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The People's Choice: Aspirations of Alcohol

The People's Choice: Aspirations of Alcohol

Duke Niccolo Velenosa and Princess Isolde Velenosa invite you to share in a tasting of various offered alcohols in The People's Choice, organized by protege, Acacia Culler.

Every so often, the Legate of Creation hosts festivals which proclaim the divine value of wine and other manner of drink. This isn't that. It is, however, an event which celebrates one of the many things which can bring people of all walks together: Alcohol.

Any of the Houses or Taverns interested in shamelessly advertising their drinks are free to participate. The drinks of choice will be provided under a guise of mystery, with voting taking place at the end to determine favorites. Labels and origins will be revealed afterward for people to either take home or take note of. Tasters will be on site and anything served will have been tested prior. The vessels will be crafted by protege, Master Jeweler Enzo Siqueiros, or his apprentices. Ten percent of all purchases will be directed to the Cullers, for use in future events of good will to the Lower Borough populace.

While it is always encouraged that one be honorable in these types of competition for the sake of fair play, it should be noted that one can hardly police everyone in regards to keeping true to this notion.

[If interested, by 8/20 please submit an @mail to Acacia with 1) the name of the drink, 2) a one line description, i.e. a golden-hued whiskey with a caramel scent, and 3) a 2-3 line description of the taste which will be emitted at the event when it is served.]


Aug. 27, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Acacia Niccolo(RIP) Isolde


Edain Prospero Lydia Calista Darren Eos(RIP) Talen Jaenelle Larissa Dawn Silas



Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


While there was a number of entries, there could only be one winner. That status of bragging rights and alcoholic people-swaying mastery went to House Grayson, with their Riverstreet Brandy. Although House Velenosa's Shadow and Flame came up second in the running, as Hosts, they declined, with the honor of second going to House Blackram's Mountain's Thunder and third for Stone Mountain White Whisky from House Nightgold.

These were the listings of those who submitted:

The Choices of Alcohol: Revealed Names

1. A white dried-grape wine from the Oathlands [House Valardin]
a straw-yellow wine scented of orange peel, ginger and spice
2. Rose' [House Fidante]
a deliciously pink-hued wine
3. Grappa Bradywine [House Fidante]
a clear liquor with notes of sweetness

4. Mountain's Thunder [House Blackram]
a smokey amber tequila of agave and toffeed vanilla leveled by mint
5. Black Velvet Whiskey [House Nightgold]
a molten gold whisky with a cloyingly sweet scent
6. Stone Mountain White Whisky [House Nightgold]
a pale white whisky, unapologetically uncouth

7. Riverstreet Brandy [House Grayson]
a deep copper brandy with a woodsy aroma of roasted nuts and fruits
8. White City Cider [House Valardin]
a dark, fragrant cider with heavy foam
9. Sailor's Rum [House Thrax]
a dark spiced rum that has a warm odor and a hint of cinnamon

10. Flame and Shadow [House Velenosa]
a honeyed amber wine served chilled
11. Shadow and Flame [House Velenosa]
a red wine so dark that it is almost as black as ink
12. The Promise [House Saik]
a red wine that sparkles like vibrant garnet


Most people think of wine when they think of the drink of choice in the Lyceum, but while the people of the south certainly prefer it, they do indulge in the imbibing of all sorts of spirits and liquors. So when it came to planning the tasting, it felt right to ensure all manners of liquor were included. I have to first commend the efforts of my protege Acacia Culler, for without her I don't know that things would have gone as smoothly as they did. My daughter Isolde opened the event with some very heartfelt words, an invitation blessed by the Divine to enjoy ourselves. These are troubling times, but she's certainly right, the people need that reminder that even during difficult times, we must find enjoyment in our lives. The moment we stop doing so, I fear we will find ourselves lost.

It was interesting to see how an evening of drinking brings people of all walks of life together, from high lords to guards, to denizens of the lower boroughs. I was grateful to see Lady Dawn, Prince Darren, and Prince Edain present and taking time to spend with the people. I was touched by the support of fellow Lycene in the likes of Lord Eos, Lord Prospero and Lady Calista. I hadn't seen Lady Lydia in sometime, and her taking the time to show up was certainly noticed. Of course, my ward Talen made an appearance, and even a guard such as Sir Silas Mercier, known for his dislike of whiskey decided to participate.

I'm sure Her Grace, my daughter, will be thrilled to know that one of the vintages personally chosen by her was favored, but as the hosts, it didn't feel right for House Velenosa to claim our placement. Others were kind enough to participate, and they deserved the recognition for it.

My thoughts are often dark, these are after all and as I've mentioned dark times. But today, today I found myself relaxing. Today, I enjoyed myself in a way I don't often do. That was a wonderful gift I was given, and I think one that we managed to share with the people of the city. Slowly but surely, I can see us enduring this journey the people of the Compact find themselves in, just to emerge stronger and more alive when all is said and done.

Acacia named the tasting the People's Choice, and the people chose House Grayson. It was a curious and thought provoking choice. Theirs was certainly a very good liquor, deserving of the vote. The people also seemed interested in seeing this tasting happening again. Perhaps we can turn it into a seasonal event. I am proud of what we accomplished, and as my dear Isolde alluded, I feel that by celebrating our differences we honored the strength and unity of the Compact.


It is pleasing beyond the ability of words to capture to see Arx come together. Those of the Lyceum have stated, more than once, their desire for common bonds and their actions prove it. These same actions prove that their reputation for superior entertaining remains true.

The People's Choice tasting event was sublime. I say this not because Grayson won (and I cannot take credit for this, but must praise Sir Silas Mercier for his choice of submission) but because it was, indeed, the event to attend this season. As the Princess Isolde said, spirits show our differences but they also bring us together in celebration.

Mistress Acacia Culler is to be commended for organizing the event; she shows a thoughtfulness and flair for entertaining that some might find surprising. And, of course, all praise goes also to her patron, Duke Niccolo, whose elegance and generosity also made their mark on the event itself.

I think when Alaric awakens, he might be displeased by some of my decisions, but he will not argue with my determination to fill our cellars with casks of each of the submissions. I can hear him now, declaring it to be, "A worthy expense!"

