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Festival of Death - Spider Petting Zoo

As part of the second great Festival of Death, the Bard's College will once again be hosting a Spider Petting Zoo. Come see spiders, admire spiders, and yes, even PET spiders! There will even be a chance to take home a real live spider of your very own (or, for the fainter of heart, a less real and lively version). This is once again a family-friendly event -- no one is too young or too old to love and learn about spiders!


June 21, 2020, 3 p.m.

Hosted By

Saro Evaristo


Azova Felicia Leola Porter Thea Cocine Preston Sorrel Amieli Kalani Kenjay Aleksei Kiera Hamish Alis


Harlequins Bard's College


Arx - Ward of the Crown - Bard's College - Main Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Gunner, a lovable goof of a Mistward Labrador arrives, following Porter.

Scratchers the red-tailed hawk, Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes arrive, following Thea.

Scratchers the red-tailed hawk have been dismissed.

The Spider Petting Zoo was very popular last year, and so it is back again, with a similar setup but with new activities for children and adults both, and a new spin on the game 'Pin the Spider's Leg'. Evaristo is milling about and greeting guests and showing off his own tarantula; this is more a 'come in and mingle and pet spiders' event, light-hearted and less formal than most, with commoners and nobles rubbing elbows. It is evening, just after dark - perhaps on purpose, just in case any Nox'alfar show up. Who knows?

Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound arrives, following Rowenova.

This is the event that is, naturally, better than all other events in the history of events -- at least since the last Spider Petting Zoo. This is, in any case, clearly what Saro thinks. The luthier and extreme spider aficionado is perched on a long table of her very own, front and center, with boxes of spider and cases of spiders and free-range spiders roaming about energetically or lurking shyly in unexpected corners. She is also, in fact, covered with spiders, and is beckoning people over in enthusiastic invitation to enjoy spiders as much as she clearly does. Not that that's too likely.

"Spiders!" she exclaims as people enter. "You want spiders, I've got spiders! See spiders, touch spiders, learn about and love spiders!" She beams in satisfaction, while an enterprising tiny jumping spider leaps illustratively from her shoulder to her wrist.

Azova is definitely not at her most comfortable here; with plenty of glances given to the front and side and back, along with the occasional look at her clothing to see if there is anything crawling over her. "Did you have at least a shot of whiskey before deciding to go to this? I definitely had one. Maybe two." The words directed towards Porter whom she spied and decided to torment with her presence. And that is /definitely/ a look of horror on her face at Saro, /covered/ in the things. "Hoooooooow." she whispers, mostly to herself. "Not enough liquor in the world. I would make an absolutely terrible Harlequin. Terrible."

Felicia of course has to come to the petting zoo, and it's no accident that she's brought Bonehilda with her- for all that the large huntsman seems to be set on remaining on the redheads shoulder, half hidden by her hair for now. Her valet's with her, but as she's not here on duty... the Iron Guard is not. Saro's enthusiastic greeting merits a broad, beaming smile from the Harrow and an appreciative eye for the collection of spiders before she offers out a hand with the introduction of,"Nice collection."

Leola was dressed simply and demurely, slipping inside quietly. The albino spider settled on her shoulder, every so often bristling and eyeing the other spiders with a vague intent. Leola murmurs, to her shoulder "Now, behave" She clicks her tongue, and then smiles a little as she steps on in, dipping a one-handed curtsy to Evaristo "Thank you for the invitation"

"I had to have a couple before I got here. First for my nerves and then second to defend myself from the hangover I earned last night. Apparently I spent my evening tormenting a poor Oathlands baron and writing all over his map." Porter only seems mildly regretful for his actions. "I think that I could pet one! I'm not sure I could be covered in them though. The thought makes me kind of itchy," he tells Azova as they wander into the room.

Taking a deep breath, Thea enters the room. Spiders. SPIDERS! Gods and spirits, she can totally do this! After having a couple drinks somewhere, she steps in with the intent to even win one. She heard that was going to be a thing. "So I heard there was going to be a giant spider with a hat to ride,"the Malvici declares as she strides in. Was that a nervous sound in her voice? Did she hide it well enough, as she goes in search for a drink. Another drink.

Saro grins at Felicia for that appreciative comment. "Thank you," she says, reaching up to give a chubby calico tarantula on her shoulder an affectionate finger-pat. "But really, I can't claim them as my collection. They're more like my special guests, invited in from their homes in the gardens of Arx. Most of them will go back to where they came from when this over, so they can go back about their business as spiders ought to." Noticing Azova's look of horror, she can't help but wink over at the woman.

Cocine's arrival is one of curiosity and interest, dark gaze darting about as she steps into the main hall. Tucking a lock of hair behind one ear, she moves forward, seeking out any familiar faces she might find. Evaristo gets a bright smile and a wave and she heads in his direction, "Master Arterius! A pleasure to see you again. This all loosk amazing. Where can I begin? They can be petted? May I hold one? Are they okay with being held?"

Leaving his small cadre of guards outside - along with a very large goat who can helpfully chew on visitors hats to ensure they are security vetted - Preston steps into the Bard's College for the Festival of Death event. Out of his armour and in a priestly robe, his waist is cinched with his blades - just in case spiders turn out to forming some kind of evil rebellion. Stepping into the room with Sorrel on his arm, he gently pats her hand and steps to ths side so he can more formally bow "Thank you for the escort, your highness. I felt much safer." As he straightens his eyes take in some of the various figures who have arrived "Mmf. Hopefully no-one causes any mist or stabbings this time."

"Is that why you're needing a map? I wondered, since there's not a lot of you know... bodies of water to sail over there." One curiousity satisfied, and Azova nods. She also may or may not be trying to half hide behind the much larger man when Saro winks at her. She does wave quickly though, so as not to be rude. "How do you even really pet a spider? It would have to be a really big spider wouldn't it? To actually pet one." Color her skeptical, though she casts a curious glance around once the terror of seeing someone covered in them is over with.

"Even better. Free-range is how they should be." Felicia agree's with a chuckle,"Most people seem to get nervous when Bonehilda's out... but I figured she would be safe here at least. I like your set-up here, and it's always nice to see people learning about Her little helpers." she opines before prowling further in to let others take the opportunity to greet the organizer.

Evaristo's tarantula Silk is sitting on his shoulder, half under the collar of his coat for a bit of extra protection. "Greetings, come in, come in, pet a spider, have a drink - not a lot of alcohol here today my ladies and lords, masters and mistresses - there's too many spiders and children for drunkedness, though what we do AFTER is another story," he loudly and cheerfully greets everyone entering. He looks particularly pleased seeing Leola, and returns her curtsey with a little bow. "Aha! And our very SPECIAL guest is here. Very proud to introduce everyone to Dame Leola Allenatore, Paladin of Groves, Knight of Southport and a LEGENDARY animal whisperer. LEGENDARY. If you are all lucky she will regale you of stories of spiders, of which I am sure she has plenty - and see, she has brought her own most BEAUTIFUL spider as well." Hearing Thea's comment, he waves a hand. "No guarantee of giant spiders, alas. But I did invite the whole Twilight Court, so who knows!" That will likely make Preston SO happy to hear. He waves to Cocine to come over and meet his Silk, the tarantula, if she wants.

"I assure you, Sir Preston, Arx is fairly safe," Sorrel replies to her companion with a laugh, though which knight is escorting whom remains in the air. She has left her own entourage behind, and she laughs brightly. "I might have to remind people that I am 'too young for follies.' That is what Leona told me, and I intend to insist upon it forever."

