Prince Edain's Open Office Hours
Feb. 4, 2020, 6 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Valardin Manor - Audience Hall
Comments and Log
3 Keaton Huntsmen, Marie, chef of Keaton Hall, Sir Pupsalot, a polite, tri-color corgi, Oaken, an Oakhaven bloodhound, Fidelity, a white-tailed eagle, 1 Healer Guardian, Gigi, an apprentice physician with attitude problems arrive, following Reigna.
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The guests left a big mess. Servants blame Bhandn.
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The guests left a big mess. Sir Bhandn stole all the tea.
Calypso comes striding into the audience hall with a man's long stride and an easy sway to her hips that's undeniably feminine. She blows right past the guard with a halbert who's yelling about Duchess Calypso Malvici, Lady General of blah blah blah, taking a drink from a bottle of whiskey as she goes. Seeing nobody here, not even Edain, she shrugs and finds a place to take a seat. This is her office now.
Calypso has joined the an oval oak audience table.
Reigna arrives, laughing as she throws a stick for her dogs. The bloodhound looks up at his mistress archly while the corgi loses its gods damned mind, racing forward on stumpy legs, hind quarters shaking him sideways before he pounces on the stick with all the dignity of a happy dog. Reigna giggles and shakes her head before looking around to see if Edain is there. Seeing no High Lord, she instead spies Calypso and offers the Malvici duchess a smile. "Duchess Calypso! It has been some time since our lessons on swaying the minds of the public. How have you been?"
Calypso is sitting sideways in the biggest, nicest chair (which means she's probably sitting in Edain's chair) with her legs draped over the arm, drinking whiskey from the bottle. She perks up a little bit when she sees Reigna, though. "Marquessa Reigna. It's good to see you." She gives Reigna a wry smile. "I'll admit that I haven't been myself these last few months. How are you? Lots of dogs still, I see."
Stomp, stomp, stomp...
"Dame Mercedes Valardin, Inquisitor and Ghoulsl--"
There's a disapproving hiss from the next woman to enter the bizarrely-tranquil audience hall, a steely-eyed glare shot to the guard, who stammers to an awkward halt. With a rattle of the blades at her hip, and a toss of her head that flicks bark-dark hair across the front of her longcoat, Mercedes resumes the rhythmic strike of her authoritative bootheels. Pale eyes regard the expansive, opulent space with a broad sweep and a gloomy frown as she sees just how not underway proceedings are. Strange. Disappointing. Unnerving? Perhaps.
She slows her pace a little, dimming the echo of those confident footfalls, and makes her way up beside Reigna, inclining a bow to her cousin and then a lizardlike blink at the woman seated in Edain's place. "Cousin. An honor," she murmurs almost offhand, intending to be far warmer - at least, for Mercedes - but copiously distracted by the Duchess.
"Prince Edain, you look... splendid." She intones a beat later, cutting a second bow to the High Lord. "I assume the duel is off, as you have taken Duke Cristoph's fashion advice." Her pale lips twitch, the ghost of a smile. Desert-dry humor lacing her tone. "It fits you well."
Saoirse slides slightly out of a shadow from.. over there. Near Baelor somewhere. She eyes her fellow Lenosian and leans in to whisper to the lord.
"I think when you marry into a family known for their hounds, there's a certain level of expectation." Reigna quips back to the Malvici, even as she reaches out to scritch Oaken's velvet ears. "I am sorry to hear you've been unwell. If there is anything at all I might do, please do not hesitate to ask." As Mercedes approaches, Reigna tries and fails to stifle her smile. "Dame Mercedes! Cousin! Have you met the Duchess Malvici? I think the two of you would have *lots* in common."
Calypso breaks into a laugh. She is, indeed, wearing giant, stompy knee high leather boots with buckles running up the sides. Which is as close to opposite to socks or slippers as a person could go and still have shoes on. And a sleeveless silk shirt that DEFINITELY wouldn't look the way it does if Edain was wearing it. "I've been working out," she says cheerfully to Mercedes (how much whiskey has she drunk?). "Thank you for noticing."
Sir Bhandn has something of a long-suffering expression on his face, but that's because of the herald announcing people. The aging knight visibly winces over titles, his grey eyes sweeping around as if half-expecting someone to pounce on him because of it. There's a breath that comes from his mouth after looking around, a sigh he doesn't succeed at disguising while a calloused hand rubs at his forehead. Still, he didn't come all this way for nothing, so he'll keep moving forward and approach the Marquessa of Keaton, stopping at a respectable distance away so as not to intrude on her conversation with Calypso.
Princess Sparta Thistlefur, a shy stoatlet arrives, following Astraea.
Princess Sparta Thistlefur, a shy stoatlet leaves, following Astraea.