The afternoon light floods the skies at the commencement of the event, with only the slightest trace of a cloud and the periodic interruption of warmer summer breezes which disturb the combination of silk ribbons and fine linens which adorn the plaza itself. Torches and lanterns are suspended and mounted throughout, but remain unlit at the present time. A quartet of musicians, partitioned off to prevent incidental accostings, floods the square with livelier sounds. Servants attired in Velenosa livery and those hired and spruced up in particular greet guests, extending coffee-bean sachets and handkerchiefs embroidered with the word 'Choice' to those who specifically wish to partake in the sampling rather than merely the entertainment. "The cloth is to be presented in signalling of participation per round."
Acacia isn't specifically delivering the sachets or the handkerchiefs, standing back a bit and to the side and presenting said objects to the greeters themselves. Unlike some of the servants who command a more stately air, she's resigned herself to meticulously watching the surroundings with the presence of someone organizing a heist rather than an event. With a modicum of demeanor, she'd greet the first guests with small bows proferred, and swigs off a metal flask when otherwise not prompted. The square itself is already bustling with people; a busier intersection with Traders Tavern present at the heart of it.
Lydia dips her head in thanks as she takes a sachet from the from the person who offers it to her. Whether it was the original intent or not, after holding it for a few seconds she loops the little ribbon that ties it closed around her wrist like a bracelet as she wanders further into the plaza. When she spots Edain, she dips into a curtsey. Prince Edain, it's a pleasure to see you again.
Eos arrives with little t'do, merely appearing at the edge of the gathering crowd answering the call of drink along with the other lushes of the city. When greeted by one of the hired hands, he gladly accepts the sachet and handkerchief, and nods to Acacia in passing, then winds his way through the gathering crowd to a place closer to the 'action', to get a look at the offerings detailed on the drink listings.
Standing amidst the musicians, the servants, and the guests that have begun to arrive is Duke Niccolo Velenosa. The man's guards, if they are around, are nowhere to be seen this night. The duke's expression is as schooled as always, although a faint smile graces his features as he greets guest after guest, whenever they walk by him, offering his gratitude for their presence.
Lifting his gaze he looks around the surrounding area, surveying every detail, before his attention turns back to those that might be arriving already.
Silas had his reasons for being present, which were not necessarily connected to harrassing the peasants, but initially lingers along the fringes of the throngs of merrymakers and participants. Eventually he's offered a handkerchief, which he accepts and holds out to read with a hint of curiosity in his eyes. "Fancy..."
Isolde saunters her way in, her arm lightly holding onto Talen's, glancing around delightedly, her mirrored mask sparkling with the day's light. She nods to herself, leading them both over toward Niccolo and Acacia. "Papa, darling Acacia, this looks magnificent. I think this will be a rousing success if no one... accidently calls attention to themselves prematurely, no?"
The Graysons are here! Several of them, though some of those are guardsmen who do their very best to play discreet as the Lady of the House enters the plaza. No cheers today, no children with posies, no babies to kiss, and perhaps that's a relief for Dawn. She's wearing a smaller smile than that which adorned her at Market Day, and looks cool and soft in silvery grey silk, moonstones and silver a contrast to her own golden coloring. A handkerchief in one hand, a sachet in the other, her drift carries her towards Silas who's greeted with a quiet, "A specialty in the south, I hear."
"I really do not see how you could make that bet," Prospero is saying to some man in similar finery walking beside him as he nears the plaza. "When is the last time you have ever heard of a good drink from that swamp?" He shakes his head. "But fine, so be it, the bet is on." At this the Fidante lord separates from the man he was walking near and goes through to get his satchet, giving a nod to Acacia in passing too.
Talen Artiglio arrives to the plaza in the company of Princess Isolde Velenosa who appears to be his charge for the eve. The southern man is adorned in a light-medium armour variant; dark, black leather combined with steel gauntlets, sollerets and helmet. The clawed hands and feet lend a more vicious appearance, the Mirrormask-inspired visor completing the image. "If you have need of me, I will be at your side," he is telling Isolde likely for the nth time this evening, "but good luck with your speech." When they drift in the direction of Acacia and Niccolo he bows for the duke with all due respect and simply looks over the hostess, head slightly tilted. "Your grace, Mistress Acacia-- do let me know if you have any troublemakers. I will ensure they are dealt with."
Fergus arrives.
Fergus is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Compact - Thrax Row South .
Edain is trying to avoid the direct gaze of the swan statue, but he cannot help but watch it warily. That's why Lady Lydia creeps up on him and he doesn't notice until she curtsey's, "Oh, Lady Lydia, it is good to see you again as well." He turns his attention to Lydia, but he's watching that swan out of the corner of his eye, "Looking forward to sampling the various spirits?"
"Really-- I couldn't hand out the sachets? Would I taint them?" Acacia had been in the process of bickering under quiet breath towards one of the hired helps, as the true Velenosan servants likely wouldn't submit themselves to such. She'd cut herself off rather promptly at the offering of the nods, her smile quick to return when she'd given bows to both Eos and Prospero. After handing off another sachet to those who were true to the task at hand, she'd started tagging along towards the latter's steps, "... Did I hear something regarding a wager, my Lord?" She'd just been set to follow up on it, before Isolde's voice rang out and she turned to greet both her and Niccolo, "Your Grace. Your Highness-- he has a wager-- Can we get in on that?"
Talen is studied for a long moment, and then given a respectful dip of her head, before her gaze veers off for Silas and Dawn. A warmer smile is cast towards Lydia when she passes by.
His eyes are drawn from the embroidered handkerchiefs and towards the familiar voice. Dawn is greeted with a warm smile and Silas lowers the piece of cloth to give her his undivided attention. "Ah, Lady Dawn. Looking lovely as ever." He bows politely to the Grayson lady. "Aye, there are few houses which can do fancy better, so I hear." Acacia's presence wasn't completely ignored, and when he notices that she notices him, he is quick to send her a friendly wave.
"Very much so. Nadia has entered a whiskey for the Nightgolds, and so, of course, I'll be preferential, but it will be exciting to see who comes in second place to us." Lydia's cheeks dimple as she offers the reply, her twisted smile and light tone hinting at the good natured teasing that flows under the words. Folding hands in front of her, the noblewoman straightens and then looks over her shoulder and around at the crowd. "My sister is supposed to be here somewhere, but I'm afraid that I can't seem to put my eye on her. It appears that I'm here without an escort."
Eos has left the Near A Bubbling Fountain.
"My Princess Daughter," Niccolo says as Isolde approaches him. He dips his head, and looks from her to Acacia, to finally the rest of those arriving. "It should be a wonderful evening," he agrees, with an incline of his head. His attention turns to Talen then, his gaze lingering on the other man. "Thank you Talen, I expected nothing less," he tells the man.
Spotting Dawn and Edain, the duke dips his head in both their directions, adding a faint smile as well. The smile remains as he then glances at Lydia, looking from Eos to Prospero as well. "If you wish to," he tells Acacia of the wager. His gaze lingering on Silas for a moment.
Acacia grabs Prospero's attention with her talk of the aforementioned wager. "Hm?" comes the default inquisitive sound as he turns to see who spoke. "Oh, my...associate is under the mistaken belief that there will be a potable beverage out of that quaint little town near Whitehold this year," he says. "I think that as likely as one of the drinks turning someone glowing purple. Which side will you fall on?" A nod of greeting goes to those who look interested in the wager, or at least in th emoment.
"Sir Mercier." The ritual of greeting is completed when Dawn inclines her head to Silas, offering a smile in turn. "So I hear as well. I think what makes them distinct is how easy they make it seem." She follows the course of Silas' wave and finds Acacia there. He waves, she raises her handkerchief to flutter it at the Culler woman-- what a useful and thoughtful gift to their guests, this handkerchief! Care is taken in subsequent greetings to be less whimsical: Niccolo's nod receives the same and a deeper smile to go with it with the same offered to his daughter; Edain is spied and for the High Lord a dip at the knee to mark his presence. "Were you going to try everything tonight, Sir Mercier, or do you have a favorite category?"
Eos is drawn away from the listing at the call for a wager. Tempting, that, and the considers the listing again. He'd have to taste all the offerings before putting money on any given one, personally. Just the same, he gravitates towards the fellow he'd met only that day, curiousity about the Fidante getting the better of him. Which naturally brings him in near enough to pass greeting nods to the hosting Velenosan nobles and company. "That it will be there, or that it will be potable?" he chimes in.
Isolde looks around and she points to a table. "Talen, darling, help me up?"
Talen reacts in due course, moving to help Isolde with a powerful lift of her waist so she can claim the platform of the table and project from her new found vantage point. When he releases her, he steps back and remarks, "If you fall from there, I'll be vexed with you for about four minutes."
Standing on top of a table, to turn in a slow circle as she addresses the crowd, Princess Isolde Velenosa's voice carries, smoke and satin, her masked expression delighted and rich.
"Let us pray."
"Blessed Mangata, let your glory and blessings flow forth, as we partake of divinity in drink. Bless these entries, that they may glorify you, nourish our souls, and bless our community in unity and joyous celebration.
"Blessed Reflection, Darkness and Strength, Thirteenth and Completion of the Pantheon, we revel in your name, delighting in the warmth that fills our souls and the passions unleashed as we celebrate together, noble and common, all Houses as one in revelry. Take our abandon and decadence as offerings, our celebration as glory unto thee. Let us be united in unbridled celebration, joyous and passionate.
"I greet you all, in the name of the Divine and the Compact, to join in a holy time of utter enjoyment. Not all matters of the gods need be a stuffy, boring affair. Tonight, we celebrate! We celebrate the differences that make the Compact stronger, the unique aspects of each house, manifested in liquor and wine. We celebrate raucous laughter and relaxation, the finest moments of imbibement. We celebrate friendly competition, for bragging rights as to the finest the city has to offer! We -celebrate-, life, love, and unity!
"And so, my darling citizens, my friends, my soon to be friends? drink! Drink, be merry, and know that, through the efforts of Mistress Acacia, my father, Duke Niccolo, and my humble words, you are welcome, revered, and tasked to nothing more than to revel in the delights of the Compact! Drink, and be blessed!"
And with that, Isolde lifts her arms, signalling the beginning of all things, holding out a hand for some sort of alcohol to be handed to her, and she drains it, in one fell swoop, casting the glass aside with a rich, silken laugh, hopping off the table negligently, daring Talen not to catch her. "Four minutes, hm?"
Edain says, "Amen."
Silas feels yet another gaze upon him, and inclines his head in Niccolo's direction and acknowledges the Duke with a respectful nod. He turns back to Dawn and hums thoughtfully to himself. "It's been awhile since I've been in the presence of so much high society," he admits, with his smile turning a mite sheepish. "I am obligated to at least try every one, I think, but I think I'm saving the whiskeys for last. Whiskeys and I aren't fond of each other." He studies the Grayson Lady thoughtfully. "What about you, m'lday?"
(OOC) Silas scribbles out one of those 'I think's absently.
"The winning one is preferential, my Lord," Acacia quips in return towards Prospero, angling herself a bit from Niccolo in order to present the man a bow. "But perhaps you can convince Lord Eos here to take a second side, to see where it goes." Her dark eyes had tracked Silas and Dawn, both reviving her grin in part, "I'm quite interested in who will win myself or if perhaps Lady Dawn will join in the game? -- Lord Eos, welcome and greetings." Towards Prospero, she introduces, "Acacia Culler, protege of Duke Niccolo Velenosa, by the way. Pleasure."
Falling silent for a bit, her focus had tracked both Talen and Isolde, the latter's speech drawing her attention upright, before she comments, with both admiration and respect, "The Princess has a gifted way with words."
"Giacomo thinks it will be potable. I believe it will be more akin to metal polish," Prospero responds to Eos. "Good eve, again, Lord Eos," is added on witha smile just a degree warmer than merely polite. Nothing, of course, is said while the introduction and benediction are being provided. "Lord Prospero Fidante, Mistress Acacia. It is a pleasure."
Prayers! When Isolde ascends the table to deliver the benediction of the event, Lady Dawn clasps her hands at her waist and bows her head to listen through it. Something is murmured at the end, a private dedication of her own. And then she turns back to Silas. "You're doing fine," Dawn assures the knight. Her hanky waving done, she touches his wrist and gives him a smile meant to reassure. ""But best to save the whiskey til last if you're concerned. Those happen to be my favorite, but I promise to save you some."
Hearing her name, her head turns and she finds Acacia in a very merry group. "A hundred silver says yes!" she calls before adding at a slight delay, "What have I just wagered on?"
When Isolde steps up onto the table and calls the affair to order under prayer, Eos draws himself up straight and clasps his hands loosely at his back, attention taken beyond just good manners. She certainly had a presence about her. When the call to begin was made though, before he even fully turns back towards Prospero and Acacia, he chuckles, "You speak treachery, Mistress Acacia," with a dry grin. "I was weaned to our family's wine, how could I favor any other?" he asks then. "At the very least, I am certain there will be no bilgewater swill among it al, and what more can be asked?"
Talen is of course there to catch Isolde, cradling the weight of the umbra-clad princess. When he guides the Velenosa woman to the safety of the ground in a careful glide, he murmurs something to her in reduced tone of voice before looking back toward the crowd, grey eyes hard, attention rapt. A step backward pushes the Lenosian male into the background, stood on hand for those who would call him into action but remaining relatively subdued; a sentinel that nevertheless appears far from innocuous. When a messenger seems to be wedging his arms through the crowd toward the princess he's stopped, a hand to the runner's chest, challenging his progress for a moment before he's permitted to resume his progress across the way.
Darren arrives.
Niccolo watches Isolde take to the table with Talen's help, and watches her in silence as she delivers her words. Hints of a smile touch his features, and clasping his hands behind his back, he turns towards Prospero and Eos, as the former speaks with Acacia, "My lords, it's good to see you both here today," he tells them, with a dip of his head.
"Making blind wagers, my lady? That is something you often see in the Lyceum," he muses in Dawn's direction. "I see you're getting in the spirit of this," he says. He gives the room a cursory look, before his attention falls on Acacia once more and the duke inclines his head in her direction.
Acacia drops First Sample Selection.
The Velenosan House Servant, that some might recognize as Florencio, dictates the first distribution of the drinks. A number of trays strategically branch out towards those who brandish the handkerchief near them, offerings of three lighter-hued wines submitted in delicate glasses with individual servings of cubed cheeses, intentionally bland crackers and high-citric fruits distributed throughout to cleanse the palate inbetween. "With the afternoon high and the influx of heat still prevalent, the sampling of the offerings of the Great Houses starts with that which is cool and refreshing to faciliate introductions."
OOC: Please look at 'First' for tastes.

OOC: If your PC would like to sway the populace for an extra vote for that given round, please roll the following for pass/fail and then pose accordingly. Each participant can only do this once during the event!
@check luck+(one of the following skills) at 15.
Skills: Agriculture/Economics/Diplomacy/Manipulation/Propaganda/Inimidation.
Isolde laughs, amused by her own antics, and she leans up to kiss Talen's cheek as he makes sure she doesn't fall flat on her face. She murmurs something to him, before eyeing the messenger that seems overly anxious to get her attention. She listens and nods a little, her expression guarded. Messengers bear ill tidings these days, and she expects this one to be no different.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Isolde before departing.
Like everyone else, Lydia turns her attention to Isolde when the woman rises up to give the prayers. She already has her hands folded and so all she does is boy her head respectfully. It soon bounces upwards again, and she reaches for the first glass to pass by, the yellow wine. "This is very different!" She says as she holds the glass close to her nose for a sniff. She then turns towards the Velanosans as she lifts her glass and gives a nod of recognition to Niccolo, Isolde, and Acacia as well. Only then does she take a small sip from the glass.
Arm bending, hand to chest, Prospero performs a slight bow in Niccolo's direction. "A good evening to you, too, my lord," the greeting is returned. "I believe Lord Eos has the way of it; there will be no bilgewater served here today." And then there are samples being brought about and this distracts the man from speaking as vessels are chosen, scented, tasted and savored. "The ginger is quite potent."

A touch late, Darren arrives regardless, managing to come just after the pryers. Leather clad, the prince scans the plaza with bright blue eyes, spying Lydia almost immediately and makes strides to head over to the young lady, his grin warm and friendly. He snatches one of the glasses that's being passed around as he does so, holding it up to his nose for a quick sniff. "Is this the first glass?" he questions Lydia, "If not, I hope you saved me glasses of whatever else they've passed along."
"Mmh. Then let me hope that there's nothing that strikes your wrath, my Lord -- or either of yours," Acacia returned towards Eos and Prospero both with an inkling of a roguish grin across her features, reined in somewhat only after a struggle. As brighter eyes focus upon the latter after his introduction, she presents a bow towards Lady Dawn, "Good Lady Dawn-- I'm only trying to entice people to spend silver on wagers regarding the drinks. Or rather, expand wagers they've already presented. Lady Lydia Nightgold-- will you and Prince Edain partake in such?" The various glasses are inspected as they rove past, checked and watched individually when she plucks one herself. Turning in part from the group, she opted for the liquor, and despite the smaller amount, she downs it quite quickly.
"Duke Niccolo, it is well beyond me to miss such an affair," Eos returns with a grin, just as the first selection is being passed around. Handkerchief and sachet are tucked into his belt to take one of the small trays passed around. He takes each glass in turn, smelling each, giving each it's due time to roll around the tongue. Between each he gives the sachet a smell, takes a nibble from the fruits, allowing each new taste and smell to be independent of the last. The cheese he saves til the end, nodding some agreement with Prospero. "I'm not certain how it stands without a meal to level it. This rose is quite nice, however, all on its own. I believe I've had this one before."
"The Lyceum creates a spirit that's difficult to resist." Did Dawn intend the joke folded into her answer to Niccolo? Her expression doesn't change but the deeper tuck of her smile hints it could be a possibility. "And when in Lenosia..." But here are servers circulating and a glass to take. Hers is clear liquor, the tiny glass carefully held and scented before she dares a sip. The Lady's initial response is a thin puff of breath at its potency. "That... is vivid," she notes for Silas' sake. And then, to Acacia, "Then put me down in the column you prefer, Mistress Culler. I'm terrible at wagers, I'll trust you to choose for me."
Isolde looks at the messenger and her entire demeanor changes, growing dark, and cold. She puts a hand on Talen's arm and she nods a short nod to him, some understanding passing between them. She turns to Niccolo and Acacia. "Papa, Mistress Acacia, thank you for allowing me to participate and bless this celebration. Something's come up and I have to handle it before... well, let us say it is best I take my leave. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to assist in the aftermath?"
Silas is attentive to the benediction, both out of curiosity and out of respect. He doesn't appear on the cusp of a religious fervor, thankfully, and he seems distracted by Dawn's gesture as well as his own anticipation for the grand event. "You drink whiskey? I never would have guessed," he admits with clear surprise. "But don't leave any if it truly moves you." It is difficult to determine if he's merely just trying to get out of drinking it.

