June Grayson Family Dinner
June 15, 2020, 8:59 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room
Comments and Log
As usual the dining room is bustling with activity as people start arriving! Platters are being set out so that everything is piping hot, cherries are being placed on tops of cakes and cupcakes, and flowers are being arranged just so. Sabella murmurs some last minute instructions to Elizabetta who goes hurrying off and then she turns bright smiles to those that are entering, "Welcome! Please feel free to get a drink or just have a seat and help yourself! Once everyone's settled we'll start up our usual sharing game but for now just feel free to mingle and eat your fill!"
"SABELLA!" Rorik /tries/ not to bellow across the Grayson mansion. He really does. But he's naturally loud and excited to see his cousin-by-marriage, obvious by the broad smile that lights up his face the second he sees her. There's a quick hug which really just amounts to him putting his arm around her shoulder and SQUEEZING, before he walks over to the table. "Do you care if I leave a seat next to me empty? Because I /might/ have a date," stress on the might. "But she said she will be late if she can get away at all."
Amidst company such as this, there are some that stick out for good or ill. Among those is the man that makes his way inside with some difficulty. His face and body twisted and ravaged by the flames and weapons of the past, his steps a limping shuffle made entirely reliant upon the cane of twisted burnt wood, his gaze combining hazel and blind white, Raziel doesn't look like he'd fit in for a bout of socializing. Indeed, while he greets their host with a polite nod, he is still, under all that devastation, a Bisland, the crippled Lion heads straight for a chair at the table and sits there, with some visible relief, saved for now from the torment of standing and walking.
Confessor Imori have been dismissed.
Confessor Warren have been dismissed.
5 Armed Confessors have been dismissed.
Family dinners were a wonderful time to spend with those she loved, Sapphira mused to herself, as she makes her way into the hall. Her entrance is less showy than most, with only two guards following her. Her smile is in full evidence as she takes a deep breath, enjoying the sweet and savory aromas redolent in the air of the dining hall. Roast meats, soups, and fruit desserts with all that is fresh and in season tantalized the senses with the promise of gastronomical delights to come. Unslinging her gittern case from over her shoulder, she smiles. Perhaps there would be the chance to offer a bit of music to lighten the evening. Who was to say?
Raziel has joined the Dining Table.
At least one of the invited guests arrived early, and this one in particular stands just at her chair, her free hand resting on the back of it. The Eurusi woman has a long, shoulder-high cane in one hand, the item quite slender and tipped with silver. Her dark hair has been drawn back into a loose, elegant brain, a narrow purple ribbon covering her eyes, her eyelashes peeking beneath and her brow visible above it. Her garments are layered and airy in the Eurusi fashion, her shoulders and upper back bare, her gown spilling in rich layers of silver beadwork to the floor, the skirts sheer enough to reveal loose breeches snug at the ankle.
Bahiya is already smiling, head tipped down as she listens to the bustle of the room, her teeth beginning to show pale in her olive-skinned face as the expression becomes a delighted grin. Still, she does not sit, listening as the others arrive and move to claim their customary places.
12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Sir Thad Quackington, Calypso, Ysabel arrive, following Jaenelle.
Silas shows himself into the dining hall shortly after Sapphira, clad in a mixture of red and white silk eveningwear that wasn't necessarily properly buttoned and tucked everywhere. He tries, okay? Occasionally. He offers a casual bow to Sabella en route to the table, though Rorik's sudden bellow startles him briefly. "Good evening, Your Highness," he greets politely, but with a clear sense of familiarity. He then turns to Sapphira, smiles warmly, and gestures for her to take a seat beside him.
Silas has joined the Dining Table.
"Of course, Rory!" Sabella laughs, hugging him and then giving him a wave, "Feel free to be completely uncharitable to anyone that might want to sit beside you! Baron Silas, Lady Sapphira! How wonderful to have Whitehawk represented so well tonight! And Ambassador Bahiya if you need introductions please let me know!"
Faye makes her way into the dining room, which is filled with Graysons and Grayson-adjacents, herself being somewhat closer to being the latter. But given that it's a family dinner, there are many friends and familiar faces, and she gives a polite nod to those she passes. The array of food is impressive, and she takes a moment to admire it before she settles in a seat.
"Evenin highnesses, lords and ladies, faces both new and familiar," Malcolm offers a jovial, skewed grin in greeting as he enters the mansion's dining hall -- slowing in his steps in order to admire and gape at all the lavishness. "The fealty really does know how to set it up, don't they --" toward the Whitehawks (Silas and Sapphira) he offers a dip of his head and a smile. He finds any old spot to settle at, tugging out a chair and plunking straight into it. "Why so many spoons?"
A short Archduchess is pinned between two taller women, Jaenelle's own arms looped into both Ysabel and Calypso's as they enter the dining room after being announced by the servants. There is a bright smile as Jae releases her companions. "I was invited" she promises to Sabella, hands lifting to show her palms in the universal sign of defense. "I was in a meeting" she explains, looking back towards the Baroness and Duchess, "but I was invited, and I have never been to a Grayson dinner even though I had planned to come to one yeaaars ago," even as she speaks she moves forward. Who is going to stop her? "And so the meeting ended and I stated my need to leave and..." she shrugs!
Sapphira, being clad not in a gown but in buttery soft leather pants, pale blue silk slippers, a fitted tunic of iridescent pale blue silk with golden leaves and flowers embroidered throughout, and a stylish short leather corset, instead bows to first Sabella, and then to Silas, in order of precedence. "Your Highness, good evening. My lord, it's good to see you as well." To Sabella, she smiles warmly and dips her head, her hand resting upon her gittern case. "I believe, Your Highness, for fair representation of Whitehawk, you do mean my lord Silas, as I am but a humble songbird."
"We meet again, Ambassador." Raziel remarks to Bahiya, his voice raspy, a low wheezing to his breathing. Maybe he had to walk far to get here. "I hope you've been doing as well as last time we met." he says politely, while the inquisitor turns his gaze to the rest of those attending. Sapphira, and then Silas. Back to Sabella and Rorik. Observing. Evaluating, perhaps? But for what, and the criterias, who could ever say? Not him. He's not the type. Still, some are more familiar than others, Faye's entrance noticed at once. "I wonder how many of the Inquisition will be filling the table before the evening's done." he says in her direction when she takes her seat.
Zoey arrives with the same entourage that generally accompanies her when she leaves Kennex Kay, but without her husband. Her head is high, but her cordial smile seems to come less naturally than it has in the past. She greets Sabella first with a dip of the head and "Hello again, your Highness," then gets a glass of wine before heading toward the table.
Next is Bahiya. "Good evening, Ambassador. Did the the primer I sent arrive?" Then she greets her cousin, "Good evening, Lord Raziel. I am glad to see you here. May I sit beside you?"
Princes! Princess'! Ambassadors and all the like. In the Grayson manner Ysabel glides in on Jaenelle's arm with mussed hair and a new dress and eyes wide. "The Duchess dictated I would come." She bleats out.
"Well if I have /permission/," Rorik chuckles over to Sabella, about to claim a seat for himself when Jaenelle comes walking in with Ysabel and Calypso. His features brighten considerably and he abandons his seat to walk on over, lifting a hand in a quick wave to the Archduchess before he bends into a flourishing bow. "You made it. You're not even late! I haven't sat down yet but I was going to save you a seat," he says happily to Jaenelle, before he tips his head to Calypso and Ysabel. "Hello! I'm Lord Rorik Kennex."
With one arm hooked through Jaenelle's and a glass with a little bit of rum still in it in the other hand, Calypso comes in with the Archduchess and Ysabel, announced by her full throated, unrestrained laughter, which is only just tailing off as they come in. "Looks like my marriage bed is safe for another day," she says to the other two women after looking around the dining hall with eyes that glitter like fire in ice. "I wasn't invited," she declares in a cheerful tone of voice. She meets Rorik's greeting with: "Gods, another fucking Kennex giant. What do they feed you over in wherever it is you're from?"
Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout arrive, following Lisebet.