"Then we shall have to exchange fitness regimes; truly, in but a week the transformation is breathtaking." A second bow is yielded once Reigna makes her introduction, the humor retreating back into the safety of the inquisitor's steely exterior. There's not a whiff of alcohol upon Mercedes, but is there ever? Nothing but a straight edge, bar the dryest wit imaginable. "Duchess Malvici, then. Well met." She fires a glance past bark-dark hair, the earlier frown sliding back onto her brow. It's clear there's no sign of the rumored High Lord, and so she doesn't question it; words would only be wasted, it seems. With a gentle outbreath, she looks back to the pair, a dark brow lifting.
"Much in common?" She repeats back, thoughtfully. "Apart from our common nature, perhaps." That failed ghost of a smile. "Do you, too, tire of the games of nobility and the constant pressure to wed men beneath your worth? That blade at your hip does seem a better companion for you than any over-eager oaf could be."
Reigna clucks her tongue at Mercedes, though her eyes dance with mirth. "Come now my cousin, do remember to smile! Besides, the fear of being married off should have ended when you became godsworn!" There is a pause and Reigna asks with a comically fake whisper, "Wait.. you *are* godsworn, are you not?" Her brows are lifted. She smiles back to Calypso, studying the woman for a lengthy moment before she notes Bhandn's approach. "Sir Bhandn! I certainly hope you are having a better day than the last time I saw you."
Calypso swings her legs off the chair and sits forward to talk to Mercedes. "I'm the Duchess of Southport," she reminds the other woman with a wry smile. "My family know better than to pressure me to marry some limp rag that comes with a good dowry. Who I marry is my business." She takes a drink. "I'm with you on the politics, though. It gets old fast." Her gaze shifts up to the title-announcer when Bhandn comes in. "That guy missed his calling. He should have been an opera singer."
Talk of fitness regimes is enough to catch Sir Bhandn's attention as well, and while he does give Mercedes a nod in response to her words -- and slight recognition, though that was some time ago -- his eyes go straight back to Reigna when she addresses him. There's a wan smile that appears on his lips, and at first he nods, momentarily forgetting he has a voice, but he finds words in short order. "I could say the same for you, Lady Keaton, compared to the last time I paid a call upon you and the Marquis. One hopes the children especially are feeling well rested."
Mercedes gives another twitch of her lips to Reigna, protesting with a blink and a hand raised defensively, "I am smiling. See?" Even if she was, she's definitely not now. Is she trying? Unclear. With a shake of her head, she abandons the endless quest to please others with her expression - forget ghouls and demons, that's the real enemy - and rejoins with a gentle sigh. "Crownsworn, at the least. I was Champion, now Inquisitor. I am... married to my work. The rules may not forbid me marrying, but what reason would there be for it? We face threats far greater than a cold bed at night." Frown. "I sometimes wonder if others even realize that."
Pale eyes roam back to Calypso, and this time she succeeds with the smile, quite without meaning to. Her left cheek dimples for an instant as thin lips actually manage something passable. "You're right," she asides to Reigna, "I like her." Following the attention of others town Bhandn, she sketches a third bow, hand riding to her abdomen.
"I'm afraid, Sir, you will have to make do with this courtly company today. It seems Prince Edain has come down with something." Sock-related, no doubt.
12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider arrive, following Jaenelle.
"I mean it." Calypso is, for a moment, fascinated by the halberd-wielding people announcer (who is probably blushing by now). "He got that whole title out in one breath. I couldn't do that." Then her ice colored eyes switch back to Mercedes, and her demeanor mutes a little bit. "When it's done right, it's more than a warm bed. It's someone else to fight with. It can make you stronger. For a while, anyway." She's sitting in the biggest, nicest chair in the room, which is probably Edain's chair, drinking from a bottle of whiskey and chatting with Mercedes.
Reigna smiles to Mercedes and says, "Two things cousin: I knew you would, and being unmarried is no excuse for a cold bed. Find some lovely boy or girl to spend some enjoyable time with. Or both if you want to be extremely efficient about it." Reigna looks to Bhandn and gives him a positively radiant smile, "They are *so* much better! It took a full three days before I was wishing they were tired again. I quite forgot what it meant to have four active children under the age of six in the House. Gods you can barely hear yourself think some days."
It might actually be true that Jaenelle is related to just about everyone. Coming to the office hours of her cousin, Jae enters the Audience Hall surrounded by guards which are all probably taller than she is, but her presence is unmistakable regardless. Especially as she is covered hear to toe in garments crafted from spidersilk. "Edain is not here, I see" she states the obvious to those gathered, a light gentle frown touching her lips. "How disappointing."
That pale stare settles upon Calypose, intent and thoughtful, as she elaborates upon the shift in her mien. There's a fire within the steel that's nothing to do with desire, or longing for that she speaks of. Her head inclines, chiselled jawline clenching subtly, maintaining eye contact for a long, almost uncomfortable moment before she ghosts another smile and comfortably pats the ebon hilt riding her right hip. "To each their own, Duchess. The strength of my arm, my Faith, and the support of my allies makes me quite strong enough. I am pleased for those who need something more, and find it. But I... have set myself upon a path I dreamed of since childhood. I couldn't be happier."
