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Day of Vows Festival for the Crownlands

In celebration of the Day of Vows, House Grayson is proud to present some festivities of affirmation and giving in honor of Limerance. Please come and enjoy a hot drink and some delicious food, accept a few small symbolic gifts from your liege house (if you are sworn to us -- oh wait, everyone is!), and come prepared to celebrate our oaths together. Yay!

Date

Nov. 27, 2018, 9:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Tikva

Participants

Maddox Macda Delilah Kaia Waldemai Victus Tomwell Tristan Berenice Lumen Lailah Eddard Harlex Karadoc Thesarin Terese Cedric Alaric Michael

Organizations

Grayson

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Merril, an Assistant Page, 3 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Lailah.

Tycho, the Helpful Reindeer Mount arrives, following Eddard.

Zoraida, a dead-eyed Apprentice Whisper arrives, following Lumen.

As the servants finish loading the sideboard with massive amounts of delectable food, Tikva stands centrally in the room with her hands on her hips, waiting with a wide, wide smile to greet guests as they make their way in. Her short hair is capped with a few stray pine sprigs that may or may not have been deliberate. "Good evening, everyone!" she carols as people arrive. "Come on in, have food and drink, find a table if you want one! In a bit we'll get some music going, but first, I wanted to welcome you all to our feasting in honor of the Day of Vows. This is one of my very favorite holidays, and House Grayson is pleased to welcome you this year so that we can give you all gifts in celebration of the love and obligation owed in fealty, and celebrating that we can all be here together in Arx as part of this Compact! I hope to treat you all to a lovely meal and to hear about all the vows you have enshrined in your hearts tonight!"

Guillermo, a messenger pigeon, 2 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Kaia.

2 House Deepwood Guards, Kaia arrive, following Maddox.

Maddox comes stepping into the hall with Kaia on his arm, chatting with her softly as they enter. He looks up to see who is here. He smiles a bit at the gathering.

Arriving early, Macda is in rare form to not slip in after the main speech has started. She has already flanked the sideboard with a drink, asking quick moving servants where specific foods may be.

Patches, a three-legged mutt arrives, following Tristan.

A sofa will be claimed in the name of no one particularly shocking, first after she navigates the hall. Delilah glides in, her dress lightly sweeping around her in a lengthy shimmer of aeterna. Ranunculi and snowdrops lace her braids like actual snow outside, albeit far warmer and a touch more fragrant in a lovely way. "Thank you, Princess Tikva! You're looking lovely," she announces in her warm voice. "I hope that you and Prince Ainsley are doing well, and Princess Lara too." Her tone is soft, stricken by mirth that illuminates her features top to bottom. Scribble himself is busy /basking/, the proper company suitable to the elder gentleman's tastes, and he can probably imagine nothing amiss conspiring to happen. Thus, he nods when she murmurs something softer to the princess, and goes to take that temporary claim for somewhere to sit.

Dolmen, a Crimson Agent arrives, following Harlex.

Waldemai has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.

Dolmen, a Crimson Agent leaves, following Harlex.

"Oh wow! So many people are already here." she comments, as she takes a look around.

Waldemai joins the commoners down the long table. His fealty to the crown is about four layers down, but he's loyally here.

Dolmen, a Crimson Agent arrives, following Harlex.

2 House Velenosa Guards, Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job, Harlex arrive, following Berenice.

"What's this? Thrax in the Grayson manor? It's more likely than you'd think. Prince Victus arrives surprisingly early to the affair. One hand dipped into the pocket of his coat, while the other is currently held onto the neck of a bottle of rum. He looks out of place of course, but he's dressed nicely enough as to not be an eyesore either. The big man strides into the great hall, evidently finding the seasilk couch to be the best destination as he's immediately slumping into it.

Tomwell arrives with Lumen, her arm tucked into the crook of his elbow. He glances briefly at Tikva. Ahem. Back to Lumen. "The vows you have enshrined in your heart," he murmurs to the Radiant with a crook of a smile. "I am eager to hear all about them myself." He glances around the room and escorts Lumen toward a seat. "I actuall have some questions for you along that line." Without pause he continues smoothly, "Shall I fetch you a drink?"

Woof! Woof! A small, excited dog (freshly bathed, with a green ribbon tied around his neck) comes hopping into the hall on his three legs, tongue lolling, tail wagging. Woof! Look at all the new friends. Tristan follows a few paces behind his dog, looking vaguely exasperated. He's wearing his fancy shirt. (Tristan that is, not Patches.)

"Thank you," Tikva says with a wide smile, bouncing forward a little on her toes. "Ainsley couldn't be here tonight as he's rather busy doing some Iron Guard thing or other, but Lara is very healthy and doing swimmingly, thank you for asking. Thank you for coming, Lady Delilah! It's good to see you again, it's been awhile." She scoops a small pouch from a pile of pouches in a basket that one of the servants trailing her is carrying around and presents it to Delilah with a quick smile. It's clear that she and the servants are going to be doing a lot of that.

"It has been far too long. We'll catch up a little bit more later, I hope, and hear about all the exciting events." Flashing eyes brighten with delight as Delilah claims the purse in both hands. She cannot escape away so fast. Dipping at the knee, her retreat allows her an opportunity to meet everyone else that comes by. Hopefully without /too/ much excitement. As the High Lord of the Mourning Isles closes on her directions, she inclines her head to him.

It's difficult to look fashionable in a waistcoat cut for someone entirely different, but Berenice does have a certain /flair/ about her. It seems that losing her coat earlier in the mansion proved matters inadequately warm, and so she's stolen what very much looks to be the waistcoat belonging to Harlex next to her as she steps into the room. She certainly wears it as if it's all intended, though, making an entrance before slipping it off her shoulders. She's all celestial tonight, the starfield of her ballgown and the stars-and-comets theme of the bracelet she wears. Her gaze scans brightly across the room, considering it all with warmth. "Oh, isn't his /marvelous/," she coos.

Maddox offers to Kaia, "Would you like a drink?" he inquires of her, starting further into the room, he will smile and wave to Macda, when he spots her.

"Don't be vulgar," Lumen admonishes Tomwell playfully, unlacing herself from his side without any particular sense of urgency. "I'm only drinking champagne right now," the whisper informs the priest melodiously before stepping away to pay homage to the hostess. "Your highness," she grees Tikva with a cool, closed-mouth smile and open hands so as to showcase and admire the other woman. ...that's all. That's all she's saying. What? You want her to say more than that?

Lailah arrives with little fanfare, though she's dressed in green and gold to not-so-subtly indicate her commitment to fealty in this day of vows. She looks around to the others but pausing when she sees Victus and cannot help but direct herself that way. "Your Grace." She greets pleasantly, "I'm pleasantly surprised to see you here."

"Hello!" Tikva beams at Lumen. "You look lovely as always, Radiant!" She scoops a purse to provide the Whisper from the basket and proffers it to her open hands. "I'm glad you made it."

white-tailed eagle, 2 House Riven Soldiers arrive, following Thesarin.

Lumen checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Eddard arrives smelly faintly of caribou for some reason but dressed well in dark seasilk with something gleaming upon his right hand, a vibrant ring of /some/ sort. Missing a chance to roam around the Grayson Mansion is not something Eddard is willing to let happen. He might go unnoticed with all the other far more fancy people here.

"Ah, yes please. That would be lovely." she replies to Maddox, in regards to having a drink. Her eyes curiously trail in the direction of his wave, but she doesn't quite figure out to whom it was directed to. No matter, she gazes back at him with a smile.

"Vulgar?" Tomwell gives Lumen a wounded look and presses a palm flat against his chest. "I would never." It doesn't take more than a moment for him to procure two glasses of champagne and return to Lumen's side. "Princess Tikva." He hands one of the glasses to Lumen as he gives the Grayson a nod of greeting. "It's been a long while." SO LONG since he's seen her. Ages. "A pleasure. Thank you for hosting this, it's a favorite day of mine as well."

It's difficult to look fashionable in an oversized waistcoat. That's true. Harlex is taller and broader, certainly, than the princess. Not that she doesn't pull it off far better than him and when she removes it, sparkling like a cascade of absconding stars, the sellsword slides back into his waistcoat. It fits him quite nicely. He takes in the room with those bright, cold eyes and seems to agree. "Surely is," he comments. His arm is offered to Berenice, so polite. A good country boy.

Patches runs up to Tikva, woofs in greeting, and then drools on the princess' feet in an affable manner. Tristan sighs and makes a clumsy bow toward Tikva. "Princess," he says, one hand sneaking forward to catch hold of Patches' ribbon-collar.

Victus inclines his head just the same to Lady Delilah. His expression isn't the most welcoming one, being that it's waxing on 'grim' to match the scars, but his mannerisms are definitely polite. When Lailah makes herself known, he nods to her. "I'm pleasantly surprised I got through the front door." He muses. "I've heard good things of Grayson apple wine. I figured now is the best time to have a sample."

"Of course, you were a Devotion before you took your vows, were you not? Please accept this gift; if you don't wish to keep it yourself, of course you can donate it, Brother Tomwell," Tikva beams sunnily as she scoops another pouch and proffers it. "Ah! Master Tristan, and Patches! I don't think Patches will appreciate the gifts I have, but I'm delighted to see him again."

Honore, the proudest and prettiest peacock ever arrives, following Karadoc.

"And you," Lumen tilts her head fondly in Tikva's direction, "I trust my cousin is keeping well behaved." All in all, the interaction is as pleasant and organic as- Full stop. Lumen's black eyes lose some luster as a coin purse is placed in her possession. Her inner cogs do some work and though her neck does cock back on her head in vague birdlike indignation, she thanks Tikva with a gracious vertical bow. "My thanks," the Radiant says quietly to Tomwell, accepting the offered beverage before sidestepping away to allow other guests time with the hostess. It's only after Lumen's back is fully turned to Tikva and she is facing the outward ballroom that she theatrically and very, very openly... ROLLS HER EYES.

Maddox retrieves a couple of glasses of wine, from a passing waiter, and provides one to Kaia, "We should greet the hostess." he comments as he starts in the direction of the princess Tikva, to wait for the chance to greet her.

"He mostly appreciates gifts made of meat," says Tristan, accepting the pouch. "Or, on occasions, gifts far too stinky for the ballroom. But he also appreciates adoration."

Berenice looks /so/ very amused when Harlex offers her his arm, but she does take it with all of the grace of her station, stepping further into the Great Hall with him. Like any good guest, she approaches the hostess first, drawing up towards Tikva and the others lingering near her, /just/ catching Lumen's EYEROLL on her way there and catching a laugh behind her fingertips. "Princess Tikva, what a /marvelous/ event you've organized!" Her smile warms for Tomwell as well, clearly in recognition. "Brother Tomwell, you're looking very well. Have you two met Colonel Harlex Valtyr of the Crimson Blades?"

Karadoc's appeared -- just to simply appear. Food, drinks, and the usual appreciation of fashion. Typical bored noble. Although, he is carrying a short fan of peacock (feathers, not the bird) as a fan of sorts. Flutter, flutter.

"He shall have it always," Tikva assures Tristan with easy cheer. Having greeted the first few comers directly, Tikva is quite blithe as she swans on, directing basket-bearing servants to circulate throughout the room with the little purses and their contents, distributed as evenly as possible to all comers who have graced the ballroom with their presence. "Princess Berenice," she says with more of that easy cheer. "Thank you for coming! Your sense of style is glorious! But I haven't met the Colonel before; it's a pleasure, Colonel."

Kaia nods. "Thank you." she says after receiving the glass of wine. "Indeed we should." she agrees, and fallows alongside him, until they make their way towards the hostess. Once there, she would wait for Maddox to do the introductions before courteously bowing and giving a greeting of her own.

Delilah's fascinated gaze inevitably shall settle upon that fantastic peacock whilst in the midst of a quiet conversation, and the man fielding a fan of said feathers. Her nod in approval she backs up with a brighter smile in profile for Karadoc.

"I was," Tomwell answers Tikva with a nod of his head. "Oh." He accepts the pouch after a moment's pause. "My thanks, Your Highness. I know several charities that will put it to good use in Limerance's name." He slides his gaze aside at Lumen and steps aside to follow after her. His eyebrows arch at her in question, his smile amused, but before he can put words to the query Berenice catches his attention. "Oh, Princess Berenice, what a pleasure," he says with genuine warmth. "Radiant Lumen, do you know Princess Berenice?" He turns to Harlex with a smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Colonel."

Harlex may have her on his arm but he isn't quite leading them and moves to follow her approach to the hostess because /of course/ that's what you do first. Everyone knows that, right? The Colonel offers a singular, considered nod to both Tikva and Tomwell. That little pouch of coin is given and he looks at it skeptically but slips it inside his coat. "Pleasure, Princess. Brother Tomwell. Much obliged for the festivities." Yet, the scar-handed sellsword isn't much for words. A grim-faced and tenebrous figure, despite the slight smile on his features.

Waldemai receives a large pouch of coins from Princess Tikva. He pops up out of his chair to bow deeply. "Thank you very much, your highness," he says. "That is very kind of you."

Maddox bows to the Princess Tikva "your highness A Wonderful gathering.. Have you met Lady Kaia Bisland?" he indicates the young lady he is with "She has only recently arrived in the city."

Lailah bemusedly answers Victus, "I'm sure you're always welcome, your grace." She curtsies to him and glances around, "But if you'll forgive me, I best greet some of the others, lest I get accused to hogging all your time." She then adds, "But if you wish to speak more with me, feel free to address me any time." Thus, she heads towards Tikva. "Your higness."

Patches is a very busy dog with a very social calendar and, as Tikva moves away, he, too, begins to circulate. He moves on to pressing a cold nose against Lumen's ankle. Tristan keeps an eye on him, but does not interfere.

Tycho, the Helpful Reindeer Mount have been dismissed.

Nearly obscured by the feeble Thistleton, Macda's eyes roam about the room from time to time but her attention is held by her quiet but terse responses to all the messages he keeps shoving at her. Finally, she raises her hands in a gesture of either surrender or threat, it's hard to tell when she's forced to look up to the old man. So perhaps a test of the servant's reflexes, her wine glass slips from her fingers on purpose amid their rise. Thistleton deftly catches before it endangers the floor, losing the bits of parchment he had been holding and organising. In that opportune moment, Macda slips by him and towards Tikva to greet her and smile. "Good crowd, Your Highness."

Kaia bows at the Tikva. "Your highness, it's an honor to be here. Splendid job with the gathering!" she says.

"I'm delighted to meet you, Lady Kaia," Tikva says with the sketch of a bow in return. "I hope Arx treats you well. Thank you for the kindness! And thank you for the introduction, my lord." High energy as she wheels and gestures airily through her guests, she turns to Lailah next with another, possibly even brighter smile, "Lady Lailah, it's been awhile since we last spoke, I hope you're enjoying the party?" The servants, meanwhile, continue to deliver pouches to the guests, even as more arrive.

Making passing eye contact with Delilah requires acknowledgment, and Karadoc does so with the tilt of a briefly lopsided smile. The fan is passed off, forgotten on the sideboard in his search of a drink. Cup in hand, he then starts toward the hostess. The one that's delegating the offering out coin purses. Nothing tastes as good as free silver. (No, that doesn't make sense -- roll with it.) He toasts with his cup, even as he tucks away the purse. "I'll find a worthy cause to donate this you, thank you Princess Tikva."

Resisting a reflexive twitch of her nose, Lumen tightens her eyes into happy crescent moons. "Of course I know her Highness," she whisper remarks melodiously, leaning in to press an intimate kiss to Berenice's cheek through the air. "Though I had no idea her tastes extended from fashionable wear to fashionable escorts as well." Wuddup Harlex. "...if you please?" Lumen lifts both finely kept eyebrows with expectation, intent on having Tomwell hold her glass for just a moment.



Tristan's dog receives a sharp look from Lumen. It's as if to say, 'Be cool!'

Thesarin makes his way into the Great Hall, dressed in a silk outfit of blue and white that plunges down to show a chest covered with scars, tattoos, and a few bandages still wrapped around the man's broad chest. He's combed and cleaned, of course, but he still looks like he fits it... well... precisely as well as a woodlands shav at a Grayson formal party. He looks around the hall with his resting glower, nodding to people he's familiar with.

Delilah's not one to wave wildly at someone from across a room without good reason. She will get about to delivering a proper greeting to Lumen and Tomwell when they might look her way, one of those things done in time and space. No sooner has she tacked to another conversational topic presumably a little more to her tastes than Scribble is the one interceding, bringing her a glass of wine. So armed, she is in a fine position note Thesarin. The prodigal count causes her to sit up somewhat the straighter.

Terese arrives, the cheerful clomp-clomp of her armor announcing her presence. She smiles in greeting people are she mingles, happy to introduce herself to people she hasn't met before, and greet old friends and allies alike. She finds herself before Tikva, and smiles easily, introducing herself when the opportunity permits itself without being rude, "Your highness, a pleasure to get to meet you this evening, I hope the evening finds you well." she says to Tikva.

"Gods, he's such a chatterbox! I can never get him to stop," Berenice says with blithe humor of her stoic companion Harlex. The bag of coins she is handed is handed off just as carelessly to her valet, who replace it with a glass of champagne in her hand. "Like your wardrobe, Lord Karadoc?" she asks him with a warm laugh when he draws nearer, flashing a sharper smile at him before returning her attention to Tomwell and Lumen. "Radiant Lumen, it is such a /delight/," she says, leaning in to return that cheek kiss. "Have you met Colonel Harlex Valtyr? I rarely get to bring him to parties. Not really his /scene/."

"Of course, as you choose," Tikva says with an airy wave, giving Karadoc an easy smile. "And of course, it's good to see you again, my lord." She sketches a kind of nodding bow to Terese, smile easy. "Thank you, my lady! Or your highness, I should say; welcome to the party, I'm glad you made it."

Maddox bows in thanks as he is given a bag as gift. "thank you." he states, then he continues to walk around the room, not intending to take up the princess Tikva's time.

Victus raises his hand when Karadoc arrives, gesturing to the man with a quick, two-fingered beckon. "Lord Saik. Come, sit. I have wine." As welcoming an invitation as ever!

Kaia smiles and nods in response to the inquiry about Arx being treating her well. Just then she raises the glass of wine to her lips. She looks around some more and sees her dear cousin not so far away, and once she finishes her interactions with the hostess she proceeds "Dear cousin! How lovely to see you~ You are looking gorgeous tonight!" she says to Lailah with a smile.

Patches stares up at Lumen with huge, dark, melting eyes. His tail thumps against the floor. Thump. Thump. He sits up, tucks his paw in neatly, pricks his ears, and proceedsto sit as if posing for a portrait. Meanwhile, Tristan begins to look increasingly uncomfortable. Possibly it's the near proximity of princesses. Or the tightness of his breeches.

"Naturally -- everything will need to be changed out to reflect a new me, Princess Berenice." Karadoc responds with a sleepy-eyed smile, lifting his cup of wine her way. He continues toward the Thrax in the room, greeting the High Lord with a lopsided smile. "You stand out like a black sail against a blue sky, Your Grace. You mentioned wine?" He drinks deep and nearly drains his cup to the dregs, "Seems like I'll need a refill."

Karadoc has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Tomwell lifts Lumen's glass from her fingers with a light hand. "Ah, of course you would know each other." He hums quiet amusement that's not quite a laugh. "I'm glad you made an exception this evening, Colonel," he tells Harlex. "You certainly come in fine company." He goes to gesture with his hand, and ss if only just now noticing that he is holding Lumen's glass he turns to look at her with a curious arch of an eyebrow. Then the dog catches his eye. "You seem to have an admirer," he tells the Whisper.

Wuddup. Harlex is quite stoic. A little cinch of his brows as he maybe is feeling a touch sober. Those luminous, malachite eyes far too sharp and acute for his liking as he takes in all those he's introduced too--including Lumen. Who calls him fashionable. Though he seems to get his senses together looking like concerned. "Radiant Lumen, fine to meet you." His accent very rural with a low, quiet tone. "The princess has an eye for quality, I can surely say." Something wry breaking the hardline of his lips. "Soon as I get myself a whisky, Brother Tom, I'm sure I'll have a fine time."

"It has been, your highness. As for your question, I barely got here, but it's a well organized party. As, of course, I've come to expect from the Graysons. I foresee no reason for complaint." Lailah answers Tikva warmly and turns her gaze towards Kaia. "Thank you, Kaia. You look wonderful as well." This greetings done, she moves onwards to Lumen and company. "Most Radiant." She greets, "And company."

Thesarin trades a few words with Scribble, and Thesarin starts toward Tikva, taking a few foods for his plate as he goes. He gives the Princess a short nod and a low grunting noise at the back of his throat. "Tikva."

"Thesarin," Tikva says with a kind of quieter shade of smile than some she has proffered tonight amidst her whirl through the ballroom. "I'm glad you came." Her head tilts, her hand running back through her hair and accidentally shedding a few errant pine needles. "How are the kids?"

"In fine health," Thesarin says with a slow nod, and a faint smile on his own features. "And taking at their lessons. Blessed that they've took after their mother." The big man gives Tikva a slow nod and a low noise at the back of his throat. "And yours? Glad to give my congradulations in person, on your latest."

"I imagine you have a very expansive vocabulary, Colonel," Lumen says, punctuating the statement with a cutesy wink for Harlex's benefit -- and of course there's a pause to greet Delilah if only with her eyes given the distance between them. Taking her time, the Radiant gently excuses herself from immediately nearby company to apprehend a member of house staff. Taking the server's hand palm up, places the /sack/ of silver there, and with the same amount of care, folds the servant's other hand atop with a gentle squeeze.



Free once more from the gauche, inelegant reminder of House Grayson's wealth (and generosity), Lumen returns to her party with much more ease. She spares Patches a scritch behind the ear and takes up her glass, somehow flirting shamelessly with Tomwell the entire time. "Colonel, your Highness, Brother," Lumen gestures around, "May I introduce Lady Lailah, my most intelligent cousin. At least on paper."

Maddox Moves slowly around the room, listening to people as they talk. Just mingling slowly and easily.

Berenice has to stifle a laugh behind her glass at 'Brother Tom.' "Darling, you shouldn't start throwing about nicknames for people you just met," she chides Harlex lightly. She watches Lumen deposit her silver safely with a servant, humor touching her dark eyes, and then her attention shifts to Lailah with another bright smile. "Lady Lailah, what a pleasure to see you again! I hope you've been keeping well since I last saw you. That's a /marvelous/ gown, by the way. Very appropriate colors. Have you met Colonel Harlex?"

Waldemai sits quietly at the table, seemingly contributing little to the proceedings. Food placed in his vicinity has a disappear somehow, however.

"Thank you. Lara is a ferocious baby," Tikva claims, settling her weight back on her heels. "You could possibly say that she takes after her mother, but I might have to screech." She winks, and then pauses a moment as one of the servants murmurs to her. She tips a faint smile in the direction of Lumen, Berenice et al., and then makes a quick gesture of two fingers to the servant and then the door, before turning her bright eyes back to Thesarin. "Tiber of course is getting /enormous/. He'll be large enough for that fat pony Laric bought him soon."

Bartholomew arrives, following Cedric.

Bartholomew have been dismissed.

Patches leaps to his feet at Lumen's scritch, wagging his tail so enthusiastically he nearly wags himself over. "True, but I wouldn't make too much of it," Tristan says, tone dry, at Tomwell's comment. "Patches is _everyone_'s admirer. That is, unless they give him a reason not to be. I've had many talks with him on his lack of discrimination."

Harlex makes a 'tch' just at the corner of his mouth at that wink and he restrains a broader smile. "Oh, he don't mind." The sellsword notes for that chiding. His attention, brought to Lady Lailah, has him offer a familiar nod. "I do know the Lady," he says with a touch of amusement, "Came by the Trainin' Center and she and I had a scrap. Courageous young woman." This last part said without that amusement, a genuine assessment. "There's seasoned knights and fighters in the Compact who don't even show up when I'm stalkin' the grounds."

"Vahari's near to an age with plenty of the ladies here," Thesarin says with a slow shake of his head. "The years, eh? How do they go..." He trails off a moment, and gives another low noise at his throat. "And how find you, Tikva?"

Tomwell's smile turns lopsided at Harlex's casual sobriquet. "Oh, I'm sure Grayson has some excellent whiskey around." He'd offer to find some, but his attention is diverted away from Berenice and Harlex as he watches Lumen's forceful generosity with crinkled eyes. "My diplomat," he murmurs to her with a private smile as she returns. Once the glass is returned to it's proper owner, he clears his throat and turns back to the others. "Lady Lailah." He turns bright eyes and a warm smile upon her. "I'm delighted to meet you."

Kaia smiled at her cousin "Thank you dear." and answered, just before her attention shifted around the room in search for Maddox. She had finally caught sight of him among the crowd, and was intending her way over, when she softly bumped into the middle of an argument between Macda and Thistleton. "Oh, my apologies! I didn't mean to get in the way..." she said finding herself in the middle of it by accident.

"Oh ... you know." Tikva rolls her glance along the length and breadth of the ballroom, and then looks rueful as she returns her gaze to Thesarin with slightly quizzical eyebrows. "Terribly busy, but all well, eh? How bout you?"

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

Delilah's raised gaze slips between and among those engaged in conversation about the room. Simply absorbing the ambiance is a task that sees her quiet and still for the most part, attentive in a content way. There simply is no rush for her for once, which means one is likely to go and orchestrate itself.

As the Duke Ashford is largely predisposed, it's only fitting he would send forth Cedric Primm. After all, it said there would be gifts and Cedric would likely have to carry them back anyway. In either case, it seems he's brought a gift of his own - Ashford gin - which he promptly hands off to a Grayson house servant with a few low murmurs.

"You make it sound like I had a chance, Colonel." Lailah answers Harlex bemusedly, glancing towards Berenice, "And it's always a pleasure your highness." Then her gaze comes to study Tomwell, "But you I don't believe I've met. It's a pleasure." She glances towards Lumen, "Lumen, as much as my wardrobe gets complements, and I do appreciate them." She glances aside to Berenice, "I'm afraid it is in need of some expansion, do you think you could spare some time to help me with that later?"

One of the servants with the baskets of pouches is quick to hand one to Cedric with a commiserating smile in exchange for the gin.

"The training yards?" Giving Lailah a down-and-up look, Lumen's eyebrows lift near her hairline. She doesn't attempt to conceal her surprise but in a pivot, she swats playfully at the air in Harlex's direction. "It's the Lionesses that do the majority of the hunting for their families, Colonel. Didn't you know?" At the suggestion that she dress her cousin, the Whisper just sortof... has a quiet moment where she presses her free hand to her heart. Is she going to cry. "I would like that very much."

"Wha- Oh," Macda's discerning eyes narrow trying to place the young woman but falls short. "Lady," she hazards a guess by her appearance, "Don't excuse yourself. He's ruinous," she mentions of Thistleton, which receives her momentary glare. In return, the old man mutters a repetitious apologies and shuffles away from the women. "Macda," she simply annunciates as if it were a title, or adjective, "a lucky collision so I'm pleased to meet you."

"Busy," Thesarin echoes back, with a low grunt. "As ever. Made through the Lodge, making ready for how comes next." He gives another grunt, and another nod. "...a fine party you've put on, Tikva. My thanks for the hosting. And for the gifts."

Maddox steps over, to join Kaia and Macda, giving the Gentleman a nod "Good evening Princess Macda.. Is everything well?"

"Lord Deepwood, good to see you." Macda responds in kind to Maddox with a polite bow of her head.

Cedric thanks the servant and takes the pouch without looking inside. It could be rocks for all he knows, but it's not for him to inspect. Besides, butlers never tip themselves in a crowded room...err....Cedric finds the refreshments and takes a glass.

Alaric rolls in with all his usual unobstrusivity and circumspectness; that is to say, absolutely none at all. He's got a gazillion knights guarding him anyway! It's the opposite of sneaky. He just leans into it. "Greetings, my kinsmen! And my subjects!" he declares with regal brio. "And a happy day of vows to all!" He glances around as if evaluating targets for potential gift bombing.

"Ah, it's the King." Victus mused from his seat upon the seasilk. "Now it is a party."

Delilah perks up at the arrival of quite so many guards, the King's Own receiving a particular look over in case she recognizes any among them. Good habit, really. Perched up from that seasilk sofa next to Victus and Karadoc, she raises her glass to Alaric. "A party for His Majesty and delightful vows for all."

Kaia smiles kindly. "Kaia Bisland, your highness." She says with a small courtesy, having heard the name before. "Lovely to finally meet you!" she says. A lovely scent emanating from her, only noticeable to those near her. Noticing Maddox approach them she mentions "I have heard great things from you, thanks to this fine gentleman."

"I hope you enjoy it," Tikva says. She rests a hand on Thesarin's arm, smiles up at him for a moment, and then she turns and whirls off, so that she can pitch her voice louder for the room at large. "I hope you're all enjoying yourselves," she says. "We'll be starting the music in just a moment! I hope everyone takes a moment this Day of Vows to consider the service you owe your vassals, or the duty you owe your liege, by the love and grace of Limerance! Yay, His Majesty has the best timing."

"Your Majesty, happy day of vows," Macda rings out, turning to Alaric on her tiptoes.

Tikva is overheard praising Alaric: Yay!

Delilah is overheard praising Grayson: Happy Limerance's Vow Day!

Tikva is overheard praising Grayson: Happy Day of Vows to and from House Grayson!

Thesarin turns to clasp a hand to his chest in Alaric's direction, and starts to unobtrusively make his way toward one of the couches.

Thesarin has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

"Alaric," calls out Tristan, turning as the king enters. Patches woofs in greeting. "Does this mean it's time to start drinking?"

Lailah is overheard praising Grayson.

Berenice is overheard praising Grayson.

Terese happens to overhear Macda's name and glances about for the diminuitive princess. Despite her best efforts she doesn't seem to spot the woman immediately, but as ever, she is able to spot the liver-spotted Thistleton, with his beady eyes that give him a hawkish look. His nose probably doesn't help much either. And so, Terese manages to navigate the room without disturbing anyone to greet Macda as well, "Your highness, how do you do this evening? It's lovely to see you here." She now stands companionably beside Macda now.

Macda is overheard praising Grayson: Drinking near home is wonderful.

Kaia is overheard praising Grayson: A most wonderful and splendid event!

Harlex laughs in a no less hardened tone. "I could have suspected. Way she came in with that armor. Thought the very Lioness of Bisland had come to test this wolf's mettle." Though of course, his attention is momentarily taken with the arrival of the King. Or more so, the swath of knights that follow him around like a big ol' silvery tide. But his attention returns to the present company.

Maddox is overheard praising Grayson: Happy Day of Vows.

Alaric is overheard praising Grayson: Enjoy today's Day of Vows feast, and take pride in your oaths!

Thesarin is overheard praising Grayson.

"No," Tomwell tells Lailah in agreement. "But I'm happy to have the pleasure of meeting you now." He shifts his weight to rest on his back leg and raises his glass of champagne to his lips. He's giving Lumen another fondly amused smile when the King enters, and he glances toward Alaric and his entourage. "Ah," he observes lightly. "The man who brings us all together this evening." A brief pause. "Other than Limerance, who, of course, is not a man."

"Shall we perhaps find a couch to share--" Berenice is in the midst of suggesting to her varied companions -- Harlex, Tomwell, Lumen, and Lailah, it would seem -- when the king himself makes that grand entrance. She laughs aloud and lifts her glass in toast. "It's /always/ an honor to enjoy a party with you, your majesty!"

Tomwell is overheard praising Grayson.

Lailah raises an eyebrow at Harlex' continued praise and explains herself to Lumen. "I'm of a mind to do some more hands of investigating, looking into old ruins and the like, and I need to be able to at least manage myself somewhat should such an expedition encounter danger. My father and my brother agreed to obtain some armor for me." At Berenice's suggestion, she glances towards a gryphon couch. "I do think that's a marvelous idea your highness." Then she adds to Tomwell a little more bluntly, "It seems in the excitement no-one has thought to tell me your name." Finally to Lumen, "Thank you for being willing to help. To be honest, fashion is not my among my strong suits."

Tikva has apparently been persuaded at some point that heading the bard contingent at her own party is a mistake, because when musicians strike up sprightly dance music, she isn't leading the pack with her balalaika or storming the keys of the harpsichord; rather, she is collecting a fresh glass of wine and a small plate with some elaborate meat pie on it so that she can take sustenance as opposed to just zooming around all night. Having collected this, though, she moves to drop into a seat on one of the couches. "Your Grace," she addresses to Victus, "I'm so glad you could make it tonight!"

Tikva has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Alaric snags a drink and is forestalled from having it by all the merry drink-raising as he strides into the midst of the gathering. "Well, Prince Victus, welcome to the Elf Slaughter Hall," he declares jovially, smiling and continuing along a string of greetings from Delilah to Tikva to Macda to Thesarin to Berenice to Patches and finally to Tristan, who as the target-designate has a bottle of Laurent honey cider pressed into his possession. "It is always time to start, but especially now. Happy Day of Vows, Tristan!"

"I'm well, but not entirely settled- I need a new bed in the worst way or three." Macda speaks casually to Terese, in a almost flippant tone. She doesn't sound serious or maybe it was something else. She transitions nonetheless, "And I no further details on armour." Maybe that too was code. To Kaia she adds, "Great things? Oh my. Overstated. Perhaps ask Lord Michael for a more balanced appraisal of my annoying whimsy and perchance to tease him mercilessly amid these sorts- of." Speaking of which, she then looked around for the man with no success.

Cedric had apparently left but now suddenly is beside Lumen holding his glass when the king arrives. "Someone has brought a peacock." And no, it was not an odd compliment. Indeed, there seems to be one strutting around the premises.

Cedric says, "And a reindeer."

"I'm afraid standing compliments my figure more," Lumen pouts at the suggestion of finding a couch, "I do, however, spy with my little eye an instrument with which we might rectify this disaster." The disaster being this perfectly fine party. Indicating the [totally thematic] piano with her eyes, the Radiant nose twitches suggestively to the priest. She responds to Cedric's observations without pause, "Does they need a drink?"

Sir Struttington, Esquire Messenger Peacock arrives, delivering a message to Lailah before departing.

Tristan snorts--a snort of amusement--when the bottle is pressed into his hands. "Ah, old friend," he tells the king lightly. "You always know exactly what looks best on me. Happy Day of Vows." And, with that, he cracks open the bottle and takes a swig from it because he is totally the master of etiquette.

terese nods easily and smiles to Macda,"I may have some leads on some armour possibly, if you'd like to talk about it sometime." She glances again to Macda, at the exlamation of peacocks and other wild animals afoot, she asks Macda, "Did your menagerie get loose, or is that someone else's?"

"I am something of a fashion prodigy," Alaric confesses not-so-modestly to Tristan. "I'm pretty sure I could even make a stablehand's overalls look dapper. Speaking of dapper, how's Thunder been? I've been meaning to take him out for a ride in the woods now that the Lodge has cleared up. He always has enjoyed charging through the snowdrifts." He stoops to scratch Patches behind the ears.

"I'm sure the capable staff will attend to their every need," is Cedric's confident assurance to Lumen. He looks over her company with quiet curiosity, and some recognition, like he might know who they are but would never prevent nobles from providing introductions; they being so fond of such things.

"No, no, I made sure I locked my door before coming down." Macda then tilts around the taller, armoured Terese, and looks around for animals in case she as very wrong. "Or did I put Gloaming away?" She shrugs a single shoulder and sips her wine.

Kaia laughs. She then shifts her gaze towards the direction Macda was looking when she exclaimed something about a peacock. "Well, overstated or not. It's been lovely to have met you. I do hope you enjoy the rest of the festivities. Now if you please excuse me, I'm going to find myself another one of these..." she says lifting her now empty glass of wine. "Lord Deepwood." she says with a smile and a nod "I'll see you around~" she chimes, before slowly but elegantly moving away until she's lost in the crowd.

"I find my figure most complimented by very artful lounging," Berenice replies to Lumen with the flash of a wider smile. "But I think we might be able to still converse well enough at the piano, yes." She takes a sip of her champagne, looking to the rest of their party before sidling over in that direction.

Berenice has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Lumen has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Waldemai continues to enjoy free booze, oh, and some food, too.

Maddox Nods ot Kaia "Have a good evening Lady Kaia. " he sips his own wine, listening closely to the converstations.

Harlex has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Lailah has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Patches wags his whole body happily and licks the king's hand in thanks. "Thunder is restless," says Tristan. "He needs a run, I think. He always thrives in the brisk weather. Take him for a ride someday soon, and if nothing eats us in the woods, we can have a drink after. If you're not too busy kinging, that is."

Tomwell has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Cedric has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

"Yes, that's why I suggested the piano," Lumen says as a followup to Berenice's remark on Lycene lounging. She's quick to laugh, leading the way over with the princess.

Guillermo, a messenger pigeon have been dismissed.

2 Bisland pride guards have been dismissed.

"I'm -always- too busy kinging, but I don't let a minor thing like that stop me," Alaric declares airily as he straightens back up and absently accepts a handkerchief from Zelda to wipe Patches slobber off his hand. "Got any new haunts you've been patronizing lately to introduce me to?" he asks Tristan.

Tomwell considers the panio with a lift of his chin. "It's not exactly my strongest instrument," he confesses. "But very well, you've convinced me." A difficult job, quite clearly. "I believe I can manage to keep up with the musicians." Sorry, musicians! He follows the others toward the instrument and sets his glass of champagne aside as he settles on the bench and runs his hands over the keys.

Karadoc has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Honore, the proudest and prettiest peacock ever leaves, following Karadoc.

Tikva has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Terese loops her arm through Macda's, "I could use a breath of fresh air, if you'd like to join me."

"Not at the moment, I fear," says Tristan after another swig of the cider. "I have been busy living as a decent and upright citizen. I reorganized the stables. I made new and effective schedules for stall cleaning and tack cleaning. Both the Royal and Grayson stables are rattling along efficiently, despite the usual suicidal tendencies of most horses." He pauses. "It's really gotten quite dull. I could use a new haunt."

Cedric watches Karadoc leave and in doing so seems satisfied he's solved the mystery of who brought the peacock.

Macda nods, "Of course. This will be going awhile, we've got a moment or three."

Thistleton, an elderly and devoted manservant, Terese leave, following Macda.

"Is that so! How terrible. Well, besides the efficient stable part," Alaric quips, shaking his head lightly at Tristan. "According to the Ministry of Infrastructure year-end report there were several new establishments opened in the Compact Ward alone, you really ought to go have a look at some of them! I've been quite enjoying the place opened by House Farshaw to advertise their coffee crops, myself."

Maddox continues to make his way slowly around the room. He doesnt really intrude on anyone, sipping his wine and listening with a slightly abstracted smile on his face.

"We have a Ministry of Infrastructure?" asks Tristan. "It does year-end reports?" A hint of sheer panic flickers in the stablemaster's gaze. "Should I be doing year-end reports?"

Alaric grimaces in mid-sip from his snagged drink, almost causing himself a problem by wanting to reply before he's done drinking. "I -really- don't need more reports," he declares emphatically before clearing his throat. "And yes, Princess Jaenelle does an excellent job with the Ministry of Infrastructure. They handle all the capital's property management, everything from repurposing abandoned buildings to building the new Nox'alfar embassy and the like," he informs Tristan.

The set of Tristan's shoulders relaxes. "Ah, good, then. I will refrain from the report that reports on horses lost, foals born, what stage of training various horses are in, fences fixed, hours spent driven to drink, the effectiveness of training with shirt on vs shirt off, etc."

Alaric glances around the hall casually. "You're probably going to get a few requests for that last report after the feast is over," he deadpans. "Also, 'hours spent driven to drink?' I suppose it's not a real report if there aren't some made-up numbers in it -somewhere-."

Waldemai has eaten everything in reach. "Thank you very much for having me," he says as politely as he can, since just about everyone in the room can have his head cut off, and then escapes.

Waldemai has left the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.

Harlex checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

"Horses have a way of driving anyone to drink," says Tristan. "For some of us it's a short drive." He considers, reaching down to ruffle Patches' ears. "What if the entire report consisted of made-up numbers?"

"Oh, I don't disbelieve that there were hours spent driven to drink, I just don't believe that you in any sort of way accurately tracked them over the entire year," Alaric notes idly. "And if the entire report consisted of made-up numbers, it would be a very special kind of report we like to call 'a report'."

Over at the piano, as it would be evident enough, Harlex has just hoisted Princess Berenice up easily into the air and gingerly set her atop the piano for her lounging preference.

Confessor Imori have been dismissed.

Confessor Warren have been dismissed.

Delilah has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, 2 Whitehawk Guards leave, following Delilah.

2 House Deepwood Guards leaves, following Maddox.

Berenice settles herself on the piano once Harlex sets her there, leaning back gracefully on the brace of one slim arm, her champagne still in her other hand. Her foot swings lazily as she continues conversing with her little group by the piano.

"Well, it's been a fine party." Victus remarks as he leaves his empty wine glass with a server. There's a half-empty bottle of wine also being stashed into his coat. "Think it's time I returned to the sea where I can taste my salt. Excuse me." And he makes for the door, doing his best not to appear as a drifting black sail through the din of Grayson.

"That kind of report I could certainly write," replies Tristan. "It only remains to see whether it would bear any resemblance to the actual year at the end."

Tycho, the Helpful Reindeer Mount leaves, following Eddard.

"I suppose if you're going to invent the numbers out of whole cloth as it is, it doesn't oblige you to wait until the actual end of the year to write them," Alaric agrees with a thoughtful nod, raising his glass again to Victus on his way out. "A pleasure to have you with us, Your Grace. Enjoy your evening," he declares.

Thesarin stands with a low noise, nodding toward Lailah, and giving a lower dip of his head toward Alaric. "Should be making off. Majesty."

"Count Thesarin, always good to see you. A fine evening to you as well," Alaric declares hostishly before glancing back at Tristan. "How many foals -were- born? I know you know that number without coming up with a random one."

Another nod, and a glance at Harlex with an amused grunt as he walks past the other man. "Needs find a rematch, a time."

Harlex looks toward Thesarin at his grunted words and he gives him a low, dangerous grin. "Reckon so."

Thesarin has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

white-tailed eagle, 2 House Riven Soldiers leave, following Thesarin.

Berenice checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Tomwell checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.

Victus has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

12 Thrax Elite Guards, Crow - Thraxian Steward, Lilybelle - The Claw of Arx leave, following Victus.

"Twenty-three this spring," says Tristan without hesitation, although he adds, after a pause, and more gravely, "but we lost a very promising filly in a pasture accident. Twenty-two weanlings."

Over at the piano, Berenice still sits with her champagne atop the instrument, and now Tomwell has set himself before the keys in clear preparation to accompany her. She takes a bit of time seeming to consider what to perform, but eventually she starts with a clear, clarion voice. It's an older Lycene song about a young, low-ranked noblewoman with her sights set on an ambitious match -- but she has to win the acclaim and approval of quite a few family members of her intended first. It's all sly maneuvering and sometimes a bit of risque seduction, and it's clearly the sort of song that would go over marvelously in a Lycene crowd. Perhaps just /skirting/ matters with a different crowd, but it's not an /Oathlands/ crowd, at least. And she's got a bright, rich voice for it.

As the clapping follows, Cedric backs away from the piano and seems to vanish.

Clyde the Bored Grayson Guard arrives, following Mason.

Clyde the Bored Grayson Guard leaves, following Mason.

Alaric turns to regard the dual performance while he chats. "Are pasture accidents common? I assume those cover things like, oh, snake bites, accidental choking, injuries from a fall and things of the type," he observes before glancing at Tristan briefly. "Think she knows any songs about stablemasters?" he wonders innocently.

Cedric checked command + stewardship at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Lumen checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Cedric reappears, approaching Alaric. He coolly claims Alaric's not so full glass and exchanges it with a proper full one. "Another glass, your majesty," spoken at just the exact moment the new one is placed in the hand. He then turns and pads back over to the group at the piano.

Following just a moment behind Berenice's voice comes the piano. Tomwell's accompaniment is quick and deft. In places the piano music swells with full sound and at others drops back to allow Berenice's voice to carry the song. He doesn't seem to think twice about emphasizing the more risque passages with alluringly seductive feeling to the music. His fingers are quick and light on the keys as he throws himself into the music.

Producing her hand with a dainty, whimsical flourish, Lumen offers her upturned palm to her younger cousin. Should the offer be accepted, the Radiant leads Lailah out into the populated hall with clear confidence that those in attendance will simply make way. Between the sort of conspiratorial giggles that one can only share with someone she's known since girlhood, Lumen makes a deliberate (but totally organic!) effort to showcase her cousin as the refined and eligible young lady that she is. No ulterior motives, here.

Lailah checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Lailah follows Lumen's steps adequately. With Lumen's aid she manages to look good while dancing to the music, the young noblewoman, is in fact quite eligible, and without her nose stuck in the books she actually manages to look the part.

Once settled front and center, Lumen proceeds to take Lailah by hand and hip. Hemlines swirling prettily at their feet, it appears the dance portion of the evening as begun! The whisper, pro that she is, conforms to Lailah's level of expertise. No flips or anything.

Tristan glances at the piano. "I doubt it very much," he replies to Alaric. "To be fair, I doubt there are any songs written about stablemasters but, if they are, I doubt very much she knows them."

From the way Berenice's gaze drifts that way, and she smiles as she sings, it's possible that she caught Alaric's question to Tristan. But she continues on with the song, though, as the heroine climbs through winning over a series of younger brothers -- sometimes with seduction, sometimes with blackmail, sometimes with just the perfect gift at the perfect moment. It's a very Lycene sort of climb, but she does reach her goal in the end. There's nothing Lycenes love more than someone who can successfully play their games, after all, and the song clearly treats it as a delightfully earned victory.

Michael Bisland is oh so very late. Most of the evening has devolved into socializing and small circles of conversation. He does not jaunt himself straight into anything, careening sideways to gather up a small plate to satiate himself before looking for someone he actually knows well enough to engage in prolonged conversation with. And finds them gallivanting on the dance floor.

Alaric takes his new glass with an mmhmm of appreciation and has a drink all in one motion like it was the most natural thing in the world. He's got his part of the driveby refill choreographed down to a tee. "Oh, I wouldn't wager against that if I were you," he declares warningly before pausing. "Wasn't that Harlan's man just then?" he wonders belatedly, squinting a bit in an attempt to figure out where he'd almost immediately redisappeared off to. "He's alarmingly good at that." But then Lumen and Lailah sweep past his field of vision and that's it for his search. "Weren't you just telling me how much you wanted to get out there and dance?" he quips.

Alaric is overheard praising Lailah: Very elegant!

Alaric is overheard praising Lumen: Very elegant!

Lailah follows along with Lumen, she's a good student if nothing else, and manages to maintain enough grace and match the music well enough that it almost looks more like she's out of practice than inexperienced. The usually bookish Bisland puts herself to this with the same degree of enthusiasm that she pushes herself onto anything she sets her mind to.

Harlex watches at a lean, focused on the song (the singer) with an occasion glance to the dancers as they twirl about. His whisky gets low so he sets it aside once more on the surface of the table.

Lumen lifts up onto the balls of her feet in a childish hop, curving her arm so as to spin Laliah. She uses that same momentum to spin herself, laughing with delight.

The music spirals ever upward as the heroine climbs, the notes twisting around and over each other. Plainly oblivious to anything but the music, Tomwell's brow furrows with intense focus as the passages grow more complex, matching the quick and cunning Lycene gamesmanship. As the heroine emerges victorious, the music turns light again. Tomwell's fingers linger on the keys as he holds the last note for a long moment.

Lailah spins easily along with Lumen. And then something magical happens. Something rarely ever seen, Lailah's mouth opens and from it comes the musical cadence that is her laughter. Sweet, musical and lovely, and oh so rarely heard.

Berenice is left laughing as the song ends, looking over to Tomwell with a gleaming, appreciative smile for his deft work at the keys. "I couldn't ask for a better accompanist," she declares. Back to the crowd, perhaps most particularly over towards Alaric and Tristan, she wonders innocently, "Did I hear there was perhaps a request?"

"I said nothing about dancing," mutters Tristan. "Just drinking." He clears his throat. "The king wanders if you know a song about a stablemaster. For no reason whatsoever."

"I believe his majesty would have then referred to '12 Hands High'." Cedric says in his smooth bassy voice. "It's about the wild horse who only would be saddled by a Grayson stablemaster, and how it whinnied unconsolably when it was put in a caravan headed North."

Laughing along with her cousin, Lumen moves just a step away as the dance comes to an end. Raising both hands high above her head, she gently applauds Berenice and Tomwell. There's a moment where her dark eyes drift, briefly latching on to the King's as if to prompt him to clap as well. The power of suggestion can be a powerful thing. "You've a beautiful singing voice, your Highness," she calls to the Velenosa princess, "Truly. We're in your debt for having heard it."

"Oh, there's definitely a reason," Alaric observes merrily before regarding Berenice, joining in the applause. "I'm quite confident you know at least one, and I'd be most appreciative to hear it next. Feel free to substiute 'Tristan' if the fellow's referred to by a two-syllable name in the lyrics," he quips.

Lailah and when the dance comes to a close, Lailah joins Lumen's applauding. "Thank you, your highness." Though the laughter is gone, she is still smiling brilliantly. "And and thank you, brother Tomwell."

"Perhaps not 12 Hands High then, as the stablemaster meets an unfortunate end." Cedric politely inserts.

Tomwell is overheard praising Berenice: A voice as beautiful as she is charming.

Lailah is overheard praising Berenice.

Lailah is overheard praising Tomwell.

Michael is quick enough to finish stuffing his mouth full of food, then passing off his small plate to be able to applaud Lailah and Lumen's dancing. Chubby cheeks nod while he applauds.

Berenice is overheard praising Tomwell: A most marvelous accompanist!

Tristan darts a glance toward Cedric and notes, dryly, "On the other hand, I am sure there are at least a few who might believe I need to meet an unfortunate end in fiction to keep me humble."

"Have we ever lost any -stablehands- to pasture accidents?" Alaric wonders curiously.

Berenice checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 42 higher.

Cedric directs Tristan's comment to the king, with only a glance, before he decides to give the go ahead on the song about dead stablemasters.

"Nor I," Tomwell answers Berenice with a boyishly broad smile. "Thank you, Your Highness. I would be honored to accompany you any time." He pushes himself away from the piano and rises. "What an interesting prompt for a song," he comments lightly. "If there ISN'T a song about a stablemaster, someone should certainly write one. I confess my own knowledge is weighted toward the musical composition side of things, rather than lyrical skill." He drifts in Lumen's direction without conscious thought. His fingers lightly brush the small of her back as he draws up beside her.

Harlex appears content to listen, fallen into a repose of taciturn factory setting, though he did applaud heartily at the end of the song. Of course. He finishes the last sip of his drink though, waste not want not.

"Hm, hm, hm." Berenice taps her glass light against her lip, considering the king's request and eyeing Tristan as if for inspiration. "I think that I might know something that would suit..." She looks to Tomwell again, perhaps making sure he's READY, but apparently he's wandered off! No matter: she sets off on a brisk, bright tune, with or without him, about a young nobleman in love with his family's stablemaster, who just so /happens/ to be named Tristan. The young man is rather fond of horses, but keeps pretending to be terrible at riding so as to require /special/ tutoring, which just ends up worrying the stablemaster more and more that his charge has such trouble /learning/.

Lumen sways on her feet, naturally leaning into Tomwell. "Shall we depart mysteriously?" She asks the priest, only actually showing him the side of her face. Eyes smiling, her attention remains on the party at large.

Alaric's head bobs a bit in time with the music as he drinks and listens with a deviously gleeful grin. Clearly he's having a great time with his request being filled!

Tristan glowers at Alaric's gleeful grin.Glower.

Tomwell flashes Berenice a grin that's 10% apologetic and 90% 'best of luck!' His arm slides around Lumen. "It's not quite as mysterious if you announce it ahead of time," he tells the Whisper, his own attention on the performance. "Maybe if we slip out between verses." He turns to study Lumen's profile. "I still have a QUESTION or two about vows that you might be able to help me with," he adds, pointedly. His other hand gestures toward the exit. "Lead the way."

With a farewell to Lailah in the form of a brief hand squeeze (if the Lady is not already otherwise occupied), Lumen departs with her clerical escort. Of course, there are a series of bows along the way for notables in attendance. Mustn't offend! Odd, though. None for Michael. Mayhaps she didn't recognize him with his cheeks all stuffed with food like a chipmunk.

Lumen has left the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Zoraida, a dead-eyed Apprentice Whisper leaves, following Lumen.

Cedric has left the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Lailah has left the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Merril, an Assistant Page, 3 Bisland pride guards leave, following Lailah.

Tomwell has left the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

The song continues, and the lovestruck young man keeps attempting to woo the stablemaster by way of offering no direct indication that he's interested. In tragically comedic form, the end of the song comes, and the stablemaster happily announces he's fallen in love with someone totally different who presumably did things like openly indicate romantic interest. And thus, the poor young nobleman fails to win over the dashing Stablemaster Tristan. Berenice lifts her glass and bows her head a bit for applause once this one ends, smiling a bit gleefully.

Alaric is overheard praising Berenice: A virtuoso performance!

Alaric is overheard praising Tristan: Congratulations on falling in love.

Tristan sighs. Deeply. It is a sigh of frustrated romantic longing! No, actually, it isn't. It is a worldweary sigh. He does applaud, if rather stiffly.

"Tough break," Harlex says with the conclusion of the song, shaking his head a bit. He applauds and regains his height from that lean.

"Such a tragic tale," Alaric muses quasi-wistfully. "But, now I know why you emphatically avoid having to give any riding lessons."

Berenice looks down at Harlex leaning up against the piano, shifting her position so that she can reach to thread fingers through his hair. "It looks like we've outlasted most of the party." She sets her hand to his shoulder then. "Help me down?" She glances back over to Alaric and Tristan with the flash of a grin. "Ah, but what if the riding lessons put the stablemaster in the right place to fall in love with someone else? You never know how these things fit together."

"I do occasionally give riding lessons," mutters Tristan. "But usually I yell at the student until they give up and find someone else to teach them."

Alaric turns from Tristan to Berenice with a nod. "That's about the right of it, I think," he confirms. "It's not very likely to be 'the right place' unless the other party finds impatient derision to have a certain aphrodisiac quality."

Harlex cranes his head toward the threaded fingers. "I hardly noticed. You singin' so beautifully and all. Maybe the floor ate them." He nods and very gently and very easily lifts the princess off the piano and settles her back down. "Someday," he says to Tristian, "You'll tell at the right one and they won't run away."

"Take care with the student you can't seem to yell away," Berenice tells Tristan with a gleam of mischief in the moments before Harlex plucks her off the piano and sets her back on her feet. She leans into Harlex a moment, saying something quieter, and then looks back to Alaric. "I'm sure there's /someone/ with a taste for it."

"Apparently," says Tristan, voice bone dry, "it has worked for some women."

Harlex moves to slip his arm around Berenice's waist as she leans against him. He seems to hear something which pleases him enough to smile and with a nod, he swoops to lift her up into the carriage of his arms. "I hope that was literal," he says as an after thought. "Your Majesty," he gives a respectful nod. "Stablemaster." For Tristan.

"I can't say it strikes me as an insurmountable task to find someone in this city with a penchant for receiving verbal abuse, when you put it like that," Alaric quips before smiling. "Princess Berenice, Colonel Harlex, thank you for gracing our feast with your attendance. Gods light your paths," he declares as they seem to be on the way out.

Berenice squeaks in a bit of surprise when Harlex sweeps her up in his arms, and then her arms rather instinctively clutch about his neck. "Well, not /really/, but I suppose this will have to do," she says with a heaving sigh. "Your Majesty, Stablemaster, it's been a pleasure. