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The Salon: Isle of Storms

Since there seems to be a lot of requests for information regarding this location still being directed her way, the Moderator of the Salon is making use of the ample space of the Empirical to host an open Q&A about the Isle of Storms. It's also an opportunity for those who have already gone to the Isle and would like to share their experiences with those who are still curious and have a desire to go to help share information as well.

This gathering is intended to help those who have an interest in leading and/or joining future expeditions to the Isle of Storms. Best be prepared and know what to expect when venturing there to make the most of the arduous journey.

Date

Dec. 3, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Katarina

Participants

Gianna Ouida Appolonia Delilah Khanne Sina Mikani Arthen Lysander Rinel Anabelle Eddard Lethe Gilroy Olivia Lilia Sparte Adora Amorria Ilvin Mirk Duarte

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Empirical - The Salon

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Gianna walks into the salon, tugging her gloves off. One eyebrow arches as she takes in her surroundings, having never been here before; she strolls toward one of the seating arrangements.

Sebastian, an adorable gray and white tabby, Jacinthe, Arindais, a dour-looking Scholar, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sina.

Ouida slips in, her expression one of slight relief at not being late. The Harthall knight quickly finds a place propped up against the bar, a pleasant smile curving her lips, as seems to be her habit.

The slight and dark figure of Appolonia slips into the Empirical trailed by a much paler figure in the form of Chiara. The scholar pauses to take stock of those already gathered, her gaze skipping over faces unknown until she notes Arthen who gets a little nod of her head in recognition and then Delilah who gets the same, though somewhat friendlier as she starts back up moving toward where others are gathered, taking a seat as her lady files off quietly. "Arthen," she says as she settles, "good to see you." Khanne gets a nod. "Delilah, it's been forever dear heart." And then there's Mirk. She gives the Halfshav lord a nod as well. "Lord Mirk always a pleasure." She looks left, then right and then squints. "Is there wine?"

Gianna has joined the a glossy walnut bar.

Ouida has joined the a glossy walnut bar.

The dusty kick of her hems leaves a swirl of shadow gathered round Delilah's boots. She raises her palm in mute greeting to Mikani, dipping her head in a greeting. "Lord Mirk, Lady Khanne." Arthen receives the inclination of her head by way of greeting. "Messere. Would you be terribly put out if I snuck in behind you?" Plenty of couches gathered thus offer a handsome selection of places to sit, and she takes up precious little space in profile. She soon enough dips down, alerted by that pale wraith of a woman factored into another arrival. That luminous smile alights for Appolonia. "Far too long. I shall rectify it immediately, darling. If there's no wine, there shall be."

Khanne takes that offered seat with a smile, saying to Arthen, "don't worry. I won't chatter your ear off today. You look a little tired... still keeping yourself far too busy?" Looking up at Delilah then as she is given a nod, the shaman raises her hand to wiggle her fingers to the woman. "Lovely to see you, as always, Delilah." She herself is dressed simply in silk, because what is more appropriate for winter? She does have a cloak though, and she drapes it over the back of her seat carefully. Nodding to Mirk she shakes her head, the feather adorning her hair fluttering slightly from the motion. "I do not mind at all, Cousin. Glad to see you here." She nods to Appolonia and states, "you as well."

Lethe has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

The Archscholar of Vellichor is unlikely to miss a discussion of the Isle of Storms, one of her favorite subjects. So she arrives, accompanied by her Templar knight, and her two assistants. Clothed in her aeterna robes, long dark hair braided down her back past her waist and twined with chains, Sina steps quietly into The Salon for the first time ever, and glances around with curious silvery eyes.

"Welcome to the Empirical," comes the soft-spoken salutations of Katarina as she emerges from deeper within the salon, a leather-bound journal tucked safely against her hip beneath a half-curled arm. Golden eyes pass over the faces of those gathered, many somewhat familiar to the leader of the Salon. "Tonight will not be like our usual debates or discussions, but more of an open meeting for those who've gone to the Isle of Storms or wish to go there in the near future. An equal opportunity to share our stories for those with the experience, and for others to hear and know what to expect should it be to this area they intend to explore."

Mikani looks over at Mirk and grins, "I think is the third large event I've seen you at. You working on having fun?" She teases the man warmly. Her dark eyes full of mischief before she looks around the room.

Atreke, a severe-looking scribe arrives, following Rinel.

"Lord Mirk! By all means, while it away until people get to jawin' about their stuff..", Arthen Dayne says, now that he's waking up. It's a good time for it. It seems like the table he'd fallen asleep at is starting to get occupied. He looks like he might say something else until Appolonia's greeting him, and he looks over to her with an afternoon-warm smile, "Got yourself a taste for the place and now you want to know more, huh?". He gives her a knowing look.

Eddard has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.



Normally, Lysander would have to make an entrance, not just walk in a room. But it's snowy and his guards would complain -- even if it's only in their thoughts, he'd see it in their eyes, their maudlin *eyes*! -- so he enters the place very simply. He brushes the snow off his shoulders, then shrugs off his cloak to the nearest of his men. He kicks his shoes clean and then, hearing Appolonia ask her question, he lightly offers his opinion. "I really hope so."



Of course, once Delilah takes up the responsibility, Lysander's face lights up very openly. He nods a few times, hoping to encourage this most urgent of matters to some solution. "Yes," he glances back to another of his attendants. "Wine is a beautiful, glorious sacrament. Let's be sure to partake, it's only right. Now..." his gaze continues around the room, "is anyone going to be good to sit with..."



Rinel skitters in, cane and boots skidding on the icy floor. She careens into a wall and clutches onto it for dear life. "I'm here! I'm here." Her face is flushed from the cold, her hair a messy tousle. "Everything is fine! Yes. I'm fine. Hello, everyone!" the scholar beams.

