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Old Oak Harvest Festival

The Marquessa of Deepwood is hosting a smaller version of the Old Oak Harvest Festival, a regional holiday that is celebrated within her March. The culinary bounty of the March will be offered for consumption to commoner and noble alike. Attendees are encouraged, but not requested, to bring a donation that can be used later for refugees of the Gray Forest attacks. (Blankets, medical supplies, food, etc.) Be prepared to eat, dance, and offer Petrichor and Lagoma their due.  (OOC: I will attempt to come up with ideas for contests and prizes, please be patient!)

Date

Feb. 18, 2017, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Samantha

Participants

Iona Ferrando Samantha Natalia Barric Silas Aislin Khanne Reese Bethany Ywaine Lark Rymarr Leta Percephon Zhayla Thesarin Esoka Luna Sparte Tikva Shadow

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Deepwood Manor - Manor Grounds

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Ferrando trucks in with a few folded up blankets tucked under one arm, having a look about the area curiously.

Samantha is once more dressed simply, in excellent materials but plainly cut. She has indulged in a flower crown made up of autumn colors, and resting on a shoulderpad, peering out wide-eyed at the world, is a fuzzy little owlet watching the world with unblinking eyes. She seems pleased at the initial turn out, calling out, "Welcome, one and all! Please enjoy yourselves, dance, eat, and remind yourselves of the joys of life."

Ferrando checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 17, 2 higher than the difficulty.

Ferrando manages to not drop all his blankets on the ground upon seeing an entire table of turnovers. So his night's off to a good start, at least.

Inevitably drawn to barrels, Zhayla stands near a deep barrel filled with water, her hands on the edge as she looks down into it and at the apples bobbing within. She has a wide grin on her face, but from the lack of any water splashed all over her, she has yet to try fetching any apples with her face. When she spots Ferrando, she waves at him with easy cheer and jogs over. "Why the blankets? Need a nap already?"

Lark enters wearing gown of glittering sunlight. Attached to her person by way of a glean golden-metal band not unlike a collar, two individual strips of the gossamer gold silk drape down over her chest and leave a sliver of cleavage exposed. A dawnstone belt detail establishes her waist before the warm metallic fabric billows out and downward to pool around her feet. Her hay-colored hair is pulled out of her face and intricately braided into her scalp to accommodate a golden griffin coronet. Being among friends, the High Lady arrives without her usual intimidating procession of Grayson guards.

Thesarin is present, favoring more simple attire in earthy tones of brown and green that he normally wears, his tattoos barely visible on his wrist and neck. He stands with only a handful of others watching the gathering politely and quietly. The count has not ventured too far out to speak with others, yet, but does appear to be in a relatively good mood, no doubt aided by the cup in his hand.

Ferrando looks over to Zhayla's approach with a grin. "Ah, Mistress Zhayla, hello there. These are a donation for the refugees," he explains amiably. "Although I probably will need a nap after I've had some dinner and entered that pie-eating contest." He looks around. "Something about lanterns lit up at night often makes me a little sleepy. Between all that and the food, I might just end up asleep under a table before it's all over."

Silas checked dexterity + all against difficulty -81, resulting in 38, 119 higher than the difficulty.

Esoka strides into the gathering with a square-shouldered confidence, but keeps herself to the edges of all it right off. Her dress is unremarkable and her manner, if not precisely stand-offish, has a people-watching air about it. Like one getting her bearings. She does eventually drift over to the barrels. Looking down at the apples with more intensity than they probably merit. "Hrm."

Samantha chuckles at that, overhearing Ferrando as she notes while passing by, "I believe I owe you cherry tarts as well." It's Lark that she approaches, managing a rather steady curtsy despite the not quite baby bird perched on her shoulder. "Your Highness, thank you so much for coming. I hope you enjoy yourself."

Leta arrives, unarmored and behatted. She has her sword and she has a lute slung over her back, which might count as a two-handed weapon as well. She does look a little too thoughtful, but puts on a big bright smile the further she goes into the grounds and looks about. "Mistress Zhayla. And - and frankly I forgot your title, Ferrando! Who's above an admiral, anyhow?" she asks as she draws nearer the two and eyes the barrels appreciatively for a moment.

Zhayla directs to Lark the same eager wave she offered Ferrando. This is what etiquette zero looks like. To make sure that Lark can see it, she jumps a little to get her wave off over the heads and shoulders of the taller figures between them. Like Ferrando. "Oh! A donation." She looks stricken. "I forgot about that." She covers her face with her hand just a moment then drops her hand, fist closing. "I'll bring something to the Marquessa later. You going to do the pie thing? I thought about it too." She considers Ferrando and all the extra space he might have to hide pie. "Maybe I'll go /after/ you." Her expression brightens as Leta approaches, and she greets her with a wide smile. "Leta! Leta, are you going to play? There's other music, but I'd love to hear yours."

Malachi arrives, following Bethany.

Silas arrives, wearing the armor he was usually wearing. Formal wear? Pffft. His small retinue of guards which normally followed him were not present, though, and he carried with him a very large bowl of soup. It looks like someone has an entry for the culinary contest, and the bowl was large enough that it required him to use both of his arms to carry. He peers curiously at those who arrived before him, then moves to actually set the soup down.

Silas puts a bowl of creamy carrot soup in Display Table.

2 Bisland Guards arrives, following Iona.

2 Bisland Guards have been dismissed.

Ywaine follows along behind and slightly to the right of Silas. He has on his normal Crimson Blades tabard, the strange looking tekpi on his hip. The big man's eyes flick left and right as he takes in the scene, following the Lord Commander.

Lark's eyes pinch pleasantly. She bows her long neck in response and she lets out a deep croon at the sight of the owl ...though, she makes no move to close the distance between herself and /it/. "Oh-- how ...sweet. You need not thank me," the blonde says coolly. The blonde who... secretly sits on her couch with Killian's owl feeding it baked goods so that it will deliver letters for her rather than him. "I've enlisted some of the guard detail to deliver a supply but I fear it proved too large to bring up into the middle of a party. One of your stewards promised to accept it all in through the back?" She blink-blinks hopefully, turning to acknowledge Mistress Zhayla with a subdued dip of her chin.

Iona belatedly arrives to the festival and without much fanfare proceeds to mingle among the crowds to see what is going on, her movements taking her inbetween the people but not necessarily approaching anyone in particular.

Silas gets a bowl of creamy carrot soup from Display Table.

Ferrando is abruptly the nexus of a lot of crossing paths and it's all he can do to keep up by smiling politely at Samanthan and everyone else for a few moments before laughing a little. "If you go by what I usually get, my title's probably 'Hey you'," he deadpans to Leta before thinking a moment. "I suppose I'd end up being the Minister of something though. I don't think the navy itself goes higher than an Admiral," he says reasonably. He looks back to Zhayla. "Aren't we all supposed to go at the same time? It's a little bit like a race," he points out reasonably before glancing over to the dessert table to try and spot the cherry tarts.

Dressed in a long, knee length leather coat that is pulled type to help ward off the autumn chill, Percephon enters into the grounds. His dark gaze sweeps across those gathered about, spying a few familiar faces. It's Ywaine, Silas and Zhayla who get dips of the man's head if he should catch their eye, and onwards he continues, heading in to mingle with those gathered about.

The refugee tents are somewhat recessed back, but many of the refugees are out and about for the festival. A few of them are performers and are collecting little crowds here and there as they put their talents on display. Samantha continues to move through the crowd, greeting guests and now and again pausing to take a sip of cider or munch on something from the food tables.

Leta looks around, and her eyes stop on Samantha. Then she notice her appproach Lark, and chooses to stay by Zhayla for the time being. "Minister of the Waves, then." she says to Ferando, then looks to Zhayla and frowns, "See, I might! Tricky thing, though, playin'. Got to have a drink or two before I start, to loosen up the voice and all and warm up to it, aye? But if I drink too much, well - then I start singing the one about the cabin boy, or the knight and the shepherdess, or worse. So I ought to try playin' right in the middle there, maybe a dance or a ditty that's fitting for a festival."

Silas notices the goods in the display are all apple-themed... and slowly moves the soup to nearest -other- flat surface instead. He clears his throat. Percephon captures his attention and he offers the man a friendly wave and smile as he passes by.

Bethany arrives, bundled up in a cloak of leather, hood pulled up with her wan face framed through silver-streaked fox fur. Trotting at her side is a over-sized, droopy-eyed, morose-looking wolfhound that meanders off to sniff from any dropped or neglected bits of food.

"Yes. I'll go the race /after/," Zhayla tells Ferrando with a grin. "Or -- who knows? Maybe I'll surprise you." Her gaze slips past to Percephon, bright with amused recognition, and she lifts her hand high in a wave. "Let's find a drink for you then, shall we? Just one. I'll see what I can find." With that she slips away, detouring by Silas on her way to poison Leta into foolish songs. She looks at the very, very large bowl and then up at Silas. "Did you make that?" She sounds tremendously impressed, if that's the case. She gives Ywaine a bright grin and an easy, "Hi, there!"

Tikva strides into the festivities with a bright energy to her expression, her toddler careening at her heels at maximum forward momentum as he pounds over the grasshand in hand with her. She looks curious and interested as she sweeps the place with her gaze, not quite sure where to direct herself and her projectile child first.

Ferrando ooohs, eyes briefly widening at Leta's idea. "'Minister of the Waves'. That's catchy. I like it," he declares approvingly. "It's almost too bad that there's only one person who might ever actually call me that." He watches Zhayla scoot off before looking back at Leta. "Is it the Minister's job to cart off the Admiral when Zhayla goes and gets her plastered on cider? I'm not sure I'm ready for that level of responsibility," he quips.

But before all of that, Samantha looks faintly bemused at Lark's reaction to the owl. "It's more than alright, Your Highness, it's a blessing. I know it's something of a rustic entertainment, but I still hope you can find something enjoyable in it. Let me know if there's anything I can do."

Percephon's path is slow but steady, and his hand lifts up to give a waggle of fingers towarsd Silas first, and then Zhayla, though neither causes him to stray. It's towards Samantha the man heads, a warm smile flashed towards her. "Good day to you, Marquessa. A lovely gesture, letting us all see a bit of your part of Avrum. The Telmar contribution will be supplies that will be brought in to help you," It's a brief dip towards the refugee camp, "and if there is anything else you need? Don't hesitate to reach out." With the greetings out of the way, the man doesn't seem intent on keeping the hostess pinned, stepping off to the side to look over the others gathered around.

Silas turns to Ywaine, quirking a brow at the older Crimson Blade. "I think I just brainfarted a bit," he asides to him before Zhayla meanders their way and engages them. He rubs his chin. "Sort of. It didn't taste good until Lisette got to it."

"I'm sure you've done enough," Lark wets her eyes, dark eyes wandering the crowd and the entertainers with easy wonder. Samantha is awarded another fractional nod before the princess politely detaches from her. She has hostess duties that Lark doesn't necessarily need to interfere with.

"I'm sure it's more'n good enough, Lord Commander," says the big Ywaine to Silas with a twist of a smile. "That reminds me. Got a new recruit - still in trainin', but I think he can be useful to us. I'll bring 'em by sometime this week, let 'em jabber at you a bit." he says as he glances around. He seems amiable, smiling as a pair of young kids run by.

Iona eventually finds her path taking her in the direction of Bethany and her wolfhound, and she looks at the animal especially with a curious expression as it sniffs about. "Nice atmosphere, is it not?" she casually greets the young woman, smiling pleasantly towards her before glancing back towards some of the entertainment going on elsewhere.

In rides Luna on the back of her brown bear, Reinhardt. She is terribly distracted by the pretty lanterns. In her rainbow reinments and cloak, top hat and dress. Even the bear is wearing a green shiny vest with a tree design on it. She bangs her tambourine as they wander through the crowd.

Glancing over at the Duchess Bisland once Iona addresses her, Bethany dips a polite curtsy. "Very festive." She agrees, and turns to look around the area. "Too many people though. These sorts of things always have too many people."

Luna has joined the Paved Patio.

Esoka stops staring at the apples-in-barrels - they weren't fascinating enough to hold her attention forever - to get herself a drink. The drink is more of a priority. She takes a moment to sip on it, eyes continuing to take in the crowd. They crinkle a bit - like her face is tempted to smile, but doesn't quite get there - at the sight of the refugees mixing with the festivities. Her eyes continue to rove, though the bear makes them pause. And blink, then narrow. Perhaps as much at the creature's vest as anythign else.

"Oh, so someone else made it and you're taking credit," Zhayla teases Silas, then regards Ywaine curiously. "What do you look for in a recruit?" She holds up her hands and adds quickly, "I'm just curious," before anyone can take her as a volunteer. Giant sword or not.

Leta frowns as she watches Zhayla wander off, and starts strolling too, looking back to Ferrando with a broad grin. "Ought to get yourself some more sailors then, maybe promote a captain or two!" she advises, then shakes her head, "'Course not. See, us sailor folk are used to being in the drink, aren't we? I'll be just fine, as long as the ground stays steady." she winks, and eyes the various games about as she meanders through the festival a while, "Lord Commander or what have you." she offers a hopeful smile to Silas as she draws near the table with the food.

The Duchess laughs softly in response to Bethany's response. "I completely concur." Iona muses whilst nodding. "But it cannot be avoided. To my knowledge, not even His Highness The King has gone as far as to monopolize an entire carnaval, so I think us solitary visitors best just give up on the notion before we get possessed by the sheer idea of it."

Tikva scoops up her son and hauls him into the air with a mighty "whoof!" of effort, and then braces him into a piggyback. This accomplished, she trots through the party, skipping a little through the crowd. "That is the /second/ bear I have heard about today," she announces to no one in particular. She strolls first up to the musicians and bounces cheerfully on her heels. She fills her lungs and shouts: "Hey!" at the musicians. "Do you know 'Flight of the Flaming Griffin'? Play me a bar and I'll sing out! Everyone knows that one, right? Somebody sing with me! No?"

