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Northern Feast

Come join House Redrain in a traditional Northern feast, involving food, whiskey, and good times. Wrestling in the pit, or engaging in friendly brawls in the hallways, is encouraged for those who wish to engage. Bards and entertainers all welcome. Dancing is a certainty. Grousers will be pressured into playing amusing party games while heavily intoxicated for the entertainment purposes of all. Attendees are asked to leave their cares, and any stringent sense of propriety, behind them at the front door.


Aug. 4, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted By



Calista Kieran Niccolo(RIP) Vercyn(RIP) Nadia(RIP) Jacinthe Acacia Lydia Freja(RIP) Isolde Aislin Esera Fatima Alistair Edain Talen Gareth(RIP) Luca(RIP)



Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


Memories of House Redrain's Northern Feast is a bit of a blur to me, but undoubtedly noteworthy. It was an evening of unlikely Silks and high-stakes dancing, far-off stories and pilfered whiskey, numerous spiders and dangerous gifts, ever-watching Hoods and sailor-quantities of rum, misspoken titles and secretive messengers.

The noble presence was resplendent as ever. The Redrain Hosts took their duties to the fullest, with stoked fires both warm and fierce and entertainment always present by wager or whiskey. The Velenosan entourage were eye-catching both in their distinct fashion and individual characters, with perhaps the highlight of the evening being that dangerously intense dance between the Grand Duchess and the Sword of Lenosia. Courtesan Jacinthe Whisper honored those of her particular art and I imagine in the future, she'll be a frequent companion upon the arms of the elite.

I always relish the lounge when I return to my true home, nestled in the oft-forgotten darkness of the city, but even people like me can enjoy a night out. Plus, really, that was a lot of free alcohol provided over bear-skin rugs and roasted boars. That deserves a significant call out.


Father was a busy man, but he always took the time to enjoy a good feast and get to know the people around him. Party planning is not a joy of mine (and -never- will be), but things seemed to go fairly well at the Northern Feast I held at our villa. There was plenty of dancing, drink, and even almost a good fight. Almost. Next time? Bear wrestling. All in all? A pretty damn good night, as far as I'm concerned.


The feasts of House Redrain are not like my own. They are earthy and glorious -- straightforward, never fancy. My Father was there, and my cousin, Luca. My Sword was there, too. He claimed me for a dance, and he swung me around the room, faster and faster, till the walls spun around me. Before my feet could fall out from beneath me, he picked me up and carried me away, and that was the last I saw of my dear friend Deva's feast.

(OOC) Kieran says: Lydia asked me to behave. did you put her up to that? p
Niccolo arrives.
Acacia arrives.
The gathering is just getting started, with servants rushing around to make sure there's plenty to drink and food to be had and seating to slouch on. Deva is, well, she's -trying- to help direct things but she seems to be a little out of her element. "Just put it over there, I don't know. Where's Ethel? Go ask her, she'll have a better answer," she waves off a poor lad with a plate loaded with an array of fruit. "There's tables over there," she tells his back, wrist flicking off to one of the side tables with an empty spot. The atmosphere is not a fancy one, but flames flicker and some of the entertainers are laughing among themselves as they set up their display.
Esera arrives.
Kieran sits nearby, watching his sister direct the flow of things and try to prepare for the event. An amused expression is on his face as he calmly sips at his uishige in the middle of the last minute chaos. The lad with the fruit passes by and the prince reaches up to snag a piece and pop it into his mouth. He is such a helpful sibling. At least he hasn't set any traps as pranks for the guests...that Deva knows of.
Niccolo arrives to the great hall with Acacia on his arm. Once they arrive, he takes a moment to look around the hall, hints of a smile touching his features. "Very festive. Reminds me a little of some of the carnivals back home, although the tone is probably a little different," he muses with a look back to the outside, where the wrestling pit is. There's a glance in the direction if the refreshments, a study made of what's available. "Certainly have everyone covered from the looks of it," he observes, with approval, towards Acacia.

"What do you think?" He asks the woman, with a lift of his brow.
Nadia arrives.
Jacinthe is a sort of entertainer, but she's looking about with bright interest instead of laughing as she arrives in the great hall. A vision in antique gold ornaments and deep crimson linen-- the better to hide the sort of stains expected to result from a Redrain celebration-- the Whisper courtesan's one nod to softer styling is her hair, drawn back from her temples in tiny braids but otherwise left to cascade to her waist in loose waves. There's a dearth of familiar faces in the crowd already forming but that doesn't keep the young woman from dimpling at those who glance her way. Someone in the room even receives a small flirt of her fingers, a wave that transitions easily to a reach in order to snare a wineglass from a passing tray.
Despite the hand curled with decorum along Niccolo's upper arm, Acacia's bearing with just the bare minimum of slouch to convey her typical character, but not enough to reflect as shockingly indigent or slovenly beside the Duke. In fact, the comprehensive survey of her dark eyes about the Hall suggests a more business-like air between them than any starry-eyed enrapturement. "Like it's perfect, your Grace," she answers, gaze swerving towards him with a bolder quirk of her lips. She deferentially peels her fingers from his arm, but remains beside him, "I'm a fairly avid fan of warmth and whiskey though, so I'm always going to be biased." Tracking after the plate of fruit once it leaves Princess Deva's side has her brandishing a grin despite herself. "At your lead, your Grace," she ventures, though her gaze is marked towards the Hostess.
When another servant comes to ask her a question, Deva throws her hands up and points vigorously at an older servant finishing up a table setting. "Not me! Not me." Hands on her hips, she turns to level Kieran with a once-over and a small grin that threatens to break wider at the corners of her mouth. "Think we're in good shape?" Now that guests are arriving, she moves closer to the entrance to help receive one and all. Although she's wearing leather, her hair has at least been brushed and styled with small braids woven through her hair with the rest left loose. "Good evening," she greets Niccolo, Acacia, and then Jacinthe with a bright smile. "Please make yourself comfortable and relax. Or get wild, if that's what you prefer," both shoulders rise and fall in a light, careless shrug.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Acacia before departing.
Aislin arrives.
"Eyes and ears open. This will be a good opportunity for you to meet a number of people, if you haven't already," Niccolo points out to Acacia, his own tone somewhat business-like, even as he lowers his voice. He inclines his head to her. "If you want to mingle at some point, go ahead, just make sure to check with me often, so I can introduce my protege to others," he looks amused. "Or if you rather remain at my side, that works too, up to you," he says to her, with hints of a smile. He guides her through those already present and toward familiar faces. "Thank you, Your Highness," he returns Deva's greeting, "everything look as my protege here mentioned," he glances to Acacia, "perfect."
Esera arrives without any servants or guards, without, for that matter, anyone on her arm -- entirely without fanfare. Her gown is iridescent, her jewelry just the same, catching the light at her throat, and in her hair. Her hair is drawn into a waterfall braid, and left half-loose to tumble dark as shadow around her shoulders, down her back.
Kieran grins back at his sister. "Whether we are or not, guests are arriving, so best to pretend we are." As she heads to the door to greet those arriving, he downs the rest of his uishige and hands the empty glass to a passing servant. He strides in the same direction as Deva, before bowing lightly to those arriving. "Good evening and welcome to all!"
Gareth arrives.
"And a good evening to you, your Highness. My lord, my lady." Jacinthe's dip at the knee is meant for Deva, as hostess, but the warmth of her smile encompasses the entirety of the little group arrayed before the flame-haired princess. "And your Highness as well," is added for Kieran's sake. There! The current round of formalities handled, she lifts the glass of wine in hand as if to congratulate herself and lets her smile tick just a touch deeper.

"It does indeed seem perfect. Though I was sad to find the pit outside empty on my way in. I suppose it's a little early for that yet."
Wherever there is an abundance of free flowing booze, mouth-watering confections, and amassed Redrain vassals and foreign guests, there's always a Nightgold somewhere in the mix. The rosy gold duchess comes sweeping in with the trickle of newly arrived guests, her arm casually linked through that of her adventurous cousin, Aislin, a train of fiery red lace from angled shorn skirts trickling across the floor in the wake of her unhurried steps. "I'm so glad you agreed to come, Aislin. I feel as if we didn't get enough time to catch up back at the Salon. Really, you -must- show me that new thing you found on your last trip. What was it again?" she asks, curious, as she takes in the sea of faces around them.
"Your Highness," Acacia's sole side-step was strategically done, her palm pressed against her abdomen as she certainly bows instead of curtseys before Deva at the door and then Kieran when he approaches. Her lips betray her with a slight grin despite herself as she straightens, more effortlessly remarking, "It looks great. If you need assistance very discreetly smacking people -- those who won't retaliate -- please allow me." Even without guards or fanfare, Esera momentarily steals her focus, tracking her entire entrance.

"I'll be good, your Grace, and return afterward," she summarizes towards Niccolo, roguish expression partially renewed, before she steps aside to ensure the Grand Duchess has suitable room to prowl. Jacinthe receives a polite, but comprehensive study, before she's provided with a warmer smile and a respectful inclination of her head, "What was your choice of stolen wine, Mistress Whisper?"
Calista arrives.
Aislin enters in, wearing an outfit made of durable linen in colors of basic tan, light brown, teal with orange filigree stitchings. The outfit is oversized and loose that gives the impression of a fighting monk, leaving her figure covered. A long silk scarf of a vivid green with ornamental silver stitchings is worn around her shoulders, wrapped around her neck loosely. Large enough still to wrap around her head and face to protect from the heat of the sun should it be needed that is a more common custom to the riders near Southport. Her silvery white hair is currently wrapped up into a loose bun, stuck in place with ornamental wooden pins. The outfit gives her an exotic air, borrowing fashion trends from far flung places such as Tor, Setarco, Whitehold and smashing them all together in one utilitarian, comfortable fashion all her own.

Arm in arm with Nadia, she passes through the Great Hall, eyes more interested in the decorum than people. "Ah, the Lenosian incense or the spider the size of your fist that eats birds I found in the jungles south of Sanctum?" she wonders. "... or was it the oils from the isles in the Saffron Chain?".
"I think I'm going to leave parties up to mother," Deva admits to Kieran in a low murmur, leaning in briefly as he joins her near the entrance. "That's very kind of you, Duke, thank you. There's plenty to go around! I'm hoping everyone drinks enough to be amenable to a friendly brawl or two. It's really a great way to unwind," she insists with a lift of her chin and a cheeky grin that dimples her cheeks. "My goal is to have that pit going by the end of the night! Perhaps you can help me encourage people to use it?" she tells Jacinthe with a playful wiggle of her eyebrows. "Your Grace, great to see you," a warm smile lights up her face as Esera arrives. "I hope everyone is a little more at ease tonight without a large fire flaring out front." There's a pause. "Yet, anyway." Acacia's words make her laugh, and the tension in her limbs starts to fade as more attendees filter in. "Thank you all for coming. Tonight, our home is your home, so make yourself at ease," she gestures behind her with a sweep of her arm toward all the seating and food.
A certain Grayson prince will make his way into the Great Hall then, his movements slow as he gives.. what can only be considered a very wide berth to the assorted fires, bustling servants.. and whatever else he can manage. The soft click of Gareth's cane sounds out with each and every step, as the robed figure stops to look upon the room with a curious expression.. one not immeaditly taken to death gazes. At least for the time being, who knows what the night may bring.
Talen arrives.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Esera before departing.
Kieran lens closer to Deva to return her stage whisper, "I am not so sure that some of our peers would appreciate those kind of parties. This one may be 'wild' enough for them." He glances to Gareth then and gives the prince a nod of greeting and a smile. "Brawls, fires, and wrestling? I can't imagine anything of the sort getting underway in our fair ward." With that, he chuckles lightly to himself, before turning to snag a drink of something from a passing seervant, arriving to offer a selection to the guests. What he grabs isn't considered, he just wants something with alcohol in it.
"Mistress Whisper," Niccolo greets Jacinthe with a dip of his head as he hears her greeting. He looks outside at the Whisper's words. "I'm sure some will fill in that pit soon enough," he says. Off that look he sees Esera, and the smile that threatens to show on his features is genuine and spontaneous. He lets his eyes linger on his daughter, before he turns back to those around him. "Your Highness," he extends a greeting to Kieran then, with an incline of his head.

Glancing at Acacia at her words, he offers a faint grin. "I have no doubt," he says to her and dips his head, before turning his eyes to some of the new arrivals.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Talen before departing.
"I've no idea," Jacinthe must admit. She tilts the glass she holds to study the dark liquid inside-- it's a match in shade for the simple linen gown she wears-- before giving it a testing swirl beneath her nose. "If I were going to be honest," she remarks, reaching up with her unengaged hand to tuck a wisp of hair back behind one ear, "I would say that it was a prop taken in order to give me something to do with my hands as I stood here. It's gauche not to know what to do with one's hand at so fine an event as this one."