When the commencement of the wine tasting is underway, Silas makes sure he's one of the last to sip. And when he does, he's unusually slow about it. Savoring the flavors, perhaps? His eyes drift back and forth between Dawn and Acacia interact nearby, eavesdropping but being terrible at it. "I like the orange..." He muses outloud.
Lydia turns at the sound of the voice just over her shoulder, and spotting Darren there's another curtsey and welcoming smile. "It is. It's quite interesting. I don't think I've ever seen yellow wine before and surprisingly refreshing." She takes another sip and then raises her glass for another inspection, before she steps back, indicating Edain just on the other side of her, although she doesn't make it that far into the introductions, "Prince Darren, I trust that you know Prince Edain...Oh! Mistress Acacia, I would /love/ too, but I only have a few silvers on me at the moment. I'm afraid I'm not much good for wagering." Having been distracted by Acacia, Lydia wrinkles up her nose, offering the woman an apologetic glance.
Isolde is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Compact - Honor Walk South.
A faint smile is offered to Lydia when she glances his way, Niccolo takes the first of the glasses taking a moment to study the liquid in it, before inhaling its scent and finally bringing it to his lips. The duke's gaze falls on Darren, then as he enters and lingers on the man with a touch of curiosity, even as a respectful dip of his head is given in his direction.
The duke then moves to the second glass, sampling it as well and listening to Eos' criticism of the liquors with interest, before he catches Dawn commentary and chuckles once in her direction. He lifts that second glass to her, before moving on to the third one, having indulged in the cleansing of his palate between each drink.
Isolde's announcement of her departure causes the duke to smile at his daughter. He leans in, to kiss her exposed cheek. "Thank you, my dear, for being here today. I'll see you later today."
"Whiskey is the drink of choice of all the best Grayson explorers," Dawn informs the knight beside her. "I can't count myself among their number but call it a little gesture of solidarity." A check is made of what Silas has chosen and she trades her current choice for the next, the yellow wine, with a cracker to nibble on before it's tasted. It seems to meet with her approval, as another sip is taken before the third offering is accepted for a sample. "The ginger was a nice touch, combined with the orange." Darren's arrival is greeted with a lift of that final glass.
"You'll love the next round, Sir Mercier. It's entirely for one such as you. Try them all?" Another flash of a grin is passed towards Silas, the cut of Acacia's eyes roving in his direction when she sways a bit in place. "In charge of the Lady Dawn's wagers though-- and where they might lie? Do I get to enjoy it, my Lady?" She sucks idly at her teeth, gaze narrowing a bit, when she slides a look between Eos and Prospero both with a hint of a mischief laden smile. "Lady Dawn's wager is thus-- if number seven doesn't win, she will share drinks with you of your choosing, or well-- one drink, probably, because moderation, in her garden." There's a questioning glance towards Dawn with a perk of her brows, before she wonders, "What will you two Lords gift her in return?"
Aside, she'd inclined her head towards Isolde, expression grim for merely a passing, before she sheds a smile towards Lydia. "There's always more than silver, Lady Lydia, but I very much understand. Thank you for indulging me."
Acacia drops Second Sample Selection.
The second arrangement of sampling features harder liquors, in increments intended not to leave people reeling after only the first part. While the arrangements to clear the senses continue to circulate, dark chocolates, slivers of ripe pears, and citric-enhanced vegetables are added to the mix. "Some say whiskey and tequila are among the best openers when meeting people, encouraging tongues to loosen and guarded states to be abandoned." The trio of aromatic alcohols are served as people warm to socializing, with the first streaks of yellow-gold color subtly presenting within the sky overhead. The musicians switch to a jaunty type of tune, unmistakeably upbeat without being overpowering.
OOC: Please look at 'Second' for tastes.
Belatedly, but let's blame that on the very important matter of liquor, Eos notices Lydia's arrival in his vacinity, recognizing her from the market some days past. As he's passing his tray aside to one of the serving hands, he offers her a smile and a greeting nod, a warm, "It is good to see you again, Lady Lydia." He looks that he might have said more, but here comes round two!
When the second arrangement of samplings is presented, Niccolo steals one of the glasses, taking it with him and approaching Darren. "Your Grace," he says to the man, with a dip of his head. "It's good to see you here today," he offers, with a faint smile touching his lips. "Have you had a chance to taste any favorites yet?" The duke wonders, with a glance to a tray of the second round of drinks that happens to be nearby.
He brings the one glass he took to his lips, drinking it in one shot, taking a moment to savor its flavor and texture.
"You are bold with the drinks and gardens of others," Prospero says to Acacia, before turning a crooked smile towards Dawn and arching a brow. "Very well, Lady Dawn. If you assent to those terms... If number eleven doesn't win, I will personally bring a Fidante rose to the garden of those who take part in the wager." Having cycled through the other drinks he moves on to the second sample.
Silas looks increasingly crestfallen as Dawn explains the Grayson fondness of whiskey, and when Acacia wryly informs him of what's about to come, he moves to procure a handful of the bland crackers provided to them. "So much for saving the cringefest for last."

He waits for everyone else to drink, to gauge which one may be the tastiest, so he may time his selection appropriately.

Unexpectedly, he finds he doesn't mind the first two. "This isn't so ba--" Then the pale white whiskey touches his tongue and the pensive expression he was wearing is all but gone, replaced by a light scowl and wince.
While Eos goes through tasting the second round of selections, he considers Acacia, and then Lady Dawn, between musing over the drinks he's sampling. "This last one here, six? This is a whiskey to take before battle," Eos decides first, then passes the tray aside. "Should twelve not win, I will compose an ode to the winner, and sign it in the markets - but mind I am no poet and it might fare horribly, so take that to heart when making your votes."
(OOC) Eos says: *Sing
Following Isolde's departure, Talen remains within the proximity of the event space. Though he does not appear to be drinking anything he does watch with some curiousity. Silas' predicament seems to have his focus-- at least, from what can be seen from the way his helmeted head turns in the direction. "Try some water, good man Silas. If you blend a few drops, it opens the pores of the whisky much like your skin would when treated. It makes the flavour a little more forgiving on the harsher alcohols."

"It looks a little like piss, doesn't it?" Darren chuckles to Lydia, though he takes a small sip of the yellow wine, letting it linger before setting down the mostly still filled cup. "Tastes too sweet to be that, thankfully," he adds with a lopsided grin, before inclining his head to Edain. "Prince Edain, good to see you. Looks like I took your offer up for drinks after all," he smirks, sparing a nod for Acacia as well. The other drinks of the first tasting were disregarded, in favour of stealing one of each from the second tasting, and a second of the white whiskey as well, aligning two of the four on the table in front of him, while double fisting the whiskey. He was about to start towards Niccolo, but it seems the man was coming to him instead, the Duke offered a respectful nod of his head. "It's good to see you as well, Duke Niccolo. It does appear I have my hands full," he chuckles, lofting either whiskey glass to indicate. "Have you tried the white whiskey yet? Be careful of the burn," he grins mischeviously, before tipping one of the whiskey cups into his mouth unflinchingly. It's after the drink that he spies Dawn over Niccolo's shoulder, the woman given a nod of his head, and a charming little smile.
With Acacia determining wagers on her behalf, it would serve Dawn well to pay more attention. There's hardly a pause between the Culler's proposal and the Lady's remark of, "Agreed," however. And like that, number seven's fate determines whether she will be playing hostess to gentemen unfamiliar-- though she does frame a smile for the pair, her head dipped to Eos and Prospero to mark her agreement to the terms. "Her boldness is a great portion of her charm," she says as she follows Silas in taking up a new glass for the second round. And, perhaps not shockingly, it is the white whiskey which seems to take her favor. Which might well look funny beside Silas' scowling.
"A rose, an ode... I'm not a competitive person, my lords, but I think I've now been inspired to win, if only to claim those prizes." Dawn lifts her glass to her fellow gamblers, then passes it off in trade for a wedge of melon to cool her mouth.
Lydia's smile is glowing when Eos approaches. "Lord Eos! I'm so glad that you're here and that I have a chance to see you again! Have you had any of the whiskey yet?" As the trays pas a second time, she plucks up not one, but two glasses of whiskey, holding one towards Eos in invitation. And then Niccolo is also approaching, and so she dips into a curtsey towards him. "This is a wonderful event your grace, but then I should expect no different, your family always throws such entertaining amusements."
"If none of the wagered drinks win, however, I get paid a hundred silver each for every participant I helped to get involved in this," Acacia innocently chimes in, her fingers drumming against the edge of her glass. "If merely out of default going to the House or something, my Lords and Ladies. A paltry amount to coffers, so hopefully that will work?" The arrival of her grin is somewhat truncated when the small nod offered by Darren has her stilling for a moment and then providing a distance-spanning kind of bow, even with people milling occasionally inbetween.
Her gaze had slanted over towards Silas', judging his expression with a quiet chuckle expressed, before she located Talen once more to assess his current position.
"There's a question left unanswered," Prospero says, turning his smile from Dawn to Eos and then back to Acacia. "You cannot seek to profit without risking something, Mistress. So what do you actually offer of your own? What are you putting into the pot?" A bit of mouthcleansing follows the question and then the tequila tested. "That's quite good," is remarked as an aside.
Never let it be said Eos turned down a drink, whiskey or otherwise, and when Lydia offers him another, he accepts it gladly. "I have, but there is room enough for more," he assures her, and raises his glass to her before tipping it back.
Silas takes Talen's advice, drowning the three crackers he's jammed in his mouth with a glass of water. He is oblivious to Dawn's apparent fondness for the drink he just suffered through, until it is all washed down and he's given a moment to recollect his bearings. He peers almost disbelievingly at the woman beside him, glancing at Acacia suspiciously. "Is there... any more?"
"If you must have your hands full, Your Grace, there are few things better than a glass of good liquor, don't you think? There are some, but few," Niccolo says with Darren with a touch of mirth to his features. He inclines his head respectfully, reaching for a glass of the whiskey. "We often had whiskey rather than wine when out in the field, fighting our enemies," he notes. "So I'm not stranger to it, but since coming to Arx I've found myself drinking more and more on it," he does as much with this glass, swallowing past the burn and nodding approvingly.
The duke dips his head to Lydia and her curtsy. "I haven't seen your sister yet, I hope she's well?" He asks the young woman. "And thank you for your kind words, my lady. I'm glad to see everyone is enjoying themselves." He looks over in the direction Acacia and those gathered around her, before he turns back to those immediately with him. "And what about you, my lady, any favorites yet?" he asks Lydia.
"You..." Talen begins to say, even as he watches the man wet the crackers until they're soggy things. "No," he just finishes, shaking his covered head. If there would be a break of his composure, it is hidden. The man cannot even facepalm appropriately. Soon after he advances on the guard, moving to collect some of the samples on the way. He lines them up on the table and places a gold coin before each, offering, "If you drink each one of those, you'll earn a gold coin for each. Dare you?" he proposes.
"I risked a significant cuffing for my boldness into affairs beyond me, my Lord, and presenting wagers that weren't mine to give. Didn't that count?" Acacia expels a dramatic breath at Prospero's words, before dragging her tongue thoughtfully over her teeth. Submitting a small smile, she'd sipped comfortably at the white liquor, eyeing the crowds over the top. Pinpointing Niccolo through them, she continued on her brash measure, "Then should one of the other drinks win, my patron, Duke Niccolo, will bear responsibility for me, as patrons often must when we little folk might step out of line. So Duke Niccolo-- will you relinquish something for me, your Grace?" Her mouth twists, bemused. As her gaze travels back towards Silas, she holds it for a beat and then turns her focus towards the sky, measuring for a time. After a moment, she dips her head into a nod to someone not far off.
Acacia drops Third Sample Selection.

