael asks more practically, going back to her eating. "Or woman, really. We're not all the same, you know," she teases.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Luis before departing.

"Well," Luis says as he looks at the message. "You both are about to find out. Guess you'll be able to give me your thoughts."

"Ahhh, colour me intrigued," Michael croons. "And what kind of woman are you?" A single eyebrow lifts. "Besides one with an incredibly refined sense of humour, I mean. More interested in teaching a hopeless case to shoot OR in imbibing food and alcohol." His jaw tightens slightly and his lips curve at the edges. His head turns towards Luis and he nods. "I've met Princess Valencia, but I shall count another meeting favourably, especially if it displays her favour towards you, my friend."

"I am a woman who enjoys a challenge," Jael answers Michael, smile wry. "And adventure. And clearly, given the company I'm keeping, more than just a little bit of inappropriate trouble." She is, however, very interested in the arrival of a message. "The caveat is, you shouldn't tell us what's in the letter if it' know. Actually romantic."

"Jael, come now. Everything I say is romantic. Even when I'm talking to Michael. It's my greatest advantage." Luis fakes a hurt face. "And my greatest curse."

"It's true. Every utterance from Luis's mouth is like a cascade of sweet-nothings," Michael plucks another glass of mead from a passing server. He turns back to Jael, "Well, then could I be so bold so as to invite you to partake in even more inappropriate trouble? I promise it won't put you in a place of apostasy."

Dressed in red southern silks that gracefully embrace slender waist and curves, Valencia is escorted by a well dressed footman into the vast main hall of the House of Valadrin. Her long dark hair gently twisted up and held in place by a few bejeweled pins. Her dark almond-shaped eyes dance playfully as she takes a quick glance about the room and a bright smile blossoms on her lips as she spies Lord Luis, Lord Michael and their beautiful dinnner companion. "Good evening," she beams as she approaches the table, "I'm so sorry I am late."

"Well, you're half-right," Jael grins at Michael's talk of sweet-nothings, promptly stepping to put Michael between herself and Luis. "But we weren't wondering what //you// had to say. I was wondering what //she// had to say." Which, of course, is right when the woman in question arrives, leaving Jael with a sudden moment of crisis, which she quickly covers with the veil of duty. Cristoph is no doubt well into some political conversation, after all. "No apologies necessary, certain. Welcome," she greets with a self-conscious smile.

"Princess Valencia, very happy you could make it. It seems you have met my friend Lord Michael Bisland. This is Lady Jael Laurent. She walks backwards sometimes." Luis starts chuckling at his own joke and steps away from Jael, just in case he gets an elbow to the chest. "Can I get anything for you?"

Intrigue enters Michael's gaze at Jael's change in manner, and he doesn't even try to fight the feline smile that tugs at his lips. He sets his glass of mead on the table and claps his hands together loudly. "You're most welcome, your highness." He cackles at the mention of Jael backwards, and then with a hint of good humour, suggests, "But only when doing an about-face." His smile turns lopsided and he motions towards Jail, "Lady Jael is our hostess. Her brother is our host." And then towards Valencia he offers, "And Princess Valencia is from the House Redrain. We only met the other day in the House of Spirits when she suffered through a most wobbly table--which caused me to lose some of my ale." His expression turns solemn and he presses a hand to his chest, "A true tragedy."

If she realizes that they are speaking about her, the petite raven-haired princess does not show it. Moving gracefully across the floor to close the gap between them, she first offer Lord Luis her hand in greeting and she smiles again and warmly inclines her head to Lord Micahael and then Lady Jael in turn, her smile widening as Michael expains their meeting the other evening, "Twas a terribe tragedy indeed, I am just grateul you were able to save what ale you could or all would have been lost," she teases gently. Turning to Jael her the mirth in her eye softens sweetly, "I am so very pleased to meet you, my lady. Thank you so very much for having me. You are so very kind."

Valencia claims this. *blushes*

Luckily for Luis, Jael already fled retribution for her crack about his sweet-nothings, so she's out of range to deliver any for his reminder on the puns. Mostly because she didn't wear her bow to the party. Michael, on the other hand, gets a solid swat with the back of her hand. "Oh, the suffering," she chuckles. "Well, thankfully we have no shortage of drinks here tonight. Yet. Luis may have been trying to remedy that. But with good reason, as Laurent honeymead is inarguably the best there is," she assures Valencia. "I'm pleased you could make it. I believe Luis was about to sing us your praises."

Luis bows to Valencia and takes her hand in greeting. "You should count yourself lucky, milady, lest you would have had to see Lord Bisland on all fours, licking up the spill." He nods to Jael, "I was. I met the Princess a few days ago, randomly, on the street. As you can see, everything I have told you is true."

