A Winter's Tale of Weijin
Oct. 9, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Jade Moon - Main Tearoom
Comments and Log
5 Eswynd shieldbearers, Valkyrie, a blue-eyed crow arrive, following Oskar.
Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, 2 Grayson House Guards, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.
Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise, Sabella arrive, following Niklas.
Maren waits patiently at the entrance to the tearoom as the time arrives and the doors are at last unlocked, the tall silvery-haired elder woman's bearing regal but serenely content. Maren offers a smile of welcome to each person that enters, as well as respectful bow of her head. "Good evening, good evening. Be welcome, and make yourself comfortable. In just a little while, the performance will begin, but until then please feel free to sample some of the tea and other refreshments, and enjoy a breath of calm."
The doors of the Jade Moon are open and the public finally allowed in. The space has been arranged for a performance--booths turned to face the center, each with a fine view of the instruments arranged there. Musicians will recognize some of those instruments, they are not dissimilar from Arvani pieces...but just different enough to mark their origins as elsewhere. Servants have been hired for the evening and they circulate with full trays, and tiny shivering cups full of potent liquor, of steaming tea, of spiced fruit drinks. The feast is already arranged upon each table but natives need not worry: eating utensils are of Arvani make.
Zyanya stands at her mother's elbow, ready with a bow and a soft, warm smile for those who come. "Please," she echoes in her accented voice, "be welcome."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Orick before departing.
Just as the event is to begin, Azova and Reve arrive together. And, for at least a moment the healer of the pair stops to admire the ambiance offered by the themed tearoom. That, of course, is when she spots a booth with a /tiger/ theme carved into it and excitedly tugs on the arm of the Halfshav Lord. "That one! We're definitely sitting at that booth." There's a beaming and innocent smile to accompany the declaration before she all but tries to drag the poor man to the feline seating. "Good evening! Thank you, this is a lovely place. I'm so looking forward the performance."
Oskar comes in the nick of time, tugging his cloak closer to his body as to drive some of the cold away. It doesn't take long for him to notice a table filled with familiar faces and he makes his way there without much ceremony. "Lord Ian, Lady Zoey and Thea." He greets, dipping his head in a nod to the yet unknown face, "Mind if join you this evening for the event?"
Gianna gets Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
Ian didn't exactly make a graceful entrance into the tea room off of the icy streets, and now that he's here, he looks like he's fully aware that he doesn't belong here. Like, at all. He takes a seat and does his best to not embarrass his wife. "Marquis." He nods to Oskar.
Arriving at the Jade Moon, Talwyn removes his cloak first, pulling aside the mink fir and offers a smile and a bow of his head to the pair. "This looks so very lovely." he says, and turns his attention to Zyanya. "I wanted to thank you in person for the lovely compliments on my poem. I have been reading yours when they show up in the whites. I have never seen that type of writing before. Perhaps you would be willing to teach it?" he asks, before making a more formal introduction. "I am Prince Talwyn Valardin. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Dycard has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Drake arrives at the event just as things are starting up. He removes his coat, and gets himself a drink, before heading over to a table full of familiar faces. Approaching the Phoenix table, he doesn't so much ask for permission, as just sit himself lazily down with his usual comfy slouch. Not carrying a sword, and dressed otherwise in silks under his coat, he looks comfortable and breezy tonight. This is a drinking event, after all.
Family means that you venture forth in winter weather to attend the opening of what Alarissa pauses on the threshhold to regard. "Lovely" Breathed to one of her ladies in waiting who then scatter off as the Princess Consort of Thrax dispenses with her cloak to one of them and sets off to find prime real estate to sit and watch. Alaricite peeping from beneath fur on her dress and that left arm. A lift of her right hand to wriggle fingers to Zyanya and Maren before taking a seat.
"Not at all. Please do," Zoey answers Oskar, having arrived early to see the place before it became crowded. "Will the Marquessa be joining us as well?"
Niklas takes Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
Gianna strides in, shrugging out of her fur cloak to display a rather roguish brocade waistcoat over some umbra garb. Her eyes are bright as she looks over the room, its unfamiliar style. She remains by the entrance, one hand on her hip, but her attention is drawn toward the instruments. A detour to incline her head to Zyanya and her mother and then she's moving to find a place to better be able to see the musical instruments.
Orick arrives on the scene but pauses before he enters to respond to a flurry of messengers, work related commissions, always busier around the holiday. He ties a final piece of parchment to the foot of his raven with a purple ribbon and then sends him off into the air before heading inside the Jade Moon. He has a few pages in his hands and he shuffles through them as he pulls out a book from his satchel to store them away inside. Once he's done being distracted by his messages he starts to look around the space and really take in the decor, the occasional, 'Huh.'
Evander arrives precisely on time, his quiet, rattling cough muffled by his lifted scarf as he passes over the threshold. "Good evening," he murmurs in a hushed voice, inclining his head towards Zyanya. He looks for a seat, not choosing one with deliberateness but out of a sudden want to sit. Once his coughing passes, the thin man pulls out his journal and glances at those nearby. There's a quick, brief smile for Azova, and a lift of his hand to hail Ian and Zoey, too.
Evander has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Lexir gets Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Thea had come a bit early. Because well, why wouldn't she. She too stops to take in the decortations and such, with a lot of curiosity. Seeing the booth with a phoenix, she naturally scoots in. When she hears Oskar, Thea smiles a bit,"Of course not Marquis Oskar. There's plenty of roomn,"waving to Drake as she sees him enter too.
Oskar has joined the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Reve is thus drug, but from the looks of him, he certainly does not seem to mind that in the very least. Not even if, just moments before, he was taking stock of the room. Azova is offering her greetings and while Reve does not offer verbal ones to go with it, he manages to deliver a half-bow before he's pulled that-a-way. When he takes stock of the seating area, his lips tug a bit at the corners. "Really?" he asks Azova, voice managing to just barely keep from being tart.
Reve has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Smiles do not always come easily to Samira, particularly in unfamiliar settings. Nevertheless, the smile she directs toward Maren and Zyanya upon her arrival is genuine and bright. "This looks lovely. I'm sure it will be a new favorite gathering place for many," she notes politely to the pair.
Lucrezia Out of place in a tearoom as a shark in a pond, Lucrezia enters with her electric gait and claims a seat for herself. Sitting sideways in it, legs over one of the arms of the chair, she makes the best of her discomfort in the dainty chair. With rapacious eyes, she watches others as they arrive and take their seat.
Ian looks up at the sound of a familiar cough and nods to Evander, motioning him over to the Phoenix booth. "Evander."
Oskar settles at one of the seats of the Phoenix table, lifting a curious eyebrow to the design of the beast but making no immediate commentary on it. "I don't think so, she's a little busy tonight, but I'll be sure to give her a bottle of the drink I think she'll like more."
Lisebet makes her way curiously to the newest hot spot. She flashes a smile as she steps in, glancing around. "Thank you," she says as she's greeted at the door. "This is truly lovely." Her words echo the words of just about everyone else. She has some Ashford retainers with her, as usual, and they take winter cloak and scurry off, perhaps joining Alarissa's. That said, Lisebet continues inward, to find a spot to sit and to let everyone else in.
Orick has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
"It is our great honor to meet you, Prince Talwyn Valardin," Zyanya says, cupping her linked hands near her hip and sinking slightly at the knee in formal acknowledgement of the fellow. "It is my mother who claims the title of Teacher, I am a poor student still. But I am always pleased to discuss poetry with those who love such things as I do. We will speak soon, yes? Please. Be welcome and I hope you are able to enjoy our small performance this evening." On rising, she turns her smile--and another bow--o the seated Alarissa before returning to greeting their guests. "Hello," for Evander, for Gianna. "Ah, Artist Samira! Welcome! May it be so."
Traipsing in with the energy of a hurricane, Dycard rides in on the wake of the crowds, a wide grin on his face as he looked about the tea house and drank in its novelty. He bowed his head in deference to Maren and Zyvana as he presented himself before the pair, "Madames, i'm in your debt for having this little affair," he offered before sweeping about the perimeter of the room in search of a face he recognized.
Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira arrive, following Quenia.
Niklas arrives with Sabella on his arm and takes a moment to look around the room with the most tourist expression possible before offering bright smiles to all around. Then he's heading over to sit down at a tiger-themed booth, sitting on the outside so he can turn his legs out and watch the show that seems likely to play out shortly.
Niklas has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Lisebet gets a raise of Alarissa's right hand and wriggle of fingers with a smile.
Gianna has joined the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
"Of course. I wish your event a great sucess." And with that, Talwyn looks for a seat, pausing at the Kirin booth. "Princess Consort, do you mind company?" he asks of Alarissa, waiting for her permission before joining her if she allows.
A small bit late, Quenia does manage to make it to the Weijin discussion event. She makes sure the door is firmly shut behind her and then seeks out a place to settle that's nice, warm, and cozy.
Sabella has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
"Count Evander. It's so nice to see you here." Azova looks over at Ian with a wry smile when the man hails the former Kennex to join the other table. But, is then distracted by Reve's 'really?'. "Really." she declares firmly, giving a wave to Dycard as he wanders in. And, "Prince Niklas. Good evening." politely.
"As if I would turn down my cousin." Alarissa gesture for the Valardin prince to take a seat if he wishes and waves down Quenia too.
Orick inclines his head politely to Zyanya on his way past but he doesn't bother the host with hellos while everyone is still filing in for the evening. Instead, Orick quietly finds a seat while still shuffling through a book of sketches and storing papers out of sight between different pages. As he settles in Orick spots Evander across the way and nods to him with a passing familiarity.
Drake looks up as Quenia walks in, giving her a bit of a wave. Then he looks at those around him at the Phoenix table, settling in with his drink in hand.
Zoey returns Evander's wave before spotting Quenia and motioning for her to join their booth as well.
Gianna inclines her head to Alarissa and Talwyn and strides over that way. "Princess Alarissa," she greets. A curious glance at the woman's arm, and she murmurs, "Lovely work." The nails especially are given an admiring look. "Prince Talwyn." She slinks into a seat without really asking for permission or anything.
As the initial strong stream of guests slows to more of a trickle, Maren offers a gentle smile to Zyanya and a nod, as if it's time to retreat from the cold of the entrance and leave that task for some of the hired staff, and before too much warmth is stolen. She gazes out at the room, perhaps marking that those seated at the booths are well provisioned. "A pleasure to meet you," she offers to Talwyn as he introduces himself, and then another bow of her head to Gianna. "Nightingale," she murmurs in greeting. "I hope that you will enjoy the evening," she says to Dycard. But then she begins an unhurried path towards the cleared center of the room, where the instruments wait, as if preparing to settle in.