Lark lifts a drink off of a serving tray just as Esoka does. She holds it close to her cheekbone, framing her face as she finds what she's staring at. "Do you think it eats porridge and sleeps in a bed that's too stiff?" She asks in monotone, not overly disturbed by its presence.

Bethany laughs - shaking her head, "True. Better to mingle and blend in while we still have the chance."

"Thank you, my lord." Samantha smiles at Percephon, offering, "Please enjoy yourself." Samantha continues to circulate, though at one point she removes the pad and owlette carefully from her shoulder, passing the little creature off to one of the servants to take to the mews. She lifts her hand and waves to Leta, and applauds Tikva in encouragement.

Ferrando shakes his head at Leta. "I've got enough work to do without getting into recruiting," he says with a smirk as he himself goes off to drop off his blankets with the other donations and go find himself a drink as well. As he picks up a mug of cider he observes Esoka observing nearby, and apparently decides to make the transitive observational leap to have a look at Luna and her bear as well. "That's a very colorful hat she's got there," he deadpans to Esoka.

With the formalities out of the way, Percephon continues on, passing by just long enough to pick up one of the non-alcoholic beverages. Drink in hand, it's towards Ywaine and Silas that he angles, that cup lifted up in acknowledgement. "Cousin! Good to see you here. And you as well, Lord Commander. I trust the day finds the two of you well?"

"New blood, eh? Leave some of 'em for us," he half-jokes to Ywaine before adding a nod. "Sure, we can chat. I'm curious about him." His gaze flickers to Zhayla and he shrugs his shoulders lightly. "I consider it a joint project. But it doesn't include apples, so I don't think it qualifies. It should feed quite a few people, though, and that's what ultimately counts." He looks between Zhayla and Ywaine, also curious about the answer to Zhayla's questions about Crimson Blade recruits, but he perks at Leta when she nears. "Hello, Mistress Leta. Help yourself to the soup if you're feeling adventurous." Then there was Percephon again! "Well met, m'lord."

"And yes, so far," Silas adds to Percephon's question.

Luna rings her tambourine and greet people in a sing song voice. "~Greetings~! Blessed Old Oak Harvest to you!" Her bear ends up sniffing out the food and waddles straight there. "No food Reinhardt.. dances first." She scolds her furry companion and pats him on the flank as she clibs off his back.|

Tikva checked charm + performance against difficulty 15, resulting in 51, 36 higher than the difficulty.

Esoka transfers her gaze from the bear to Lark. Letting out a low, throaty chuckle. "I was more curious if it dances. Perhaps I shall ask it, though I think I would need another drink in me to approach the creature. I fear I would become shy around his fine dress." She does not seem so much disturbed by bear transporation as curious. And a little amused. Ferrando earns a little nod as he speaks. "I noticed the tamborine more than the hat. I only hope she has a good sense of rhythm."

"Well young miss, that depends on which you talkin' about," says Ywaine - though his tabard and clothing wears marks of a noble family (Telmar) that accent out of the 37 yr old bear of a man is straight commoner street. "If yer talkin' Iron Guard, which is what I did for damn near half my life as a man, y'need straight heart. A good gut instinct. Calmness. Resolve. A desire to wanna protect others. You gotta be reliable. Trustworthy. The rest, the rest y'can be taught. For." he taps the Crimson Blades tabard he wears with the chevrons of a sergeant, "This, y'gotta want to work for the man next to ya, and the woman on the other side. Y'gotta be willin' to lay y'life down for a life, and for a cause. Y'gotta aspire to be somethin' better." he says. A quick glance of the area, a delicate hand on Silas's elbow - just a delicate one, to position his charge -just so-, done very subtly, as if Ywaine didn't like the angle. "Ywaine Telmar, by th' by. Nice to meetya. That's a honkin' huge sword."

Tikva fills her lungs with a singer's trained breath, throws back her head and, pitching her voice to carry, lets loose with a loud string of verses. It's an old song, a soldier's song, and it involves a griffon getting accidentally set on fire in mid-battle and careening into the enemy in rapid order. What's most impressive about her performance, aside from her volume and the startling quality of her voice, is how wholly absent shame she is belting it out.

6 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Rymarr.

Leta blinks, "Soup's an adventure, is it?" she asks of Silas with a playful look of mild alarm, before respectfully bowing her head, "In a bit, maybe, thank you. Soon as I decide if I'm doing the pie eatin' or not. Mistress Zhayla's gone to fetch me a drink, I believe." she lifts her eyes to the musicians, then continues her stroll until she spots Samantha and heads over, lifting a hand to wave back. "My Lady. Samantha." she says with an awkward pause between the two, "It's a - it's a fine thing you're doing here."

In her goal of attempting to mingle in with the rest of the crowd, Bethany pauses to listen to the song being played - and, more importantly - the shamless singer belting out the lyrics. Her lips quirk, wry, and her head is tilted just so as she pays close attention to the words.

Ywaine adds a second later to Percephon, "Sorry, cousin. Half workin', half not, how y'doin?"

While waiting for an answer from Ywaine, Zhayla fetches the promised drink for Leta and turns around to look back in the direction of the apple barrels ... only to see she's no longer there. Oops. While looking for Leta (not that hard; she's just missing her in the crowd), she grins at Ywaine. "It is very big, that's true," she says. "My name is Zhayla. I'm part of the Marquessa's house guard." So no one cause any trouble, I guess. "Those both sound like very fine groups. I know Silas works hard for the Guard from what I've seen. What's the other do? I don't recognize that symbol." She twists at the sound of her name and spots: "Leta! Here. To get you started. So you can sing one of the /right/ songs."

Iona gives a thoughtful nod towards Bethany. "Then let me join you, assuming you don't mind." she smiles briefly before moving closer to where all the actions is going on. "To see so much happiness is a very welcome contrast to what most of these people have gone through." she says, her voice lowered as the woman's singing comes to the fore. At that point, Iona's eyes look forward as well, studying the songstress with a fair dab of curiousity.

"I believe we're about to find out together," Lark tells Esoka on the question of whether or not the bear dances, turning her attention to the performance. She doesn't even look at Ferrando on Esoka's other side, though she does make a point to look over the hat so she must be listening. Tikva's song elicits a happy croon from the princess, and she brings up a few fingers to hide a small smile.

"Careful, Cousin Ywaine," Percephon's voice is bright and teasing, giving a side long glance towards Zhayla. "I met her earlier. She's a crafty one. If she invites you to help her in the archives? Don't do it." But then there is music, and singing, and the Scholar's head is careening around to find the source. Dark eyes blink a few times, finding the source. Tikva is watched for a few long moments, before he murmurs, "She is rather outstanding, isn't she? Fills the entire grounds with that voice."

"Hello, Leta." Samantha beams at the woman. "I'm glad you could make it. And it's the least I could do, I think. Did you see the bear?" She points in Luna's direction, and with a laugh, claps along with Tivka's song, humming the melody.

Silas nods to Leta's question. "Lisette used a red paste to spice it up some... I have no idea what it actually is." Ywaine's gesture with his elbow barely registers, for Bethany's presence is finally noticed. He throws an exuberant wave in her direction from the small impromptu gathering around him. "Bethy!" The clear familiarity between them likely hints at their relationship. "I made soup!" He proudly announces in her direction.

Ferrando lifts his cup to toast Luna's greeting and has a drink. "I'm sure nobody would wield a tambourine with that degree of confidence if they didn't," he agrees with Esoka, just now noticing Lark on the other end and bowing precisely. "Your Grace, good evening," he declares. "Well, if you'll both excuse me, perhaps I'd better secure a spot at the table before the bear does."

Khanne enters the grounds of the manor where the festival is well under way. She looks around at the large crowd, then over her shoulder as if considering leaving as soon as she arrives. Crowds, you see.... She lingers though, letting her misty-grey eyed gaze sweep over the tables full of food and the people celebrating all around.

Thesarin nods in approval as Tikva sings. The usually serious count actually appears to be enjoying himself, tapping a beat with his toe inside of his boot. He notices that his cup is empty, though and begins to make his way to acquiring more.

Luna pauses to hear Tikva sing, and because of her bear's whine she gives him a little fresh fish to keep him happy. Entertainers code leave her not to interrupt but to watch and be entertained herself. She gains something to drink for herself to loosen up the pipes. She does see Reinhardt the bear is garnering some attention so she allows him to ham it up for the ladies. He is a bit of a ladies man in his own right.|

Sparte shows up late, but couldn't miss the festivities. He has on a red bandana to cover up his hair, a simple tunic, pants, and some sandals. He settles in near the edge of the gathering, looking on with curiousity.

The other good part of Tikva's performance, of course, is that she does it with a toddler clinging to the back of her head. When she finishes the song, she can't really bow without overbalancing herself, so she lifts her hand and waves excitedly in response to the few people who favor her with applause. "Nobody else wants to sing with me?" she swings her arm wide, and then shrugs, and then starts to trot towards the food. Tiber babbles noisily at her from atop her head, and she says, "I know, Tiber, I know, my goodness you know everything, don't you?" despite the fact that he is not, in fact, speaking words.

Bethany hums agreement with Iona, offering a quick - fleeting flicker of a smile right back. "I don't mind at all. And, yes. It's nice to be around some levity -" she hops in place before she throws up a hand to wave, "Silas!" And she nearly chirps, "That means Lisette made it! Does it have apples in it?"

"Indeed," says Ywaine to Percephon with a grin, "I'll try t' remember that. Me an' books, we don't get along so go - er, well, anyway." A grin at Zhayla, "A company of men and women - combatants, for hire, for the right cause. Led by my cousin, Lord General Tobias Telmar. We're pretty booked now, helping out with the Iron Guard," a gesture at Silas, "And other items related to helping the city. Since I did so many years wit' th' Guard, I was asked to help work with the Lord Commander here and help oversee the training program for the new folk. I think th' fancy folk call it laise, right?" he asks. He looks around, spying Sparte, and gestures at the younger man, a spot next to him, and the well regarded, long known NCO gesture for 'you are not here, you should be here and it's an insult to God and country that you are not'.

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

Leta smiles jovially as she talks to Samantha, though she looks tired. "Could do a lot less, trust me." she says with a sharpening grin, then turns her head towards the bear a moment later. "Saw 'im before, too. Having a bath, so you know it's a clean bear, and that's a pretty good start for mingling with folk." she offers, then raises her hands and applauds loudly in Tikva's direction once the song is over.

A few armoured knights filter onto the grounds, but remain close to the manor itself. This allows a Rymarr to split from their number and proceed ahead beyond their presence to join the fesitivies underway. Encased in his armour as per usual, he does at least have the sense to remove his helmet and pass it off to one of the accompanying knights before he moves forward to join in with the festivities unfolding on the Deepwood grounds. He threads his way through the gathering with determination in his stride, mission in his heart, and the gleam of purpose in his eye. It all begins to melt away however when Rymarr arrives at a table, with a basket, and a mound of apples contained within. Fingers wiggle for a moment, greedily so, before he finally finds an apple that catches the eye. He reaches out to pluck it from the stack, nodding his head a little before he draws it up to take an slow and long, audible crunch with the first bite claimed.

Percephon's attentive gaze flickers about, peering through the crowd, until another familiar face is spied. He waits until he makes certain Khanne's misty grey gaze catches sight of him, and up one hand lifts, first in a wave, and then a curl to beckon her over should she wish. "Well, that's quite fair cousin. Bows and I never got along... so I'll leaves those to you, and you can leave the books with me."

Natalia has joined the Paved Patio.

"You make that sound much more sinister than it was," Zhayla tells Percephon, trying to fit a frown onto her features only for it to immediately fall off in a grin. "Careful, or I'll tell everyone you're actually quite helpful." She gives Ywaine a /deeply/ sympathetic glance and admits with a small shrug, "I'm still learning how to get along with books at all too. I actually got lost and I followed him until I could make a bolt for freedom." Looking over at Silas, she asks, "Do you know where the next-- no, wait. I shoudn't ask. This isn't a day to talk too much of battles." Her grin is apologetic, but brightens again when she spots Rymarr. Her hand flags up over shoulders ands heads between them as she waves an eager hello.

Lark dips her neck in acknowledgement of Ferrando. "Excuse me," she says politely to Esoka before prowling away towards a target on the outskirts of the party.

Khanne spots Percephon in her study of the crowd and makes her way over to him. Standing by his side then, she bites her lip and says lowly, "I should have changed. I forgot to change..." Her eyes look to his darker toned ones and she shrugs helplessly.

Sparte sees Ywaine waving him over after a few too many seconds. So much to look at! Dutifully, Sparte makes his way over once the wave is seen. Sparte gives the man a grin and a quick salute of respect despite being out of uniform.

Esoka's attention drifts as Tikva sings, caught up in the performance. Perhaps as much the audacity of it as the quality, though the softening of her eyes shows an appreciation for that, too. A smile graces her lips as it ends. "If there are more songs like that, this shall be my mind of party." There's a touch of /almost/ girlish excitement about her as it seems the bear might actually dance. /Almost/ girlish. Not quite. "I doubt he's as grand a singer as the lady, but I am eager to see it. I always appreciate grace in ones of such girth." An inclination of her head to Lark as the woman goes. Ferrando gets an arched eyebrow about the potential tamborine quality. She's more skeptical. "One hopes. A good evening, and may you not have to battle any beasts for your seat."

Iona was also one of the few people who applauded Tikva, albeit a bit late as her distraction and roaming eyes made her a bit slow on the uptake of the songs ending. Unfortunately, it appears as if the woman on her side has found some acquaintances, which is the perfect time for Iona to part with her, and after a brief smile towards Bethany she moves further into the grounds as she comes to find Rymarr. "Lord Commander!" she calls upon him with a grin. "I must say I had not expected to see you at this occasion." she smiles towards him, her emerald eyes taking a quick gander towards the basket he is holding. "Those look very good." she praises the apples she sees within.

