Problem in the Gossip
(PrP open to 6-8 people from the Bisland fealty chain or dragged along by someone in the Bisland chain. This one is primarily for social/investigative types.)
Nov. 1, 2018, 8:30 p.m.
Outside Arx - Crownlands near Pridehall - Pridehall
Comments and Log
Ian puts ugly, singed, stained, multicolor scarf in Aged Satchel.
Ian puts Crimson leather spaulder in Aged Satchel.
Ian puts Kennex Brothers Coat in Aged Satchel.
If you're someone in Pridehall tonight, you're here. Mixing and mingling the party is well under way. There is a place for everyone and for all tastes. For those who are all talk but no action, there are the spacious windows that overlook the gardens (Educated Jerks). There people sip wine and do their very best to look as educated as possible. They talk of recent news loudly and proclaim what they know for anyone who wants to hear.
For those who prefer more action there is the dance floor. There the young and the restless have gathered to dance the evening away, occasionally indulging an uncle or granny in a dance. They gossip indiscriminately with anyone who will lend them an ear (Younglings).
Yet another nook holds those older and actually distinguished peoples. These people talk very quietly to one another. Unlike the boasters near the doorway their talk is down to earth. Those who try to attach themselves to this group are scrutinized carefully to see if they are discrete enough (Old and Wise).
Finally there are the commoners. A few look well-to-do and flit from group to group of nobles, trying to improve their standing from whatever riches they've earned. The rest are split between guards and servants. The guards stand at the doorways and edges of the room keeping a careful eye out. The servants slip through the room to serve wine, but rarely speak to anyone but in murmured conversation between themselves. When a noble speaks to them they keep their attention fixed elsewhere (Commoners).
Luigi arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.
Having been the prior commander of a Bisland army or two in his day, it may be that some security soldiers actually recognize Bedivere when he swoops in with other Whitehawks who might have decided to show up with him. He soon heads for the Old and Wise. He knows his place.
Delilah gets a dark blue doeskin cuff set with mirrors from Twilight messenger bag awash in stars.
Younglings are great. Younglings are grand. Younglings know how to drink beers from cans. Well. Not cans. Either way, Michael finagles himself just off the Dance Floor. A faint smell of armor to him because he had to rapidly take it off. The arguement that Diamondplate costs more than umbra didn't float at /all/ to the collection of Bisland ladies. So Umbra and fine clothing for the Sword of Pridehall(Thats this place, if you missed that).
Ian is here! With Zoey! He's doing what he's done since he got here (not just to this mixer, but to Pridehall in general), which is go where he's told to go and stand there 'till he's told to go elsewhere, all the while trying to just not talk. Ever. His Isles accent (when he can be induced to speak) is thick, really, really thick -- his time in Arx hasn't touched it in the slightest. Also worthy of note, he's going (obviously) armed, something that's not a normal Ian thing to do. Ashfont sits at his hip, and he wears the sword with ease. Ian has been told to escort Zoey around where she wants to go, so he's doing that. Silently.
The greetings made, the curtseys curtsied, the cheeks air kissed, Evonleigh makes her way from the reception area toward the dance floor, because she is ever happy to find a moment in the spotlight. She enters into the group dance that is currently going on, finding herself hand to hand with a handsome lord and exchanging chit chat as they begin the elaborate moves choreographed by tradition and custom. She isn't as beautiful of a dancer by any means as a Whisper of that specialty, but she is graceful and charming, and can speak easily while she moves, rather than having to stare at her feet the entire time to avoid stepping on toes with her silken slippers.
Clad in lilac silk, and moving through the room with her usual quiet grace, Tabitha looks no more conspicuous than she ever does. She's neat and prim, her hair worn up and secured by hairpins of white glass. Not straying far away from Bedivere, she turns her head and raises an eyebrow as she notices someone she knows -- an older gentleman, typically white-haired and frail, yet with a certain upright posture, and immaculate clothing of silks and velvets. She curtsies and smiles gently, "Oh, hello, Sir Roger, how lovely to see you."
Lailah could talk to the educated jerks, but she doesn't like them. She could talk to the younglings, but they seem too likely to want to talk about nonsense. She could talk to the old, but others are already on that. So instead, Lailah talks to the common folks. Not even so much for socializing, or even to get any answers out of them directly. Just to see where they're going, where they've been, and what they're comfortable and very much not comfortable discussing.