Thea winks at Azova, a smile on her lips,"Lady Azova. How are you,"offering a wave to Evander as well. Not saying anything about his cough. Nope. Not at all! There are of course more nods and slight smiles to others she knows.
Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job, 6 House Velenosa Guards arrive, following Berenice.
Dolmen, a prodigal agent, Berenice arrive, following Harlex.
"It is good to see you as always." Talwyn says as he air kisses Alarissa's cheek and settles into place. "Hello, Nightingale." he offers to Gianna as she joins them. When the attention is drawn to her arm, Talwyn glances at it and wows softly. "It looks lovely, cousin."
Reve's inclining his head politely to Evander when Azova greets him and providing an amiable, "Lord Reve Halfshav," by way of introduction. Now, Niklas and Sabella's joining them, that summons forth more of Reve's focus. More the former than the latter. He has that look about him though, thoughtful, as if attempting to place him. "Ah-hah!" he declares, \
Spying Niklas and Sabella, Gianna waits a moment to catch someone's eye and inclines her head with the faintest hint of a smile.
It doesn't take long for Quenia to notice the looks in her direction, the smiles, and the waves. She flashes Drake a charming smile full of warmth of her own, then waves over at Zoey. She sees Zoey beckoning her over and heads in that direction, but not before greeting Alarissa first. "Princess. It's good to see you again. Hopefully I can have you over to the next Igniseri dinner," she tells her patron, giving her an equally warm smile.
"It sounded like an event worth braving the snows for," Evander replies to Azova with a brief smile, though his shoulders are still somewhat hunched against the lingering cold. "Professor Orick," he hails the man with a lift of fingers. "It's good to see you. Do you know-" he pauses, to cough again into his scarf, "The Lady Azova Darkwater? And-" he looks at Reve curiously. "Lord Reve. Good evening," a nod for him too. Thea's wave catches his attention and he nods her way, before he glances to the two hostesses.
Reve declares, after that 'ah-hah.' "You and I were supposed to enjoy trouble without actually dealing with the repercussions." Yes, he seems quite satisfied with that statement to Niklas.
"Of a sureity. When things are not so harried. I only barely had time to attend here." Alarissa greets Quenia, after Talwyn and Gianna, pressing a kiss to the cheek before letting the woman go to the other table.
Sabella catches sight of Gianna's outfit before she realizes it's Gianna herself, offering a wave!
1 Crimson Blades Sergeant, Rurik, a prodigal assistant, Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound arrive, following Mirk.
Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound arrives, following Rowenova.
Azova waves cheerily at Thea, when the familiar voice is heard. "I'm well, thank you. And you? I'm very much enjoying the ability to dodge things now, by the way. Thank you for the effort you put in to that." A wink back is given, as she settles into her seat. "I would agree." Her voice lowers since they are all now joining tables. "How often do you even wind up dealing with repercussions, Lord Reve?" She sounds skeptical.
Mirk has joined the Embrace of the Dragon carved teakwood booth.
In Maren's wake, Zyanya steps. Her path diverges only as the center is found, her to the small stool set before a larger instrument. As she goes, those whose names she hasn't caught receive smiles. Those whose attire signifies their rank earn small, moving bows--her head tilts, ornamentation shivering with each gesture. Once positioned, she curls her arms before her, hands joined, and bows low in formal ritual to their audience. "We thank you for coming and pray you will enjoy with us the food, drink, and entertainment which warmed our nights in Weijin's mountains," the Weija says as she rises. "Tonight, we present for you the first part of the saga of Weijin's history, which is human history. For eight hundred years and more we have been province of the Empire, beneath the Platinum throne, but Weijin began long, long before that. Before the coming of demons, before the coming of the Jade Empress. Tonight we share with you how Weijin was founded in the age of Caer'alfar, in the age of the First Choice."
Rowenova has joined the Embrace of the Dragon carved teakwood booth.
Samira's smile remains as she nods to Zyanya's words, but rather than lingering, she drifts away from the entryway so as not to block the flow of the crowds behind her. With the performance soon to begin, she searches the gathering for familiar faces to be seated near.
Quenia has joined the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Dycard waggles some fingers at Azova with a grin as his eyes flashed, inclining his head in her direction as he slipped toward the Tiger booth, "Mind if I join you to watch this...performance?" he asked, his attention already fixed on center of the room.
Lisebet grins and moves over by Alarissa, offering a polite curtsey. "Your Highness, good to see you." she then quiets, turning to listen to the hostesses, with curiosity. She gets a cup of tea, her expression politely curious, though she does add, "I wish my brother was here, he'd been particularly interested in Weijin."
A Halfshav contingent of Lord Mirk and Scout Rowenova show up, the former in the lead and the latter flanking to the side with Aegis on the other side and Flop at her side. They find some seating at the Embrace of the Dragon there. Doors, seats, and what not are prepped for Mirk by Nova for ease of travel.
Amieli has joined the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Zavi arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.
Quenia inclines her head to Alarissa, returning her greeting with a kiss on each cheek as well. "Well noted. There will be other dinners, of course, if you cannot make the next. I'm certain things are harried with House Thrax. As always, Igniseri stands ready to aid our patron house as needed." Another warm smile is given to Alarissa, and a curious glance to her table mates, and then she heads over to the Phoenix carved table, how fitting! And settles down with a smile to the table's occupants.
After Zyanya's annoucement, Maren bows elegantly to the assembled crowd in tandem, and then moves to take her place in the area set aside for them. The scene is set partially by the whisper of fingertips upon strings, as mother and daughter begin their musical duet--Zyanya settled with the elegant stringed instrument called a guzheng, and Maren with an assortment of much smaller instruments laid out neatly on a low table before her as she kneels comfortably on a cushion. Maren lifts what looks like a series of small reeds lashed together with bright woven bands in the style of a panflute to her lips, and from the flute there is a playful lilting weaving in and out of the melody, a carefree and skipping wandering of a free spirit, as if grateful for its encumbrance.
Zyanya's instrument is immense, akin to an Arvani zither but larger, as tall as a woman and supported on a stand as intricate and substantial as the guzheng itself. Twenty-six strings stretch taut over two boards. Its sides are carved with phoenixes in flight against a wild garden. Her clawed fingers pluck dreamy notes, uneven as raindrops, rising occasionally into a shivering vibrato with the quick and repeating pressure of a finger against individual strings.
Azova inclines her head politely toward Dycard and gestures towards the still empty seating of the booth. "Please. Have you met everyone here at the booth yet? I don't think you've met Lord Reve Halfshav. Lord Reve, this is Lord Dycard Blackshore." she introduces, turning her attention to Maren and Zyanya as the performance begins.
Alarissa gestures for Lisebet to come join them at the table proper so she can watch.
Dycard has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Mirk nods his head aside to his kin, Reve, as he heads towards his seat, but he doesn't interrupt at all. Instead, he finds an out of the way booth to sit down, folding his hands in front of him and turning his attention towards Maren. "Scout Rowenova. Do you know anything about Weijin already?" He asks the servant quietly.
Dycard wordlessly nods toward the Lord as he fell silent and focused intently on the performance.
Lisebet has joined the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Ian makes an attempt at settling into a respectful silence to listen, which turns out to be easier said than done, due to Zavi coming in looking for him with a note. He looks the note over, the writes a very short reply under the text on the page, folds it, and hands it back.
After Mirk is seated, Nova seatuates herself and replies back, "A little bit, but not mostly accounts by Prince Cerdic." And then she quiets down before explaining further.
"Just often enough," Reve assures Azova with a dip of his head and then his focus moves on to Orick. He dips his head to the other man and seems on the cusp of offering forth something or other when he spies Mirk and Rowenova. A hand is lifted in an amiable greeting, not quite a salute added to it. Turning to Dycard when he is introduced he says, "Pleasure," in an easy way.
Berenice is not one to just slip subtly in at /any/ event, even if she is a bit fashionably late. But given the performance at hand -- or in the early stages of introduction, at least -- she doesn't call out any greetings, at least. But she does step inside with the confident (vain) air of a woman who enjoys her entrances. Her coat is a lush sweep of fur-lined brocade, and once it's removed and slipped from her shoulders by her valet, it reveals the impeccable tailoring of a dramatic, off-shoulder brocade gown underneath. Everything about her seems artfully and purposefully arranged, which is a stark contrast to the much simpler and utilitarian attire of the man whose arm she arrives on. She murmurs something to Harlex, but her gaze is on the room, noting those gathered, and, more curiously, the hosts for the evening, before she splits her focus between the proceedings and deciding on a table to join.
The Weija's recitation begins and rises like a spoken song, soaring counterpoint to the lilt of song joined by the skill of mother and daughter. As she chants, each word accented by foreign shores, her hands roam the strings and her gaze travels the booths as if in search for eyes to lock with. "Chains broken, a world made free, Jadairal was born. The first where human hearts lived without shackle, where daily gift of choice was made to honor Skald. Slavery struck down and choice became their blessing, with each one made a prayer in hope it would soften the scars which still clasped every throat, every hungry heart.
"Their choice once made became law: a stone can only be a stone, not carved, or lifted to greater monument. Born to toil will always toil, born to rule will always rule, hands which coins cross must pass them on without grasping.
"But those who have will ever want for more and when Caer'alfar came again, borders were drawn with fire. Fire and blood, the lowborn spilled human blood on humanity's soil, until the highborn called a truce and named it freedom."
Taking a drink, Thea politely silences herself. She listens to the performance, watching with sudden curiosity.
Sabella gets Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Lisebet settles into her seat, and listens quite raptly. There is a slight tilt to her head as she does so, gaze going to each of the women in turn, the instruments, the tea room, and her companions at the booth in which she is seated.
The Sword of Lenosia leans to hear these murmured words. His features a stoic mask. Bright, cold eyes search the room and, when he finds the performer at work, focuses his attention there and no place else. The other guests of no concern to Harlex, this black-clad swordsman. He breaks his gaze only for Berenice, inclining his head. He'll sit wherever she wants, clearly.
From the shade of her wolf pelt which frames her visage, Nova mini salutes toward first Gianna and then Reve. She confers with Mirk about what is known concerning the Weijin and does not seem to be too far behind the Halfshav, which might be a surprising first. She leans back in her seat and welcomes that very Good Boy Indeed (Sir Floppington) to chin on her lap and pets his noggin before lifting another gesture of greeting Lisabet's way.