"Nonsense." Percephon murmurs to Khanne as she heads over, and then his hand his cup tipping to each person in introduction, "The Lord Commander Silas, of the Iron Guard. Zhayla, a miscreant intent on ruining my reputation by insinuating I am helpful, and you might remember my cousin Ywaine." He leans over a bit, voice lowering to offer a few whispered words to Khanne.

Silas deadpans at his sister. "Okay, next time I'm not going to ask for Lisette's help." It was a matter of principle now. "But no, it doesn't have apples in it. I forgot the rules," he mutters and glances aside at nothing in particular. That was likely what he meant when he claimed to have a 'brainfart'. He, too, gestures for Sparte to join him once he's spotted. His eyes flicker to Zhayla, though he doesn't seem disappointed that she immediately drops the topic. "Aye, we should embrace the opportunities to have fun where we can get them." He looks to Ywaine again. "I spoke with Lady Anabelle earlier today. She agreed to give us one hundred practice blades for a favor. Thank you for recommending her to me."

With a slight bounce in her step, Tikva approaches Leta and Samantha and-- whoever else is over there. Sorry, this room is big and I can't tell. Her smile is wide and beaming as she does so. "It's a lovely party!" she says. "I tried to get people to sing with me. Maybe next time I need to start aggressively handing out lyrics." She ducks her head a little as Tiber yanks a little too hard on her hair. "Ow."

Silas has joined the Trestle Tables.

"Heya son. This is Zhayla here, with th' marquess's guard. Do me a favor, watch th' boss here," Ywaine says, indicating Silas. A lean in to murmur, more quietly, "Stay on his left side - the power side. Just watch hands and chest. Hands and chest, remember, all fightin' starts there. And you'll be alright." A smile at Silas, "Sir, beggin' yer pardon, I see someone I wanna go jabber at a touch an' ask somethin' of, the young buck's gotcha for now." he says, and grins at Zhayla, "Miss. Nice to meetya. We got a new kid with the Blades with a honkin' big sword like that, I'll introduce y'two to bash away on each other. Pardon me an' whatnots," he says as he drifts away, the big man making his way through the crowd towards Iona.

Luna leads Reinhardt, her giant brown bear to the center of the patio. She clears her throat and with much fanfare and drama she announces at the top of her lungs. "~LADIIIIIIIIES AND GENTLEMEN! Princes and Principessas! Lords and Marquessas! Far from the deep reaches of Deepwood Forest, and with the most dangerous travels I would like to introduce Reinhardt Declan Prince amoung Bears!~" She brandishes her hands with wiggling fingers to Reinhardt which stands on two legs, does a twirl and bows to the crowd.

Khanne looks with surprise to Lark as she nears. Whatever is said to her makes her reach up and scratch at her cheek with a sheepish expression before murmured words are uttered in response. She then smiles at Percephon, nodding as he introduces the others. When he finishes she says, "good evening, and a pleasure to meet yyou all." She leans in to Percephon's whispered words then and nods, looking to Ywaine. "It is good to see you again."

Hey, Samantha was humming along! She claps enthusiastically for Tikva, admitting to Leta, "Well, I've not had a personal introduction to the bear just yet, but it's good to know he has proper hygeine." She glances across the crowd, spots the Lord Commander of the King's Own...and her foster-mother. Her grin blossoms into the warmest of smiles as she looks that way, before she insists to Tikva, "I was humming along! Ooh, Tiber, do you remember me? You haven't seen me since you were very very little." she tells the tiny child, noting, "Leta, I do hope your lute means you'll take a turn in the performance spot." She gasps in delight, because there is a DANCING BEAR, ZOMG.

Natalia has left the Paved Patio.

Natalia has joined the Garden Maze.

"You should -" Bethany grins at her brother, before she sidles in to elbow Silas. "How'd you forget the rules? You're always good about remembering them. I mean ..." she trails off to watch the dancing bear.

Ferrando shrugs negligently at Esoka. "I have a carefully crafted plan that can't fail to avoid such a battle; it's called eat all the food first." He leans a bit lower conspiratorially. "I'll try and save you some though." With a wink, he straightens up. "By the by, while I'm far from the most socially connected fellow around Arx, I don't think I've seen you at any functions or even the training center? You're obviously the soldiery sort. I'm Ferran-" He starts to introduce himself, but abruptly dancing bear! It's a little mesmerizing. "-do," he finishes a little belatedly.

Sparte looks over to Zhayla as he is introduced, giving her a bright smile before looking to Ywaine. "I met her the other day, she offered to train me if someone else paid for it." He scratches his cheek a moment, looking a little abashed. "It is, um, some scholars program I think." He doesn't even fully remember. Looking towards Silas, Sparte listens to what Ywaine says before zipping over to take that position. No byes, just zoom - as if he were suddenly on duty as the world's skinniest bodygard.

Sparte has joined the Trestle Tables.

Tiber is still pretty little. "Dooo," he yells from the top of Tikva's head. It's one of his favorite words. 'Do'. 'No'. 'Mama'. It's a short list.

"Yikes." Tikva laughs, eyes rounding as she looks toward the distracting bear. "/Petrichor/ what have you done."

Percephon's attention drifts for a few moments, his dark gaze coming to settle upon LUna and Reinhardt the bear. A furrow forms in his brow, watching with rapt fascination for a few heartbeats. He snaps back to the groun he is with, something Ywaine having said before he departed causing his attention to be placed upon Sparte. "I don't believe we've met before. Percephon. Lord Percephon Telmar, if you wish to be precise."

Following the bite from the apple in his grasp, Rymarr takes the time to chew and consider the bite taken. The head of the man tilts to one side as though he were silently judging the flavor and quality of the apple for the first time, though with the wave from Zhayla cast over shoulders and heads, Rymarr's chin inclines ever so slightly in order to consider the source. Upon finding Zhayla, the hand gripping the apple lifts and offers a brief wave in return. Though with Zhayla's attention briefly on himself, Rymarr's left hand lifts and gestures toward himself, them his hand begins to pantomime a gesture to indicate writing, before he points toward Zhayla. He doesn't wait to see if the point or meaning of the gesture is understood, as Iona's suddenly within his presence and Rymarr's attention swiftly turns to regard the Duchess of Bisland. He effects a polite bow of his head as he finishes swallowing the previous bite from his apple. Once he's cleared his mouth of debris, Rymarr clears his throat and addresses Iona, "My lady, I do like to be surprising from time to time. A schedule of certainty is a schedule of predictability," he says in an almost sing-song manner. Though he's suddenly distracted by a bear. A dancing bear. Which results in a quiet murmur from Rymarr as he lifts his apple to his mouth and from behind the fruit mutters, "Redrains. Redrains everywhere." A brief glance is cast toward the hostess of the festival, Samantha, whom Rymarr watches for a long moment before his attention glides right back to Iona.

Satisfied with the brief interaction with Khanne, Lark takes one last look at the festivities before pivoting. Her skirts swirl at her feet and a small hand comes up to steady her hair as she slips out.

At Rymarr's mimed gesture, Zhayla makes a startled gesture and then a two-thumbs-upped gesture of promise. "You too, Ywaine!" Zhayla's smile follows him and turns only belatedly and unconvincingly outraged as she looks at Percephon. "Keep calling me a miscreant and I'm definitely going to go back to letting your reputation stand as-is!" No helpfulness! NONE. She looks at Khanne with smile returning, wiggling a few fingers in a hello that gets distracted by the bear. And the everything. "Oh!" She looks at Sparte with a startled laugh. "That was you, huh? Not enough of us in the city. Maybe you can get one of the commanders--" She eyes Silas. Her eyes get big. "--help pay for your training as part of your duties." JUST A SUGGESTION. She beams at him. Eh, eh?

Ywaine does glance once or twice at Sparte - what NCO doesn't - but smiles a touch at the young man that pops right into place. He heads for Iona, pausing and waiting at the periphery of the conversation, settling his hands behind him in some approximation of parade rest.

Iona finds her gaze drawn towards Luna and her bear as the loud yelling bursts out, and a glance of recognition shows on her face - she's no doubt come across these two before. Seeing the bear twirl and bow as if it were some kind of act, her eyebrows raise as she draws in some air, eventually shaking her head in slight disbelief and then catching sight of Samantha. As eyes meet for a brief moment, she raises her hand and offers a dainty little wave full of finger-wiggling that no doubt belies the affection present between mother and daughter, albeit in a somewhat embarrassing manner if it were communicated like this in any other venue. As for Rymarr? Of course, she does end up responding. "Surprises are the best... sometimes. No doubt the Marquessa is quite pleased to see the King's Own here today; it provides a certain degree of security as well as support from the King in these difficult times." she responds diplomatically before raising an eyebrow at Rymarr. "I was born a Redrain." the Duchess tells him with a rather dry tone.

Luna goes on, "Abandoned by his tribe, Prince Reinhardt is an ambassador to human kind." She bows taking off her rainbow top hat, her red fluff of wild hair plumes out of the hat. She has a last bouquet of sunflowers on the top of her head she hands to Rein. He takes it in his mouth and circles the crowd searching. "He will be sure to be a good and proper emissary this evening." Rein wiggles himself to the crowd and finds himself at Samantha's feet. He bows again and offers the bouquet of sunflowers.

Leta flashes Tikva a broad, friendly smile, and looks a bit uncertain at the woman before offering a, "M'Lady." just in case. Samantha seems to know her and the child, so that's probably a safe bet. "It was lovely singing, that was! I don't proper know the lyrics too well, mind you, though I'd heard it before, or I'd have joined in." she offers, then peeks curiously at Tiber, "M'Lord." she says this with a jovial wink. Also, she has a drink in hand, so she takes a big sip from it. Back to Samantha, she cracks a bright grin, and reaches over one shoulder to pat the neck of the lute she's carrying. "I might! I might. But it's mostly rude songs and songs for wooing, what I know. Maybe a dance or two." she explains, then looks to the bear with a big loud laugh. "Don't know if I know a song that'll work for him!"

Esoka arches her eyebrows at Ferrando's winking. Eyes are narrowed in that near-smile again, though. "Your courtesy does you great credit, I'm sure." She sounds a touch amused, but pleasantly so. "I've not been in the city long. And am not the most social of creatures, so if I'm unknown it's my fault, not yours. I am called Dame Esoka Greenblood. I'm in service to the Deep..." Pause. Dancing bear! She adds, "...woods." quickly, before directing all her attention to that bear. "Why it can twirl!" This has pleased her.

Ears redden, big blinks aimed at Percephon. Oh, oh! The lord is addressing him. "Uhhhhh." He swallows, reaching for where his helmet's visor would normally be and paying the air helplessly for a few seconds before lowering his hand. "L-l-lordship. S-spatre, hello." He blinks, and suddenly points at Percephon. "I mean I'm not a lordship, you are!" He stares at his own hand, snapping it back to his side, and forces the least confident grin possible before turning to look at Silas' left arm like it was the only safe thing to stare at in the world.

Iona also offers a polite smile towards Ywaine, having seen the man head in their direction.. but, given that she is near Rymarr, she thinks little more of the matter and assuming he's there to make conversation with the Lord Commander instead.

Silas acquires a bodyguard in the form of lanky Sparte as Ywaine leaves his side. He does seem to mind at all. "Are you hungry, Sparte?" The Lord Commander inquires curiously. He can't help but quirk a smile at Percephon steps forward to introduce himself. "Master Sparte is a deceptively competent guardsman, in spite of being one of our newest additions." Elbow-fixation aside.

After some time of walking around the peripheral of the gathering, Natalia makes her way towards the table and keeps it safely between herself and the bear. Her eyes scan the crowd but as time goes by she sinks further and further away from it, holding a single apple within her hand and heading towards the maze with a pensive expression.

"Then you no doubt understand the sentiment. Bears are synonymous with the family, especially after watching Prince Darren so adeptly wrestle on," Rymarr replies back to Iona without missing a beat. Were Iona's sudden dry tone of concern or notice, the knight fails to show it. He takes another bite from his apple before his attention drifts languidly from the bear to Iona. He considers the Duchess for a moment before he continues, "Alas, my lady, are you enjoying your time at the festival?" Rymarr asks with a brief glance aside to regard Ywaine in silence. He studies the man from head to toe for one brief, sweeping glance from top to bottom to top. Following the momentary distraction, the leader of the King's Own shifts his full attention back to regarding Iona while he patiently awaits her own answer.

Tikva squeaks a little at the approach of the bear and hops back a half-step in startlement. Tiber shouts at the top of his toddler lungs at the bear: "DO!" Who knows what it is he wants Reinhardt to do. He's still working on words!

A little rattled, Tikva laughs as she glances aside at Leta, saying, "Thanks. Lady Tikva Riven, hi. I love rude songs, comes from playing soldier with the scouts of Laveer, but I wasn't going to sing anything about that at Samantha's party. At least not until everyone is a lot drunker--"

"And this is the Lady Khanne," Percephon offers up the last of the introductions for Zhayla's part, who earns a ticked up eyebrow from the scholar. "Well, if you stop hanging out in seedy parts of the Archives, I'll consider a different term for you." It's a hint of far too innocence offered up there, one that has his amusement grow at Sparte's reaction and Silas' followup. "I have no doubt he would be. A boon for the Iron Guard, and a pleasure to meet you, Sparte." But ultimately, it's the wine red haired woman at his side that his focus turns to, offering the shaman a warm smile. "You... look like you need a drink. Shall we go find you one?"

Bear. Bear. Bethany nods, notes the current ambling progress of the bear and gingerly starts moving in the opposing direction. Subtle, see.

"Oh!" Samantha explains in delight, "Why, Sir Rheinhardt, your attentions flatter me, how very kind." Samantha dips briefly to pick up the sunflowers, offering a curtsy in turn to the bear and his handler. "I shall very much enjoy watching both of you sing and dance, Mistress Luna." Grinning at Leta, she says, "I'm sure you could find a suitably jaunty tune. And I don't mind if it's a little naughty..." her gaze slides to the boy on Tikva's shoulders and she amends, "But only a little." Once again her gaze sweeps over the crowd, conscious of her duties, once again they linger in the direction of Iona and Rymarr. And now Ywaine.

A low bow from the big Ywaine - at the Duchess and the Lord Commander Rymarr, and his gaze settles on Iona, "Ma'am, y'grace, beggin' yer pardon - when you have a moment, I wouldn' min' to pick yer brain a touch 'bout a trainin' idea I had that I think y'can help with. Ywaine Telmar - well," a wry expression, "Sorry, year or two in, still horrible at this lordly thing. Lord Ywaine Telmar, at yer service. Sir," to the Lord Commander, polite as well.

Malachi leaves, following Bethany.

Ferrando is sort of talking to the bear over yonder while he has a conversation with Esoka, having a little trouble not watching the spectacle. "Ah, a knight! And of the host's house no less," he observes. Finally he tears his attention away from the dancing bear to bow with well-practiced precision to Esoka. "I must admit that politeness is a major portion of my job responsibilities," he adds lightly before straightening up with a smile. "Anyway, it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Dame Esoka. You've certainly come at the right time, we could use all the good sword hands we could get in the capital right now." He regards the dancing bear once again with a faintly puzzled look. "I'm not sure how I should feel about the bear probably being a better dancer than I am," he deadpans.

Reinhardt's green vest makes him so dapper, so handsome, he is a well groomed bear. Reinhardt tips his head to the side at the tiny human. Then turns his head back to Samantha, giving her the sunflowers. He gives a low pleased rumble. Reinhardt bows again and then lays flat on his belly. He looks like a great big puppy dog and he noses her shoes some. Luna calls. "Reinhardt is offering you a ride of honor on his back Marquessa Deepwood." She follows along, keeping up with Reinhardt, she is his handler after all, but he is very very well behaved.

Natalia finally takes her leave of the gathering, walking off without having found conversation or greeting to anyone.

Khanne tilts her head and looks over to Rymarr with a bit of a frown, having overheard his words while watching the bear. Percephon stating her name grabs her attention and she looks at him startled, briefly. "Oh, oh yes... Hello." She smiles and waves. "Just Khanne, is fine... really..." His offer makes her smile and she gives a nod. "A drink would be lovely. Thank you."

Natalia has left the Garden Maze.

Silas officially seats himself at one of the nearby tables after fetching himself a glass of wine and a helping of the carrot soup he provided. He leans in to exchange some whispered conversation with the flustered Sparte.

Iona chuckles towards Rymarr. "I cannot say I was a witness to that event, although I have heard of it." she responds pleasantly before glancing to the apples he brought. "Are those sour crispy kind, or are they more the sweety and chin-dribbling juicy sort?" she inquires before answers his question. "Oh, I only arrived just before you, Lord Commander. It is quite pleasant; especially the wide variety of people makes it an entertaining sight to behold." she explains pleasantly before she finds her attention drawn by Ywaine once more. "Duchess Iona Bisland." Iona introduces herself to Ywaine with a patient grin, clearly not too bothered by any sort of lacking etiquette right now - it must be the atmosphere of the place! "I am not sure how well I can help in that; but the Lord Commander ought to be more than capable of lifting your training to the next level with a mere word or two." she chuckles.

"Leta Broadbent, m'Lady." the blonde woman says to Rivka, and takes a small half step back from the bear, but just one. She does give it a look that is both wary and delighted, studying the animal closely at this range with interest. The woman's Boroughs accent might explain she's not terribly familiar with bears. "I'm a sellsword myself, for the time being. So - it's mostly songs for around the fires and such, myself. And for - like I said, wooing." she gestures vaguely, but cracks a grin and lifts her cider, taking a big sip. She nods to Samantha, "There's a jaunty tune or two I can do for sure." she looks about, "Think I might try some of these games you have first."

Sparte gives Silas a few brief responses, but seems to be doing his best to not stand out despite being a beanpole with a bright red bandana on the top. He is to the left side, standing nearby.

"Leta Broadbent, m'Lady." the blonde woman says to Rivka, and takes a small half step back from the bear, but just one. She does give it a look that is both wary and delighted, studying the animal closely at this range with interest. The woman's Boroughs accent might explain she's not terribly familiar with bears. "I'm a sellsword myself, for the time being. So - it's mostly songs for around the fires and such, myself. And for - like I said, wooing." she gestures vaguely, but cracks a grin and lifts her cider, taking a big sip. She nods to Samantha, "There's a jaunty tune or two I can do for sure." she looks about, "Think I might try some of these games you have first."

"I was not!!" Zhayla says, a little squeaky in outrage as she hastens to reassure those nearby that Percephon is a LIAR. "Don't believe him," she asks Khanne. "Or -- do believe him, but then immediately wonder what he was doing there if it was such a bad section of the library."

Shadow's first day in the city and the news of a party meant to help those displaced and affected in the forests had the man returning to the wilderness for a time. Finally back the mountain of a man with the wild tangle of red hair atop his head and flowing over his chest seems to arrive at the party, though likely looking like he far from belongs. Shadow's hands clutching against his back the hind quarters of a recently killed and gutted dear. Droplets of blood trailing behind the man as his furs across his back have been stained red with the blood of the dead forest dweller that he had brought to give over as food for those effected. The large northerner seeming to see no issues with this and not knowing that it might not be the best of manners to trail blood into the party much less arrive dressed or dirty as he was.

"I have my eye on that pie eating contest, but I think we gotta find a third," Tikva says, with a chortling laugh, "and I'm not gonna do that to Lord Tiber here." She screws up her face. "/And I think/ the bear would win. I don't know that much about bears--"

Khanne looks to Percephon and asks, "just what is in the 'seedy section' of the archives, and why were you there?" She gives a wink to Zhayla then, waiting for Percephon's answer. Her eyes spot Shadow then and she lifts her hand to cover her mouth, trying to hide a bit of a grin.

"Beggin yer pardon ma'am, while 'm sure the Lord Commander could most definitely show my recruits ten things 'fore breakfast, I meant y'grace. Y'see, your tendency to uh, talk down a fight - talk folks outta a fight? Battlefield diplomacy - knowing yer ready to throw a right hook an' get after it if you gotta, but instead breathin', thinkin' through the problem and talkin' folks down. That's the skill I'd like t'introduce into the new recruits f'the Iron Guard. Now, 'm not so presumptive t'ask to take up yer time wit' this, but 'm hopin' y'gotta few books or contacts that mebbe could help me with that. I was Guard for many years, an' that ability - to walk int'a an arguing group an' calm 'em down - it comes with years and time. These kids, 'm afraid, they don't got that kinda time, so I gotta .. improvise a bit. Wait, did she just say pie?"

God gods, Samantha could not be more delighted by such an idea if someone tried. "Me? Ride your bear?" she asks in astonishment, and looks to Leta and Tikva. "Ladies, do excuse me, I could not resist such a prospect if I tried." A grin, "Do enjoy yourself, Leta. I suspect you'd do rather well." And then, dainty as one may please, Samantha seats herself, legs dangling to one side as if in a sidesaddle, on top of Rein's broad, furry back. Look Ma, I'm Riding A Bear!

Zhayla is flashed a warm, amused smile from Percephon, but up a hand lifts to give a waggle in farewell to the woman, "Don't get into too much trouble here, yes?" And with that, he turns to gently lead Khanne off, leaning over to the side to whisper something to her. Probably about that horrible, dark section of the archives and why he was there. It's towards the drinks they go, the tables full of all sorts of goodies.

"It was quite the feat to behold; Prince Darren wrestling a bear. I say that without any form of irony, sarcasm, or the like. It was truly inspiring to see a man capable of such a display," Rymarr offers back to Iona with frank earnestness resting within his tone. Though Ywaine's presence and words draw Rymarr's attention again from Iona to the Iron Guardsman. A nod is passed from Rymarr to Ywaine, followed shortly after by a comment cast toward the man, "A pleasure to meet you Lord Ywaine Telmar," the knight of the King's Own offers back with a subdued, but humble smile. Swiftly Rymarr's stern blue eyes travel back to Iona and the question asked. He gives a lift of his shoulders before he turns his apple over in his hand and holds the unbitten point of the apple out toward Iona as he announces, "They're real thick and juicy, I really wish I could have double. But then I'd be in trouble," Rymarr says with a nod as he holds out the apple for Iona to have a bite. Then? Then he seems to realize what he's doing and begins to withdraw his hand, and his apple from Iona with a clearing of his throat and a nod toward the basket of apples, "And, of course, my lady there are plenty to be found in the basket.."

Esoka chuckles low at Ferrando. "I would not let it bruise your ego too much. He is clearly a professional entertainer." The bear. "And I have heard, yes." Tone a touch graver, at mention of the need for soldiers in the city. "I hope my blade can be of some service. I am gladdened to see some of the refugees here tonight. They certainly deserve something to take their minds off things. And the pleasure if all mine. What is it you do? Are you a warrior by trade as well?" She still half-watches the bear, and its potential riders, as she talks. She puts down her drink as Samantha mounts the thing. Hands //clapping// with enthusiasm. "That is my liege." She sounds all of pride as she comments that to Ferrando.

Khanne looks up to Percephon as they walk together to the refreshments, eyes a bit wide before she glances over her shoulder back to Zhayla. The look is brief before she is speaking quietly with Percephon again.

Pointing at her eyes and then pointing at Percephon -- She's got her eyes on him! FOR LIES! -- Zhayla throws a last grin at Khanne as they depart. SHe moves to join those watching Samantha, sliding in near Esoka and Ferrando. "Okay, that is like a thousand times worse than riding a horse," she says in the kind of hush that /carries/.

Luna circles so she is in front of the bear. She pats her hands together and rises them. "Rein. Gentle. Up." She gives straight commands. Rein rises carefully to his feet not to jostle the Marquessa and circles the party floor. "Ride of honor! Behold the hostess!" Luna calls in her sing song voice and bangs on her tambourine. Luna guides Reinhardt to give Samantha a equisitite ride around the party. "Bless be Old Oak Harvest Festival!"

Sparte slowly peels his eyes away from watching Silas, to look at the bear. Oh hey, a bear! What, a bear? Why is there a bear? "Is... Is that normal, sir?"

With no one stopping him and not noticing that stiffled grin from Khanne the large northerner in the form of Shadow has no idea what he is doing is leaps and bounds beyond a social faux pas but more so a giant social cluster fuck. The man continuing along leaving that trail of deer blood staining the ground behind him moving to one of those tables of food before he is shifting his weight and bending to swing the dear around to be slung down on the table with a loud sickening thunk. The man wiping his hands off on his jerkin of fur and leather before he is turning to look over the place. The sight of the bear has the man's grin growing and a bright almost innocent look to take to his eyes.

Iona glances over towards the loud noises coming from the bear area - wasn't that thing properly tamed? - only to see her daughter riding the blasted thing. She blinks. TWICE. But the image remains on her retinas, and a deep breath escapes her. "If you are riding it, you should be able to make a round through the fairgrounds, right?" she calls out after a moment of inner conflict, the decision to egg her daughter on a bit somehow gaining the upper hand, eventually glancing back towards Rymarr with.. a glance that defies words. She holds up her hand, shaking her head but politely thanking Rymarr through a smile before responding towards Ywaine. "It is all about reputation. If you make a threat, be ready to back it up with action. If you don't, then your threats are useless. Everything follows from that." Iona explains to the Lord in the most elementary terms.

Leta nods to Samantha looking jovially concerned, if such a thing is possible. "Of course!" she laughs, and eyes the bear warily, then turns back to Tikva, "Think there's a couple other folk might want to try their hand at the pies. Or their stomach, more like it." she corrects herself with a smile. "Think I ought to go open up my appetite, anyhow. Think I'll go for the mallet first!" she points to the test of strength.

A solemn, serious nod is offered up to Khanne, Percephon peering behind him at Zhayla. But then there is booze to be had. It's a brief glance towards Khanne before he picks out a bottle of the hard cider, keeping it tucked away for her, it would seem. It's a brief, questioning glance flashed her way, before his attention is inevitably drawn back to that dancing bear, the spectacle drawing a warm smile to his mouth.

Ferrando cheers for Samantha's bearback riding skills! Waaaait, that totally came out wrong. Oh well. "Something like that. My official title is 'remedial etiquette instructor' at the Whisper House," he explains to Esoka after belting out his huzzahs. "It's a polite way of saying head of security. Beating somebody up and throwing them out never happens at the House, of course. Our respected guests never sink to such levels of uncouth as to make -that- necessary," he says lightly. "But preparation for all eventualities is just the prudent and thorough thing to do as befitting one of the city's oldest institutions." He glances down to Zhayla who has popped near him again. "What, you mean the bouncing around?" He evidently doesn't ride bears or horses very often.

Not long after Shadow makes his way through, some of the Deepwood liveried servants politely offer to relieve him of his burden so it can be butchered up for the refugees.

Silas casually sips his wine as he watches the bear-riding spectacle himself. "Once you attend a Redrain event, Master Sparte, you'll realize how this can be made into something mundane," he answers sagely.

"I'll go with you!" carols Tikva. She moves to trail with Leta towards the hammer, clapping for Samantha and the bear with another bright, easy laugh. Of course, as they approach the hammer game, she's going to need to take that child off her shoulders. There's no way she's going to be able to swing a hammer in a test of strength with a toddler on her.

"No!" Tiber says.

"Mmm-mm, mama yes," Tikva corrects him cheerfully.

Iona's refusal of a bite from the apple is met only by an understanding nod of Rymarr's head before he quietly mutters back to the Duchess, "Apologies, my lady. Accustomed to being in the presence of His Majesty's knights. Sometimes you can't finish a snack or meal, so you pass it on," Rymarr explains politely. Though both Iona and Ywaine are forgotten as Rymarr steps away, his apple discarded when it's tossed to the side. Stern blue eyes focus in on the bear and it's passenger, while Rymarr's hand moves to rest casually atop the dawnstone fit into the pommel of the blade at his side. At the touch, it lingers for a moment, before it drifts away once again as though the owner of the hand realized where it had fallen. Rymarr's other hand shifts down and aside thing, moving to casually grip the shaft of his morning star slung at his left side while he observes the bear it outright silence.

Percephon grabs an empty glass before gesturing for Khanne to grab any of the food, if she sow ishes, and then it's over towards the entrance of the garden maze. For the moment, the Lord seems content to watch, those dark eyes considering not just the bear, but the reactions of the others around it. It's Shadow who gets a longer look from the fellow, a hint of a bemused smile curling to the corners of his mouth.

Percephon has joined the Garden Maze.

Esoka turns her gaze to Zhayla. "You sound as if you speak from experience. Do you ride bears often?" Asked in that same faintly dry but jolly tone she seems to have assumed for this party. "I will admit, it does not look as convenient as a good steed. But imagine how it would intimidate your foes." She digs the possibilities. She nods when Ferrando describes his job. A snort escaping her at the term 'remedial etiquette instructor.' "The sort of etiquette I can appreciate. Security that is not often necessary is doing its job, I think. The presence of strength makes those who are not fools mind themselves better."

Khanne has joined the Garden Maze.

"Yes'm, yes ma'am," says Ywaine, attentive, as he listens to her speak, "And if'n we got say - nineteen, twenty summy yr old kids without those years 'f experience. How do we get 'em there in the shortest 'mount of time?" he asks Iona. A smile at the knight, a dip of his head, a bow again, "Wrestled a bear once, Sir Rymarr. Was drunk, 'f course an' young an' stupid, an' my sergeant, he done said I weren't strong enough. This was oh, fifteen years ago 'so. That bear was TOUGH." A glance to follow Rymarr's to the bear, and then across to Shadow.

Zhayla looks visibly unnerved by Khanne and Percephon, and narrows her eyes at them, gaze following them as they meander off. What! What!! She startles when Ferrando speaks, gaze slipping back to him. "Oh, no. Everything. All of it! Like horses, sure, they step on you, but a bear--." She trails off, unwilling to jinx anything. "The Marquessa is being very brave, though, isn't she?" Even as she asks, she gradually relaxes, taking confidence from that which Samantha displays. She even manages a grin as she looks at Esoka. "I'm just guessing. I'd rather intimidate my foes by coming at them with a giant fff--sword."

"Not -all- of our events are so.... spectacular," Khanne says in the direction of Silas. "Some are more.. mundane..." Her eyes look about, brows raising as a smile curls her lips. She takes up some of the fruit and walks with Percephon to the maze.

When the ride comes to an end, Samantha just as daintily rises from the bear's back, but not before giving him a scritch between his ears. "Thank you, Sir Reinhardt, Mistress Luna." she says, curtseying to them in amusement. "I'm going to have an entire pot of honey delivered to the wagon as a thank you." Looking out at the crowd, she beams - see what she just did? Totally Bucket List. And when her gaze falls on Rymarr, her chin lifts a little. Like she's daring him to chastize her for riding a freakin' bear. A freakin' bear!

Leta nods to Tikva as she walks over towards the hammer. "Sure thing, m'Lady! And I'll see if we can't get some more folk to try it out!" she adds with a cheerful wink, then turns and looks through the crowd, lifting a hand high and calling out, "Minister Ferrando! Care to open your appetite for the pies? And ask Mistress Zhayla too. Hammer's as good as that sword of hers by my reckoning!" she gestures to Zhayla and points a finger. "Or just grab anyone!"

Luna has Reinhardt circle the party twice and comes to stop where he picked Samantha up. He bows down on his belly to let her off. SHe rumbles with glee at the ear rubs. He rolls on his back for tummy rubs. Luna smiles and bows low from the hips. "Pleasure was all ours Marquessa." She rubs Rein's belly as a reward. "We shall go entertain the guests."

When Aislin slips into the party, there's a sense that she's steeling herself for the crowds. And yet she comes to a stop the moment she sees Samantha dismounting from a /bear/. She rubs at her eyes once, as if perhaps wondering whether or not she's finally crossed the sleep deprivation event horizon and has begun to hallucinate.

Shadow checked luck + animal ken against difficulty 25, resulting in 53, 28 higher than the difficulty.

Settled into place, Percephon continues to observe, though Aislin's apperance does draw one hand of the man up to give a wave towards the woman. He sips from his drink, the brunt of his focus apparently cast out upon the crowd.

Ferrando looks at Zhayla with a squint of concern. "You get stepped on by horses?" he repeats. "Maybe you shouldn't wave your fff'ing sword at them then," he advises before turning back to Esoka with a cheerful shrug. "Everything goes much nicer when everybody behaves well. I do what I can to keep--" And then Leta is yelling for him and using the word 'pie', which is pretty much like the Ferrando equivalent of the Bat-signal. "Ah, my pardon, Dame Esoka, but I believe one of the contests I'd been looking forward to is starting up. If you'll excuse me? Or if you'd like to try and participate yourself, come along, I'll take on all challengers," he adds confidently.

Iona smiles briefly at Rymarr. "No apologies necessary. I'd accept it, but that sticky stuff will go everywhere, and I somehow suspect there's going to be some handshaking happening before I leave here." she grins as she pushes a wayward strand of hair away behind her ear, then returning to her discussion with Ywaine. "You'll want to lead by example, and give them a trial by fire, so to speak. Give the right example as you instruct them; if you expect them to do a task perfectly and some minor thing is wrong with it, don't be soft and accept it just that once. Make them run those 20 laps around the Palace. Similarly, you can have your soldiers do some moonlighting at some taverns or other establishments to keep the order, but their actions ought to be limited to restraining at most. Tell them you are grading them on the amount of times they have to use physical force on troublesome guests in a month; it ought to give them the stimulus they need." she offers as a suggestion, clearly figuring out a couple of these things out as she talks. "Does that sound feasible?"

As Shadow watches the bear return with the Marquessa the man's hands move to begin pulling free his jerkin revealing a muscular chest laid bare with small scars dotting over the flesh here and there. His upper form holding those redish curls of body hair as he reveals his flesh dropping the jerkin to the ground before he starts to approach the bear with a look of absolute excitment and keen interest showing in his gaze. The man giving a low growl as he approaches the bear before clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. The man making his way over towards the bear before his hands lift to give a light tap against his chest as he gives another low growl and series of clicks of his tongue against the roof of his mouth. The man from the north looking to not be afraid of the bear if anything to be wanting to actually play with the thing.

3 Grayson Guardsmen arrives, following Barric.

3 Grayson Guardsmen have been dismissed.

Tikva checked charm + performance against difficulty 15, resulting in 22, 7 higher than the difficulty.

"How about this." Tikva fills her lungs with a long inhalation, cups her hands to either side of her mouth, and bellows in best carnival barker style: "STEP UP, TRY YOUR LUCK, TEST YOUR STRENGTH WITH THE -- MIGHTY -- HAMMER SWINGING STRENGTH CONTEST!" She has no idea what to call this apparently. Tikva, you are a dork.

Esoka drains a little more from her cup. Zhayla gets another of those faint crinklings of her eyes that's //just// threatening to turn into a smile. Even if it doesn't make it all the way, it warms her features some. "True enough. I would trust my sword farther than my bear. Though the bear might help now and again. Is there something amiss?" Her own eyes track off in the direction Zhayla was looking visibly unnerved in, that Khanne and Percephon wandered off to. Ferrando gets an inclination of her head as he's called off. "I think I will just watch for now. But best of luck. If you eat well, I shall cheer."

Ywaine thinks for a moemnt, and dips his head, "That makes sense, y'grace. Thank you, ma'am. I like those ideas, I'll try 'em out. If there's every anything I can do t'help you, lemme know," he says as he dips his head to Rymarr. "Sir," he adds. "Ooh, hammer strength. That's somethin' I can do! Pardon me ma'am, sir?"

Fashionably late or more likely just late, the Sword of Bastion finds himself ambling on through Deepwood Manor, searching for the gathering until he happens to come outside to the grounds. Someone wasn't paying attention. Barric gets rid of his guards when he enters, sending them off to do whatever it is those people do when they're not watching him. If they even exist. The prince keeps to the periphery for now, moving around the outside of the group and not making any attempts to be social just yet.


"Not as much as I used to," Zhayla answers Ferrando. "Dumpling and I get along great now. Greatish. Rymarr gave me some good advice that helped a lot. 'Don't stand behind her.'" That's it. That's literally the best advice. And it really /is/ good advice. She grins over at Esoka and then says, "Come on. Let's go hit things instead. You look like you could show up big in a strength contest!" She even reaches out to grab her by the arm -- they are friends now; they talked for 5 seconds -- and encourage her to follow her over to join Tikva. "Good luck, Ferrando! Let me know if you need another!"

After his cup is no longer empty, Thesarin hears the advertising coming from Tikva and elects to make his way over to the strength thingie. He sees at least one other there, Ywaine, who gets a nod before Thes says to Tikva, "I may as well try this, what's the worst that could happen?"


Shadow the giant Ginger may not be afraid of the bear. But Reinhardt the Prince amoung bears is. He skirts behind Luna hiding. The man smelled like blood looked like a hunter. Even at a party the bear was leery of him. Luna holds out her arm. "Hold. Do not approach." She warns, arms out protectively of Rein. With her mess red locks, Shadow and her could be distant cousins.

From the maze where she sits with percephon, Khanne's eyes watch Shadow, her brows lifting in a bit of humored surprise as she speaks softly with her companion.

Aislin offers a wave in return to Percephon, and then... wow, Tikva's certainly loud. She turns her attention to the Riven noblewoman, the corner of her mouth quirking upwards in what might be the first sign of amusement the exhausted adventurer has shown in days. So she makes her way over towards the hammer game; even if she's not going to participate, watching should be amusement enough.

Silas sends a faint smile Sparte's way. The remainder of his soup and wine is consumed, and he stands from his seat. "I think I will retire for the night. You should join in the festivities, Master Sparte." Silas looks in the direction of the various games set up in the area. "And thank you for listening to my babbling."

Samantha dismounted from the bear and her chin inclined in Rymarr's direction, he returns the gesture with an incline of his own chin. For the moment the knight's features remain pensive while he shoots a stare that speaks volumes. Now without his apple and devoid of company in the form of Iona and Ywaine both, Rymarr takes a moment to glance around himself as though in search of whomever it would be that he set as his next target. That target seems to be Samantha, because Sir Rymarr begins to march off toward the Marquessa of Deepwood with blatant determination in his ground-eating pace. He lifts his hand while he watches Samantha, as though he were preparing to take a bite from the fruit he had only a moment ago tossed away at the prospect of slaying a bear. A frown later and Rymarr's hand lowers back to his side as he draws into the orbit of Samantha with a quiet word.

Leta stands there by Tikva and the hammer, and nods her approval. "That was even better, m'Lady! Though now I'll have to work even harder to win, won't I? Not too hard, anyhow." the sellsword winks and eases the lute off from her back, resting it against the nearest barrel. Assuming there are barrels everywhere. She laughs in Ferrando's direction, "Not the pie contest yet, is it? Though I think we might have too many contestants for that one. Just offerin' to open up the appetite! And if I lose too badly, I'm out of the running on the pies." she winks.

Sparte inclines his head to Silas. "Lord Commander." He looks around at the festivities. His eyes go to the scared bear, then to the hunter, then to the rest of the people assembled. Yeah, he falls in step behind Silas for the exit. "Think I'll retire as well, sir."

The motion from Luna and the reaction from the bear has Shadow blinking in confusion before he gives another low growl and click of his tongue, Moments later the large man's voice sounds out surprisingly soft for someone his size and with his look. "Am friend." The man's hand lightly patting his chest before he actually just plops down to sit a few feet away from the woman and her bear. The man's head tilting as he leans to the side to try and peek behind the woman to look to the bear. The strange looks and occasional laughs from the others? Shadow is blissfully ignorant of.

"I can't imagine, my lord," Tikva says with a bright, beaming smile up at Thesarin. She puts the toddler firmly down on the ground and then crouches beside him for a moment. "You're gonna be a good little man and not run off, right, Lord Tiber?" she says. "Here you go." Now Tiber has a small stuffed squirrel in his hands that he can ... bash repeatedly against the grass. Oh, dear. Standing straight again, she rakes a hand through the bright fluff of her short hair and says, "Right! Hammer time! Who's on first? Is it me? Maybe it should be so I can get back to riding herd on short pants?"

Ferrando trucks over to the shouting to join the general contest entry brigade. It seems he's got lots of potential hammer-whacking company. "Well, whatever we're up to, I'm game to give it a go," he declares amiably.

Esoka blinks when Zhayla grabs her arm. But she doesn't resist. Five-second friends! The enthusiasm about hitting things wins her over some, at least. She chuckles and follows gladly. "I could make a better showing at it than pie, at least. Or dancing. What should I call you, by the way?" Since they're friends now. "I am Dame Esoka Greenblood, in service to the Deepwoods."

Silas chuckles, seeming to deduce Sparte's general line of thought. "Very well." He turns to look at Ywaine, Percephon, Leta, and Zhayla and he sends a dperting wave in their general direction. The hostess was also given a nod, whether she notices it or not.

"My pleasure. Likewise, if you run into issues, do let me know and I'll see if I can think along. My son is in the Iron Guard himself, so I'll consider myself somewhat biased in wanting to make sure his coleagues get all the experience they need to excel at their work." Iona responds to Ywaine with a small grin before looking towards the bear, the Marquessa and the Lord Commander. "The way he is walking to that bear is something I truly hope the thing won't think of as a threatening move. Animals tend to act by instinct." she murmurs under her voice, a bit worried.

Luna drops her guard a bit. "Hello Friend." She takes a timid step to Shadow, more scare of him than the bear. "I am Luna. This is Reinhardt. Does friend have name?" She asks softly and rubs her brown bear at the nape of his neck to ease him.

At Rymarr's silent remark, Samantha quite openly and heartily laughs a deep belly laugh, grinning at him and saying slyly, "As it happens, yes." She looks over in Iona's direction. "Iona! Mother, did you see? I rode a /bear/." Seriously that's going to stay with her for a while.

Tikva checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 33, 13 higher than the difficulty.

Pecephon watches, and there is a lift of his hand towards Silas as the man begins to leave. But his attention shifts first to Shadow and the bear, watchign that reaction, before ultimately settling upon Esoka, Zhayla, and others with them. It's the later that gets a broad smile, ever so amused but good spirited, while Esoka gives another finger waggle of silent greeting from the Lord.

Ywaine dips his head to Rymarr and Iona, a low bow to each, "Yes ma'am. I will. And m'word, no preferential treatment. Hard trainin' is hard trainin', it's how they get back alive at th' end of the night." He makes his way towards where Tivka is, lifting his big hand as he approaches, "M'lady. I heard tell 'bout a strength an' hammer? That I c'n do!"

Silas has left the Trestle Tables.

Sparte has left the Trestle Tables.

Dash the Guard Corgi, Sparte leave, following Silas.

Tikva steps up to the hammer to take her turn. She hoists it, her archer's strength showing in the corded muscles of her biceps. She swings it and smashes with a hard CRACK. Checking her score with a satsified look, she whoops, and then steps back to sit down on the ground with her son and watch the other competitors. "Let's go! Take a swing!" she calls, clapping her hands. "Come on and beat me, ladies and gentlemen!"

Leta nods at Tikva, "Go ahead, m'Lady!" she gestures to the hammer with a jovial smile, then points down to Tiber. "I'll keep an eye on the little Lord!" she promises and takes a small step back to do just that, keeping an eye on the little Lord. But while she's at it, she offers a friendly look to the others coming over for the feats of strength.

Zhayla's hand flies up in answer to Silas's wave as she pulls up with the others in search of entertainment. She gives a startled little, "Oh! Right. My name is Zhayla. I serve Marquessa Samantha." There's no title to go before her name, and no family to go after the last, but she claims Deepwood with warm affection. Seeing Tikva take a very good whack, she claps her hands in delight. "Nice! Climb trees /and/ hit things! Very well-rounded! You should try," she encourages Esoka.

Aislin checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 15, 5 lower than the difficulty.

Shadow's left hand lifts in offering to the bear as he gives the creature a smile before he is looking to Luna. "Called Shadow, fits.." A broad grin spreading across his lip, "Make shadows." The man's right hand giving a slow subtle motion behind him as if to show what he meant by that. The man not moving yet from his seated position and still not seeming to feel out of place without anything covering his chest in a room of fully clothed people.

"Oh, I'll give it a try," Aislin remarks to Tikva. "I'll lose horribly, but I'll give it a try nonetheless." And she picks up the hammer... and, perhaps due to her apparent sleep deprivation, manages to actually drop it on her foot. This /might/ count as a sub-par reaction. It /does/ however, wake the Ashford woman up more than she was a moment earlier. It also prompts pained profanity in both Eurusi /and/ Nox'alfar. (Because if you're going to swear, you might as well do it in languages that any children present won't understand.)

Thesarin checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 24, 4 higher than the difficulty.

Ywaine winces a touch as he sees the hammer land on Lady Ashford's foot. "Ouch. Best t'get a healer t'look at that, m'lady," he says as he waits in line with the rest, rolling his shoulders slightly.

Luna sits down on the ground beside Shadow. Her eyebrows knit together looking at the darkness behind him. She nods as if she gets it. Rein just lays his head in her lap and she rubs him. "You smell like blood. We do not like the smell." She advises to Shadow. She rubs Rein behind the ears with affection.

Leta claps for Tikva, who relieves her very quickly from her toddler watching duties. "Well done, m'Lady!" she laughs brightly, stops clapping her hands, and watches Aislin with interest. As the hammer drops, she flinches, and wonders, "D'you need a medic or - something of the sort? Reckon there's got to be one about, with the bear and all that."

"Oh no!" Tikva exclaims when Aislin fumbles the hammer. "My lady! Are you all right?"

Tikva also gives Zhayla a big grin and a huge thumbs up, because YEAH.

Thesarin snorts in amusement as Tiber plays with the toy. He nods to Tikva as she makes a great show of wielding the hammer. As he awaits his turn, the Prodigal count rolls up his sleeves, baring the tattoos on his forearms. Thes does wince as the hammer falls on Aislin and thinks for a moment before continuing, though it seems others who are probably better at dealing with the problem are on it. When his turn comes up he hoists the hammer up, but fails to get as good of a grip as he would like and it fares well, but not as well as Tikva's attempt.

Ywaine checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 25, 5 higher than the difficulty.

Esoka does smile at Zhayla at that, her shoulders relaxing a bit. "Then we serve the same masters, after a fashion. Well met. The marquessa made a good showing on that bear." Her tone is all of pride in her lieges. Maybe a little extra tonight, for their bear-handling. Tikva's show earns a nod of appreciation, and she squares her shoulders. Chuckling. "All right! I think I shall give it a go!" She steps up, awaiting a turn at the hammer.

Zhayla looks impressed. Maybe not by Aislin's swing, but /definitely/ by her swearing. She looks over at Thesarin and Ywaine as they give it a go, calling encouraging cheers and marking how well they do. "You can do it!" she cheers on Esoka in particularly though. She's picking five-second-friend favorites.

Shadow gives a small nod as a frown settles across his lips, The man offering softly. "Why I took off jerkin, Not same as water but less blood." His shoulders raising and rolling back into a shrug before he is reaching into a pouch on his belt. A strip of dried meat pulled free and held out towards Rein as he adds, "Pretty boy, Good boy." The compliment paid to the bear before he gives a low playful growl to the large animal not giving up on trying to win the bear over.

Aislin waves the concerned bystanders away. "I'll be fine," she grumbles, though with no ire. "I don't think anything's broken. Probably. I should've known better than to pick up a heavy weapon when I've barely slept." That said, she /does/ take a seat on the ground for a moment beside little Tiber, just to make /sure/ she didn't break anything. She thus gets a slightly different viewpoint on the hammer attempts by Ywaine and Esoka.

Ywaine grabs the hammer when Thesarin is done. He rolls his big shoulders and rolls the hammer back. He flips his hips and shoulders and slams the hammer down, sending it crashing down with a gong before lifting the hammer to offer it to Esoka with a grin. "Here ya go, miss."

Reinhardt rumbles a little bit and holds out his paw for food. She snickers at him. "He is very handsome. Best bear in the world." She snuggles and loves on him like a cherished pet.

Esoka checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 17, 3 lower than the difficulty.

Samantha already moving off to attend to one matter or another, Rymarr easily slips away from where he had paused to speak with Samantha. The armoured knight begins to move through the festival crowd, his armoured hands already beginning to flex and squeeze, as though holding the grip of an axe haft within his two hands. He moves in to stand behind Esoka, whom he leans forward to quietly murmur a casual, "Good luck," to her before he leans back and settles into his place in the line of those trying their hand at the Hammer Smashy Hitting Game of Strength and Hammering.

When the paw is held out by the bear Shadow slowly reaches out to place the jerky on those soft pads of his paw before withdrawing his hand. The man giving a respectful dip of his head to the bear. "See am friend." The man talking to the bear a moment before he is looking to Luna. "Are many bears in world, he is nice and hand..some but can't say is best." The words leaving the man in a halting fashion.

Samantha has a brief exchange with Rymarr, and then immediately heads to the strength contest, kneeling next to Aislin in concern. "Are you alright?" she asks. "Shall I have something brought for your foot? Some ice?" She inspects the Ashford lady worriedly.

Rymarr checked strength + athletics against difficulty 15, resulting in 18, 3 higher than the difficulty.

Tiber makes grabby hands at Aislin from his position on the ground. He drops his squirrel and shouts at her: "Do!" What does he want. Who knows. He's 1 1/2. Meanwhile, Tikva drops her hands to either side on the grass and leans back against their brace as she watches the other competitors. "Whoof," she says.

Iona glances towards the people partaking in a contest of strength with a somewhat distracted expression, although the sudden painful swearing no doubt catches her attention. She grimaces, shaking her head in a 'well I predicted that' sort of hindsight manner, but does not really approach to help out: after all, people willing to help out a hurt young Lady are plentiful in a place like this. Instead, she opts to slowly distance herself and slip away from the festival before she too falls victim to excessive merriment.

Leta looks oddly at Aislin's swearing, but manages a smile and a nod, "Well done then!" and she claps for each contender testing their strength. "Don't think the bear can hold a hammer." she laments, then leans in towards Zhayla, "Hammer can't be much heavier than that sword there. Balance's all wrong, I bet, but oughta do well!" the woman with her own two-handed sword at her side says with an encouraging nod, before squaring her shoulders and step in.

Luna grumbles at Shadow. "He is the best because he is my brother." She rubs him more. Reinhardt takes a claw and drags dried meat back to him and snatches it up with his maw.

Leta checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 40, 20 higher than the difficulty.

"I'm not going to cheer for you," Zhayla tells Leta in a hush as she winces apologetically to Esoka, "because I think I was just bad luck for Esoka! You don't need it though!" SHE BELIEVES IN HER. Cheeres or not.

Ferrando is evidently content to watch the first several hammer swingers take a shot. It's a strength contest of course, but also technique to hit the thing squarely. After seeing Leta go, he steps up to take his turn. "No problem, just need to hit it like that, right?" he observes cheerfully.

Ferrando checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 30, 10 higher than the difficulty.

Esoka gives the hammer a swing. It is NOT the best of showings. She doesn't drop it on her toes, at least, so she just frowns at it //thunderously// and then hands it off to the next competitor. Chin arched, as if not smashing with the might of the gods is an affront to her dignity. Once she's reclaimed her drink, she looks a touch less downcast, though. "I shall take that as an sign to redouble my training. It shall be needed, plainly." Zhayla at least gets a thankful nod for the cheering. "The fault was entirely mine, I'm sure, but I appreciate the volume nonetheless."

Samantha is overheard praising Luna for: She let me ride her FRIKKIN' BEAR!

Aislin shakes her head to Samantha. "I'm fine, Sam. It'll have a bruise dark enough to pass for a tattoo, I think, but nothing's broken or sprained. So no lasting injury, except my pride." And then Tiber's little grabby hands are noticed, and she offers the child an amused look. "'Do' what?" Tikva is given a brief glance, as if asking for a translation, before Aislin's attention turns back to those with the hammer. "I'm fairly sure I hold the undisputed worst performance," she calls out to Esoka, as if this might be some comfort.

Rymarr fails to hit the target squarely with the hammer, grazing it and smashing the hammer into the frame of the contest display. He clears his throat, straightens slightly and then tilts his head to one side. He seems to study his handiwork for a moment before his pauldrons rise upward just a hair in a shrug, before dropping again as he mutters, "I'll stick to what I'm good at," he says as his hand falls away to his right side and comes to perch atop the dawnstone pommel of his blade as if it were some manner of armoured spider. He steps out of the way for the others, making room for the next individual to heft the hammer and take a shot at the majesty that is hitting things with a hammer.

Ferrando clicks his tongue lightly, setting the hammer down handle up for anybody else coming in after him. Good power, but missed the target by just a bit. "Well Admiral, if I ever need some firewood chopped I know who I'm asking," he tells Leta with a congratulatory little bow.

The words from Luna on the bear and about how he is her brother has the man giving a small nod, Shadow actually seeming to accept the explaination and looking like he might just believe the woman. "Ah, is good to have family." The man frowns some, "Only family have is spirits.. And not so much family as friends." The words spoken in that soft tone of his as he looks over the bear watchful as he eats that snack of dried meat. The man after a moment though raises up giving the woman a small nod before he begins to wander off with all the social graces of someone more comfortable with animals than people as he begins to return to his discarded jerkin that he had left near the table of food he had delivered the deer to.

Luna nods, "Not many spirits in the city. You can be my friend." When shadow scurries off she lumbers out with Rein

Luna has left the Paved Patio.

Leta's obviously a woman who knows her way around a hammer and instruments of the sort, perhaps! She swaggers up to the testing thing, adjusts the angle of her feathered cap, flashes a cocky little smile all abouht, then picks up the hammer, adjusting her grip on the haft as if it's a familiar thing. She brings the hammer high above her head and grunts loudly as she brings it back down, scoring a very solid hit. The brawny woman looks all too pleased with herself as she hands the hammer over to the next and struts off to the side.

"I have no idea," Tikva asides to Aislin with a wry hook to her mouth. "We're still working on ... words." She knuckles a little at her brow, wiping away some light patina of sweat glinting there, and looks up at Leta, cheering for her masterful performance. "Nice!" she calls.

Laughing outright at Leta's cocky saunter, Zhayla says, "I wish you didn't hit that hard when sparring, too, but you definitely do." She grins over at Esoka and says, "Feel free to find me on the training grounds if you want." She looks around to see if anyone else is going, and once she's sure that everyone else has gone first, she finally grabs the hammer to take a swing.

Zhayla checked strength + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 37, 17 higher than the difficulty.