Sina has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.

Anabelle is resplendent in a gown of wintery rose, glittering with with semi-precious stones in delicate snowflake patterns, her golden amber hair pulled up in a complicated web of braids and ringlets that must have taken hours. To Eddard's question, she giggles softly, "Well, it was certainly effective for keeping my skirts out of the snow, so I greatly appreciate it." She squeezes his arm briefly before blue-grey eyes sweep over the salon and the various seating. "Any preference as to where we should sit?"

"You are a treasure," Appolonia says to Delilah as the offer to get wine is made. That settled her gray eyes shift back to Arthen and she offers the man a little smile in response to his words. "You know how it goes when you place questions before a curious mind," she says to him with a flick of a hand idly. She seems ready to add something else when something catches her gaze and her head turns, noting Sina's arrival. She offers the Archscholar a soft, fleeting smile and a nod.

Sina inclines her head toward Princess Katarina, the hostess, before moving to find a place to settle. She gives Delilah a quick smile when she notices the Emissary, and she gives a nod of the head to Appolonia as well as a warmer smile. Her eyes glance about as she moves through to a seat, a smiles curving her lips as she notices Olivia and Sparte as well. She seats herself among the cluster of couches, leaving her Templar off near the door, conspicuous but not. Her assistant Jacinthe remains nearby, and at a whisper from Sina, her other assistant Arindais trudges off on some errand. When Rinel arrives rushing in, Sina glances in her direction briefly, giving her a nod of the head, before adjusting her robes idly. For a moment, her eyes fix on Eddard, whom she has never met, but boy is he fashionable today!

Arindais, a dour-looking Scholar have been dismissed.

Sebastian, an adorable gray and white tabby have been dismissed.

Eddard halts just past the entryway, with Anabelle upon his arm, a ring glittering wildly upon his right hand and the rest of his ensemble tending towards more somber blackes and greys including what could only be a billowing umbra cloak. "The back tables, I would think would be...I think we are late." And then they scuttle off to not be in the way as Katarina gets started!

With a moment reserved for the fashionably late to command the attention of the affluent members of the Peerage to effectively strut their stuff, Katarina lends an appreciative eye to a few pieces that catch her attention. A hint of a smile curls just-so over her lips, lifting a hand to Eddard with a gentle curl of the wrist. "Two for two, aren't you, Lord Eddard? My, if I'm not careful, I'll think I'd feel threatened in my position as a fashion trendsetter for the Crown," she quips in affable exchange, settling comfortably in a seat all her own. "If everyone has found themselves a seat and gotten comfortable, I'd like to begin," she softly announces.

Lethe finds a seat and looks at some of the others and their tastes in fashion. She smiles as she watches Eddard and Anabelle.

Scribble has an idea of his ward's habits, at least in the terms of managing the libations. For those already at the table where Delilah dwells, two bottles shall present themselves in short order; one a heady red, a punch to the palate and banishment of everything chilly about the winter. The other is vaguely lighter fare, a Granato red sprinkled by effervescence and slightly more burnt caramel overtones woven among the berry jam and punch of spice. Accompanying glasses take a few moments for delivery, in case anyone aims to steal the bottle and help themselves, short of drinking it from the stem. "One aims to be so, Lady Appolonia." The corner of Delilah's mouth lifts as she arranges herself, meeting Lysander with those brilliant upturned eyes, and she gestures. "If you would be so good as to join us, my lord. Wine is a sin to drink alone, and a decided virtue to extend to friends and stranges." Gods help how much this might cost the Bisland treasury if it comes to it, though she beams to Sina in passing, that lively lift of her mouth settled.

Lysander has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.

You know who's really into the Island of Storms? Probably lots of people, but for the most part Gilroy Grayhope is here to see if he can't go four for four on parties with free food. A quick glance around the room to size up the crowd, Gilroy eventually heads over to the bar where his favorite conversational partner in the world can be found. Bottles of top flight cognac. Sliding into a seat, Gilroy nods down toward the others at the bar. "Wow. That island, huh? So stormy. Do they have bacon wrapped dates anywhere?"

Gilroy has joined the a glossy walnut bar.

Katarina is overheard praising Eddard: Lord Eddard Clement has worked tirelessly to generate positive attention upon the House he represents in tasteful displays of fashion. I am proud.

Olivia has arrived quietly and taken a seat, although somewhat further away from the larger gatherings. For the moment, she folds her hands and awaits the start of the discussion, albeit with a brightly curious look.

Sina is overheard praising Eddard: That is quite a beautiful ring he has. I wonder if it has a history.

Anabelle has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.



Lysander's already bright expression becomes more radiant still with Delilah's invitation. "My thoughts exactly!" Though he quiets himself in time to listen as their hostess initiates the proceedings. Maybe he can make a spectacular exit later, or something similar. Though he will have to spare some time ogling Eddard. So, while Delilah's occupied with the wine and the lady nearby, Lysander takes the opportunity to look Eddard over, not bothering to hide both appreciation and a general consideration of the outfit and its accessories. It's what the man dressed up for, anyway. It would be impolite *not* to get an eyeful.



Khanne lifts her flask up for a sip, mist grey eyes watching so many people gather in the salon. She is mostly quiet, though does seem to speak to those she sits nearest to on occasion. She does take notice of some of the flashier fashion, and of course gives Katarina, their host for the evening, a nod.

Anabelle has the decency to blush a little at the fact that they seem to be late, and nods her approval of his suggestion, following after him quickly and settling with minimal fuss and distraction for those around her.

Anabelle has left the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

Anabelle has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

Late? Who's late? Lilia makes her way into the salon and stops doorside to remove her cloak and to acclimate to the warmth. It gives her time to look around, to take what note she will of who's who and what's where while gloves are pocketed, to limit what yuck from the outdoors she brings in.

