Windfire Celebrate A Birthday
((OOC: Social event, unless things go incredibly wrong)).
Dec. 2, 2022, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Sungreet - Grand Ballroom
Comments and Log
It may seem a strange sort of event for such political machinations to take place but the innocent backdrop of a child's birthday party is ripe for secret conversations and underhanded manipulations. There's a table for the little ones, far away from the serious matters the adults may discuss. Traditionalists and progressives alike sit with members of the Windfire family as drinks are served on large banquet tables with seafood entrees in true Isles style. The Marquessa smiles warmly at all those who arrive while her stoic husband settles for more formal nods.
It's a party. Sort of. And here is Denica. As Thrax's Minister of Diplomatic Affairs, she makes herself available for situations just like this. Dressed in more traditional Mourning Isles fashion, it still has her own personal touch. Whether the subtle colours that work into the otherwise somber attire, or the playful accessories that she adds to the mix. There's a polite expression on her face, one that is reserved for business, without looking stuffy or well, business-like. Still, there is something that young woman can appreciate about the crowd, the wonder of youth. Imagination is ripe in children, and that is something she can understand. The small princess of Maelstrom carries a package, for it is a birthday party after all and so, Denica brings a gift. A cheerful collection of art supplies, tied together with some vibrant ribbons in the hosting House's colours. There's a quick glance for the hosts so that she might offer the gift and her greeting, "Marquessa and Marquis Windfire, thank you for inviting us to take part in the celebration. I am princess Denica Thrax, please accept this small gift...," she says of the package and passing it off to whomever is present to collect such things on behalf of the family.
Aconite arrives to the party with Princess Denica's enterouge. The Whisper takes a moment to scan the party with interest, noting the notables and their locations. She makes to drop off a slender bundle book shaped gifts, labeled as a gift from the Whisper House is dropped off with the rest of the presents before she joins the adults at the banquet table, genuflecting respectfully to te Marquis and Marquessa in greeting as Denica speaks, "Whisper House is honored to be able to be here. Your home and your children are beautiful."
Zoey arrives at the celebration with her two eldest children in tow: Lord Uriel, age 8, and Lady Naamah, age six. They look every bit their mother's children, but with stunning blue eyes that are unmistakably Ian's. It seems that Zoey has taken time to see them taught and coached on how to be perfect little nobles in public, with all the appropriate etiquette one can hope to instill in children that young. Uriel carries a box in his hands that obviously contains the birthday gift they brought.
"Marquis, Marquessa," Zoey addresses the pair with appropriate gestures that just happen to show off the gown she brought for the occasion. "It is good to see you again, and I thank you for your invitation. I would just like to introduce my two eldest: Lord Uriel and Lady Naamah Kennex."
The children await their acknowledgement by the hosting adults, bowing and curtsying with bright smiles before leaving to join the other children.
Scythia checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Scythia fails.
Zoey checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Zoey is successful.
Aconite checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Aconite fails.
Denica checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Denica is successful.
Pasquale sent his own gift on ahead, assuming the carved boat would quickly be buried amongst a thousand other gifts. "Thank you for the invitation Marquess." he nods briefly to the stoic faced Marquess before offering "Marquessa. It's a pleasure to be here."
Pasquale checks charm and etiquette at hard. Pasquale is successful.
Scythia, as one of the more diplomatic Voices of Redreef - probably not saying that much, couldn't miss the chance to come for the politics. And the opportunity to bring out her daughter, who is... near enough in age of whatever child is having a tenth birthday, and the heir-apparent to her own house. But trusting the child to her own devices for the moment, Scythia has been garbed in a less flashy, but still red attire, with Seliki pearls as an accent. She waits her turn to greet the Marquis and Marquessa, offering a polite dip of her head as she greets, "Marquis, Marquessa. An honor to be here. My daughter is delighted to attend as well."
An unwelcome addition are the Nightcoves, who once again wish to nurture their friendship with House Windfire and sway them away from the loyalists and to their cause. Marquis Mihali Nightcove and Lord Waylan Nightcove offer the warmest of greetings as they avoid the eyes of the Thraxian, Redreef and Kennex in the room. They take honored seats close to the Marquis and Marquessa hosts and of course gifts have been placed on the table for the child. "It's a surprise to see certain nobles in here. You'd think they'd focus on the domains they need to stabilise." Waylan says to -nobody- in particular with a smug smile.
While she wears a smile, Denica's eyes are alert and they sweep the room, taking note of everyone that is present. Canting her head to the side, she leans to whisper something quietly to Aconite, before she is looking between the polarized situations. The joyous birthday party matched with the tense political gathering. A fan of juxtaposition, it brings a curious look to the artists eyes betraying she probably sees everything in a very unique way, pictures, images, everything that is and isn't there. Not one to be shy, she lets her gaze linger when it crosses over those from the Nightcove contingent. The princess is not trying to avoid eye contact, if anything should she catches either of their attention, she would share a small and slow smile. Confident. Then she says to no one in particular, "I wonder if there is cake?"
The Softest Whisper greets the Nightcoves with the same respect and polite warmth as anyone else. Though Aconite does smile towards Denica and nod to the Princess before slipping away from the group to start mingling and greeting other nobility, taking her time to get to know the players at the party while mignling with the Courtiers.
There is indeed cake but presumably they wish to wait for the children to eat their meals first. Manners Matter. The hosts do graciously thank the guests for their gifts and coo at the little children that they'd brought along.
With a glass in hand, Marquessa Windfire furrows her brows at Waylan's comment. "Well one could surely say the same to you, my lord." She says with a sip of her glass although her husband shakes his head. "But he does have a point there. If one were to insist on a course that leads to war, you'd think they'd put all of their efforts into it. Rather than reveling."
With this, he gives the progressives a pointed look.
Scythia checks charm and manipulation at hard. Scythia fails.
Zoey briefly looks the Nightcoves' way, then focuses back on the Marquessa. She smiles. "Perhaps those whose domains have such a need simply took the time to find and vet the right people to handle such matters," she suggests. "A good leader knows when and how to delegate."
Zoey checks charm and leadership at hard. Zoey marginally fails.
Scythia doesn't quite smile as she looks to the Nightcoves, her dark, amber-flecked gaze locking on them for a few moments before flitting away and back to the Windfire couple, a polite look on her features as her gaze flicks to Denica at the wonder of cake, attention drifting as she answers the slight snipe to her presence with, "Horses for all courses, my Lord." A trite cliche as a slight deflection, and she seems to know it.
Denica checks charm and performance at hard. Denica is successful.
Aconite talks softly with the other courtiers, engaging in gentle but curious banter. Asking questions and learning the various views of those gathered at the party while sampling the food. The Whisper listening to others as they express opinions and never implying that an idea or suggestion is silly or not worth considering no matter who speaks them. When she does counter it's with apparent openess.
Aconite checks charm and seduction at hard. Aconite marginally fails.
Pasquale has no particular dislike of the Nightcove's and when his own gaze crosses over to them he simply offers a polite nod of recognition. A slightly wry half smile answers the comments that are being thrown around. He claims a drink from a nearby server "I would argue that this" he gestures with his glass "Taking opportunities to make new friends and understand old enemies - IS the most important thing we could be doing."
Pasquale checks charm and manipulation at hard. Pasquale fails.
"There's a song I remember singing as a child at birthday parties," Denica Thrax says. The young woman doesn't seem phased by anything that she hears and the quips are not ones she plays into, at least to start. Rather, she hums a few notes and says, "another year, fresh like the snow. What adventures and places we will go. Another year, bright like the sun. Let us grow together, joyous and fun." There's a little smile that forms and then she looks at the children and back to the adults. "These are hard times for everyone. Not a single person is untouched by what is happening in our home. And yet, there is hope, because regardless of where any of us stand, the one thing I think we can agree, is that we want was it best for those that come after us. I don't have children," says the young princess, "but we cannot loose sight of living, so we have things to live for." It's emotional and it's full of Denica's own brand of theatrics, but despite the performance, there is sincerity in her eyes and tone.
Waylan lifts a hand in defence to the Marquessa. "I wasn't meaning anything by my comment, my lady. I was simply curious, that's all." His eyes narrow a little at Zoey's comment but he doesn't say anything. Mikhali Nightcove on the other hand has a twitching eye. "To have my leadership questioned by a woman not -from- the Isles is... an absurdity." Perhaps the recent losses incurred by the loyalists have made him lose his nerve somewhat.
"The Isles have said on many occasions what they wish to be done to stabilise the domain once again but it falls on deaf ears. And we find ourselves in war." Denica's poem gets his attention, how could it not. Her gentle voice is enough to draw the attention of many of the nobles. "Your optimism is touching, your highness. So I must ask, do you personally think all of this is worth it?" Marquis Windfire asks.
Waylan looks to Pasquale and Aconite. "You're not from the Isles, what is this war to you? Why must you involve yourselves in tearing apart our traditions?" His rakish demeanor fades and only resentment remains.
Zoey frowns slightly at Lord Mikhali, and calmly replies, "It was not meant as a criticism, I assure you. I was simply answering a question that had been posed. When all the fathers go to war, that leaves the mothers to educate their sons, so at minimum theoretical knowledge is a requirement." She picks up a glass of wine from a tray. "Besides, I am only Voice of my house, and I answer to my husband's brother, who serves as our head until the proper heir comes of age. I manage coin. I do not lead."
Zoey checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Zoey fails.
Scythia checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Scythia is successful.
Denica checks charm and empathy at hard. Denica is successful.
"Surely you remember the marriage between Prince Valerius Thrax and Marquessa Lianne Malespero?" Pasquale says to Waylan. "I'm involved because I choose to honor all the expectations that go along with such an agreement, despite his death. What made you fight Lord Waylan? I can't imagine this is only about thralldom."
Pasquale checks composure and empathy at hard. Botch! Pasquale fails completely.
It's an interesting question that Marquis Wildfire asks Denica. The small black-haired princess gives it serious consideration. That much is evident in her expressive features. That's the thing about war. You can't hold back, not and expect to win. Whether it's on the battlefield or in the ballroom. The small daughter of Maelstrom is no doubt clever enough to coin some phrases that might elicit a specific reaction, but she is it at her best when she is just her. For better or worse, the princess speaks from the heart. One that has broken many times over, since the start of this conflict, and it shows. Every moment. Every day. That loss she feels. Her vivid blue eyes, matching those of her closest kin, are full of feeling. Her mind races a moment and then the answer is easy and it's clear. "Yes." There's a pause, but she clarifies it then. "We are the Mourning Isles. We should be prosperous. We should be better than we were yesterday. We cannot move forward, we cannot heal and we cannot be better, until we deal with this current situation. And so long as I have breath in my body, I will be here for the hard times, for the challenges and for the heeling, because we can be better for those that come after us. I have hope, Marquis. Despite everything, I have hope and I believe."
The Softest Whisper looks to Pasquale, clearly ceding the floor to the Peer though she does not fade. Ready to answer when it's her turn. "I am only truly interested in ripping apart a piece of cake, My Lord. As a Whisper, I serve the Realm." She replies, her throaty contralto still pitched softly. Projecting only enough to be heard, "However, as you are asking my personal opinion... Those who might harbor guilt while contemplating forsaking the traditions they love by acknowledging their disapproval of -certain- elements within it, should also reflect on the fact that the very foundations to which they are so loyal are in fact the evolved product of many adjustments made by those earlier supporters of the same tradition."
"The Isles and the people of the Isles helped to create the Compact. That is like asking me why I would involve myself in a fight between my brothers. The Compact is not what it is without the Isles, without those in it, and without the traditions that have paved the way forward. But if it has paved the way forward for a better life for ourselves in the future and for our children and our children's children, we must also be willing to use the road to move forward."
Aconite checks charm and seduction at hard. Aconite is successful.
Scythia interjects with a soft curving of her lips, a there and gone again smile that smooths into that neutral expression that the Islanders so love, "I do think it is worth it, my Lady." she answers in her purring tones, in agreement with Denica. "Her Highness and I share this opinion." Scythia's dark eyes shift to the table, "I was recently asked what I desire from life - and my answer was to choose one thing I believe is right, and see it through to the end. Then move onto the next thing, and so on. Even if they are small things, one day, that becomes larger. And I do it for my child, and all those that will come in the future, so their lives might be, even in a small way, better."
"Of course it's not only about thralldom." Waylan says to Pasquale with a look of pure contempt. "But I can hear the dismissiveness in your tone and I'm sure the Marquis can too." He nods his head at his host. "It's about justice. We had a system in place for what to do with our criminals and the shavs and raiders that plague our shores. Now, that's all been torn to shreds. Any replacement suggested has so far been subpar and when we try to express our frustration with the current state of affairs, we're shut down as "slavers". Because of the... " He says the word like it's a curse. "Liberators."
Despite the fury Pasquale's words seem to have prompted in the Nightcoves for whatever reason. And the faint line on Marquis Windfire's head at the exchange, the others in the room seem to be doing better with Marquessa Nightcove and some of the lords and ladies who seem to latch onto every word the woman says. "You are right. We are interconnected, Whisper. It is a mark of esteem that those from other regions care about the state of our affairs, not a loss." Her eyes glitter with Denica and Scythia's words on a better future. A woman says with a contemplative look. "It is true. Very little of value does come without challenge." Though the traditionalists shake their heads in distaste. "You can rip the very foundations that built us with that logic." This seems to segue to a very vibrant discussion as nobles retreat to their own private, animated discussions on the subject.
Denica checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Denica is successful.
Aconite bows her head in gratitude for the words that are said by nobility. The Whisper watches as the Peers start into quiet conversations. Once more the Whisper easily seems to fade into mingling, greeting the Courtiers, lesser nobles and even here and there those who serve the peerage in various roles. Seemingly intent on hearing everyones opinions about what's happening, she even listens to some of the older children if they have opinions and are allowed to mingle.
Aconite checks charm and seduction at hard. Aconite marginally fails.
"It is true that the Thralldom system, which worked well enough for many years until it was abused, was taken away without an alternative being offered. And I speak from experience when I say that I empathize when it comes to how to rebuild both economically and judicially without it," Zoey says, pausing briefly to consider the wine in her hand. "But it is not something that cannot be overcome. The people of the Mourning Isles have a number of traditions that continue to serve us well to this day, and it saddens me to see others crumbling under the weight of this one."
Zoey checks charm and propaganda at hard. Botch! Zoey fails completely.
Scythia offers the Marquessa a look of understanding - perhaps attempting to reduce this moment as one from a mother to another mother, "Some things are worth rebuilding for," Scythia murmurs in that softly purring voice, "Things break, and those that are worth keeping are fixed, and made stronger at the end."
Scythia checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Scythia fails.
Pasquale looks contemplative at Waylan's answer. "That is the best answer i've heard so far to that question Lord Waylan. I have sympathy." he pauses to muffle a soft cough before continuing. "I'll even concede that it is a solid method of punishment - IF you can prevent it from being abused. Its not the thrall who works because he committed a crime that bothers most people. Its the thrall who became such because they just happened to be born to the wrong parents." he lifts a shoulder. "But is finding a way of justice that both sides approve of really all that needs to be found to stop this conflict?"
Pasquale checks charm and manipulation at hard. Botch! Pasquale fails completely.
Everyone has an opinion. That's the challenge with a war. Everyone believes their side is right, just, defendable. We are all heroes of our own stories. So what really matters in the end? Great ideas? Might? Luck? It's probably a bit of everything. Perseverance. Denica listens to everyone, even when she seems in her own world, a constant day-dreamer, she's paying attention. She listens. She assess. She watches people, like an artist, always studying to see more than what is presented to her. As such, situations like this, keep her very busy and engaged. Taking in a small breath, there is an agreeable nod when the Marquessa comments that very little comes without challenge.
Denica Thrax lets out a slow breath, "eventually something has to give. The sacrifices we make today," she glances over at the children and then back to the adults, "we might not see the benefit of them, but they will. We can chose today, what kind of world do you want for your children? This war will determine the direction of the Mourning Isles. Once and for all. I've made my choice and it is one that I believe in with my whole heart, because at the end of the day. There is one thing that I truly love, and that is the Mourning Isles. My home. Our home. Our people." Denica makes her diplomatic plea, but then she turns to face her adversaries. There's something that changes in her eyes, and the warmth that she typically shared turns cold like the sea. For a moment there is no question, the bloodline that she belongs to. And so to the Traditionalists she says plainly. "That's where you are wrong. We are building back better." Then smiles! Cause it's a party.
Despite Aconite's sharp ears, she's unable to truly catch anything among the nobles besides circling around the same point numerous times to no avail. While those that sympathise nod in agreement to Scythia's sentiments, others shake their heads profusely. "But what had broken? Nothing. It was just ripped away. We were stable, prosperous." An incredibly well dressed man says with lift of his glass. "If you ask me, trying to fix problems that don't exists is what causes the... you know. Breakage."
Pasquale's words have Waylan growing even more exasperated by the second. "No it is not the -only- way but it is galling that you think that the offspring of savages deserve to be coddled at the expense of the civilised men and women of the Compact." While in response to Zoey's comment, Marquis Windfire does interject with. "Many, many traditions have been shattered over time. Why, we've dealt with a slight influx of men wanting to work under the Chief Justiciar. I have not a clue what to make of that." A traditionalists lord two seats from Waylan stares at her darkly "Men in law, woman in war, Lycene trickery, heretic beliefs, prodigals, neo nobles. I cannot even begin to count the many ways in which you've utterly ruined our..." He has to take a drink to stop himself from continuing.
Things may have taken a turn but Denica's words certainly move the Marquessa and her contingent. The woman looks toward the children with a note of fear in her eyes though she keeps her composure. "You are quite right, your highness. But it appears we've had our fill of politics. Would you bring out the cake, please!" And her gaze around the table suggests the discussion is at an end and she will hear no more of it.
The kids can barely stop themselves bouncing in their chairs at the mention of cake. But they are good Isles children and such displays are frowned upon.
Whatever answer Pasquale might have given is cut off by the Marquessa's well timed request for cake. He looks to the childrens table and smiles just a touch at the excitement written all over the children. "Can't wait to see it."
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