And Ferrando in particular gets a wink from Leta in passing. "Got a hammer end and an axe end, the pollaxe does! Got a pointy end too, but that don't apply here."

"If you're certain." Samantha says, not sounding it herself. If you change your mind, let one of the servants know." She studies Aislin worriedly, and then grins at Tiber. "No hug for me, then? Well, that's alright." She starts to rise, brushing off her skirt and straightening her flower wreath.

"Do!" Tiber yells, waving his squirrel vehemently from the ground. Who knows why?

Esoka looks to Aislin, a warm chuckle sounding in her throat. She will take it. "We shall have to seek our glory in places other than hammers, perhaps. At least the drinks are still flowing, so there's comfort to be found." She watches Ferrando's turn at the hammer, with grudging approval at the hit he manages. "A fine showing," she says to him. She lets out a cheer as Zhayla lifts the hammer, her spirits not //too// dampened from failing to smash all the things.

Aislin nods to Samantha, offering reassurance. Sure, she'll sit here on the grass for a while rather than putting weight on the foot, but that's fine. Esoka earns one of the Ashford woman's rare smiles in answer, before turning back to Tikva. "Well, I'm happy to help teach a second language. It's good to start early." And then she leans over to regard Tiber more closely, giving his stuffed squirrel a very thoughtful look. Is the squirrel's /name/ 'Do' -- or maybe 'Dog'?

"Nice, nice hit you. And you, and you as well," says Ywaine with a grin, clapping alongside with the others. A young private in the tabard of the Blades appears and leans over to murmur to Ywaine. "My apologies, m'lady," he says to Tikva, "Sirs, ma'ams, apologize - work calls," he says as he moves to begin heading out.

It isn't until Shadow is bending down to grab up his blood stained Jerkin as he looks around that the man begins to feel once more out of place, the distraction of the bear had provided the man apparently with some distraction from the facts of where he was and those there and then just who he was. The man blinking several times as he raises back up, A slow look given over himself before he is looking over one of the attendants at the party. It's then that like a brick wall it hits him, The man giving a low growl as he nervously shifts from foot to foot before he starts heading for the door far quicker than some might expect a man of his size to move.

Ferrando scratches the back of his head. "That's a lot of ends!" he observes amiably to Leta. "I'll stick with the mace, it's a lot less complicated." He grins and half-shrugs nonchalantly at Esoka before mock-groaning as Zhayla bumps him out of the top three.

"Thank you, m'Lords, m'Ladies." Leta bows her head and actually doffs her hat, combing a hand through tousled blond hair before putting it back on. She rubs her hands together, "Well done!" she calls to Zhayla and looks confused as to whether that was better or worse than her own for a moment. "Well done!" she calls out and claps loudly, then shrugs in Ferrando's direction. "The more ends the merrier! Never know what calls for a hammering, a chopping or a poking."

Samantha makes her way back over to Rymarr, standing next to him and looking out over the celebration with satisfaction. "There are festivals during this time of year all over Old Oak." Samantha murmurs to him. "It's one of the reasons autumn is my favorite time of year."

1 Grayson Guardsmen arrives, following Reese.

Shrugging a broad apology at Ferrando, Zhayla gives Leta a quick laugh. "My rubicund is a giant warhammer. It's what I took to fight the Bringers. So I've been practicing," she says in a light tone that's only a touch forced. Falling in with the others, she looks from one to the next and at last to Ferrando: "Were you going to attack the pies next?"

Esoka cheers even louder at Zhayla's whallopping performance. She is taking this five-second friendship seriously. "A VERY fine showing, indeed." A nod of respect is offered. With a chuckle, "I can see why you have no need of bears."

"Dooo," Tiber sings out. He toddles up to Aislin and shoves the squirrel at her. "Do."
"Pies!" Tikva smiles widely from the floor, looking up at Zhayla and Ferrando. Or-- up at Zhayla, and up, and up, and up, at Ferrando. Gosh. "Or bobbing for apples. Do you want to splash around in barrels trying to get apples?"

Reese arrives at the festival while adorned in a simple white and blue woolen dress, matching cloak and boots for winter. She removed her armor for the gathering, but she kept her pink swords, having one at either hip.

Rymarr remains silent while he looks out and over the festival with a slow, deliberate nod of his head in return. He consider the information provided by Samantha with only a brief glance cast aside to the Marquessa. Soon enough his attention drifts away in order to observe the hammer contest. He seems to linger on Zhayla for a moment while she puts on her own display of physical prowess. He leans aside to quietly murmur conversationally back to Samantha, "I imagine it's a wonderful time of year for Old Oak and Deepwood as a whole. It seems to have been a success here in the city." Rymarr shifts upright to his full height once again turns his unblinking stare to the festival goers as a whole, though he does greedily reach out to snatch an apple from a passing basket. He looks to the apple and seems to relish it's mere presence before he lifts the fruit to his mouth and rewards himself with a crunchy bite.

Ferrando looks around a bit dubiously. "Why is everybody looking at -me- for permission to attack the pies?" he asks skeptically before grinning and shrugging. "Anyway, everybody knows dessert comes last if you're behaving properly." He turns the grin down and down and down to Tikva. "I think that's a fine idea! Apples it is," he declares.

Aislin takes the offered squirrel from Tiber with all the gravity of someone accepting a sacred relic. She then has it dance up her arm, onto her shoulder, and perches the little stuffed creature on her head. So much dignity.

Tiber squeals and gurgles with delight. He tries to clap. He manages a couple of claps. He otherwise whiffs. He's bad at clapping. Or he's working on it! It's a work in progress.

Tikva smiles sidelong at at Aislin. "Beautiful," she says. She pushes herself up onto her knee and springs back to her feet. Leaving her shoes behind on the ground, she gestures to the barrels for the bobbing game. "Do you need me to shout it out again?"

"Oh, I'd better go help with that, actually," Zhayla says, getting distracted as someone brings in a rather sizable donation that definitely needs another set of hands. "Bye! It was good to meet you!" she calls at Esoka before slipping off to go be helpful elsewhere.

Zhayla is overheard praising Samantha for: Best liege, best parties!

From the maze garden, Khanne and Percephon step out, meandering their way through the grounds. A brief glance about, and then it's on to the exit, slipping out quietly.

Percephon has left the Garden Maze.

Khanne has left the Garden Maze.

Khanne leaves, following Percephon.

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

Esoka calls a farewell after departing Zhayla before drifting back toward the tables. To procure another drink for herself. And maybe mingle a little more before taking her leave of the party.

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

Leta stands there, watching Tiber and the people she's playing with, grinning, then offers Tikva a brief shrug, "Might help! Though I worry about the bobbin'. What if you bite into an apple? That'll take room away from the pies." she nods meaningfully in Ferrando's direction, but bobs her head. Perhaps to practice already. She does spare a look in Samantha's direction, and for a brief moment her forehead's cut by a few creases, that vanish soon after.

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

"Again? Really?", Rymarr speaks aloud to no one in particular, though with Samantha standing beside him it's entirely possible it may have been directed at her. He begins to move forward as a hand moves to rest atop the pommel at his right side. He marches forward with his usual dour expression, shoulders squared and back straight. He marches with precision and determination in his stride until he arrives at the hammer game. He leans down with a grumble to himself as he plucks up Tikva's shoes. He decides in that moment to hold on to them for now, in order to see them returned properly. Rymarr takes his newfound shoes, or at least rescued shoes, back to stand near Samantha before he settles in two paces to her side. Once in place, he returns to watching the festival unfold with somber observance.

Aislin is not unfamiliar with children -- she may not have any of her own, nor any nieces or nephews, but there's been plenty around Ashford Keep in the past -- but she's not generally been around them of late. But little Tiber's enthusiasm earns a smile from the Voice of Ashford, and a softening of the grim demeanor she's had of late. (It's awfully hard to remain completely tense with a stuffed squirrel on your head.) Still, it's impolite to pick up someone else's child and hold them overhead to let them fly, or things like that. So instead, she tilts her head forward, making 'Do' the squirrel slide forward to Tiber. Just in case Tikva needs to reclaim him.

Samantha murmurs something softly to Rymarr before she starts to step toward Leta, expression curious as she makes her way over.

Ferrando has a quick glance around and decides with Zhayla off it's safe to do a little barrel event. "I doubt a bite of apple here and there will swing the results of the pie event. Besides, apples are good for you! And I'm sure it's the mark of a champion bobber to not leave deep marks in your apple so you can enjoy them later," he explains with the exact sort of breezy nonchalance that indicates he's totally making the line of reasoning up on the spot. "So. Who wants to demonstrate the artful art of bobbing first? Points will be given for not only speed and accuracy, but also style."

Aislin gets back to her feet, a little unsteadily, and offers a nod. "I think," she notes, "I'm going to go home and get weight off this foot for a bit." Because, you know, dropping a hammer on your foot is not entirely conducive to running around a festival.

Seeing Samantha come her way, Leta quickly brightens up her smile and shakes her head, taking a couple of steps closer to murmur something to the Marquessa, with a polite nod of her head. "Best be getting on those apples! First the bobbing and then the pies, maybe!" she says out loud after a moment, and nods back to Ferrando. "I'll do it, Minister!"

Samantha's murmured words are met by a solemn nod of his head in return. He doesn't make an effort to respond beyond that simple physical gesture. He watches while Samantha makes her way to Leta, before again his focus shifts back to watching the festival as a whole. The arrival and presence of Reese draws a polite nod of the head from Rymarr to the Grayson princess. The hand holding the apple lifts to his mouth in order to reward himself with another bite from the bright red fruit. That's what good boys get. Rewards.

Ferrando gestures to the barrel and takes a step back. "Have at it, Admiral. Also please don't drown yourself in the process, that would be more than a little embarassing," he advises Leta.

Reese has a gentle smile for Aislin, seemingly concerned as she speaks of her foot. She then looks over to Rymarr, giving him a smile of greeting. She glances toward the apple barrel almost seeming to seeming to consider such.

Samantha nods to Leta in acknowledgement, gently patting the woman's shoulder if permitted before heading back to the Lord Commander's side. "Your Highness," she greets cheerfully to Reese, and then eyes the barrel. "If I try, will you?" she offers in challenge to the Princess.

Leta takes the patting with a broad smile, then marches up to Ferrando and the barrel. "Give it a try, won't I? How do we do it, though? Got one of them little hourglasses, maybe? Count the time, anyhow?" she removes her hat this time, hangs it on a barrel that isn't full of apples, and approaches the one full of water. Hands at her hips, she draws in a breath, shakes her head, then leans down to begin bobbing.

Rymarr's attention drifts to Samantha as she moves to rejoin himself. Though the cheerfully spoken challenge conveyed from Samantha to Reese is met by a faint incline of Rymarr's eyebrows, shortly afterward accompanied by a vague smile of amusement at the two. He looks to Reese, nods once, and then back to Samantha before he offers up a low chuckle. Clearly amused at the prospect he murmurs aside to Samantha, "Oh, this is going to be a sight to see, I imagine," he says with another low chuckle at the playful challenge offered from Samantha to Reese.

Leta checked dexterity + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 45, 25 higher than the difficulty.

At least Reese doesn't have all her steel on. That would be worse. She gives Samantha a smile that reaches her blue eyes. She seems unable to resist the challenge. "Oh, well I have to try then, Marquesa." She murmurs softly. She steps closer to the barrel, watching to see how Leta does.

Leta. Strong on hammers. Strong on apples. Sensible souls are advised to avert their eyes when Leta purees apples. Hands clasped tightly behind her back, she grabs hold of apples, one after another, sometimes lucky enough to get at the stem, other times it's just her big mouth and sharp little teeth. She does get a bit wet, face and some of her hair soaked, but keeps her doublet from the worst, with only a few sprinkles here and there, most of the apples gone by the time it's over and she yanks herself back upright. "Not too bad, was it?"

Ferrando looks around. Does he have an hourglass? Fortunately, a Deepwood servant well versed in the art of party planning is right there to hand him a little hourglass. Score! He turns back and thumps the hourglass down on a closed up barrel to start it and no sooner does he do that than Leta has practically grabbed an apple already. "Oh gods, you're going to make me have to do a lot of counting, aren't you," he observes as the apples go flying. "Time!" he finally calls when the sand runs out and surveys Leta. "You're not even all that wet, either! Where's your sense of fun?" he chides cheerfully before thinking. "All right, your score is... 13 mystery points. Well done, that'll be a tough one to beat." He thumps his fist on another nearby barrel. "NEXT!"

"Oh, well done, Leta!" Samantha applauds the woman's efforts with a grin. "I'll give it a go." She reaches up to tie her hair into a bun, and then braces herself against the barrel. Taking a breath, she moves her hands behind her back and puts her face into the water.

Samantha checked dexterity against difficulty 20, resulting in 16, 4 lower than the difficulty.

Well, she tried. Really, she did. But after a few moments, Sam comes up for air, coughing the water our of her nose and blinking sheepishly. "Well," she manages, "I suppose there's some skills that don't carry over from childhood." She takes a towel to wipe her face and grins at Reese. "Here's hoping you do better!"

Reese claps as Leta does well with the apple. She then watches as Samantha steps up to the barrel and a a soft gasp escapes from her lips. She then steps up, giving Samantha a smile. "Hopefully." She says and her cheeks are pink. This could be embarassing after all.

Reese has rolled a critical success!
Reese checked dexterity + athletics against difficulty 20, resulting in 72, 52 higher than the difficulty.

Ferrando starts the timer as Samantha begins. "Ah, the Marquessa herself! Why that's worth 5 mystery points for that basket of tarts you sent me and... ah, careful now! If you look like you're drowning I'll have to step in to rescue you and- Marquessa, that was just a little joke, please don't /actually/ drown," he commentates. "That's better, take it easy... and time!" He observes her carefully to make sure she's ok and nods. "Well then, good use of water, that's 2 points. 5 for your apples and... ah, I'm sorry to say that 12 mystery points leaves you in second place. NEXT!"