"I can think of only one thing better," Darren replies to Niccolo with a deep chuckle, the second glass of whiskey left in his hand remaining untouched. "The best whiskey comes from the North, you know. You should come by the Villa, I'll have you drowning in the stuff," he offers to the Duke, before he inclines his head in an apologetic way. "Excuse me, but I must say hello to Lady Dawn. This is a marvelous event, though, you've outdone yourself," he states, before he strides over to Dawn, the untouched white whiskey he holds in his left hand extended to the woman as he comes forward. "I've already found the winner, Lady Dawn. Brought you another cup, too."
"The third round is rife with shared memories. Some say this brandy had invoked the distinct images of a relaxing night on the road or logs on a fire. While the potency of the fragrant cider and the spiced rum invite people to differing escapes." The spoken poetry in announcement of the third round is somewhat lost in the manner they're distributed, with old glasses picked up and carted away to replace the newer options. Piquant cheeses, skewered samples of roasted vegetables and tiny, molded chocolate medallions are introduced, with the transition to evening more evident, deepening the natural bluish hues and flooding it with orange-golds and deeper reds.
OOC: Please look at 'Third' for tastes.
Calista arrives.
There's a chuckle from Prospero as Acacia once more goes to another to cover her wager. But there's little time to poke the protege again over the matter when more drinks are being distributed. He plucks another vessel and sips the contents. "At the least, Mistress Acacia, you might join Lord Eos in singing his ballad should both conditions manage to be true."
Dawn covers for a low hum of amusement by taking a sip of the last offering in round two. Poor Silas, driving others to dismay. The glance she slides him is sympathetic and full of good humor, both. "A new challenger approaches," she says in a quieter voice, to avoid being accused of egging the knight on. And then, the brighter guest is back, smile and pale eyes returning to Eos, to Prospero, to Acacia. "He makes a fair point, Mistress Culler," she begins to say-- only to then laugh, delighted at the way the woman wiggles out of things. Brilliant. For that, a toast to Acacia before she turns to regard both the third round offerings and Darren's approach.
"I'm almost positive that's a cup from the last round, your Grace. And I'm -absolutely- positive if I indulge, I won't have a clear head for voting. Are you trying to sway the results?" An accusation only by choice of phrasing. The Lady's laughing tone suggests otherwise... and she does accept the glass.
Lydia holds her glass of whiskey, now empty, up for inspection. "I would think my preferences would be clear, your grace. And you, Lord Eos, what do /you/ think of the whiskeys, as compared to the other drinks that is?" Lydia turns to idly set her glass aside, picking up a cracker and after some consideration a small glass of the brandy. A frown appears as Niccolo asks after her sister, and her gaze wanders over the square once more. "She was supposed to be here, but I'm afraid that she's abandoned me. Should I pass your regards on to her?"
Silas looks up at Talen when he approaches, blinking owlishly at the dare which follows. "You're paying me to drink water down liquor?" His eyes scan the samples closely, but he acquires another glass of water and moves to sit at the table the Champion of Lenosia found for them. "Well, fine. It's not every day you get paid to drink." It is one of the few times pity worked for him! This time, he actually does Talen's offered instructions, and begins to water the alcohols he knows will burn.
There is being fashionably late and then there is just being plain tardy. Calista is completely and utterly late to the event this evening but at least she looks fabulous. The plaza of coin is brimming with people enjoying their evening, sampling the wares and perhaps there are a few who have have too many samples. The Fidante saunters through the throngs of party goers to take a look at the tables, how they are set up and perhaps bump into someone she knows.
Round three! Eos goes through all the same steps, second nature, showing a bit more than he might anywhere else those years growing up with the likes of it being beat into his head by generations of wine makers. He is just on the cider when he glances to Prospero to echo, "A duet? I would share the glory and humility readily enough." And he settles to playing the cider over his tongue to pick up each of the separate flavors mingled inside. Once he had finished with it, he nods to Lydia once more. "I would take six to war with me. It would embolden a man to the fight, I am certain." He takes the rum then, and considers it, before adding, "But this rum is quite good as well-" His nose twitches a little then, looking to the glasses bemusedly before realizing that no, it wasn't one of the glasses but the familiar scent of a particular perfume. He lifts his attention to glance around, and when he spots Calista, he turns enough to raise a hand, to perhaps catch her notice, before anything so drastic as raising his voice would become required.
"Incorrect," Talen says, staying the Silas' hand promptly. "Two lessons; the first, don't take bets from men trying to get you drunk. The second, you're modifying them wrong." Reaching for the water he pours a few drips into each then presents the trio of tumblers to Silas, stacking the gold coins in turn. "There's not enough water to remove alcohol, just open the scents and flavours. It makes them more tolerable, usually. You'll still be drinking whisky and," he measures the quantity with his eyes, "you'll be essentially committing a cardinal sin to any and all established connesieur to the 'water of life', whisky. Still, it's amusing, no? 300 silver for an assured state of inebriation. I'm sure you've done worse for less." Then he lifts his hand from Silas and reaches to pull his visor up, a half-smile visible on his lips, quirked.

"You wound me with your accusation, Lady Dawn," Darren replies, touching his heart to his chest in mock pain, before laughing low and heartily. "I merely thought you should have a second taste of what will certainly be declared winner not just of today, but over all whiskey in the City. If I'm wrong.." he shrugs dramatically, "You can have me suffer by trying to get me drunk off something sweet and fruity in your field of statues." He chuckles as he reaches for a cup of the brandy as it passes by, sniffing the stuff before partaking, indicating to Dawn after a moment's thought, "This could come in second. A -far- second, mind you."
The sound of the familiar voice of Acacia calling for his attention has Niccolo looking in her direction. He lifts a brow at the question, and rubs his chin. "Of course, my dear Acacia," he says to his protege. "If you lose the wager, I'll cover it," he tells the young woman, his eyes lingering on her, before his gaze falls on Prospero.
He looks back at Darren then, "I'm grateful for the invitation, Your Grace and I'll certainly take you on the offer," he adds with a hint of a smile to the Redrain prince. A look is given to Lydia at her words, and the duke slowly nods. "Please, do give her my regards," he agrees, moving on to test the next round of drinks.
"The man gives good advice, Sir Mercier." That for Talen's direction of the knight, from the Lady of Grayson. And, with that matter seen to, she turns back to the proceedings. It's the copper brandy which Dawn selects, balancing the hand that holds the whiskey Darren's brought. "If I drink this without flinching or reeling," she asks the High Lord of Redrain, "will you vote for number seven?" That's right: she's fixing the votes, right out there in the open.
A hand donned with a familiar ring draws Calista's attention as she moves quickly down to the third tasting. It is there she sees quiet a few people when she slides up beside Lord Eos. Her smile broadens and brightens at the sight of the man seemingly enjoying himself and she can't quite help the chuckle that comes from her lips as she glances over to Lydia. "My Lord, My Lady, good evening to both of you! I see I have truly been missing out on the festivities. That means only one thing; I'm going to need to catch up, and quickly."
Lydia only sniffs at her brandy and takes tiny sips. "Six bottles, my lord? Perhaps that can be arranged. We'll have to see what house provided it." She gives the lord a wink, and then gives both Eos and Niccolo a nudge. "I will do that your grace, but do either of you know that man over there? I don't think I've met him before." She gives a nod of her chin in the direction of Prospero. But her gaze doesn't linger too long as Calista's approaching and soon Lydia is grinning from ear to ear again, "Lady Calista! It's a pleasure to see you again. Let me give you a quick run-down. The whiskey is the finest drink so far."
Edain has left the game.
Acacia relinquishes a modest smile towards Dawn; not indulging in something overly pleased, but certainly effortlessly retaining that expression when her toast is returned. It sinks into an open grin, before she's concealing it behind the experimental sip of the rum. Savoring it for a bit, she clucks her tongue lightly. "Mmh. So I have the acceptance from the Duke, but no notice of what exactly is granted from such. So-- then-- it's only natural..."
"If Seven wins, Lady Dawn will offer participants a single drink of their choice in her garden. If Twelve doesn't win, Lord Eos will compose a ballad to the winner and sing it in the markets. If Eleven doesn't win, Lord Prospero will personally bring a Fidante rose to the gardens of those who take part in the wager. If none of the above win, Acacia Culler-- me-- gets paid a hundred silver by the participants. And if one of the three wins-- Duke Niccolo will grant the third place winner a piece of gold or silver jewelry of their choice from Master Enzo's shop. Fair?"
"If Seven doesn't win," Acacia corrects.
Distracted - not by having Lydia point her chin in his direction but by hearing Calista's name - Prospero turns his head towards the sound of excitement. One might wonder, then, how much attention he pays to Acacia's recap of the wagers. "Better," he murmurs, cradling a sample in his palm for a moment longer, wamring the liquid. "Better at least, Mistress Acacia." He looks away only long enough to ascertain his cousin's whereabouts before centering his attnetion once more.
Deva arrives.
Silas frowns slightly when Talen stops him. "Definitely don't intend to get drunk -here-," he admits, and indeed he has not filled his glasses to the brim, though he is forced to concur with the sentiment. "Though I suspect if you desired to poison me in plain sight, it would be very successful." He watches Talen eschew only a few drops of water to each tumbler, which in his mind doesn't quite seem enough, but Lady Grayson then agrees outloud with Talen. "Lesson learned." He refrains from sipping at the modified samples in favor of testing the new drinks brought forth, which thankfully were not whiskey. "And silver is always nice."
Acacia drops Fourth Sample Selection.
"But the evening is welcomed well by the indulgence in darker things, with an assortment of wines to ease one into the night." Flames are kindled upon all sides, each one lit in quick succession in welcoming to the darkness of the evening; the sky evolving to duskier purples with the faintest tinge of blooded scarlet in memory of the sunset. New illumination from judiciously placed torches and lanterns flicker and sputter before they steady, vanquishing some of the shadows even as new ones form. A peppery tomato-based sauce for dipping is left near vegetable slivers, paired with ripe grapes and fresher red berries.
OOC: Please look at 'Fourth' for tastes.

Darren cocks his head, not answering Dawn immediately. Instead, he pays attention to Acacia as she lists off the votes, a low chuckle leaving his lips afterward. "Trying to skew the results?" he offers a mischevious grin at Dawn. "Are you sure you want a crowd stampling your gardens while plowing them with booze of their choosing?" he teases, before shrugging a shoulder. He murmurs something to Dawn, before hoisting his empty cup in the air and announcing to Acacia, "I'll put something down. Should seven win, I'll offer a weapon of choice to the participants gathered. I know a good smith," he smirks, shaking his head with a low chuckle.
"By each of the participants?" Eos asks with an arch to his brow. He glances down toward his purse, considering it a moment, and wondering at the monetary value of his dignity. He is distrated then when Calista arrives, and rather than give it more thought, he assures, "Fair enough, though the spirit of it all changes a hair." Glancing to Calista then, he adds, "The finest is just coming out, don't let Lady Lydia tell you otherwise." He reaches then for the final tray.
Fergus arrives.
Ida arrives.
Fergus is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Compact - Honor Walk.
Ida is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Compact - Honor Walk.
Calista's arrival catches the notice of the duke. "My lady," he greets the Fidante noblewoman with a nod. "That is Lord Prospero Fidante," he says to Lydia, and steps a little closer to that group. "Lord Prospero, let me introduce Lady Lydia Nightgold," he offers, taking care of that, and managing to catch what exactly he signed up to provide for that wager. He inclines his head in agreement with Acacia, approving of her choice. "I'm sure Master Enzo will be thrilled to provide something for the occasion," he offers, with a faint smile.
The next round is announce, and as the trays are brought about, Niccolo starts partaking on the new drinks.
Talen clucks his tongue as Silas refuses to drink, either out of distaste for the whiskies, due to the tamperings that the Sword himself has overseen or some other matter. "What a shame, I was hoping to see a different side of you, good man Silas. Another day, perhaps," Talen says, twisting on his heel to bump up against the nearest keg to watch the remainder of the proceedings. "Lady Dawn, what of you? Will you accept my challenge? Three whiskies, three gold coins. I promise I haven't poisoned them like our humble Crownsworn fellow here believes potentially possible." The stipulation is almost laughable, the esteeemd noblewoman offered this opportunity with little concern. "I'll even vote for whatever you want." Even though he hasn't sampled a single thing.
"Though I admit, I was rather looking forward to Duke Niccolo's duet with Lord Eos," Prospero adds on. And then, then there's an introduction being made and Prospero moves to better take advantage of the moemnt. "Lady Lydia, it is a pleasure to meet another of the Nightgold family."
Eos gives the amber wine a curious look, taken slightly off guard by the rich flavor of the white, before ambling on to the very dark red. The last he takes up and holds up to the light with a grin for the way the light played through the color like through the facets of a gem, then raised it to those gathered nearest before taking it down. "Oh...this was a very good year," he mumbles more to himself than to anyone else, then looks about for any glasses that hadn't been finished to snag up a second. "I do believe these are the grapes from the southernmost vineyards. They always produce the deepest flavors."
Dawn's only response for Darren is a self-assured smile and a tink of whiskey glass to the cup he holds. Agreed. And then, she briefly neglects her courtesy title of Lady in order to lift the whiskey to her lips in order to knock back the glass' entire content in one go. No flinch, no reeling, though she does breathe out sharply as the glass is placed on a passing tray. "Heard and agreed to," she calls to Acacia to mark the woman's summation. "And a far finer prize than one usually finds for third place."
With the final round now circulating, she plucks a glass of the darkest wine for sampling... but doesn't rush to sip. There's color coming up in her cheeks, sure sign of that white whiskey's effectiveness. "Much as I would like to, sir," she tells Talen, "I can't in good conscience accept. My tolerance for so much isn't sufficient to the challenge. But I will double my donation to Mistress Acacia's charity in the Lower Boroughs if -you- down those."
(OOC) Dawn fistpumps.
Around Eos and Lydia is apparently Niccolo and Acacia. She greets both with an equally as charming smile. "Your Grace, Mistress Acacia, you have outdone yourselves, but did I hear right? Did my cousin, Lord Prospero offer to give away roses from /my/ garden?" Those dark, shadowed emerald eyes scan the vicinity for the man with the almost unruly curls. "There you are, you scamp." Calista reaches over to lightly brush her fingers along Prospero's hand. When the fourth sampling comes out, the young woman gives Eos a little nod. "Oh, I like the look of that very dark one. Dark like blood."
"Meaning, you'd pay me a hundred silver-- as would everyone else. So you'd only lose a hundred silver at a maximum and only if one of the three wasn't picked," Acacia clarifies towards Eos, her fingers drumming lightly at her glass. "I couldn't really ask for more-- it'd seem untoward to the fun of the event itself. If that's unacceptable to you, your Lord, I'm sure other things could be arranged? It's meant certainly only for fun and wagers and everything else."
Darren's participation has another grin forming from her when the toasts the darker wine graciously in his direction, a look provided between him and Dawn, and then moving to inclusion of Talen when he approaches. "I was considering doing that duet thing," she adds to Prospero, "But there's some things that I can't wager specifically when they're left up to me. My own boldness only hazards so much risk when I speak for other people, my Lord. Forgive me?" When Calista steals the show, she smiles warmly, offering her own deeply provided bow in greeting and then straying back a half pace from the crowds towards Silas. "
Lydia's only been sipping her drinks, but she grabs a glass of the lighter of the two reds as Niccolo guides her towards Prospero. "Lord Prospero, it's a pleasure to meet you. Fidante, though? You're related to Lady Calista?"
Silas chortles and looks up at Talen in between sipping from the next batch. "You and Mistress Acacia both, though she actually won three bets against me. Perhaps you two and get together and mutually watch me make a fool of myself. I don't intend to do that today, however; sorry to disappoint." He bows his head and closes his eyes. "But you did give me a sound piece of advice, Master Talen, so I thank you nevertheless."
Prospero turns his hand into Calista's touch and ever so briefly squeezes her fingers. "Shhh," he teasingly chides his cousin. "They are supposed to think I am offering something of my own." A nod is given to Lydia. "We share grandparents," he simplifies the relation between the two.
"No, no it is quite fine," Eos assures Acacia before he's lost in the flurry of conversation that has cropped up. For his part, lost in it all, and looking for yet a third glass of the familiar garnet spirit, he merely tries to catch up with all that is going on around him.

Darren focuses on Dawn with attentive blue eyes as she lofts the glass of whiskey to her lips, clearly studying her expression as she downs the stuff. When she doesn't flinch, he utters a laugh, his grin amused. "Very impressive, my lady. Though I didn't truly doubt your ability to do it," he informs, foregoing sampling the remaining items on the list. He's still nursing that cup of brandy, taking slow and tiny sips of the stuff. Talen's wager to Dawn earns the man a look, but it was more thoughtful than anything, nothing said about it. Instead, he smirks back to Dawn, noting the blush of her cheek. "You know the whiskey's good when it makes a lady blush," he chuckles.
"A charitable cause for the Lower Boroughs, you say? I suppose," Talen muses aloud, one taloned hand reaching up to drag against his chiseled jawline. When Silas' words come in reply he bows right back, if a touch shallower. "Ah, of course. It's terribly embarrassing when one does not know how to conduct themselves in front of their betters and you, I dare say, will likely have opporunity for such many times in your future. Another day, as you say." Dawn's reversal of the games is played along with by the southerner, Mirror Blade's pommel used as a resting point for one hand while the other takes the first whisky-- no doubt priceless in some corners of Arvum-- and shoots it back. One, two, three; the drams are gone within an instant and he spends a long moment exhaling fumes but holds his neutral expression before laxing it into a semi-smile once more. "Now those in the gutter can eat premium gruel, instead of the standard gruel, yes? How very generous of you, Lady Dawn."
Talen is overheard praising Dawn for: Ensuring the gutter rats can eat premium gruel over bog standard slop with her generosity. What a lady.
"After all that chiding about not offering something of my own--" Acacia's comment was low-toned, but rife with amusement when she settled back, dark eyes tracking between Prospero and Calista. "Tch," she notes, before she'd exchanged an empty tasting glass for the darkest of the vintages and eases back into a position not far from Silas'. "It speaks well, Sir Mercier, really. It means that you're not being forced to wrangle anyone's necks at the present time and then are meant instead to enjoy things, or learn lessons or whathave you. I assume you're also going to be biased in your votes, hrm?" A gracious dip of her head was granted Lord Eos, a bit from afar now, before Talen's words has her focus studying the trio.
Niccolo clasps his hands together after all the drinks has been presented, and everyone has had a chance to try them out. "If I could have your attention," he calls out to the gathering, his voice deep and strong. "At this point we will begin the voting process. Attendants will be mingling amongst you, with pieces of parchment available for you to write down your votes. Once your vote has been cast, please hand it back to the attendants. When all the votes are collected they will be tallied and the winners will be announced." He offers a small bow, "I'd like to thank you all for being part of this tonight, it has been a pleasure to host you."