"If you really want to kill any hopes of having entertaining company in your immediate vicinity, Lady Zoey, by all means, do feel free. I promise only..." He frowns, or one assumes he does. Hard to tell with a face like this. "... Actually I don't promise anything. May it be on your head." Encouraging, really. There doesn't seem to be any overt hostility to his words, however. It may simply be how this particular Bisland is. "Mm... Time to start drinking." he says when enough individuals have arrived. He takes a vial from his belt and adds a few drops to his glass of wine before taking a good sip.
"Vodka, according to Lady Thea and Lord Porter. They water them Kennex with vodka - rum - and whatever else booze anyone of them carry on any given day." Malcolm answers Calypso's question with a quick nod, pulling in his assortment of silverware arranged so artfully in order to build something that will be able to hang precariously from the rim of his empty glass. "I think it's that, at least. Unless there's somethin else."
"You are always welcome--" Sabella starts to say to Jaenelle with another laugh and then Rorik is bounding over and while she is too polite to do a jaw drop she blinks a few times before she's grinning at both of them, "Oh! Well then. A Kennex invitation to Grayson dinner is a rare thing indeed! You may be the very first that's happened to! And Duchess Calypso, Baroness Ysabel, you are also always welcome! Dinners are open to family, vassals, and friends. Or all of the above combined into one as so often is the case! Please do make yourselves at home. And I do hope we'll hear some music tonight, Lady Sapphira! But make sure you keep yourself refreshed for all the encores you'll receive!" She looks around as a wave of people arrive, "Duke Malcolm! So glad you could make it. Inquisitors Faye and Raziel! Or is it Inquisitori? Or is that just when you have three or more?"
Tikva arrives in a flurry of green skirts and shimmering beadwork. "I'm not late! I'm not late! Tell Sabella I'm not late." she claims loudly as she swarms through the doors of the dining room.
His smile brightens a hint at Sabella. "It has been quite awhile since I've been here, hasn't it?" Silas smoothly maneuvers into his chosen seat near the center of the table. His gaze alights on the more familiar faces first, then to the not so familiar faces. "Always," he answers Malcolm's quip with a chuckle. "I still only use one spoon... no one seems to have noticed so far." Until now, perhaps. The baron inclines his head back to Sapphira and squints. "She means you, too, cousin. You sell yourself too short." His gaze goes to the Inquisitors present - Faye and Raziel - though he was more familiar with the former. "I am glad you two are finally enjoying a break, too."
Bahiya smiles, be-ribboned visage facing Raziel and nodding her head. "Indeed I am, Lord Raziel Bisland." To Zoey, Bahiya, gives a small bow. "It did, indeed. I have not found time to have Kenjay read it to me, as I am still a not as proficient at reading Arvani as I am with speaking it." She finds someplace nearby to lean her slim cane, drawing back the chair she has stood near and carefully arranging beaded, layered skirts so that she can sit comfortably. "Princess Sabella," she calls, raising her voice above the din of family and cutlery. "I thank you for the invitation. Kenjay had important matters to attend to and sends his regrets and his apologies."
Faye turns her head slightly towards Bahiya as Raziel refers to her as Ambassador. Well, she doesn't often get to meet political players. She gives Raziel a faint smile. "A few, I imagine, as there are quite a few members of the Inquisition who are in the Grayson fealty. I hope it doesn't seem too much like a meeting for work." She is mostly joking, really.... or as close to a joke as Faye gets. She casts a wave in Sabella's direction. "Princess Sabella, it's good to see you again. I believe a group of Inquisitors is called an 'intimidation'... but I could be wrong on that. But certainly, you'd need three or more."
"One person's late is another one's dramatic entrance, your Highness," Malcolm observes over the general ebb and flow of conversation. He tilts his head in Silas' directon (fight me --) and the edges of his eyes crinkle in the edges, smiling. "Won't tell on you if you won't, Baron Whitehawk. Much obliged -- I think I'll be sticking to a fork. Works for mostly everything."
With Tikva's entrance, surely nobody will notice Lisebet slipping in just a little late. Not that the petite duchess is hiding, but she doesn't make herself obvious at the moment either. Really, she was here all along. That's it. She offers a polite curtsey to the royalty, and then heads over towards the drinks, quite content to join the party quietly for the moment.
"Inquisitors, Your Highness." Raziel says in Sabella's direction. "And it's still Inquisitors even if we /do/ have a latecomer. Speaking of, Princess Tikva, so good of you to /finally/ join us." He's teasing her, surely. He's smiling, at least! An appalling expression but thankfully some don't have working eyes to actually see it. "Good to hear, Ambassador." he tells Bahiya. As to Faye's own answer to Sabella, the man snorts. "Three or more for an intimidation? Please, we've hardly grown so soft." he chuckles. An unpleasant sound. "But a fair point, given the fealty." His gaze then shifts to Silas to whom he nods. "A break is enjoyable now and then. I hope you are enjoying such as well, Baron?" Apparently he recognizes the man.
Jaenelle dips into as grand a greeting as Rorik offers her, lifting her head to smile upward as she unfolds herself from the curtsey. "I am not late, though thank you for your due diligence in the heroic way you were going to protect my seat from any others who might wish to sit in it. I invision you lifting the chair up and holding it on your head until I arrived." She holds up a hand, stopping him, "do not break my heart if that is not how it would have been done, I dont think I could stand it if you were just going to sit beside the empty chair and simply /tell/ people they could not sit in it." There is a faint smile as Calypso speaks of Rorik's height and she nods, "isn't it wonderful?" Then her attention shifts towards Sabella, "I am honored by such a rare invitation then," and she motions for Rorik to dip his head as she approaches to kiss his cheek.
Sapphira smiles, and inclines her head towards Sabella as she takes her place at the table. "As you request, Your Highness, so shall it be." Patting her gittern case, her smile widens to nearly a grin, intense cobalt eyes positively sparkling at the prospect of sharing that which gives her so much joy. "White Dove here and I would be delighted to oblige at your behest." With that, she takes her place next to Silas, settling in to enjoy the ebb and flow of conversations around her. Yes, family was perhaps one of the world's greatest delights, save for the gift of music.
Bahiya has joined the Dining Table.
Sapphira has joined the Dining Table.
"Actually, my mother was a giant," Rorik says to Malcolm and Calypso both, with a positively straight face. "So she had me, and I apparently soaked up all the height she had to give. You should see my twin brother, he's so short you'd barely notice him even if he was RIGHT HERE!" Rorik glances down at his hip as though he's not so sure his twin isn't standing there, and then rumbles out a warm chuckle before he beams over to Jaenelle. "That's exactly what I was going to do. And then I was going to have you sit in the chair while it was still on my head and they would talk about this dinner forever. Or at least for a week." He bends to receive the kiss to his cheek and straightens up again, his smile stretching ear to ear. "Come on, we'll find a good seat and your friends can sit with us too. Sabella, I told her Grace how you do all these **amazing** introductions and she had to see it for herself!"
Zoey has joined the Dining Table.
Malcolm has joined the Dining Table.
Ysabel is just curtsying and more than a little dumbstruck wupon seeing Sabella. And Niklas. And Tikva as well as others. Famous individuals within the city and afar. Flustered is the name of the day for her and she just ends up smiling blindly. There is however, a small giggle at Rorik's description of his mother as a giant and then of chairs.
"Well." Calypso finishes off her rum and, leading/Ysabel alongside her, chooses a place for them both to sit. Was someone else going to sit here? Too bad. Their butt should have parked itself in the seat before hers did, because she's not looking for name cards. "Since I don't have any convenient giants at hand, I might have to source some of that Kennex vodka and raise a race of Southport supermen."
Calypso has joined the Dining Table.
Ysabel has joined the Dining Table.
"I am exceptionally late," says Niklas as he walks in from the Queenspeace Hall. "Dreadfully, terribly late! And don't let anyone tell you any different." He waves to his assistant, Sam, who goes off to do whatever Sams do when they aren't busy writing down the brilliance of genius playwrights. "And a group of inquisitors is called a bother." He pauses at the door to lean in and give his wife a kiss, then continues over to where they're keeping all of the food. "And Rorik's mother wasn't a giant. She was a sea ogre. There's a considerable difference, but the most important ones explain why Rorik has scales and hair all over his back and six teats. Oh dear, is this ham all for me?" Niklas takes all of the ham, then goes to drop into the throne that isn't at the head of the tabl, but comes pretty close.
"If I were late, it's Laric's fault anyway," Tikva announces, which since Laric not present is probably not what you'd call _fair_. But an inquisitor who routinely accuses her boss of having webbed feet for some reason can hardly quail at another inquisitor gently razzing her for flailing into a dinner party late -- even if that inquisitor is disturbing to gaze directly at. Her smile in return to Raziel, therefore, is pitched-- sort of to the right of his face, just above his shoulder. "Thank you, Duke Malcolm, I don't think I've been caught!" she says with a cheery flash of her teeth.
"They should invent something that's a cross between a spoon and a fork," Silas comments to Malcolm as he lifts his own fork for inspection. "That would truly be legendary." He sets it down, since he has yet to acquire food to stab it with. The conversation was distracting him. "I am, as much as I can," he answers Raziel. "I have yet to work alongside you, I believe, but it's a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance, Lord Bisland." He dips his head towards Sapphira when she joins him. "And this is my cousin, Lady Sapphira. The best musician I know."
"Explains so much, that --" Malcolm's dark eyes widen up, taking this revelation from Rorik very, very seriously. "-- sea giants. Sea-faring giants. Which would have been sailors too, yeah? Big -- huge ships. Must be." With a shrug, he tosses his head back and laughs. Eventually, finding his untouched water glass that he has filled. He takes a drink, sets it aside, and he flicks forefinger and thumb against the fork balancing on the wineglass. "If they do, Baron, you should do this thing." With a glance toward Silas. "They call it - eh, the foroon."
Faye gives a nod of greeting to Silas. "A break of sorts, yes. It felt like I had been holed up in my office for far too long, and even a fancy dinner felt like something that might be a breath of fresh air." She gives Raziel a wry look. "Three or more just for the name. One will do the trick most of the time." Of course, Tikva blaming Laric for the possibility of her being delayed gets a nod of agreement. Surely that's what Laric gets for not attending the dinner.
"Actually I have seven teats. The extra one is for good luck. Or that's what my mother says," Rorik says solemnly before he beams over to Niklas, reaching on the way over to the table to snag Niklas into a quick hug before the man goes off to the throne.
"Get naked" Jaenelle informs Rorik without hesitation after Niklas speaks and she slides into the chair that is most definitely not on Rorik's head but at a comfortable 'cant kill the Archduchess if she fails level'. "Because I have to see if there are scales for myself." She doesn't watch to see if her date actually begins undressing, apparently the food is first come, goodbye ham, and so she focuses on her plate as she maps out with a squint what she should go for first should it come to a free for all.
Zoey says something quietly to Ambassador Bahiya before taking a seat beside Lord Raziel. At the Archduchess' order for Rorik to remove his clothing she upends her wine. It is going to be that kind of a night, apparently.
Like a good vassal, Calypso backs the archduchess' command to Rorik up with a wolf whistle. The least she can do. Is there liquor here? Her glass is empty.
Sapphira turns her ocean-hued gaze towards Silas, and Raziel with him. She inclines her head in lieu of a bow, her rosy lips curling upwards to share a smile and a bit of her joy. "My lord," she offers. "I'm afraid my cousin talks too much at times. But then, kin have a right to be a tiny bit biased, true?" A lighter white wine is poured into Sapphira's glass, which she sips slowly, clearly intending to savor and not to let drink go to her head.
'Did you just really tell him to get naked... in the middle of a Grayson dinner?" Ysbael nearly squeaks oout to Jaenelle, a look of some horror on her face.
Bahiya hums at Zoey as the woman whispers to the diplomat, nodding shortly after. "I thank you again." The Eurusi reaches out and finds her cup right where it's meant to be, grinning brightly. There is already wine it, and in short order Bahiya discovers food on her plate just as she'd shyly requested: loaded with a little bit of everything. "Ah, such welcome and gracious hosts," she says. She sips from her cup and sighs at the simple pleasure. "Truly. How lovely." Her Arvani is flawless, no accent to be heard, and yet her words are spoken carefully all the same.
"Did I introduce myself properly? Fuck, I didn't -- did I --" Malcolm pauses, "Please stay dressed. I don't have enough wine in me yet to encourage such a terrible idea." A beat. "Malcolm Shepherd, Graypeak. Duke of." Almost typing "DUDE of" which isn't at all the same. His table manners have improved since the last dinner, because he keeps his sleeves from dragging through his plate of food.
Lisebet's lips curve into a smile, and she shakes her head. "Another successful Grayson dinner, surely," is her comment. "Princess Sabella, you do have the best entertainment." She smiles to Niklas and his ham as well, before she gives Malcolm a grin. "Nice to see you, again, Lord Shpherd."
Sabella laughs at Rorik and looks around the ever filling room, smile not faltering even as her eyes glide over every participant at the table, "Did you? Well I should not disappoint then! Especially since Ambassador Bahiya here most certainly does not know everyone! So let me start there of course--this is Ambassador Bahiya, who has just arrived from Eurus and was one of the fleet that helped allow Prince Niklas and I to come home from Sungreet in one piece! And of course we have Archduchess Jaenelle Velenosa who is one of the smartest and kindest highlords in the city who I'm told now does have a few tiaras in her collection thanks to her most recent birthday! Then there's Princess Tikva Grayson who is one of the sharpest people in the city of Arx and so it's not at all surprising that she is an effective Inquisitor, but it might be surprising that she's also a gifted musician! And ah, here is my husband, Prince Niklas Grayson whom I'm rather sure everyone here already knows as the Playwright and has heard me go on and on about how brilliant he is! And I hope that everyone knows Duke Malcolm Shepherd who makes some of the most hilarious proclamations I've ever read and must keep the Whisper house very busy, but who is one of the most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting--and Duchess Calypso Malvici is here and if you ever have a question about tactics you ought to talk to her both on and off the field of combat although some people do think that being at court in Arx is a form of combat! And of course Duchess Lisebet Ashford who can talk about just about anything! Keeping with Grayson vassals that's Baron Silas Whitehawk and while I certainly do not have favorite houses I have to say that Tabitha Whitehawk was once my protege and so they hold a special place in my heart, but not only is he an amazing leader but he also works with wood and makes things! Lady Sapphira is also here and we will all be so lucky to hear her play for us tonight so make sure you shower her in compliments until then! And Baroness Ysabel Gilden, whom I don't know very well but would love the chance to and who must be wonderful company to have arrived with such phenomenal women! We ought to move to the Kennexes now--that's Lord Rorik who is going to be everyone's best friend by the end of the night and Lady Zoey who I swear never sleeps for she is always involved in everything that's happening the city! And from her I will introduce Lord Raziel Bisland who is a member of the Inquisition and whom I just met the other day and found quite delightful--and last but certainly not least is Inquisitor Faye Ruger who has no doubt saved us all from disaster several times in our lives and makes it look easy!" She finally, FINALLY takes a breath and looks around, "Did I miss anyone? Do speak up if I did and give me a moment to catch my breath before we start out usual game!"
"I mean, if you insist..." Rorik doesn't hesitate to start unbuttoning his shirt, ho-hum, until Malcolm says /please/. So many mixed signals! But he's got about half the buttons undone when Sabella takes a great big breath and - "Oh! She's starting!" He's quick to pull out Jaenelle's chair for her before she sits, and then he parks himself in the one beside her, leaning in to murmur something quietly to the Archduchess before he stares up at Sabella in awe.
"Ah, you do not want to have Rorik strip in here, your grace. There are many other differences between us and a sea ogre, and honestly we don't want Rorik to end up spilling his glistening egg sacs all over the place again. It was a real disaster last time. Tiny little embryonic sea-Rorik squirming around all over the place. Ruined the whole dinner. I could barely finish my roast chicken. Or rather my roast and then my chicken." Niklas returns Rorik's hug, patting his back, before he goes to grab Tikva in what a Niklas might call a big bear hug, but which isn't all that bearish, but is very huggy. And then Sabella starts introducing people and he sits back because when that ride starts up it's time to hold on to your hats and glasses. At the point that she mentions him he raises a hand and says, "That's me!"