She doesn't look particularly happy, at first glance, but there's a solidity to Mercedes. A firmness in not just posture, but being. A woman who knows precisely whom she is.
"Reigna!" Which doesn't negate the severity of her tone as her cousin has to go and make the matter scandalous. At least she moves on swiftly to something more wholesome, leaving the knight-inquisitor to lift her free hand to her brow, grinding a palm into her temple, pale eyes rolling heavenward and coming to settle upon the entering Velenosian. "Indeed not, Princess, but if you would care to make your case, we have a more than fitting substitute." There's that beyond-wry jesting again. All too easily missed, or mistaken.
Saoirse glances at Jaenelle and seems to find her more ..comfortable.. than the others here. The other Velenosan princess meanders toward the Archduchess. She says something under her breath that sounds like 'disgusting'.
Calypso That brief moment of humanity that softened Calypso's features was exactly that: brief. When the title-announcer starts announcing Jaenelle, she looks up at the door and then rises from her (Edain's) seat. "Archduchess." She executes a deep, masculine bow. Yes, while holding a bottle of whiskey. Yes, without spilling it. It's a gift. Rising, she explains, deadpan: "There was some kind of slipper-related accident, I hear. Very tragic."
There's an answering smile to the Marquessa's exuberant one, though for a split second his turns sad, and then Sir Bhandn is shoving it down and turning his grey eyes to Mercedes as his expression becomes something more genuinely amused. "Even at your age, I couldn't stand a cold bed, and I'd wager I was just as, ah, /committed/ to my work. I would listen very closely to the ladies here, though I can't say I shared a bed with a fighting partner. We had other things on our minds than fighting, at the time." That last sentence is completely deadpan in tone. "Trust me when I say that there are other routes to happiness than simply duty, but I do not question your judgment to pursue only that. My point is more that duty is not the /sole/ method, so do not discount other possibilities should they present such an opportunity."
"What?" Reigna asks, her expression purely innocent, no hint of guile at all. "Sex is not only extremely entertaining, but it is good exercise as well." There is a firm nod from the Physician, "Well. Supposing you are an active participant anyway." Jaenelle's arrival has the Marquessa turning and offering the High Lord a curtsy. "Your Grace, how lovely to see you. Prince Edain appears to have forgotten where he was supposed to be and when. I am sure it is all Herald Steve's fault."
There is amusement on Jaenelle's features as Saoirse appears beside her, and the softly spoken words are uttered. "I am certain he will make it up to those who had business with him soon" is states to all those who have spoken to her. Mercedes is given another grin, "ah, I am afraid that while I am certain that there are others who could assist with the problem I have to bring to the Valardin Court, none of those within this room is capable of handling it. Though it certainly does have to do with marriage, which I think is the topic of discussion?" She could be very wrong though, having come in late. "I do have another meeting I must attend, so should he return from whatever horrors he faces with socks or slippers, or sex? Heralds. All of that sounds very hectic, I will seek him out then."
"The temperature of her bed is her business," Calypso tells Bhandn. She's still smiling, but there's a little more force behind those words than has been the case thusfar. Then she goes light hearted again: "I mean, unless one of us is in it, but I doubt that's going to be the case anytime soon." A pause. "Not that I'd necessarily object." Lycene until the last.
Bhandn is regarded by Mercedes with a wary, cynical eye, brows aloft and pale eyes not precisely amused. There's also a strange, and all the stranger for seeming *comfortable*, naivety in her manner. As though the very idea of having anything on her mind but 'fighting' and 'more fighting' were utterly wild and foreign. It would be a mistake to think the inquisitor naive, perhaps, but... mistakes are made, and often. "Allow me to counter, Sir Bhandn, without judgement, that personal satisfaction is something I have sought and found. If one path works, why would I choose another? Simple curiosity?" Her lips twitch. "More than enough things to be curious about already. Deeply, dizzyingly so."
Reigna is passed a pursing of thin lips with an accompanying level stare. "It probably is, cousin," she agrees, softening that expression as best she can beyond a heaving sigh, chest rising against the unyielding steel of her breastplate. You know, the one she has no real reason to be wearing. 'Being Mercedes' is reason enough. "I'm not a stranger to it. It simply--" Now the assault is coming from all sides. The roll of her eyes isn't ill-natured, but she cuts off any further protest with it. Settling for a bow toward Jaenelle, as the Princess moves to leave. "If Prince Edain appears, I shall let him know you stopped by."
And then to Calypse, "I wouldn't normally ask, but are *you* providing refreshment now?"
12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider leave, following Jaenelle.
2 House Velenosa Guards, Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air leave, following Saoirse.
Reigna smiles brightly to Mercedes and then offers a cursty to Calypso. "Well, if Prince Edain is not here, I should likely get back to the little ones before the nurses are run off. Do take care!"
Sir Pupsalot, a polite, tri-color corgi, Oaken, an Oakhaven bloodhound, Marie, chef of Keaton Hall, 3 Keaton Huntsmen, Gigi, an apprentice physician with attitude problems, Fidelity, a white-tailed eagle, 1 Healer Guardian leave, following Reigna.