OOC: In order to vote, please either page Niccolo or send a messenger to him with your vote.
Deva is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Compact - Honor Walk.
It is a most winning smile that is flashed towards Accacia by Prospero. All amusement and good fun expressed in a curl of lips. Or is that an abundance of alcohol and the goofy look that will follow? He passes off his empty glass to one servant and waits for another to come so he can write down his vote.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Niccolo before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Niccolo before departing.
"Ah, and have you been in the city long, Lord Prospero? At least long enough to have met my sister - although that comes as no surprise to me." Lydia says this with a grin, although she's soon turning to take a piece of parchment and leans over it to scribble something on it. She folds it up and sends it on its way while grinning at Prospero. "Any last chance for me to influence your choice?"
Calista takes up a glass of the very dark wine that holds notes of raspberries and brings it to her lips, teasing Prospero with a waggle of her brows. After she savors the sample, she smiles over to Lydia and gives the young woman a nod. "Yes, Prospero is my cousin. I've not seen him in some time but I'm so happy to have him here now." She glances over towards Talen now, giving him a playful wink as she takes a sip of her wine then glances up to Eos once more, checking out his glass. "Have you tried this one? It's sinful."
Acacia reluctantly exchanges her most recent offering of wine for one of the parchments and the pairing quill. Clucking her tongue, she'd angled herself somewhat to try to steal a look at Silas' paper, before shielding her own as if it were evidence and scribbling upon it. Sealing it up crisply down the center, she similarly had it delivered along with the rows of servants collecting votes.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Niccolo before departing.
"The Lady is not blushing, the Lady does -not- blush," Dawn will insist, in spite of the flushed evidence staining her cheeks. But this is all in good humor, and it is a smiling woman who accepts quill and parchment to record her vote. With that passed off to the attendants, she clasps her hands together at waist level-- no more drinks for Grayson tonight-- and regards Talen for a moment in a way that mingles curiosity with a touch of reserve, and no matter the effect the alcohol is had on her. "That makes it twenty thousand to go into the Boroughs, and if Mistress Culler's providers cannot manage better than premium gruel on such a budget, I suspect they won't be in her employ for very long. I'm sure they will thank your spirit of charity, Master Artiglio."
"I did," Eos nods to Calista with a short nod, before adding with a turn of a grin, "But it is nothing compared to this one here." He reaches over to tap the tray just by the finally offering, giving her a small, encouraging nod before his eye turns towards the votes being passed or whispered along curiously, admittedly already resigned somewhat to the potential fate of losing to a whiskey.
"Alas, Lady Lydia, while I might welcome the chance to hear your persuasion on a normal day, I must stand in solidarity with mine own this evening. I fear being disowned if I voted other than I have already writen." Prospero adds, to Calista, "It has been far too long. On that we are agreed."
Acacia manages to find him without him immediately noticing, causing him to abruptly stop mid-sip in surprise. "Well, I'm all for learning new things in unexpected places. Especially the lessons which don't include pain." He finishes the last sip of the last sample and exhales deeply, as though it had been something other than a trifling experience for him. He accepts a small piece of parchment and a quill from a passing attendent, presumably to vote, but looks over his shoulder at Acacia. Now that he knows that she's there... "It seems you're not fond of all mysteries," he notes with clear amusement before breezily jotting his vote down and handing it over - too quickly to get a peek.

"Of course," Darren replies to Dawn, relenting though his tone is good humoured. His attention momentarily focuses onto Talen as the man pounds back the whiskey, seemingly impressed. "I'll add another ten thousand to the Boroughs after that display. Is there something even better than premium gruel?" he states to Dawn without hesitation, though he continues to watch Talen for a moment longer before his focus returns to the Plaza, taking a quill to scribble down his vote and pass it along to one of the servants that are taking them.
Jaenelle arrives.
Talen bows wordlessly for Dawn at her reply, the pale blue-grey of his gaze that had remained in her direction respectfully lowering as he makes his motions. When he rises to full height once more he brushes his hand down over his front, removing what is most likely jsut some imaginary dust. Once done, Calista's look in his direction is given a suitably incline of his head in reply to the wink, his focus bought by Darren's claim of genorosity. "The orphans will cry tears of dragonweep soon enough, I dare say. Be careful not to give them /too/ much. I might rob them for it all later," he dares say, Darren soon presented with a suitable flow of his form. "You have me at a disadvantage, my lord," he offers, "we have not been introduced. I am Master Talen Artiglio, Sword of Lenosia and ward to the Great House Velenosa."
Larissa arrives.
"Aaaah, but then you would have me blame Lady Calista and that I couldn't do." Lydia looks over at the noblewoman and gives her a wink. "However, Lady Calista, I would love to get together with you for a drink some time."
Arriving suitable late, Jaenelle moves towards where the festivities are occuring. While she is not quite sure what is happening, this time is taken to observe those present, eyes flickering to those she knows, especially Talen who seems to be a rather popular bee in the midst of all the attention.
Larissa makes a fashionably late entrance to the Aspirations of Alcohol, but arrives none the less and offers a discreet wave and nods to everyone present.
"Blame Lady Calista?" Prospero asks, aghast. "Never." While an arrangment of further drinks is made between Lydia and Calista, Prospero takes the opportunity to nce more look around at the gathering and milling throng.
"Fresh fruit and vegetables might be the better option, on thirty thousand silver, and meat at least once a week. They'll need their energy for the apprenticeship program Master Enzo is spearheading with the Crafters Guild," says Dawn, tilting a glance up at Darren. "And we'll hope the Sword's responsibilities keep him far too busy to engage in stealing from orphans. Though not -too- busy." Given what Talen's responsibilities are, it wouldn't do to tempt fate or the gods themselves. A platter goes by, and she reaches out to collect fresh berries in the palm of her hand. These are held carefully-- pale grey silk is the natural enemy of berry juice-- while she shifts one to her mouth to begin counteracting the effects of all of this tasting.
Eos was at current merely listening in tn the conversations of Lydia, Calista, and Prospero, at least with a half measure of his attention, while the rest was split considering the votes being tallied and with the task of idly thumbing the signet ring on his hand around the finger. A wayward glance notices Larissa's arrival, fashionably late, and he nods to her across the distance.
After the votes are collected by the attendants, they then approach the duke who by now has moved to a table where he can tally the votes. With quill, parchment and Florencio's help, he goes through each one and then writes down a few notes. Satisfied, the duke dips his head and turns back towards the gathering.
"In first place we have the Riverstreet Brandy, drink number seven, submitted by House Grayson," Niccolo shares, "In second place we have Shadow and Flame, drink number eleven, submitted by House Velenosa," he looks at the guests then, with a faint smile. "However, as House Velenosa is hosting this event, we will remove ourselves from the running. So, in second place we then have Mountain's Thunder from House Blackram, drink number four." He pauses and inclines his head. "And finally, in third place, we have Stone Mountain White Whisky, from House Nightgold, drink number six."
Niccolo sets down the parchment and looks at the guests. "Those are your winners. Once again, thank you all. My daughter, Her Grace was unable to attend today, but she will be happy to hear how well received this was."
"Wait, which one?" Calista looks over at the second dark wine, the one that sparkles like garnets and she samples this one, too. "This one.." She rises onto her toes and murmurs something likely licentious in nature. There's a touch of blush to her cheeks but it doesn't linger long. She flashes a smile to Lydia now and reaches over to lightly give the woman's arm a squeeze. "I would love that, Lady Lydia. We should see about having a whole day to pamper the women of Arx." As she overhears her cousin, her gaze shifts in his direction. "My protector. Ah," Calista sighs wistfully. "I have missed you, Prospero."
It's Acacia's own flask that she'd retrieved after the script had been written, a quiet scoff made when Silas had guarded his own paper from being seen. "I'm all for mysteries-- but knowing isn't half bad either," she relates, a bolder grin spread across her features when she straightened a bit to impart something quietly towards one of the servants; the motion expanding in a chain which was communicated through the booths themselves.
Acacia drops Revealed Alcohol Names.
Those arrangements of torch-lit booths which had been shrouded in cloth each remove the label of the granted drinks which previously had concealed the name of each submitting House. "Should anyone be interested in purchasing said drinks for themselves, please contact the respective Houses."
Velenosa House servants slip soundlessly through the crowds, extending a pair of gifts towards the winners; with the latter being nestled and wrapped up to be personally sent off. To Lady Dawn, in tribute to House Grayson, a thin mahogany box is opened to the silk-cushioned interior, exposing an elegant gold-nibbed quill adorned by a ghost white feather to her possession. And being sent off, presumably to Lord Gustave, is an exquisite set of etched, crystal drinking glasses.