"Poor Master of Questions. But then, it probably was." Raziel remarks at Tikva's answer. Even he sides against Laric. Poor Laric. Another sip of wine is taken as he listens to Faye. "A fair point. Bonus points if one wears proper shoes. Or boots. Intimidating boots." Most important. His gaze shifts again, however, to focus on Silas. "Likewise. Perhaps future days shall see this lack of previous cooperation resolved. Though of course I wish you fortune in avoiding any entanglements that would require the involvement of the Inquisition, of course." Of his cousin, he asks curiously. "Do you know many musicians." But it doesn't seem unkind, and his attention does turn to Sapphira. "A forgivable failing and a common one. Shall we hear you play tonight, and see for ourselves if the bias is justified, My Lady?" And then he's introduced by Sabella and he gives the room a grin. It's horrifying and the less said about it the better.
Calypso takes her time to portion out some food and get a refresher on her drink while Sabella talks on... and on... and on. She really can take her time. She's got a fork with some ham on it in hand when she hears her name, and waves said fork (and ham) around just in case there was any doubt as to who exactly Calypso is.
Tikva hugs Niklas back, with a little squeaky noise. "Watch out for the beads! There are a lot of beads, they might poke!" she warns. There are many beads. When Niklas releases her, she looks down the length of her skirts to make sure that she's wearing shoes, and balances on one leg as she leans back on her heel, holding her foot up in triumph. "I'm wearing shoes," she tells Raziel. "Do I look intimidating?" She glitters from a ridiculous number of beads and her inquisitorial badge and weapons are nowhere in sight. She probably does not look intimidating. Actually, let's check!
Tikva checked composure + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.
No. She does not.
"Lookin well, Duchess Lisebet," Malcolm nods-nods, and offers a broad smile. "Shame -- you know, I didn't bring the dogs with me. Keep gettin told by my folk they aren't considered proper guards. So, eh, I'm getting Shepherd livery uniforms made for them. With a little," he gestures vaguely, "for their tails to stick out."
"I will sleep when my projects are done!" Zoey declares to Sabella, lifting her already refilled glass in the princess' direction.
Niklas has joined the Dining Table.
Sapphira hears the talk of glistening egg sacs, her hand flying up to cover her mouth just in time as she sets down her wine glass. "By Limerance," she chokes out, her cheeks darkening--but her eyes twinkling. "Am I hearing things?" Indeed, she is quick to inspect her glass of wine, reaching for a napkin to delicately dab at her mouth. Just what was in that wine, anyways?
Silas frowns at Malcolm, apparently not quite liking the name. "Hm. Might have to workshop the name," Silas decides. The frown remains in place when Sapphira comments on his blabbering. "Ah, well, I'll keep doing it - that's what cousins are for." He nods to Faye. "Office air is stale and unhealthy. And desks make you fat. I sometimes miss just being on patrol and having no one recognizing me in a five mile radius once I step foot into the Lowers." He looks up and blinks at Sabella as she goes on and on, introducing literally everyone in the room. "I'm impressed, Your Highness. Thank you." To Raziel, he chuffs lightly. "I'm one of the few who tend to willingly entangle the Inquisition in our business. It's not a matter of if, only when."
Tikva has joined the Dining Table.
"There's people with 'war goats' following them around and a dog's not a proper guard?" Calypso demands of Malcolm with a snort of disbelief. "This city needs to check itself."
Raziel stares at Tikva and slowly reaches up to the bridge of his nose, rubbing its bridge. "You... You try, Your Highness. You certainly try. Of course, if you let me, I could make some improvements to the overall effect." To Silas, he smirks and raises his glass, approving. "Well said, My Lord. A truth few are willing to face, all to your credit."
"Oh gracious." Is all Ysabel murmurs, taking up a glass of something so she can drink deeply, though there's a sniff of the drink before she drinks, eyes following each person as they introduced by Sabella. A lift of her own glass when her name is called out, but then back to drinking. Overwhelmed is Ysabel's name in truth.
Jaenelle listens to Sabella as she makes the introductions, eyes gently shifting from one person to another as they are spoken of. Her expression remains one of interest, even as she shifts slightly closer to Rorik as his voice dips lower. It is answered in equally soft tones before she is clapping towards Sabella and holds up her finger. She looks towards her guard and in proper protocol he opens a case and moves forward, resting a tiara on her head. She strikes a pose. "Alaric gave me the most beautiful circlet. Ive read your journal and it seems he is outdoing himself."
Lisebet gets her wine, while listening to Sabella's fabulous introductions. "You are remarkable, Princess Sabella," she says with a small laugh. She then arches a brow, and shrugs delicately, before she says, "I think, Duke Malcolm, that animals in general might be defenders in a pinch, but possibly they are not precisely guards." The bit about the egg sacs, Lisebet definitely totally heard, but she's managing to keep her composure.
Jaenelle takes intricate gold tiara with diamonds in pink shades from a very fancy display case for very fancy tiaras.
Faye just stares at Sabella for a long moment as she gives the longest series of introductions the Inquisitor believes she has ever heard. She lifts her wine glass in salute around as her name is spoken, though a good many here know her. She gives a curious look over to the Eurusi woman. "Ambassador Bahiya, welcome to Arx. I hope you are settling in well. No doubt you've been asked a thousand questions since arriving, given how difficult it has been for us to get current information out of Eurus." She flickers a wry smile to Silas. "And it almost seems like a crime to be stuck inside when the weather has been so pleasant out. Let me know if you'd like to take a stroll together through the Lowers sometime."
Sabella's cheeks are flushed as she empties her glass and hands it off to Elizabetta in exchange for a full one, "For those of you that are only just joining us for the first time or perhaps haven't joined us in a long time, we like to play a little game that helps us get to know each other a little better! So all are asked to share something interesting that has happened to them recently or something that they're working on to tell the room and perhaps you'll find a new friend or someone else who is interested in the same sorts of things that can help you with things! Once each person shares, they pick the next person to go! So, I shall begin!" She smiles and sets her glass down, "I'm happy to say that despite the most recent issues in the city, the free plays in the Lowers for the children are going along splendidly so far! We are also providing some musical education and hoping to usher some of them into future careers as Mummers, bards, or playwrights! I truly believe it's important to keep inspiring hope in those less fortunate than us and I believe this is the...fourth or fifth year we've done it and it is always so rewarding! So now I will choose...Lord Rorik! What would you share with the group?"
Malcolm has left the Dining Table.
"Now's your chance," Calypso encourages Rorik with a wave of her glass right on the heels of Sabella's question. "Make the Archduchess proud."
"Lady Sapphira! I was _just_ telling Lady Elora no more than two days ago that it was a shame to have so few Whitehawks in the city these days, and then here you are. I'm glad that your wandering ways have brought you back to the city! There's never too much call for music, I say. Have you met my cousin Rorik? Sabella may have mentioned him in passing, but despite his chitinous ovipositor and his hooked guard hairs he's an all around excellent chap and entirely single I think." Niklas nods. "Would make an excellent Whitehawk." Such subtlety, such tact! "He also enjoys music and singing and all sorts of general capering including, but not limited to, being married and becoming a Crownlander!" He offers a wave in Faye's direction. "Inquisitor! So good to see you again!" And to Calypso, "War goats aren't allowed in here. Unless the queen brings them, I suppose. In which case I'm not sure telling her they aren't allowed in here would get much traction. I once told her her cow shouldn't be in the house because it may poo on the rug so she had a long conversation with the rug where it told her it was okay with it. When she told me, damn me, I believed her entirely. I'm not one to yuk a rug's yums, but I do avoid stepping on it now. I'm not here to unintentionally be a part of some rug's gratification." When Sabella calls on Rorik he looks back to Sapphira, "Oh, Rorik is about to share some exploits!"
"Is now the right time to mention I always have a flask of acid at hand for the occasion where one tries to share too much of themselves to the room?" says Raziel's raspy voice to no one in particular. Rorik.
"Well-timed fact sharing, my lord." Malcolm asides toward Raziel.
"Oh, wow. That's a beautiful tiara," Rorik whistles when the guard brings it over to Jaenelle, blinking a few times. He almost misses his cue, admiring Jaenelle's tiara so much! But he clears his throat and gets out of his chair, chuckling over to Raziel. "Niklas said not at the table so it'll have to be /after/ dinner. For dessert, maybe!" He squints over to Niklas, narrowing a /look/, before he gets to the meat of it. "I'm having a lot of fun entertaining the children for Sabella's project, of course! I'm teaching them how to be extraordinarily funny like me and how to beat on drums, it's very noisy but great! And of course I'm gearing up for Niklas' play, where I might not be the /star/, but I'm certainly preparing to steal the show. But I'm very excited for the Festival of Death! I'm going to work with Mistress Nurie to create a special game just for Death and we're going to play it and it's going to be very fun and interesting. I hope." He beams a grin, then points his fingers at Raziel. "Acid man! You're up." He drops back down into his seat.