And there go Leola's cheeks. Quite red. She smiles a little and lifts her hand to the others, waving a touch and moving to sit close to Saro. No concern over the other spiders. She lowers her arm to let Porshia skitter down to the table, sitting in front of Leola, curled up over the paladin's hand protectively "I'll answer what I can. I do find them beautiful creatures" She says in a soft little tone

Heading over, Cocine offers another smile towards Evaristo and nods, "Thank you! I have to admit, I've been a bit excited about this one ever since I heard about it." Looking towards the tarantula, her smile maintains and she lifts a hand to finger-wave at Silk, "Hello there, beautiful Silk. Thank you for agreeing to this event. Its a pleasure to meet you." She turns to offer a quick half-bow towards Leola and her own companion, offering a quick smile before turning back to Evaristo and Silk.

"No, the Oathlands is very dry," Porter agrees with Azova and then he laughs. "Dry of drink and dry of bodies of water too! Probably not a great place for me to take a vacation!" The idea of spider petting and how do you do it is met with a fair amount of blinking on Porter's end. "Hm. I guess you just take your index finger, stretch it out and go like this-!" and here he makes a scritching motion with his finger. "Probably on one of the big parts. Or maybe the head part. Or a leg. They have a lot of legs to choose from!"

Thea has her hand on a glass just as Evaristo announces Leola AND the mention of said giant spiders. "Oh. You mean they DO exist." There's a look of momentary shock on her face as she starts to hide it with a smile,"Dame Leola, how are you? I haven't seen you in awhile." The steps over to her to eye the spider SHE has, maybe touch it. SHe'll let her touch her fuzzy spider right? Thea will trust what she knows..One would think. Passingly, she offers a wave to Azova.

The word "pet" reaches Saro, mooted by both Cocine and Porter and perhaps a few other voices in the crows, and she waves one hand invitingly. "Yes, of course you can pet spiders! Most of the spiders, anyway," she adds, with a glance down at what looks to be a very special small trinket box set carefully by her side, covered up with a bit of mesh. "But even those that don't appreciate being petted will certainly be very glad if you come over and admire them! I've got.." She glances around, as if trying to remember just what she does have, and ascertain their whereabouts. "A majestic orb weaver, a very kind and friendly tarantula, an adventurous jumping spider, a lovely Lycene crab spider, a, er.." There's another glance around. "A wolf spider, somewhere. She's always wandering off when I'm not looking." Very reassuring, to the arachnophobes in the crowd. When Leola comes over she leaves off looking for the wayward wolf spider and smiles warmly at the legendary lady. "It's so nice to meet you and your friend. I'm glad you could come this evening."

"I tend to think there are three types of people. Those who are too young for follies, those too wise for them, and those who will soon be on the wheel." Comes Preston's response, his eyes rolling a little at the idea "The customs of others should always be studied and be of interest, but we have our own." The talk from Evaristo of Leola and spiders equally gets a small shake of Preston's head before he turns to Sorrel "Have you ever met the Fluffybottoms? A personal favourite to be honest - one once escorted the Dominus. I do wonder how they find so many small knights, and get the tails to stay on the armour."

Maybe she slipped in silently behind the chatting pair of Azova and Porter; or perhaps she was there before Thea, in the shadow of her confident stride; or possibly Amieli was there even before then and early to the event? Regardless, in what might be a rare moment of visible guilelessness completely at odds with her apparently sneaky entrance, the lady watches Saro's mobile arachnoid menagerie--and Leola's contribution to it--with a silent enraptured fascination. There is Lycene politeness in an inclination of the head, a smile, components to a greeting, but she certainly seems more engaged in listening and watching than interrupting ongoing conversation.

Silk does wave a leg at Cocine and Evaristo gently coaxes the fuzzy black spider onto his palm, and holds her there so Cocine can pet her. "Just gently and slowly move your hand and stroke her on the back, but just a few times. Petting spiders is a bit of a SPECIAL thing, to be fair. Not like they're cats or dogs!" he says. Clearly, he KNOWS SPIDERS. "Grandmaster Preston! Or wait, is it Carnifex? Both, I suppose! Will you take part in this year's game? I added a bit of a twist," he says and points towards the tangle of rope that is in front of a large painting of a spider that is missing a leg.

"I couldn't refuse Evaristo's request" Leola smiles to Saro, admiring her collection "It's a pleasure to meet you. This is Porshia - she belonged to one of Pravus, but decided I was far finer to assist. I believe she finds the Lodge a delight - we grow so many plants, we attract many insects. She prowls around ever so much" With a little chuckle "But I enjoy looking about and meeting more. I've read many of the tales of the Nox's spiders."

"I hear they have the best tea." Azova comments towards Porter, knowing full well that is definitely not what he meant by the Oathlands being dry. "Yeah, see. Maybe it's all the legs that weird me out." she whispers, lifting a hand to wave at Thea in return before she nudges her walking companion with her elbow and gestures towards the lineup of fine arachnids displayed by Saro. "I'm thinking tarantula. She said it was kind and friendly." She is definitely bracing herself for this, taking in a breath before sidling just a little closer to that managerie of spiders table.

"I have met a couple of them," Sorrel replies to Preston with an amused nod. "Teemo used to accompany my sister-in-law, Leona, and my son Kyrios has a much-loved Teemo plushie from back in the day when Teemo used to babysit him while Leona and I chatted." Because there's nothing weird about letting a mountain lion babysit a toddler prince. "And there are a couple of others I have met, as well. My dog is always very polite to them. It's kind of cute."

"King and friendly? No! An adventurous jumping spider?" Porter repeats, evidently listening to Saro from her position with all of the various spiders. "I want to meet that one!" He hauls on Azova's arm when she nudges him. Apparently he doesn't need a lot of encouragement. "Lets meet the jumping one!" As he's beginning to move, he shifts somewhat and startles when he notices Amieli back there. Or is she back there? Perhaps off to the side? Unclear! But the stealthy appearance gives him a bit of a surprise. "Oh, hello."

Felicia makes her way over towards Evaristo with an upnod of acknowledgment, eyes turning towards the tangle of rope with a small tilt of her head and a grin,"Second First Harlequin." she offers his way with wink,"Silk." she adds for his companion,"That looks markedly dangerous... in a fun kind of way."

Kevin, a jerk wolf spider with a really shitty attitude who totally sucks arrives, delivering a message to Evaristo before departing.

Thea starts to make her to Saro. Totally going to do this, going to touch a spider. But then she sees Amieli. A slight smile appears on her lips, blinking a bit,"Uh. Hello. Did I bump into you? I'm sorry--I didn't see you. WEre you there long?" Thea clears her throat asking,"Any suggestions on what to touch first? I have no idea. I just have a feeling if I step on one by accident, I may find myself back on the wheel.."

Evaristo gets Festival of Death spider plushie from an umbra pouch lined in white silk velvet.

Evaristo gets Festival of Death spider plushie from an umbra pouch lined in white silk velvet.

Evaristo gets Festival of Death spider plushie from an umbra pouch lined in white silk velvet.

Evaristo puts Festival of Death spider plushie in Festival of Death prize bag.

Evaristo puts Festival of Death spider plushie in Festival of Death prize bag.

Evaristo puts Festival of Death spider plushie in Festival of Death prize bag.

Keso, a totally legit assistant, Peanut, an oversized mountain dog arrive, following Aleksei.

Aleksei gets Child Fitzcarraldo from a black leather swordbelt.

Evaristo drops Festival of Death prize bag.

