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Compact Celebration and Remembrance

King Alaric Grayson IV and Archduchess Jaenelle Velenosa welcome the Compact to the Palace to celebrate the Compact's victory and honor those who sacrificed their lives in gaining such. Enjoy an evening celebrating life with dancing, shared stories, and lifting many glasses to the brave men and women of the Compact.

Date

May 3, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Jaenelle Alaric

Participants

Merek Victus Liara Domonico Ember Cirroch Caprice Thea Sydney Patrizio Denica Emberly Emma Noah Khanne Lisebet Valencia Michael Aella Tesha Kiera Cassandra Natasha Quenia Valenzo Valdemar Deva Donella Saoirse Aindre Symonesse Volcica Apollo Lianne Bahiya Varosh Sorrel Tarik

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Crown - The Palace - Great Hall

Largesse Level

Legendary

Comments and Log


12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Merek walks along and to the Great Hall, while he finds a place to settle into and nods a bit along with his scarf pulled along his features.

The Great Hall is decorated as only the Palace staff could do with the amount of resources at their disposal. Crystal glitters from hanging strands, giving the room a warm glow from the fire sconces along the walls. Tables have been filled with refreshments, dishes from each fealty showcased to honor parts from each corner of the compact and servants move throughout the crowd with alcohol of all colors to reflect the tastes of all who enter. Music is soft for now as people begin to fill the room, allowing the gathered to introduce or greet one another as each person who enters is asked their name and announced for the room.

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.

Zelda, the royal messenger, 13 King's Own Guardsmen arrive, following Alaric.

3 Thrax Guards, an ostentatious curator named Sivas, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, a reserved assistant named Stojan arrive, following Denica.

Prince Victus dusts his shoulders upon his entry into the Great Hall. Patting down his coat by the door, as a final check that he's got every sharp piece on him peacebound. Seems the answer was 'more or less', which was also good enough. With his hands in his pockets, the highlord skirts around the edges of the ensemble, claiming a spot for himself at the Grayson couches. Or conquering, depending on your preference.

Liara strolls into the hall swathed in golden honeysilk, not all that long after Victus as it happens. And after she's announced to the hall, she follows Victus towards the couches - actually just to take a seat on another couch nearby, as it turns out, rather than to bodily eject him from the furniture or anything.

A beautiful songbird arrives, following Emberly.

Liara has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Lady Lily, A young silver sea otter arrives, delivering a message to Denica before departing.

Domonico enters the Hall, attired in the exact fashion that he was in during the Battle of the Bay, his leather cuirass finely polished now as he strides in, back stiff with military precision. His hand lightly rests on the pommel of Warspite as he stops and sweeps his gaze around the room slowly.

Drysi, a young shaman apprentice arrives, following Khanne.

As the notables and nobles of Arx filter in, Baroness Ember Redreef is arm-in-arm with Princess Emma Valardin. Perhaps it's a show of Compact unity: Oathlands and Mourning Isles, in lockstep together. The Bloody Baroness fought at Pieros, and among her injuries was a broken nose. The nose is now set, but circles of darkness surround her vividly amber eyes like an accident at the kohl factory.

Runa, a large Northern Raven, Leo, a Ravenseye Warrior arrive, following Aella.

6 Grayson House Guards, Jordan, apologetic Gentleman of the Chamber, Aella arrive, following Noah.

Marquis Cirroch Sanna enters with two guards who when next to the tall northern mountain lord look like mini bosses. The guards give a nod to the Marquis before taking to the side of the room. Cirroch stands tall wearing the Sanna house colors in a silk overcoat with long panels that cut and swish as he moves, the panels give way to visible glimpses of the leather and silk trousers with knee high boots. Without fault as he enters a drink is grabbed from a passing tray, as he makes his way into the hall itself.

6 First Legion Centurions, Valencia arrive, following Patrizio.

Caprice is part of an early wave of arrivals - the better to claim a good spot for people(/clothes)-watching and, eventually, to find the rhythm of the room for circulating about, dropping eaves.

Thea ventures into hall, dressed in the nicest gown she could find. A rather sensual, skin tight, honeysilk gown. Considering she was at the Island of Pieros, she doesn't look at all injured, just tired. Giving a slight smile and nod of her head to those gathered, Thea is quick to grab a drink and find a place to sit.

Thea has joined the Green Table.

A beautiful songbird arrives, delivering a message to Liara before departing.

Sydney arrives in much the way that she always does - in armor and practical finery that she wears well, but each and ever piece of it is worn with purpose. One perk of her profession means that at the very least, there's nothing to peacebind. She strides with intent to where the alcohol is being kept, and raises two fingers, uttering hoarsely, "Whiskey." As one of those tending the drinks pours her two fingers, she specifies, brusquely, "No, no. Two." She turns on her heel and scans the hall, her eyes languidly moving from person to person as she stands there, a whiskey in each hand.

Patrizio sweeps into the Great Hall of the Palace from without, in the company of Valencia Velenosa. While others might well be choosing their finest silks or the like for the occasion, the general of Pravus is in his armour, polished and cleaned, but still showing some marks from the war that has so recently concluded, his sword clearly peacebound at his side. His men are behind him as well, though they know their place well and disperse to go find something else to be doing, other than lurking over the tables of drinks.

Denica enters with her assorted guards and staff. The young woman moving with a whisper of silk as she navigates that dress through the crowds of people gathering in the Entrance Hall. The young woman stands on her tip-toes to better scan the room, limited by her short stature. Her eyes are no doubt searching for someone familiar, but she struggles to see beyond those in her immediate vicinity. Denica leans in and whispers to her much taller assistant Stojan who strategically scans the area, only to mutter something to Denica. The young woman sees a couple familiar faces, offering a smile to Victus and then to Thea. The young woman tries to stop fiddling with left gathering of her gown, but it's taking effort and her hands keep finding their way back.

Lady Lily, A young silver sea otter arrives, delivering a message to Denica before departing.

Emberly has come to the celebration alone, her eyes sweep around and she smiles a bit, as she sees someone she knows. Her feet turn and she heads over to greet Count Domonico.. she touches his arm a moment and she leans in to whisper something to him, her eyes dip slightly as she speaks

Arm-in-arm with Ember, Emma lifts her chin as the two of them arrive. While the princess lacks any apparent signs of injury taken at Pieros, it can be seen by a keen eye that there's an ever-so-subtle stiffness to her gait beneath the ever-present grace with which she moves. Just a hint, but she's favouring her right side just a touch with every step she makes. As usual, she's the picture of Valardin royalty, dressed in a long, silk tunic of steel blue that accentuates the trim lines of her figure. Turning to Ember, she murmurs something to the baroness, a faint smile gracing her lips. The smile reaches blue eyes, even if the expression is a little on the impassive side.

3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, Torsney, an attentive high strung law clerk arrive, following Natasha.

Jasper, an unflappable scoundrel, 2 Redrain Guards arrive, following Deva.

Noah moves into the area with a stride that seems to command that he owns all he surveys. It's just the confidence that comes off that walk. He has upon his arm the Countess Aella. A few soft words are spoken to the woman as he enters. Noah's left hand comes out to touch the Countess' back to lead her to where one might be able to be received by the hosts of the event. A blue sweep of the area is almost protective in nature before he lowers his head to speak to the woman. He does nod towards Liara and those of Grayson fealty that he sees.

Khanne steps into the Great Hall looking lovely in a dress in shades of jade with with a silver chainmail corset. Befitting, perhaps, considering what this night is meant to honor. She is stopped and asked her name. After, she looks a bit abashed as the announcer calls out, Duchess Khanne Halfshav," rather loudly. She rather decidedly left it at just that. A scan of the room has her lifting a hand in greeting to a few people she knows. She'll speak to the hosts later, when they are less busy.

Duchess Lisebet Ashford arrives, with some guards who do the usual guard thing. Her assistant, Bigsby, is never far in order to take notes or run messages for her, but that's just the usual. The duchess is without her husband, at least for the moment, and also without escort, though the petite raven haired Lisebet does not seem to be bothered by that. She enters quietly, looking to find a spot which is good to settle in and relax for the moment, while she takes in the ambiance and also if there's any sort of receiving line or the like.

Lady Lily, A young silver sea otter arrives, delivering a message to Denica before departing.

Thea wiggles her fingers at Denica. "Deni,"she greets the Princess with a smile. There may even be a sigh of relief that there's a friend there. Seeing Patrizio and Sydney as well, Thea gives them both a smile. "Hey to you both as well. Did you grab a drink yet,"she asks. Spying Domonico, she lifts her eyebrow. "Brother. Nice to see you dressed for the occassion,"teasing him a little.

Gaze drawn up from the couches, where she'd just said something to Victus, Liara offers a flutter of a wave to greet Noah and Aella both, along with a quick, easy smile.

Moving gracefully with a soft whisper of scarlet southern silks that embrace slender waist and enticing curves, Valencia arrives at the hall at Patrzio's side. A gentle smile blossoms as she takes in the room, her smile brightening as familiar faces are spied.

Tesha has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

Ember doesn't smile when Emma does. She leans in to listen, but her expression remains its usual stony stare (something made far worse by the rings of darkness around her eyes). She makes a grim noise that might almost be mistaken for a quiet laugh in some quarters, then glances around. "Your Highness," she asks Emma, "socializing on the way to drinks, or drinks first and leave them waiting for us?"

Michael probably should've dressed perhaps differently for this! He at least had the mind to get his portions of armor cleaned and shined before rewearing them and showing up at the palace. He will move sideways from the entrance instead of too far inwards to run into people to greet. To pluck up a glass of wine before returning to glide towards someone he might stand around with awhile.

Victus draws from his quiet conversation to offer a nod Denica's way. Another for Ember when her, Princess entourage, and busted nose are making their way inside. Overall, he's remaining quite passive. A part of the background.

1 Templar Initiates, 5 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Cassandra.

Aella's tall frame stands with easy confidence alongside Noah, her own quiet response given as she seeks out the direction of drinks while the greeting of hosts is given. Liara's wave is noticed and returned with a polite smile.

"Not yet. And believe you me, after all the things that've passed, I could definitely use one." Patrizio's grinning at the question from Thea, even as he's angling his steps in her direction. His hands reach forth, to find two glasses on the trays being passed about, drinking a sip from his first before he's offering the other to Valencia. And then more seriously to Thea, "It is good to see you again. I never properly thanked you for all you did in Pieros."

Sydney gravitates quite simply toward Thea when she makes eye contact, striding over as though the gravity of the venue were no different here than at the Murder of Crows. The tread of her boots clomp distinctively. "Yes. Thoroughly and properly armed, for perhaps the first time in weeks." She takes a long pull from one glass of whiskey, and then pauses to take a long pull from the /second/ glass of whiskey, marking them both as her own. Thea is favored with a wisp of smile before her features fall back to an uncharacteristic taciturn.

Domonico gives his sister a thin smile, not without humour though. "I thought it only best to honour the fallen like this... and I don't have many other clothes." His eyes sweep to Emberly as she touches his arm and whispers something before nodding sagely and quietly murmuring back.

Tesha, much like her sister-in-law doesn't like when she's announced, but, it happens. She gives a smile to the announcers though and gives a dip of her head to those that are around and she recognizes. She's dressed in the crimson of Telmar with green accents to go with it. She does get a glass of wine though and head for the nearest alcove where she might just stand and people watch for the moment.

Positioned far enough to avoid trampling, but close enough to greet, Jaenelle and Alaric stand together as the hosts of the evening's festivities. As each person is announced, Jaenelle dips her head politely in greet. Alaric, who seems to remember everyone he has ever met needs little introduction and easily speaks to those to approach the pain. The Archduchess is wearing an immaculate spidersilk outfit with mirrorsilver jewelry to match, informing the King, "after the tenth time a spider bites you, you don't really feel the next twenty."

Patrizio has joined the Green Table.

Cirroch has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

Kiera enters looking a bit uncertain,wearing her blue honeysilk dress. Her eyes find those she knows and she seems and she seems momentarily torn between going to join thea or Cirroch before grabbing a glass of punch and heads for the marquis

Emma raises an eyebrow in consideration of the choice presented by Ember. "Drinks first, I think, unless you wish otherwise. I'm willing to follow your lead." Such a considerate and magnanimous princess, she. She glides a calm, searching look around the room, sharp eyes idly dissecting the gathering, seeking out faces she might know, and offering them an absent nod should she find them in the crowd.

Emberly gives Domonico a little nod of her head as she leans in to listen to his words, whispered. She nods a bit "he would want us to have a party like this I think." she smiles a little before she looks over to Jaenelle and Alaric, she moves to walk that way. "Thank you Highness's for holding this celebration, we are happy for all those who have returned."

Valencia has joined the Green Table.

Kiera has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

Being announced will surely put paid to hiding in the ocrner, at least to start with. Lisebt's expression turns to a bright smile, eyes alight with amusement, and the duchess moves to join the line to pay her respects to the King and the Archduchess. "Your Majesty. Your Grace. As always, a pleasure to be in attendance. I look forward to dancing." Once done, she steps away to allow the next their opportunity.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira arrive, following Quenia.

Cassandra's attitude is one of strained tolerance as she's announced. She waits exactly as long as is polite to move further into the hall, and once she's done so, she gestures toward the templars that have accompanied her, a silent dismissal coupled with permission to enjoy the party themselves. She's not wearing anything particularly fancy, but they're nice enough leathers, and they're not clunky armor.

Denica opts to slip into a chair next to Thea, with out without an invitation, rather one moment she's not there, and then she is. A relieved smile also on her lips, deft fingers carefully pushing down her skirts as she lowers into the chair, to avoid any unexpected poofs. Once settled, she leans in to the table to offer some quiet conversation to those seated there. Her eyes hold a lively sparkle, while her facial features are held stoic, so not to reveal anything further.

Denica has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

While Natasha Thrax arrives without her usual company, she is dressed in her usual vintage Thraxian silhouette; conservative, full coverage and in solid shades, though there's a more conscious effort to eschew her typically muted palettes in favor of brighter gem-toned hues. Her wake across the hall maintains her usual brisk, cutting strides; the mark of a woman who always has someplace to be, nevermind the typically languid pace of most social engagements, but there is a marked slowing when dark eyes acclimate from the crush of glitter, sparkle and color and enables her to pick out a few familiar faces - the faintest smile and a nod towards Ember Redreef and her royal company, as well as the familiar visage of her cousin Denica. Her brother, too, spotted by the Grayson couches in Liara's company - a guaranteed stop during the evening, but the first she makes is to the host and hostess, both to whom she drops a curtsey. "Your Majesty, Your Grace." Subtle affection finds her expression, however, at this address to Jaenelle, however formally she greets her cousin, but otherwise, she doesn't linger when there are so many guests that may wish to do the same.

Denica has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Denica has joined the Green Table.

Ember gives Emma a look that almost comes close to a smile. Almost. "If you follow my lead, Your Highness, then tonight you will either make a lifelong friend of rum -- or find in rum the most bitter enemy you've ever known." Ember's eyes catch Victus, and she dips her head down in a nod. Emma in tow, she approaches her Highlord and whatever other Isles representatives might be near him like, say, Natasha -- and Liara as well. "Your Grace. Your Grace," Ember says, releasing Emma's arm to curtsy. "Your Highness. Might you have happened to be informed as to whether or not this gala will have any rum worth drinking?"

Okay, she told herself she wasn't going to crowd Jaenelle and Alaric right away because she knows how busy they would be, but Khanne can't help but admire the gorgeous gown and jewelry that adorns Jaenelle this evening. During a small break in the flow of people, she steps closer and murmurs, "you look stunning," to her and smiles at Alaric. "You do as well, Your Majesty, of course. Thank you for bringing Arx together for this. I'll... I'll be over here," she waves vaguely, "if you wish to speak to me later or anything.... OH!" Eyes go wide and she leans closer to Alaric to whisper something softly.

With a regally genial smile upon his lips, Alaric is all too happy in his role receiving and welcoming everyone that arrives into the great Hall. Victus is leveled a warning look to accompany a, "Remember, Your Grace. You shouldn't throw the pointy ends at people just because you're excited." A vibrant laugh is lost then at Jaenelle's aside, lowering his voice to murmur, "That's a troubling thought. Just why are you being bitten? Are you angering them? Getting in the middle of mediating brawls?"

Quenia is a bit late, but manages to make her way to the post-war celebration. She's dressed in a lovely mauve ensemble complete with some jewelry. Her hair is gently coifed and arranged on top of her head, with her tangle of curls not so tangled at the moment. She moves with an elegant grace, and stands tall with purpose as she makes her way through the room, pausing only a moment behind whomever she's followed in.

5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor, Vladimir, a shaggy brindle Grim Wolfhound arrive, following Valdemar.

Taking a drink, Thea smiles at Patrizio. "I understand, yes,"before her face grows a bit more serious. "I was doing my duty, my job. But you are welcome." There's a nod of her head to Valencia as well, gretting the Princess. "I haven't seen you in awhile, your highness. You've been well?" Gold-flecked green eyes dart everywhere as she tries to keep up with people. "Prince Noah,"she greets. By his actual name. For once. "I see you found a date,"her head nodding to Aella. "Countess Aella, it's nice to see you again. It's been a year or so hasn't it? I hope you've been well."

Valenzo had slipped in among the others who'd made their way through entrance, innocuous and inconspicuous as the guards who followed with all the highborn, nobles and regals. The gathering crowd was full of murmur and anticipation, and he made his way unobtrusively towards Domonico. "Good tidings, my liege," he greets warmly, with some casual flavour. His grey-green eyes cast among all present, most he did not immediately recognise. Being away for years had clouded his thoughts of those within his circle of familiarity.

Noah looks over at Aella and his chest rumbles a bit with a type of laugh to something he said. Although, his smile is still far more a smirk. "I wouldn't go that far." He strides forwards towards Alaric and Jaenelle with the Countess. His blue eyes sweep over his cousin and the Archduchess. He seems to skim the woman's jewelry before he looks back towards Aella. "Have you met the hosts?" This is said as he just strides to the front, a hand upon Aella's lower back to direct her. "May I present, the King, Alaric Grayson the fourth? My cousin and ruler of the kingdom." How else to you explain that? "And the Archduchess Jaenelle Velenosa?" For a moment, it's as if he's going to expand more on that before he offers to them. "May I present Countess Aella Ravenseye?" He doesn't offer his name because everyone should know Prince Noah Grayson, obviously.

Chatting quietly with Victus, Liara looks up with a small smile at the further greetings, or at least people happening nearby, and she gives a wiggle of her gloved fingers to greet Ember and also Natasha, and she offers an amiable, "Good evening, my lady, your highness."

As Jaenelle is spied in her regal splendor along side the King himself, Valencia offers a warm but subtle little nod of greeting to the woman, though seems loath to interrupt the Archduchess' hostessing as she greets her newly arrived guests. Turning to Thea, the little Lycene smiles warmly. "I heard you were remarkable, Lady Thea. I would expect no less. Thank you to you and yours for saving so many lives. You are gift to us and I am glad you are safe and home again," she nods gently.

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

Symonesse arrives, following Aindre.

"I suppose we'll see," Emma murmurs to Ember. When the baroness curtsies to the big cheeses, the princess places a balled fist over her heart, dipping into an unhurried bow that possesses all the nonchalant ease of royalty. When she straightens up, she remains silent, patiently waiting for what comes next even as her razor eyes calmly appraise the faces before her.

It's hard to miss it when someone of note arrives, the way folks are being heralded. Sydney's eyes flit subconsciously over toward Cassandra when she's announced, and she buries her head quite decisively in one of her glasses of whiskey, setting the other hair down to try to yank her hair into some degree of better behavior. A losing battle, with whatever she's done to it. The young pugilist's fingers twitch, and she meanders over to find herself a place to seat herself after bobbing her head politely to Thea before stealing a seat that looks especially lonesome. "Let's keep one another company, you and me." She grumbles to the table at the corner, kicking her feet up on the bench on the other side of, monopolizing two seats at once.

Sydney has joined the Shadowy Corner.

When he enters the great hall, Valdemar definitely looks the part of a Mourning Isles traditionalist, dressed mostly in black, with highlights of white offering a stark contrast. He appears to be in good spirits, a slight smile on his face as he makes his way over to the refreshments table first thing to pick up a glass of mead before taking a look around the place.

3 Last Watch Sentries, 2 Redrain Guards, Old Nan, a mostly harmless old woman arrive, following Donella.

"Your Majesty, Your Grace," Aella allows Noah to steer her forward, her smile barely covering her discomfort with the formality. "A pleasaure." There is some effort put into keeping her voice at a reasonable speaking level, the woman used to shouting at sailors on the sea. "Thank you for holding this so we might honor the Compact's victory."

"Doing one's duty doesn't mean that one shouldn't be thanked for it. And you do your job very well." Patrizio's voice still has some lightness to it, the faintest hint it's not coming as easily as he should like, but he smiles all the same to Thea. Turning slightly, he too inclines his head to Noah, and Aella beside him, though for the moment, holding his tongue. The jade eyes stray over the room, noting others he's familiar with, the smile lingering as the glass makes its way to his lips anew.

Domonico gives Emberly a nod before she drifts off and then Valenzo is there and Domonico gives the seafarer a welcoming nod before patting the man on the shoulder. "Good that you could make it. Has your crew decided to stay with you by the way?"

"Lady Emberly," Jaenelle addresses the woman as she approaches. "It is all too important to remember those who have sacrificed, to honor those who served and fought, and to embrace every moment of life as for some it can be shorter to enjoy than others. Smile, laugh, make memories so you may hold onto something when all else is gone. Please enjoy yourself" is urged with a softness. Attention moves back to her co-host, brows arching slightly in question, "how do you think spidersilk is made, Your Majesty?" He is clearly saved by Natasha as she approaches next, because no one wants to hear that detailed explination. "Princess Natasha" she says with a smile, leaning in to kiss the woman's cheek, "thank you" is added to something unheard with a crinkle of her nose. "Duchess Khanne," she says with a bit of command in her tone as if that alone will stop the woman from running off just yet. "As are you" she then says as if thats all she wanted to say and it wasnt anything terrible. "You are well? Nothing broken" she eyes the woman a blit closer. "Yes the forth. He is a copy of a copy of a copy" she states with complete authority on the matter of Alaric cloning to Noah as he and Aella approach. "Countess Aella, it is a pleasure to meet you. I have heard many great things about your shipyard while I was doing research on the Lyceum yards."

"You flatter me, Duchess Halfshav," Alaric grins at Khanne, touching lightly at Jaenelle's shoulder. "But the Archduchess truly outshines me this evening. As do you." He leans in exchange quiet words with the duchess, then raises his head to Noah as Aella is presented to them. "Prince Noah! It's good to see you. Ah, Countess Ravenseye. It's a pleasure to see you once again. I trust you've been remarkably well and free of mischief? You'll have to regale me with more of your adventures soon when we manage a moment."

Victus tilts his head upward at the arrival of Ember, Emma, and Natasha. "Good evening, Baroness. Your Highness." He was looking right at Ember's injury, not the least bit subtle about it. "What broke your nose?"

Deva arrives with her trusty assistant Jasper, with less energy and spring in her step than usual. It's almost comically reserved the way she moves with remarkable care, clearly still bandaged underneath some light clothing. She offers a fingerwiggle for the hosts but doesn't linger long. Rather than head for the floor or refreshments, she seems focused on finding somewhere comfortable to sit first and foremost, to unobtrusively watch and enjoy the evening's festivities.

Thea mentions to Sydney, a smile for her,"You know Sydney, this was a perfect tierra moment...,"looking to Jaenelle. "Your Grace. It's nice to see you again,"Thea greets when and if the poor woman gets a break. Or a chance to breathe. The same greeting will be attended to Alaric. Of course. "Your Majesty. It's been a bit since I've seen you, but it's good nonetheless,"she says.

"My helmet," Ember replies to Victus, nonchalantly, like the two were discussing the possibilty of rain. "Some Eurusi dog swung a sledge or a warhammer or something and landed a direct hit. Unfortunately, all he did was smash my visor into my face. I'm fairly sure I killed him. I killed a lot of people."

"No, no really, you don't ha-" Quenia attempts to tell the announcer as she makes her way into the line, however he starts announcing her before she can stop him.

"Presenting Marquessa Quenia Igniseri of the Lyceum." The announcer calls out to those close enough to hear.

Quenia is positively mortified. She hadn't intended any sort of attention be called to her. She mumbles her thanks to the announcer and starts to move away from him to find a place to sit.

Cassandra sketches a bow to both Alaric and Jaenelle, a little more military than is probably suited. "Your Majesty, your Grace," she says, with a nod, and a faint smile. "It's good to see you well." She casts a brief glance over the rest of the gathering, but she's not giving it too much attention just yet.

Emberly turns from greeting the King, and she nods to Jaenelle's words, before she moves along, simply greeting those she knows. Moving over to where Liara sits, she gives the Princess a curtsy and she smiles genuinely to her, greeting her like a friend. "It is good to see you Princes Liara. I fear I shall not be staying all to long, I simply wanted to come for a moment." she grins a little before she pushes her red locks behind her ears, "I hope you have a great night tonight." she says quietly

"She ran right into your lack of tact, Your Grace, N'uncle Victus," says Donella, arms crossed and eyebrows drawn up from behind the new entrants, having herself just arrived. "Never mind him, dear. He once went a whole year looking like a raccoon."

Sydney eases one of the glasses of whiskey away when she empties it, allowing her the luxury of being able to rest one of her open hands on the table. Gloved fingers flex and twitch, her eyes drifting toward Aella, then Patrizio. Her expression is difficult to read, especially over in the corner as she is, saying little. Her smile toward Thea is a bit more tepid the second time around, "...No, I'm not sure that it is. It looks better in the bath, besides."

Peeking up from her seat at the couches, Liara offers Emberly a light, easy smile. "Thank you. There is always splendid fare at the palace, my lady; I would certainly encourage you to avail of it if you have even a moment."

A beautiful songbird have been dismissed.

Vladimir, a shaggy brindle Grim Wolfhound have been dismissed.

Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, 3 House Velenosa Guards, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air arrive, following Saoirse.

Victus clicked his tongue. "Yeah. That'll do it." The highlord himself doesn't seem any worse than he did before they set off. No cuts or bruises, no crow's feet from age. He does smell a bit like sulphur, though. Donella's interjection has him tilting that-a-way. "Ah. Cousin. Forever a light in my life at my darkest times." His tone was drier than the dunes of Skal'daja itself.

Noah moves forwards to press his lips to Jaenelle's cheek in greeting. He may or may not murmur something to her. Then he will move to attempt to clamp Alaric on the shoulder in greeting. "It has been far too long." His blue eyes move towards Aella for a moment. "The Countess is sure to captivate the moment she has your attentions." He looks back to said Countess and lifts his brows in silent inquiry for where she may wish to go next.

Thea spies Kiera and beckons her sister in law closer,"Hey Kiera. Did you want to have a seat?"

The kiss from Jaenelle is returned in kind, Natasha's smile lingering before moving further within the Great Hall, moving to where the Thraxian contingent seems to have gathered, and in time to hear the Blood Baroness' remarks. "Your Graces." Greeted towards Liara and Victus both, before turning to her protege. "I'm certain libations will be flowing copiously this evening, though I'm less learned about rum than His Grace is." Surprise flits over her expression, however, at Donella's sudden appearance, another cousin - always a pleasant surprise, perhaps especially due to the rarity of their interactions. "Cousin, you're looking well. Thank you for the letter you sent me a few weeks ago, it's...well. It's a relief, to be frank."

A wine glass raises in silent toast towards Quenia, Caprice's unobtrusive rounds having drawn her close to the entrance again around the same time as the Marquessa's arrival.