Bahiya is quietly chuckling. "Just when I think I have learned all of Arvani, I find I have missed a few words. From dockhands to noble dinner, I learn more everyday. How wonderful."
Tikva asks, not quite as sotto voce as she means to be, "Did he just say _acid man_? Out loud?"
Niklas sniffs. "He was the second worst Metallic."
"I look forward to it, if anything," Silas says to Raziel. The other man lifting his glass reminds him that he has yet to acquire a drink himself, and he looks to a nearby servant to rectify this problem. "That promises to be a very quiet and leisurely stroll. I think I'll take you up on that offer, sometime, Inquisitor," Silas replies to Faye, with equal wryness. He cocks a brow when he overhears Niklas already trying to play matchmaker with Sapphira. "Ah, so that's how it's been happening..." Suspicious squint. His attention drifts to Sabella, when she announces they are to be sharing their latest misdaventures.
"Mmhmm," Malcolm nods. "Next to Big Foot, Bigger Mouth man."
Rorik shrugs over to Tikva. "He's the one who said he had a flask of acid on hand! But right, ahem. /Lord Raziel/," because he remembers names good.
Calypso crosses her long legs under the table. "It's a fair nickname," she asserts primly. "'Acid man' opened the door."
Bahiya finally gets her hands on a frosted dessert, commonly known as a 'cupcake'. The Eurusi inhales in delight at the scent, and then takes a bites. The woman moans at the flavor. Her mouth is still a little full when the bind woman declares, "This! Speaking of new names! I know this, the dockhand when we arrived swore that a 'squelcher' was a pastry. Is this that? Princess Sabella, this delightful cake, is this what they call a 'squelcher'?"
Tikva checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Tikva looks measured and composed and does not laugh, like she might be a pod person.
Sapphira's cheeks become a study in shades of rosy pink and sunset red, clear to the tips of her ears. She shakes her head, and offers a winning smile to Niklas. "I don't believe I've been blessed with his acquaintance, Your Highness," she demurs. Good gods. Could the man's intent be any more plain? She twirls her wineglass between fingers lightly calloused by years of practice at the gittern, peering through the pale gold, nearly clear nectar of heaven within. "But it is an honor to be blessed so now, and good to be home."
Glancing over to Sabella, her smile now truly does light up her eyes as she listens to what is shared. "If you need assistance with the music in the Lowers, if my lord Silas permits it, I would be delighted to help." What could be better than to ignite the spark of inspiration that could lift a soul out of darkness, in the hearts of those who might not otherwise have hope?
Faye casts a wave in Niklas's direction, though the story about the queen and the cow and the rug gets an odd look. She doesn't need to know any more details on that, though. It's easier to give Silas an affirmative nod as he accepts her invitation. "It will be delightful to clear the streets with you," she says.
Ysabel's just staring at Bahiya when she calls the cupcake a squelcher.
Calypso was taking a self-satisfied sip of rum when Bahiya asks about the 'squelcher'. She makes a strangled coughing noise, and only barely avoids spitting out or inhaling her drink. It is neither dignified, nor ladylike.
Sabella is the picture of poise as she turns to Bahiya and says smoothly, "I do not believe that's what he meant, no. That's called a cupcake. In fact I believe he must have mistaken the word pastry for something else. You'll find cakes and cupcakes and all kinds of other delights here, but not by that name. And we would be welcome to have you, Lady Sapphira! As would the children and their families I'm sure."
"I was once told that Lord Rorik could turn into a chair, so I am certain that Queen Symonesse can talk to rugs" Jaenelle states with a completely straight face to Niklas before she listens to Rorik's detailed explination of his entire social calendar for the next few weeks. As talk of cupcakes begins, Jae allows Sabella to explain, giving an impressive nod at the woman.
Tikva puts down her fork, rubs her fingertips across her lips, clears her throat and says: "Well!" This is as polite and composed as she gets. She scrambles for the next conversational straw that does not squelch: "Oh, Lady Sapphira, are you a musician? What is your instrument of choice?"
Raziel, who does look like he took a swim in an acid tank at some point or another, doesn't seem particularly offended. "You'll forgive me if I don't stand, for this will be a rather short sharing session. Other than returning to Arx after a short time away on assignment, little of interest has occurred, save for the meeting of people after people. Some good company, some an annoyance, and others easily forgotten. As far as projects go, we shall see what the future holds, mm?" Ah but then it's his turn to share, is it? "You, the choking one." he says, pointing to Calypso. You're it!
"Uh, what in the blue blazes is a squelcher?" Malcolm pauses, blinking with genuine bemusement, and his brushy eyebrows do a nervous caterpillar tango as he tries to figure that out. "I mean -- might've called a fellow a squelcher. As someone that sucks the air out of a room when he lets rip a fa--" He stops, and lifts a finger against his mouth. "No. Remembered. Nevermind."
Bahiya mumbles at the decadent dessert in her hands. "It is so delicious I said 'names' instead of 'words'. Not a sad reason to confuse such things, this is -delicious-." As Sabella explains, Bahiya takes another bite. "We arrived and there were many people helping us unload our ship. There were a great many words I did not know, a few things that sounded like swear words, but 'squelcher' was said with other things that seemed to describe food. When I inquired, the dockhand in particular swore it was reference to a pastry. It must be a different kind of pastry. It sounded delicious but I do not think anything could taste quite as good as this." Another bite is taken, this one chewed slower.
Sapphira smiels at Tikva, and rests her hand on the gittern case next to her chair. It remains closed for now, but its presence promises music perhaps later in the evening. "Gittern, my lady," she replies. "Are you a musician as well?"
Rorik looks to Malcolm and has to bite his lip to stop the snickers but it /doesn't help/. So he buries his laughter in a 'squelcher' (cupcake) of his own. "I don't know, I like the word! We could definitely start referring to cupcakes as squelchers and make it a thing," he swallows hard, turning his attention to Raziel. "Well, welcome back to Arx, Lord Raziel!" he says cheerfully before he murmurs something to Jaenelle.
At this question, Tikva reaches for her back, discovers that her current party dress does not bear any kind of musical instrument strapped across her back, and then twists about, checking behind and then beneath her chair to try to find her instrument case. Holding it up when she finds it, she announces: "Balalaika!"
Tikva gets Amanita, a secunda balalaika from torso-belted instrument case inlaid with a dark red Eternal Flame.
Silas takes a long draught from the wine he's procured. "Of course you can assist, Sapphira. More singing and dancing and less rioting is always welcome." He scratches his cheek. "Uh, feel free to drop the title whenever you wish. We're mostly all friends here."
Calypso clears her throat and holds up a hand at Raziel, as if to ward him off. "Oh no you don't. I'm not -nearly- drunk enough to define that word in polite company." She may be drunk enough to have forgotten the point of the game. "Get whoever was writing pornography about pastries to write a book about it or something."
How anyone can keep a straight face in this mess is a question, but Lisebet so far is managing. She sips her wine, and glances from speaker to speaker. Malcolm's comment gets a slight chuckle, the sound somewhat musical. "Music is always wonderful," she says, though she quiets as she listens to Calypso, and blinks. "Someone was writing - You know there are somethings I am glad I have missed."
"He means for you to be the next to tell us something interesting you've done lately," Sabella tells Calypso quickly, "Some kind of project or event or perhaps something you're looking into in your spare time? Or a fun book you've read! And then you pick the next person to share!"
"Evidently, she's been reading this pornography about pastries. Though one hopes it is not what's currently proving so difficult for her throat." Raziel remarks in echo of Sabella. He smiles again, taking another sip of his wine. After adding three more drops of his vial to the mix. One assumes, hopes, it's not acid from the acid man.
"I believe a squelcher has a sausage in it," says Niklas while cutting his ham. "Very greasy." When Jaenelle says that Rorik could turn into a chair he looks between the two, then nods, says, "I once spent three days as a vase," before looking to watch Calypso take her turn. "Duchess! How is Southport?" But then Tikva is taking out her balalalalakalalkalkkaklalkakalamalaka and his eyes immediately narrow. "Oh, is it going to be _that_ kind of dinner, Tikva?"
"I seem to recall His Majesty requesting a copy to be donated to the Archive once he was done with it. You can check there is you are curious, or I think the Ambassador Salon has a copy," Zoey tells Lisebet helpfully.
Sapphira takes Restless Heart, the autumn-hued maple gittern from a leather covered gittern case tooled with a design of wind-blown leaves.
Niklas takes a musical wooden lute from a simple black velvet drawstring bag.
"See?" Rorik says to Jaenelle while tipping his chin in Niklas' direction. "It runs in the family. Oh, are we going to start making music?!" Rorik does not have any instruments to bring out, so he starts clearing a spot on the table in front of him. "I can drum right here," on this incredibly fancy table, surely no one will mind.
"Oh!" Calypso's eyes widen when she's reminded of the game that.... I mean, the rules were JUST kinda laid out, but this isn't her first drink of the night, so... "Right now, Malvici's working on helping Count Domonico nail down the rest of Cyrto Major for Magnotta. Prince Niklas. Can I just tap you and tell you to play that lute, or are you going to talk?" She might have tagged Niklas there.
"DO you need some water, your Highness. On account that was a mouthful. That was a name - or - uh. That's interestin." Then, now that everyone is ever-so-casually whipping out their musical instruments, Malcolm takes a moment to appreciate all the pretty wood. Wood and strings. Whatever. "Keen," he mutters. "I can hum all sorts of filthy songs. Made the seagulls shut up - once, or, twice."
Tikva grins as the second and then chortles as the third stringed instrument in a row comes out of hiding. "Anybody else packing their lute?" she asks. "Every time I hear Magnotta I honestly just think someone was trying to say Mangata and tripped over something with their tongue," she confesses to nobody in particular.
"Don't blame me," Calypso shoots back to Tikva. "Artorius picked the name. He's always been... a few books short of a library, if you know what I mean."
"I always think -- Man, gotta." Malcolm confesses. As though this were the part of the game, and he just played his turn. "No one tell my Voices that, please. It's enough that I've started signing my paperwork with stick-figures pictures."
Silas is also sitting there and quietly admiring the woodwork of the whipped out instruments. Old habits die hard. "Hopefully you all agree to the same song..."
Carissa, a Malvici bodyguard, Planchet the Lycene maggiordome arrive, following Eirene.
As everyone begins to pull out their instruments as if this dinner was a terrible spy movie and weapons were being drawn from the unlikely places, Jaenelle wrinkles her nose. "What did I do?" she wonders, looking then to Rorik, "I blame you."
"If he'd stripped when you told him to, everyone would be too distracted to break out the lutes," Calypso agrees with Jaenelle, serving herself another helping of carrots.
Sapphira simply chuckles, leaving off food and drink to tune her gittern. It seemed that singing for her supper would be happening sooner rather than later, after all! "I'll just be content to play along, Silas, if our esteemed host would choose the song?" She glances, too, over at Rorik, lofting her eyebrows. Well, anything could become a drum, in theory....
Rorik hangs his head in SHAME! "It is all my fault," he admits dramatically. "But I'll make it right!" Is he going to strip? No, apparently he's going to /drum/. A quick beat is tapped out onto the table, something upbeat and happy - perfect for dining, of course.
Rorik checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.
And it doesn't even SUCK.
"Oh, I have had _so much happen_ recently! To start with, Prince Victus asked me to put together a touring production of a play I wrote five years ago and was told to stop because various Islanders were getting upset at its anti-thrall themes. So that's both progress and vindication! Progrecation! We're going to be going to every major fasthold in the Islands except for Frosty Bottom, or whatever Baron Edward's little island is called," he makes a face, "Snowcock Canyons? Dribblebum Winterfalls? Whatever," Niklas waves a hand, "and also Escuma, because Nightingale Gianna insisted 'please, no place that smells like open sewers' and I said 'well, definitely not Escuma then!'" Peacemaker Niklas. "I'm quite excited to see the reception and to hopefully not be murdered! There are several people far more important than myself, subjectively, coming along, so I have faith that people will mostly behave themselves. Also, I will be assisting Sabella with her wonderful summer series, as I always do. I'm so glad that this year we're doing improv! It's going to be great! I love improv! Actors, saying things without a script telling them to. As if the whole concept of theater is some kind of delightful game. I do love IMPROV." If Niklas smiled any broader the top of his head would roll off. "Oh, and I was recently behind the line at Sungreet when I saw Lord Rysen Crovane put a sword into Sir Piotr Grimkin. It's right up there with losing my virginity for one of the great delights of my life, though much like losing my virginity it was over a bit too quickly, was rather messy and didn't involve nearly enough ravenous eels." He sighs, then gives a big, theatrical shrug before pointing to Silas. "Baron Silas, you are next! Have you considered dressing the entire Iron Guard in beautiful, practical ironwool? I'm working with Baron Norwood on a similar project and would be happy to assist you as well! But also tell us what you've been up to. Especially if it's 'finding ways to make the Iron Guard more fabulous in every way and with snazzier hats'."
Eirene is marrying into the Rivens, soon enough, so she figures she may as well crash Grayson related parties, right? The older Malvici in red and black leathers pauses in the door as music starts. "Uh, this a bad time to join for dinner?" She looks at Sabella and shrugs nonchalantly. "Provided I'm welcome?" Calypso and Jaenelle are given a lift of the chin in hello. Then comes the monologue and she asks, "What in the Abyss did I walk in on?"
"Ravenous eels, or the lack thereof, apparently," Tikva says, tuning her instrument with quizzical eyebrows.
Bahiya hears a new voice. Her cupcake is long since eaten and she is back to listening to the conversation around her, sipping from her win, the diplomat quietly but visibly delighted. Be-ribboned visage tilts her features to the newcomer, waiting for someone to call out a name.
"Might have to up the dose of the painkillers." Raziel mutters when it looks like Rorik is about to start to play... whatever the man has chosen. A few more drops from the vial are added to his wine and the man is about to drink when, turns out, it's not as horrible as it might have been. "Ah well." And Raziel drinks. Self-medication, the best physician practice.
"I don't know, I'm so lost, but apparently we are all introducing ourselves, speaking something that is unknown about ourselves and choosing who is next?" Ysabel calls out to Eirene.
"Anything's an instrument in a pinch. Figuring one's brave enough. They say the same thing 'bout weapons, don't they? When there's music getting ready to start up -- Malcolm looks a little panicked." His grin gets toothsome, even more crooked. "On that note, I gotta get." see what he did there, "he looks around -- rising from his seat in order to follow his eyes toward the fruit-filled tarts. He takes a couple, and a few more plain sugar cookies that he pockets. "Enjoy the jam session, all."
"Eirene!" Calypso brightens when Eirene comes in, and motions her aunt over to her. "You still have to do what I say for a few more weeks, so come sit over here." She knocks out a chair for Eirene with one foot. "We've been trying to get the Archduchess' pet giant to take his clothes off, but he's drumming on the table instead, so we're stuck listening to everyone going around the table and bragging."
"Lady Eirene, welcome!" Sabella gives the woman a bright smile and gestures for her to have a seat at the table, "We're playing a sharing game where each person says something about what they've been up to lately! And then calls upon the next person to share! So you are just in time to learn a little more about each of the attendees! Except for Duke Malcolm, who has to go!"
3 Armed Confessors, Orva, a discreet assistant leave, following Faye.
Silas levels his gaze on Niklas when he addresses him, after having been distracted by the prince's formidable gift of run-on gab. It was like watching a parade. He pauses to consider the suggestion. "Being dressed head to toe in ironwool during the summer sounds particularly horrible, but there may be merit to outfitting them in such during the -winter-... and it'd save having to pad our current suits with leather." That sounds like a 'maybe'. To the rest of the gathering, he hums as he tries to think of suitable topic to bring up over dinner conversation. "I'm going to try to find the lone survivor of Pella's Wish, if she's still alive." He sips at his wine again. "But I believe Jyri and Elora may be better suited to scouting than I am, so hopefully I can rope them into my scheme in the immediate future. Any other scouts among us?" He asks, tone neutral. "Other than just, I'm just cleaning up some rot in the city. I have been given plenty of help there, thankfully." His eyes flicker to Malcolm, expectantly. "How about you, Duke Shepherd? How have the days been treating you?"