Sparte. Sparte is late. He comes in just a bit behind Lilia, still shaking the snow off of his Wilhelm. Well, brushing it off vigorously before leaving his Wilhelm by a fire.

"During the Great War against the Pirate King, there were many expeditions that led to discoveries of places where the Metallics - Cobalt and Brimstone - had left special caches of weapons and tools meant to be rediscovered and give an edge in the war," Katarina weaves an introduction of the fantastical. "Often hidden within small islands, barely blips in the great vast of the Mourning Sea, these places were forgotten in time and returned to memory by way of dream, chance, or warning."



"The Isle of Storms is a place of such legend where it too perhaps fell from the collective memory with its churning waves and violent storms that no sailor - even I, one who sailed into the Darkwater willingly times before - would dare attempt to circumvent around without good cause. It is a place where much precious knowledge was guarded, and is now actively being re-discovered by many of our attendants tonight for different reasons all their own. I'm hoping that by having this meeting, I'll give them the platform - if they're willing - to speak of their discoveries, their experiences there, and what they hope to achieve to help each other."

With some effort, a small group of grizzled sailors a few keen eyes might recognize as the Unsullied's crewmen, carry a large object swathed beneath several sheets to be sat with delicate care upon the table where Katarina sits. Goggles of stained-glass hang from their belts.

Adora comes in with all the late comers, stomping her feet to get the snow off and then quickly going to...oh. Where's the refreshment table? She sticks to the walls of the room and starts stalking around to see if she can find it.

When Katarina begins to speak, Khanne settles in cozily upon the couch with flask in hand. She lifts her other, pressing a finger to her lips while another curls beneath her chin. She then watches the sailors enter, her eyes squinting slightly as she studies the sheet covered object they bring.

A small, subtly bemused smile appears as Lilia spots Sparte. She offers him a little nod and then moves inward, circling slightly around and-thataway to find what passes for a prime seat to watch and listen to the presentation. The arrival of the object changes her look to one of interest, but there're no comments on her part.

Lilia has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

Over at the bar, Gianna tilts her chin up to peer at the sailors and their sheet-swathed mystery item. She's procured a glass of whiskey at some point, and she's been listening attentively even if she occasionally murmurs something to the others seated at the bar.

Adora checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 12 lower.

Arthen Dayne's baby blue eyes can't miss those sailors bringing in their haul. He casts a look around like, wait just a minute here, and finds a thoughtful look for a second there before he fishes out some strangle headwear with smoked lenses. He leaves them above his eyes for the moment, while he's carrying on conversation.

Sina has settled in, after speaking briefly to Mikani and Mirk, her eyes focusing on Katarina as she speaks. She nods her head along slightly, before turning her eyes toward the grizzled sailors as they enter with the swathed object. She sits with her hands folded in her lap, her expression thoughtful, but she does not seem quite so curious as the others. There's a sense of waiting and anticipation about her.

Sparte returns to the entrance to dust himself off and get rid of his own snow, giving Lilia a friendly smile and glancing around at the others present. Not quite in the mix of things yet.

Oh, that must be where the appetizers are! Adora heads over to the sailors to try to get at what is surely a delightful spread of hams and cheeses, only to have them shake their heads. She glares at them and makes a rude gesture, "Yeah, well, it's probably cheap horse meat anyway," she mutters as she heads to the bar. Then she sees who is seated at the bar, so she takes the closest seat available.

Adora has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.

There is a gentle and amused smile from Ouida at something the others at the bar are saying, though when Katarina begins speaking again, the Harthall knight is all eyes for the princess--and then for the interesting draped object that's brought before the group, still covered. Her brow furrows a bit as she squints just a little and bites at the corner of her mouth in concentration. Probably something that would have earned a smack for unladylike face-making from a childhood tutor. Maybe it helps!

Rinel checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Gilroy makes a face when the sailors bring out the mystery item, muttering something to the others at the bar. Though when the goggles catch his eye he muses, "Now those are interesting." Adora's aborted approach gets a friendly wave of a middle finger from Gilroy, who sits back and enjoys his cognac, letting others handle the heavy lifting of guessing what things are and general didactery and in the case of the sailors actual heavy lifting.

In her scrutiny, Khanne's lips twist to the side. She watches Arthen adjust his headwear and hmms. Screwing the top on her wooden flask she sets it onto her lap, starting to poke around in her bag for a moment. Shaking her head with another quirked lip expression, she gives a shrug and continues to look on.

Rinel looks down at some papers--oddly written in a hand other than hers. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath before smoothing the papers out needlessly, then looks back up to the gathering from where she sits.

Olivia watches the arrival of the large mysterious object, although she clearly has no guess as to what it might be. She does pitch forward a little to try and get a closer look as the men carrying it pass, curiousity writ plainly on her face, but then settles again. While she otherwise looks a bit lost in the gathering, she lifts a hand to offer - albeit between tables - a delicate finger-wave toward Sina when she spots her among the larger gathering.

Anabelle smoothes the delicate fabric of her skirt over her knees as she settles in a chair next to Eddard. She's just unclasping her cloak to let it fall off her shoulders when her gaze also gets riveted by the entrance of the grizzled soliders and their package. Leaning closer to Eddard's ear, she whispers something meant for him alone before she finishes her task and the purple cloak drapes itself on the back of her chair.

As the sheet-covered mystery item garners hushed whispers and curious looks of its own, Katarina continues her oration smoothly, capitalizing on the increased interest: "First and foremost, the Isle of Storms didn't get its namesake simply because someone felt the need to be rather theatrical for sake of being so. The Isle is protected by a storm so terrible that no ship can safely land upon its shores."