Smiling at Silk's greeting, Cocine pays close attention to the instructions on how to pet her. GIving a nod to Evaristo, she brings her hand up slowly to Silk with an open palm, giving plenty of time for the spider to get used to her. Extending a single finger forward, Cocine gives a very light pet-pet-pet to the tarantula's back and chuckles, "Her bristles are ticklish. Thank you, Silk, you are a beautiful tarantula and I am glad to have met you." She glances towards Saro and Leola at mention of additional spiders, especially an orb weaver, her eyes rounding, "An orb weaver?"

Saro oohs appreciatively over Porshia, a response that is clearly one hundred percent genuine from the enraptured look on her face. "She's so beautiful!" the luthier tells Leola. "I'm not surprised she chose you, and the Lodge. It's clear that you have the proper sort of admiration for them, and I've gone spider-collecting around the Lodge before too -- there are so many different kinds hidden all around out there! Although most of the ones I've got today just came from inside Arx itself."

When Azova works up the fortitude to approach her table, Saro smiles reassuringly at her and says, "The nice thing about tarantulas compared to some other spiders -- at least for people who are a little nervous around them -- is that they're very large and obvious, you generally know where they are, and they don't make any sudden moves. This is Tickles, because her feet tickle when she walks all over me." She gives her shoulder-tarantula a gentle nudge, and the creature trundles obligingly down her arm, the better for Azova to see (and touch!). She also grins at Porter, telling him, "The jumping spider is Dorothea -- Dot for short, because she's got them on her back. You can hold her if you want."

"Some of them who were good at swimming helped us dive under the Sovereign Bridge to try and find Crusader - Leona organised that as well I think. Or Leola. Or both. I must admit I miss that little party. Leona, Calaudrin, Esoka, and little sister Thena." There is a small sad sigh from Preston at that thought, having started off so happy with fluffy diving otters as well. But he shakes his head and lifts his gaze back to Sorrel, smiling "Well, bring the children next time your work takes you to the compound - I am sure Jeffers will entertain them. I fear guy doesn't make a good pet unless they are interested in hunting?" But, there is Evaristo greeting him with Enthusiasm, and Preston lifts his right hand in greeting "Evaristo. I thought I had better attend and make sure no trouble, though I am still nursing my injury from Sungreet, so I'd hide behind Sorrel if I were you if it all becomes terrible."

Kalani gets a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

"You are always welcome to come to the Lodge" Leola smiles broadly to Saro "Perhaps we can try to find some interesting breeds of spiders there! You must have seen animals are quite different there - we can see how they come" And she nods to preston "I spoke to them. You must see Victus, if you miss the otters - have you met Scarf, yet? Scarf is staying with the Highlord for the moment. I understand fish is involved" She grins broadly, and then gently encourages Porshia to move over to Saro, letting the aficionado study her

Sorrel gets a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

Porter takes a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

Felicia gets a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

"Oh yes, I thought last year's game - though fun - LACKED a certain element of DANGER. Though the worst that can happen is someone gets so entangled they have to be helped out, I suppose," Evaristo grins at Felicia. "Oh, everyone! Don't forget to take some of the toys! There's LOVELY ones made by Miss Saro, the Bard's College OWN spider afficionado and talented luthier! ANd I've had some plushies made that you can WEAR if you like!" He points to a cedar trunk, and a prize bag. "Sir Preston, I am sure there will be NO trouble! What could POSSIBLY go wrong?"

Cocine takes a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

Thea takes a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

"But jumping spiders jump, Porter." Azova whines, just a little, when she's hauled along. "How about both. Maybe both." is suggested, with a smile given Amieli's way. "I... yes, they are definitely larger than your average spider. And kind of furry." She's just going to agree with Saro and inspect the tarantula for a a long moment before reaching out to gently run her fingertip over Tickles. "Lovely to meet you." That seems appropriate, and she wait for the arachnid's reaction to that tentative gesture before doing anything else. Including possibly breathing.

Azova gets a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

"These are very cute toy spiders," Sorrel declares as she gets one out of the trunk with amusement. "I shall have to bring it home for the children. They will love it. Well. Kyrios is a bit nervous about spiders, but Lilah is plenty bold."

The evening of spiders, that's what Kalani is thinking of as she slips into the main hall with it's set up stations for children to draw spiders, it's tables with displays and so on. The Seliki healer has a look upon her face that is part trepidation and part curiosity and, for perfectly good reasons, checks the floor with extreme care before walking about.

As Thea is waiting to touch or something of one Suro's spiders, she is inspecting the toy spider. Looking over at Sorrel, she gives her an impish grin,"You're giving yours to your children. I'm thinking of shoving this in either Eirene or Martino's bed...Calypso's if I don't mind the extra work that will follow."

"I can hold her?" Porter is looking at the jumping spider with a look of great consideration over his face. Then he puts his big hands out to the spider, cupped together carefully to allow the spider to uh-- wander on? How does one direct a spider, anyway? "Hello, Dot!" he greets the spider. "I mean sure, but she said that this one is adventurous! I think we could be friends." Him and Dot.

Kenjay arrives without fanfare, in a billow of crimson and orange silk shirt that somehow manages not to clash with his hair. The rest of his outfit is positively pedestrian, including the simple armour he wears, but all of it together gives a definite Eurusi feel. He takes a few moments to look around before venturing closer to the festivities.

"Well, I'm sure you could make it more dangerous, but well... I think that might be just about the right level of danger." Felicia chuckles at Evaristo's words,"Though perhaps Bonehilda and Silk will agree to be babysat by you while I participate? I'd never forgive myself if she got hurt."

It is not the season for Fitz, who usually only seems to be with his father in Arx during fall and winter, but here he is, rushing ahead of Aleksei with all the intensity of childhood fixation. Aleksei looks -- considerably less enthused. "Okay, kiddo, just -- don't put any /on/ me. Okay?" It becomes readily apparent that Aleksei is not a /fan/ of spiders, and that the small, auburn-haired seven-year-old with him is /very much a fan of spiders/.

Thea takes Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Felicia gets Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Aleksei gets a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

"Ah-no-hello," Amieli replies, smiling apologetically. "Apologies if I was in the way; I must confess--I was somewhat entranced." She listens to Saro's explanation and seems to piece something together, stepping forward, the smile still offered to Thea now a touch encouraging.

"The small one with the thorns and the blue markings is gorgeous," she addresses Saro, an inroad to dialogue. "Has it a name? What kind of spider is he? she? Would it also allow petting?"

Aleksei gets Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Porter takes Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Tickles accepts Azova's touch and greeting with docile equanimity, merely raising one leg in a tentative gesture and then setting it down again. "Look!" Saro says cheerfully. "She even waved at you!" That is totally what the tarantula was doing, obviously. "She must like you just fine. She's a Bravuran tarantula, which is where I got her from. They make good pets -- not all spiders do -- and they live a pretty long time too, so you can get very attached to them. And they've got a very placid temperament."

Dot, meanwhile, is visible as a diminutive black presence on Saro's knee, where the spider perches making swift little turning motions, as if she's looking around and taking everything in. "Here," says the luthier, "I'll give her a nudge, and she'll jump over to you." And so Saro does, and so does Dot too -- in a leap so swift it takes place in the split second between one blink and the next, and then she's on Porter's arm instead, frozen in place as she decides what to make of her latest perch.

"People always say there will be no trouble right before the biggest amounts of trouble, Evaristo. And social events lately have included processions with crowns, and Princess Sorrel's concert - and that got very interesting indeed." Preston chides the harlquin. He stays closer to the edge though as others enjoy the petting zoo, smiling "And in truth I like watching people enjoy the Gods, in all the ways they can. It's why we fight." The arrival of Aleksei with a small child though gets a raised eyebrow "Brother Aleksei - I hope your trip back was....ooh, there are plushies?" And then Preston is following to obtain one

There's people roaming about, adult and children, nobles and commoners, and the mood here is quite festive.