Zoey, formerly of Bisland, born in this very estate, enters beside Ian. Her outfit is elegant umbra, sleek and simple, paired with glittering gold and swirling blue epiphanites. Doubtless, there are many who know the young Lady, and more than one servant brightens at the sight of her. She murmurs to her husband, Kennex signet adorned hand gesturing towards the quieter group of Old and Wise, established friends of her parents and well known to her. Her smile is gentle and warm as they arrive, and she greets people by name, introducing them to Ian as they go.
Bedivere turns toward Tabitha and Sir Roger, the latter of whom he handshakes with the left hand (the only one he has). He lets go and back pats Tabitha, doing so whilst scanning around the event at large to take in all which is going on right now. He soon returns his gaze to their conversation, though.
Tabitha checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.
Bedivere checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 20, rolling 5 lower.
Ian checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 20, rolling 4 higher.
Zoey checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 20, rolling 4 lower.
Michael checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Evonleigh checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.
Let the young have the dances, the old be stodgy, and the children barely old enough to wear their first debutante coat or dress, well shouldn't they be in bed? Delilah cares not one whit about their concerns as she circulates with a glass of wine obtained from somewhere. Anywhere. Does it matter where? Scribble, in his uttermost element, delivers her a libation and goes off to hide with the seasonably wise, kind individuals to schmooze. This leaves her to colonize that space with airy grace. Why, the news, fascinating. While she sips her drink, drifting here and there, the famously mercurial copper-haired girl is absolutely blithely mingles among them. When it comes to raw talent as an actress? Well, she's dancing on the tab-- stage. Lilah murmurs a word of greeting here or there. Let them question things. Like, horrible THINGS.
Lailah checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.
(Old and Wise) grow quiet when some of the newcomers approach, looking at them before gently shifting the conversation away from whatever their whisper was. Sir Rodger, Tabitha's acquaintance, nods to the Whitehawk as she approaches. "Fine weather these days, yes? I trust your travels were well?" He seems to speak to all of the old people, looking between each of the newly arrived nobles.
Ian nods at whatever is said to him, escorts Zoey where she wants to go. He tends towards watching his feet while he walks, something that would probably be considered poor manners, except for the fact that he looks like he really needs to mark his own footsteps. There's something subtly wrong with his gait. It not a limp, but the way he walks isn't quite right. He inclines his upper body over his cane in a respectful bow once admitted to their company, but otherwise follows his policy of not talking. Once he joins and mixes with the group, that magnetic pull towards mean old people kicks in, and he winds up stepping away from Zoey, into a different circle of people. To be quiet there. Probably.
(Younglings) The younglings are happy to sweep both Evonleigh and Michael up into their group, giggling widely as they sway near one another in the LATEST DANCES. "It's a pity - you know," one woman giggles at Michael, "That Lady Linsey and her family aren't here. They know how to have a GOOD time." A young man claims Evonleigh's arm, clearly charmed by the actresses' wiles chimes in, "Her brother too - strange they aren't here, isn't it?"
(Commoners) They're very respectful, each of the commoners that Lailah speaks to. They bow, or curtsy, then answer her questions with the most polite answers possible. They're doing just fine, thank you. They enjoy their jobs, yes. They feel very respected by the Bisland family, thank you for inquiring.
Zoey makes a blunder. She asks one woman how her husband is... not knowing of the messy affair. It's a little awkward... but exceedingly polite. And she falls silent for a while, making subtle ammends. When Ian steps off, she nods, giving his cheek a soft kiss as he goes.
"Lord Michael, how nice to see you," Evonleigh murmurs when she catches Michael's familiar face as the two pairs of dancers end up near each other. "Is it?" asks Evonleigh, tipping her head to the young man she's been caught up with, spinning away from him and then back in, her gray blue eyes curious as she looks from him to the nearby lady dancing with Michael. "I don't know them, I don't think. Are they always here? Perhaps they're ill?" she asks.
(Educated Jerks) They point their noises up at Delilah at first, but as she makes it clear that she is ONE OF THEM, they start to relax. In lofty tones they circle around her and loudly begin to proclaim, "It is SO lovely that the HEIR has finally decided to show his face. I had thought that perhaps they had forgotten we were even here, you know how they can get."