If Rorik had a cymbal, he'd totally bang on it. But instead, he just stops drumming entirely before Silas speaks, if only so that he can listen. He does grin at Calypso though. "I've never been called a pet giant before," he sets up straighter, "I like it."
Carissa, a Malvici bodyguard have been dismissed.
Planchet the Lycene maggiordome have been dismissed.
A messenger stops for Lisebet who nods her head, getting to her feet. She moves by Bahiya, murmuring something softly to her, and then offers a curtsey again to the hostess with the mostess. "Apologies, Princess Sabella. It seems I am needed elsewhere. Thank you for dinner, the company is exquisite, the food delicious, and I look forward to next time."
His eyes flicker to Sapphira, expectantly. "I know you've just returned to the city, but is there anything you'd like to share, cousin?"
Sabella beams at Niklas while he shares because of course she does, reaching out to take his hand for a moment, then turns her attention to Silas, "We are all very grateful for the work you do in keeping our streets safe," she tells him, looking interested when he mentions Pella's Wish, "I am not a scout of any means, but do let me know if I can help with some aspect of that. I am a very good letter writer!" Then she turns to nod to Lisebet with a smile, "Thank you so much for coming and give the Duke my regards!"
Bahiya tilts her head as Lisebet murmurs to her, ear poised to listen. She smiles sadly and shakes her head, but offers quiet advice in return.
Eirene helps herself to a pile of roast beef and rosemary potatoes to go along with. "Pet giant, eh?" Her blue eyes drift over Rorik. "It's the hat, it makes him look taller," she says with a wry smirk. "You both get to boss me around for a little while longer," she says to Jaenelle and Calypso, giving the pair a chuckle. "Then it's Sabella and Mia's turn."
Niklas gives Sabella a look when she mentions being a good letter writer and says, with a brittle smile, "She does get results!"
Tikva checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.
Tikva bites down on her knuckle.
Sapphira smiles at Silas briefly, tilting her head towards her gittern to listen to each string as it is tuned. Discordant notes at first, but each is brought into tune, with delicate twists and turns of the keys at the top of the instrument. The autumn-hued wood, well cared for and protected in its case when not in her hands, gleamed in the light, the instrument soon singing sweetly in her hands. She plucks out a few notes, her fingers dancing along the neck of the gittern. "I've had to take to keeping pen and parchment near where I sleep, sometimes the thoughts for songs come so thick and fast," she remarks. "Then, too, there is the search for my grandfather. I fear I'm at something of a standstill, but I remain hopeful that something will turn up, and some word might be had of him."
"Like you listened before" Jaenelle tells Eirene with a fond grin before she turns it to Rorik. "What letter?" She feels like she is missing something. "I get letters from Sabella all the time and I always find them quite interesting. So interesting that sometimes it takes me weeks to reply."
Calypso hands the rum over to Eirene. "I'd like everyone to take note of my restraint right now, not asking all the Graysons why they suddenly look like they're shitting themselves," she declares primly, then, to Eirene: "I refuse to believe their orders are going to be as much fun as mine."
Silas chuckles and nods to Sabella and Niklas. "Of that, I have no doubt. I'll keep your offer in mind should we need it." He remains oblivious.
Sapphira grins at Tikva, chuckling softly; she strums a chord that does not end in a satisfying note, but rather, bears a bit of tension, as if asking a question. "What of you, Tikva? What have you to share with all of us?"
"Sabella's never sent me a letter," Rorik sighs dramatically, so upset that he has to briefly lean on Jaenelle. But then he pats the hat atop his head and grins at Eirene, "It's why I wear it. When I'm around Porter, I'm exactly two inches taller than him!"
To Jaenelle, Niklas says, "You should dress him in heels."
Zoey briefly leans toward Bahiya when Eirene arrives, then fills her wine glass again once she straightens again. Mostly she is just listening.
"A pair of 'fuck me' heels would be just the thing to compliment that seventh nipple," Calypso agrees with Niklas.
Rorik nods sagely over to Calypso. "That's what I've always said."
"Oh, me!" Tikva startles as though it did not occur to her that her turn might come, and lowers the balalaika. "Let's see," she says, thoughtfully. "Recently, and Prince Niklas helped with this, but recently I discovered the truth behind the legendary bar fight in the Badger that involved a reigning monarch and two High Lords. It was absolutely as amazing as I could have hoped," she adds, laying a hand over her heart and lowering her gaze with beatific joy. "It involved a hat somehow so hideous it simultaneously offended both the Archduchess of the Lyceum and the High Lord of the Oathlands." She casts her gaze around looking to see who hasn't had a turn yet, and goes, "Archduchess Regent, perhaps you should take the next turn! Have you ever been offended by a hat?"
Sabella keeps smiling even though it's clear some of this conversation is horrifying, "What happened to your grandfather, if I might ask? And if you do not feel comfortable relating the tale right now when everyone is talking about...other things! We can exchange letters about it if you like!"
Sabella says that to Sapphira.
Eirene slowly turns her head to give Calypso a 'what the fuck' expression, brow heavily furrowed. Wordlessly. Rorik is then the receipient of said expressive face. She just takes a bite of her roast beef and shakes her head.
Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout leave, following Lisebet.
Calypso managed the straight face, nodding sagely right back to Rorik, right up until Eirene gives her THAT look, and then she breaks and bursts out in laughter.
Ysabel, Ysabel's just staring at everyone and at some point, she's been quietly inching her chair back and then standing quietly and attempting to slip out.
"And this is an excellent time for me to leave and return to my work. A good night to you all." Raziel offers, rising from his seat with some difficulty, relying heavily on his cane. He still does so as he shuffles towards the exit. It might offer Ysabel a cover for her own exit, too!
"Did the offensive hat survive, or has it been lost to the great annals of time?" Silas inquires, curiously.
Silas also waves at Raziel as he begins his retreat.
"I desperately want to know!" Tikva answers Silas with just a little too much energy.
"Thank you, Lord Raziel, for joining us and I hope that you'll become quite the fixture at these dinners!" Sabella says warmly as the Inquisitor says his goodbyes.
"That," says Niklas, "will be our next great quest! I never had a first great quest, so I'm quite excited. I may even learn to stab people with the sword I bought from Dame Ida in a fit of having too much money and really wanting to buy something!"
"It was nice to meet you, Lord Raziel!" Rorik says to the man before he turns around in his chair to look at Jaenelle expectantly. Since it's her turn.
There's a grateful look to Raziel as he's joining her. Her arm is offered out to him so they can leave together.
"Yes. Recently. Niklas won it instead, but that might be acceptable because I was going to burn the hat instead" Jaenelle tells Tikva. "I would also like to state that I am disappointed that I never got to witness the scales and nipples in all their glory in private and now I only get to experience them second hand because of this dinner. Rorik, clearly I have not been asking the correct questions all this time. But projects, yes! The Lyceum is in the process of completing the thirteen caravels we are having built. It should prove to be exciting. I recently had a birthday party where the whirlpool was soothed by beautiful artwork. It said it needed help, I dont think it means us harm, I think no one has takent he time to attempt to listen to it." Then she hms softly, "We have a shipyard in the works, expansions, trading routes, vineyard enhancements, I need to talk to someone about something, and Lord Rorik is charming. That is all I believe?" There is so so much more, but that seems all she has time for. "Lady Eirene, please share?"
"See you soon, Lord Raziel," Zoey bids as her cousin departs.
Niklas gasps, "I haven't shown Tikva my new hat!"
Raziel has left the Dining Table.
Calypso lifts her glass to her lips and lets her gaze shift briefly to Niklas. "Word is, it's a real squelcher."
Bahiya just looks very confused.
Silas hums thoughtfully at them both. "I'd like to hear about the fate of the hat if you succeed. It may be dangerous!"
"There are hardly any sausages in it at all," replies Niklas primly.
Ysabel has left the Dining Table.