All of this leads to a pretty flourish as the courtesan presents Acacia with the glass. "Perhaps you might indulge me, my lady, and determine the vintage?" Eyebrows are lifted, and good humor tugs at her smile, leaving it a slightly skewed. "I really ought to maintain a clear head if our lovely hostess intends to see me in the wrestling pits."
"Princess Deva," Esera answers Deva's greeting, and then pulls her into a quick hug. For a moment, she's close enough to whisper (no doubt she does). In a blink, the moment is gone, and she pulls away again. "I forgot to bring anyone with me. I fear I'm all alone tonight."
Gareth will take note of Kieran's gaze, offering a small frown to the man from his spot off to the side, his fingers lifting slightly from the head of his cane, offering a nod then before his gaze soon works its way around the rest of the room, still observing and watching the people inside with a curious expression.
When the Sword of Lenosia arrives it's a vast change of attire he wears from the norm; purple and gold silk, black and gold leather. At his hip he wears Mirror Blade, sheathed and secured with a peace tie. Adjusting the tilt of his hat, the southerner forges ahead and into the room, grey-blue eyes sweeping familiar faces.

With a priority for his liege, Esera's words catch his ear and though he bows in her direction deeply, he seems ready to fetch wine. "You're never alone, your grace," he insists, "I just might be a few steps behind and to the side." This, then he sips the vintage he's chosen, scrutinising.
Calista makes an appearance at the Redrain Villa for the evening's festivities. The Fidante noblewoman from Tor is dressed in dark violet silks quite becoming of traditional Lyceum fashion; low cut in the front, hugging curves in a licentious manner, whispers of skin peeking out from slits along the skirts. It is not her first time visiting the Redrain's but it is her first time attending one of their gatherings. Her shadowed emerald eyes scan the room briefly with a survey to see who is here though her immediate target is Princess Deva and Prince Kieran.

"Spiders the size of your fist," Nadia echoes after Aislin with a dubious cant of her head, her own fist not intwined with the Whitehold lady's arm raising to survey her petite fist. "I find that hard to fathom, if I'm to be honest. And it eats whole birds? Of any size?" Her questions flow to a halt as the young duchess looks past her company to take stock of the mixed allotment of guests.

"Princess Deva," she then calls upon the hostess with an air of familiarity, fingers unwound from their fist to flutter in warm greeting as she steers Aislin toward the group. "Prince Kieran," she includes Kieran as well. "Thank you for putting together such an event. It seems as if it's been far too long since we've come together in good spirits. Have you met my cousin, Lady Aislin Whitehold?"
Lydia arrives.
"Then what would you do with your hands, Mistress Whisper?" The quip from Acacia is granted easily towards Jacinthe, but it comes with a warmer grin, her own hand slipping aside to claim her own goblet, or at least discernibly of the same darker shade, from the same server who just left Kieran's side. Imbibing just a small enough taste to wet her lips, her eyes narrow somewhat, in faux-discriminating form, before she jests towards her, "Red wine. Which matches beautifully with your attire. It's good to see one of the esteemed Whispers, but I certainly won't steal up your time from others. Enjoy your evening, love." Niccolo is watched with a small smile at his words, before she carefully withdraws to further gauge the crowds themselves.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Acacia before departing.
"Okay, point. Next time it's your turn, then," Deva sticks her tongue out at her brother Kieran, briefly, before her expression resumes being entirely cheerful. Maybe too cheerful. She looks on with envy at a passing server with whiskey. They just don't come close enough for her to snatch a glass yet. As Esera pulls her into a hug, she laughs and returns it quickly but tightly, murmuring a few words of her own in response. The woman is released to join the festivities. "You won't be alone for long, I'm quite certain. I promise, even." And then there's Talen. "See?! I'm always right." With a confident grin and a wave for the Sword of Lenosia, she steps to the side to continue receiving guests. "Good evening, and thank you for coming," she's trying -so- hard to remain polite and welcoming, and her smile is so warm for Calista, but she's looking a little fidgety now with shuffling of her feet and a tangle of fingers at the small of her back.
The missive steals Acacia's attention rather thoroughly, her brow furrowed as she steps towards a back table and withdraws a rolled leather tube of writing supplies for immediate reply.
Deva also turns toward Nadia, eyebrows lifting high. "I'm afraid I haven't! Nice to meet you, Lady Aislin, good to see you again Duchess," she adds for the Nightgold.
(OOC) Nadia probably said Ashford.
Seeing Talen arrive and join Esera, Niccolo offers a dip of his head in his direction. Those dark brown eyes remain on the young man for a few moments. And from him, he looks to Deva as she continues greeting others.
Esera glances back over her shoulder at Talen, as he approaches. That glance turns into a far longer, far more measuring look, as she spins on heel to face him directly. "Oh," she murmurs, and her words are gone. Surprise has taken them, and doesn't release them back to her for another moment at least. "...Yes, so you are. But you are not my shadow tonight, are you?"
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Acacia before departing.
"Whatever is caught in their strong webs, cousin. We had found the carcass of an unlucky young shav in one." Aislin replies to Nadia, leaning closer to her, "His body was like a husk, drained of blood, eyes shriveled into little gray pebbles..." she grins a little like she may enjoy telling horrific stories to make the stomach of her Nightgold cousins queasy.

At being recognized by Deva, her arm untwines from Nadia's. A hand put over her stomach, the other behind her with a gentle bow at the waist. "A pleasure to meet you as well, your highness. It has been a long time since I have been to a Northern feast." she smiles, the scar on her left cheek causing that side of her smile to hike higher than the right. Attention drawn towards Gareth a moment, whom she gives a bow toward but doesn't speak across the hall. Attention back to Nadia and Deva, falling quiet.
"Whatever might be required of them, my lady. They are most talented hands." But Acacia is withdrawing, so Jacinthe's flicker-quick grin is soon reined back into a more appropriate smile. The glass she still holds is raised (with talent) to Niccolo in the manner of someone bestowing a compliment. Then she slides back a step to do as so many others are and take the temperature of the room. Wine tipped to her lips, she surveys the growing crowd over its rim. So many familiar faces now, and each regarded warmly-- though she makes no move yet to corner any for direct conversation.
It is no surprise the hostess is surrounded by the Who's Who of Arx. Calista returns Deva's warm smile with one of her own, laced with an innate mischief that never quite leaves her face. "Princess Deva, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Lady Calista Fidante." Her curtsey is poised and perfect and the courtesy is extended to the other nobility who are present around Deva. "Your Grace, it's an honor to see you again. Lady Nadia, how do you do? Master Talen..." Calista pauses for a beat before continuing, "The Hall looks magnificent!"
Kieran shakes his head slowly at Deva's statement. "I've done my event already with the memorial bonfire. I think it's Darren's turn when he gets back. Then we have cousins to foist...I mean 'delegate' party duty to." Who is he kidding? He'll probably host some sort of odd shindig sometime soon. The red-haired prince takes a sip of his drink, as he turns to greet Nadia and Aislin. "Not off the top of my head. It's a pleasure to meet you, My Lady. You were saying something about large spiders? Would I be able to procure some?" Then his attention is moving to other new arrivals to greet, dipping hip head to Calista with a smirk, "good evening, Lady Fidante." Esera and Talen earn nods as well, "Your Grace."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Acacia before departing.
Secluded somewhat in her corner, Acacia's penmenship continues with a filtering of messengers to and fro, before she ejects a single amused breath and then kneads at her forehead. After scripting a final missive, she rolls everything up to file it away within the interior of her cloak with a small shake of her head. That final messenger doesn't leave the Redrain Hall however, winding instead through the crowds to deliver that unsealed parchment to Jacinthe instead.
Lydia glides into the main hall with a few of the other household ladies. Her face immediately brightens when she spots her Nadia and Aislinn. A hand lifts up to her shoulder and fingers waggle as she gives both of them a wave. Her steps, however, take her to the side of Deva where she waits several steps back, waiting for a pause in the conversation so that she can step forward and ask, "Where would you like me, highness?"
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Jacinthe before departing.
Deva's wave is given a resposne via the lift of Talen's hat, a polite of slightly grandoise gesture of greeting and respect. There's little more, the hostess left to her own devices as he seems to roll right through the proper etiquette of greeting everyone. Instead, the sworn swordsman engages each perosn he chooses with open directness, though not rudeness.

"Shadows are always present, your grace," is confessed even as he spots Niccolo looking in his direction, the inclination of his head deep in silent acknowledgement and reply. "Yet, in the summer, they live shorter lives. I thought I'd strip out of the leathers in the heat for once." Clasping his hands at his back, straightening his spine needlessly, he holds his posture. Calista and others who address him get a respectful bow, their names murmured in turn. "How do you do," he issues, letting the conversation progress naturally.
"Have you been to one before? Excellent! Perhaps you can help us encourage everyone to let their hair down and, you know-- revel as we do," Deva seems pleased by Aislin's words, and even clasps her hands together. Until a server passes by -just- close enough for her to lean and swoop up a glass of whiskey. It makes it easier to welcome guests, or so her eager chug would indicate. "We're quite pleased you could make it, Lady Calista. Have you met my brother, Lord Kieran?" she wonders, tilting her head to look for her brother. "Spiders?" The word seems to pique her interest in an unsettling way; swiveling, she turns with wide eyes to give Kieran an odd look. "Lady Lydia, hi! Uhh-- wherever you like," she answers uncertainly. "This whole-- arranging thing, not really my expertise. Any suggestions?"
Nadia lends Aislin a skepetical glance at her claims. "You'll have to show me this fabled creature soon," she requests with earnest intrigue after her cousin, easily separating from the lady to sequester a glass of whiskey for herself, and a spiced rum for her companion. "And, of course, the oils and the hides I /know/ you must've acquired along the way."

She turns away from Aislin momentarily to shift her attention to Calista as the Velenosan greets her. "Lady Calista, it's a pleasure to see you as always. I trust the Gods find you well, and prepared to have a great time here tonight?" Her pale lips upturn in a delightful smile that alights her expression, only to have it widen all the more with a hint of amusement at Kieran when she espies the prince next. "Your Highness, apparently you missed the part where these spiders left the body of a young shav a deformed husk, sucked dry of its precious life fluids and practically mummified in its..." She trails her voice, brows lifted in a mysterious wriggle of brows, before her attention later shifts to the rest of the newly arrived party-goers.
The duke's gaze wanders off from Deva to some of the new arrivals. Catching Jacinthe's look, Niccolo dips his head to her. The duke steps then to the side, in order to reach for a glass of whiskey from a server passing by. "My ladies," the greeting is offered to Nadia and Aislinn. Seeing Calista, he offers a faint smile in her direction, "Lady Calista," he greets her, with a touch of affection, before his attention then wanders over to Gareth. Drinking from his glass, he steps towards the Grayson prince, after snagging another glass of whiskey on his way there.

"Your highness," Niccolo greets Gareth, offering him the other glass of whiskey. "Might as well start working on your thirst early," he says.
Gareth as he moves his way about, he'll take the time to offer a slight inclination of his back to Aislin from afar, but it seems for the most part.. the Grayson Prince continues to try and remain aloof of the nights events, just watching from afar and observing, those cold eyes staring, following every small movement as his hands come together slowly before him.
Freja arrives.
(OOC) Gareth didn't see that.. saaad day
Aislin smiles at Kieran briefly, "I have one, I keep it in a wicker cage. I have name, well, -it- Jotunn. I have no idea how to sex a spider. Could be a pregnant female." she muses, a shrug to follow. "I am sure if that is the case I will hear screaming and endless griping from the Badger Boarding House where I currently have residency.". A pause of thought, smiling between Kieran and Deva, "I could, possibly, be convinced to part with it. It is just one, it takes many to drain a corpse. At least from what I have seen." she shrugs, "Torches do the best work to destroying the pests. Ah! Cousin Lydia!" she greets, waving to her quickly when she draws into Aislin's line of vision. Looking back to Nadia, she puts a hand on her forearm, "I need a drink, well, several. It's been a long time since I have tasted real Northern whiskey.". She sounds excited for it.
"Duke Niccolo. You are looking well.." Gareth responds as he turns his gaze slightly to look at the man. "I am not certain what you intone... by such words? Are you implying that I should join you for a drink? I do believe the Redrain do not normally serve my sort of fare."
Lydia has joined the Bear Table.
Luca arrives.
The sound of the word 'spiders' distracts Esera, and she looks to Kieran with almost the same measure of unsettling interest Deva shows him. It is a passing interest, though, quickly hidden behind dark lashes, chased away as she looks back to Talen. "I hadn't thought how hot you must be all the time, in those leathers," she says. She reaches out to adjust the angle of Talen's hat, though the adjustment is small enough it's a wonder she felt the need to make it at all. "My sister promised to skin me alive if I didn't dance with you tonight."
Jacinthe's attempt to play lookyloo is interrupted by that messenger. The courtesan's smile shades piqued as she accepts the scrolled slip and sets aside her wineglass-- convenient things, those circulating servants with trays-- in order to unroll it. Reading is quickly accomplished, her lower lip caught between her teeth to prevent something that looks very much like an impulse to laugh.

And then it is neatly rolled up again, to be tucked up into her sleeve. Hazel eyes seek out Acacia so that she might incline her head towards the other woman. Acknowledgement, amusement, agreement... it's all there, before she steps from her place to begin circulating amongst the crowd.

Or maybe she's hunting the tray that swept away her wineglass.
From the doorway leading to the hallways of the estate's residents, comes Princess Freja. She has donned...armored silk for the event? Wintery hues are topped off with ornate scalemail and decorative chains. While the armor about the dress is purely for looks, the swords at either one of her hips are not. Still, there is a lighthearted and bright smile on the tall woman's lips as she claims a glass of whiskey from a passing serving tray.
Vercyn arrives.
Luca doesn't require much of an escort into the great hall, able to follow the noise and flickering light. So he didn't accept one, slinking through the doorway all on his own and pausing to rake a hand through his disheveled hair as he gets the measure of the room.
"What are we arranging?" Lydia settles into a seat close to Deva looking eager at the possibility of arranging anything for anyone one, but then her eyes dart first to Kieran before they land on Aislinn, "Cousin, you very definitely should not help his highness find any spiders of any sort. It is ... not the wisest of ideas. But it's been so long, perhaps you'll join me here?"

Kieran leans over to quietly whisper to his sister next to him, before nodding and grinning at her reply, "I see that!" His attention turns back to Nadia and he shakes his head, "No, I definitely caught that part." He non-chalantly takes another sip of his wine, as though discussing bird procuring a load of lumber rather than deadly spiders. Aislin earns his blue-eyes focus and a smirk, "'Sex' a spider? Yes, well, I have no idea how to 'sex' them either. Never been too keen to discover how that works. Though, if I hear of such a situation developing at the boarding house, I shall salute you. I'm not sure I could do better."
It's a subtle movement only, when Acacia peels back the outer layer of her cloak, if only to thumb twice against the hilt of her dagger and then roll her eyes towards someone in the thick of the crowds. Her vintage of choice as the darker wine is swiftly restolen, if only to swish it around and then slant a short-lived look towards Aislin and Nadia both at their words. That same glass is toasted readily towards Jacinthe, her grin threatening to break at any moment, followed by the very respectful dip of her head.

Her freer hand captures a glass to suit fruitier tastes, a peer glanced into it as she chances towards Gareth and and Niccolo, rendering a bow that sloshes neither beverage. "I think this is juice, your Highness," she helpfully offers towards the first, her dark eyes seeking his features for a silent moment, "Shall I taste it for you?"
"I fear for what His Highness would do with such a thing," Nadia poses in a staged whisper toward Aislin, her words well within ear-shot of the Redrain royals, to whom she delivers a vibrant smile tinged with humor. "Though, honestly, perhaps it would be better in their care than mine. I fear Lydia would get one of the servants to kill it should it ever escape and she happens across it by accident." Her tinkling laughter is bright when Lydia warns their cousin off such a notion, bowing her head in agreement. "I wouldn't think it a wise idea, either."

Green eyes flicker past her Northern mates to fall upon Niccolo, her head inclined marginally with a polite curve of her mouth, "Your Grace, so good to see you again." She draws Aislin aside in a small half-step, a servant whom accompanied the young duchess passing her a silver flask to be pressed into her cousin's hand. "Here, something that'll see to it you're well acquainted with proper Northern whiskey once more."
Whatever unsettling feeling Deva had, she washes it away quickly with the rest of the whiskey in her glass. Once emptied, it's passed off in exchange for another. "Oh, wow," she murmurs to Aislin, an uncertain look on her face. Looking to Esera, briefly, her attention snaps to the door as Freja sweeps in. "Cousin," she greets warmly. "Help us get everyone to drink, hmm?" To Lydia, she leans and presses her lips together a little before speaking. "The party, things, ahh-- you know, keeping things going." Her smile is small and restrained for Nadia. "Probably for the best." Although she starts to take a step away from the entrance, she's around long enough to smile and wave at Luca.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Acacia before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Acacia before departing.
"How interesting," Talen emits with only the barest of glances upward to the hand that corrects his hat, "she did the very same to me. Princess Isolde is attempting to game us, I think. We must simply not let that happen." he asks then, looking toward those that do without much judgment in his gaze despite his words.

"Shall we appoint champions then, to dance with one another in our stead? If the rules of a duel are anything to go by, it would be much the same as though we had done so in person and I can nevertheless remain in your company in close proximity to the wine and our gracious hosts, not taking us from conversation to become antisocial creatures of the dancefloor."
Vercyn prowls into the hall and walks right up to the roasted boar, "If anyone, and I mean anyone, ever feels bad for these boars... just don't. Who else has fought boars? They are the meanest, least amicable beasts that are still delicious that you could ever meet. And it's the one time you really get to devour ornery foes."
"Drink, or get the fuck out." Freja call out loudly in a firm, unforgiving tone that carries surprisingly well over the crowd gathered. With a wink to Deva, she stage whispers behind her hand, "Like that?" A shrug of her pauldron covered shoulders and she is tossing back a glass of whiskey with a bright peal of laughter.
"I'm not implying anything, Your Highness, I'm plain out asking you to," Niccolo remarks, holding up the glass of whiskey again. "This is a celebration. Indulge a little, or I'll be forced to drink both," he glances at the glass he already carries for himself. Then looks at the one he's holding for Gareth. "Not that I mind drinking both, I suppose. But by all means, join me," he tells the man.

The talk of spiders and sexing them, causes the duke to glance in Kieran and Aislin's direction. But the look is fleeting, his attention returning to Gareth. Seeing Acacia arrive with a glass for the man, he inclines his head in thanks to his protege. "There you go, if that is more your preference, by all means," he allows and drinks from his own glass.

Catching Nadia's greeting. "You as well, my lady."
Aislin smiles faintly and dips her head to Lydia, "I will be right there." she reassures, looking back to Kieran. Her eyes squint a bit, she smiles again. "Not that kind of 'sex', your highness." she smirks once. "Though some spiders in the south are known to give a man an erection that lasts for hours... until his death. So, if we do happen to reach some barter? Despite my cousin's wishes for me not to? I highly suggest you do not test this out for yourself." she grins toothily before she then turns and starts to walk away. The oversized, robe-like attire of linen she wears against the silk scarf billowing as she does so. "Your highness." she greets Freja in passing with a dip of her head. Snatching a whiskey from a passing tray with a twist of her form. She makes her way to Gareth. Approaching slowly so as not to barge in on conversation.
Gareth will just lift his left brow slightly as his chin lifts ever so slightly in response to Freja's words before he looks to Niccolo for a momment. "I do believe you will not have to drink on my behalf, as It seems that my.. restraint is not welcome here." Gareth offers as his lips twist into a frown. He'll look Niccollo over then before he offers then, "I do not drink. If you wish to discuss however, or talk idly aobut things. I would be more than amiable... I suppose." Gareth mutters, his hands not moving to take any liquor.. the obstinate bastard.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Deva before departing.
Vercyn has joined the Small Table.
Luca gives Deva a crooked half-smile and a little salute, before ambling to a couch near a nice fire and tipping onto it. He stops short of crashing out in the piles of furs. So far. A hand snakes out to grab a bottle on the way, quicker than though.
Luca has joined the Pass Out Couch.
"My sister has become ... very determined," Esera says, though leaves it unsaid what Isolde has become so determined about. "She'll find that I'm more stubborn than she could ever dream of being." She waves to Calista, and then to Luca, wherever they each are in the room. "Lady Calista!" she calls over. "Cousin! Come here and dance with one another, I have a sister to irritate." Sister-irritating puts Esera in good spirits, and she plucks a glass of wine up to celebrate.
Nadia favors Kieran with a bland look at his words, the corners of her mouth straining to prevent her infectious smile from blooming before she simply degenerates into a soft fit of giggles. Sweeping away from Aislin to leave her to her own devices, the duchess glides the distance across the great hall to intercept the boisterous princess and her dear friend, Freja.

"Princess," she calls, raising her whiskey glass before gracefully robbing it of its precious golden liquid, lips twisted faintly as her eyes water from the fierce alcoholic burn. "I see you've already started with the ultamatiums, hm? Well, I have one for -you-," she claims, and hers is a mischevious smile, fingers plucking a quartet of whiskey glasses from a passing servant's trays. "All four of these, or you'll have to dance with me. No wincing, no hesitation. Deal, or no deal?"
This is why eavesdropping pays off: sometimes, the conversations ongoing nearby are /highly/ educational. Jacinthe, who has secured herself a new glass of the same dark vintage, immediately brings it to her lips to help obscure a little burble of amusement. Sexing spiders and devouring foes and dance competitions, oh my.

"One would think simply conquering a foe would be sufficient, my lord," she remarks as her course leads her by the pork-hungry Vercyn. Both smile and gaze skate away from the man, settling upon Nadia and her cousin, and beyond them Talen and company. She raises her glass to mark their presence in the crowd with polite acknowledgement.
Graciously, or brazenly, Acacia sips off the questionable juice, wetting her lips twice and then deeming with a hapless shrug for Gareth, "No, well, it's all the better, your Highness. That was definitely whiskey." With a demure blink of her lashes towards Niccolo, she moves to hand the glass towards the nearest server, before Freja's echo has her tilting her head to the side. Toasting it as if out of quasi-lamentable obligation, she merely downs the drink, hands it off, and punctuates it with an almost comical dab of a single knuckle at her lips. "Excuse me though-- Your Grace, Prince Inquisitor." Exhibiting a sublimely demure smile, her gaze rises towards Aislin as she nears with a small study and then a deeply respectful bow, commenting only with a hint of amusement as she seeks to depart the circle, "Spiders."
(OOC) Calista apologizes and is back.
"Do smile, Prince Gareth. Otherwise, people will think you a sourpuss." Freja advises the Inquisitor with a hand placed demurely over her heart.
Kieran was totally not ignoring a question Deva posed earlier, "Yes, Lady Calista and have met. She along with Lord Victus and Prince Dagon were among the first of the peers I met when I first arrived in Arx." He then looks to Aislin and blinks, doing his best to hold back any laughter he has at what she says about spider bites and anatomy. "She's almost as bad as I am," he notes as she departs. The Redrain prince takes a long drink of his wine, moving to give Vercyn a friendly slap to the shoulder in greeting, before going to find a seat to claim.
(OOC) Freja says: Eep! Enter too quick, ignore that
"You're picking my champion for me? I dare call you a cheat, your grace," Talen boldly stakes as he looks toward Luca and Calista each in turn. "I do suppose both are suitable candidates of mine, however, so I'll forgive you. This time."

Talen's attention is upon Luca and he invokes a request, "Champion, I would request you face this challenge here, the Grand Duchess of Lyceum would dance with me but I cannot in good justice do it myself. You must face the Lady Fidante, her own champion of dance, in close quarters. Do so armed with this," he says, plucking a second bottle of whatever it is Luca has in hand and thrusting it against the man. Make sure your opponent is armed, too. Drink and dance for us, won't you please?"
Vercyn gestures towards Jacinthe, "It's really not. -Anyone- can conquer a foe. I've conquered foes all the time! But boars, for all their sins, are at least delicious foes." He inclines his head towards the courtesan and introduces himself, "Duke Vercyn Halfshav, Duke of Whitehold. I'm going to idle away at a table until sobriety is but a distant memory and anyone can feel free to join me in my newly founded Duchy of the Sidelines."
"Boars are terrible but delicious!" Deva calls out to Vercyn with a laugh. Freja's announcement brings another grin to her face, eyes crinkling at the corners. "Like that," she agrees, parting with one nod for her cousin. Abandoning greeting attendees at the door, she slinks away toward the Southerners gathered. "Oooh. A dance challenge? Yes!"
Niccolo glances at Esera and Talen, as they find their dancing champtions, before his eyes return to Acacia. There's a hint of amusement as she downs the drink rejected by Gareth, but of course, that leaves him holding two drinks himself still. He continues drinking from one, turning his eyes to Freja.

"Your highness," he holds up the whiskey to her. "Care to to save my hand from holding this?"
Luca just sat down. But for all his infamous laziness, he doesn't ignore the entreaty of his cousin. Archduchess. Who can tell which facet of Esera it is that motivates him? He swings back to his feet and approaches, waving off Talen with the bastard child of a laugh. "Stop, man, you'll hurt yourself." He considers the bottle. "If I'm holding two bottles, how do I hold the lady? Sabatoge." He drinks, before setting his bottle gingerly aside for safe keeping and looks around for Calista.
"Do smile, Prince Gareth. Otherwise, people will think you a sourpuss." Freja advises the Inquisitor with a hand placed demurely over her heart. "We simply cannot have that..." she trails off, her eyes wandering across the crowd to catch the sight of the Duchess trying to catch her attention. A waggle of her fingers to Deva as she passes and the royal scout glances over her options. "Simple. All four. You forget my drinking coach was my brother..." She holds out an upturned palm for the first penance for choosing not to dance. She holds out her other hand apologetically to Niccolo, looking very much like that statue featured in The Garden of Good and Evil right now. "Two whiskeys...whatever is a Princess to do?" she sighs dramatically.
In her periphery, Calista notices a messenger for her as well. She has not attended him yet but beckons him near with the curl of her slender index finger. "Yes, Princess, I have had the pleasure of meeting Prince Kieran. In fact, I must say he was my second acquaintance when I arrived to Arx from Tor. How are you, Prince Kieran, it has been some time since we last ran into one another." The Fidante extends a hand to lightly squeeze Nadia's arm with a chuckle on her lips. "I am indeed looking forward to having a good time this evening, My Lady, and yourself?" There is a bit more of conversation to be had and of course she greets Niccolo with a warm and inviting smile. "Your Grace, looking dashing as ever. It's wonderful to see you out and about." However it's Esera who steals her attention because she's been 'instructed' to dance. "Ahh, Prince Luca, is Her Grace expecting entertainment out of us this evening?"
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Calista before departing.
Kieran has left the game.
Kieran has entered the game.
"Spiders." Aislin returns to Acacia, as if that is some way they should greet. Upon reaching Gareth, one arm across her stomach, the other at her back as she gives a bow, a foot sliding behind the other. "Prince-Inquisitor. Lady Aislin Ashford, loyal retainer of House Grayson. Explorer of Arvum." she rises, still not drinking the whiskey, simply holding it. "I wanted to present myself to you, your highness. I have not had the chance to earlier.".
Lydia looks at her cousin's back, and then over her shoulder at Kieran, with a mischevious smile lighting up her eyes. She says nothing though, as she reaches for a glass of wine and takes a sip. She then rises from her table and makes her way towards Vercyn's seat. "Do you mind if I join you, Your Grace, my cousin appears to have abandoned me, and I have no idea when she'll remember me, and I'm under orders to make sure people have a good time."
Lydia has left the Bear Table.
It seems the polite thing to do to dip at the knee in acknowledgement of Vercyn's introduction. Jacinthe accomplishes this, while maintaining a thoughtful air. "It's a pleasure, my lord. Jacinthe of the Whispers, and I can't help but find that your hypothesis makes an assumption of having tasted other sorts of foes in order to find them /not/ delicious."

Not that this keeps her from maneuvering to claim a chair in the Duchy of the Sidelines. "I believe I'll declare myself high minister and congratulate you on your enterprising nature. Cheers."
Jacinthe has joined the Small Table.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Calista before departing.
"I'm not sure /you/ dare call anyone a cheat," Esera says to Talen. Once Calista is near enough, Esera reaches out to take her hand, and entreats, "Lady Calista, will you please be my champion this evening? My sister has challenged me to dance tonight, and I must refuse her. Will you play my part instead?" Whether or not Calista agrees, Esera takes a quick sip of her drink and then passes it along to the other lady to do her due diligence by it. "Thank you, you're my favorite Lady in all the Lyceum," she adds.
Edain arrives.
"Were it under quieter circumstances.. Lady Aislin, I would be more than willing to speak with you at length." Gareth observes as his lips twist into a frown, his gaze more focused on trying to kill Acacia with looks alone. "Captain Acacia, I see you are getting around rather well. I must ask, what would one think of a hunter who does not keep his dog properly kenneled?" Gareth's finger slowly raps at the head of his cane now, slowly as he leans a bit more heavily into it.

Taking a momment to shake his head then, he'll look to Niccollo again, offering a small smile. "At the very least. I am certain that the most honorable and esteemed subjects of the Compact, Redrain would be more than happy to.. bottle up whatever is not consumed for later.. use by your grace."
Nadia lines the quartet of whiskey shots up for Freja upon the edge of a table with deft hands, her brows risen in mild expectancy of the princess. "Well, then, do Prince Fergus and I proud and down these. Show us that Northern Pride," she cajoles ever-so-sweetly, the corners of her mouth upturned with the start of a good-spirited smile.

Fingers belatedly brush to the top of Calista's wrist in returned gesture when the Fidante speaks, her gaze turning to bestow the full brunt of her attention upon the woman even in their brief exchange. "Of course, my Lady. It would go against my very nature if I were to sequester a corner for myself and pout away, rather than enjoy every facet of this party. Life's simply to short not to," she posits in her infectious zesty zeal, before looking back to Freja.

"Oh, wait," she laughs, two more stout glasses of spiced rum added to the end of the line up. "Let's make this a real challenge; Thraxian rum."
Luca bows to Calista. "More probable, she doesn't want to be the most beautiful woman on the dance floor. She can be shy, my cousin." He looks puzzled as he straightens. "Or she's not dancing? Whatever. I'm too sober for overcomplications."
Aislin dips her head in a gentle fashion, "Of course, Prince-Inquisitor. I simply wanted name and face to be as one. We will talk in private at another time, of course.", she just wanted to introduce herself. A smile to Niccolo, back to Gareth. A step back, "I must attend to my cousins and see to the duties of my Nightgold half." she offers a small smile for that. Turning around, she walks away with a confident grace to her steps that jingle slightly for those keen enough to hear it over the carousing. Sipping at her whiskey as she goes back to Nadia and Lydia. Looking into her glass with a look of clear appreciation. Must be as good as she recalls.
Edain might call himself fashionably late, but let us be very honest here, there is almost nothing that the Prince of Sanctum does that can be called fashionable. And so he enters the great hall trying to create as little fuss and fan fair as possible. He smooths and straightens his tabard as he thanks the g uards or attendants or however is manning the door, and as carefully as he is able, tries to creep along the edge of the room. This is a Redrain party! There has to be a table with delicious meat somewhere! And thus his goal.
"I don't know what we care about the hunter right now, but did you ever hear the one about the Northerner who had to take care of a prat who decided to overstep and be impolite to a guest of a Redrain house?" Freja's tone bears all the weight of a Northern winter, the chill reaching her dark eyes as they focus on Gareth in that moment as he turns that focus on Acacia. For added effect, she downs the first shot from Nadia and doesn't wince at the burn of the liquor on the back of her throat. "Thank you, Nadia. Such a dear." Freja's jovial air returns and with a wink, she takes the next one in prime succession. "Two down, two to go, right?"
Alistair arrives.
Esera's retort has a brief concealing of Talen's irises, heavy lashes lowered as he looks to the floor in faux humility. "Ah, I only admire the tactic far superior than my own," he insists before raising his gaze again, to watch how Luca and Calista interact. When Luca seems confused, Talen bids them clarity. "You're to dance with another and," he turns to face Deva, "her highness will decide which of you are better. Then, that will decide who is the victor. I shall bet even," he asserts, "if the archduchess will accept my terms. Should my champion win, you must sample a Thraxian vintage, that rum there," he says, indicating the table where it stands. "Three glasses of it," he determines appropriate.
A well defined dark brow arches with curiosity in Esera's direction and yet she cannot control the tickle of a smirk on her lips. "Of course I will be your champion on the dance floor, Your Grace." She offers Luca a curtsey and politely extends her hand to him. "It can be daunting to be the most beautiful woman on the dance floor or merely in all of Arx. I suppose I will have to deal with the tragedy that is dancing with the most handsome man in the room." Shadowed emerald eyes gleam with wicked mischief as she prepares to approach the dance floor with Luca.
(OOC) Calista says: That was me.
Well on her way in her defter departure, Gareth's own words and titling has Acacia's head cocked to the side and then a slow, smoother rotation when she pivots to face him with a lone blink and a temporarily puzzled expression. Rather than vocalize her return reply, her sandals hardly made a noise when they slid back towards him. Tucking her goblet in towards her chest almost protectively, she'd bent at the waist if only to place her head fractionally lower than the Inquisitor's own and return hushed words.
With chatter and the party in full swing, Deva embraces the moment to fall back and let it all soak in. She looks around, her expression one of reserved contentment. "Me? Judge dancing? Ha!" Talen's proposal seems to amuse her greatly. "Let's do it." Both Calista and Luca receive a terribly mischievous smile.
Kieran continues watching the ongoing conversations and antics around the Great Hall from his seat out of the way from other. He is about to take another sip of wine, when he overhears Freja and glances in that direction.
"Four," chimes Nadia in sweet reminder, as she did just ever-so-gracefully sneak in an additional two shots of Thraxian rum in a smooth finish to the line up of hard spirits. "This is to make your brother proud, after all." As the surly Redrain princess sees fit to chastize the Prince Inquisitor, the duchess favors him with a curious glance, her brows risen faintly in her regard of him and his chosen victim, Acacia, alike.

"Captain Acacia is more than capable of handling herself," she speaks with confidence of the Culler woman's mastery of tongue, or perhaps to soothe Freja from her dire mama bear antics. "Oh, Aislin, you're just in time. Her Highness, Princess Freja was just in the middle of polishing down six drinks to help get this shindig started. How about we join her? What do you say to two?"
Lydia poses it!
(OOC) Lydia says: That was a Mav. Bad me.
Alistair arrives on the fringes of the feast, donned in his black uniform as befitting his vocation of choice. He questions a servant quietly while his intense eyes hover on the party. The poor servant, naturally, looks terrified, even if Alistair seems to hold no malice and tries to make the process as painless as possible. The servant manages a word or two that seems to contend the man, and Alistair gives a slight nod to give the servant freedom to scamper off. It seems Alistair did not hear that cares and stringent sense of propriety are to be left at the door. The man appears to be all business.
(OOC) Nadia says: I'm rubbing off on you!
"Drink, of course," Niccolo tells Freja, just as he puts that second glass in her hand. "And drink well," he brings his glass to his lips. "Lady Aislin," Niccolo offers to the woman in greeting, before he turns to Gareth and is about to address him, just as he speaks to Acacia. The duke lifts a brow, his expression serene.

The duke holds his words, letting his eyes flow to Acacia. Slowly, he brings his glass to his lips. "I see you've met my protege, Prince Gareth, who is not quite a Captain," he points out, with a smile as serene as his face. The man then looks at Freja, and his dark brown eyes linger on the princess. He tilts his glass in her direction. "That Grayson charm," he muses.

"Ah hah!" Edain declares, his baritone voice rumbling in victory as he finds himself in front of the table where there is roast boarr just waiting to be enjoyed. "Excuse me." he says softly, a bit embarrassed as he fixes himself a plate of roast boar and equally roasted vegetables.
Luca takes Calista's hand, gently. "I win by default, hm?" He gestures with his free hand to the dance floor. "Story of my life, my duchess." He fears no drink; no consequences. Talen gets a smirk, and then Luca steps onto the dance floor and spins Calista into his arms, close enough she must place her dainty feet between his to follow the steps.
When Aislin gets to her side, Lydia gives her a smile and places one of her delicate hands on her cousin's wrist. "You're joining me for drinks, now, right?" And her expression is so filled with hope at this possibility as she guides Aislin back to the table, "There's a place here where we can still see, and I'll make sure you get some of that northern whiskey you want!"
Lydia has joined the Bear Table.
"Three glasses?" Esera asks. She looks over at that bottle of rum, sizes it up like a dangerous foe. But she can't resist a challenge -- indeed, her eyes shine that much brighter at it. "I accept your challenge," she says. "But if I'm to drink three glasses, you're to drink the entire bottle." She turns her gaze upon Calista, and her eyes are piercing. Demanding. "Lady Calista, I know you will not fail me," she says. "Your beauty shines bright as a star. But remember your judge."
Gareth's fingers will lift slightly moving as if to wave off Acacia for a momment. "You drink that which is given freely.. Captain. You are allowed to take what is yours, without insult. I speak of other things." Gareth mutters before he looks to Freja, his left brow lifting slightly. "A Prat? I do not think Miss Culler to be anything of the sort.. Your highness. After all, I hardly believe you'd be referencing His grace, Duke Niccollo, or myself, a Prince of the Compact, to whom House Redrain has sworn it's loyalty to. That you would insult her so openly, I would dare think the consquences were you to actually say anything to anyone who would take issue." There is a pause hten as he looks to Niccollo then before he chuckles slightly. "I see. Miss Culler then. We will go with that.
(OOC) Gareth says: appends a "
Jacinthe sinks back into the support of the chair she's chosen, head tilted against its cushioned support and turned a little to allow her to survey Vercyn, seated adjacent. Something said by the man sees her lips shading with a smile best described as 'darkly amused'-- but there's a balancing sparkle in her eyes when she answers him in kind. The glass she holds is used to gesture at the roasting boar, wrist curved to shape a graceful arc through the air without spilling a drop of wine.
Esera has joined the Pass Out Couch.
Vercyn gestures for a serving of roasted boar to be brought over to his table, "The Duchy of the Sidelines needs food badly."
Esera takes a seat upon a couch, to watch the dance in far greater comfort.
Luca has left the Pass Out Couch.
(OOC) Luca says: Woops.
"Six drinks?" Aislin looks amazed, looking down at her half finished whiskey and back to Nadia and Freja... and the shots that are lined up. A frown appears though. "Two?!" she snorts, "I do not need a handicap but later." she smiles. "I haven't eaten all day and I would hate to make a spectacle of myself after that much liqour." she tells Nadia with a smile. Looking to Lydia when she takes Aislin's wrist, a nod and she begins to sink down into the offered seat. "I do like your dress. I haven't owned a dress in years. They are not very um... useful in travel for myself."
Aislin has joined the Bear Table.
"I was not negating her ability to defend herself, Duchess Nadia. This is a Redrain home, a Redrain event, and I will not be remiss in ensuring good hospitality. This is my home, after all." Freja calmy reminds, not surly in the least bit. "My Redrain charm. My father's daughter, through and through." She raises the whiskey Niccolo had passed her in a return salute of cheers, tossing it back. "Why mince words when you can get straight to the chase?" She snaps her fingers, "Oh, chase! Hunters and hounds, right back on track with your question, Prince Gareth. As you were! Insinuation is all well and good, but for as succinct as my words, I fear you fail to do them justice and notch the arrow, hitting the verbal point in a direct bullseye. I do give you accolades for effort." She salutes crisply and with a swish of silk and scalemail, the tall woman is moving towards a Guard to speak quietly with him.
"Throughout the course of the evening," Talen tempers, the clarification one that helps him very little. The bottle is full, its strength of content near legendary. "Your terms are acceptable, your grace," the Sword allows for his liege before refocusing upon Calista and her companion. "Luca," he calls then, "don't fail me, will you? I promise you this will be a challenge, to win over the esteemed Lady Fidante." Though he doesn't take a seat immediately, Talen's arm extends politely to Deva and he indicates with his spare arm, "if you'll join us at the judges booth, your highness," he proposes, ready to escort the Redrain hostess over to sit with the Grand Duchess of Lyceum. The man himself however, remains standing -- if close by.
Talen has joined the Pass Out Couch.
(OOC) Freja aaactually has to go for Suicide Squad impromptu tickets >.> Be back in a few hours if you guys are still drinking and lingering about!
(OOC) Talen says: Jealous~
(OOC) Aislin says: Have fuuuuun!
"No one wins by default!" Deva insists, calling out to Luca with a smirk. "Go, dance marvelously, both of you." While watching, she even slows down the pace at which she's draining her whiskey so she can watch with an attentive eye. "Why thank you," she tells Talen in a voice she tries to make sound so very grand and polite. Taking his arm, she gives him a sly smile as she settles in to join Esera and observe.
(OOC) Deva says: Later!
Deva has joined the Pass Out Couch.
(OOC) Freja shall return!!!
The gaze of the Inquisitor. Not the Princely one. The lowly one. Sweeps through the party, falling upon Acacia as she is held up by the other fellow of his order. He watches closely, seeming a bit amused at the interaction, though it only shows in his eyes. He stops a trio of servants as they move to serve demanded boar, the Inquisitor taking a moment to look over the food before he waves them on. Perhaps he expects some demon of sloth or gluttony to be lingering in the lady fingers and other treats.
Freja has left the game.
"In my experience, Prince Gareth of Grayson," Niccolo finds himself saying, "Insults are easily given and taken. The measure of a man, is how he reacts to them. How much a fool one makes of themselves," he continues and lifts his shoulders, offering a faint smile to the prince. "Enjoy your lack of drinking, Your Highness." To Acacia he adds, "Would you get me another drink?" He downs what's left of his, as he walks away. "Mine is empty."
"Mm, not quite a duchess, yet, Your Highness." Calista coos to Luca. Her body presses to his as most Lycene dances are very close in contact. The man holds a few inches over her and she tilts her head upwards to meet his dark gaze. There was emphasis on the word 'yet' and the teasing tone of her dulcet voice warns him she's setting him up for playful banter. "But perhaps you could assist me in my endeavors." She glances over a bare shoulder to spy on Esera once more. "You honor me, your grace. As for my judges..." There's a sweeping gaze over Deva and Talen and blows them each a kiss.
"... I did kind of like the Captain, but I figured it would get me into trouble, your Grace," Acacia ushers nearly beneath her breath towards Niccolo, slaking her quiet tone with a sip of her wine and the moderate adjustment of her posture once she straightens. Her darker gaze had touched upon Freja, though she could scarcely issue a smile in such a situation, her lids hooding in silent respect, before she turned her focus back towards Gareth, humbly offering with utter simplicity, "Forgive me again, your Highness."