Evaristo grins at Felicia and winks at her. Seeing Aleksei and Fitz, he perks up noticeably and waves at them. "Aleksei, Fitz! So glad to see you both." He does a little silly dance there, for Fitz's sake more than anything else. "Everyone wanting to play this AMAZING game of Pin the Spider can start lining up!"

Preston takes Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Porter has joined the line.

Sorrel gets Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Felicia has joined the line.

Cocine has joined the line.

Azova has joined the line.

Sorrel has joined the line.

Aleksei puts Festival of Death spider plushie in Festival of Death prize bag.

Aleksei gets Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

"Really, that was a wave?" Azova looks just thrilled by this, waving back at Tickles with a delighted smile. "That's actually quite charming, isn't it... ack, a spider just jumped right on you!" Azova, taking a careful step closer to the table, without really thinking that maybe that isn't her best idea? "Porter, there is a spider on you." Because he definitely has no idea. She turns towards Amieli too. "Did you see that?"

Thea has joined the line.

Is there going to be a game?? Porter likes games. Porter also now has a jumping spider on him. He freezes, torn between standing here with a spider on him and joining a game with Dot riding along. "Do you think she'll want to play the game?" he asks Saro (or Dot, maybe both!)

Felicia lifts her hand to her shoulder, offering the spot to the large huntsmen nestled there and letting her decide if she wants to step onto it,"You've met her before, so if there's no objections..." but there's distraction, and the Harrow steps back out of the way of Evaristo's little dance with a laugh. It's the spider she addresses though with,"...Perhaps it would be safer to stay on me."

What was she doing? Oh right, touching. Stepping forward, Thea assures Amieli,"You weren't,"thought she looks closer at Amieli for a moment. "Do I know you? You look a little familiar." Her attention turning when a game is mentioned,"You should play."

Preston has joined the line.

Kiera gets Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Kalani has joined the line.

"Oh! Hang on!" Evaristo tells Felicia. "I will NOT move around much, I promise - I will stand to the side and be in charge of the time-glass for the game. Go play!" He reaches out to take Felicia's spider and look after her for awhile.

"EVeryone that wants to play, get in a line and we'll get the fun started!" he calls out and points to the web of ropes. There's a spider leg to take at the start, one for each contestant, and a blind-fold to be tied over the eyes.

Turn in line: Porter

"Just Aleksei now," Aleksei reminds Preston with a bit of a dry humor, his smile a bit crooked. "Preston, have you--" He blinks, as if realizing the answer to his own question. "Wow. Hey, kiddo--" He reaches for Fitz to take his shoulders and kind of settle Fitz in front of him. "Fitz, this is Preston. He's Grandmaster of the Templars. We used to work together." Fitz peers up at Preston with a surprisingly assessing gaze; he does not seem to have his father's more gregarious nature. But finally, after studying Preston for long enough, he says, "Hello." And then Evaristo is there /dancing/, and there's a word about /prizes/, and he reaches to tug on Aleksei's hand. "Papa! Win the prize for me!"

Porter checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Porter checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.

Saro smiles back to Amieli as she comes over and duly admires the very peculiar looking spider nestled in her left elbow. "This is Frieda," she introduces the eccentric arachnid. "She's a thorn spider, named for the odd projections that come off their carapace. They come in all sorts of unusual colors -- the more eye-popping the better, seems to be their philosophy -- and they build big intricate webs much like the orb weavers do. I don't know why they look the way they do," she admits. "Maybe it's to make themselves less appetizing to birds?" Grinning at Azova, she avows, "Of course it was a wave! Tickles is very friendly. The friendliest tarantula I've ever known." Seemingly in response, Tickles then lifts and lowers the other foremost leg in the same manner. So friendly!

Porter checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

"Well that looks like fun," Kalani says this as she picks up one of the toy spiders - after being absolutely certain it's a toy spider and in no way able to animate itself to leap, dangle, spring, scuttle, skitter or climb. Ahem. She examines it with care, that is, and ambles over to take a look at the game that's forming then joins the line.

Felicia laughs,"Sure." she agree's,"Though if you want me to babysit Silk and Bonehilda so you can play too, I'd be happy to." she grins, extending Bonehilda towards Evaristo again and letting the fawn colored huntsmen pick her own pace about gingerly stepping over.

Turn in line: Felicia

Azova is apparently a sucker for a tarantula spider wave, who knew? But she waves again in delight, and gives Saro a grateful smile. Then, decides to join the line for the pin the leg on the spider game. Because why not?

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.

Dot is so up for games. After turning herself 360 degrees on Porter's arm, she leaps up to his shoulder instead. Her presence is bound to provide moral support, and not be a distraction at all.

Felicia checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

Felicia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Evaristo is ready to turn that time-glass and make note of where the sand ends for each contestant. "No no, I can't compete. I'd win!" he tells Felicia, quite dead pan. "Wouldn't be fair, absolutely not." But hearing Fitz asking his dad to compete, he does wave at Aleksei quite encouragingly.

Turn in line: Cocine

Kenjay moves further into the room, glancing over the arrangement of ropes and the game being played there, and gravitating towards the tables with the people with the spiders.

Kiera enters the festival with a bit of trepidatiion, not a huge fan of spiders though she does enjoy children and expects there will be som eager to interact with arachnids

Preston looks at the small Aleksei-spawn, having retrieved a plushie which is carefully stuffed away into his robes. Preston turns his head to the side a little to regard the young person, looking a little awkward "Ah. Fitz, the child. You are....well I hope?" It's possible that a child raised by an older man in a building with more than its share of older men and women might have missed some important parts of growing up. LIke kids. "Your father is a very good person, and he must love you very much. With the kneeling." Oh. Dear. Preston looks up to Aleksei himself and tilts his head "And used to work together? I am not sure you ever stopped serving the Gods, Aleksei. You just chose to be more, well. Chaotic about it. Don't worry, you are still ahead of Vayne when it comes to being a good Oathlander."

"Oh," Amieli eyes the spider with a quiet laugh. "Maybe she is only looking to play along with him," she replies to Azova, the reassurance very clearly more of a joke than a definite fact.

She lags behind Thea and Azova to gingerly reach out and pet the spider with a finger. "Thank you," is the murmured acknowledgement to Saro's explanation. Then the Igniseri lady is following her conversation partners toward the line. Thea invited her, after all.

Amieli has joined the line.

So the good news is, Porter has at least enough body awareness that he can move through the web without killing himself or Dot. Unfortunately he has literally no idea where he's going and luck is not on his side. He does have Dot with him, who he asks for help several times. "Which way??" The spider doesn't answer him, at least not in a way that he could possibly ever understand. At one point he gets sort off lost off to the side of the web while trying to find a good spot to pin the leg. Dot crawls up his neck and into his beard. "AH. THAT TICKLES. I usually ask girls to take me out for a drink first," he warns Dot and then just takes a stab at literally anything. Hopefully it's not a person. "Dot, get out of my beard."

Turn in line: Azova

Azova checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.

Azova checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Azova checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Cocine checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 17 lower.

Cocine checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.

Cocine checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

The armored, polka-dotted Frieda hunkers down when she's touched by Amieli, and then, seeming to find this an agreeable position, stays exactly that way even after the woman has gone off to join the game. Saro shakes her head at the little spider, crouched in this defensive attitude in the crook of her arm, and then looks up to the latest arrivals, waving her other arm to Kiera and Kenjay in greeting. "Hello there! If you've come wanting to see and pet and learn about spiders, you have definitely come to the right place. I've got all sorts here for people to look at." She's not lying. She is, literally, crawling with spiders of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Azova starts laughing hysterically at Porter. She just can't help it; it turns into a wheeze, and she has to wipe tears from her eyes before the blindfold is put on her. In fact, she is /still/ laughing when she is unceremoniously directed to the web and has to twist and turn and maybe eventually find her way along the ropes to pin the leg. Somewhere. That didn't feel like a person she pinned it on, so surely she is relieved. "Dot is your new best friend, Porter!" she cheerily calls out, once the cloth strip over her eyes is removed.

Turn in line: Sorrel

Sorrel checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 37 higher.

Sorrel checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Sorrel checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Evaristo is laughing nearly as much as Azova here - it's certainly a game where one can not be afraid to make a fool of yourself. But, he keeps track of the times and makes notes on the sheet he has for the purpose.

Aleksei peers at Preston a bit, looking like he could have one of /many/ different responses, but in the end he just smiles a bit crookedly at Preston's...attempts. "We aren't /colleagues/ anymore is all I meant," he tells him. He sidles over towards the line at Fitz's insistence, but he eyes the net a bit warily. "There aren't actual spiders in that, right?" he asks Evaristo. RIGHT? He is doing his best, here, but there is lingering tension in his frame.
Fitz considers Preston's reply, though, with a strange sort of thoughtfulness. "Yes," he finally decides. He IS well. "I'm /seven/." See? That means he's well. "Because I'm /new/. How old are /you/? Are you old or new?"

Felicia eyes Evaristo,"Oh no. How awful. Beaten by the web designer." she opines with a grin, waiting for Porter to take his chances with the rope and the pin before collecting her own. There might be a studious squint, the 'leg' passed from one hand to another. The redheaded knight might have some practice in these sorts of things, given the graceful way she winds her way among the ropes and finally reaches out to pin it at least reasonably accurately on the target. Upside down and sticking out at an odd angle, but well, at least she made it.

"Absolutely SPIDER FREE game," Evaristo promises Aleksei.

Turn in line: Thea

"Stop laughing!" Porter calls out to Azova, but he doesn't sound overly annoyed by his situation. In truth, he's laughing himself. When the blindfold is removed, he finds that he's rather far off course. "Oh, I guess we didn't win this one, Dot." He can't see Dot anymore, but occasionally she moves around and he can feel it. He shivers at the sensation and after extricating himself from the web begins picking his way over to Saro. "Help," he says and leans over. Like, please. How to remove spider from person.

Thea checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

Thea checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.

Thea checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Sorrel is apparently very good at being dexterous, managing her way through the web with a delightful flexibility that perhaps suggests she is as dangerous with a sword as she is with a song. Nonetheless, she seems to be having trouble getting the spider leg in just the right place. It takes her a moment to find it due to poor luck, but then, there! She finds where it goes. And she's done.

"Probably," Saro clarifies reassuringly to Aleksei.

"Well yes, I can't guarantee that no spider has escaped. Haha, LAST year we tipped over the spiderling box, we had spiders all over the college for WEEKS," Evaristo reminisces. So, so helpful to Aleksei here.

Turn in line: Preston

Preston checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher. Preston rolled a critical!

"Never!" Azova calls back, because that's what friends are for right? And she struggles not to start all over again when he requires Saro's expert assistance. But then, what? Spider escapes and baby spiders everywhere? That just makes her eyes widen almost comically and frantically look around to make sure this is not the case right now. Pleaseno.

Preston checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Preston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Aleksei has joined the line.

Is busy talking, but then her name is called. "Oh, right!" Finishing her drink and grabbing a tai--er--leg, Thea hurries over to the web and starts climbing. Obviously it's a bit as she takes moment to gather momentum. Whoever said long legs are easy to manuever LIED! Finally getting the hang of it, the Malvici gets her way up, but hears Evaristo,"So you're saying I may go home with spiders on me anyway,"calling down. She pins the leg somewhere and gets down quicker than up.

Cocine is not an athletic woman. Nor is she an investigative woman. But she does love a good game! Gamely she fights her way through the rope web, getting caught and tangled more than once, even losing a shoe at one point. Then amidst the laughter of trying to free herself, she gets turned around and spun about and manages to pin the leg to the blank aread NEAR the spider rather than on it. Still chuckling as she makes her way off the course, she glances around, "I think I lost a shoe....

Saro peers at Porter in concentration as he comes back over to her table with this desperate plea for aid. "Poor Dot," she sympathizes (with the spider). "I'm sure she would have liked to win. But I'm sure she gave it her best. Now--" And she peers harder. "Where are you, Dot?" There's no response (unsurprisingly). But then Saro leans over to look behind Preston, gives a quiet, "aha!" and reaches up her hand to the vicinity of somewhere just below the back of his neck. When she pulls her hand back into view, Dot is there, resting on the pinnacle of one knuckle and edging herself energetically from side to side as if wondering where her next adventure is.

Kenjay makes his way over towards Saro at the welcome, with the occasional glance at the ropes to see how the contestants are faring. And when he arrives, he offers Saro a smile. "Greetings," he says, his Arvani tinged at the edges with Eurus. "I have not met many spiders who seemed to be happy to see me, before."

Evaristo is cheering people on. "You're almost through, I promise! Just a liiiittle bit more!" He doesn't give away a direction or tell them which way to crawl though, that'd make it too easy. He bends over at some points, tears in his eyes of laughter. "Saro, Leola - you two should give it a go!" he calls to them.

Turn in line: Kalani

Kalani checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Kalani checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

Kalani checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Moving towards Leola and Saro, Cocine offers a smile towards them both, "If you would like to participate, I am happy to sit with any spiders that wish to remain here. It will give me a chance to ooh and ahh over them." Dual purpose!

Turn in line: Amieli

"And even then, Aleksei. I am not so certain. You may have taken another path, but I can see you through the trees, mm? We still march to the destination. And the Gods still chose you for a purpose, one you embrace and don't refuse. It is just that other things called you to serve as well." And Preston then smiles warmly down at the little Fitz. The declaration of ages gets a nods and Preston hunches down a little "I am...hrm....a little older. More than three sevens. But still new." And then his name is called and he stands "Ah! I have to do my run." As Preston looks at the course he hrms, and slides his sword belt off and he seems almost ready to hand the blade to Fitz to look after before he hands it to Aleksei "The writing by the way, on the blade? We translated it. Nox." And shedding his priestly robe and setting it aside he goes to try his luck in just his linen outfit - looking far more like a slightly overlarge pauper boy than anything else.

Preston makes it through the strings rather well - not quickly, and he is favouring his left shoulder a little, but without hitting or getting tangled. Ahe he even manages a passable pinning of the leg in the right area before he moves to finish. As he returns, and Saro grabs at something near his neck, Preston turns quickly, startled, visibly winching as his shoulder spins arounnd to grapple " wise to not grab at knights without warning them." He suggests before moving to recover his shoulder, rubbing at his shoulder "Arrows, Aleksei. I prefer demon slaps."

"She really tried her best," Porter relays to Saro, waiting patiently until she plucks the spider away from the back of his neck. A little shiver runs through his arms and shoulders after the little animal is taken away. "Thank you for allowing me to play a game with your spider!" he tells her, sounding for all the world like this is genuine. And it probably is! "Until we meet again, Dot." The spider is given a sweeping bow, a thanks for their adventure together. "Now where has Lady Azova gone off to?"

Felicia dips her head Sorrel's way with a small smattering of applause,"I think you have me beat, your highness." she advises,"Mine ended up a little... haphazard." she coughs quietly, circling her way back to Evaristo and her spider with a smile for Aleksei's son,"Don't think of them as random spiders... think of them as future guests. After all... if they decided to hitch a ride clearly they think you're okay." she suggests.

Sorrel grins at Felicia, laughing brightly. "Ah, but you did so well! And luck was with you. You got it very quickly, on practically your first try," she says as she brushes herself off. "I love games like this."

Amieli checked perception + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.

Kiera looks to be sure to keep an eye on the seven year old as his father goes to play as well as for any insects that might get funny ideas

Amieli checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

"I'm not really the clambering type" Leola laughs to Cocine and Evaristo "But thank you for the offer. I'm happy to just watch - it's a delight to see!"

Amieli checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.

Azova only shows up nearby when the jumping spider is no longer jumpy, of course. "So, going to get a jumping spider as a companion to join you on your adventures?" She thinks she is funny, obviously.

Saro tsks in sad commiseration for Kenjay, previously unbeloved by spiders. "Well, maybe you just never met the right spider," she reassures him. "But! Now is your chance." Glancing around at her variety of eight-legged companions, both on her person and nearby, she explains, "Not all my spiders here really like to be touched either. But some of them are very docile and friendly! Tickles definitely is." She tilts her head down to a large chubby tarantula on her wrist. "And Dot is -- naturally! -- but she's just had quite an adventure. Hmm. Triss might like you." She reaches down to touch a very gentle finger to a large midnight-black orb weaver sitting very still and quiet on the table nearby, her glossy back swept with white flecks like stars.

Turn in line: Aleksei

Aleksei checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Aleksei checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Aleksei checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Leola gets Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Amieli gets a charming wooden toy tarantula from a sturdy cedar trunk with a marquetry lid.

Kalani is studying the twisted rope of nets that are fashioned, and she doesn't see it at first but then realizes, in a sort of twisty web to navigate through. She makes a quiet, "Hmm," of sound, rising to the tips of her toes to get a good look at it, from where she stands at least, and leans to the side as well, watching the others before her navigating through and trying to plan her way forward in advance. She fairly bounces in place, going up to the tips of her toes and back down when it's her turn and starts threading her way into and through the twisty maze of ropes. She gets snagged, turned around, thinks she's backtracked or wormed her way forward until reaching where she thinks this spider is that must have it's limb pinned back on and makes a blind stab. Pin, leg, some manner of attachment before she tugs the blindfold off and snorts. "No spider has ever had a leg joined there," said with a grin before moving off to the side to see the last contestants make their own attempts.

"We've competed in quite a few together. I think the one I remember best was the sea-themed one, and as I recall you were pregnant, but still made me look like I had two left feet with the speed you climbed the rigging." Felicia offers wryly to Sorrel,"One of my sisters mentioned they needed to speak with a spellsinger... I don't know if she's contacted you yet, but she might." she advises, eyes going briefly to the floor with a scuff of a foot.

Evaristo is counting scores and making notes and maths over there, but looks up to look at Aleksei expectantly when he is the last one to try out this simple yet amusing obstacle course.

Evaristo gets gold spider pendant with red garnets from an umbra pouch lined in white silk velvet.

"Well if it's /Nox/ I could have read it!" Aleksei tells Preston with a huff. "That's the one language I know!" And Fitz also adds, "/I/ can read it." A /seven-year-old/, Preston. Showing you up. Aleksei gives Felicia a somewhat strained look. "Listen, if I could be more comfortable with spiders, I /really would be/. Between Aureth and Fitz, they are /always/ around." He shudders a bit, but turns gamely on to the game at hand. Which has NO REAL SPIDERS. FOR THE LOVE OF THE GODS. He takes a deep breath as he accepts his blindfold, and then he seems to focus. He steps in, eeling through the tangle of the net, getting caught once or twice but never for too long; he manages quite well for himself, in fact, and comes out the other end rather efficiently. And then it's a matter of the spider itself, and he focuses on where his mental map is telling him the spider is centered, taking a moment to orient himself -- but then seeming to follow his gut after that moment. He stabs the leg into place -- or /a/ place -- with bold emphasis. DONE.

Saro offers generously towards Porter, "You're welcome to come back and visit Dot whenever you like. She lives in the shop here, and has even mostly learned to stay out of the varnish pots." Dot, from her post on Saro's hand, is still facing towards Porter and staring intently at him with her bright beady little eyes, perhaps memorizing him as a doughty adventuring companion for future reference.

Cheering from the successful end of the twisty labyrinth of ropes, "That's the way to do it!" Kalani calls with a grin paired with a slight shake of her head. Emphatic stabbing, really, is what nearly every spider in her vicinity is typically the result of.

Kenjay offers Saro a smile, then steps closer to and drops to one knee to regard the black spider with the stars. "Greetings, little one," he says to it, then reaches out a careful finger towards it. "Do you wish to say hello, or would you rather I stopped moving towards you?"

Evaristo lets out a cheer when ALeksei pins that leg - the last contestant has finished the course. "Your highnesses, ladies, lords, citizens of Arx! Well done! I have the results here, and I must say it was a CLOSE call... between Princess Sorrel and Dame Felicia." He looks at the two of them, drawing the suspense out. "But, Dame Felicia was just a BIT more close with that leg, in a stroke of luck perhaps - so she is this years winner of the PIN THE SPIDER'S LEG CONTEST!" He strides over to Felicia and presents her with a small gold pendant shaped like a spider, with garnets.

Cocine takes Festival of Death spider plushie from Festival of Death prize bag.

Thea cheers Felicia as she's announced the winner,"This somehow doesn't surprise me! Congratulations." Turning to Sorrel, she smiles to her as well,"I didn't realize you were that agile. I think maybe, I'll have to ask you to teach me. If you ever feel up for it." She nods her head, chuckling,"We can make a game out of it,"eyes on the web,"Maybe with that. Though we have some sort of climbing wall now. Martino got stuck on it one day--"

The line has been dismissed by Evaristo.

"Oh, I don't know about that. But maybe I'll come down here and visit Dot from time to time!" Porter says to Saro and Azova as he eyeballs the spider, memorizing her as she's memorizing him! A love story for the ages, really. When the winner is announced, he claps his hands loudly. "Well done, Dame Felicia! Good try, Princess Sorrel!" He breathes out and accepts a messenger that's pressed into his hand. "I should go handle this," he announces. "Excuse me?" then he steps away and wanders outside.

Felicia blinks, twice even,"Are you sure...?" she can't help but ask, mouth opening as if she's going to object, but then she see's the pendant itself and her jaw clicks closed again. Whatever her first impulse to say is swallowed and replaced with,"Thank you... it's beautiful." even if the way she holds it is somewhat ginger.

1 Templar Knight guards, Sir Daniel the Beardless, a somewhat hapless Templar, Kevin, a jerk wolf spider with a really shitty attitude who totally sucks arrive, following Hamish.

Kalani adds her cheering and applauds Felicia as the dame is announced the winner. "Much better to win a pendant than a real one to feed," she calls out, among the cheers, and grins.

For a long time Triss simply holds her position, as still as if she were just another toy spider. But then, having sized Kenjay up, she lifts one leg and carefully sets it down again (this seems to be a spider thing). Another pause follows, but then when the weaver makes another move it's to creep a small but noticeable distance closer to the foreign-sounding yet courteous man. Saro, meantime, looks on with interest and fondness as Triss is greeted so respectfully and responds in kind, like a proud parent seeing her offspring displaying good manners.