Valenzo nods. "Aye. Change up to a caravel isn't too much to ask, they should incorporate with the Sirocco well. There's also the cargo runs to do. Same routine, just a bigger ship, is all." He watches the goings on, a little aloof. "Much rather be on her deck right now, to be frank, m'lord. Never got used to all the pomp."

Aella settles her stormy gaze on Thea, recognition sparking. "Oh! By the gods, it has been that long. I heard you married?" The countess's nose wrinkles at the thought, but she gives the former Malvici a smile before turning back to Jaenelle and Alaric. "I'm glad my shipyard could be of help to you, Your Grace. Do let me know if ever the Stormcrows can be of further assistance. And, Your Majesty," Her expression takes on a impish glow, "Mischief? Adventures? Never." A wink is given before she leans in toward Noah to whisper something, then skims the room, noting Patrizio and Sydney looking her way.

Saoirse turns into the hall and practically jumps out of her skin. "Oh!" she exclaims, eyes widening at one of her house guards who she evidently *just* noticed. "Who--" she glances at the other two. "Did I always have three of you following me? No, right? It was two?" Her guards do what guards do, which is to say: nothing. They're there to stare at people menacingly or whatever, not answer unobservant princess' questions.

Ember looks to Donella and stifles a chuckle. Maybe. It's hard to tell. "Your Highness," Ember says, curtsying again. "And to those who have not yet had the pleasure, it honors me to present Princess Emma Valardin, another veteran of the battle at Pieros." She pauses, and looks off to one side. "...there's the rum. Excuse me a moment, Your Highness," Ember says to Emma, "I'll be right back." And so, Ember heroically throws Emma to the wolves of her peers.

Sydney's gaze doesn't linger overlong on Aella, at least. When she's caught looking, she simply raises a glass, briefly closing her eyes, and takes another long swig of her drink.

Cirroch stands by the alcove near the stairs in quiet conversation with those around him. Swapping out a drink for the next as a tray passes by.

When Prince Aindre arrives it is with little flourish, though he has dressed for the occasion in finest silk as befitting a casual outfit for a member of the Greatest House. Then again, it is rather hard to claim one brings no flourish at all when they bring Queen Symonesse Grayson along on their arm, she who can bring brightness to any room by her mere presence and no matter what she is wearing. The sight of so many gathered together in the Great Hall of the palace brings about a brief pause in the griffin-blooded prince who retains the threshold for a moment. Is it hesitance? Or something else? No matter for there is a murmur to the Nox'alfar with the golden eyes at his side and then he hangs a more pleasant smile upon his lips before moving on to navigate the labyrinth of people who are all in attendance for the post-war celebration and rememberance.

Once more, Patrizio's gaze shifts over the room, the faint play of a smile on his lips as he's clearly enjoying the scene, the lifting of his glass to his lips as he's sipping anew. Aella's gaze towards him gets an acknowledging nod, before he turning back to the nearest company, his voice still kept lower.

"Lady Thea, I shall have you know the Lyceum ward is far too quiet without you there every day. I am not sure if people are pleased or not, so I will keep you informed as this develops" Jaenelle tells the woman in an amused tone, though she apears serious while speaking. As Deva enters and finger wiggles, a kiss is blown to her cousin in greeting. Cassandra is offered a more formal bow in return, and gentle "Legate" in greeting. Jaenelle pauses to accept the kiss from Noah, tilting her head slightly before Saoirse is announced and there is just a moment of pure amusement at her confusion, "I hired added guards for all the family, I may have forgotten to tell anyone though. Now you are extra safe."

1 Templar Initiates have been dismissed.

5 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

Tesha is standing in the alcove by the stairs, conversing with Kiera and Cirroch from the looks of it. She does look around to see if there are other familiar faces that she needs to catch up with while she is here as well.

Khanne's brows raise when Jaenelle addresses her just so. Wide eyes dart about momentarily before she steps out of the way but still stays near the Archduchess. When the compliment is returned, the Halfshav woman lets out a laugh and smiles. "Oh, no. No broken bones. Small cut... nothing too bad, thanks to Lady Volcica. I likely would not be standing here if it weren't for her... I am good though, I assure." Grinning towards Alaric, she has to acquiesce to him. "Well, yes, she does. I do not think I have ever seen the Archduchess not be stunning, truth be told." She then takes the opportunity to skitter away a bit to people watch.... which causes her to spot Deva. "Princess!" Walking swiftly that way, she asks, "how are you feeling? Can I get you a drink or something to eat? I'll bring it here... just.. sit... get off your feet." She also spots Donella, but doesn't rush over. She's fretting over Deva too much for that. She does however give her a friendly wave.

Donella smiles a parching little smile, but there is real affection in her eyes. "You love me, even though the announcer does not. Though I forgive him. I have four children, and I am lucky if I remember my own name by the time the sun goes down in the west each day. Suck the capacity for wit right out of you." She turns to make a curtsy to Natasha and says, "Oh, no, the... gratitude should be all on my side of things. We shall have to have a chat, sometime, to talk about the particulars. I am glad to see you all hale and well. For some of my family," she glances toward Deva, "-It seems to have been a nearer thing. I thought I've intercept my husband here but I think duty has borne him away."

Quenia pauses in her flight to find a seat when she spies Caprice with her wine glass. She gives the other woman a smile and a dip of her head. That means she's still close to the entrance when the Queen and Aindre arrive. She's never met the Queen, or even seen her, unless you count that time she /almost/ attended a party where the Queen was also in attendance but left before she could even get her foot in the door, so she can't help but gape at the Nox'alfar woman. It takes her several moments to realize that her assistant, Aspira, followed her in and is now gently elbowing her in the side, telling her to close her mouth. She quickly does so, a brilliant pink flush coming to her cheeks once more, clearing her throat and clearing out of the way for them to pass through.

Donella raises a hand and hippity-hops on her toes to wave to Khanne in return, her smile shark-like aad huge.

Noah nods towards Aella and goes to move her through the area, so tothers might greet the hosts. He does pause to look over at the Queen and nod his head in ehr direction. He doesn't immediately move Aella to a person so much as he directs her to find a drink. One for him. One for her. Then he will move towards Thea. Strangely, it is not her name he uses when he greets her. "Theresa." That's the greeting. Then, his low voice rumbles. "You know Countess Aella?"

Saoirse moves closer to Jaenelle and exhales, "Oh, thank the gods," with absolute relief at NOT being a complete idiot. "I wonder if anyone else had the same confusion."

With a glimmer in her large dark eyes, Valencia glances about the room, noting the Queen's arrival as well. Gracefully, when it is appropriate, a respectful curtsy is offered to the newly arrived royal. Once matters of diplomacy and manners are met, the little vixen returns her attention back to the conversation once more. Taking as sip, a nod is offered to Noah and his companion and then to Quenia she enters the grand party.

Nodding graciously to Ember as the baroness goes off in the search for a beverage, Emma then turns to those to whom she has just been introduced. She dips her head in a slow, unhurried dip of greeting to whoever looks her way, and should they acknowledge her presence, she says, "A pleasure." Her lips are set in a thin line, but from beneath slightly lowered eyelids, the Valardin's eyes are keen and appraising.

Donella says, "Emma Valardin... Hmmm. Remind me, are you a cousin to Her Grace, or a sister? I lose track of that royal brood in the sheer numbers. I am pleased to meet you anyway. Donella Redrain, professional wife.""

Domonico nods to Valenzo's words sagely, "Oh I agree. This is the part of being a noble I am not sure I will ever get used to." He thinks a moment before tapping Valenzo's arm, "Come along." With that he heads towards where Liara is, hopefully with Valenzo in tow. "Princess Liara? Count Domonico Magnotta. I thought I would just thank you in person for your kind letter."

Deva smiles and waves vaguely in Jaenelle and Alaric's direction as she settles onto something cushioned that she can lounge on. "Duchess, you already brought me my life, I don't need anything else," she insists and gives the Halfshav's arm a careful squeeze. "But thank you. I feel-- rough, but I'm more glad to be alive." She shakes her head to decline any refreshments, clearly lacking in anything resembling an appetite. As Donella looks her way, she taps the side of her nose with a fingertip.

Sydney clicks her tongue upon catching sight of herself in the reflection of her empty glass, and momentarily takes the time to yank a few hairclips free and fish into her pack to drag a comb through her hair, laboriously untangling it. Truly, this is the exact time and place for making oneself more presentable. Still, it mustn't be said that her efforts don't pay off. She sets everything back to rights, and looks the better for it when all's said and done. She seems to be appraising the attendees at large, as though anticipating something, or looking for something. Her lips purse.

Deva has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

There's an impish look in Thea's gold-flecked green eyes when she answers Jaenelle. "I'm sorry to hear that, your Grace. I will have to make my presence known more often. Keep me updated and I'll rectify the situation." Seeing Deva, Thea gives her a slight wave. "Princess Deva, how are you,"but pauses when Noah interrupts her. "Princess Noel. Good evening. Yes, I do. I'm friends with her brother Cadern." Thea lifts an eyebrow, curious. "Why do you ask?"

Khanne has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

"I would be most grateful for it - and for the chance to catch up. I hope you'll forgive me for never having the opportunity to explore your new domain - to my great embarrassment, Aunt Maren asked me just recently whether the northwinds hold the same strength and drive as the stormy gales in Maelstrom, and I couldn't opine on the matter with any degree of credibility as I've never been." Natasha's reply to Donelle retains its earlier good humor, spiced with an Islander cadence driven to be subtler in the mainland, and gentled on the fringes with an element that is more elusive and undefined; a curiosity, considering her typical deference to precision, especially in how she speaks; the demands of her calling require it, oration having its purposes for more than just the courtroom. Her introduction to Emma, however, draws her midnight scrutiny that way, ambient light catching its reflection on the largely-buried amber filaments within them, like treasures waiting to be unearthed. "Natasha Thrax." A more straightforward introduction, especially when laid in comparison to Donella's teasing wit. "A pleasure, Your Highness."

Kiera is standing by the alcove conversing with cirroch and tesha but she turns her head to note the entrance of the queen on prince aindre's arm with a thoughtful look between turning to her companions again

Jaenelle leans towards one of the passing servants, whispering something to the woman before pointing towards Donella with a nod. Clearly she is indicating that the poor woman is meant to interrupt the conversation for a moment. When Donella is politely addresses, Jaenelle curls a finger from across the room at her, eyebrows lifting in unspoken invitation to come closer. "I have not received any missives regarding the added security so you may be the most perceptive though that is no surprise" she tells Saoirse then. "You are far better at the mysterious than I am."

Symonesse Grayson arrives clad in blushing pink that only seems to heighten the paleness of her opaline skin and the snowy white fall of her hair as it drifts to the small of her back in loose waves. Despite her typical resplendance, the joyful energy and boundless curiosity of the Compact's Queen-Consort is muted this evening, dimmed in recognition of the occasion and the far too recent losses that many here, including the companion on whose arm she enters, have endured. She glances around, a trace of her brilliant smile found when she spots Jaenelle and Alaric and gives them a little wave, but otherwise avoids the crowd of people that cluster about the King and Archduchess for the moment. Instead, she leans in to listen to Prince Aindre's murmured words, gives him a grin in return, and then murmurs a few back as she slowly guides him toward where drinks are being served as she says a little louder, "Jaenelle always managed to host such a party. I'm afraid that is one skill I fear I shall never acquire."

"And the same to you, Princess Donella." Emma quirks a small smile, without insincerity even if it's on the cool side. She's just got one of those faces that Oathlanders sometimes have. " Iam rpoud to say that I am second cousin to the High Lord." She tilts her head, then. "Professional wife? Then I admire the patience you must possess." There's a bit of humour in her tone, light as it is, as she sticks a barb in all the husbands out there. She dips her head in another elegant nod to Natasha. "Your Highness. The same to you again."

Gaze lifting, Liara then gives a small bow of her head to Domonico, gaze flitting curiously to Valenzo too, and she replies earnestly, "Of course, my lord. You and your crews were most valiant. You saw the most dangerous foe yet lingering and went straight for them. I dare say I have some more letters of a similar ilk yet to write, as I learn of more that happened, even those parts that I did not witness with my own eyes."

"I did no such thing, Deva. I brought you to the healers who helped keep you in this life. Thankfully." Khanne looks a bit longingly towards the refreshments, but surely there will be trays with offerings brought about at some point. She settles near Deva and looks out to the crowd. She pots Queen Symonesse (how could you not spot someone like Symonesse) and rises up, giving a small cursty from a distance before she sits down once more.

5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor leave, following Valdemar.

Ember, like everyone else, stops to witness Aindre and Symonesse's entrance. The moment passes, and then she resumes getting rum. Three glasses: one to drink while collecting the other two. It goes down like water, and then Ember brings a glass over to Emma. The third one is in her own hand. "Princess Natasha is my esteemed patron," Ember notes toward Emma. "In exchange I've been teaching her to fight. I think she just might survive her lessons. If only just."

Patrizio's expression turns more thoughtful at the entrance of the queen, the respectful dip of his head as she and her escort pass by. It's as good an excuse as any for him to briefly retreat a step from the cluster with whom he's standing, if only to lighten the load of refreshments on a tray through the retrieval of more glasses, that he brings back towards the party with whom he's lingering. En route back, there's notice of Kiera and Cirroch, and they get a dip of his head, and more of a smile to the now-silk-clad Marquis Sanna.

Another smile finds Valencia's lips as notes Cirroch and Kiera. The pair get a graceful bow of her head in welcome. Taking a small sip of her drink, her eyes catch sight of Deva and Khanne. Both northern ladies are given a warm nod in welcome before she again returns her attention the the conversation.

At Liara's gaze, Valenzo removes his hat and offers a courtly bow. It's not great, but it's not terrible, either. "Captain Valenzo Vinciatti. Honoured to make your acquaintance, Your Highness."

Like the others, Denica stops to witness the arrival of the queen, dipping respectfully before her attention draws back to her table.

Saoirse offers the slightest, slenderest of smirks - maybe even a laugh? - and falls to quiet near both her King and her Archduchess.