With a polite nod to her elderly acquaintance and his friends (to whom she also offers a curtsy as they turn to her herself and Bedivere) Tabitha smiles in a sweet fashion that strays from being too bubbly. Not a large ask, to be honest, since the young artist wears a perpetually nervous manner when she's around large gatherings of people. Another dip of her head, "Quite well, thank you, and I hope it was the same for you?" Then to all those around her, she indicates to Bedivere, and addresses the gathering at hand. "Oh excuse me, I'm Tab-- Lady Tabitha Whitehawk, and this is Lord Bedivere Whitehawk, Marshal of Hawkhold." She half-winces as she makes yet another curtsy, like a real neo-noble would -- polite, but maybe a bit *much*. "A pleasure to meet you all."
"Oh, Lady Evonleigh. I am happy to run into you again." The random lady-partner is introduced aside to Lady Evonleigh Whitehawk, of such and such. "Lady Lindsay? Oh. That is unfortunate. I was certainly hoping to meet her and her brother. I had heard a bit about them." Michael had not. He is a liar, don't trust him. He lies. "Perhaps a messenger went awry. That is known to happen, isn't it?"
The glass filled by a local wine -- white, of course, the best to suit the Gray Forest's inherent terroir -- gives Delilah reason to listen rather than speak. Some would have it rude to be silent. Certainly those individuals surround her, rather than congregate near the former Lady Bisland, now Kennex, and her well-behaved husband. With the Bislands and Whitehawks out in force, she might even disappear back into the background somewhat. Though not without a warm smile thrown Zoey-and-Ianward when they might look in her way and she notices, or vice versa. The errant smiles are reserved, for she listens with terrible gravity to everyone. "Forget you? How could that be?" she asks, addressing those VERY EDUCATED people. At the educated jerks, her expression is the very balanced picture of restraint and concern, melded somehow. Vapid eyes widen slightly. "Too much time in the city, perhaps."
(Younglings) At least one young woman eyes Evonleigh with a hint of jealousy when Michael greets her so warmly, but she keeps her claws drawn - for now. Instead she's going to try to IMPRESS the Bisland heir with her knowledge. Her hair gets tosses back loftily. "Never. I don't know HOW they could miss this. I mean, just to see //you//, that would be enough to get //me// here." It might be possible for her to be more obvious but it'd be hard. A young man comes forward to bow to Evonleigh, "Might I take this dance?"
With his right arm behind him under his knightly tabard, and his left arm with the remaining hand at his weapons belt, Bedivere simultaneously bows during Tabitha's curtsies. After standing up, he does not exactly smile but there is at least no frown, just a flat line of his lips before they move to speak. "Greetings. Yes, the son of Sir Harry the Hotspur Tyndall. I used to be in the Bisland military, even, started there when I was only 18." (Bedivere was one of the youngest generals in the Bisland army who developed a reputation as an expert horseman and set an equestrian high-jump record that stood for almost 15 years before one of these people broke it... Back then... before the loss which took him away from them in his late 20s.)
Maybe it's the soldier in Ian, always on the alert, always watching. His sharp eyes move constantly while he listens respectfully to the Old And Important People talk about Old And Important things. He doesn't offer any words unless specifically prompted to do so, and then he offers as few as possible, all the while sipping at the whiskey he holds in his free hand. But his eyes. Always moving. The intensity of that electric gaze plays over the room, finds individual people in it. None of these are casual glances. Everywhere Ian looks, everything and everyone he looks at, he projects a sense of intent.
Bedivere checked charm + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.
Having gotten about as much out of talking to people as she expected, Lailah turns to settle on observing them. She wanders around at the edges, nose in her book, eyes and ears quite solidly directed towards analyzing what's going on around her when people think she's distracted.
Lailah checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Wrong Whitehawk sister, lady whatever of whatever. Evonleigh smiles sweetly. "Who would ever want to miss Lord Michael? That is certainly true. I'm sure she will be very sad to have missed you," the latter turned to Michael, her eyes sparkling a little with amusement. She turns at the new invitation to dance, and sinks into a pretty curtsy, then sweeps up the side of her periwinkle blue gown into her left hand while taking the man's hand in her right. "Charmed, I'm sure. "And who are you, my lord? I like a name to go with the face of whoever might step on my toes, so I can curse properly later," she says teasingly.
Tabitha checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
(Old and Wise) Ian seems to move easily among these older people, catching snatches of their conversation as they move back and forth. The woman speaking to Zoey has pulled away, but isn't going to be SO rude as to abandon her completely. Bedivere and Tabitha's talk has their eyes moving back to them and the older people nod, they relent, finally, and start to relax. Talk moves away from the weather and finally settles on more weighty matters. "There's been some...well, discontent. First the Gyre, now this.... Lodge. It seems like there has been quite a bit of mobilization lately."
Zoey steps away from the Greybeards. Her glance locks with Ian's and she indicates her destination with a subtle gesture of her hand. With that, she turns completely to approach the servants... and one servant in particular. "Mistress Howse!" She walks up to her old handmaiden, embracing her warmly. "My goodness. Would you mind making introductions? And then you must tell me -everything- that's been going on."
Ian can speak knowledgeably about the Gyre and the Lodge, and does so in two and three word chunks now and then, once the conversation meanders in that direction. Sometimes even a whole sentence, if prompted! He might be terrible at the 'being a noble' thing, but Ian wears war like a glove, and even in two or three word chunks, that shows.
Zoey checked charm + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.
For this round, Tabitha makes thoughtful nods, purse-lipped and serious as the atmosphere around herself and Bedivere at once relaxes and turns more grave. She holds her hands together in front of her waist, twining her fingers together as she listens to the conversation unfolding. It's not her area of knowledge, and not really her place to speak on such matters, so she remains silent for a little while longer and allows Bedivere and Ian to lead the conversation with Sir Roger and his friends.
(Educated Jerks) "Yes, and Arx is //so// far away. You know, my older sister once went there and the stories she would tell...!" The way-too-proud-of-herself woman nods knowingly at the wonder that Arx obviously is. "But wait-" Looking more closely at Delilah, "YOU are from Arx, oh how //wonderful//. You must be oh so cosmopolitan."
That young man gets bumped for just a moment as Michael's hand reaches to towards Evonleigh to take this dance. Except Those CLAWS do show and grasp onto his forearm to yank him back. Oh. Guess not. "Oh. Well. They aren't here, but you are, aren't you." Michael steps back off onto the dancefloor with this woman who just won't let him go. Where is Zoey to save him. Or Kenna? Or /anyone/. "Whats so great about Lady Lindsay, if she can't be bothered to make it here?"
Lailah notices something curious and begins to follow someone she noticed, keeping her nose stuck in her book and trying to make it look like she's just wandering about randomly. She is most definitely folloiwng the person she noticed.
(Commoners) "Lady Zoey, as I live and breathe!" Howse says as Zoey approaches, holding out her arms to embrace the woman. Forget propriety here, Zoey is almost like an old friend. "I had thought marriage had taken you away from us for good - now why don't you just come this way and we can talk in a more comfortable place?" She begins to steer Zoey towards a corner of the room, in step with Lailah actually. "I'm so happy to see both Lord Michael and Lady Lailah here tonight, it has been much too long. I am sure the Duchess is overjoyed too." Well, hopefully has some kind of happiness.
Bedivere easily talks about the Lodge defense but not too many details, since who knows who some of these people are. He carefully curates his spoken words to be 'Totally Normal', which Tabitha might notice is much different than how Bedivere replied during the Riven party before. After some time, the old ones pick up on who he actually is. Or was. He somehow manages a straight face for the ensuing questions about... His former rescue, "Another unit came in and killed those shavs." How the farming went, "Times were hard. We knew nothing, but we learned over time." And how his wife is (that last one bringing out a grim look to his facial expression), "She fell ill and died." He says it in a simple way and very curtly, too.
Tabitha checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
Michael checked command + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
(Younglings) "IWell, it really is strange she isn't here." The woman on MIchael's arm admits, stepping out to dance with Michael. "I mean... she did say something about her father wanting to inspect the troops? But that shouldn't keep //Linsay// from being here." Evonleigh and her young lord are nearby, and it's pretty clear that Evonleigh's lord would RATHER Michael's lady NOT get that cozy with the Bisland heir. So he's keeping them so that he can butt into the conversation, "Lady Linsay's father specializes in training some of the elite fighters."
"It's hardly as far as Maelstrom or... which of them is it? That island city in the Lyceum." Delilah pauses for a moment, tipping her head as that blithe, wide-eyed look melts away into a look of absolute understanding -- as though the very interesting lady talking about her older sister snatched the answer out of the air. "Oh, yes! That's it, Iasu. We set the mode here nearly as well. You mustn't think Pridehall is off in the Northlands, never." That wineglass is an extension of her will, drawing a languid circle, even as she stands delightedly in place. "I'm sure your sister told such stories, Lady Alena, but you /mustn't/ think that is wholly the truth. Perhaps cosmopolitan some." An admission of reluctant charm, she bows her head and damn near blushes a little, for a touch of modesty is The Thing. Terrifyingly the thing. Not as gracious as Tabby or Evonleigh about it, but she can manage. "You know I am dying to hear about everything. There must be absolutely /imperative/ things to know, the sort only the well-connected do." A flick of her gaze to the older sorts, and the subtle shake of her head. No, their parents know nothing -- nothing at all. Ever.