Rorik is very invested in everything Jaenelle has to say, and not just because it's partially about him! "I /wanted/ to surprise you when we went swimming but /someone/ had to ruin it," he sighs over to Niklas, shaking his head. But when Jaenelle calls him charming, he flashes a fond smile up to her. "That was a very good share. I should've shared that you are very charming, too. I'll do that next time."
"It's... a tangled tale," Sapphira begins, plucking lightly at the strings of her gittern, an almost pensive timbre making each note quiver like an autumn leaf in the wind, or a heart with questions unanswered. "An old tome of songs my grandfather gave me on my tenth birthday is where it begins. Some matters, I should probably not repeat at the dinner table, but glossing over that, the age and origins of the volume are perhaps a bit of a mystery, possibly even older than the Elven War." For the first time that evening, her brows furrow lightly, the plucking of the strings to her now as an anchor, a reminder of joy that yet lived in the world. "I went to find him later on and ask about the book, but he'd gone missing. Going away on a journey was not unusual, but he's never been heard of since."
Although she's known for her battlefield speeches peppered with colorful language, Eirene isn't really one for social chatting. She thinks about it a moment, takes a sip, and then shrugs. "I, uh... commissioned wedding shit for the wedding, like rings, and a dress. My kids want me to wear butterflies with swords and skulls. I told them that's probably not going to happen, at which point they cried. Like five year olds do." She pauses again and adds, "I was trying to bid on a unicorn themed dress to prank Dame Leola but I didn't win. It was a vomit of rainbows. Would have been -so good-."
"That sounds very inconvenient and sad," Sabella replies to Sapphira, giving her a curious look, "You know, Princess Tikva might be of some help with those tomes, she is an Inquisitor and very good with music! Or the Nightingale at the Bard's College. I do hope he's just on a very extended trip and will someday be back around to answer your questions," she blinks and looks to Jaenelle, "The whirlpool spoke to you? How amazing! I wonder what a whirlpool could need help with? Perhaps someone has pulled something out of the water below it and it's just churning away and someday the harbor will empty?"
"I might be able to answer that," Zoey tells Sabella. "Or at least share a theory, when my turn comes."
Eirene adds, "Then I pick Zoey, your turn."
The mention of Dame Leola perks Niklas right up. "Dame Leola and Master Apollo commissioned me a very nice painting!" He points to the Painting of a Pair of Truly Horrendous-Looking Boots where there was once a painting of Queen Alariel Grayson, the Mongoose of Bastion. "I don't know why they decided to have a painting done of a pair of my boots, but there it is, in all its glory. So beautiful." He wipes away at an imaginary tear, then turns back to say to Eirene, "Now choose someone else who has to go."
"If you're not going to wear the stockings I loaned you with your dress, send them back to me," Calypso remarks to Eirene. "I found a black negligee that could barely pass for a dress and I'm wearing that to your wedding. I need stockings to go with it."
"I have a rainbow dress!" Sabella says excitedly to Eirene, "I could have the plans sent to you? It's quite lovely!" She seems to have missed the part about it being terrible, "I even have a cloak to go with it!"
Silas finally indulges in some food. A cupcake. The dinner of champions. He offers passive attention to the other sharers and their stories, but he couldn't think of anything to offer in reply. To Sapphira, though, he frowns mildly. "I don't think I've spoken to him since I was a kid, either, but we were never particularly close." Silas might not even noticed he was technically 'missing'.
"Luca looked smashing in it," says Niklas cheerfully.
Eirene mutters something about missing Luca as she takes another sip of her wine.
Bahiya senses the sadness in the room, the blind diplomat asking quietly, "Who was Luca?"
"... Here we go." Calypso tops off Eirene's drink, with a sigh. "What's for dessert?"
Zoey nods to Eirene and stands. "It has been a busy time since the last dinner," she begins. "Just a couple of highlights, I think. We have broken ground on Hospitalis Harbor at last, and I am awaiting word back regarding any adjustments to the original estimate." She sips her wine and sets it down. "In more exciting news though, the whirlpool. In addition to collecting eyewitness accounts of the creature that either is or created it, I accompanied Duchess Calypso and a number of other ladies to see if they might be able to offer some insight." She nods to the Malvici duchess when she mentions her. "After having us hunt an elephant seal on their behalf while part of our group stayed behind to entertain them, they revealed that it was actually summon by accident. They also very politely asked if they could eat our faces, which we was a request we obviously denied." She picks up the wine again. "I will not take any more time with the rest of the details just now, but that was certainly an exciting trip." She looks around, smiles, then returns to her seat.
Bahiya has left the Dining Table.
"If it asked politely I'm rather aghast you didn't let it eat at least _someone's_ face." Niklas looks back to Bahiya. "Luca was a prince who lived a colorful life, then his testicles exploded and then he died in a dance contest. He was one of my best friends and I'm sad he's gone, but if the Queen is good then he's probably already back and doing what he loved most. Being naked, grabbing bosoms and messing himself."
Silas sighs in mild exasperation, once he finishes his cupcake and the remnants of frosting left behind. "Accidental summonings in the harbor are the worst," Silas comments, clicking his tongue.
Eirene says, "Yeah, I heard all about the face-eating." She snorts indelicately at the story. "So it's an accidenally sad whirlpool?" Her expression screws up again. "What is this, I can't even..." Her head slowly shakes and she lifts a glass for Luca. "And drinking. And smoking dust. I kept wanting him and Talen to kiss, but I never did get to see it."
Sabella looks at Zoey then Calypso with interest, "Really? That's...even more interesting than I could have imagined! While I am a little sad that it was not in fact a magical tunnel that stretched under the ocean from here to Eurus, I suppose it's actually a good thing that it's not and instead just would like to not be here.'
"Do not think I did not consider it," Zoey tells Niklas. "Indeed. We still do not know who summoned it or what exactly they were attempting to accomplish, but the creature appears to be a juvenile and possessing at least a rudimentary intelligence. I know of a couple of people who plan on attempting to make contact."
Sapphira is shocked out of her pensive mood by Niklas' wild tale, a burst of silvery laughter escaping her as her face glows a bright, rosy pink. "Luca sounds an... interesting soul," she demurs. "And for you to remember him so fondly, he must surely have been a good and true friend."
Calypso just shrugs with regards to the emo whirlpool. She doesn't know. She doesn't want to know. If she shrugs with enough convition, maybe it will become Someone Else's Problem.
Eirene is the Malvici occult specialist. Probably hers.
"I don't approve of infants smoking dust," says Niklas to Eirene. "Though if a physician of the guild says it's okay perhaps I'll run it past the nannies. The girls are _so loud_."
Silas smirks at Sapphira's remark. "He certainly left an indelible impression on many. The flames which burn the brightest often do." He peers aside, towards the door. "I fear I should head back home, lest I be missed. It was a delight reconnecting with all of you, and meeting the rest."
"My favorite tree is giving birth while on fire" Jaenelle tells Rorik before standing with a grin. "Princess Sabella, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to attend one of the Grayson dinners. It has been a long time in the making. Oh, and while I am here, if someone could get the swing from the tower" she motions upward, "and return it to the Velenosa estate that would be lovely. It is too heavy for me to drag down all those stairs myself and I miss my swing set. Prince Niklas, a pleasure as always" to the others at the table she offers a dip of her head, "forgive my departure, meetings unfortunately."
Eirene wrinkles her nose. "I don't recommend it for children, nooooo, no." She takes a long sip of her wine and then leans forward to grab a cupcake. "A bad batch can do terrible things. And some batches are even laced with weird shit that makes the trip terrifying." She pauses at some memory, trying to recall something.
Having had everything to drink that she's going to drink, apparently, Calypso bids her farewells and leaves. She's even walking straight and everything.
Calypso has left the Dining Table.
"Of course," Sabella nods to Silas and Jaenelle, standing as more people begin to make their exit, "Thank you all for coming out tonight and allowing us to get to know each other better! You are always welcome and we do this every month, so please do feel free to drop in when you can!"
"Not the favorite tree! I should come help, it's my favorite too!" Rorik rises to his feet and offers Jaenelle his arm. "Sabella this was really great. Again! I love having dinners here. I'm going to host a Kennex dinner soon and you have a special invite for that one," he beams to his cousin, before he's gonna dip with Jaenelle.
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