Orick glances over when Berenice makes her entrance.. but it might just be because he recognizes the slightly less fabulous fellow she's entering with this evening. He certainly doesn't seem to know Berenice and eventually he looks away to listen to more of the banter at his booth and the performance concerning the history lesson.
The sound of the flute becomes softer, more tentative and tense in its way, fading as Caer'alfar's fire grows. The flute set aside, Maren instead slides a metal rod across a series of hung small chimes, sending aural sparks through the imagination, sharpness of metal meeting the softer stringed music.
What had been sweetly discordant to Arvani ears now shifts with deliberately sour notes under Zyanya's flowing hands. Each note is allowed to lift and fade entirely before the next comes, gentler foundation for the shock which comes from every stroke of Maren's chimes.
Samira moves toward the phoenix-themed booth, using her small stature to her advantage as she attempts to move without blocking anyone's view of the performance. "Lady Thea, Lady Zoey," she greets the familiar faces in hushed tones. "Mind if I join you?" Even as she asks it and awaits their answer, her dark eyes are roaming back to Zyanya and Maren to watch and listen.
Berenice has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Harlex has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Gianna touches two fingertips to her chin, her head tilted slightly to the side as she listens. Her gaze is appraising.
Drake sits back and listens to the performance, taking the occasional sip of the drink. It's remarkably strong stuff, but he doesn't really notice yet as the performance has his attention.
Thea looks up to Samira and smiles up to her. Scooting closer to Drake, the Malvici nods. "Sure, there's definitely room for more,"her eyes watching the performance as well.
Samira has joined the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Ian stays quiet, respectfully listening. He doesn't, however, really react. Not to the music when it's pretty. Not to the music when it turns sour. It breaks any possible illusion that he's actually -appreciating- the performance, but he is going through the motions of being silent and respectful quite well.
There's a wince from Talwyn as he listens, brows furrowing in thoughts as he tries to keep up with the story.
"Client kingdom, bordered by bloodstained chain, proud Jadai, they pretended this was peace and looked away from the future when their children's children might once again serve. Those below did not blind themselves but saw these links not yet woven and knew when the altars of Caer'alfar were built anew in Daobujin Bo, their lives would be first upon the block. For stone must always be stone.
"Foundations are not built with gold," Zyanya laments, her singsong recitation soft as spring, hushed with an ache which throbs. She draws a breath and that lift of air taken between parted lips, that too is part of the music. Her eyes close, no longer seeking.
Then finally open as she begins again. Her hands once more find the strings. "Those who had felt metal against their skin and writs against their soul, who had spilled their blood, given their children to the burning borders, they did not take sword in hand, did not rise in a wave to crash against the walls built of gold to drown those behind them. Skald's gift was not cast in stone or iron or gold but given to all. Those below knew the god of freedom as well as any who perched above. They chose not to rise up, not to cast down.
"To mist-wrapped mountains, their lives on their backs, children on their hips, they walked. Bent and bowed like wind-shaped trees, they walked.
"Until they saw a life ahead, hearts hungry, hearts full, they walked."
Harlex speaks quiet thanks to a host for a cup of the liquor which he does not flinch at, clearly familiar with the taste. He sips and watches, occasionally leaning to murmur to the princess at his side. But his appreciation is clear, rare on an otherwise stony countenance.
Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense arrives, delivering a message to Gianna before departing.
Oskar finally reaches a decision regarding the drinks and pours some of the alcoholic drink, Nodoji, into the bowl-like cup while he remains attentive to the story. It might take a while for the prodigal Marquis to get used to this particular tradition, but the couple of nods given after the first sip denote he appreciated both the strength and aftertaste of the drink.
When the sharpness in the chimes fades, there is yet another sound to emerge and engage with the strings. Rhythm is kept by Maren's striking of a hollowed wooden block, soft at first, as if a heartbeat emerges in harmony. It strengthens, as the decision of the people is made, evoking footsteps as well, steady and courageous. This time when the chimes are sounded again, they are the soft movement of wind through mountain trees, calling the travellers onward.
Audibly, the procession passes and fades into the distance, as Maren takes up the flute again, an echo of that earlier cheerfulness returning, though it has matured into something more akin to hope. Flute and guzheng expand upon that feeling of hope, rising and climbing, upward bound in spirit as if inspired by the mountains themselves, before fading only a few minutes after the spoken word ends.
Concluding, mother and daughter rise to make their bow.
Azova is overheard praising Maren.
Azova is overheard praising Zyanya.
Thea is overheard praising Zyanya.
Thea is overheard praising Maren.
It is quite the tale that the two weave, a history touched with music, the sounds and tones, evoking the emotions. Lisebet clasps her hands in front of her, quiet as the song comes to an end.
Talwyn is overheard praising Maren.
Lisebet is overheard praising Maren.
Talwyn is overheard praising Zyanya.
Lisebet is overheard praising Zyanya.
Zoey is overheard praising Zyanya.
Gianna lowers her fingers from her chin and considers the pair of musicians; she raises her hands together and claps gently. Anything more boisterous would seem odd.
Zoey is overheard praising Maren.
Orick is overheard praising Zyanya.
Lexir is overheard praising Maren.
Orick is overheard praising Maren.