A delicate hand rises to grasp hold of the sheet, giving it a gentle pull to reveal what lies beneath: a rather large, rectangular.... lantern? It's pretty massive. "This is the very thing that allows us safe passage to and from the Isle, an artifact that we discovered in the lower tunnels through a door marked with light. It's capable of piercing through even the deepest of dark where no other light may work, it quiets the storm around the island, and granted safe passage - theoretically - through the Darkwater. We never did get an opportunity to try."

Brother Solomon arrives, following Ilvin.

Amorria wanders into the Salon and shakes her robes free of the ice and wetness, lingering there by the door and taking a small survey of the room with curious eyes.

Ouida's breath is held for a moment, though it's more of a reaction to Katarina's explanation rather than the appearance of the lantern itself. She shifts in her seat ever so slightly, once more lost in thought, her lower lip held between her teeth before she's suddenly aware of it and slipping into a more neutral posture. Her eyes do move to the glasses the bearers' wear however, her head tilting curiously.

Ilvin has arrived surreptitiously, his hood up -- he made his attendant Solomon wait outside of the room. He's trying to be inobtrusive in the back and listen, and he might succeed, because he is smol.

Sina gives a brief smile toward Olivia at her finger-wave, then turns her attention back to Katarina. Her silvery eyes are attentive, and when the object is unveiled, she merely gives a slight nod of her head as if in confirmation. "There's a rumor, as well, that the Lighthouse of Arx has a similar property. Apparently, it is blessed by Lagoma or Mangata or both, and if a ship sails out while the Lighthouse is lit, that ship may find its way home, no matter how far out to sea. But that has yet to be proven. I've seen this lantern in action, however," she adds, with a smile to Katarina.

1 Blackram novice guards, Chessa arrive, following Teagan.

1 Blackram novice guards, Chessa leave, following Teagan.

Mikani looks at the lantern curiously. Mikani's head tilts slightly as she takes it in her mind going over how it would work.

Amorria lingers by the entrance a few more moments, seemingly just coming in to get out of the cold before heading back for the door, though a glance is spared Ouida's way before she pulls her simple hood back up.

Eddard flips his ankle up upon his knee and gets compeltely entranced by the arrival of this monstrosity of a lantern. Big eyes go even bigger as the context of the lantern is getting talked about and he turns to whisper to Anabelle.

Delilah's blithe smile takes in the lantern as it is revealed, though the distinct features of the object are a bit difficult to commit to memory. She rests her chin in the palm of her hand, contemplating every curve and detailed line of the architectural design.

Olivia listens curiously as the explanation of the lantern is given, between Katarina and again Sina, who goes on with yet further information on the topic. "This sounds endlessly useful, both the lantern or this lighthouse. I am no sailor myself, but I have... lost family to the dangers of adventure at sea. So it would be greatly reassuring to know that any journey was so blessed."

"There might come a time where we'll endeavor to put the lantern through its paces against the bloodwater, but that's a subject matter we're not here to discuss currently," Katarina makes quiet mention toward Sina, reigning herself back in before she gets ahead of herself with a sheepish smile toward the Archscholar. "This lantern was never meant to be coveted by one pair of hands, so we've worked tirelessly to make sure it's available to those who wish to visit the Isle of Storms whenever it's needed," she explains. "If anyone would like a a brief demonstration, we can do so much later."



"There are two places of great interest that I'm aware of, currently, on the Isle of Storms. The cave system below that is only accessible for a limited amount of time during low tides. And the path that winds its way up into the main of the island where those who wished to follow the path of the hierophants, the stormbringers, or weather witches - so many names for such an amazing subject. I can speak of the cave system, as that's my area of expertise so to speak, but those who are interested in the latter would have to seek those who've gone." A look is turned toward over the crowd. "If they're willing, of course."

When the cover comes off the lantern, Lilia leans up and forward a bit in her seat for a better look at it. It's interest that sharpens yet more when the history is unveiled along with it, though in her case it manifests as a tiny frown that turns down the corners of her mouth.



Lysander, too, seems interested in it...and able to understand at least parts of it, perhaps the craftsmanship that may have gone into it. He frowns, mildly, thinking. But then he washes it down with a mouthful of wine and lets that open on his tongue, swallowing it while he continues to appraise the lantern. It's not *that* fancy, is it? But then, maybe it's *very* fancy. Elegance is found in simplicity's virtue, isn't it? He clicks his tongue quietly.



Sina goes back to listening to Katarina, once the hubbub has died down about about the Lantern. When Katarina speaks of the areas of interest on the Isle, Sina speaks up again. "There is also the sacred grove of Petrichor," she adds. "Which I can speak on when the floor is opened, or Sparte can," she says. She glances around, to see if anyone else is here, who was there.

"That's going to be really hard for someone to blow out," Adora comments, leaning back in her chair holding someone else's drink and, well, drinking it.

"Thank you for being willing to share such a treasure, you and your companions," Ouida remarks quietly from her seat at the bar, her gaze held on Katarina. Though that is the only interruptiont hat she makes, instead listening intently to the description of the tides and caves, and to others who speak, seemingly having litle to contribute herself.

"I can speak of an item retrieved from the caves," Rinel says quietly. The scholar looks miserable, for some reason.

Ilvin studies the lantern intently, from his spot in the back. He strokes his chin, thoughtfully, as he observes.

Is there a question an answer portion of the night's entertainment? Is that portion RIGHT NOW? It best be, since Gilroy holds up a hand and then calls out, "Does anyone understand the mechanics of the thing? What's it made of? Are people looking to make another?"

Small sips of wine are taken as Appolonia listens to Katarina, those gray eyes stealing over toward the lantern time and again. The mention of a grove gets her attention to turn back to Sina then, brows perked gently. "A grove? Interesting," she says softly as she looks to the Archscholar but then her gaze flits over toward Adora at her comment and she just shakes her head and looks back at her wine, briefly, before her attention is snagged elsewhere.

Khanne looks up from her conversation to Katarina when she speaks of the different areas of the Isle, and then her eyes glance around the room, waiting to see who might offer to speak about what.

Anabelle is paying close attention to what is being said, both by Katarina and Eddard into her ear. The latter gets a giggle as she returns the whisper before going back to listening intently, resting an elbow on the table in front of her and letting her chin rest gently on the back of her hand.

Perhaps not shockingly, the discussion of the druids and further, of Petrichor's grove on the isle draws interest from garden-girl Olivia, a brightening of her features. This is no surprise to some, no doubt. She steals another quick glance toward the woman offering to speak more on the topic, but then quiets herself for the discussion of the cave.

Mirk squints at Khanne in suspicion, for a moment, and then answers Gilroy, "I've heard it called the Cobalt Lantern, so it would be artifice. Magic. Which is a fancy way to say that I have no idea how it works."

Harlen arrives, following Duarte.

"People have taken to calling it a few different nicknames that may not be befitting of it," Katarina points out toward Mirk, sliding down off her perch upon the table in open gesture toward Sina, Sparte, and Rinel for an open floor. "I'll let whomever wishes to have the floor do so. Then, once everyone has gone, I'll speak on the caves at length and share another facet of information in particular - a dolphin's song. As for understanding the nuances of its mechanisms and how it was artificed, I personally don't. We just understand it's functions, how it works, and what conditions it's been proven to work in so far."

Rinel stands and limps her way to the open floor. "I'd... I'd like to go first," she says softly. "If that--if nobody else minds. I will be more clear."

"What?" Khanne asks Mirk when he gives her a look. She blinks, innocently, seemingly not knowing why she is being squinted at.

Katarina has joined the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

Mikani looks between Khanne and Mirk. "Does anyone know how it works?"

As Katarina opens up the floor, Sina offers a soft smile, and inclines her head. When Rinel offers to speak up first, the Archscholar gives Rinel a nod. "The things that Sparte and I experienced when we attempted to visit the center of the Isle, and when we visited the Grove, along with several others, may take some time to explain."

As Rinel moves towards the front, Ouida's rapt attention turns upon the scholar, the glass of wine in her hand long forgotten.

Katarina takes a seat amidst the crowd, a gentle gesture of encouragement supplied to Rinel as the scholar endeavors to take the floor first.

Rinel checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.

Rinel bites her lip. "I..." she starts, then stops. "I never visited the Isle of Storms," she starts again. There's an audible quaver in her voice. "But Wynna did. When she was still al--when she was the Lead Archivist. She brought back a puzzle cube. It's... I--we worked on it. Wynna, and Derovai Voss, and Oswyn Spencer, and me. Wynna and I couldn't figure it out." Rinel laughs softly. She's crying now, openly, her voice near breaking, but she presses on.



"Oswyn and Derovai did--there was a note inside. And a stone. I don't have them with me--I'm sorry. I--the note said: 'The key will awaken the guardian. The guardian will awaken the Trials. Be ready.'"



"I'm sorry. That's all I have. I don't--I'm sorry." The woman flees to a chair in a distant corner of the room, rubbing at her eyes and trying to stifle her tears and sniffling.

Adora listens to Rinel thoughtfully, "That's a really weird wedding speech, but congratulations, Oswyn and Derovai!" She calls out, taking a big drink. "I heard there was cake?" She looks around expectantly.

Ouida's posture is very calm and patient, though when Rinel's voice waivers and it becomes apparent that she is grieving, her expression melts into sympathy. Her gaze follows her for a moment, though she then looks away as if to give the woman her privacy, for the moment.

Katarina pours herself a glass of wine, a few hushed words uttered to those seated around her. Her attention is immediately wrested from them to Rinel when it's through tears and great effort to deliver her story that she speaks. Lips purse, expression immediately pensive with a knit of brows. "Scholar Tern," she calls softly upon the woman. "Where did Scholar Wynna say she found this artifact exactly on the island? Was it... from the caves?"

Khanne hmms and tilts her head as she looks to Rinel. "Was the stone the key?"

Rinel just nods at Katarina's question, expression miserable.

Katarina checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.

Arthen checked composure at difficulty 5, rolling 20 higher.

:Dayne almost knocks over his drink, but doesn't. Phew.

Lilia flashes a smile at Katarina and murmurs something, but if there was more to the idea it's soon quieted by Rinel's contribution to the discussion. The smile fades, leaving that sharpened interest again, expressed this time with a tiny tilt of her head. And with a question. "What sort of stone?"

Katarina pauses at Rinel's silent affirmation -- then merely bows her head. Only just. She does not speak again, however, anticipating a round of questions to ensue.

Sparte manages to get snow in his boots. Who gets snow in their boots. Finally having gotten that all sorted where he won't melt into his socks or the fine interior, he takes a seat and glances around. "What'd I miss?" Sparte looks over to Rinel with a slowly raising eyebrow, before looking to Katarina. "And why is our counter-contrarian looking like she bit a lemon and it bit back?"

Rinel says, "It was--it was shaped like a hexagon."

Sina's attention remains focused on Rinel as she takes the floor. Her soft smile is encouraging as Rinel falters over her first words, her silvery eyes bright. She listens with quiet attention as she speaks of Wynna, the former Lead Archivist. There's a gentle compassion in her features, but a solid sense of support coming from her. She tilts her head slightly as she hears about the note, and the stone, and the key. She nods her head thoughtfully, and then she smiles. "The key," she breathes, her eyes brightening. "Of course." She continues to pay attention, as Katarina asks her question. She seems quite interested, however, sitting up a little straighter in her seat. She glances at Sparte as he asks what he missed, and leans to murmur to him.

Lysander happens to look up as Sparte is wandering in, and he offers a little wiggle of fingers. Who is he? Who knows! They've probably never met, but he's had some wine and everyone's feeling very dramatic over the lantern and stones and Trials and who knows what else about that, too. Soon enough, he turns back to the main discussion, even though he's sure he doesn't really have a broad context for it. He gets the *idea* of it...

"You've not missed too much," Katarina assures Sparte on a distracted air. "In fact, we'd only just gotten to the part where we're discussing key locations upon the Isle in a bit of detail. Scholar Rinel was kind enough to mention of an artifact she worked on with Wynna and a few other scholars that came from the caves of the Isle," she catches him up quickly. "Now, it's a matter of whether Blessed Sina, myself, or you would like to speak on those locations."

Ilvin absently picks his way through the back of the crowd, and moves to put his hand on Rinel's shoulder. He turns to look at her from within the depths of his hood, and smiles, and then puts a finger over his mouth, before he points upward, and then makes a subtle sign of benediction. He is attempting to be comforting--

Ilvin checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.

Delilah has left the a cluster of couches around a low table.

Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, 1 Bisland pride guards leave, following Delilah.

Khanne starts to laugh, gently, then covers her mouth and looks around before lifting her flask up to drink from it, as if to hide the chuckle.

Sina glances between Katarina and Sparte, looking to Sparte finally, to see if he wants to speak on their experience. "Perhaps you can speak of the center of the Isle, and I can speak on the grove?" she suggests, with a smile to him.

Rinel quietly leans into the Archlector's robe and closes her eyes. The tears and muffled weeping stop as the Oathlands scholar takes comfort in the blessings of her Faith and gods.

Lethe has left the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

3 Tyde Houseguard leaves, following Lethe.

Adora drains the rest of her glass, stands up and says to Lysander, "Congratulations on becoming a woman." She then turns and walks out, muttering about the lack of cake.

Ilvin silently offers his cloak to Rinel to cry into if she needs it, and pats her shoulder, gently.

Adora has left the a cluster of couches around a low table.

Gilroy says something to the people at the bar and gestures toward Ilvin. He's probably talking about how great the gods are!

Sparte ahs, steeling his expression as he nods to what Sina says. "I see, I see." Sparte gives a finger waggle that is friendlier than his carefully neutral expression to Lysander, before looking over to Katarina. "I'm not sure how much there is to say. The top of the island was gorgeous and pretty much untouched by human hands, but part of it was cut off by a rabbit of variable size who barred passage with air of questionable thickness. Then we went back to sit in a grove of grass of arguable musical talent before heading back to Arx in the boat of extraordinary size we'd gone there in the first place on."

Lysander only happens to glance around as Adora's basically already gone, but he catches the gist of what was said. Then he lifts his glass again and takes another sip, just raising an eyebrow. That's going to take some unpacking. Fortunately, he also manages to catch the finger wiggling in his direction, and that's enough to make him brighten right back up again. "Wait," he holds up his hand for a moment, clearing his throat. "The rabbit...was of variable size, but the grass was of musical talent?" He sighs, then, and sits back where he's seated.

"Arguable musical talent." Sparte gently corrects Lysander. "I mean it was no Bladesong."

Gianna can't help it. She speaks up. "The grass sang?" she inquires, both eyebrows arching.

"I haven't had enough wine," Appolonia murmurs softly as she looks to her glass.

Katarina gives Sparte a sort of exasperated look, her smile strained. "You... certainly have a way with words," she remarks toward him mildly. Gathering her skirts in hand, she endeavors to return to her feet with a sweep of her gaze over the crowd. "Is there anyone who would like to speak of their experiences before myself or Archscholar Sina speaks?"

Khanne glances aside, then looks to Sparte, one eyebrow raised.

Sina rises from her seat briefly, and moves around closer to Sparte, conferring with him briefly.

Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, 1 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Delilah.

Delilah has joined the a cluster of couches around a low table.

Sina laughs at something Sparte said to her, then straightens and looks to Katarina. "I can speak next, if you like."

Mikani looks Sina as she speaks.

Katarina spreads her hands in welcoming gesture toward Sina, stepping aside to reclaim her seat on the sidelines.

Sparte looks to Katarina, expression shifting to a mischievous smile as he gives a small almost but not quite apologetic shrug. He then glances around the room, giving finger waves to Mirk and Rinel, a wink and a nod towards Arthen and then another for Khanne. A nod, not a second wink, he isn't having a seizure.

Lilia's brows go up a tiny bit at Katarina, but she is again otherwise rather quiet, content once more to sit and to listen. As Sina volunteers to speak next her attention shifts that way, perhaps in anticipation of the next bit of information.

Rinel smiles back weakly at Sparte. She pulls away from Ilvin with an embarrassed murmur of thanks and sits up straight, eyes focused on the Archscholar.

Ilvin slips back away into the crowd. Or, at least, he tries to.

Moving to a place where she can see everyone and speak more clearly, the Archscholar glances around briefly, with a soft smile. "What Sparte says is accurate. When we reached the center of the Isle," she adds a little, "we were blocked by a wall of solid air. Then a small rabbit hopped up, and grew into a rather large size, as large as a horse. One of our number was told that a key is needed to access the heart of the Isle." Her gaze travels to Rinel, filled with warmth. "So perhaps this is the very key that Wynna found." She glances around again then, her features sobering a little. While at the center of the Isle, the wind was constantly singing to us, though we could not understand it. I am told, however, that Princess Sorrel was able to understand, and shared the words of the song in her white journal." She glances at Sparte briefly, then continues in a graver tone.