Cassandra casts a look out over the gathering at large again. Her lips thin a little, pulling into a terribly small frown that looks more or less at home on her features. She offers a nod toward Alaric and Jaenelle, and another toward Symonesse when she spots her, but official greetings over, the woman carefully disentangles herself from the crowd around the king. Once freed, she accepts a glass of wine from one of the servers, takes a sip, and then heads across the room with purpose.

Sydney finishes her second glass of whiskey as the mingling continues, resting her cheek against her knuckles and flitting her attention from face to face, most of which are unfamiliar to her, or only fleetingly recognizable. Her finger is hardly on the pulse of the community when it comes to noteworthy names and faces. Her legs draw back from the bench and she leans back, arms folded behind her, staring up at the ceiling and puffing a breath. "...Dawn before everyone finishes introducing one another, I reckon." It's muttered, but audible if anyone happens to be in the vicinity.

Lisebet catches sight of the Queen and offers her respects as well. The Ashford Duchess has quietly acquired a drink and is now wandering towards the seating areas.

Noah allows a quirk of his lips at Thea's greeting. Almost like he was going to smile. "I was hoping she had better choice in companions." The words could be cutting, but they almost seem to be given with a moderate tone of warmth to the woman. A pause and then he looks over towards Aella. "Though she does have me for an escort, I'm sure you will take the time to educate her on the wrongs of that choice." He does make sure that Aella has a whiskey in her hand as he drinks his own.

Eira, 2 Bone Wardens arrive, following Volcica.

"Natasha, you're looking well." Victus observes of his sister, in the midst of her rapid fire conversations. "I believe my soul suffered on the trip back. Or maybe it was just the migraine. Still. Glad to see you're out and about."

Aella's attention stays on Sydney as she works a comb through her hair, her smile growing. Catching the woman's eye, she mouths 'I like your hair' across the room - not that the whole saying is probably understood. Turning back to THea and Noah, she just... Stares at them with a frown. "Theresa? Noel?" She has clearly missed a joke, to which she downs about half of the whiskey in her glass about.

Domonico nods respectfully to Liara at her words before he smiles at Valenzo's courtly bow, "Princess Liara. I'm afraid he has introduced himself incorrectly. Allow me to introduce... Commodore Valenzo Vinciatti of the Magnotta Navy."

Aspira whispes something into Quenia's ear and Quenia gives a nod to her assistant. She joins the line of those greeting Alaric and Jaenelle. She's much more comfortable around people of power that she knows. She politely awaits her turn in that line to greet them. She spies Valencia's quiet greeting out of the corner of her eye and nods in the princess's direction.

"It's a fine skill to have. Certainly it has done well by Highlady Liara after all. I'm not sure I've been to anything the Archduchess has had a hand in since the Mirror Masqeuerade, though it is safe to say I will not soon forget the experience of that little get-together.", Prince Aindre remarks, this just after he almost needs to pull back on the widening of his smile from whatever Queen Symonesse has murmured to him. He turns the gray-blue storminess of his one good eye to the side just enough to gaze upon the Nox'alfar with him as he promises her, "You may not have perfected the art of throwing a party, but it would be an understatement to say that in the absence of that skill you haven't developed a few others." Speaking of his Highlady, he catches sight of Liara over on one of those couches and lifts a hand in the air to wave to her when he can catch her attention and then he's shifting through the crowd with the Queen to find for the pair of them something to wet their lips with.

"Oh, you know--" Deva starts to answer Thea but looks amused at the exchange with Noah. "We'll just have to disagree, Khanne," she insists and smiles warmly at the duchess, an expression that she maintains when looking to Valencia and waving in greeting once more.

Sydney draws her attention down from the ceiling in order to flag herself another drink, catching Aella's mouthed words with a soft little snort of amusement, and lifts her empty glass again in toast - but something gives her immediate pause. She hesitates, and slowly lowers her hand, her expression becoming more guarded and... decidedly awkward.

"And upon the doing has indirectly saved my life in the very rare moments where I have to try to convincingly put my fists up, and attempt the most intimidating stance I could muster," Natasha appends to Emma, the mirthsome turn of her mouth directed Ember's way when she returns to their social cluster. "Which is to say not very, I'm relatively certain anyone practiced in the art would take one look at me and conclude, and perhaps not too inaccurately, that I spend my days lounging indolently on velvet-lined cushions, eating grapes from the hands of burly half-dressed men whose powerful sculpted phyisques would make any disciple of Jayus weep...but far be it for me to correct anyone there." Her tone, however, is as arid as a Eurusi desert as she spins the unlikely portrait; the rigidity of her posture alone paints any indolence with the colors of a straightfaced, but good-humored fabrication. Addressed directly by her brother, however, her near-obsidian irises tug immediately towards Victus' direction, a small smile angled his way. "All the thanks and gratitude in the world to your wife's immediate and insistent care of me when I returned with you, though I hope the migraine has abated, somewhat. It's good to see you hale, also. I wasn't...certain...how the maneuvers would turn out."

The young woman, deftly controlling her golden gown, stands up from the table where she's enjoyed some quiet conversation. There are polite parting smiles to the table, but to her variety of cousins and the like, one for her sister too. Then, she quickly shuffles out of the room, slipping out quietly, a dip of her head here, a curtsy there, and soon she is gone.

Denica has left the Green Table.

3 Thrax Guards, an ostentatious curator named Sivas, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, a reserved assistant named Stojan leave, following Denica.

Thea skims Noah up and down with her eyes, her eyes showing their amusement. "I have a feeling that the Countess chooses them quite well, though with you--I'm worried." Clearly she agrees with his words. Looking at Aella, Thea tells her with a grin,"I have stories. Find me one day for stories..."

Liara offers an easy smile to Valenzo, then a subtle lift of her eyebrows follows Domonico's correction, and she follows without skipping a beat, tone light, "A pleasure to meet you, Commodore Vinciatti, and perhaps, indeed, my congratulations on a surely well-earned promotion, or otherwise on a handy lesson in remembering one's rank."

Spotting Aindre's greeting, Liara lifts a hand to offer a cheery wave back across the hall.

Donella descends down in the formal style as the Queen makes her passage, and will only rise again when she has gone by. She looks amused as Jaenelle's little finger crooks her way and nods, holding up a single staying finger. "Mmm? Oh, no, your highness. I never claimed I was a very successful one. I hope that we will have more time to talk later in the evening and become better known. Natasha, the second time I was in Farhaven, they had to winch me up the side of the mountain in a basket, like breakfast in a dumb-waiter. Almost all the wedding gifts included pairs of woolen socks." She looks Ember over, and murmurs, "And you are lovely as ever in Umbra. I must envy your taste. Will you all excuse me? I'm being summoned." She indicates YET ANOTHER cousin, salutes them all, and withdraws toward Jaenelle and company.

Volcica probably lingered in the adjoining room for far too long, before braving the actual Great Hall, and the event being held. Finally, though, she's gathered her nerves and stepped inside. Volcica is a vision of simple, austere elegance. Grey seatouched wool is perhaps a touch warm, but the simple a-line cut is quite flattering on the Stahlben. She looks around with dark eyes, and very quickly catches sight of Khanne and Deva, and immediately starts their way.

A single finger beckons Sydney to join Aella, Noah, and Thea, though the countess' expression says she won't be offended if the beckoning is refused. "I choose my companions haphazardly and wrecklessly, which is probably why my father thought abdicating to make me countess would instill responsibility in me." The rest of the whiskey disappears. "It did. But, what woman would turn down the opportunity to ruin the evening of a Grayson prince?" Her eyes sparkle with humor, her lips twisted in a smirk.

Cassandra settles, without a single bit of hesitation - but then, she's not terribly known for being hesitant - next to Sydney and Thea, wine in hand. Now that she's there, she's looking back over the gathering at large, and this time it's more hawklike than casual.

Another half-smile is given to Donella. "I would be pleased to talk again, your Highness." Emma takes the glass from Ember, murmuring a thank-you, and maaaaybe she gives it just the tiniest of exploratory sniffs above the edges. Eyebrows lightly lift a fraction as the whiff of the liquid within hits her nostrils, and then she takes an even more exploratory sip. She blinks twice at the taste, but keeps her impeccable countenance in place almost entirely save for the smallest twitch at the corner of one blue eye. A breath, small, is taken before she purses her lips for a moment. Regarding Natasha's training, she addresses the both of them. "Appareances can be deciving, as they say. And how do you find your teacher's lessons, your Highness? I would imagine the baroness is an exacting tutor, keen to bring out the best in her students." She looks aside to Ember briefly, then notes: "As to your earlier warning -- no friend or foe, but perhaps rum shall be my distant acquaintance."

Valencia smiles to Quenia's nod and then again to Deva, her hand lifting to return the Northern princess' greeting. She nods in gratitude as Patrizio sees her glass replenished and happily takes a sip after raising it to him and Thea in toast. "To you and those who bravely rose to prevail and to a united Avrum," she smiles.

Symonesse offers the kindest of smiles to anyone that so much as glances her way, tipping her chin in recognition of those who bow or curtsy, unfailingly warm in even these brief, distant interaction. As she is smiling and nodding, she says in response to Aindre, amusement clinging to her tone, "Sadly, I am afraid that some of those skills do not translate well to hosting parties and events that people enjoy. I don't think that the Compact is quite ready for 'spider petting zoos' and 'make your own blood couch' events. I will leave such things to Jaenelle and Liara and content myself with these other skills that you claim I must possess."

Cassandra has joined the Shadowy Corner.

Valenzo offers his bow once again, with a sweeping flourish. "I beg you pardon of by impudence, Your Highness. Brashness that led me knocking those abyssal shavs fireships back from whence they came." It's a quick recovery, though he doesn't mention that he also lost his ship in the process. Technicalities! "My Lord Domonico has been quick to remind me of my place and to remember my P's and Q's," he adds. "It's been an honour being assiged such rank among his fleet."

Noah grins. It's a flash of teeth that shows he can be dashing from time to time. "Don't believe a word she says, Countess. Theresa here just tells the worst about me nothing good. I could tell you stories." He considers Thea with a wink. Then focuses on Aella, downing his whiskey and sweeping up two more. One for him and one for her to finish her own. "I call her that because when we first met, she was so taken with my good looks and her desire of me, she forgot her own name." His eyes slide over towards Deva as if to place her as his brows lift. "I am not sure we have yet met."

Emma adds, "...lest it lead me into trouble."

Volcica has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Thea wrinkles her nose at Noah's words. Seeing Cassandra, she smiles then. "Legate, it's been well--it's been a long time time since I've seen you. How have you been." Leaning over, Thea meanwhile murmurs,"I assure you, that wasn't the case."

Ember remains in conversation with those at the Grayson couches, but does stop and look over at hearing Symonesse say 'blood couch' -- like when there's a noise that makes a hound's ears lift.

Caprice As more people find seating and conversation, Caprice drifts ever closer to the musicians - not to strike out upon the dance floor but to claim a perch where the soft music is set behind her and the growing throng before. A sketch book and drawing tools are drawn free of her bag, balanced upon a knee while she scans the crowd.

Upon Symonesse's arrival, Jaenelle offers the Queen a curtsey. "Your Highness," she greets hearing her name on Symonesse's lips. "I do believe that you would find 'close your eyes while I rearrange the room and tell me how the couch and three glasses got on the ceiling' and 'Why does this wall taste nothing like I was told' events would go over well" she assures the Queen with a grin. "And if those fail to claim your interest there is always the favorite 'how many people can you get in a circle all sniffing the the same person'." When Donella arrives there is a softness as she looks at her cousin and she leans over to hug the woman tightly, "move in with me, I miss you. Darren will understand."

Sydney sends a polite little wave in Aella's direction that's clearly declining the offer, and the reason becomes swiftly apparent when Cassandra is in close proximity. Sydney picks up one of her (still empty) glasses of whiskey and then immediately puts it back down, frowning in spite of herself and stacking it with the other glass. Her eyes lock with Cassandra's, and she measuredly murmurs, "...You seem well." The frost in her tone is difficult to disguise.

"Volcica!" Deva scoots and makes room, clearly thriled to have the company of the northern ladies on the comfortable couch. She is very much slouched and sitting in such a way to not strain her stitches. "My heroes have come to save me from my own company, too," she beams, glancing between Volcica and Khanne with mischief in her eyes. "I think we need a camping trip. Would that be fun? We can see who can wrestle a deer first." She sounds serious about this.

Tesha has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Domonico smiles, "Valenzo has earned the title... and hopefully will continue to." He straightens up, "Regretfully I will need to depart due to other duties." With that he gives Liara a well practiced bow before he steps back and nudges Valenzo, "You can represent Magnotta while I am gone." He winks and adds, "If things get hairy go ask my sister Thea for support. She may glitter you though."

Tesha gives a bow of her head to Kiera and Cirroch before quietly excusing herself and her empty glass to go find something else to drink for the moment. She is keeping track of where some are, but she doesn't interrupt them at the moment.

Fajra arrives, following Lianne.

Siri, an attentive apprentice, Paris, a charming mercenary, Lianne arrive, following Apollo.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Sydney before departing.

From the couches, Khanne ligts a hand and waves towards Valencia with a smile. "Mmm, I suppose so, Deva. But either way, I am glad to be sitting with you today." As she sits, mist grey eyes continuosly drift about the room, admiring the outfits and the genial conversations happening all around her. From afar, she watches Princess Natasha as she converses, something about the way in which she does so catching her eye. But there is suddenly a brunette heading their way. "Volcica! Now, there's a true life saver," she smiles to Deva. :Ooh... camping!"

"Busy," is Cassandra's reply to Thea. "And I fear things are unlikely to be less so; however, if I'm fortunate, it will involve less attempts at reassuring skittish regional representatives of the Faith." Her attention shifts to Sydney now, and there, for just a fraction of a second, she does hesitate. "...As do you."

The room reels and ripples with the some of the most notable notables of Arx, the happy hum of people celebrating filling the room. Valencia smiles again and sets her glass down before turning to speak softly to her escort and then rising as he does.

Symonesse makes a little face and calls out to Jaenelle with laughter in her tone, "The Sniffing Game is Tyrval's favorite, therefore I forbid it from ever being played in my presence. My one and only decree as Queen-Consort. Also, it's just a strange game. Even others in the Twilight Court think it is weird. One day, he just made it up like we all needed to play it and then acted like it was the most popular party game. It still doesn't beat Calithex's party games. I make sure to tell Tyrval that in every letter I am forced to write to him!" She smiles brightly and returns to the task of, hopefully, procuring a drink and a seat. Maybe a snack. Surely there are snacks here...

"Oh, I don't know. I'm sure if you hosted an event to teach people how to conjure their own furniture out of blood you would almost certainly get an incredible number of people in attendance.", Prince Aindre promises, and he actually does sound rather confident in that assessment in the moment before he adds on, "..As for how many would survive the experience? Well..". He doesn't finish that thought. He doesn't need to, really. The Archduchess is there to pipe up with her own suggestions for possible events and the Grayson's amusement tugs upon the fullness of his lips before he calls back to Jaenelle, "While I think there are no small number of Nox'alfar out there who would shine at a Floppy Puppy event, I'm not /entirely/ sure it's the same sort of entertainment our Queen is prone to. Then again, the average citizen of the Compact doesn't have to know that, do they?". Aindre does find the drink he's been searching out and the first, a glass of blushing wine he offers over to Symonesse before finding a second for himself. In the time where his storm-gray gaze flickers around the room to survey the later entrants they settle on Volcica for a heartbeart before he leans in once again to murmur something to Symonesse while nudging her attention in that direction.

Thea smirks at Domonico's response. "That's only sometimes. I have other ideas as well,"she points out before nodding to Valenzo. "I'll help you all I can."

Liara gives a light smile to Valenzo and then addresses Domonico first, "Of course, my lord. A pleasure to see you, and thank you once again." Then she mentions to Valenzo, "I dare say being near to those fireships was an alarming prospect. I was glad to see that they were so well-handled."

Aella accepts the second glass of whisley from Noah, her attention momentarily stolen by Sydney and Cassandra's chilly exchange. "Prince Noah, is there anyone else you'd like to ensure I have met? Or can we go find a couch on to sit and quietly grumble?"

Donella pecks Jaenelle's cheek and raises a slim, dark eyebrow. "I'd certainly be interested in hearing the Prince of Farhaven's inducements as to why I should not. See who makes the better offer. He's so competitive. He says it's a Redrain THING. He only married me because he couldn't keep up in a horse race. Now he just needs me to keep the twins separated, and our sons in trousers. Do I get my own scantily clad Lycene masseur?"

Sydney's previously rather stoic expression becomes something else entirely in the presence of the Sword of the Faith. A sardonic smile works its way over her features, "...Hmh. Where one completed task ends, two more uncompleted tasks take their place, as you know full well. The work never truly stops, unless you let it."

Once a Whisper, always a Whisper, perhaps; Apollo is escorting a Marquessa today, with much the proud and affable attitude he carries through most social engagements - with a legible affection for Lianne, on his arm. A very springtime air to the pair of them. Maybe nobody told them this is about a /war/. On the other hand, it's meant to be celebratory, isn't it? He's speaking with her in tones that lift as they step into the sound of many: "- appreciated it very much. Even if it's simply your habit."

Volcica settles herself with Deva and Khanne without invitation, clearly assuming she has a standing one. "I am glad to be sitting with you two, as well." Her smile might be small, but it's as warm as anyone has ever seen it. "I think I only made it inside here because I caught a glance of you two. I don't think I'd have the nerve, otherwise."

Patrizio smiles as he's giving an respectful inclination of his head to Thea, before he's offering Valencia his arm, with an air that he's about to be on his way. HIs centurions, closer to the side of the room, notice the motion and move to follow forth.

2 Redrain Guards arrives, following Bahiya.

Another smile is offered, this one more impish by far as a delicate hand curls about Patrizio's offers arm. "At your ready, sir. My Hart is yours," Valencia grins warmly up at the Pravus Prince. "Shall we then?"

"Illuminating," Natasha replies to Emma, regarding Ember's lessons. "The Baroness of Redreef shores is an excellent instructor in the ways of war, and the practical considerations that often come with the enterprise. I have no designs or pretensions, however, to keep up or even best her at any such thing; I'm too far behind, and considering my own inexperience, I trust that it would simply be impossible." Her dark-haired head turns, briefly, away from her small group to cast a wide net across the hall, perhaps in an attempt to find a server or two from which to liberate a tumbler of whiskey, but in the doing she manages to meet the Vala's gaze when her attention shifts in her direction. While she doesn't call out a greeting from across the way, she does smile at Khanne, and lift her fingers in a wave at her direction.

"No," Cassandra responds, with a tiny bit more ease. "It only piles higher on your desk, until you get tired of it and appoint a few more assistants. Unfortunately, diligent as they are, they're not who various luminaries of the Church want to speak to when they're having cold feet." She says something a little lower, presumably to the brawler.

With a satisfied snap, Caprice ends her quick sketching session and makes to depart.

"I think we shall." Patrizio smiles warmly to Valencia, and with an inclination of his head to a few of those he knows about the room, they slip out back towards the city proper.

Patrizio has left the Green Table.

Valencia has left the Green Table.

6 First Legion Centurions, Valencia leave, following Patrizio.

Deva even pats the cushion for Volcica, as if that will somehow make it more comfortable before the woman sits. "Any time you want a buddy at a party, you let me know. I always feel awkward at these things too, but it's fun to show up and drink and watch sometimes," she insists with a lift of her chin. Eventually, Jasper wanders back by the couch to see if the Northern ladies want anything to drink. The Redrain requests a whiskey, finally, with a hopeful if not a little tired smile. Curling a finger to gesture Jasper closer, she also whispers a few words to him and he will eventually wander out of the ballroom as well after the drink orders are satisfied.

Rocco sneaks up on Thea and places a message in her hands. She grins a bit before she too winds up excusing herself. Looking a bit too excited about something.

Thea has left the Green Table.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant leave, following Thea.

"The fleet was far bigger than we anticipated, ma'am," Valenzo replies to Liara, "but our commanders saw we react swiftly. The greatest victory for us is knowing they have little in the way of a working fleet now, and so they can't invade or launch a counter attack for a long time." He glances about the increasing crowd, looking ever the fish out of water. "Well, I won't stow any of Your Highness's time," he remarks. "I'm sure there's many folks equally waiting at your pleasuer." OooOOoo. 'At your pleasure', Val? When the hell did you start talking so fancy?

Ember makes a small scoffing noise (but a respectful scoff) at Natasha's words. "You've just survived a war, Your Highness," the Bloody Baroness says to her patron. She has a sip of rum, and then glances over at Emma as if to confirm that the drink is to the Valardin's liking. Amber eyes return to Natasha. "I will teach you enough to ensure that whatever it is that returns you to the Wheel, be it old age or a slip in the tub -- it will not be an enemy soldier."

Noah nods his head and speaks to a passing server. "Of course, I'm amazing at socializing Countess." He offers a smirk and directs her towrds the Grayson Royal Couches. "Liara." It is not without respect, but a family greeting before he offers. "Countess Aella, have you met the High Lord and High Lady. One of Thrax and one of Grayson?" Then he looks between them. Is that his hand grabbing up /another/ few glasses of whiskey for Aella and himself?

Quenia smiles warmly in Valencia's direction. "Thank you," she says to the princess. She then finally steps up to Jaenelle and Alaric, offering a grand curtsey to them both, and then adding Symonesse and Aindre as she notices the couple have gotten closer since she joined the receiving line. To Jaenelle and Alaric she says. "Thank you, for hosting this party. It does much to lift the spirits to see people doing something normal, and happy, after... after the battlefield." It was her first war. And seeing the things she saw is something that weighs heavy on her soul. "Those of us who knew Duke Aiden will miss him for a long time. I know he was of great help and aid to Igniseri i the past, and his presence there will be most sorely missed." This is directed to Alaric and Jaenelle, as she has never met Aindre to know that he was Aiden's brother. She reaches into her pocket and pulls something out, offering it to the Queen, should she wish to take it. It is an iridescite spider brooch with dawstone abdomen. She brought it with her on the chance occasion that Symonesse would be in attendance given it was a palace party. "I had picked this up in one of the shops at some point. I had meant to use it as raffle item at some point, but I thought, perhaps, that you might like it instead. It's a small token, only."

Khanne nods as Deva speaks. "Yes. I am especially good at the drinking and watching part." She smiles, despite the fact she does not have a drink in hand. "How are you doing, Volcica?"

Sydney extends a hand open-palmed at Cassandra's observation as though to imply, 'Just so', before settling into conversation of a lower volume.

Lianne wears red today, swishy and fun and not at all a common cut or style for her, though it suits well enough. It certainly complements her complexion, even if a slight dip in her head allows the color to reflect upon her cheek such that she very nearly seems to be blushing as she takes in Apollo's words. "That was terribly kind of her," she answers. "I do rather like the color." The words which follow, a degree more serious, fall at quieter volume and, eventually, are accompanied by a few looks around the room toward familiar faces, for Jaenelle, Natasha, the trio at the comfortable couches. In the end, though, it's the dancefloor that gets an arch of her brows, obvious suggestion.

Bahiya arrives on the arm of a Redrain guard, the slim ribbon around her eyes catching the light as her head tilts up, listening intently as she's led into the Great Hall. The blind ambassador smiles to hear the many voices and the sounds of a grand affair. The guard is speaking quietly to the Eurusi woman, laying out the floor and descriptions, guiding her through the room.

Cirroch has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Petroc, the most unassuming man you have ever met, 2 Sanna House Guards leave, following Cirroch.

Aella quickly downs the glass of whiskey in her hand, giving it to some passing server as Noah directs her toward Liara and Victus. "High Lady Grayson, it has been far too long. I hear your fleet fared well in the war. A shame I was not there to witness the fruits of my early work." The countess has adopted a more formal tone, dipping her head and shoulders to both. "High Lord Thrax." If Noah is grabbing another whiskey, she is taking it.

Tesha takes another glass of wine from one of the trays as she looks around. Her stormy gaze gives a smile to those that she notes and then she heads in the direction of where she last saw Duke Bisland. She stands off at a conversational distance to make sure she doesn't sneak up on him. Not like she's proficient in sneaking, it's just crowded and loud.

"Yes," Natasha observes. "But I think largely due to reflexes quicker than my own, and His Grace's very practiced expertise in wielding Barathrum." And anything with a blade, really, but specifically those that can be wielded with two hands. A clear hint of admiration, and plenty of appreciation, directed to Victus there, before addressing Ember once more. "I'm looking forward to more of it, if not just to spare myself from an unacceptable end." *Clearly* a slip in the tub is somewhat more palatable than dying by the hand of an enemy soldier. "I'm heartened to see that you've emerged from the land battle relatively unscathed, my lady. I heard that it was just as chaotic and brutal as the naval engagement, if not moreso."

Symonesse accepts the glass of wine with a grateful smile and takes a small sip as her golden eyes follow the path that Aindre's murmured words lead them upon until they rest upon Volcica. Her head tilts just a touch and she holds the stare just a little bit longer than is polite before she glances to the Grayson prince and says a few softly spoken words in return. Any further attention is distracted by Quenia as she glances at the brooch and hears her words, saying with a soft, but somber smile, "I thank you for thinking of me, Marquessa. You are so kind and thoughtful. Duke Aiden was a man with a big heart and he will be missed. Marquessa Quenia, this is Prince Aindre Grayson. He is Duke Aiden's elder brother." She nods to Aindre and says as she gives the prince's arm a squeeze, "This is Marquessa Quenia Igniseri, a close friend of your brother's."

Liara gives a little nod of her head in acknowledgement to Valenzo. "Far bigger indeed, Captain, but one might frame it as us having thus destroyed far more of our for than we anticipated, to leave rather fewer of them to trouble us again." A faint smile follows, a little at odds with the somewhat dire nature of her words, "A pleasure to meet you. Enjoy the evening."

Then Liara's attention is drawn to Noah, to whom she smiles, and Aella, and she gives a small wave of her gloved hand. "Hello, Noah. It is good to see you again Countess Ravenseye, and indeed, the fleet fared splendidly."

Victus lifts his chin toward Aella, and gestures with his half-full glass of rum. A quiet greeting, as he seems to be enjoying the party in the most boring of senses. "We could not have hoped for a better outcome. Her leadership was exceptional." His head cants toward the High Lady beside him, before turning toward his sister again. "My ego thanks you for the contribution, Natasha. I did indeed cut the head off a demon." He lifts his drink to his lips. "It was very neat."

Volcica pauses, looking towards Aindre and Symonesse just as their attention shifts. "I'm.. good. Tired. The carving helped." The smile mutes into something more subtle but still content. Her posture is stiff, but she at least seems comfortable with her current company.

A smile appears on her face as she spots Lianne and Apollo. She lifts a hand, wiggling the tips of her fingers a bit before the pair head off to the sance floor. Eyes continuing about the hall, they settle on Aindre and Symonesse for a moment, who seem to be looking at one of her friends nearby. She turns, looking to Volcica and softly saying, "Seems word of your heroism is etting around."

Emma seems satisfied at Natasha's reply, and tilts her head gracefully in acknowledgement of the words. "I'm glad to hear you are in good hands, then. I admire those with the will to better themselves." Two compliments? Emma's going all out here. Maybe it was that sniff of rum, from which she takes another sip despite being a lightweight Oathlander more used to a nice cup of tea. She dips her chin in a nod to Ember, as if to say that she's not at all displeased by the beverage despite it's potency. With that, however, her attention is caught by another face in the crowd -- some rando, likely -- and lifts her eyebrows in recognition. To Natasha and Ember, she bends a small bow, both hands wrapped around her glass, which rests against her chest for want of a better way of holding it. "But if you'll excuse my poor manners, I will excuse myself momentarily. I've seen someone I've been meaning to talk to for some time now, and they've not a chance of evading me." To Natasha, "I would be pleased to speak with you again, your Highness." To Ember: "I shall find you later, if you consent. In any case, do accompany me to other events. It's good for me to venture further than the training field."

Sydney swiftly flags down the nearest plate of drinks and grabs something at random, pulling a face to discover that the alcohol lottery has favored her with rum rather than whiskey. Disgust is visible.

"I will simply inform the Prince of Farhaven that I will no longer claim the North to use to keep all of the troops that King Alaric has stated I was allowed to have now in Arx because the Princess of Sanctum said 'not it' first" Jaenelle informs Donella with her serious negotiating face on. "Though if he still refuses, then I am afraid all my generosity was used when we agreed upon joint custody of Princess Deva." Upon Symonesse's explination of proper party games, Jaenelle shifts her attention that way, "oh, it is Leona's birthday in a few days time," she says of her twin sister, "should you hear from her when she reports back to the Palace tell her I said she is old." As Quenia approaches there is a dip of her head in greeting, "it has been a long time, far too long as we held our breath. Now it is a time where we can breath once more, even if it is only for a moment. We need to remember to breath. Prince Aindre" she then speaks to the man escorting her Queen, "you would be surprised!"

As those gathered have food, drinks, and greeted one another, Jaenelle dips her head towards the musicians, indicating that the floor is now opened to those who wish to begin dancing in a moment. Before the musicians begin playing louder Jaenelle lifts a glass towards the ceiling. "This evening is to remember those who have fallen. To embrace life and to live for those who are not. To celebrate the Queen of Endings and Beginnings and have faith that all who have returned to the Wheel will find peace, and perhaps begin again. To those in the room, as we create new memories to always hold dear, and so we may have more chances to create moments paused in time to remember when we feel as if all is lost. To the Compact!"

Michael thought he was safe! All in the corner with far far too many Dukes and Princes and Princesses(not to mention Queen and King) to be of notice. Tesha's arrival nearby has him lowering his drink from its way to his mouth to dip a bow towards Lady Tesha. "You've found me. I thought I was going to escape relatively unnoticed. How do you fare, Lady Tesha?"

Valenzo offers another flourishing bow at his departure from Liara, backing up an almost smacking into a visitor of the hall. He is quick to recover and head away from the milieu of people. Time for a stiff drink, or at least a drop of the good stuff.

"I consent," Ember says to Emma with a deep nod. "I recommend you speak with Her Highness as well. She's full of clever ideas." Ember lifts her hand, as though to wave goodbye -- and then uses her thumb to flick the underside of one of her rings, popping a tiny curved blade out its hiding place.

The conversation Apollo and Lianne have drops out of audibility, but whatever she says summons a swift smile. There's a look around at those in attendance, and then he looks at her again, smile ablaze. "Absolutely," he says, and shifts from a proper escort to something clearly dance-intended, hand to the small of her back, other hand collected. Of course, there's a lift of a hand or a chin for those he sees sending their greetings - Khanne, Natasha. And then - with Jaenelle opening the dance floor - he leads Lianne over, and offers her a dance, lifting his voice before commencing: "To the Compact!"

Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, 3 House Velenosa Guards, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air leave, following Saoirse.

Apollo has joined the Dance Floor.

Lianne has joined the Dance Floor.

3 Black Fleet Reavers arrives, following Varosh.

Noah allows a smirk at 'very neat' from Victus. He drinks the whiskey as he looks around the area for a few moments to see if there is anyone he should swing Aella to. There is a pause on Sydney and then on Michael. Then looks back towards Ember showing off her ring. A tip of his head as he watches. The Grayson Prince's shoulders lift and drop as if he has just sighed.

Both of Aella's brows lift with at Victus's statement. "Neat? Removing heads is usually messy." Might the countess know something about that? Probably. She smiles at Liara, however. "That is excellent to hear. Your... cousin?" Her head tips to indicate Noah, "Has been a perfect companion this evening." Her own gaze then slips off to survey the room, landing on Noah before leaning in to say something quietly to him.

It's hard to overstate the darkness of the shadow that crosses Prince Aindre's expression at the mention of his fallen brother. The Grayson normally so perfectly polished manages for a moment to look just a touch raw and worn-down in a way so rarely comes over him in the eye of the public. And yet, he /is/ a prince and he /is/ in public so almost as quickly as it happens he smooths out his expression into something a little more neutral, lifting his drink to his lips and making around half of it disappear before he clears his throat and finally addresses Quenia, "Marquessa..", he greets, his head dipping just gently so before he adds, "It's true, my little brother will be dearly and terribly missed for so very long. He had many fine friends here in Arx I am learning and..-.". And? He cuts off for another heartbeat, seeming to situate his words once more and where he's going with them, "..Well, like I said, it's true that he will be terribly missed." A quiet note to the last of his admission. The ghost of something somber while his one good eye searches across the brooch Quenia has offered to Symonesse. "It's really beautiful.", he compliments, this for the Marquessa's taste.

"Your ego is most welcome, Victus," Natasha tells her brother without skipping a beat; her tone is devoid of any blandness or dryness expected from a dutiful younger sister humoring her more intimidating older sibling. It carries, instead, her typical confident certainty, though mischief manages to exert itself by the quick, but surreptitious wink in his direction - so fleeting it could have been imagined. The sight of Ember's hidden blade, though, brings just a slightly wider smile; but that, too, vanishes just as fast.

Donella pretends to steal a sip from Jaenelle's cup before it is charged for her toast, and says, aside, "Oh, is THAT where all your beneficence went?" But afterward, all she manages is "The Compact and it's heroes," loudly and firmly.

Sydney's head stiffly turns at Jaenelle's words, and the young woman's hands quietly plant themselves on the table in front of her. A solemn expression, there. She raises her glass of rum and murmurs gently, "To victory."

With Emma departed, Ember turns back toward Victus and the other members of the crowd gathered. She dips her head in nods to Noah and Aella, and then says to Victus: "You almost make me regret deploying with the ground forces. I suppose it comes down to a quantity versus quality thing."

Tesha gives a smile to Michael, "Ah, if you were looking to go unnoticed I can just keep moving, Duke Michael." she chuckles to that. "I am faring well enough." she admits as she lets her glass rest easily in her hands. "I was actually wanting to see how you were. Everything happened on the battlefield so fast that I didn't get to check in with everyone." she frowns to that.

Cassandra lifts her wine glass toward Jaenelle. Her contribution to the toast is silent, almost pensive.

Volcica is a little flushed, blushing from something either Deva or Khanne said. She raises her glass to Jaenelle's words, though, and promptly downs a good portion of her whiskey.

Kiera has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Winter, A Highhill Puppy leaves, following Kiera.

Khanne seems a bit startled by Deva for some reason, but catches Jaenelle's toast. She lifts her newly acquired glass and nods, loudly joining in with a "to the Compact!"

Varosh finds himself in the palace. Sure, he was familiar with the courts of the Compact, his first king Trogen, had sent him to the Pravus court when they first emerged from their Exodus for reason Varosh fails to see to this day, still, he had experience with the silks. This was different. Even the reavers with him itch with a concealed nervousness meeting Varosh's gaze when he looks at them. He shrugs and clears his throat walking into the hall in his white uniform.

Noah looks over at Aella. "Don't lie about me like that. Next there will be party invites. That is the worst possible.." He trails off to lift his third whiskey to Jaenelle's words. Then he smirks fully at Aella. "I am horrible at, but shall we?" He offers towards Liara and Victus. "If you will excuse us, the Countess would like me to step on her feet." He will down his drink, put it on a tray and then offer his hand to Aella as he bows to her.

Valenzo found himself a good glass of something that looked.. brandy. Or port. Portbrandy. It was a drink, and he raised it in the toasts, and took a good hefty pull. Phew.

Noah is overheard praising Alaric.

Noah is overheard praising Jaenelle.

"I understand," is all that Quenia says in quiet response to Aidre's carefully controlled grief. "All too well. My elder brothers died in the Silence War," she tells him. "As the Archduchess says, we all need to find moments to breathe," she nods in Jaenelle's direction, offering her Archduchess a warm smile, before looking back to Symonesse and Aindre. "It was a pleasure to meet you, and you are always welcome to dine at Domus Igniseri during or family dinners as he once did. My cousin, Baroness Lucita, I'm certain will have many amusing tales to tell you of how he taught her animals and played her children. When you're ready, of course." That said, Quenia steps back, "If you'll excuse me. . ." she doesn't want to burden them by taking up any more of their time.

"Cousin indeed," Liara answers Aella, with a flash of a smile for Noah, "And undoubtedly an excellent companion. Enjoy the dance!" Then she goes to raise her cup - it's tea, rather than anything stronger - and echoes the toast, "To the Compact!"

Lianne may not have it in her to cheer, but there's laughter when her companion joins in that call, already subsided when the dance is offered properly. Though she follows Apollo's steps, her attention drifts about hall as they move, slipping from face to face, detail to detail, taking it all in with open curiosity. Bright-eyed, really, and why not on such a fine night.

With his dark glass, Victus lifts his drink toward the Archduchess' commendations. "We stand." He says. Then, roars. "WE STAND!"

It's only a brief flicker of flame, as he's back to general stoicism in an instant. His attention is on the Baroness. "You would have been nice to have in the air. But it was only three of them, at the end of the day. You probably did a lot more damage doing your /thing/ on dry land." A beat. "But next time. Aye?" He motions toward his sister again. "You can stand in front of Natasha, as a dedicated shield."

"I did say I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to ruin a Grayson prince's night," Aella says with a momentarily wicked gleam in her eyes as Noah complains about party invites. A glance aside to Liara draws another bow of her head before moving with Noah. "One of us will stepp on the other's feet, for sure. Perhaps even wipe out the whole dance floor."

"I am sure you were looking for a familiar eye, Lady Tesha. I wouldn't send you back out to traverse all of this." His glass lifts, waves across the room to indicate all the nobility and otherwise gathered up. "I was uninjured, despite the attempts by branchy things trying to do so. As I believe you were as well?" He'll turn to face the Telmar Lady off to the side of the room.

Noah has joined the Dance Floor.

Aella has joined the Dance Floor.

Deva is briefly very serious as she tells Khanne and Volcica something, gesturing widely with broad sweeps of her arms. As the toasts begin, she lifts her glass in turn but does not get up from the couch. There's no budging for her tonight, ladies and gentlemen. "To the Compact!" Her voice still works great though.

Lady Teonia Redreef, Aryka Wyrmfang, 3 Thrax Guards, Marquessa Pudding, a doughy dog, 2 Thrax Elite Guards arrive, following Sorrel.

Noah allows a smile towards Aella, "Countess, you could never wreck my night. I am quite well versed on doing this to myself." He will move over to the dance floor and then attempt to swing Aella into his arms to begin to dance with her. Gods help the woman.

Valenzo has joined the Darkened Alcove.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle have been dismissed.

Aspira have been dismissed.

*Finally* finding a server who would hand her a glass of decent whiskey, Natasha lifts her tumbler, echoing the toast rolling through the Great Hall like thunder, and takes a celebratory sip; just enough to enliven dormant tastebuds and spur them to life with the gilded liquid burn it provides. "*Only* three demons," she repeats, a sidelong glance to Victus, but despite the subtle, and even relatively cheerful ribbing, there's no surprise there, either. "I would protest my older brother's suggestion, my lady, but unfortunately for everyone, I'm actually quite shameless in seeking cover. I trust you'd be an excellent one, should you choose to be."

Ember lifts her rum along with the rest of the room, and echoes Victus's bellow with a roar of her own -- a wordless one that just gives more oomph to the Highlord's holler. She then settles right back into genteel noble conversation. "If I can find solace in my choice, it's in knowing that I'm responsible for a hell of a lot of Eurusi now being widows and widowers," Ember comments, casually, like it's a normal thing to say. "But if it is your wish, Your Grace, I will fulfill it. Her Highness deserves only the most lethal protection."

Tesha gives a raise of her glass, "To the Compact." she states. It's a calm thing. Though there's a look back to Michael and a soft smile, "You're not sending me back out to my doom is rather kind of you." she muses to that. "Just a little smack from a branch. Marquis Kael pulled me out of the way of the worst hit that would have caused more damage." she states. "Everything is healed though. Nothing that will stick around." she nods to this.

"I may take you up on that offer, Marquessa. I thank you for the invitation. Healing is a process. I know it to be. I can only imagine taking the time to indulge in other people's fondest memories of Aiden will help when.. I feel I can.", Prince Aindre promises, letting a little more of a smile pull on his lips then. "My brother did not keep questionable company. To know that he was so fond of you says enough of your character for me, to speak nothing of your kind invitation." Over where the Archduchess is toasting the living and the fallen both, the griffin-blooded prince raises his glass in her direction to join in with that sentiment. "Here then, to the Compact!", with a bit more of his commanding, outside voice. If his enthusiasm in the statement is in any way forced it does not show even if it stands out a touch against the backdrop of the broodier demeanor he's still cleaning up after.

Donella murmurs to Jaenelle with a look of quasi-sadness, tracing the track of an imaginary tear down her cheek with a wink. She makes her cousin the Archduchess, and her Majesty a dancer's curtsy, and whirls off to greet the tough-as-nails Northern ladies. "So much standing and talking, not enough wildly abandoned dancing. Its like you've all been gravely injured, and put through a grave ordeal..." she says, and crouches down to meet the seated ones at eye-level.

"To the Compact." Michael nods quickly to Tesha. "Well, theres a lot of people out there. Dancing and eating and socializing. I can understand your desire to find somewhere quiet." Somewhere quiet is easy enough to find while Michael leads Tesha from the wall towards a table instead.

Michael has joined the Great Table.

Michael has left the Great Table.

Michael has joined the Gray Table.

Quenia inclines her head to Aindre once more, giving him a small smile. "Then it's settled," she tells him. She really does step away then to allow other guests time with them. She disappears into the crowd.