Lexir is overheard praising Zyanya.
Joining in with Lisebet's applause, Talwyn offers his own appreciation for the performance, keeping it low key as Gianna and Lisbet have and he works on taking some notes.
Quenia is overheard praising Zyanya.
Quenia is overheard praising Maren.
A soft repeated pat of the table is Alarissa's applause when the pair finish thier performance, a smile on her face.
Gianna is overheard praising Zyanya: An interesting performance, the likes of which Arx hasn't seen before.
Evander is overheard praising Maren.
Evander is overheard praising Zyanya.
Gianna is overheard praising Maren: An interesting performance, the likes of which Arx hasn't seen before.
Oskar is overheard praising Maren.
Oskar is overheard praising Zyanya.
Ian belatedly applauds as well, although he doesn't seem to have gotten the memo on keeping the sound as soft as possible. Not that he breaks into thunderous applause, but his hands come together with enough volume for the sound to stand out.
Once risen from their bow, Zyanya steps to Maren's side and joins her hand with her mother's. Her smile is a tranquil thing, composed. "It is known to us that Arvum and the Jadairal have not been friends before this. To you, we make this gift, in thanks and hope of friendship. We give you our food, we give you our drink and our music, we give you our hearts, for they are your hearts too. In time we will share the rest of Weijin's history. For now, please you will join us in feasting. The garden is open to you, the tea house is open to you and will always be so. This is our gift and you are our people."
Hand in hand with Maren, she performs another bow--this one less formal, no curve of arm or bent knee to make it ritual. Simplicity expressed in movement. And with that task done, she steps forward intending to visit each booth and exchange words with those who've come.
Dycard glances over his shoulder toward Ian, his grin widening as he joined in the applause, trying to mirror the man's volume as he snorted in laughter.
Amieli waits until the story woven into the instruments reaches its conclusion to offer verbal reply to her booth and contribute to the polite applause.
Evander sets aside his journal, barely touched, and claps appreciatively for the performance as he murmurs something quietly to those nearby.
Samira slides into a seat and watches the remainder of the performance unfold with a transfixed gaze. As the last notes fade into silence, she sits in stillness until the sound of the crowd's appreciation prompts her to join the applause.
Orick joins the sea of applause but he's quiet for a few moments as if he's still absorbing all of that nuance in verse.
Lucrezia listens, swaying her head and bopping a booted foot, until the end. Then she claps raucously, seeming to have enjoyed the performance quite well.
Oskar gets Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
Reve takes Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Mirk gets Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
Quenia gets Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
If there was any doubt that Zyanya was Maren's daughter, surely this is erased by the radiant tenderness that her smile bestows upon the young woman, unseen, as she speaks. She squeezes the offered hand gently, bowing again as well, and including the Arvani she has returned to in that warmth as well, her gaze lingering on a few faces, before moving to the doors that lead out to the gardens. "In Weijin a garden is for all seasons, and changes with them, and so I hope we will have the honor of your company throughout the year. Please enjoy! And we will have the second installment of the story soon." And then she too moves to make the rounds of the guests, keeping an eye to make sure that there is no bowl left unfilled for long.
Ian is sitting at his table looking puzzled, lost really, and asking a lot of questions without looking like he really understands the answers he's been given. It's fair to say he missed more than just the memo about soft applause. At least he's trying, though?
Thea glances at those at the Phoenix table. With a relieved look! "Oh see! There WILL be a conclusion. We'll just be left hanging for now."
Amieli gets Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
To the Tiger Booth, Zyanya moves first. She'll perform a circle but even a circle must have a starting point. Her smile marks this beginning. Unsure of the customs here, she tucks her hands inside of her sleeves rather than offer them to those seated. "I see known faces and new as well. Please accept my thanks for coming to share tonight."
Zyanya has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Berenice takes Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
Rowenova gets Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Drake applauds for the performance, and then it moves into the next steps, and he again sits back to watch as Zyanya moves to a booth for proper greetings. It seems like a gracious and polite gesture for her. He has a laid back conversation with those at the table, listening more than he is speaking for the time being.
Maren parts ways with Zyanya to move towards the Dragon booth, perhaps employing a sneaky divide and conquer strategy. She bows once to Mirk, and then offers Rowenova a friendly smile, speaking quietly to them.
Maren has joined the Embrace of the Dragon carved teakwood booth.
Lucrezia rolls herself out of the chair she'd claimed and strolls out.
Maren has left the Embrace of the Dragon carved teakwood booth.
Maren bows again to Mirk and Rowenova at the Dragon booth, and then makes her way towards that of the Phoenix. There too she offers an elegant bow to those seated there, before speaking softly to them.
Ian snorts and lets out a dry laugh with a trace of actual humor in it. And it's not a short laugh, either. He leans his head in his hand and his shoulders shake as he laughs softly, the sound barely more than a huffing of breath.
Dycard pushes himself up from his booth as Zyanya excuses herself, inclining his head toward the crowd, "I should probably return to my ship - still a lot to do to prepare her for my next trip out to sea," he explained with a shrug. "Count Darkwater, we should speak at length one of these days, it's been too long," he offered, bowing slightly before rounding on his heels to head toward the door.
Dycard has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Thea squints at Ian. Is he--choking. Nope. He's LAUGHING! Something is going on over there! Then she looks at Drake with his Oathland self and she blinks. She grins a bit before greeing Maren. "Messere Maren, yes? That was a--beautiful performance."