"We were also warned," she goes on to say, "that we would need to make many trips back to the Isle, because to learn all of the knowledge locked away there would kill us. So, because we couldn't pass the wall," she says quietly, "we backtracked and visited the Grove instead, which we had seen as we came up the Isle. That grove," she says, with a dreamy smile, "was the most peaceful place I have ever seen. We believe that the place is sacred to Petrichor, and the grass and the flowes and the wind sang to us there. They spoke of how there is no great destiny," she says, moved by the memory, "but only choice. And that they were pleased that we had chosen to come there to learn. They gave us two tasks, before we could return to the Isle, to unlock the path of the Hierophants, and to open the way for the Druids to come and learn anew." She glances over to Khanne, and then to Olivia in particular. "They asked us: What is the domain of the hierophant? What are the strictures of the elements? When we know the answer, the wind sighed to us, we can return. And so I, and others, have been seeking these answers, that we might unlock the next step along the path." She clears her throat a little. "From what information has been gathered before, it seems that the domain of the Hierophant is the natural world. The stuff of that which is already a part of the Dream. But our research continues that we might give a full answer, when we do return."

Never mind that Delilah appeared to vanish; certainly, she did not. Simply listening and sitting quietly as the Archscholar addresses them, she toys with the wine and drinks none of it. Those details painted in living, bright detail accommodate deep curiosity out of her, an unmoving regard.

Mikani leans forward listening. Mikani's dark eyes alive with curiosity.

Khanne seems slightly distracted for a moment, but looks up when Sina begins to speak, and the more that is said, the more fully she is focused on the woman. She seems not at all surprised by most of what Sina says. She nods and agrees, "yes... many trips will need to take place for anyone wishing to learn. Anyone. The Grove is, I hear, absolutely magical, and many are sacred to Petrichor, so that is possible, though I do not know for sure..." She stops, pausing. "Did you answer them?" she asked. "The wind that asked what the domain of the hierophant is, and what are the strictures of the elements?" Then Sina continues and admits they did not. She nods then asks, "and the strictures of the elements? Any ideas?"

Katarina listens to Sina's account with rapt interest, her fingers curled loosely beneath her chin. Now and then, her gaze dances away from the Archscholar to look upon certain faces within the crowd before they're inevitably drawn back to the current speaker. "If there are questions for the Archscholar and the information she has kindly shared with us, I ask that you hold them to the end," she announces. "I'd like to speak on the final locations of the Isle and then, we'll open the floor for any questions you might have." With that, she deigns to rise again and approach Sina in the middle of the floor. A few words are murmured from the hostess to the Archscholar.

Sparte looks to Sina as she speaks, before looking over to Khanne, then lets out a small sigh. "She said it much better than I did. No denying that. Does seem as though there is a lot left to do though, and a lot of risks involved for those who'd do what is needed."

Rinel is overheard praising Katarina: For sharing knowledge that must be shared.

Khanne already asked her questions, but nods and shrugs before turning to Sparte. "Level of risk depends on level of preparation, I might think. There is always a lot left to do. Arx was not built in a day. All the knowledge lost was not initially gained in a day, and it will not be recovered in a short time either." Another shrug. "Probably."

Anabelle is seemingly riveted by the talk going on until she catches a messanger flagging her down from the door. With a sigh, she wraps her cloak back around her shoulders and clasps it before leaning over to put a hand on Eddard's shoulder and whisper in his ear before she goes out to receive his message in private.

This is definitely the bit Olivia has been waiting for, and she listens attentively, even if she has in fact heard some of this before. In fact, hearing the particular way Sina speaks of the grove, she rather mimics the dreamy or peaceful kind of expression that the visit to the grove might invoke... even just imagining it. "I am hopeful we're able to figire out the answers to these questions. But it is good news, isn't it, if we've now worked out the bit with the key? Assuming that is correct?" She glances around briefly, and then wonders, "Is the plan to launch a return trip after we've sorted out the questions?"

Inclining her head to Katarina, Sina smiles. "Of course, I would be happy to answer any questions, after we have heard your tale, Princess Katarina," she says, and she offers a smile to Khanne. "That is something we are working on currently. If anyone has any ideas, I'm happy to discuss it after." With that, however, she says no more. She settles back into her seat, adjusting her robes and glancing to Sparte with a nod. "Much left to do," she agrees softly. She glances over to Olivia, and gives a nod. "I am hoping so." She settles then, eagerly looking to Katarina to hear what she has to say.

Lilia ends up leaning slightly sideways in her chair, elbow on its arm, a fingertip coming up to touch at her mouth. Perhaps like she's shushing herself, though the gesture is really more one of rapt consideration. She listens through Sina's bit of the lecture and then straightens up oh so slightly, like she is going to ask a question, only to convert the look into a smile when Katarina pushes all such to the end. Thus she leans again, giving the other woman that same absolute attention again.

Ouida listens quite closely, sipping at her her wine, though there remains a gentle furrow that grows deeper between her brows. Concern? Confusion? Tannin headache? But the darker mood is quickly shaken off, and she smiles at the Whisper near her for a brief moment.

Atreke, a severe-looking scribe have been dismissed.

Anabelle has left the a collection of small tables and chairs gathered together.

1 House Lyonesse Adept Guards, Jean, 1 Lyonesse Trained Guards leave, following Anabelle.

Khanne twists her lips and looks from Sparte, to Sina, to Olivia. She hums, then says, "we should perhaps speak sometime.... I think your name, Sina, is already on my list Drysi is trying to arrange meeting times with." She hushes then and looks around. "Another time... of course though... sorry."

Mikani has left the a cluster of couches around a low table.

"When one first arrives to the isle and comes ashore, they're presented with two clear choices of travel: to ascend to the proper of the island or to take a path viable only when the tides are low," Katarina explains. "It's a cave system that winds its way downward, through dank and stagnant waters that are only about calf to knee deep. It's a sort of putrid and rotten smell, but one worth enduring for what awaits beneath."