Reese steps up to the barrel she bends over such with all this athletic grace, making this look so easy as she grasps a shiny wet apple with her small white teeth. She then darts back, looking so very dry like she didn't touch anything to the water but her mouth. She smiles and then reaches for the apple, taking a bite of it.

The displays of oral skill are met by the watchful eye of Sir Rymarr Lyonesse, Lord Commander of the King's Own. Those very feats seem to garner a round of applause for each oral feat of skill, or lack thereof, that the man is witness to while the participants seek out the apples with their teeth and mouths. Clapping however while wearing gauntlets is a noisy and frankly awkward gesture, so he stops shortly after beginning again.

Ferrando kind of forgets to flip over the mini-hourglass (is it still an hourglass if it's technically like 40 seconds anyway?) as he watches Reese almost instantly ninja a single apple out of the water with no splash at all. "I... what? That was... kind of incredible, actually," he commentates before looking a bit bewildered. "I don't even know. I don't even care that you stopped at one apple, you get 15 mystery style points." He looks around. "Should I even call 'next' after that?" he asks a bit blankly.

Leta steps back and gives her hair a little flip, runs her fingers through it once more before setting her hat on, wiping at her face with one hand, and the safe side of her sleeve. She takes a few steps back to watch Samantha, and in spite of the attempt she actually claps. Then she claps louder for Reese, admiring the display. To the sound of the gauntlets she turns her head, and after only the briefest hesitation bows it in Rymarr's direction, "Lord Commander Rymarr Lyonesse." she confidently greets the man.

Maybe she should have kept going, but this apple is so crisp and yummy. Reese smiles, takes a bow and then has another bite of the autumn fruit.

"Leta Broadbent," Rymarr returns in his usual stern manner to the sellsword. He offers a polite dip of his chin in acknowledgement and greeting. He considers the mercenary for only a brief moment before his focus shifts aside to regard both Samantha and Reese's efforts with the apple barrles. When he finally steps from the point that he had been overseeing the festival. He approaches the remaining participants of the games and tucks his armoured hands in together at the small of his back, concealing them between body and heavy wolf fur cloak. He adds as he approaches the game drawing to a close, "An excellent display of skill on all your parts. Both entertaining and impressive..", he offers to Samantha, Reese, and Leta.

"Well done, Princess Reese." Samantha says cheerfully. Wiping at her cheeks, she rejoins Rymarr, noting, "I think I'll just watch the pie-eating, though. If anyone plans to give it a go?" There's a quiet murmur to Rymarr.

Ferrando looks around but doesn't see anyone else stepping up to the barrel. "Well, then! Everyone kindly congratulate Princess Reese on her superlative bobbing as our champion, and maybe don't wear anything apple-colored around her if you value your life because I'm actually a little frightened by having had such an up close look at that killer technique," he declares approvingly. Well, if the bouncer to the stars gig falls through, maybe he's got a chance at becoming a game show host.

"Oh, I most assuredly plan to give the pie eating contest a go," Rymarr says with a stoic nod of his head. He does however shift his attention to Samantha and her quietly murmur. He nods once before he offers a quietly spoken response to the Marquessa. Following the brief exchange Rymarr steps ahead and glances toward Ferrando with acknowledge. Something which the bouncer says actually spawns a reaction in the Lord Commander of the King's Own, typically so grim and our; he actually offers up a short, sensible laugh. It is not a belly laugh or a bark of uncontrolled amusement. It is short, sweet, and to the point. But a laugh never the less.

Reese does like to win. She smiles with pleasure and her cheeks are pink. She then makes a biting gesture in Ferrando's direction. "You should be careful. My teeth are as sharp as my blades." She says, nodding agreement with her own words. She takes another bite of the apple. Nomnomnom. "I will try the pie contest too." She says, despite being not all that large. Lots of eating, well maybe she can do it! Young warriors sometimes have a high metabolism.

Ferrando seems for his part ready to give up the hosting spot and dusts his hands off to become a regular contestant again. "My time has come," he declares succinctly.

"That's - that was might fine skill with the apple, your Highness!" Leta confirms in Reese's direction with a smile, then walks a short way off to pick up the lute she'd left behind. "Looks like there's three contestants for the pies, then? Was three, wasn't it?" she asks with a friendly look to Samantha, looking around to see if anyone else is interested. She does give Thesarin a look nearby, the man looks tall enough, at least. "M'Lord?"

Thesarin left to go grab some food for himself before making his way over to where a knot of people stand, and hears about the pie contest. After Thes nods in greeting, he says, "Your highness, my ladies, my lord. I see I am not the only one looking forward to that particular event."

Reese peeks over to Thesarin, giving the man a smile as speaks of joining the pie contest. "You might be looking forward to it, but out eating me, is going to be effectively impossible."

Samantha gestures toward where the pies are set up. "Good luck, Sir Rymarr." Her mouth is pursed in amusement. "Once you're all lined up, the pies will be put in front of you and I shall call start."

Ferrando takes his seat, somewhat daintily ties up a big napkin around his neck, and gets his game face on.

Ferrando checked command + intimidation against difficulty 15, resulting in 36, 21 higher than the difficulty.

Ferrando radiates a little DBZ aura. Actually you're probably just imagining that.

Reese looks nervously over to Ferrando. She doesn't seem nearly as confident how.

"Thank you, Marquessa," Rymarr offers back with a nod of his head toward Samantha. He moves around the table until such a point as Rymarr is able to adopt his own seat. He shifts his neck from one side to another, working out the muscles in neck and shoulder both. He opens his mouth wide, wags his tongue from one side to the other, and then takes in a deep breath. He releases it on a cleansing sigh before he nods more to himself while he awaits the beginning of the contest.

As everyone takes their seats and servants set out pies, Samantha walks down the length of the table. "Ready...begin!"

Leta strums her lute in an encouragingly little military tune as she walks over to the table, then sets her lute and cap aside, and tucks a napkin into her collar to ensure her priceless clothes aren't any dirtier than they need to be.

Ferrando checked stamina + survival against difficulty 20, resulting in 50, 30 higher than the difficulty.

Thesarin checked stamina + survival against difficulty 20, resulting in 31, 11 higher than the difficulty.

Leta checked stamina + survival against difficulty 20, resulting in 27, 7 higher than the difficulty.

Rymarr checked stamina + survival against difficulty 20, resulting in 37, 17 higher than the difficulty.

Reese checked stamina + survival against difficulty 20, resulting in 18, 2 lower than the difficulty.

Ferrando starts eating pies quickly, if not exactly hurriedly. Others may get to their second pie first, but his method is not to sprint out to a quick lead and try and hang on to it, but more to be a closer. It doesn't hurt that the first pie he gets is strawberry, which is rather one of his favorites so it would be kind of a waste not to enjoy it a little besides.

Reese loves pie! Still despite her warrior status she is only about the size of a normal girl and her tummy is only so big. Ferrand's look really did imtimidate her as well. She starts with a yummy blue berry pie. So good! She gets about 2 pieces of pie worth and starts to look rather pale. Is she going to to throw it up? It just went down so fast. Blue berries are clinging to her pretty face, which is more messy than cute at the moment. She lean gets up, making her to the bushes and vomiting. Whoops! that wasn't very very graceful, regal or royal.

As the pies are laid out before the contestants, Rymarr's eyebrows rise upward while he surveys the assortment of pies placed before himself. Slowly his tongue glides over the inside of his lower lip, resulting in it bulging outward. He lifts his chin ever so slightly, a quick up-nod cast toward the pie in a veritable 'sup, girl?' manner. When his lips draw apart, the tip of his tongue presses in against the point of one of his incisors, before the flat of his tongue glides horizontally over his teeth. When the call to begin is made, Rymarr doesn't dig in immediately. Instead he continues to make eyes at his pie. It is only after a moment of silent flirtation that Rymarr lowers himself down and forward to dip his tongue into the pie, a quiet murmur of sound escaping his throat before he begins to dig in quickly and efficiently. He starts in the center and works his way outward as he begins to eat in earnest. He may be uncertain of the point of a pie eating contest, but he at least does it with some measure of precision and deliberate purpose.

Thesarin makes a good start, eating his way through the first one with relative ease, though once he realizes that he was falling behind by a wide margin began slowing down and taking the time to enjoy the pie. While it is not his most dignified moment, he at least tries to enjoy his time in the contest, and avoid an unnecessary stomach ache without a victory.

Ferrando gives Reese a bit of a concerned squint over his shoulder as she ducks out abruptly but otherwise continues his deliberate path of destruction through the pies presented before him. Blueberry is next, which he also takes to with gusto. In all honesty, it's not like any of them aren't his favorite. He glances to the other side, and apparently appreciates Rymarr's not pushing the pedal to the floor either. It seems that this might be more of a stately, almost knightly contest of excessive pie consumption than most. Onto the third he goes.

Leta is barely taller than Reese. After rubbing her hands, she goes at the pie. The problem may be that Leta worked up too much appetite hammering things and bobbing for apples, and she lacks Ferrando's technique. She smacks her hands onto her stomach and leans in to begin eating the pie, which she does with gusto! Noisy, messy, gusto! She's quite good at it, really, and the first pie is brought down to crumbs very quickly. Then there's half the second pie, and there she starts flagging, face set a mask of focus as she tries bite after bite, grunting and puffing and hammering a hand on the table until at last she stops, panting. She takes one more bite, makes a sound of discomfort, and just barely manages not to follow Reese, hiding her face in her hands.

Samantha might be staring a bit at how Rymarr devours his pie. There's a delicate little 'ahem' behind her hand, and she determinedly observes the others. Reese gets a little wince of sympathy.

Slow and steady, Rymarr continues to work through his pies. Upon finishing one he quietly murmurs at the pie, "Mhm, just like that," he seems to cheer himself along as the next pie is placed before himself. He attacks the next pie with a little more fervor, now that he's warmed up to the process. To the point that the entirety of his face is dropped into his pie and he shifts his head from one side to the other, bites taken quickly while he seeks to clear his plate. He pays little attention to those at either side of himself, worried only about his own progress and not that of others. When he lifts his head, face covered from forehead to chin in blueberry, he takes a moment to blink the filling from his eyes. Once another pie is slid into place, he takes a deep breath and buries his face into the baked good once again and returns to practicing breathing through his ears.

Reese tries to act like that never happened. She gives Leta a sheepish and concerned as she joins her. She then goes to find water, trying to rinse her mouth and clean up. She might not like blueberry pie ever again or at least for a while.

Things had been going well. Thesarin now began regretting getting into the contest as he begins his third pie, the first two having gone down swimingly. It might not help that the third one is of a variety that is not his favorite and so he eats away, more out of trying to save face than enjoy himself. The Prodigal still is holding his own, but has conceded that he will not win this contest, having glimpsed the progress of the others only briefly, his goal now is to merely not embarass himself too much.

Ferrando hrmphs faintly to himself. Well, two can play that game. Falling behind Rymarr a little, he starts to go full facial on his fourth pie (apple) without much care for his personal cleanliness. Also to be fair there's a little bit of gamesmanship afoot since you aren't technically expected to eat the pie on your face. He still does try to eat most of the pie, though. It's good pie!

Samantha winces yet again when Leta drops out, and she makes sure both she and Reese are seen to with towels and mint water to ease their stomachs. It's down to Ferrando and Rymarr, the latter getting points for style. Even if that style is possibly pornagraphic.

Despite his more methodical approach, taking it slow may have allowed him to fill up to quickly before the end was in sight. Rymarr gradually pulls himself back from his pie with a shake of his head, clearly the Lord Commander of the King's Own was no competition for the likes of Ferrando. He shakes his head as if to signal his own withdrawal from the competition and he leans forward to plant his armoured hands on either side of his head. He shakes his head again before he quietly hiccups. He groans quietly before he leans back from the table and turns his attention to the last remaining contest: Ferrando. He beats an armoured fist on the tabletop in a quick, light rhythm as if it were intended to somehow cheer the other man on in his efforts.

Leta leans back in her seat, one hand covering her mouth. She does take one of the offered towels to wipe her mouth and chin with, making small choked burping sounds into it. She nudges the mint water away, however, at least for the time being, and concentrates on breathing. But she's curious, so she looks to the others, with a small nod in Reese's direction, and a very very faint smile as she studies the others.

Reese has water and mints. She tries not to look too closely at the pie eating contest, because pies are just well rather gross right now. "Lets not mention this moment to Princess Lark." She murmurs. No reason for her family to know she made a fool of herself! But they probably wouldn't be surprised or even blink if they were told.

Ferrando exhales a big breath and regards the next pie consideringly. Well. It's maybe not -necessary-, but after a strawberry, an apple, a cherry, and a blueberry, he's yet to have had a peach. Absently swiping a few pie crust flakes off his cheek, he regards the peach pie with a why-the-hell-not? grin and starts in on it, sort of taking it casual. If pie eating contests have a victory lap, this is it. He nods cheerfully to the rest of the table for their efforts. He'd say something, but talking with your mouth full is... well, yeah. Unbecoming of a Whisper House representative. Or at least more unbecoming than having smooshed pie on your face in public.

"Well done, Master Ferrando!" Samantha declares with applause. "You are the winner of the pie contest. The bragging rights are yours." With a chuckle, she surveys the festival seems to be winding down. "I thank you all for coming, and hope you will all enjoy the rest of the evening. For myself, I believe I shall retire."

Ferrando finally does talk, though. "Ahh. Thank you, Marquessa for holding this fine event, and for the even finer pies, and thank you all for the spirited challenges, especially the Lord Commander, but... I think I may take just a few moments to sit here and digest a bit, if it's all right with you." He looks a little unsure about actually getting up and going straight away. Things may happen.



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