Maren has joined the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Zyanya steps back from the Tiger booth, making it possible for a fuller bow to those seated within. Soft words are spoken in parting, her smile sweet punctuation. Then she turns towards the Kirin booth and those still awaiting the attention of the hostesses. As she draws near, she says, "What is the Arvani saying? The best for last, yes? Have you enjoyed the food yet? The challenge to find Arvani cooks to learn new recipes was not so great as I thought it would be!"
Zyanya has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Zyanya has joined the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Quenia seems to have paled rather dramatically at something spoken at quietly at her table. She looks to be gathering her things, clearly looking shaken over something or another. She makes a quiet remark to her table, an invitation of sorts, as she rises.
Not long after, Evander, too, stands, with a nod towards Dycard. "I'd be happy to, my lord," he murmurs to the man. "Excuse me all, please. I should get back home." There's a brief cough, as he crosses the floor towards where Ian and Zoey are, bending briefly to murmur something to them before he steps outside.
Talwyn has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Talwyn has joined the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Always attentive of her patron's patron, Nova looks up when she notices how whatever it was affected Quenia. She gives her a concerned look when she does but does not really ask then looks back to Mirk so as not to stare at her.
Evander has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Jaq, a solemn looking assistant, 4 Redoubt Buccaneers leave, following Evander.
Lisebet smiles, as Zyanya arrives at their table. "Lisebet Ashford," she introduces herself, making it easy on everyone. "That was a spectacular performance. Masterful. I find myself all aflutter waiting for the next installment." A delicate half shrug, and she lifts her drink to her lips, tasting it. "I do intend to have a bite to eat, but haven't as yet."
With effort, Ian gets himself back under control as Maren joins them at the table. The remains of humor on his face aren't sunny, happy humor. Ian's sense of humor is dark, and it shows. He nods to her, then looks to Quenia when she stands.
Reve dips his head to those that are present still at the booth before sliding out. He offers a hand to Lady Azova, assisting her as well, and once she's standing he is offering her his arm more formally. He waves to the other Halfshav, dips his head to the hosts, and the pair are off.
Reve has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Azova has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
2 Redoubt Buccaneers, Orion, a healer's surly Assistant leave, following Azova.
Ilyse, a potentially reformed troublemaker, Azova leave, following Reve.
Orick gathers his things and sneaks off as the table starts to clear out, probably muttering about some unfinished work he had to complete before the dawn.
Orick has left the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Beakers - an austere raven leaves, following Orick.
Quenia has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Drake looks after Quenia as she gets up. His gaze is appraising, with a bit of concern, for a moment, and then he gives her a warmer expression, being gracious. "Do have a good night, and, save travels home, then."
Quenia does manage to find a messenger before leaving, speaks to them a few moments, then ushers them off and follows behind them out the door, her steps quick and with purpose, but not before nodding to Drake a bit of thanks for his kind words and wishes.
Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira leave, following Quenia.
Nova watches Quenia leave then looks to Ian with curiosity? She head tilts before standing back up and asking Mirk if he is gonna get down on party food (because she is totally going to). She even has her togo box with her.
:looks thoughtful. "I do not believe I have ever worked with glitter as a medium," she admits, with a soft laugh. "My own tendencies are towards inks." But then she bows again. "I do not mean to intrude overlong. But I hope that you will all return sometime to enjoy the quiet as well, or we will cross paths in the city some time, and I am very glad you enjoyed the performance." She nods to Amieli. "Yes, my lady! Though we will host the next installment of the Weijin story soon, we also hope to have regular nights for storytelling--both ours and shared, and music as well. It is something of a Weijin tradition--the teahouses there are not only a place to have refreshment, but also to enjoy the company of stranger and friend alike, through games and tales. We hope to contribute to that here in Arx as well." She nods to Zoey. "Indeed, the same gods are worshipped there. I was introduced to Skald in Weijin, as he was unknown in Arvum before I left. There are temples, and those of the Faith. But sometimes that which looks the same can be different in important ways as well."
Lisebet gets Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Lisebet looks apologetic as she gets to her feet, and heads out.
Ian having finished his conversation, apparently scared the shit out of Quenia, and had a short interlude of laughter, Ian now goes back to sitting around like a lump, sipping at his drink and contemplating it from time to time.
Lisebet has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
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.
Patrizio comes in from outside with panache, trying to minimize how long there's a cold breeze on his heels as he's peeking about at the new and unfamiliar locale, though he's none too slow about scooping up one of those cups of liquor and drawing it to his lips as he mills about.
Ian finishes off his drink and, bracing his weight against the table and his cane at the same time, rises more through upper body strength than anything else. "Excuse me. I'm going to go check up on Marquessa Quenia. I probably should have timed talking to her a little better." He does sound a little bit chagrined. But he'd also been starting to get fidgety, so this might be too much social interaction for him.
After loading up her togo box, Nova closes it by the straps then looks to Mirk before she curiously regards Ian. "What was the joke? I wanna know!" says she with an inquizzitive gaze! She sends off a messenger with the boxed food.