As her gaze alights upon Niccolo, there's not even a pause when she welcomes the distraction, "Of course, your Grace." And then with a secondary bow, she departs nearly as silently as she had come to locate the chosen server bearing Lenosian wine.
Lydia lifts a hand to motion a servant over with some food. That's when she sees Edain, and waves him over as well, "My lord, come join us?"
"I believe that the fact that I did not shift to my alternate retort which was that I have spent too much time listening to shrill voices today to actually care the content of yet another,' would of been too harsh, Your Grace." Gareth responds as his gaze shifts then as he looks to Acacia slightly as he offers a slight nod to the woman. "Be on your way, and serve as best as you are able." Gareth mutters as he now is once again alone with his thoughts, and his cane, standing and watching.
Nadia has joined the Small Table.
Nadia brings her lower lip into a pensive crease between her teeth, a small glass of rum plucked from the table before she glides her way towards the Halfshav duke and her favored Whisper. Her voice lowers to companionable tones when she draws near, leaning her weight onto a palm of splayed fingers against the table's edge.

With a plate of boar, veggies and a little cheese for good measure, Edain makes his way along the perimeter of the room, eventually emerging from the crowd passing the servant that Lydia has just sent for a plate of food, "Oh, Good day Lady Lydia. It is good to see you again."
Luca tsks. He puts his lips closer to Calista's ear, and warns her, "The first thing you have to learn is: Never take your eyes off your opponent." He takes advantage of her distraction (plying the judges) to grip her waist and guide her into several quick turns, spinning on the balls of his feet and making her skirts spin out.
Alistair stands with his hands clasped behind his back, and conveniently is near the server of fine Lenosian vintage. As Acacia approaches in her quest for wine he glances to her, "I see I was right about the title of Troublemaker..." he says in an even tone, perhaps a little playful joking at her expense, considering who she has seemed to anger. His gaze then shifts to watch the display of dancing and competition.
"That was a good move." Deva points a finger at the dancers on the floor, nodding in solemn approval. "Or I think it was. I don't dance much," she explains, slouching upon the couch and crossing her arms as she continues to watch Calista and Luca move with curiously lifted brows.
Talen supposes aloud, "If they don't fall over and it looks vaguely complex or worthy..." The words are no doubt biased, if subtle. Trying to encourage Deva's opinion of Luca's actions positively.
Jacinthe is caught by Nadia sampling a sliver of boar from the blade of a knife, the meat pinned to that blade with the edge of her thumb. Thus, her eyes lift to the Duchess and widen before she slips her other hand up to cover lips made greasy by the meat-- or to stifle laughter at being approached in so unpolished a pose. Probably the latter, as she quickly ducks her chin and reaches for her wineglass in order to take a sip, before the conversation resumes.
Aislin sits next to Lydia at the Bear Table, sipping at her whiskey as a plate of some roasted meat on bone and cheese arrives. That look of hunger on her face turning into happiness. Talking softly with her cousin, looking to Edain when he arrives to greet Lydia. She would speak but she has a mouth full of cheese at the moment.
Esera claps for Calista, and looks for all the world as though she thinks her champion has just made the very best move. And then another. So graceful! "Ahh," she breathes, in appreciation.
"You dubbed me with many titles, Inquisitor," Acacia grants towards Alistair with a small smile of recognition, her forward steps slowing only for half a beat at the sight of him, before she'd recovered to choose a Lenosian red in particular. Offering the first goblet towards the man standing near, she only then sought to secure a second, "You all are everywhere tonight. Did I wear a sign on my back? It's kind of quite terrifying, but I imagine it's likely good to spur people to drink, yes? Wine or whiskey?"
Lydia swivels her head towards Edain when he arrives, along with a smile. "I'm glad to meet you again, Highness. Have you met my cousin, Lady Aislin? We were just talking about how we find the city, and it occurs to me that you know it better than either of us. Would you like to join us?"
Edain scans the room then and sees the couch where Deva has posted up and he looks to Lydia, "Lady Lydia I would love to join the both of you but would you forgive me if I took a moment to greet the hostess and I shall be right back?" He looks to the Aislin then and says, "Oh I got some of that cheese too." and he plucks some from his plate and takes a bite.

Making his way to the Pass out couch, Edain, politely bows in greeting to Esera and Talen, since they seem to be Deva's couchmates and says, "Your Grace, Master." he says greeting by title, before turning to Deva, "Princess Deva, thank you very much for the invitation. I regret that I was late, but I wanted to thank you for your hospitality."
The skirts of Calista's gown fan out, wider and wider with each turn, showing off the curves of her legs and threatening to show more skin than intended, but never does. Tricksy Lyceum fashions are all about the -tease-. Calista for her part is certainly taken by surprise and when it appears she might stumble, she catches herself with the grace of muscle memory and cat-like reflexes. When she finally comes face to face with Luca once more, her eyes are wide with surprise and amusement. "Point taken, your highness! Who knew you were so light on your feet!"
"If I announce a tie, I think both of you have to drink. I think I prefer that option," Deva declares, glancing between Talen and Esera with a confident lift of her chin. "Ah, Prince Edain, thank you for joining," she greets the man with a quick smile, a brief flicker of surprise on her face. "I trust you have enjoyed the boar?" she wonders, jerking a thumb toward one of the food tables.
"Of course, highness." Lydia returns with a bob of her head, and then she looks at Aislin with some consternation.
Aislin smiles at Edain but doesn't offer her hand out, much too busy stripping cooked boar from the bone it was served on. Looking much more relaxed. Perhaps it is the whiskey? Sitting down? Eating? Probably eating.
If Esera was watching the dance in comfort, Edain's arrival puts her immediately and visibly on edge. She sits straight and still as marble, her expression carved neutrality, her eyes hidden away behind a sweep of lashes. She doesn't answer his greeting, but she is, at least, diplomatic. Or silent, at least.
Niccolo continues on his way, without turning back. Seeing Edain, the duke dips his head to him as he walks to greet the hostess, and in extension looks over at Lydia and Aislin. "Lady Lydia and of course, Lady Aislin," he then says, with a tilt of his head. "It's good to see you again my lady," he says to Lydia. "Enjoying yourself so far?"
Talen bows to Edain upon his approach, a hand set atop his head to keep the hat in place. The gilt feather wags in the motion, then settles again once he's upright and his hand falls. "Prince Edain, how do you do," he issues in slightly more animated respect, in contrast to Esera herself.
"I will try not to repeat the other ones, less I give more reason for you to be troubled. You seem to do well enough generating reason yourself." Alistair is only entertained by the dance for so long before he turns to stare at Acacia. "Neither." He says and waves off the offer of drink, likely breaking some unwritten rule about enjoying such grand feasts. "Put down enough drinks for the two of us. It looks like you could use it." He stops another servant who is about to serve some sweets. He frowns as he looks at the treats, and then waves the man on. These are not the sweets he is looking for.
Esera takes a momentary break from freezing out Edain to ooooh in unhidden appreciation at Calista. Look at that Calista! Such a dancer! Oooh.
Luca wouldn't let Calista fall or stumble, certainly? He couldn't be so invested in 'winning' this contest, and so after the last turn he stops her close and sways more gently through the next few bars of the music. "Apparently, you didn't," he notes. "Has it really been so long since I've had a match?" Before he can get depressed thinking about it, he asks Calista: "Dip?"
Lydia says something to Aislin excitedly and then lifts her head to Niccolo. "A pleasure to see you again, your grace. Did you want to join us? We could use the company."
Aislin looks to Niccolo as he approaches. Her seating more relaxed in how she rests her calf against the bench she occupies, hands on her knee. An unladylike posture but she is wearing suitable clothing of those linens that make her look more like a Bedouin or some rakish southern pirate. Definitely not a dress. A dip of her head in greeting with a smile, "Please, join us." she offers him with a gesture of her hand, a glimpse of brass and silver bracelets seen from the sleeves of her long shirt. "I was going to tell my cousin of my travels east if you care to listen.".
"What sweet were you looking for, Inquisitor? Perhaps I could find it for you," Acacia drawls towards Alistair, but only after several beats in which her gaze met his own and then she demurely turned hers away. "I'm getting very good at this tray-navigation thing." The wine glass which was claimed is added to an entire tray of whiskey shots, with Acacia leaning down to murmur something with a charming smile in the server's ear for a passing measure. Coming out of the deal with perhaps something slipped into a pocket and all the drinks for her effort, she extends towards Alistair as she attempts to depart for the couches, "You should dance, Inquisitor."

And so it's with silence, a small smile, and the attempt of a delivery of drinks to every single hand seated on the couch, from Lydia, Aislin, to Vercyn, that Acacia tends to. A Lenosian Red for Niccolo, and whiskey for everyone else -- and perhaps a subtle tilt of her head to listen to passing conversation in the process.
"I'm following -your- lead, Prince Luca. Every move I make is a sheer reflection on what a smooth and sensual dancer you are." Calista grins darkly now. Yes, it may be a 'contest' but allowing your partner to fail is indicative of the other's skill. Dancing is a trap. "Only if it pleases you." Her murmuring is soft, but not quite a whisper. If the man was not aware that the Fidante lady was well known for her wit and charm, he surely will be more intimately acquainted with it now.
With a sigh, Deva stands from the couch and shoves a hand into a pouch at her hip. "Heads or tails, your grace?" she asks of Esera, lifting a brow at the Grand Duchess. "It is clear to me they are of equal skill and grace, but I'd hate to not pick a winner. So we'll do it this way." A silver procured and ready for flipping.
"Tails," Esera calls, instinctively.
"Thank you, my ladies," Niccolo says, with an incline of his head. "I can join you, if for a little while," he points out and sits with Lydia and Aislin. When Acacia comes by his Lenosian red, he offers a hint of a smile to her, and a dip of his head. "You know me well," he tells her, before he inhales from the vintage, and then drinks from it. "You can join us, if you wish," he says to his protege, turning to Aislin then.

"Do you travel east often then? And pleas, share the stories," he nods. "What is the farthest you've gone?"
Luca cuts his dark eyes sidelong at Calista, as he has her pressed close, and his lips curl in an amused smirk. "I strive always for a glorious climax, my Lady," he assures her. Releasing her hand, he waits for a proper downturn of the music guides her into a swinging dip that has any strands of her hair left loose grazing the floor; hand on her upper back to support her in it. If she's a trusting woman, at least.
Niccolo has joined the Bear Table.
Few can match the Inquisitor gaze to gaze. "Most of the fun is in the search. If I find the treat, the fun is over..." He says as he glances to the exchange between Acacia and the servant. Alistair narrows his eyes for a moment, perhaps suspicious, but the suspicion passes as quickly as it comes on. "No one here would appreciate the dances I know." His eyes fall upon the dancers once more as their moves become more elaborate and showy. He does not follow Acacia to the couches, except with his gaze. He seems content to stay to the fringes, as his kind often do.
Aislin takes the glass of wine that arrived for her. Looking confused a moment but Acacia is pointed out. A smile in her direction. Good timing too because she just ran out of whiskey. The hangover tomorrow will be fierce so best to make it worth it. She raises the glass as thanks to Acacia before settling in to talk quietly at her table. Sipping on her wine, thoughtfully munching on little strips of boar she tears off.
(OOC) Kieran says: Is it even possible to succeed at dificulty 15 when rolling a skill-less check?
(OOC) Talen says: Probably not likely but we just wanted the higher or lower value.
(OOC) Deva says: I just wanted to compare numbers. Not really a big deal.
(OOC) Esera says: One of us just had to fail less awfully than the other.
(OOC) Talen says: So for a competition it's fine.
(OOC) Luca says: Probably not but someone clearly lost less.
(OOC) Vercyn says: Dice can keep repeat rolling on 10s so it's technically possible to get any result.
"Ah! Tails it is," Deva declares as the coin lands in her palm. "Lady Calista, wonderful dancing, congratulations. You are truly graceful, and you make Her Grace proud I'm sure," she gestures toward Esera with an upturned palm. "Prince Luca, you are dashing as ever and I hope you'll let me make this disappointment up to you."
Edain nods to Deva and says, "The Boar is delicious thank you. And again, Thank you for your hospitality." he says then leaving the hostess to beable mingle and check on other people. Prince Edain for his part finds his way back to Lydia's table and says, "Is your invitaiton to join yo ustill good Lady Lydia?"
Lydia looks up from her table as Edain approaches, and gives the man a nod of her head. "Of course, Highness, but we've moved to having my cousin regale us with stories of her travels. I'm sure they'll be fascinating!"
A certain Grayson prince is still here.. watching.. staring.. always eyeing everyone
(OOC) Nadia says: Creeper.
(OOC) Luca says: What the hell.
Edain has joined the Bear Table.
For all that she won by nothing more than the grace of luck (and the toss of a coin), Esera looks delighted, radiant. She luxuriates in her great victory, and applauds Calista with such, such satisfaction. "You may have killed my Sword tonight," she says. "But with such grace did you kill him!"
Talen seems to have finished his wine when Deva flips the silver knight, his focus torn from the crowd toward the coin. "The gods won't intervene so I'll simply hope, rather than pray-- ah, shit." With a shake of his head, he bows silently in response to Deva and Esera and then marches right for the Thraxian rum. The gloved hands wrap around the neck, twist and pull and then he's uncorking it so he can drink straight from the bottle. A few, harsh breaths and he spies his liege and her company from across the way. "Prince Luca, well performed. You're not match for the grace of Lady Fidante, however. Few are," he insists.

Striding away from the table then, the long legged movements of his breeches and soft pad of his doeskin boots take the Sword in the direction of Kieran. "Your highness," he begins to say, setting aside the rum after only a few more swallows, "do you have a moment?2 he asks, already taking off his gloves...
Trusting is a key word. Calista curls her body into Luca's and when he moves her into that dip, she allows him to control the moment, putting her trust in him, blindly. Her head tilts back, spine arching and allowing thick dark curls to skim the dance floor as she straightens and extends the outer leg and bends the inner leg, planting her toe onto the ground for leverage. It is a scintillating dip indeed.
(OOC) Gareth says: Whut?
Luca watches Calista move through it. Who wouldn't? Then he looks over, pulling her gently upright and ensuring she's got her balance back by leaving his hand on her waist for a moment. He's defeated? He's disappointed? "I might be inconsolable," he tells Deva uncertainly. It's a wonder he even knows the meaning of the word. Turning his attention back to the Lady Fidante, he reaches for her hand to attempt to press a kiss to her knuckles. "I knew I'd finally find my equal in Arx. It was an honor to lose to you."
Jacinthe sinks back into her chair and idly rolls her wrist, sending the wine in her glass into a smooth swirl. The conversation with Nadia and Vercyn leads her to indicate the crowd at large with her other hand-- another idle gesture, made with lazy overtones-- and is followed by a glance that matches. The throng's ebb and flow surveyed, studied, she quirks a smile before looking back to her dining companions.
Kieran looks up from where he sits and watches those gathered in the great hall to Talen as the man approaches. He sets his glass of wine side and smirks lightly, as he replies, "A moment? Yes. I might even have two or three."
The procured tray of whiskey is subsequently passed off after Acacia trailed a look over those drinkless with an oddly determined squint. Stealing one for herself, Niccolo had received a slim, familiar smile in return with a bolder wink and a respectful dip of her head towards Aislin and Lydia both. However, her eyes trail back towards Alistair from the imposed distance. "People appreciate a larger number of things, Inquisitor," she returns with an affable shrug of her shoulders. After a look is granted between him and Gareth, holding for a turn, she suggests, "Well-- if you get bored from your hunt of terrors or from speaking with your superiors, you'll likely be welcome to join in conversation."

Toasting her whiskey glass towards him with an easy smile, she bows towards Edain upon his approach, then offers the same courtesy to those seated. Quietly, she slides into a seated position near, but not beside, Niccolo and the Ladies at the Duke's invitation.
Acacia has joined the Bear Table.
"A valiant attempt, Master Talen," Deva bows her head as the man retreats to find her brother. "Not for long! Come join us for a drink?" she flashes Luca a bright smile, letting it linger as Calista moves so gracefully. With her announcement declared, she settles back onto the couch, tucking her legs up underneath her as she sits in a terribly unladylike fashion. A hand is waved for more whiskey to be brought.
The creeping Grayson Prince that is staring at the congregation of decadent finery of Arx is joined by another of his Order. "Any demons in the pie, Prince Inquisitor?" Alistair quips in an attempt at a joke. Its delivered a bit flatly.
(OOC) Alistair says: Doh missed Acacia's pose.
Once both leather gloves are peeled free, Talen reaches up to pull his hat off. The duo of hand wraps are tucked into bowl of the headgear and then he passes it off to the nearest person-- stuffing it into their arms with insistent demand. "Hold this," he orders.

"I seek to be cultured in the ways of the north. In turn, you'll learn of the south. Two polar opposites," he expresses. "We don't normally explain ourselves so this'll be an exception but," he indicates both of them mutually, "I would fight you. The atmosphere here bores me. It could do with spicing up with a brawl, don't you think? Even your guards," he looks to them, "are falling asleep."
"Your Grace," Niccolo greets Edain respectfully as he approaches and joins the table. "It's good to see you as well." He dips his head to Acacia when she joins them, drinking from his glass of Lenosian red. When he speaks again, is dropping his voice for those at the table to hear.
Gareth will not respond right away to Alistair's words, instead, the Grayson will continue to watch, and only the tightening of his hands around his cane will betray any realization he is being spoken to right away. "There are no such things as demons, Inquisitor Alistair, just as there are no talking animals and the like. If I suspected there were demons in the pies.. I would have to ask you to put me out of my misery for insanity." Gareth notes as his head turns slightly to eye the man beside him. He takes his words very seriously it seems.
Talen has left the Pass Out Couch.
Fatima arrives.
"Prince Luca, you honor me." Calista replies, watching him bring her hand to his lips and brush over her knuckles. She smiles softly to him and offers a polite curtsey. "Thank you for the dance even though it was horribly forced upon us. Perhaps next time it could be of our own volition." She moves towards Esera and Deva and curtsies once more. "Thank you for inspiring the competition! It was the most fun I've had dancing. Perhaps instead of tournaments with jousts and swords we could have dance battles!" She kids. Mostly. Maybe not.
Kieran snerks a bit at Talen's blunt statement. "And watching me fight won't make them any less bored, Master Talen. If you're wanting a brawl, you should speak to Marcas or Princess Freja. Challenging the runt of the family will not earn you any glory." He chuckles and shakes his head at the man. "But if you insist on it, I won't deprive you. Though, my method of fighting is a bit unusual in that, I dance around and avoid fighting while you wear yourself out."
Luca releases her hand, with a subtle nudge towards Esera. "As a victorious champion, you should demand a boon," he advises her. Revenge! Then, he approaches to tumble down onto the couch beside Deva. "Shit. I forgot my bottle." He gives the Redrain princess a beseeching look. "If you want to comfort me...?"
"Less blood shed in a dance battle than in a tournament," Esera says. "Less mess." She bows her head to Calista, and then looks up at her, to smile. "Thank you for serving me so well," she says. "I'm sorry to have given you so little choice. It is always better, I know, for people to choose. But--" She shrugs, one-shouldered. "Sometimes I must choose for them, anyway."
Nadia disentangles herself from her conversation with Jacinthe and Vercyn, a remorseful smile painted across her lips. Briefly, she skims the crowds with a pursed mouth affecting a deeply contemplative countenance before she disappears into them, discreetly motioning a guard garbed in Nightgold colors to accompany her in hushed conversation.
Nadia has left the Small Table.
"I'll be right back," Deva beams at Luca. "Don't worry, comfort incoming."
Alistair watches the end of the dance before he looks back to Gareth and his serious words. There is an unspoken conflict there, between a Believer and Non--Believer, though Alistair has been getting better since he quickly learned during his time as a confessor, talk of demons warrant a laugh in the best of times, and a glare in the worst. The older Inquisitor stares at the prince, "I believe if I had to put your out of your misery for insanity, the chef would blame his terrible pie making skills. It would be quite the scene..."
Abandoning her couch, at least for a moment, Deva finds an empty table to hop up onto. Propriety is not really her style. Poor table. Whistling sharply, she tries to gather the room's attention. "Just wanted to thank you all for coming. Grab a glass, everyone. It's been a rough few months, and we're still picking up the pieces. But we are strong, and we are all the Compact, and we'll get through this shit together as one. To us!" she toasts the room high, before holding the glass to her lips for a quick gulp. "Tonight, our home is your home. Relax and enjoy. Eat more boar and drink to your heart's content" With her short and not at all eloquent announcement finished, she hops back off to recline in comfort once more.
Nadia is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
"I don't fight for personal glory," Talen promises Kieran, extending a hand in sportly offer to help him up from the chaise. "I would fight Captain Marcus in an instant but," he looks around, "since he's not here, you'll do nicely. I have a magnum of Thraxian rum to get through tonight. I'm barely a tenth of the way in. I need an excuse to nurse the rest, it's foul stuff in truth."

When the Redrain prince nevertheless proposes he'll dance defensively about him in combat, he smiles slight amount. "You can certainly try, your highness. I like to make contact. Let's test the theory." Reaching for the bottle of rum, he drinks heavily from it before offering it the the man. Whether it's taken or not, as soon as it's aside, Talen invades personal space with in clear threat, inspired by the wildly accomodating room around them.
Jacinthe sits forward a little and replaces the wineglass on the table. Her gaze lifts and trails after Nadia, the opportunity used to skim the movement of the crowd, before returning to the Duke. "Let's add his name to the pool then." But she is disinclined to go immediately on the prowl for their chosen target. All of this plotting, it rouses an appetite and she takes knife in hand once more to assault the slices of roast boar laid out at their table by Vercyn. "You do realized, my lord," she tells the man as she sections off a small bite for herself, "that I myself have some small musical aspirations and your most dire insults against that craft mean that we are now mortal enemies. I'll have to advance my schedule for betraying you."
Luca has no drink, so he claps for Deva's call to a toast. If that's not the done thing, ah well.
Luca has joined the Bear Table.
Luca has left the Bear Table.
Luca has joined the Small Table.
Luca has left the Small Table.
Fatima has left the game.
Fatima has entered the game.
Luca has joined the Pass Out Couch.
"The Chef would likley have to spend some time in the Hall of Questions, yes. Accusations levied by an inquisitor must be taken seriously after all." Gareth responds as his fingers tap lightly against his cane as he doesn't move an inch, nor seem to visibly or physically respond to Alistar, such as turning to face the man, or offering a smile.. a nod even. "At the very least though, as there would be little evidence it would not be difficult for the Chef to wal kaway with his life."
Calista has just grabbed a glass of wine and is looking to Esera with her mouth open, about to speak when Deva hops onto a table to speak. She listens to the Princess and hostess' words and lifts her glass in kind. "Here, here!" The noblewoman offers a bit of a rousing applause. Once she sips from her glass she returns her attention to the Grand Duchess, "Mind if I join you, Your Grace?"
Once she's back and seated, Deva abruptly leans in close and slides her fingers into Luca's hair, proceeding to kiss him in the opposite of a chaste manner. "Are you consoled?" she wonders, pulling back with a bright and breathless smile. "I think we should add dance battles, but I'd be so disappointed if jousting went away forever. It adds some nice variety, though, for sure," she grins at Calista, perhaps a bit belatedly so.
Kieran takes a swig of the rum, before setting the bottle next to his glass. "I'm not sure I will even give you a chance to nurse your drink." He rises from his seat and slips into a defensive posture, watching the other man in hopes of being able to dodge any swings.
"I could deny my Champion nothing," Esera offers Calista. "You are always welcome, Lady Calista. There is never cause to ask." She lifts one hand to muffle a laugh, as Deva pulls Luca into a kiss -- not a laugh at anyone's expense, but a laugh of clear delight. "Northerners," she murmurs, appreciative. Not as though a lady of the Lyceum has any space to judge.
Esera has left the Pass Out Couch.
Fatima steps into the Great Hall quietly. She's not only fashionably late, but she's arrived so late that she's quite unsure if the event is still going. She pulls the long scarf around her shoulders tighter about her as she begins to move around the room seeking out someone she knows, but her attention is briefly attracted by the two men who look as if they're preparing to fight. She skirts around them, but keeps them in view from the corner of her eyes.
Esera has joined the Bear Table.
Talen inflicts serious damage to Kieran.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Aislin before departing.
Esera takes Calista's hand, to guide her from the couch Luca and Deva share, to a somewhat less impassioned table.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Lydia before departing.
Luca is thoroughly kissed. When Deva pulls away, he takes a moment to taste his lips, brows up and eyes still closed. "I forgot why I was upset," he admits, "But I was still hoping for more of a drink than a taste." He grins at her, a sudden flash of teeth, clearly prepared to be hit for his insolence.
"Unless of course..." Alistair starts, allowing those words to hang in the air and no finish the thought for a solid moment of silence between the two Inquisitors. He doesn't say the obvious, instead building upon the scenario, as it seems Gareth is constantly thinking of the possible scenarios that could play out. "The chef has an alibi, he never made the pies. The sous-chef did. But of course the lead chef was conveniently hired away by a rival house... Ah the possibilities are endless I guess. Someone ends up in the Hall of Questions at the end..."
"Roughousing builds character," Talen seems to say as he squares off with Kieran and, when they find a space, he lunges. A noise comes from him as he punches, the effort to impact Kieran brutal in the thud to the prince's chest. Raising his arms in turn, he exhales slowly, letting the heat from the rum's burn be breathed out. "You do not fight normally, then?" he queries. "Out of choice, or?" he asks. It is kept civil, as much as one can be when he's socketing a closed fist into the torso of another.
Kieran gets hit for Luca's insolence instead. A nice firm punch to the gut, which knocks the wind out of the young man. He takes a deep dreath and straightens his posture again. That's one thing he is used to, getting the crap kicked out of him. The North is unforgiving, even to princes.
(OOC) Luca says: I am an artful dodger, apparently. Poor Kieran.
Kieran adds in response to Talen, "We all have our talents. Mine lie elsewhere."
Deva moves to punch Luca's shoulder, but she pulls it back and waggles her eyebrows instead and murmurs something low at their couch after they are abandoned by Esera. "Come on, Kieran, go go! Get a good hit in!" she calls out to her brother, clapping in an encouraging manner.
(OOC) Kieran says: Oh, this was already determined before combat was started. Strength 1 and no combat skills at all. Yeeeeeah.
(OOC) Aislin says: O.O
(OOC) Esera says: I feel like a hulk with strength 2 now.
(OOC) Lydia says: I'm ... stronger than Kieran? This seems very, very wrong.
(OOC) Aislin says: Esera SMASH!
(OOC) Alistair looks at his strength 5...
(OOC) Luca says: Really? Strength 1? 1?!
(OOC) Kieran almost made Kieran an dwarf like Tyrion but thought that was just too on the nose.
Her hiney doesn't even get to touch the seat when her hand is taken by Esera. Calista's eyes widen when Deva smooches Luca in a not so innocent manner. "If that's what the 'loser' gets, I have to wonder what's in store for me!" The Fidante comments with laughter to Esera as they change seats. Her eyes quickly move from Luca and Deva to Talen and Kieran. "Speaking of arousing.."
Gareth will just shake his head in response to his lips twisting into a frown. "If that were the case. It would likley be that the chef would be fired from his profession. However this is unrelated to the topic at hand I suppose. What has brought you to this affair?" Gareth inquires as his head shifts to look the man over beside him as he offers a nod.
Calista has joined the Bear Table.
(OOC) Kieran says: And Charm and command 5.
When Kieran replies, Talen bows his head in brief show of acknowledgement. "That is not something to be ashamed of," he says, studying his opponent and raising his hands to shield his face from the incoming hit. The slightest sway to the side protects him, however. "I am sure there are a great many things you would trounce me in. Chess, for example," he says. "Perhaps you must challenge me to a game of that someday, in repayment."
Talen inflicts minor damage to Kieran.
Jacinthe leans towards Vercyn to impart some softer statement-- a threat, perhaps, in light of what she'd previously told the man-- but the flurry of not-really-a-fight steals her attention. Briefly, but long enough for hazel eyes to drift sidelong and settle upon the spectacle of Kieran and Talen going at it like... well, like fellows who are trying to go at it.
Luca finds a bottle nearby, anyway, to do the real heavy lifting for his bereavement at his loss. His first loss! He's taking a drink when Deva says something that makes him choke and cough.
"A gathering of some of the cities finest and highest. I thought it would be prudent to have another set of watchful eyes upon the gathering." the other Inquisitor doesn't question Gareth's presence, knowing he has no right nor need to. His eyes glance over to the fight between Kieran and Talen, the man watching their display with little interest. He glances over to Gareth to see if he views the fight at all, considering the man's martial bearing before joining the Hooded Order.
Kieran takes a swing and completely misses Talen, earning a glancing blow for his trouble. "I am not one for playing chess to be honest. Too dull of a game." He looks over at his sister and shakes his head at her cheering him on. "Deva, you know you would fare better at this than me."
Talen inflicts moderate damage to Kieran.
Deva looks at Luca with narrowed eyes for a moment. She decides to kiss him again, but briefly this time. A hand thrusts out to reach for the bottle to take a sip of her own. "Aw, come on, Kieran! Lighten up, you can totally do this."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Calista before departing.
Talen has the measure of Kieran almost instantly and, in a lower tone, he speaks to the opponent while mimicing a motion of attack without following through. Then, when he finally does, it's with a light impact to jab the prince's arm.

A hand lifts and slides through his hair, fingers filtering through the deep brown before he queries louder, "Do you have a champion on retainer, then?" he asks, weaving away from Kieran and then colliding one last time, to smack him firmly in the ribs. "You should consider the guild here in Arx. It is stocked with men and women looking to take a cause for their own. It's rather a pet project, I hear." With that, he lowers his arms then, seemingly ready to relinquish to Kieran's admission of being out of his element.
"That might be wise.. or at least.. it is perhaps not unusual." Gareth mutters as he looks to Aisilin then as he offers a small frown to the man finally. "I will leave it to you then to insure that nothing untoward happens.." He'll state as he offers a slight dip of his chin as the man just walks on by.. not even really registering or paying much heed to the display of Martial skill going on nearby.
Calista takes a messenger before slipping into her seat at the table.
(OOC) Talen says: And that was totally Talen running his hand through his own hair. Not Kierans. Not yet, anyway.
(OOC) Talen says: Give it time. More rum.
"Long days and pleasant nights to you Prince Inquisitor. I will keep the watch here..." he says, the departing words sounding far to soft and sincere for an Inquisitor to manage. Perhaps he is practicing the proper weaving of lies. As Gareth departs, Alistair resumes a 'relaxed' stance of arms clasped behind his back, his head turning to view the room as his body remains oriented in a single direction. He glances to the messenger that arrives and departs, suspicion following the servant the entire time until his eyes settle upon those nobles who aren't currently fight.
Isolde arrives.
Gareth offers a nod then as he moves towards the doorway, lifting a hand then to offer the wave as he slowly but surley steps his way to the doorway, the soft clack of his cane sounding out as he makes his way through the crowd..
(OOC) Gareth waves adios
Gareth is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Crown Bedchamber.
Isolde makes her way into the north, standing near the entrance, looking over the crowd for a moment, hesitantly.
Esera catches sight of Isolde, across the room, and holds her in her gaze.
"... Of course, your Grace. I would be honored," Acacia acknowledges after a moment, dropping her hand into Niccolo's extended one and then slowly sliding up to her feet after only a modest adjustment to her skirt. A partial miscalculation, or a strategic one, has her leaning forward just a bit, words issued briefly, before she straightens with a controlled smile.
Acacia has left the Bear Table.
Isolde looks back at Esera, not seeming... pleased, and giving a pointed look to the dance floor.
Esera answers Isolde's pointed look with a defiant one.
Kieran laughs at what is said to him and he nods, "Yes. Yes. I am sure she did. She enjoys causing chaos almost as much as I do. Don't worry, though. You are not the first, and I assure you that you will not be the last. As I said, the North is hard on all." He then shakes his head to Talen, "No, I do not, and I do not plan to use one. If I need someone to truly defend me then I have failed where my talents truly lie, and I deserve what comes." He moves back to where he was sitting and grabs the bottle to hand back to Talen, before collecting his wine glass.
Niccolo rises from the table taking Acacia's hand in his. "You're very kind to my daughter, Lady Calista," he says, with a faint smile. Turning to Acacia he allows hints of a grin and dips his head to her, guiding her to dance floor and in the process, fleeing the sisters' death match.
Niccolo has left the Bear Table.
Luca is absorbed in his quiet conversation with Deva. Absorbed! It's a miracle.
"Talen, darling! Where are you?" Isolde starts to head over to Esera's table. "My sister is looking -very- much rested and ready to dance. Will you do me the favor?" She smiles brilliantly, locking her gaze on Esera.
Edain has left the Bear Table.
Lydia has left the Bear Table.
Lydia is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
"An interesting perspective, Prince Kieran of House Redrain," Talen says after a time, straightening his doublet and the way his billowing sleeves fall. When the large bottle of Thraxian rum is presented back to him he accepts it and then, drawing it to his chest, he bows deeply to Kieran. "You did me an honour, standing as you did, despite the outcome."

The Sword of Lenosia has it seems just ceased a small brawl and when he takes his hat back from the attendant who took it, he wanders over to Isolde, lips perking slightly. "Oh, I already did," he says with dastardly amusement. "We appointed champions to do the legwork, however."
Esera gestures to Calista, in illustration. Her gaze remains defiant.
Isolde narrows her eyes at Esera then, and looks at Talen. "Well, congratulations. Now... do it yourself. I'll take her seat." She glides over to the table and sits herself down. She's gotten a headstart on the drinking.
Isolde has joined the Bear Table.
Tension! Conflict! Scandal? The Inquisitor's eyes are naturally drawn to the seeming shadow dance that is done between Isolde and Esera. The flitting motions, swift glances, unsaid words. The intense gaze of the Hood watches it all play out.
Edain standing from his table and bowing to everyone sitting there, escaping just in time as Isolde arrives and the Lyceum Lady to stuffy Valardin Knight ratio becomes dangerously lopesided, Edain makes his exit, "Good evening Princess" He says to Isolde as he makes his way out and then moves through the room to find Deva, "Princess Deva, I wanted to thank you for a wonderful feast."
Esera is ousted, unceremoniously, from her seat. She recovers herself, regains her balance in a shimmer of iridescent silk. The look she gives Isolde is death. But there's love in it, too. Sisters.
Esera has left the Bear Table.
There's a small tug on Niccolo's hand when Acacia had swiftly pivoted from him, if only to claim her whiskey glass from the table, promptly down it, and then settle it back with an effortless smile. A single look between Isolde and Esera and her subtle motivation to stray to the dance floor in understated silk alongside Niccolo is relatively spurred. Although her lips twist in a partial grin, she keeps her voice low, stilling to allow him to face her, rather than the other way around. The drape of her left arm about his silken shoulders is a simple one, but her cheek is nearly brushing against his own at her whisper, fingers roving up his own forearm until they're able to clasp his hand.
Calista lifts her hand and with a graceful wave, calls Isolde over to the Bear table. Thankfully she did not understand the sign language between sisters to make a comment. "Princess Isolde, you just missed a bit of fisticuffs between Master Artiglio and Prince Kieran."
Fatima's head tilts as she makes her way to the outskirts of the room. She recognizes the inquisitor that has left, and Acacia, but nobody else. She smiles faintly and makes her way toward the door, exiting as quietly as she entered.
Fatima is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Luca smiles up at Edain, an easygoing expression for an easygoing fellow. "Great, isn't it? Luca Velenosa." Probably he's met Edain before, but it never hurts to be safe.
"Prince Edain, it is good to see you. Have a good evening." Isolde nods and she slides into the table. She looks at Calista and nods. "I see. Well, I am not sure I -missed it-. But I am glad I found time to attend the festivities when air was... tolerable."
"I'm glad you could make it, Prince Edain. Thank you for your presence," Deva beams at Edain, bowing her head politely. "I hope to see you again soon." She smiles a tiny bit wider as Luca introduces himself.
Edain bows to Luca and says, "The pleasure is mine Prince Luca." They have after all only previously met in the briefest of passings, "Though I fear I am on my way out, perhaps more proper introductions and a stiff drink can follow another time?"
With his gloves and hat donned once more, Talen then upends the rum to drink heavily from it, glugging down a few hard swallows. As he starts away from Kieran, he speaks toward the man and lips curl, before finally he addresses Isolde. "I cannot deny the princesses of my family," he says with a certain tilt of his tone, grey eyes shifting toward Esera.

Wordlessly he turns, extending both arms. One is a hand, to take. The other a huge bottle of rum. "One dance, then. My fate is obviously so cruel," he lies, with flair. "Will you grant me a moment then, your grace?"
"Sounds good, man." Luca bids Edain goodbye with a simple dip of his chin, the picture of casual. Or lazy, have your pick. He sprawls with one arm draped over the back of the couch, fingers idly toying into Deva's hair from time to time.
Calista grins surreptitiously at Isolde before letting her inquisitive eyes roam over the dance floor.
Edain is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Isolde nods once, satisfied, leaning back in her chair, watching the dancefloor as well. She leans over to kiss Calista's cheek, the firelight reflecting off her mirrored mask. "Thank you for keeping me up on the important happenings, darling."
Having left his daughters to be the sisters they are, Niccolo makes his way to the dance floor with Acacia. Once they reach a spot in the dance floor, leaving the middle for potential additional dancing partners, the duke turns to face the woman in her understated silks. He settles one hand on the low of her back, the other joining with hers in the classical dancing pose. He leans in to listen to Acacia's whisper, offering one of his own.

Then the dance begins. The moves start simple, steps that slowly gain in complexity as the couple moves together. Niccolo shows both grace and dexterity, as he guides Acacia through them.
Esera takes the bottle of rum from Talen. She looks back at Isolde, weighs her sister's mood, turns it around and around again in her mind -- and then takes Talen's hand in her own. "Fate is often cruel," she says. "But it is sometimes merciful, too. Sometimes even kind." She lifts that bottle of Thraxian rum to her lips, and drinks deeply from it.
Aislin lounges at her table, her cousin Lydia having gone, watching as people come and go from the Bear Table. All the while sipping her wine, munching on pieces of cheese and bits of boar. A tap on her shoulder has her looking to a messenger. Unopening the letter she shakes her head. Folding the paper up with a soft smile to the messenger as he is dismissed. "Well, Lords, Ladies, it was a pleasure to meet you all." she says as she stands. Those linen clothing that looks closer to layers of robes brushed down absently. "It would seem one of the housemaids at the Badger decided to open a box she shouldn't of an now I have a Lenosian fighting weasel on the loose in my room somewhere." she dips her head with a hand over her heart. "I will return.".
Calista's lips curl in a dastardly way. "Of course, your highness. You look breath-taking as always. You did miss a dance battle between your cousin, Prince Luca and myself. It was rousing to say the least. I think he was trying to make me trip and fall."
Isolde looks expectant at Esera and Talen, drumming her fingers on her upper arm as they're crossed in front of her. To Calista, she nods, "I am truly sorry I missed that. Perhaps I will convince you for a repeat performance, or at least, the highlights."
Esera looks back at Calista, accusatory. Traitor!
Content, Deva leans against Luca's side and watches the dancers with a happy little smile. She is, of course, clutching whiskey, so that helps her mood too.
Aislin is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Badger Boardinghouse - Bountiful Room #2.
Aislin has left the Bear Table.
If Alistair looks eager to deal with accusations of treason he does not show it. He lets the social 'fight' proceed with out interruption or referee. Hopefully no hair pulling happens, then it would become a real mess.
Jacinthe, after a quiet exchange with Vercyn, looks about again. Spying one of the /many/ messengers who have been circulating throughout the room-- thick as guests they are in here-- she raises a hand to summon one. Whereupon she immediately divests the young man of parchment, quill and look at that, a tiny pot of ink. Convenient fellows, these.
While Esera drinks, Talen steps with a rhythmic pace around her. As she is almost passive to begin with, wrapped up in the moment of heavy drinking, he follows the backing beat of a drum in the music that plays. Each step lands on the resounding boom of that instrument. The longing of his gloved hand as it traces around the middle of Esera's waist is perfectly portrayed, unable to gain a hold on her even as his fingertips disturb the green gown.

Stepping closer when the rum's bottle is finally lowered, however, he murmurs quietly and keeps his gaze locked intently upon the Grand Duchess' own, securing a cupped palm against her hip to turn the archduchess in a gradual spin. An oval orbit, bringing them into a wider and wider ring around the dancefloor, narrowly missing other couples. This, all under the scrutiny of Isolde.
Darker eyes slide across Niccolo's features askance, before Acacia's lips split into a wry grin and there's an upwards roll of her eyes. There's almost something routine about those initial movements, the simpler ones established as if the core of a well-trained session. Despite it, across his shoulder, there's a continued observance of their surroundings and those who dance among them, only periodically broken when he might consume her focus otherwise. The near-silent whisper of silk is lost within any others who might venture towards the floor alongside him, with the progressing complexity slowly forcing out a more natural smile. But on occasion, the whip of her half-woven scarlet braid across her shoulder, or the crisper way that she transitions between swifter endeavors to those more languid suggests something more akin to fighting than honed grace.
There is a look of relief that washes over Calista's features. It might say /I'm so thankful I don't have sisters/ or, it could just be that the wine is so delicious she's going to have some more. "I might be coaxed into a repeat performance but Prince Luca has been otherwise detained." Mirth plays on those succulent lips as she leans in closer to Isolde and gestures to where Luca and Deva are getting to know one another.
"Oh? Well, that is a shame. I'll have to remember to insist at another time." Isolde nods, very scrutinous at Esera and Talen, but there's a pleased look in her eye as well. She lowers her voice to converse with Calista.
The rum hits Esera hard and fast, and her eyes go wide just as Talen takes her by the hip, and spins her away onto the dance floor. The skirts of her gown spin with her, a swirl of silk and scales. Her dark hair, half-loose, hides her face by one turn, and flows back by another. Her cheeks are flushed -- from the rum, no doubt -- and though she is light headed, she is equally aglow. Her grip upon the bottle of rum tightens.
Kieran is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Soon the Inquisitor's gaze falls upon Acacia and Niccolo. Perhaps Gareth left orders with the man to keep a close eye on the protege and the master considering their little encounter earlier in the party. He watches the two move about on the dance floor in their little display of skill. Not nearly as riveting as the 'earlier' battle, but it suits the Hood long enough until he steps back into the shadows of the feast and disappears from view of most of the guests.
The complexity of their dance continues to build, and soon following the music, Niccolo weaves in moves that has them, spiraling and spinning across the dance floor. Sometimes, courting the clash against other couples so closely, yet always managing to sneak a step out of the way just in time. Holding Acacia's hand, the duke twirls her away from him, only to pull her back, having her crash hard against him in what must be a move borrowed from some Lycene dance.

And with that move, Niccolo dials up the intensity of the dance, having it take on more staccato notes that certainly makes it look more like a fight than dancing. He whispers something to Acacia's ear.
Quicker and quicker, tighter and tighter, the controlled spin is born as much from Esera's grace as it is Talen's strength. As the duo turn into a whirlwind of motion it becomes harder to make out the details of either dancer and with the inevitable dizziness encroaching, the Sword pulls his charge nearer to him. When they hit their peak speed for their rotations, Talen dips his companion and employs his free arm, previously tucked to his hip, under Esera's legs.

The culmination of the circuit around the room only comes when, daringly pulling the archduchess off her feet, Talen escapes his spiral and does his very best to recover from the turns to stalk off the dancefloor. With the power of will, the offset the buzz of his rum, the Lenosian male carries the Grand Duchess of the Lyceum from the room without another word spoken, or even so much as a farewell given.
Calista waves a hand over to one of the servers for the evening. It appears she and Isolde are going to partake in some whiskey this evening.
Isolde watches Talen sweeping Esera out and she goes from stern to smiling quickly, and lays her head on Calista's shoulder. "Whiskey it is."
Acacia's typical half-diffident facade proves challenging to skim over; the demand of increasing intensity robbing her observations of the crowds until it solely resides on Niccolo, if only in an attempt to keep up. The upwards slits within her skirt do little to expose the true glimpses of skin within her turns, layers upon layer of the muted bronze fabric revealed instead to shear across her ankles. That single move must've been practiced, because with the stray mistakes she might make and gloss over; partial missteps which are guided back through his own experience-- she succeeds in that one. The tighter outwards spin leaves her arm crisply extended, the bolder smirk slashed across her mouth evident, before she's promptly pivoting inwards to tuck back in against him with her elbow poised in a near-threatening manner in itself. From there, however, she rejoins him almost in strikingly formal contrast, her cheeks darkened a bit from exertion, gaze brighter, but decorum retained as if it was never lost to begin with.
(OOC) Deva is gonna wind the log up here in a few because we're running on four hours now! Thanks for coming, all. :D
Esera's gaze falls out of focus, with each spin around the room -- falls out of focus, and then snaps back again. She spins, and the room spins with her. It becomes harder to see, and to do, everything a whirlwind around her, streaks of color and light. At the last turn, her ankle wobbles. Just the once. Then she's swept up into Talen's arms, swept up and carried away, flushed and exhilerated and entirely lost in the spinning lights. She holds onto her bottle of rum like it is her sole and overwhelming drive in life.
Talen is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Esera is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Deva rises up from her couch and strides over to where Calista and Isolde are seated. There's a warm smile for both, and a flutter of her fingers for the latter. "I'm glad you could make it after all, Princess. It's good to see you. I hope you enjoy the whiskey!" She turns to Calista, then, smile bright. "And thank you for coming, Lady Calista. I might have to ask you for some dancing tips here soon."
Luca takes the opportunity, alone now at the couch, to push himself to his feet. He snags a full bottle of whiskey from somewhere in his eyeline and then disappears further into the Redrain mansion. Not towards the exit; apparently he's making himself at home.
Luca has left the Pass Out Couch.
Luca is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Dining Room.
And as their dance starts slowing down, it eventually comes to a stop. The duke remains in the dance floor for a few moment along with Acacia, and it's only then that he looks in the direction his daughter and Talen left. He links his arm with his protege's and with a dip of his head to those still present, Niccolo strides towards the exit himself.
(OOC) Alistair says: Thanks for hosting!
"Princess Deva, forgive me for my dramatic antics, but I am glad I could make it as well. I hated to not support you, but would rather have the party stay festive, than cause problems." Isolde laughs as she shakes her head at Luca's wandering. She motions to the table where Calista and she sits. "Join us, darling?"
Niccolo is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Acacia is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
Alistair is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.
"Yes, please join us.. unless..." Calista glances in the direction of where everyone is disappearing to, "There are other pressing matters to tend to."
"Completely understood." Deva tells Isolde with a low laugh. She glances over her shoulder, watching Luca depart with a fond smile. "Sure, for a moment," she decides, sinking onto one of the empty chairs. "How have you been, dear sister?" she wonders, while waving a server over to provide more alcohol.
Deva also just gives Calista a smile. "I'd love to stay for a drink. Another drink. I've lost count by now."
Deva has left the Pass Out Couch.
Deva has joined the Bear Table.
Jacinthe rises and sets her hand in Vercyn's, using that point of support to dip at the knee. With head bowed and eyes downcast, her posture strikes a demure note. "Until then, my lord," she murmurs, withdrawing her hand and folding it into the bell of her skirts.
Vercyn stands from the table and inclines his head while smiling brightly at Deva, "Thank you very much for hosting the party, your highness. I had a wonderful time, and hope that his highness Prince Kieran heals in good time." He smiles at Jacinthe, "Until then, Miss Jacinthe."
Jacinthe has left the Small Table.
Vercyn is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - The Spirits - Renowned Room #1.
Vercyn has left the Small Table.
Isolde laughs lightly and she lifts her head from Calista's shoulder. "I have been well, busy, but well. Going to and fro seems to be how I survive." She nods to Calista. "Lady Calista keeps me honest, I think." SHe nods lightly. "And you? How are you? How have things been here in the North?"
"A most wonderful party, your highness," Jacinthe says on the heels of Vercyn's remarks to Deva. Her smile flashes out, intended for the princess along, and then she too slips towards the exit. There is a wrestling pit out there, after all, and the possibility of large, well-muscled men occupying the same.
Jacinthe is leaving Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Great Hall, heading for Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Redrain Villa - Welcome Hall.

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