The slap prompts a lift of a defensive arm against any further onslaught. "By my honour, Lady Jael, I swear you enjoy every minute of suffering underneath the weight of my humour," Michael declares brightly with a very obvious laugh in his voice. The mention of Laurent honey mead prompts him to lift his glass, "Praise the Gods this table is stable and there's no loss of mead for anyone." The picture of him licking the floor warrants an amiable grin, "Not likely to happen with the ale, but certainly with this mead." He brings the glass to his lips again.

Valencia's cheeks begin to flush pink as he compliments her, though his good natured ribbing of Michael distracts her . She glances aside to Lord Bisland and then to Lady Jael and then back to Lord Luis. "I assure you, his lordship was in complete control of the situation," she replies with a little laugh, her dark eyes dancing. Returning her attention back to the lovely Jael, she nods her head, "I have heard wonderful things about Laurent honeymead. May I sit?" she asks.

"Please," Jael gestures to the table, raising a hand to catch the attention of a server with glasses. "There's plenty of food as well. Cristoph really did outdo himself with the planning." Michael gets a smirk, even as she plucks a fruit tart from the table to take a seat. "I admit to nothing," she says archly, taking a bite before she blinks. "Oh, wow. This is really good," she says, holding a hand in front of her mouth.

Valencia has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Luis has joined the Northern Banquet Table.

Luis chuckles as Valencia assures him that Michael was in no danger of making a fool of himself. "That time, at least, Princess." He takes a seat and helps himself to some grapes and some more meat. And the mead of course. He takes a seat and chuckles at Jael, "You admit to nothing, but you are certainly guilty."

Agreement follows Luis's assertion. "Only because admission could easily yield its way to incrimination down the line, I would imagine," Michael smiles charmingly at Jael. "Fear not, Lady Jael, I can, at least, assure you that you are correct in many ways. Inappropriate trouble may, indeed, reflect my current company. On my honour, I must admit, my intentions, from time to time, may be downright dishonourable." He smirks. He returns that same easy smile towards the Princess, "And, your highness, is far too graceful and far too generous." He quirks another smile, "I wholeheartedly approve of your chosen company, Mi'Lord. Your choice in friends clearly demonstrates your vast intellect. Or penchant for trouble."

"Not at all, my lord," Valencia assures him as she gracefully takes as seat if it offered. A sweet smile is offered to the servant who fills her glass with the highly anticipated mead and she pauses to select a honey fig from the tray before her. "Is there such a thing as appropriate trouble?" she asks with a little smile, dark eyes turning to her companions as she takes the glass. Lifting it to her lips, she takes a moment to savor it, closing her eyes and releasing a soft happy little sigh, "It is truly excelling. I fear I may be spoiled for all other meads now," she compliments, taking another little sip.

"Guilty of providing the best mead, clearly," Jael smiles swiftly to Valencia's compliment. She finishes off the tart in a second bite, sighing contentedly. After an overfull plate, the tart, plenty of mead, and even a dance, she's reached the part of the evening where sitting and talking is ideal. "Inappropriate trouble is the //best// kind of trouble. Appropriate trouble is otherwise known as unpleasant duties."

"She has excellent taste, to be sure," Luis says with a nod. "That's why she's here, spending her time with us." Now thoroughly drunk, Luis is doing his best not to get sloppy. Still, his less than regal persona is shining through.

"A fine question, your grace," Michael contemplates whether appropriate trouble exists. But then Jael is answering it and he nods lightly. He grins brightly. "Unfortunately, however, milord, milady, your grace, I must take your leaves." Dramatically, he issues an undeniably theatrical bow. "But, as I go, I must reissue an invitation. Lady Jael, grant this dishonourable knight the vast honour of your company once again. By my troth, I am most vexed," the comical lilt to his voice is unmissable--there's no way he's vexed, "that you danced with other young men, and snubbed the apostate who so skillfully interrupted your prayers just the other day." His grin turns toothy. "Or," he motions towards Luis, "because we've already established the romantic poet that is my dear friend--Luis can ask you on my behalf?" His eyebrows lift and he winks. "Regardless, thank you all for your company, and for hosting so wonderfully, Lady Jael." He bows once more, turns on his heel, and treads out of the hall.

Valencia smiles and concedes that the definition of appropriate trouble is that. She laughs softly again, her sparking with delight at the very clever and charming company. Offering Lord Michael a smile as he rises, she bids him a good night and turns her smile to Jael and Luis,"Well, then, here is to inappropriate trouble," the little princess raises her glass to them, "To life, luck and love... and to beautiful friends and an abundance of joyous inappropriate trouble."

"Gods willing!" Luis says with a little too much gusto as he raises his glass. "Especially to the beautiful friends."

Valencia has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Luis has left the Northern Banquet Table.

Jael has left the Northern Banquet Table.

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