(Old and Wise) They nod towards Bedivere as he describes his losses, looking weary as a group. "The losses here have been really bad actually..." There's few furtive glances over one shoulder to make sure that no one is listening too closely. "The taxes have gone up too. Makes it easier to get the young and stupid to sign up, but their training..." They shake their heads in the way of the old and jaded. "They're green, though if the Duke keeps fighting every fight in the world they'll be six feet down or veterans soon enough..."
Evonleigh gives Michael a smile that's both sympathetic and amused, but she doesn't try to rescue him, oh, no. She lifts her brows in curiosity at the discussion of Lady Linsay. "Hm. And her brother? What does he do? Perhaps they accompanied him for some reason. Is it possible," her voice drops a touch, dramatically, but audible, "that some things are more important than meeting Lord Michael of Bisland? I mean, I would say no, of course." She glances at Michael, a smirk teasing the corner of her mouth, though she manages to keep a mostly straight face. "It is intriguing, though. And what do you think of this Lady Linsay and her brother?" she asks the stranger on her arm, gray-blue eyes searching the young man's face. "What does your heart of hearts tell you is the reason she isn't here?"
Ian continues to watch as he mostly listens, shifting a little more of his weight over to his cane. He might be looking for someone, scanning the people for some clue of where they are, and probably not finding them, since he's still looking around. The turn of the conversation draws his intense focus back to the people he's talking with. "He's sending them out untrained?" His level voice, forever calm, is hard to read. It's hard to tell if this is a value judgement, an honest question, or Ian just doing his part to keep the conversation moving. (Well -- not that last one, probably.)
Zoey laughs lightly as the young servant whisks her off. Zoey is fondly remembered in these halls, and it's easy to see why. She is genuinely happy to see the older servants and always delighted to meet the new ones. She nods, however, in response to Howse, and replies. "Oh, I'm certain she is pleased," Zoey says optimistically. "Now, how are you? Tell me everything, dearest."
(Educated Jerks) "Well, I mean." Lady Alena is more than charmed by the attention of the young Whitehawk - charmed enough that she doesn't actually ask the rank of Delilah. "I know a //little//." She draws Delilah close and lowers her words to a whisper, less anyone listen to the //very// important things she's about to say.
"Oh? The Elite guard? I will be glad to have them at the Lodge of Petrichor soon." Michael is a cad, and his arm slinks about this woman's waist to draw her just a touch closer under the waterful eye of her hopeful paramour. A smarmy smirk for that too. "Probably her man is too worried to lose her to me. I'm not /after anyone/. Just unmarried."
Tabitha, meanwhile, is listening carefully, noting the faces of the sagely gathering with eyes full of thoughtful concentration. When Bedivere mentions his wife's passing, she very briefly places a hand against his own, but not long enough for anyone to accuse her of making a spectacle of herself. Ian's question is noted, then, and she frowns very faintly in consideration of it. And then, back to studying (though with much politeness) the faces around her, almost as if she's trying to figure something out. But subtly, of course.
Kenna mutters, "... the strangest ... ... ... Count Cherval? Word is that ... ... been ... ... ABSENT of late. Usually ... ... ... ... ... ... and those two ... children ... ... ... - ... ... ... ... she ... on Lord Michael's arm. If ... ... ... I bet something ... ... on with Count Cherval. Honestly, ... bet ... another ... A //bastard//."
Delilah listens, as is her promise, head tilted just so that her wavy copper hair and carefully arranged braids veil a confidence from overly eager ears. Let it be seen by none seeing that she actually takes such cares to preserve Lady Alena's secrets. All she needs is a lace fan to flash semaphore at Tabitha over there. None be the wiser. "I trust you are alert to everything that goes on," she murmurs, a warm hand lightly placed upon the woman's arm as a faint, confirming touch. It lasts but a moment, her wide gaze full of quiet appreciation. Her voice drops an octave.
Bedivere momentarily leans in Tabitha's direction but then stands up straighter whilst glancing over toward Ian's question. He nods once before looking back toward the Old and Wise to hear out their potential reply.