Azova claps and whistles for Felicia, to congratulate for navigating that web with such luck and finesse. And then for Sorrel too. "That was fun, don't you think? And what a lovely prize." she comments in Porter's direction. "Certainly. Good to see you!" she calls out when he steps away. Though it would appear she has had her fill of spider themed goodness for the day. And, quietly sneaks away before there are spider accidents of any kind.

"Oh, I am always happy to teach, Dame Felicia," Sorrel replies with an easy smile, nodding to the woman easily. "It is quite the prize, there. Very Death-y."

Orion, a healer's surly Assistant, 2 Redoubt Buccaneers leave, following Azova.

Hamish arrives very late with his usual entourage of Templars and another Templar. Despite the heat he's back to his full robesy outfit, spider pinned to the side of his stole that doesn't already have a spider on it. In addition he has a live spider sitting on his head, just sort of chilling out in a spidery way. After a look over the crowd he makes his way over toward where Evaristo is. "Sorry I missed this. I promised to sit with someone through- well, it wasn't fun, but it was very necessary. How were things?"

Preston is overheard praising Felicia.

Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight, Laurene, a military adjutant, 4 Valardin Knights arrive, following Alis.

Felicia offers wryly to Kalani,"I already have one... though she feeds herself mostly." indeed, she lingers so she can let Bonehilda step from Evaristo back onto her, fiddling with the pendant before finally deciding that, well, yes, it deserves to be worn, even if it gets a few mildly concerned little pets,"Well, it certainly wont look out of place at home, admittedly..." she says to Sorrel,"even if I don't /usually/ wear gemstones. I... he's... you're still very talented, of course, Harlequin." she offers to Evaristo awkwardly.

Amieli is clearly the sneakier kind of dexterous and not an athletic sort of agile. Still, at times it is as if she is not wearing a blindfold at all. Other times...well, she is most certainly not the fastest or most confident on the approach; perhaps one of the slowest. She attaches the spider leg, clambers back down, returns her blindfold and smiles a satisfied kind of smile.

"it has been a very long time, I think," she responds to Thea's almost-question, almost-forgotten, somehow near the Malvici lady again. "Thea? Lady Thea malvici?" she ventures. "I spent some time in Southport, in the care of Dutchess Calypso."

Then she is contributing to the polite applause, still smiling with subdued cheer.

"Really? That's both fascinating and a little.." Kalani gives up and allows a little bit of a shiver to be visible. "I prefer my pets of choice in the canine variety, though honestly my messenger is a Raccoon, so maybe it's just the four-feet version that I'm partial to."

"Congratulations to Dame Felicia." Preston says, raising his voice, clapping his right hand against his thigh before he slides on his robe and sword belt once more "And Aleksei you /could/ have. But you didn't. Anyway, how was I meant to know a blade forged by Gloria would have Nox writing on it? I guess it has some history before the Valardin got it. As soon as everyone stops trying to kill me, or us, or invade things, or enslave people....I'll look into it."

"Absolutely sure, indeed. Well deserved and I hope it will bring you joy, that pendant." Evaristo gingently returns her spider to her too, and then beams around the room. "Pet more spiders and grab a cool drink," he suggests. "Ahh! Archlector! Oh, you missed the games, but... well." He clears his voice, not sure what to say. "Glad you could make it. Dame Felicia just won the Pin the Spider's Leg, and Dame Leola is here as our SPECIAL guest, and Saro is being absolutely wonderfully spiderific, you should talk to her! She LOVES spiders."

Alis arrives with her youngest in tow, little Eirlys, to check out the festival. "Well baby, you said you wanted to see spiders." she murmurs, guiding and encouraging her to look around and take in all the different crawly things that are there. And there are plenty. Whether she is entirely comfortable or not is another matter entirely. But, when the children want to see something? Mama obliges.

Evaristo is overheard praising Harlequins.

Felicia is overheard praising Harlequins.

Saro finally manages to pull her attention away from her vast entourage of spiders just enough to notice that the game has ended and been won by someone, whom she claps and cheers for very generically since she apparently wasn't paying enough to attention to know just who the winner is. She does catch Evaristo's words and agrees with him, "They are just about my very favorite animal." Then as she peers at Hamish she seems to recognize him, and she dips her head to him in amiable respect. All of her motions, of course, are very mindful of the real live spiders covering her.

"I wanna see!" Fitz says to Preston, now a bit /insistent/. One might even say /bossy/. It's a little bit like he's used to getting his way. It's enough that Aleksei sets a quelling hand on Fitz's head and reminds him, "Ask nicely, Fitz." Fitz frowns a bit, but he takes a deep breath and then amends, "May-I-read-your-sword." Well, it's an improvement.

Recognition FINALLY crosses Thea's features and she smiles more at Amieli,"I thought that was you, but I wasn't sure. How are you?" When Alis steps in, the Malvici bows her head, a smile for her as well,"Your Highness, hello. How are you?" But how she missed Hamish is anyone's guess because well...some people just have that death like aura. Not to say he looks like DEATH, but you now--uh well. "Archlector, good evening."

Kiera blinks as she overhears Kalani "pardon, but did you say your messenger was a racoon. Is there any particular reason you chose that creature?"

Felicia carefully brings Bonehilda about for Kalani's perusal, of course, that the large, bone and black spider elects to take that moment to start fastidiously cleaning her pedipalps is not likely to do a single thing for setting people at ease,"I like spider's. They're quiet, self-sufficient, and keep my house free of insects. I think any hope of me and dogs was doomed when a wolf tried to eat me, though... I still have a scar where it stabbed me with it's fang."

Kenjay continues to reach out to Triss, then stops when his fingertip is half an inch or so from the spider, letting Triss close the final bit of distance if she chooses. "You are most beautiful," he tells the eight-legged animal, "Even if my lady will never see it for more reasons than the usual one." He seems to be utterly enthralled by the midnight spider, with a warm smile for her and her alone.

"Directness is a form of honesty." Preston decides in his reply to Aleksei, his warm smile returning. Preston says a small prayer and carefully slides Crusader from its scabbard, holding the sword on his fingertips, showing its perfect balance "Just be careful Fitz, it is sharp. And a weapon of the Gods. It is not a toy, nor for fun. But to be wielded only ever to defend the innocent and uphold the righteous."

Eirlys makes a beeline for the lady covered in the spiders, dragging Alis along behind her this time. And though there is an indulgent expression on the Valardin Princess face -- oh a familiar face or two. "Lady Thea! Hello!" An enthusiastic wave is given, while her child stops near the table, trying to put her hands on the edge and lift up on her tip toes to see all of the different spiders that are there. "LOOK MOM SO PRETTY."

Kalani nods as she turns slightly to red haired and green eyed lady wondering the question about Raccoon choices. "They're terribly clever, for a start, and absolutely able to open nearly any type of container of box or door. I should say 'every' but there's bound to be something that's raccoon proof, latch wise, I just haven't encountered it as of yet. Plus, they're adorable."

"Truly? I'll have to finally meet Mostress Saro, then. She has done no small amount for the Harlequins." He offers Thea a slight bow, "Lady Thea. I hope you are enjoying yourself." And another for Sorrel. "Your highness. I'm happy you could make it. I hope you are practicing your chair work." All on his way over to Preston. "Grandmaster! Have you had any challenging questions, today?"

Evaristo's own spider is moving back to half-hide under the collar of his coat, his whole outfit very spidery and Death-y, as is befitting for such an event. He eavesdrops on Preston and Aleksei and Fitz over there and sidles closer when the sword is brought out. "Can I have a look?" he asks hopefully. "I have the chance to gaze upon a sword of the GODS, and with Nox'alfar script. That's truly AMAZING."

Thea grins over at Alis, shaking her head,"There's a jumping one spider. Messere Saro was talking about it,"a brief twitch appearing on lips. "Yes Archlector Hamish. I've yet to touch the furry little---"pausing to say cute, but "little arachnids. With faces their mothers love so much. I'm sure I will in before I leave."

Kiera nods "I saw one in the woods the other day, a raccon that is and so it sparked my curiosity about them" she explains "He understands you, then? Takes commands like a dog or a horse?"

Triss the orb weaver appears willing to share this quiet respectful moment with Kenjay, and equally willing to grace him with the benefit of any doubts she might have regarding his person. His patience is rewarded when the spider moves into a slow, deliberate creep across the table towards him, one brightly colored leg after the next, which eventually places her right next to Kenjay's finger. If his hand were down she might have even continued her dignified progress onto the back of it, but as things stand she simply stops and seems content to stay where she is.

"Challenging questions? No. I have been recouperating after Sungreet I am afraid. I briefed Thrax on some lingering matters around our deployment. I woke up to a very delicious meal for breakfast. And then thought I would come along in case there was trouble. Though still a little sore from Sungreet and other such, so I accompanied Princess Sorrel here so she can be a stand in Preston." Preston answers to Hamish before gesturing across towards where Sorrel is "You could ask the Princess if she has any difficult questions for you though? See how good a stand in she really is? Though, few see the vault where I keep the source of all my difficult questions. Reality is such a fruitful origin point." Evaristo's query gets a bow of Preston's head, with a demuring gesture to the Aleksei-Fitz pair, who quite literally have control of the sword and hopefully aren't stabbing people.

"I know about /swords/," Fitz says to Preston with a bit of a frown. "Papa has lots of swords. Mama gave him one! There's a smith in the Twilight Court who keeps making them. There's a big pile. Papa's gonna teach me how to swordfight, and then I'm gonna be an /adept/. /And/ I know about /Gods/." It's a bit -- well. /Know-it-all/. "I know all of Death's favorites." He peers down at the blade, where the Nox'alfar script is carved, and reads it slowly and carefully. "Huh."
Aleksei does read as well, down over Fitz's head, because of course he's curious. He offers Evaristo's a sidelong smile when he sidles over. He gestures Evaristo's closer so that he can take a look at the script as well. Even if Preston is definitely still holding his own sword and thus in /actual/ control of stabbing people.

Kenjay withdraws his hand and bows to the spider, Eurusi-fashion. "Thank you, my lady," he smiles to her, then offers Saro a bow as well. "And thank you also, my lady, for introducing me to your friend, who is nothing like the spiders I am used to. I am most grateful for your kindness." And then he turns to look at the others in the room, still smiling.

"Do not encourage the jumping spider to jump on you, darling." Alis murmurs towards Eirlys after Thea warns her. "Thank you." she mouths at the Malvici lady, before turning to her daughter again. "Let's not shout. Why don't you ask if there are any spiders you can touch, if that's what you want then." encouraging the child to address Saro directly. And /politely/. "May I, Goodwoman?"

Kalani pauses for a moment, considering the question before she nods, "I would say yes. But then I also know that Raccoons are crafty animals, and from what I've seen he isn't the only one of his kind who can use tools and solve problems, like locks, with his paws. I would say my roan horse is better trained, but least likely to deliver a message. Wit, that's my raccoon, absolutely will. He just has a habit of picking up things that catch his eye because they're sparkly and bringing them back," amusement colors her tone of voice.

Preston wields Crusader, Blade of the Templars.

Leola smiles a touch, retrieving porshia "I'll be outside, I think" She nods to saro, and then smiles to Evaristo "But this has been an ... experience. Thank you for the invitation."

Evaristo leans over Fitz too, next to Aleksei, gazing upon this lovely sword. He looks quite awed. He lofts an eyebrow, but makes no particular show of whether he can read it or not, before he steps back. "Thank you!" he tells the Carnifex. "That's a special treat, something to boast about in taverns," he grins. He whirls around to give Leola a thankful smile and a little bow. "Dame Leola - thank you for coming. I hope we can meet and talk when things are calmer, soon."

Thea winks at Alis and smiles down at Eirlys. "This has been--interesting. Thank you. I should probably learn more than I do. Which is next to nothing." She can admit it!

"Depends on the question, I suppose," says Hamish cheerfully enough in response to Preston. "I heard about Sungreet. I sailed with Princess Alis elsewhere, so I avoided any and all arrows to the shoulder." On his head Kevin wanders over to look down at Aleksei, Fitz and the sword. Maybe checking to see if either of them have crickets on them. Hamish gives the sword a brief look before nodding, his expert opinion being that, yes, it sure is a sword.

Kiera hms at Kalani "Thank you for telling me about wit a proper name for a clever animal. I'm kiera Wyrmguard, by the way

"You're quite welcome," Saro replies to Kenjay a sincere smile. "Some spiders just appreciate respect and a quiet presence. Thank you for coming and being so good to Triss." Then she's looking towards Eirlys, and is clearly about to herself encourage the jumping spider to jump on the little girl, until Alis lays down the law on being overly friendly with spiders. After looking somewhat disappointed, the luthier assures Eirlys, "Of course you can touch them. That's what they're here for! Maybe you'd like to pet Tickles." She taps one finger lightly against the back of a chubby calico tarantula hanging out on her wrist, which encourages the fuzzy creature to move down to the back of her hand, which she then holds out to Eirlys. "She's a Bravuran tarantula, and she's the friendliest spider in the world! She's also very good about keeping my room and workshop free of all kinds of pesky insects."

"Always" Leola smiles to Evaristo "Contact me whenever you wish - I'll do what I can. For now, my lady is requesting my ... urgent attention" With a wry smile, as she moves to make her way out, muttering quietly to her spider

Porschia, an albino Portia spider leaves, following Leola.

"She takes after her father and her Aunt with the creature fondness." Alis admits. "But as I rarely get out of the manor these days, I was elected to bring her to see..." she gestures wide. "What is offered." A polite smile is given Kenjay as he is just finishing up with his spider introduction. "Oh, I just don't want her to accidentally abscond with the poor thing." the princess assures Saro. Eirlys, of course, is practically squealing with delight. And one chibby little hand stretches out immediately to try and touch Tickles as soon as she's been invited to.

Extending a hand along with her own name, "I'm Kalani Seliki, it's nice to meet you," she offers in return, moving the toy spider from her right hand to left so that her right hand is free for the introduction. "Wit is a fun name, for a fun messenger animal, and trust me when I say I haven't yet found a lock or door or latch that he hasn't figured out the way around. He's terribly clever, and cute."

Felicia's valet approaches and murmurs something in her ear, prompting a quiet groan from the Harrow. She makes her excuses to the gathered and slips off to take care of business.

"Very well, thank you--and in Arx," Amieli replies, some of her answer seeming a little more than self-evident. "Good evening, Princess; archlector," she contributes to Thea's own greeting politely, but characteristically quieter.

"Some of the spiders do not look like spiders at all, if you focus on the color patterns," the lady encourages Thea, edging toward Saro and Alis. "Would you like to see? It might help with the motivation-?" The question ends in a wave for the departing pair: Leola and Felicia.

Kiera takes the offerred hand in her own lightly "It's a pleasure to meet you lady Seliki. though I'm afraid I must be rushing off"

Kenjay returns Alis' polite smile with an inclination of his head and a murmured, "My lady." And then to Saro, "It was my pleasure, my lady, and I am most grateful for the chance."

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