It's with a subtle romanticism that she gives her account, her eyes bright with quiet wonder. "Just when it seems like the tunnel would never end, you come upon a room that is circular in and large. Several doorframes await here, each carved with beautiful creatures, all in their majestic beauty. One might been keen to note that it might look similar to those carvings found in Maelstrom, but without the horror common there. Ceatures of the sea and the air. Wolves and lions, proud hawks and soaring eagles. A shark, swimming downward and a pod of dolphins jumping against the sun. The carvings are many and varied, the animals never repeating twice, and in a style that is unique and unseen in this day."



"Some of these doors have been opened already. The door with the shark, the dolphins, and the door marked with the sun."



"In the door marked by the sun, we retrieved the lantern that I've shown you today. It's purpose was to keep the Storms at bay. When we retrieved it, the storms returned and guarded the isle once more."



"With the shark, something terrible awaited. Sharks swam in the deep waters of the room. And when they jumped from the water, through the doorway, they were rendered naught but a splash of water against the floor. -- I'm not sure what came of it's artifact, but I only hope it's in good hands."



"The room with the dolphin gave us a song - a sort of instruction."

Duarte seems to have come for the refreshments...over there. Lingering at the bar. "Oh, was there a meeting scehduled?" he asked once, quietly. He's just now started to pay attention.

Duarte has joined the a glossy walnut bar.

Gianna raises her voice to call out, "I can sing the dolphin song, if you like. I know it."

Olivia seems happy enough with these answers, even if the prospect of the trip still being in the uncertain future makes her anxious with excitement, visible across her features. Glancing around at the gathering for a moment, she does also point out. "Archscholar, if you are looking for assistance in solving the matter of the strictures... well, obviously this audience does seem to include any number of interested parties. If we are looking for any assistance as research might be concerned?" And since Khanne suggests a gathering, she dips her head politely. "I am always happy to discuss these things, though I doubt I have much new information. I do hope to learn more by taking the trip itself, by seeing the grove." Also, since she notices Duarte ambling around (lost?!) she lifts a hand to wave at him.

Katarina smiles warmly at Gianna, gently beckoning her forward. "Please."

Appolonia goes quiet, a near wistful look on her face at the mention of the dolphin's song but it gets quickly hidden behind the rim of her glass as she tips it back and swallows what remains within it and then sets it aside on the table to listen.

Ouida's troubled expression still remains, in part, though as the Nightingale offers to come forth and sing, she relaxes slightly, finally able to set aside what seems to trouble her in order to anticipate enjoyment of the performance and the song.

Gianna slips down off the barstool and strides over to join Katarina, inclining her head to the Princess before turning to look at those gathered at the salon. She raises her arms gently from her sides and begins to sing, her voice clear and true.



"Take heart, take heed, for in the dark,

Shall hidden knowledge make its mark,

For now against the coming night,

We save our knowledge, save our light..."



There are several more verses, which the Nightingale of the Bard's College sings out.

Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 37 higher.

Katarina brings her hands up in soft applause when Gianna delivers a breathtaking performance of the Dolphin's Song. "I could have not asked for a better voice," she gives her praise unfailingly, lips curved in gentle smile. "Thank you, Nightingale, for this."

Katarina is overheard praising Gianna.

Sina listens with rapt attention as Katarina speaks of her own experience, of the caves, the doors, the carvings on the walls, and the things that may have been found within, including the lantern. She smiles softly then, at the mention of the Dolphin's Song, and nods her head slightly. "I'm familiar with the song," she murmurs. She glances, then, toward Duarte as he speaks, then to Olivia. She nods to the Lady, and smiles. "I'll speak on that at the end." She turns her eyes, then, toward Gianna as she offers to sing the Dolphin's song, and beams a smile. She nods absently to something Mirk says, giving him a brief smile, then turns her gaze back to Gianna as she begins to sing. When the song ends, she smiles warmly to Gianna. "I have always wondered what it would sound like, when rendered in beautiful voice. Thank you," she murmurs softly.

Sina is overheard praising Gianna: She sings so beautifully!

Duarte claps and whistles. He raises his drink to Gianna. "What's that one called? I've never heard it before."

Mirk is overheard praising Gianna.

Gilroy is overheard praising Gianna: Well, look at you.

Ouida too applauds, her blue eyes glimmering. For one who is not unfamiliar with sailing and the sea, to hear human words and voice to the calls previously only felt in the timbers if the sea and ship was quiet enough, or when a pod was met chattering and leaping in her ship's wake is a profoundly moving experience.

Gianna gives a theatrical little bow to the room and calls back to Duarte when she straightens, "I've only ever referred to it as a dolphin's song," she says. She's smiling, now that she's performed, with a warmth about her in stark contrast to her usual aloof demeanour.

Gilroy claps politely, though from the moment Gianna stood up to sing and all through her performance he's looked distinctly amused. When she finishes he sits back and waves for another drink.

Lysander quietly listens, finishing off his drink and softly applauding for a few seconds. He gives a single, resolute nod then before getting a certain look in his eyes, upon his mien, and then he quietly stands and, gracefully, throws his cloak back around him. It's dry now, and his attendant is right there once he reaches his full height. A soft smile on his face, he nods to the performer, then looks to Sparte, mouths something impossible to understand by looking, points, and then waves a hand and turns. He has a lot to think about, this day. And he's pretty sure that Silvio will have some light to shed.

Lysander has left the a cluster of couches around a low table.

3 Rubino and Zaffria guards leaves, following Lysander.

"Now that my part has finished, The Salon will be opening up the floor for any and all questions about everything that has been discussed," Katarina announces. "Please, feel free to linger as long as you'd like. There'll be potentially a few more discussions that dive deeper into specific caveats of this subject in the future."



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