(Younglings) "Oh, well... they don't really do anything - Linsey and her brother. It's mostly their father, Count Cherval." The lady on Michael's arm says airly, before Evonleigh's man pipes in, "The only reason they wouldn't be here is if their father didn't want to be here. Honestly, he snaps his fingers, and they come running. NO ONE disobeys OldCherval when he's in the well... you know."
(Old and Wise) The collective wisdom's eyes snap to Ian when he speaks, "Oh, no. Not at all. It's just, well... we don't really see them train? Maybe they're all experienced, but who knows?" They look uneasy now, glancing at one another before aruptly, "Excuse us?" As a group the old and wise pull themselves away, leaving Tabitha, Ian, and Bedivere to find other amusements.
A slight quirk of brows, then a sideways glance to Delilah. Tabitha might have heard something, a few words on the breeze, but if she did she's doing a good job of pretending she heard nothing! She just remains prim and proper in her silks, hands folding in front of her, listening as politely and attentively as can be. What a nice young lady she is. With a smile at Bedivere, she waits, exchanging little pleasantries with some of the older ladies around the group. Until they leave that is. Then she just looks rather puzzled.
Bedivere checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.
Lailah diverts course from the undesired encounter, trying to keep track of her quarry without getting dragged into unnecessary social encounters. She's trying to read a book here, and investigate a little thing while she's at it. She can only do so many things at once.
The reply leaves Ian a bit flummoxed; he doesn't seem to know how to take it. So he just... lets it go. He finishes off his drink, and then angles for the liquor again, with a pensive air.
"Why wouldn't he want them here, I wonder?" asks Evonleigh of her dance partner, before tipping her head upward to ask quieter, in the man's ear, one hand reaching up to shield her lips from any onlookers' gaze. "Is he worried they might say something to upset the Bislands?" she asks, a glance toward Michael and then to Lailah where she skulks around the room -- most parents might want their upcoming noble children to meet the Bisland heir and daughter, after all.
Tabitha checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 43 higher.
(Commoners) "Tired tired, you know how it goes. My eldest now, he just went off to join those special forces of Count Cherval." The woman chatters happily on Zoey's arm till they come to the windows and settle, not far from the Educated Folks. "Actually, strange thing there... He swore he was getting paid a pretty coin to go, but I could have //sworn// the Duke hadn't mentioned paying the soldiers more. USually I heard that kind of thing. But perhaps it's old age, silly me."
People might notice that Tabitha is looking around the room to one particular direction, perhaps towards something of interest. Something odd, or out of place, or just relevant to their curiosity.
Bedivere turns away from the worried elderly and closes up the convo circle with Ian and Tabitha, "Odd." says he but not much more as he looks up to wherever it is that has caught the attention of Tabitha.
Lailah checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.
Delilah dips her head and sips her wine, the sort of person who listens rather divulges in detail. After all, the business of listening is so very importance. Her head shakes ever so slightly to inform Lady Alena of the terrible gravity and importance of NEWS. News is so essential!
Drink in hand, Ian continues his trend of gravitating towards growly old men who are probably going to disapprove of him on principle. Having worked his way through the noble growly men, he begins to mix among the guards -- specifically the officers. In this society, he speaks a little more freely than before, gives off a sense that he's more sure of his social footing. He also radiates Respect For The Chain Of Command.
It seems that Tabitha, with her faint worried frown, has indeed noticed something as the mood of the room changes. People are starting to filter out, and a lot of different conversations mention some serious discontent about 'taxes' and how they've been raised lately. All of it seems directed at the efforts at the Lodge, and wondering //why// Bisland would care about a bit of land in //Grayson// lands.
Zoey arches her eyebrows at Howse's information. "My goodness. No, that doesn't sound like Uncle Gabriel, does it?" Her gaze briefly turns inward, a pensive frown tugging at her lips. It's an expression that Howse knows exceptionally well. It only lasts a moment, however, and she looks back at the servant, smile returning. "Well, where is Greggir stationed? Have you heard from him yet?"
Michael does his very best now to spin his dance partner away from Evonleigh. He caught that quick glance, and he will let Evonleigh work her gentle interrogation methods by herself for a bit. Instead, drawing his dance partner away to whisper his own things at her. Something about where the best place to get a steak is. Michael may not be very focused tonight.
Lailah approaches her quarry, at least making a token attempt to be sneaky about it, but in the moment she forgot an important detail about silver, it is reflective. And while not polished to a mirror sheen, that plate still shows her silhouette before she gets close enough to really block his path. When she realizes this, she coughs. "Pardon me, I am looking for the gaol. I thought a petty thief might be familiar with it."