"True," Sir Bhandn says, a slight concession in his tone as he bows to Calypso and then, a tick later, to Mercedes. "I am not certain I could give you a satisfactory response to your question. For each of us it is very different. For me, it was in sharing a heavy burden with a woman who felt the weight of the world, and of many lives, upon her shoulders. And our arguments, truth be told, but seeing her smile /became/ a satisfaction I did not think could ever be as satisfying as duty fulfilled, yet eventually it did."
Calypso gives Mercedes a quick grin, and holds the bottle out to her. "Good to see you again," she says to Reigna once she has offloaded the whiskey. "Is it really a relationship if nobody's throwing things?" She asks playfully of Bhandn when he mentions arguments.
The extended bottle brooks no hesitation in the righteous crusader, closing her hand upon it with a haste just a little shy of snatching. She nods her thanks, then takes a measured slug, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand as she pulls it away. Not a seasoned drinker, perhaps, but the spike of heat, the tang of pain in her throat is something she's more than accustomed to. It goes down well. Passing the bottle back, she waves a farewell to her cousin and then glances askance at Sir Bhandn. "There are burdens in my life I share with few, and would share with fewer still would it not hamper our chances at victory. I understand, though. If not about the... disagreements."
There's a faint blanch at that, as if she could imagine little more troublesome.
"I'd derive the same satisfaction from a war won, or a quiet conflict settled, seeing those smiles on the faces of others. Their relationship to me is of no importance." There's a small frown, without regret, as she appends a mental note to that. No need to share everything. She's sharing quite enough, by her usual standard.
"She was fond of putting things in my drinks," Bhandn says with an over-the-shoulder, wry look to Calypso. "There was a little hitting, too, but she quickly discovered that hitting me didn't really work, since I was used to far worse from just a spar." To Mercedes, he adds, "And sometimes that's enough." He doesn't press his side further, instead bowing his head momentarily to that single sentence that he gives to Mercedes. "I think, though, that I will not impose on the Valardin family further. My ladies," Bhandn continues, again with a bow to first Calypso and then Mercedes, "one hopes the day ends with you both in good spirits."
"The day will end, and if I am stronger for it then it was a good day, indeed," comes the smooth riposte to Sir Bhandn, coupled with a bow from the knight-inquisitor. "My regards and prayers to our wife, and always with you, Sir."
"It's shaping up to be a pretty good day," Calypso says, dropping right back into her (Edain's) seat as Bhandn starts to go. "Hopefully for you as well, Sir Bhandn."
"We never married," Bhandn says to Mercedes, again from over his shoulder as he makes his way to depart. "We both chose duty over that." Then, he's pausing to turn and acknowledge Calypso with a more shallow and less formal bow, before turning his back once again to depart in truth.
With the departure of the older knight, Mercedes turns to prop herself against the table opposite Calypso, bracing with one arm as the other extends with a second, genuine smile for the bottle. The attack on her sexual proclivities - or lack thereof - hopefully over, she relaxes considerably. Which is to say, barely, by any other's reckoning. It's there, though, in the rounding of her shoulders and the cast of steely gaze.
"So, stories of my own, or stories of yours? I am decidely curious how you came to your seat of power without bearing the burdens of your family. Or perhaps you didn't." Dark brows shift and raise, regarding the Duchess with an upturn of her chin, weight and measure in those pale eyes. And possibly a little admiration, somewhere. Distant.
Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights arrive, following Isabeau.
Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Isabeau.
Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights arrive, following Isabeau.
Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Isabeau.
Brenlin, an overworked aide, Jewel, a Maelstrom Forest Cat, Juana, a harried Lady's Maid, 3 House Mazetti Guardians arrive, following Miranda.
Brenlin, an overworked aide have been dismissed.
Jewel, a Maelstrom Forest Cat have been dismissed.
Juana, a harried Lady's Maid have been dismissed.
3 House Mazetti Guardians have been dismissed.
Calypso is, as advertised, sitting in the nicest, biggest chair in the room, which is probably Edain's chair, chatting and sharing a bottle of whiskey with Mercedes. She sits sideways on the chair, with her legs hanging over one of the arms.
Calypso is, as advertised, sitting in the nicest, biggest chair in the room, which is probably Edain's chair, chatting and sharing a bottle of whiskey with Mercedes. She sits sideways on the chair, with her legs hanging over one of the arms.
Mercedes is perched with only a trace of knightly dignity on the edge of the desk nearby.
Miranda enters Valardin manor with her small entourage. Juana is beside Brenlin, both servants are just behind Miranda. One Mazetti guardian is just a little beside Mir, the other two picking up the rear. The guardians are looking 'serious'. SERIOUS. Miranda takes a moment to look about the audience hall as she enters, automatically heading for the hall to the noble bedrooms. She pauses as she notes Mercedes at the table and the lovely Duchess lounging in a princely chair. She can't help but smile and detours slightly towards them. "My lady," she offers to Calypso, "You look positively delightful in your new chair. Does the Prince know you've usurped it?" A warm smile matches the soft, warm voice, though Miranda has a slight rasp as well. The other woman is greeted, "I'm Lady Miranda Mazetti."
1 Valardin Knights, Skiftfeather - an Elegant Snowy Owl, Morigan Bradshaw - Nurse and Doctor in Training, Fayre Wyrmfang - Excitable Champion, Jaibrian - Oathlands Vanner arrive, following Isidora.
Lystra Voss - The Quiet Assistant, Isidora arrive, following Fecundo.
The guard's umpteenth call is regarded with a tug of Mercedes' lips, pale eyes canting toward the entrance as Miranda and her entourage make their approach. She pauses in the act of lifting the whiskey bottle to her mouth, considers a moment and then knocks back a sharp mouthful anyway, placing the bottle down with a gentle clunk beside Calypso. There's no reaction to it this time, only the hidden heave of her breast as it rolls down her throat and warms her guts. That's her break; back to business, for the non.
Slipping easily from the desk, her stout frame balancing on authoritarian heels, the knight-inquisitor presents a bow to Miranda, all proper-like, hand across her abdomen and just the right inclination of form. "My Lady," she intones in welcome, her Oathlands accent not thick but certainly apparent - old habits die hard. "I believe Prince Edain is quite preoccupied; matters of high fashion and the deepest honor. Dame Mercedes Valardin, at your service." She doesn't append anything to that title; her inquisitor's badge is plenty apparent, and not something she's inclined to advertise with words that might comprise a boast. Dignity is one thing, pride another.
"Join us, if you would care to unwind in his absence. I was just thinking of pestering the Duchess for her life story." Is she joking? Hard to tell, with Mercedes. Her expression barely shifts.
"Miranda." Calypso's face splits into a warm smile. "Glad to see you." She looks down at his chair. "Probably not," she admits. "I may be in some trouble later." She doesn't seem worried about that, though. She's sitting sideways on the nicest chair in the room, which is probably Edain's chair, with her legs draped over one of the arms and a bottle of whiskey in her hand.
Miranda chuckles at both ladies, glancing to Brenlin and Juana, who is always hovering these days at Mir's side, "Go sit. Find something to drink." The guards are given a baleful look and they just glare right back. Staring contest? Maaaaaaaaaaaaaybe. She winks at one, which throws him off and she smirks. Then she comes towards the women, a hand moving to her gently rounding belly. "Trouble is right up your alley, my lady," she offers to Calypso with a wicked grin and teasing tone. Mercedes receives a light bow of her head, Mir's eyes take in the inquisition badge and, for a moment, Miranda looks to the knightly woman a bit longer than maybe is necessary, considering her. Then she offers, "I'm sure Calypso could regale us for months with her life stories. I daresay it could fill libraries."
Coming from the noble suites, Fecundo leads Isidora down to the Audience hall, smiling to his wife, "I wold you she was here....usually she is not so delayed." He loos to Miranda, "Sistermine...you are lucky the boys did not hear the servant mention your name ir you'd be in a lot of trouble right now."
"I could," Calypso says to Miranda. "But we're here for office hours." For EDAIN'S office hours, but Calypso seems to have just decided to take over.
"Truly?" Responds Mercedes, with a flickering twitch of her lips, looking askance to Calypso as she starts to settle back on the desk and abruptly halts at the approach of others. Etiquette is the damnedest thing to be beholden to... but no regret. She awaits introduction before doing more than glance and incline her head, taking another look over Miranda instead. "I confess, much as I have done already, it would take at least two lives of mine to fill a single library. Not including the quiet divulgences of others, of course."
There's steel in that; but it would be crass to mention some of those secrets may have been shared... noisily. Not done at all. At least not here.
"Congratulations, by the way. I will pray for a better world for the burden you bear." Fight for it too, if there's any indication in the thoughtful frown she yields to, hand straying idly to the diamondplate blade worn upon her hip. The gesture isn't threatening; natural, easy, entirely instinctive. The action of a protector born.
A soft chuckle escapes Mir at Caly's words and Mercedes congratulations earns a shy, but still warm, "Thank you." Miranda turns at the sound of her brother's voice and she offers, "My princelings.." Yes, HER princelings. Nephews. Same thing. "...would never cause me to be in trouble. They would fuss and I would gather them both up and spoil them rotten until you cursed the day you made me an auntie... and then do it some more." She moves towards her brother and his wife to hug them both. First, Isidora, cheek kisses commencing. Then to her brother to tip toe as she kisses his cheek. "They can do no wrong, after all. I'd be delighted for some trouble."
When Miranda kisses his cheek, he lifts her, but gently, returning a kiss to the cheek and then sets her back to her feet. He nods to both Calypso and Mercedes with a smile beflore looking back to his sister, "Oh...they love to see their favorite aunt, hmm?" He gestures to the other ladies, "Not here to cause the Highlord issue, I hope...and particularly not over fuzzy socks?" He looks to Calypso and Mercedes, "Not much of an audience this time? Did the socks thing really get folks angry?"
"If you knew how stuffy my office was, you wouldn't have to ask that question," Calypso chuckles to Mercedes. "This is much nicer. Hello, Prince Fecundo." Now she turns her dry amusement his way. "I'm here because I was going stir crazy at home, and this seemed like the place least likely to hit me upside the head with a lot of Lycene political stuff."
Isidora kisses Miranda's cheeks and smiles, actually smiles at Miranda. In public. Who would have thunk. "A pity about the sock issue ... I like fuzzy socks." She comments and while her face returns to a more stoic and calm look she still has a hint of a smile upon her lips.
Miranda grins broadly at being lifted and, once on her feet, offers, "Ladies, my brother Prince Fecundo Valardin and his wife, the fabulous master physician and mercy in training, Princess Isidora Valardin." She says to Fecundo and Isidora, "You both know Duchess Calypso Malvici, yes? And this is Dame Mercedes Valardin." Because, you know, never know who folks do and do not know. Then Miranda makes a show of straightening her dress that her brother CLEARLY messed up, not, so that her rounding stomach shows, just so. No hiding it or attempts to. Nope. A look to Isidora, "Are you ... -smiling- at me in -public-?? Heavens, Brother, what have you done to her?!" She laughs.
Mercedes watches the familial exchange with a lizardlike blink of pale eyes, canting her head faintly with the manner of one attempting to be polite - but not understanding the full nature of the emotional undercurrents on display. With her nearly-complete absence of smiles or laughter, it might be construed as a little unnerving. Creepy? She is called the Ghoulslayer. Thin lips and pale skin do nothing to detract from the impression. If she wasn't so knightly... well, thank the gods she is.
"My Lady, trouble is never far away. If you can cherish your own, you are closer than most to the end of fear and doubt." Cheerful. To Fecundo, she does ghost a smile. "With such a light and breezy future ahead of us," she utters, pallid gray-green eyes widening a touch in the transmission of deep, torturously-dry mirth, "Who doesn't have time to be angry over socks?" While the humor *is* there, she also can't keep the disdainful curve of her lips, a touch deeper than her habitual resting scowl.
It's delayed, but she pauses then to bow to Fecundo and Isidora both - as introductions are made. "Honored cousins." Noting to Isidora as she straightens, and settles with an easy shift of stocky frame back onto the edge of the desk neighboring Calypso's conquered seat. "Smiling is ever an odyssey, you have my sympathy."
Why can't everything be as simple as slaughtering demons? Sigh.
"We've me --" Then Calypso's attention fixes on Isidora, who she doesn't no. "Oh. No we haven't." Swinging her long legs off the arm of her (Edain's) chair, Calypso rises and executes a masculine bow, and manages not to spill the bottle of whiskey still in her hand while she does it. "Duchess Calypso Malvici."
Fecundo nods to Calypso, "Duchess. It's been some time. Not sure how the High-Lord would feel if he found you there, though it might backfire...he might enlist you to actually take the open hours and solve the problems. Valardin politics are...different." He looks to Lystra, "As my assistant is oft quick to remind me." He clears his throat and smiles to his sister, "Now that would be telling, sistermine." he gives Isidora a side glance and then nods to Mercedes, "We...have not met. A pleasure. And I can appreciate your ...view...which is why I will not be offering to represent the High Lord in his challenge."
Miranda maes a face at her brother, but does chuckle at the mention of fuzzy socks. "Folks have dueled over far less important things than bedclothes in public. Why, what if he'd witnessed me walking naked from the Southport Square after a spar one day?" She eyes Calypso. "True story. Domonico wanted to know how much of my skill was armor and how much was not." She winks. "I won. So.. the joke was on him." She snickers.
There's a wrinkling of Mercedes' nose, a cringe that's less judgemental and more sympathetic as a hand strays to her breastplate. A slight rumbling of her throat as she clears it, pale eyes regarding Miranda with that oh-so-distant amusement. "Remind me to educate you on the finer points of support, Lady Miranda. You won't be young forever." A nod toward Fecundo, coupled with a raised finger to indicate her approval. "Rather than waste energy on fuzzy socks, find another reason to train. Though the point has been made to me that people may need the..." She trails off, the hand waving somewhat helplessly, the Dame emitting a snort of breath, "Emotional relief of such a bout."
Calypso sits back down in her (Edain's) chair, pretty much the way she was before. "I'm game," she says to Fecundo with a smile. "At least they wouldn't be my problems, for once. I'm not sure he'd like my solutions, though." She raises her eyebrows. "Like you said, Lycene politics are different." She barks out a single laugh at Miranda's story. "You're going to tell me the details of that, later. Domonico's never, ever living that down."
Isidora quietly watches the others talk. She stands though happily with her hands clasped before her. A deep look of observation is upon her face as she does so.
Miranda just gives Mercedes a big grin. "If I'm still doing naked sparring to prove my skill when my youth is gone and I'm sagging in places we don't talk about in polite company, then I'm doing -real- well and quite happy to go au naturale." She winks. Then to Calypso, her smile brightens, "He'll deny it, of course, you know." She smirks, "Then I may have to pay for bragging, but that will be just fine." She pauses a moment, then eyes the room and moves towards a chair. "I thought the deal in the Oathlands," she says as she sits, "is that everything's fine."
For the third time since entering the audience hall, Mercedes cracks an honest, actual smile at Miranda's jovial counterpoint. Brief as always, she flashes her single dimple and then moves on, but oh dear... is this going to become a habit? There's a shake of her head at the idea. Her expression sobers, and she pushes from the desk again, placing her hands upon her lower back to stretch, shaking each leg out in turn, with a double clump-clump of inquisitorial heels. "The Oathlands *will* be fine, but only with a united effort. Let other bloodlines argue and bicker over trivial disputes, if they must." Though she sincerely hopes they will not; it's in the flash of steely gaze. "Honor will hold."
Turning to Calypso, she inclines her head and taps her forehead in a casual salute, setting the hand to her blade-hilt as it lowers. "A true pleasure, Duchess. We will have to do this again when your office hours are not pressing upon you." It's a hard life. Starting to make her exit, Mercedes pauses to deliver her parting bows to Lady Miranda and her Valardin cousins. "Look after each other, and those who follow you. If any of you have a need, or... something to report..."
She trails off, straightening with a sigh and a wave of her hand. Never good at socializing or remaining 'pleasant', the Ghoulslayer slides too easily to business.
"Have a pleasant evening, all of you."
And then she's off, bootheels echoing away down the length of the audience hall.
Fecundo shakes ihs head to Miranda, "I remember how competitive Dom can be." He sighs and then looks to Calypso and laughs a little, "Oh...that might be entertaining. I've tried Lycene politics here...did not go well." He lets out a breath and then laughs at something Isidora says to him quietly, "I haven't run the halls...yet...thogh when the boys come back from their time wth the Rubinos..all bets are off." He then looks to Mercedes, "There is a reason people don't see me at any diiels as of late."
"He will," Calypso agrees to Miranda, grinning around the mouth of her bottle before she takes a drink. "But he's a terrible liar." She waves to Mercedes when she goes. "Good to meet you."
Miranda nods to Mercedes as she departs, then grins a bit at Calypso. "It's hard to keep losing to me, I understand. Let him have his fantasies." She smirks at that. To her brother, she mmms, "You're not interested in dueling, Brother? Seems a shame. I'd love to watch a duel you're in sometime." She relaxes in her chair and says, "But, look, he's denying me that opportunity." Ah, the drama. She winks at Calypso. "Brothers, am I right?"
Calypso shakes her head. "Mine wandered off to be the duke of some other duchy," she says in a dry tone.
A look is given to Miranda by her brother, "I did not join the Champions to fight over fuzzy socks and feline allergies, sistermine. Find me something worthwhile and I'd happily throw my hat in the ring. Beena while since I bothered with the axes." Fecundo nods softly, "Just no honor in it...might as well be an entertainer as a trained duelist."
Miranda regards Calypso, "Did he now?" She hmms softly, thinking about it... thinking.. "Oh! Right. He's the one with the office I want to take over." She pouts, "But he keeps us all locked out. The cad." She chuckles, "Can't say I blame him though. I, too, would keep it locked if it were mine." She looks to her brother, "You should get out and fight in my stead, Brother. Mazetti's keeping me busy these days and soon, I'm going to be setting aside my sword until the babe is born. Plenty of Abyssal stuff out there needing dealings with, you know. What are your swords made from again?"
"Axes, I mean."
"How good are you?" Calypso asks Fecundo. "There's a chance I wind up needing a champion with regards to whose office this is sometime in the near future." It's not even an office, but such petty facts are no match for Calypso.
Fecundo smirks to Miranda, "Oh..you'd cringe more than you did at my choice of Armor. Dueling Weapons are lesser than rubuicund to keep the playing field even and reliant on skill, sistermine. I would take my sword." He taps the hilt peeking over his shoulder." He pauses and looks to Calypso for a moment and says without ego, "When I used to spend time at Southport, in an unarmored contest, I managed to keep Princess Reese Grayson at bay for over an hour. She did win, but she is also one of my main teachers."
Miranda rolls her eyes, "Got it. Ugh. Steel armor. Steel weapons." She shakes her head, "But if you were to go out fighting monsters you need diamonplate, minimal."
Calypso looks Fecundo up and down; for all that she's been joking and smiling, this is the sharp, appraising eye of a general. Then she nods and takes a drink.
After answering Calypso, Fecundo looks back to Miranda, "Well..I have the alaricite blade....just not the armor...and I saw your diamondplate...I prefer non-metal armor...so I can move and not lumber."
Miranda snorts at her brother. "I do not lumber. I am grace personified. And -I- wasn't the idiot who let Abyssal wolves bite me." She points at him with a finger, "That was all you, Mister."
Miranda heads out, complaining something about being too tired to walk home if she doesn't head out....
Brenlin, an overworked aide, Jewel, a Maelstrom Forest Cat, Juana, a harried Lady's Maid, 3 House Mazetti Guardians leave, following Miranda.
Lystra Voss - The Quiet Assistant have been dismissed.
Calypso might intend on hanging around here until someone works up the nerve to try and throw her out. Or at the very least until it cools off enough outside that her office isn't going to be an airless oven when she goes back to it.
Isidora watches everyone leave. "It is cooler in here than out here at least. With the breeze anyway."
Calypso nods to Isidora. "That's why I'm here. Well, mostly."
Isidora continues to watch Calypso with her honeyed eyes. "What is the other part?"
Calypso waves a hand in the air in a gesture that could really mean anything. Or nothing. "I've been holed up in the Malvici manor for a while. I wanted to go somewhere were I wasn't going to get mobbed with Lycene politics. I figured there wouldn't be much of that here."
Isidora smiles slightly and stops. It still feels too new to her so she stops. "Lycene politics ... no." Isidora takes a seat with her usual Princess air. Straight back. There are somethings that cannot pressed from her. Too much training. "I have met many from your family ... my mother was Malvici though since she died at my childbirth my father ... you know I am not certain what was in their contract."
Calypso shakes her head. "That was -way- before I was supposed to be keeping up with that stuff. I can have someone see if they can find the contract, though. It might still be around somewhere."
Isidora shakes her head. "I guess I do not want to know if I wasn't raised according to the contract. I would hate to try and make up for it now."
Calypso chuckles low, under her breath. "Seems like water under the bridge, either way. Hadrian would probably hang onto those little details and use them later, but that's not really my style."
Isidora signals for a glass of mead. She thinks and agrees with Calypso's assessment. "Aye. I'm a little old for fosterage. Though I'm sure Fecundo wouldn't mind a vacation ..." She states simply before taking a sip of the mead as it arrives. "I am not ready for bed ... yet I am new to ... what do they call it ... shooting the breeze? What should we speak about?"
Calypso laughs. "Damned if I know. I had a friend over for dinner the other day and lasted about ten minutes before we were talking about work."
Isidora nibbles her lip. "Talking about my work usually involves either talking about blood ... poisons ... or alchemy. Though I am the new Hand of Mercy. Which is interesting and not something I expected." Isidora takes another sip of her drink. "I think a lot about my profession as a healer."
"See, now we're going to start talking about work," Calypso gripes. "I'm going to sit here and figure out what I could use an alchemist for and try to start getting you to do projects for me."
Isidora shrugs a bit. "Well as long as you help me build my research hospital ... I would gladly help you out. Seems only natural."
Calypso shakes her head. "I don't know shit about hospitals, but you should see if Eirene's got some free time. I know she's got a lot on her plate right now. Mostly because I put most of it there. But you never know. She might be good with time management."
Isidora shrugs a bit. "I don't need others that know about hospitals, I am looking for funding and connections. It's better to build connections. With all the battles coming ... it is better to learn more effective ways to heal people."
Calypso sighs. She pulls the hairsticks out of her hair and sets them on the table, shaking her black hair down. Because let's LITERALLY let our hair down in Edain's not-an-office. Although she does immediately start putting it back up again, after she shakes it out and finger-combs through it a couple times. "Seems like it's about to hit the fan everywhere at once."
Isidora bows her head slightly in agreement. "Everything seems to be rushing ... speeding fast." She takes another sip of her mead as her eyes unfocused. "People are having a hard time grasping loss of what is coming ..."
"It was crazy like this before the pirate war too," Calypso sighs. "Especially for us." Because of the thing where literally all the House's money got stolen. "Duke Harald was talking about haring off alone to Darkwater Watch..." She frowns and shakes her head, going quiet for a moment. Then: "We pulled it together somehow, though." She looks at her bottle then sets it on the table so she has both hands to finish putting her hair back up. "The timing of this Eurus thing is inconvenient. It's going to keep the Compact's attention elsewhere while things go south in the Oathlands and the Lyceum. We'll probably wind up being on our own."
Isidora nods a bit. "Aye it does feel like a diversion. Yet ... I do not like to see suffering."
"Maybe a diversion," Calypso agrees. "Or maybe another whole front in the war."
Isidora nibbles her lips and looks into her glass. "There is that. Though unlike my Valardin family .. I am a healer ... not a tactician."
Calypso sighs. "It's a little disconcerting, how fast people seemed to forget what's going on when a new threat popped up."
Isidora nods and sips more at her mead finishing her glass.
1 Valardin Knights, Skiftfeather - an Elegant Snowy Owl, Morigan Bradshaw - Nurse and Doctor in Training, Fayre Wyrmfang - Excitable Champion, Jaibrian - Oathlands Vanner leave, following Isidora.
Calypso has left the an oval oak audience table.
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