"The Sword of Lenosia?" Darren quirks a brow, before laughing to himself. "Well, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised then by your ability to remain standing, then. Perhaps not so impressive as I originally assumed," he jokes. "Prince Darren Redrain," he offers in introduction, offering the man a friendly enough smile, chuckling back at Dawn. "Fresh food and apprenticeships? The orphans are becoming a lucky bunch. Perhaps we should have Talen followed just to make sure they remain that way," he suggests with a laugh, clearly a joke, before his head inclines to listen to the winners. "There you are, Lady Dawn. First place, congratulations. I suppose the Duchess of Nightgold will be quite cross with me, for not trying to fix the votes in her favor," he smirks.
"Ah, well. It looks like I shall have to find my way into the rose gardens now," Prospero says after hearing the results of the evening. "And make arrangements with Mistress Accacia as well." It mus tbe said, Prospero doesn't look entirely heartbroken over the matter. "If you will all excuse me, I think I will go tend to such arrangements before I forge tthem."
(OOC) Darren says: Duchess of Stonesdeep, blah blah. Don't even know my own people.
As the winners are announced, Lydia watches and applauds politely. Excusing herself, she then walks through the crowd until she reaches Darren, giving him a wry smile. "Don't worry, highness. I promise you my sister will be pleased with the results." And then there is Dawn as well and so the Nightgold noblewoman lowers into a curtsey, "Lady Dawn, congratulations. Our house could not have lost to a more worthy one."
"I'm afraid that I win nothing, because seven indeed won," Acacia relates towards Prospero with a burgeoning grin despite herself. "Tsk. Part of the issue involved. Instead, Duke Niccolo will relinquish a piece of silver or gold jewelry at Master Enzo's shop to be custom made for one of House Nightgold. But I am glad Lady Dawn has profitted from the wager she tasked."
Calista is overheard praising Acacia.
Calista is overheard praising Dawn.
Spine tightening despite the weight of his armour, Talen resumes his proud posture after the stoop for the Redrain prince. The bearing of the southern swordsman is wholesome with his shoulders back and chin lifted. The wandering princess of familial kind, Jaenelle Velenosa-nee-Thrax, is soon spotted despite his continued conversation with Darren. As she's kept tabs on out of habit, he nevertheless permits silence for the speech when it comes. "An honour," Talen replies with due acknowledgement for Darren's reply and then he waves an arm, clawed fingers splayed briefly, dismissive. "Orphans can deal with it-- I mean, who are they going to tell?" 'Their parents?' goes unsaid to avoid the added layer of gauche, but it need not be finished. Brutal. "Princess Jaenelle," he calls then, waving her across, "I see you made it. You're only a little late," he lies.
Larissa notices Eos' nod and she grins at him, moving through the crowd to greet him properly when her attention is caught by Lydia and Calista "My Ladies, excuse me.. did I hear mention of pampering? And hello to you both!"
Calista is overheard praising Lydia.
Acacia is overheard praising Niccolo.
Eos' brow lifts slightly and his first thought to strike him at the reveal is to ask aloud of no one in particular, "I'm not certain I can imagine a seemly word that rhymes with brandy-" Never the less he shakes his head and has somewhere acquired another glass to raise to the winners. Glancing towards Larissa again, already making plans to tap the witty courtesan for help penning the ode he'd promised to sing on losing the wager. "A fair game of it," he chuckles as he straightens up some and glance around, only to find Larissa has come well into earshot. He smiles warmly to her and laments a little theatrically, "I fear I may be in dire need of your aid, Mistress Larissa, in the days to come."
It turns out a breezy feather-tipped quill is far superior to a handkerchief for idle waving. Dawn studies the prize presented to Grayson, lifting the token in hand and letting the ghostly feather drift, in a show of light-hearted appreciation-- and then a flourishing salute towards Silas to mark out his position in the crowd. Once it's tucked back safely in the box, she tilts a smile at Darren. "You'll give her my respects, I hope. Perhaps we can convince Mistress Culler to make this a regular event, with new submissions. Could you deliver this to Sir Mercier, please?" That last is directed to the servant who's brought the prize over, to send the object on to its proper owner.
"Thank you, your highness! Given the quality of all of the entrants, I'd say we've all won tonight," she says then to Lydia, inclining her head to the lady.
Silas blinks twice when the winners are announced. It seems it wasn't wholly what he expected, but it wasn't an unpleasant surprise! He beams a smile at Dawn from where he was seated, still at the table he once occupied with Talen. "Aye, many congratulations. House Grayson's talents should not be overlooked." His eyes alight upon the quill, then upon Niccolo. "And the event itself was magnificently hosted. Thank you, Your Grace." He cants his head towards the redhead nearby. "And Mistress Culler."
(OOC) Prospero must duck out. Thank you all for the RP!
Prospero is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Hundred Cities Inn - Marquis Suite B.
Jaenelle waits on just the outskirts, where Niccolo stands to address the winners. She claps politely for each as they are listed off, though as Talen calls her out, she slowly turns to face the Sword once more. "Our Sword" she says sweetly, her feet taking her closer, "I was here at the most important time, wasn't I? I see you are making friends and influencing people. Orphans? Again? I thought they were becoming little sailors?" A pleasant way to put it, yes. She glances back to her father in law, perhaps waiting for a chance to speak with him.
Silas is overheard praising Niccolo.
Silas has left the game.
(OOC) Acacia says: I'm going to be closing it out here after the final round of emotes! Thank you for coming!
Darren returns Lydia's wry smile with one of his own. "Three was the clear winner, my lady. I'll be sure to tell your sister that myself," he winks at Lydia, murmuring something to the young woman before nodding back to Dawn, eyes briefly admiring the quill that's brought to her. "A lovely prize, Lady Dawn. Will you put it on the famed desk on your study?" he questions.
Silas has entered the game.
Silas is overheard praising Niccolo.
(OOC) Calista says: Thanks for hosting.
(OOC) Eos says: Thanks for the event , was good times
(OOC) Dawn says: It was terrific, thank you!
Larissa can't help but to laugh at Eos as he plays to the dramatics "Is that so, Lord Eos. I'm quite certain I would be absolutely thrilled to come to your aid... with a modest fee of course. Whatever could it be I wonder? I'm afraid if it has anything to do with wine making I may fail you completely." she warns
(OOC) Silas says: Great event. :) 10/10 would attend again
Lydia inclines her head to Darren, but her green eyes are focused on Dawn. "Lady Dawn, that may be, but my sister and I will be hosting an event soon - a spa say, where we hope to give the women of the city a chance to be pampered by the finest of northern luxuries. I was wondering if I could persuade you to attend and to bring some of your fine drink to share?"
"Congratulations, my lady," Niccolo says to Dawn, as he approaches her. "And to all the other winners," he adds, with a glance to the other guests. "Thank you, Acacia for helping make this a success," he tells his protege, with a small incline of his head. "Now please, drink, eat, enjoy yourselves," he offers, gesturing with his hands around him. One of his Velenosa servants approaches the man, and whispers to his ear, to which Niccolo dips his head in response.
"Friends, yes," Talen emits without an actual clarification on his perspective. "Why not? It cannot hurt," he supposes of the career progression of such orphans, though as Jaenelle seems to be looking in Niccolo's direction from time to time he encourages her across. "The event is winding down, I would just head right across, your highness." With that said he then turns the back of his gauntlet against his mouth, the cold steel soothing the remaining burn of whisky. A similarly wordless bow is offered to Dawn and Darren yet again and then he extracts himself, a few moments spent in making it as unspectacular as possible, a gift owned by servants born and bred.
"Evening to you, Mistress Larissa. It is very nice to see you again." Calista greets the lovely Whisper when she arrives to the small gathering of folks. "Yes, I did just mention something about a day of pampering to Lady Lydia. It would be great to hire such wonderful entertainment from the Whisper House, perhaps we can come together and discuss a future event." The young lady looks over to Eos, just as curious as Larissa, but rather than outright say anything she merely chuckles and returns to drinking.
Talen is leaving Arx - Ward of the Compact - Plaza of Coin, heading for Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Velenosa Estate - Servants Room #1.
"Oh no, nothing to do with wine," he assures, "If only because a wine did not take the win. My wager was that if the Promise did not win, I would sing an ode to the winner in the markets...So now something must be written of the Riverstreet Brandy, for better or worse," he explains, looking both to Calista as much as Larissa, realizing belatedly that yes, the Fidante lady had likely missed that part of the gathering.
Silas is gifted with the elegant quill, and the guard simply marvels at it's fancifulness. Even the box is given a good look-see. "Oh wow, I'm going to have the most elegant handwritten reports. All the other guardsmen are going to be envious." He chuckles as he looks on admiringly and nods to Lady Dawn. "Thank you very much, m'lady. Though I think it would look better in your hand."
While the drinking would willingly continue through the evening as long as people mingled, if such was desired; with the voting tallied and denizens either adding to praise for the winners, or outlandishly speaking poorly and then blaming it upon consumption of alcohol-- the booths themselves remain open only as displays. Appetizers would circulate until there's nothing left, eased by the remainder of alcohol-inclined leftovers presented to those about as the night only deepens.

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