(Commoners) The guards nod at Ian generally, exchanging respect. They also straighten up smartly as he walks by. There is little speaking that happens, out of respect for what Ian shows himself as. Mistress Howse shakes her head pensively at the moment, "He didn't actually say - isn't that strange? Well." She pushes herself to her feet and brushes away dust. "I really should be off, you be well my Lady, you take care of yourself, yes?" And then she is off, heading to her current mistress' needs.
Evonleigh checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.
A little more comfortable in more familiar company, Ian watches people trickle out. Since it looks like the party is over, he notes where Zoey is in the room. In case there's somewhere she wants him to go stand.
(Younglings) Michael's lady is at his WHIM, chattering happily about anything he might want to talk to as the music draws to a close. Evonleigh's young man is charmed enough to look away from the lady and focus on Evonleigh, at least until the music is over. "Well... Lord Cherval, he's a tough one. Stuck in his ways a bit, and his children..." A tiny shrug of his shoulder, "They never manage to keep their mouths shut. I bet he just didn't want to be embarrassed by them tonight, oh," The song finally ends and dance partners rearrange. "If you'll excuse me?" He's going to go and claim the lady on Michael's arm (even though she tosses longing looks back at Michael), for a dance. This leaves Evonleigh and Michael to finally partner if they want.
(Thief) From behind a tapestry there's the sound of silver hitting the ground and a startled yelp. "Don't, don't please, don't tell no one m'lay. I just wanted to look, swear. It's just... thing've been so hard lately, I'll put it back. Quick. Promise.
Kenna mutters, "It's ... most curious thing, don't ... ... ... know ... won't be letting //my// children ... him ... ... ... duke comes for ... ... ... being //so// irresponsible."
With a nod to Delilah, Tabitha touches Bedivere's arm gently to gain his attention. Then she whispers something to him.
(Educated Jerks) Someone calls out to the lady whipsering with Delilah, and she excuses herself to Delilah with a beaming, "I do hope we can speak again, it has been a pleasure." They move off, still whispering to one another in their oh-so-snotty lofty tones.
Bedivere leans in and listens closely to Tabitha as he peers out toward the dancing duo then quietly replies.
The business of sipping wine is hard work. Oh so hard work. She takes a pretty sip of it and starts to floats among the other news-wielding gossips, nodding. "I am grateful to be caught up somewhat. Did you know lace has been just the thing lately? Lace inset into umbra to cover up some of the scandalous designs -- Lycene, of course -- and then aeterna, to give the same impact. Sheer but /not/ if you can imagine." The shock of it. Her voice carries that rich, lush hint of being oh so amused. "Oh, pardon me. I really ought to make sure I hand this off." How /ever/ did it end up mostly empty? It didn't. Her hand covers enough of the glass to make determining its level about impossible. "Thank you, Lady Alena. Your wisdom is great as ever." She swishes lightly in Tabitha's direction, idly.
"If you're going to lie to me," Lailah answers the thief calmly. "You should at least try not telling two contradictory ones right after the other without even giving me the chance to object to the first. It's just poor form." She doesn't sound angry, and instead asks, "But perhaps we can work something out. I'm sure my father would be more inclined to forgiveness should I put in a good word for you."
"Thank you for the dance," says Evonleigh with a nod, turning to Michael and raising her brows. "Do you know this Count Cherval?" she asks, moving closer to him, as if to dance, but more to whisper than to begin a new dance. She turns to look around for her cousins and sister. "What do you make of it, Golden Son of Bisland, Heir of all he surveys?" she asks, lips quirking up teasingly, before she grows more solemn. "I don't have a head for the military but it's something you may want to look into, my lord."
That young lady is let off of Michael's grasp. A dipped bow to the lady, and the lord, before he trundles off to go bump his hip against Evonleigh's and natter at her. "This has been a very odd evening, hasn't it?"
(Thief) "It's just... I can't pay for things, my lord keeps taxing us, they've gotten so bad, and... my father.. he... he died fighting Gyre, and now mother is off with the Lodge and I might have to fight and I don't want to...." The thief kicks the silver at Lailah, looking to distract her, then takes off, running down the hallway. He might even get away - except the clatter of silver catches the attention of some of the guards and they are HOT on his heels.
Curtsying to Ian, Tabitha then plucks at Bedivere's shirt, ever-so-gently, then more or less (kindly) pulls the tall knight over to where Delilah stands, should he allow it. Because let's face it, there's no way she could or would force him to tag along behind her. When she reaches her scholarly cousin, she smiles, though there's a hint of concern in her expression. She does, of course, cast a look towards the clatter.
Bedivere is tugged along by his Knights of Solace tabard that he always wears while in full leathers underneath. He glides over to where Delilah is now, doing so easily enough. He, too, glances back toward the escape thief.
Zoey returns to Ian's side, slipping under his arm as to encourage that arm around her waist. "I just heard the most curious thing," she says softly, brows contracting just a touch. "Would you let me get a drink for myself and then sit down with you?"
Unfortunately, this matter has been sort of resolved, but Lailah heard an interesting statement and decides to bring it up. She carefully maneuvers herself to be besides her brother so she can mutter something to him in relative privacy.
Ian slides an arm briefly around Zoey's waist, a light squeeze, understated. "Sure. Where do you want to go?"
Lailah mutters, "I ... ... is doing ... ... with the ..."
The party is dispersing slow, Michael leads Evonleigh off towards the others that came out to Pridehall with him. Him, of course, being Michael and this is his party. Duke-in-the-future Michael. Lailah is stopped with first and his head tilts sideways. "I was more worried about the lower houses of Bisland holding back their elite forces. I don't remember seeing Count Chervza's troops on manifests."
Zoey points to one of the tables at the edge of the dancefloor, close to others. She beckons Michael and Lailah over and sends one of the waiters off for a whiskey, several glasses, and a cup of tea.
Ian continues his tradition of going where he's told to go. He watches his feet as he paces over to the table.
%"Mm," is Evonleigh's reply to 'interesting.' "The entire family is obviously hiding something. The lord I danced with mentioned Cherval probably not wanting his children here so that they wouldn't say anything, whatever it is," Evonleigh murmurs to Michael, a nod for Lailah when the woman approaches, turning away when she murmurs to her brother, to give them privacy for Bisland matters.
Bedivere conspires with his two not-quite-nieces-but-might-as-well-be's. Then, motions over toward Micheal after he whisper whispers something something?
"Count Cervhaza." Michael butchers the name again. Also, settles down at a table with Zoey and Co. "So. Taxes...aren't being used well?" Who said that? /Lailah/ said that, and she gets his chin lifted up towards her.
Lailah mutters, "One of the servants was complaining heavily about the ... ... felt compelled ... compensate. I don't know if father is his direct lord ... some tax ... is ... something, or ... ... our vassals is trying ... stock up on money without telling us. Saving up for ... ... ... perhaps."
Zoey shares quietly with those at her table about how the recruits are being promised money... but Gabriel hasn't authorized such payment.
Lord Bedivere leads forth the Whitehawk Women to the same table where the Bisland Voice is and pulls out a couple chairs, doing so one after the other (with his left hand: the only one he has). After they are privately seated around the table here with everyone else, he quietly conveys, "I think you have a Bisland problem here. Sounds like your troops might lack training, quite possibly from lacking funding. Demoralizing talk goes on versus the Lodge which is a mighty important last stand. Mighty important." He cannot stress this enough.
Tabitha places her silk-clad booty down on that chair, her face being all, "ARRRGH I AM IN A PLACE WITH PEOPLE HELP" but she smiles politely. So politely at everyone around her. How polite!
Michael glances between Lailah and Tabitha, back and forth. Then a slow lean towards Lailah and he whispers something to her before addressing the table. "I think there is more than one Bisland problem, apparently. Troops not going anywhere, taxes not going places...and..What did you hear?"
Michael mutters, "Have you met ... yet? I ... the two of ... would get along."
Evonleigh leans against Tabitha lightly, and looks up at Bedivere. "I feel it's more deliberate than that, somehow. Like maybe misappropriation. I'm not sure why. An audit or something might be in order, my lord," she says, the last directed to Michael, worry clouding her face, now that it's mostly those she knows and knows well.
Bedivere plunks down into his own chair as they get the party started on the Bisland issues and nods firmly. "I agree with Lady Evonleigh, and be ready when you do, with security enough to apprehend them, especially if they are causing trouble for the Lodge, they might not be an accountant alone."
Lailah purses her lips and states her suspicions outright. "I hope I'm wrong, but I fear someone may have concluded that we are weak and that this is their chance to do more than just engage in misappropriation." She then asides a whisper to her brother.
Lailah mutters, "I fear the ... thing ... ... in ... ... ... mutual ... of ... niceties."
Michael mutters, "... that ... enough?"
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