Ian swings by the dragon booth and says a few words to Nova. Probably, he's clarifying the joke, based on the humor that threads its way through his words, lending his flat delivery something akin to music. Then he continues on his way out, threading his way with care through the clusters of tables. At the door he pauses and takes a moment to affix a metal spike to the tip of his cane, all the better for a little bit of extra grip on the ice outside.
As she did before, Zyanya steps back from the Kirin booth to perform a deeper bow to those seated. "Please," she urges them, "enjoy the feast. And the gardens! You may wander, or inspect the instruments. This is our gift to you." The crowd has begun to disperse somewhat and as she turns, she assesses those remaining before focusing upon those newly arrived. Towards the doors she glides, her smile freshened and her eyes warm. "Please, welcome to the Jade Moon."
Ian has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
After hearing the nuances of the joke, Nova perks up with obvious interest before beckoning along her Halfshav compatriot before slinking outside.
Rowenova has left the Embrace of the Dragon carved teakwood booth.
Mirk has left the Embrace of the Dragon carved teakwood booth.
1 Crimson Blades Sergeant, Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound, Rurik, a prodigal assistant leave, following Mirk.
Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound, Mirk leave, following Rowenova.
Maren has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Zyanya has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Maren bows to those seated at the phoenix table, before stepping back with a smile. It's then that she notices the latest arrivals, and the fact that Zyanya is immediately attentive to them. Not interrupting the flow, her feet carry her towards the Kirin booth.
When she reaches the next booth, Maren once more offers her effortless, graceful bow, before rising and speaking with the occupants softly.
Maren has joined the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Patrizio smiles, and there's a faint bow to Zyanya when she's approaching. "Thank you for the greetings," he responds, as he's straightening again, and his fingers continue to hold the cup between them. "I heard this was where the fun was for the moment, and thought I'd come and peek in for myself."
Talwyn has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Zephirine, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Talwyn.
"It is true, with only two or three of those, there is much fun," Zyanya says, a heightened sparkle in her eyes as she looks between the drink and Patrizio. A small gesture from clawed fingers brings one of the servants, bottle at the ready to tip just a bit more nodoji into his cup. "It is very strong," might be too late a caution. "I am Zyanya Lir. Please. You may find a place to sit and enjoy the company of these people or explore the gardens. It is our first night open."
Drake seems to be getting up as well, since Thea said she 'might' need an escort. The drink hits him suddenly when he stands, but he's pretty steady on his feet, so he'll manage it. He gives the table a slight bow as he departs.
Thea bows her head as well, thanking Drake with her gaze. "This was--a learning experience. Thank you,"she says with a slight smile. Taking Drake's elbow, she follows him out the door. Possibly holding him upright too.. Maybe. Possibly.
Drake has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Thea has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant leave, following Thea.
Thea leaves, following Drake.
Patrizio turns his eyes briefly to the swift refill of that cup, and there's a salute with it to the hostess before him. "Patrizio Pravus," he responds with warmth. "And thank you - both for the warning and the greeting, though I daresay strong...is in the eye of the beholder, no?" A laugh bubbles free from him, and there's another cast of his gaze about. "I think I should have to take a stroll, and see what there is to see... but again, my thanks."
"You are most welcome Patrizio Pravus." Zyanya chases this with one of her well-oiled bows. On rising, silk and umbra whispering, she approaches the Phoenix booth to greet its occupants with a smile--and that hovering servant, at the ready with his bottle to freshen up tiny little cups. "Lady Zoey, it is so good to see you again," she says, "and Artist Samira! You will forgive me for not coming to say my hello before this?"
Zyanya has joined the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Harlex takes Nodoji, a bottle of clear herb-infused grain alcohol from Jadairal from spring lily wooden chest.
Patrizio takes Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Oskar has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Maren has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Amieli has left the Embrace of the Phoenix carved teakwood booth.
Alarissa takes Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink from spring lily wooden chest.
Alarissa puts Guozhun, a bottle of non-alcoholic herb-infused and spiced lychee fruit drink in spring lily wooden chest.
Maren bows again to the occupants of the Kirin both, before turning to make her way at last to the booth of the tiger. Once there the silver-haired elder bows again to those present, speaking softly to them in greeting.
Maren has joined the Embrace of the Tiger carved teakwood booth.
Patrizio once more sips from his cup, before it's delicately set aside as he's looking about, before he dips back out into the cold.
Gianna converses quietly with Alarissa as they eat.
Alarissa has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, 3 Thrax Guards, 2 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Alarissa.
Gianna finishes up eating and lingers for a little while longer before it's her turn to recieve a messenger. She rises from her seat and makes her way out again, with some tiny nods to those she knows and to the two hosts as well.
Gianna has left the Embrace of the Kirin carved teakwood booth.
"If you find it so, then I am content. Thank you both." As is the custom, Zyanya chases these quiet words to Zoey and Samira with a low bow. "While the feast finishes I had hoped to play. Please excuse me," she murmurs as she withdraws. To the center of the room she goes again, there to claim her place on the stool and adjust her clawed rings to play once more--something simple, something soft, evoking the serenity that has been so mentioned tonight.
Berenice is overheard praising Zyanya.
Berenice is overheard praising Maren.
Maren bows once more to those at the Tiger booth, before taking her leave. As the feast continues around them, she naturally moves to once more take her seat near Zyanya, taking up her panflute to join in, naturally falling into a duet, playful and comforting in tune, a warm embraced shared with the guests of the teahouse this evening.
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