Varosh glimpse at Valenzo in the middle of getting drinks for him and his reavers. He returns the greetings with a polite smile and a wave of his own. He stands there, listening and watching, sipping his drink.

Tesha has joined the Gray Table.

Symonesse watches the exchange between Aindre and Quenia with a wary, worried expression briefly finding a home on her exquisitely-wrought features. Once the Grayson prince seems to take the rein of his emotions, she doesn't relax but actually looks -more- concerned. She gives Quenia a bow of her head and says softly, "It was good to finally have a chance to talk to you, Marquessa. I hope you will not feel terribly imposed if I end up crashing one of your dinners myself one night. Until then." Another bow and then, as Jaenelle makes her speech, Symonesse also raises her glass in a much quieter show of appreciation of the bravery of those who went away to fight. She looks at Aindre and, as she places her glass on a nearby surface, reaches for her hands as she says decisively, "We will go greet war heroes later. For now, you look as though you desperately need a dance. Come on." Though she is outmatched in physicality by Aindre, she is nonetheless insistent as she drags him toward the dancing.

Making her way into the event, Sorrel is for once not wearing armor. She looks dressed for dancing, even, in a silvery ballgown that swirls as she walks, and there's enough sway in her gait to make the fabric move. She has a small smile on her face as she drifts through the crowd, seeing who may be present.

Merek watches from the seat which he found. He'd been to diplomatic missions and to heal people, but even so things that he had seen coming back well... He seems to be here for the appearance of celebration, all the same he does drink, his gloved hand about a wineglass while he takes a drink.

Quenia inclines her head to Aindre once more, giving him a small smile. "Then it's settled," she tells him. She turns her attention to Symonesse when she's once more addressed by the Queen, and when she asks if Quenia'll feel imposed, she shakes her head. "We would not at all feel imposed upon. In fact, King Alaric has been to one of oru dinners before!" she remarks, glancing aside at Alaric a moment before looking back to the Queen. "I'm afraid Lady Monique Greenmarch was a bad influence on him that evening," she remarks conspiratorially, "But all of our fine silver stayed within the house." The king had played at attempting to steal the Igniseri silverware that night! However, she really does beg her leave and step away then, to allow other guests time with them. She disappears into the crowd. (amended after Symonesse's pose.)

Every toast is a good opportunity to drink more of...whatever this stuff was, and he raises each toast with gusto, equally eager to imbibe the contents from his extremely fancy goblet. He moves up from his table, over toward Varosh, nodding once. "You find any sponsors for your venture?" he asks him casually, not perturbed by his fellow reaves. Most sailors were an uncouth lot, anyway. "Be good to see those ships raised again and brought to life." He takes a pull from his drink, nodding once. "How many'd you lose?" he asks him with a sombre glance.

Valenzo has left the Darkened Alcove.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira leave, following Quenia.

"Only three." Victus affirms. "Comparatively, that puts our count much lower than the average. How sad." He sets his empty glass aside for the moment. "Hopefully we'll be able to make up for it later down the line." He makes to stand, stretching his arms to either side of himself and letting out a short sigh. "I pray we'll have at least a brief amount of time to rest and recuperate. It might be asking for too much, though." He gives a shrug.

Volcica seems more serious now, talking quietly with Khanne, Deva, and now Donella.

Liara has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Donella has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Victus has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Varosh nods, placing his hand on his shoulder in a friendly manner, "Yes, House Pravus has taken the full financial burden of the tasks. The Bay of Pieros needs to be cleaned if we wish to continue to provide merchants with a safe harbour. The result of that is that we raise whatever sunken ship we can raise and recover people's belongings and the bodies of sailors. Esterhold is more than ready to tackle the ship rebuilding efforts."

Varosh says, "I have yet to see the numbers but expect to be on the ground as soon as possible for that purpose."

"With the way the heroes of war tend to drink, many of them may not have a later they're able to recall tonight.", Prince Aindre counters, not with anything actually resistant to the tone of his voice. It's true that his broad-shouldered physique and strength stand in quite the contrast to the slender build and obvious grace of the Compact's golden-eyed Nox'alfar queen and yet as she pulls him along by the hand she's met with only a second's worth of hesitation where he does not budge. This is merely to finish the drink he's been holding onto since he arrived, as if talk of war heroes and drinking has reminded him that some evenings aren't so bad to forget. Just like that the drink is gone and the Grayson prince is placing it on a passing tray as he becomes light as a.. well, not quite a feather, but certainly it would seem Queen Symonesse has little trouble moving him despite their difference in size. "I overheard Prince Noah saying he was off to step on some toes. Did he give you ideas?", he asks, pushing the best of his playful teasing into the question now that he has a bit of something strong sitting in his belly. He's off to dance, then.

A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens leaves, following Ember.

Lianne, after being turned about twice by her partner, setting that red dress of hers to all its lovely swishing and drawing laughter from her, turns the tables on Apollo. Taking a step back, she draws him toward her in a spin, though when they fall back into step again, it is with the proper positioning to cede the lead to him once more. Her expression teeters somewhere between pleasant and expectant.

Symonesse has joined the Dance Floor.

Aindre has joined the Dance Floor.

Valenzo nods to Varosh in return, looking relieved. "Lord Domonico and I go way back. He was my commander in the navy. He is hard salt, true to his word. I'm sure House Magnotta will be happy assist any way we can, though it sounds like Pravus has much of this covered. I'll contact his lordship and let him know." He turns to the gathered crowd. "Good when people forget about petty politics and remember the bigger picture." He pulls drom his drink, hiding a grimace within his eyes.

Apollo easily follows through that turn, despite it not being part of the role he's taken up leading; the little twist of a smile he gives Lianne once he takes back the lead suggests she's going to have to try harder if she'd like to trip him up. It's all theater, though; he's plainly enjoying dancing with her. He does have a slip of query, confusion written on his face, and a quiet retort or question for her, while they're dancing.

Symonesse briefly stops in her persistent tug of Aindre toward the dancefloor to give him a plaful glower as she says with mock indignation, "Excuse me, your highness, but I have never stepped on a toe while dancing -in my whole life-." She scoffs and tugs him the rest of the way toward the floor.

Varosh nods taking another sip of his drink, "Well, the second we recover your ship, she will be transferred to Esterhold where we will hold repairs until we spoken to you. The same goes for any ship we find. Those repairs you would be responsible for but are free to reject the labor though I will say, I am very proud of what we have accomplished in Esterhold with our shipyard." He flashes a smile to Valenzo, the company he brings, and his own reavers. Talking to all of them, "Though, I will have to admit, I heard of a family of the Graysons, called the Seliki. They have trained their divers for long distances and I was hoping to get their help with the efforts but I am just the captain of a few whalers."

"I'm certain, now that we know more, we'd be able to make up for the dearth in no time, once allowed," Natasha replies, falling a step next to Victus' much taller, broader figure, a brief, fleeting smile offered to Liara once she, too, vacates the available couches, and a small nod to Ember once she leaves their company. "Not that I wasn't already impressed with what little I saw." Dark eyes slant towards the Prince of Maelstrom at her periphery. "I've never actually seen you in your element until then. At least, not since..." Her voice trails off, but despite the truncated statement, she is confident that he knows when, precisely.

Deva chats with the other northern ladies at the gathering of couches, her expression mostly serious as she spends -this- time finally doing more listening than babbling. At one point she exchanges a few notes with her assistant, but her attention largely seems to be on her companions. Every so often she looks up and out, toward the dance floor and the hosts and all the faces and finery. Sometimes, she just looks a little lost.

After quite some time spent entertaining guests along the periphery of the party, Alaric finds himself free to pursue the main activities of the ball at his leisure. A glass of wine is procured from a passing servant attending a group of courtiers in the midst of trading stories with barely recovered warriors. A few modest sips seem to restore him from somber spirits, adopting a charming grin as he comes to post up alongside the Northerners crowded around the comfortable couches. "Your Highnesses, my ladies," he extends in greeting to Deva and Donella, then Volcica and Deva. "Princess Deva, how are you feeling?"

Alaric has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Volcica rises to.. perform some mix of a bow and awkward curtsey to the King. She's really not good at this. "Your Majesty," is all she really manages.

Ralph the wrecking messenger goat arrives, delivering a message to Varosh before departing.

"Your Majesty, you've got one lovely party going on here," Deva greets Alaric with a surprised smile, and she finally starts to - sloooowly - sit up straighter. It's a process, and not one taken lightly, clearly stitched and bandaged as she is underneath her attire. "I don't see any dancing in my life tonight, but doing much better thanks to the assistance of some spectacular healers. And truthfully, I'm here at all because of Lady Volcica -- have you met her yet? -- and Duchess Khanne, and Princess Tikva as well. I am very grateful for their bravery. I guess I'm glad for my brother too but he doesn't need a bigger head," she winks at Donella at this. At any rate, she gestures broadly toward Khanne and Volcica, giving both ladies warm and grateful smiles.

Khanne is seated with Deva, Donella, and Volcica, looking a bit too serious for any sort of celebration, but she spots Alaric approaching and turns to give him a smile. She casts her eyes towards Donella, then lifts a hand as she starts coughing... or laughing... Hard to tell really. "Your Majesty..." she then greets to Alaric.

"That will probably not be required, Master Varosh" Jaenelle says as she overhears him speaking to Valenzo while making her rounds. "I am certain most houses would be eager to claim their own ships, I know House Velenosa has already begun the process of doing so. We like to clean up after ourselves, after all" she says with a slight grin. "Though if you'll excuse me, I need to go see someone about my toes."

"I wasn't talking about /you/, though I could do that more. It's not a bad look, that glower.", Prince Aindre admits, standing firm in the face of that expression that does not seem to diminish much of the Queen's inherent radiance. "I for one can believe you've never stepped on anyone's toes, and it is has been quite the life to avoid doing that throughout. Still, nobody ever has until they have. Maybe I can be your first victim?". He is tugged along of course, for Symonesse is much stronger than many give her credit for. Or he is much lighter.

"Seliki?" Valenzo asks. "That's a new one. I can ask around. I don't have much clout with the royals, though Lord Magnotta is well respeced among his peers." He shrugs. "I can't promise anything, but I'll try sow that seed. Anyway, everyone knows the shipwrights at Easterhold are among the best. Don't tell any Mangottans I said that." He downs the last of his.. portbrandy.. stuff, before Jaenelle comes to correct Varosh, and Valenzo's left cutoff to his train of thought, and he's knocked off tack. Toes... what? "Gout, Your Highness?" he enquires, the portbrandystuff having his inhibitions a little loose.

In all of his years being in Arx, Tarik has never been inside the Palace until now. While admiring the great hall, he bobs his head from side to side for a few moments, trying to take it all grandeur in before looking for a place to sit. As he heads to to the alcove by the stairs, he offers some quick bows to any noble he comes across on the way to the stairs.

"All the praise should go to The Archduchess," the King says gallantly, head turned naturally to glance in the direction where he last saw his co-hostess. "What you see her is the result of her brilliant mind rather than my own, and we're truly grateful to have her talents." He regards Deva with lingering concern a moment longer before turning his attention upon Khanne, brows raised. "I feel as though my timing was terrible and I missed all the fun," he says, amused, leaning in to settle comfortably for a time in quieter conversation with the ladies.

Varosh smiles politely but does not reply back to the Archduchess Regent. He simply dips his head, looking back to Valenzo to bow his head in appreciation, "Thank you. That is all that I can ask for."

Apollo has left the Dance Floor.

Lianne has left the Dance Floor.

Tarik has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

"A dance!" Jaenelle says, her grin remaining as she turns around and walks backwards a few steps to answer Valenzo. "Though gout is certainly a concern. I will ask" she then promises as she turns once more and heads across the room. There is a pause as she once more wordlessly requests a dance from someone.

"Oh, Your Majesty," Khanne says with a sly, mischievous smile. "You are amongst Northern women. I assure you, there is still much fun to be had." She nods in the direction of Jaenelle. "She is a remarkable woman, and amazingly talented at planning the best events, even one that is a mix of celebration and memory, such as this."

Tesha has left the Gray Table.

Sydney raises from her seat at the shadowy corner table with a bit of a wobble from having had a few too many to drink. "Legate." She bobs her head quietly, "...Always a pleasure to speak with someone of your perspective and wisdom." A small but genuine smile, and she turns quietly to stride to make her exit, the clomp of leatherclad boots echoing in the large room as she departs.

Tesha shares a quiet word with Michael before rising and returning her glass to one of the servers. She then makes a quiet exit for the evening.

Tesha is overheard praising Alaric.

Valenzo watches the Archduchess Regent moves effortlessly away, and he finally comes to his senses, for his mind had clearly wandered somehwere. "What just happened?" he asks Varosh. "Did I just...?" He watches Janelle go, before turning to Varosh "Well. Gout can get pretty serious," he comments offhandedly.

Tesha is overheard praising Jaenelle.

"Mmm." Those aren't memories Victus is particularly keen to revisit. Apparently, choosing to recall the demon-battle was a preferable alternative. "I don't do it quite as much these days. Battle, I mean. Commanding is where I often thrive. But..." His voice trails off, as his eyes take a wistful look. Off into the distance, into nothing specific. "I'm still me at the end of the day. Despite everything." There's a long moment of silence as the Prince ponders something else. His face telling the tale of a very vibrant thought, but nothing to indicate what it actually is. "... So the first time you saw me in battle, December 1005." He puts a hand to his chin. "... It's 1015 AR now... I'll have had this job for a decade at the end of this year." It's not immediately clear how he may feel, his face is difficult to read. "Fuck."

Symonesse is overheard praising Jaenelle.

Symonesse is overheard praising Alaric.

Noah is overheard praising Jaenelle.

Varosh watches Sydney leave the hall, looking to Valenzo to shrug with a laugh, "Welcome to the Palace, I suppose."

Cassandra lingers a little longer, unhurriedly finishing her glass of wine, but sooner rather than later she's rising to her feet, and setting the empty glass on a server's tray. "Your Majesties," she says again, this time to both Alaric and Symonesse (as she passes the latter on the dance floor). "Your Grace," to Jaenelle again. And then she heads briskly for the exit, her templar guards hurrying to match her pace.

Lianne wears a faintly smug expression as their dancing slows, a contrast to Apollo's more curious demeanor. It's a brief counterpoint, that, quickly giving way to brighter humor as she takes his arm that he might resume proper escort. "And show our hand?" isn't actually a question, but rather playfully chiding disagreement. "I'll maintain my anonymity, thank you." And, again, she steals the lead. Oh, they might not be dancing, but she's the one who tugs his arm, diverting away from his original trajectory toward a pair of Thraxes instead, her smile bright as she approaches. And promptly interjects. "I've been mulling on the past decade a bit myself, your highness," she tells Victus. "It's been ten years since my cousin called me to service here." There ought to be some resolution to that thought, but it seems to stop right there in the middle as she then looks to the High Lord's sister, smile a touch warmer, and greets, "Your highness," to Natasha as well.

Sydney cranes her head in Apollo's direction and veers off from her departure in order to reach out and slap her palm squarely atop the newly-minted Lord's shoulder. "My sincerest congratulations. And yes. Do." Whatever that means. She continues on.

Alaric has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Sydney has left the Shadowy Corner.

Valenzo nods, rolling a shrug and glancing to the plethora of Graysons about. "I think I should go before I embarrass my house," he says to Varosh, slapping him on the shoulders. "Fair winds, Varosh." He makes his way towards the exit.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Valenzo before departing.

Aella has left the Dance Floor.

Varosh returns the nod with one of his own, "I am sure you are a great example of your house. Do not sweat it but you have good night." He smiles and waves the man farewell. A messenger arrives and delivers him a letter which he takes to read as he drinks from his cup.

Ralph the wrecking messenger goat arrives, delivering a message to Varosh before departing.

Sorrel is heading over towards Victus and Natasha, hands in the pockets of her ballgown. Of course it has pockets. As if she'd wear something without pockets in it. As she passes by Alaric and the Northern ladies, she pauses to curtsey to the group, and then says brightly, "Your Majesty! You owe me a dance!"

Alaric steps away from the crown couches, replenishing his wine glass briefly before smoothly continuing on his rounds. His next stop, the Prince of the Mourning Isles, Victus Thrax. All the while, he glances out over the dance floor, only to grin lightly at Sorrel with a bow of his head. "Of course," he calls back in return.

Cassandra has left the Shadowy Corner.

1 Templar Initiates, 5 Templar Knight guards leave, following Cassandra.

Noah moves to step off the dance floor with Aella. His blue eyes slide over those around and he walks over to the Crown Couches. "Excuse me Ladies, might I leave the fair Countess with you while I see to a dance I have promised." He does make sure to hand Aella a whiskey before he leaves her with the couch of tea. It is here that Noah moves over towards Jaenelle and he sweeps low before her to take her hand. "I think you said something about wanting your feet to break, Poison." He will sweep her hand to lips though. Should she be willing, he wraps an arm around the back of her waist. It's very protective as if one must go through him to get to her back. His brows loft up.

Apollo scowls at Lianne, but it's all theater; he's as pleased to speak with Thraxes as Halfshavs. When they approach the pair, he offers a bow, smiles. "Your grace, your highness," he addresses the pair. Sidelong to Lianne, he says, "Straight from dancing to meditation?"

Khanne is overheard praising Volcica: She's a hero, don't let her tell you otherwise!

Khanne is overheard praising Jaenelle.

Khanne is overheard praising Alaric.

"I was twenty, and you were thirty," Natasha appends, though there's no wistfulness there, ensnared by the more melancholy shades of distant memory when she recalls the precise moment with her sibling. "Our upbringing was unusual in that end, though I'd been given leave to witness how your instructors trained you then." Whatever pain or displeasure threatens to emerge from her porcelain countenance, it remains buttressed by immovable ivory lines that very well be its own carefully cultivated fortress; impregnable, inaccessible. "But yes, Your Grace, almost a decade, though if you'd like me to utilize my talents as a not-incapable propagandist, I wouldn't support the inference that you're getting old." Even if the words *just* left her mouth. "Rather I'd put it that you're at your prime, brother." Dark eyes light up visibly at the sight of Sorrel in the crowd, lifting her hand in a wave while she coaxes the king to dance.

All fading into the background when a familiar voice addresses them. Turning to regard Lianne and Apollo, her smile emerges again, unable to suppress it for too long; mere ghosts, ultimately, however mirthsome. "Marquessa Malespero, my lord Darkwater. Why am I not surprised that the dance floor is where the both of you would gravitate, first? I suppose if I had the ability to make the act so effortless, I would be indulging as many times as I'm allowed."

Valenzo's messenger is a bright obsidian crow that lands near the hall exit, talons hop-hop-hopping around as it drops a parchment. "Go away," the crow mimics in Valenzo's voice, hopping in circles. "Go away, go away!" Val fetches up the parchment, waving to guard in apology. He turns to Varosh. "Thanks, Varosh, got your message." He snatches up the crow and departs. "Nice timing, dolt..."

Khanne stands as she talks a bit more to her couch companions before she pauses to look around. She sends a soft smile towards Jaenelle, then lifts her hand in a departing wave towards Lianne, Apollo, Natasha, and Victus before slipping out of the Great Hall to make her way home.

Michael has left the Gray Table.

Khanne has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Drysi, a young shaman apprentice leaves, following Khanne.

Varosh eyes widen at the messenger goat but after reading the message, he reaches into his pack and writes a prompt but heartful reply. He finishes his drink, shooting his head back and slamming the cup on the nearest table. Seeing Valenzo off, he tells his reavers that he's getting more drink and departs from their little spot to the bar.

Ralph the wrecking messenger goat arrives, delivering a message to Varosh before departing.

Aella Is given whiskey and deposited with the ladies by Noah. She looks at everyone present, giving a smile that says 'I'm sorry' and also 'please have mercy on me.' "Countess Aella Ravenseye," she offers, for those unfamiliar.

"What feet?" Jaenelle asks after offering a curtsey in response to Noah's bow, placing her hand within his for the kiss. "You know well enough that I am graceful for both of us, Rogue" she assures him as she steps close. "Do you know the Lenosia Tango?" she asks, chin lifting to look at his face as she waits for his answer. "Even if you don't, thats perfectly fine and you're excused for another dance less...physical."

Jaenelle has joined the Dance Floor.

Aella has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Noah smiles fully towards Jaenelle as she says this. "Darling, I will dance any dance you want. I'm sure that you will just tell me how to do it. No one is going to look at me and my dancing dancing. You will be there and no one can eclipse the sun when it wants to shine." He will draw her to the dance floor.

Volcica looks up to Aella with a muted smile. Volcica is slowly becoming less flustered. "Lady Volcica Stahlben," is offered, just in case.

"I'd only been in Arx for a year at that point." Victus continues, halfway caught between the conversation and the past that dances through his mind's eye. The words 'old' and 'prime' used so close together does make his brow furrow. "In my prime at nearly forty years old? Sure, why not." A beat. "We already have intelligent otters and magic from the sky, might as well add that to the pile." With company on the way, his dry complaints are stowed away. For now. "Marquessa Lianne. Lord Apollo." A nod is given to each in kind. "A lot has happened in these ten years. Three separate wars, and still more on the way."

Turning his attention to the encroaching King, Victus dips into a stiff bow. "Your majesty."

"I'll be happy to hand you over to His Grace when we're done," Sorrel assures Alaric as she moves to drag him to the dance floor, offering him a graceful hand for dancing with a smile. "But it has been far too long since we've tripped the light fantastic, and I really think we're overdue." She winks in Victus's direction. "We'll be with you momentarily, of course!"

"I'll return in but a moment," Alaric relays to Victus and those within his company, surrendering himself afterward to Sorrel's guiding hands drawing him away and onto the dance floor. His hand wraps within her own, smoothly pulling the princess into his snare. "As you wish, Your Highness. It would be a tragedy if I went the entire ball without at least once dance, I suppose," he remarks in faint humor, drawing back into an easy pace in rhythm with the music.

Sorrel has joined the Dance Floor.

Alaric has joined the Dance Floor.

Lianne's curiosity snags on Victus' words, right around 'magic from the sky,' but she minds her manners and curbs her nosiness for the moment. "A lot of struggle and a lot of loss and, though it cannot balance the scales, a lot of understanding gained. We've grown from our grief." She offers the high lord a soft smile then follows his attention to the king, to the princess with whom he runs off to dance, a brief laugh turned toward Sorrel's purposeful majesty-napping. When she looks back to Natasha, she explains, "My heart is light tonight, and I find my feet inclined to follow," which may be her way of setting future expectations for her dancing capabilities a little lower than 'effortless.' She lets a little of her curiosity creep in as she looks between the siblings, though whatever question she asks is soft-spoken.

Tarik has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Deva is literally covering both of her ears and turning a strange shade of green as some conversation floats around her. It's fine. She's fine. There's a look around at passing faces and servers and mostly a search for her assistant somewhere in the crowd.

Apollo's smile for Natasha is warm, paired with a downward flicker of eyes, some kind of significance for the princess, unspoken. "I hope to ask you to dance, one of these times," he says to her, with a dip of his head. "All your humility will not convince me; if you're truly so inadept, you'll have to show me." His eyes turn on Victus, and there's a moment of sympathy. "Do they ever really stop?" he wonders. Maybe his heart isn't quite as light as his dance partner's, though it does seem a remark made in sympathy rather than an acute grief of his own, this moment. "I'd very much like to hear more about the engagement, if you're inclined to speak about it; it sounds like it was a battle no-one is soon to forget."

Finishing their drinks, Varosh and the reavers gather and make their way out of their celebrations.

3 Black Fleet Reavers leaves, following Varosh.

"You're the one who's told me that our world's just getting more exciting in each pass of the year, and that you'd never die - what's forty years in the face of eternity?" Because his sister hardly ever forgets a thing, much less anything Victus has ever told her, Natasha's faint expression threatening to blossom outward into the rare grin. The characteristic reluctance to have her expression breach some unspoken physical limitation manages to hold, however, even if she manages to catch sight of yet another element that threatens to break the reluctance entirely. Espying a glinting pin on Apollo's clothing, her normally severe aura gentles, addressing the couple, "I'm happy to hear it, in spite of the losses, there's much to celebrate. It's good to see you both and in such high spirits. My brother and I were just reminiscing over more recent memories, I had the privilege of actually witnessing him in his arena for the first time in my life, however pitiable that may sound to some more inured to accompanying their relatives and loved ones into the field. But I was exhilarated, and just slightly terrified, for the opportunity." To Apollo, an incline of her head, eyes glittering with mischief. "And yes, one day, but I *did* warn you, my lord, I'm no artist in anything but with your careful guidance, I might learn a thing or two."

Alaric's promise to return to their collective prompts a curtsey, watching His Majesty move away with Sorrel to the dance floor, with an ear turned to Lianne's soft whisper; whatever she replies is lost in the surrounding din.

Steps away from the alcove by the stairs, and heads to the comfortable couches to pay his respect to the northern nobility. Tarik dips his head, "Good evening, pincesses, countess, and Lady. Tarik quickly squints hs right eye as he realizes he doesn't know the etiquette when speaking to multiple nobles at once. He raises his arms in a shrug and dips his head multiple times to try to cover for any social faux pas.

Donella says, "Master Morien! How excellent to see you here. Please, come and sit and join us? The more Northerners together, the more warmth we generate."

Tarik has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

"Hello, please! Come, it's good to meet you." Deva nods along with Donella and smiles, scooting to make room for Tarik to join them on the couches. She ends up on the end, leaning against the arm, and it turns out maybe this position is too comfortable. That, combined with general exhaustion? She actually starts to drift off to sleep, right there. Oops. A throw pillow is clutched to her chest.

"It's true, I don't intend on dying. But I think claiming to be immortal now of all times would be a horrible thing to jinx." Freshly back from one war, about to enter a civil war, so on and so forth. Victus' arms folds over his chest as he eyes the pair of Lianne and Apollo. "I cannot speak for the battle on the plains, but we had a fine vantage point to record the battle on the bay. They'd sent waves of Shav at us first, which acted as little more than a screening force. Lives to be thrown away to soften us. After that, came the Eurusi vessels in full. Not so different from our own make, save for the guidance of their mages. Some were horribly twisted things. Charred skin and wings of leather sprouting from their back. Some bled sand when struck. Some lashed fire from their hands as though it were a whip unto their slaves."

The grisly details come out of me quite casually, in a rather picturesque moment of unfortunate desensitization. "You may hear other stories as well. Stories like ghosts ships appearing on the horizon, and the hands of the drowned breaching the surface to drag down sailors. Things like beavers and dolphins appearing to spirit keelhauled crew to safety. Things like a rainbow rocketing from the heavens and destroying a dozen warships." He fixes the three of them with a withering look. "Just wild stories, of course."

Once her current - fourth? - glass of whiskey is empty, Aella rises from her spot on the couch and makes an apologetic exit, saying something about being tired from sailing back to the city just that morning. A wave-salute sort of gesture is made in Noah's direction before she heads out.

Aella has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Runa, a large Northern Raven, Leo, a Ravenseye Warrior leave, following Aella.

Alaric is overheard praising Symonesse: Even a thousand stars couldn't compare to the radiance of her beauty. Truly, she is unique; outwardly and within. The world is ever brighter, and living a little easier, when she is around.

Alaric is overheard praising Jaenelle: Even if one were blind, her beauty could still be seen, for it radiates from within her soul and kind heart. Beware the spiders though.

The Great Hall remains full of people coming and going throughout the evening as the music persists and dancers are encouraged to take advantage of the floor. Servants continue to move throughout the room with trays of drinks, and every so often there are platters of food so people eat something and not just down whiskey. It is the Compact coming together, to rejoice in unity, to remember those lost, and to embrace life to the fullest. Tonight they celebrate, tomorrow they focus on the next looming issues that always seem to face the people.



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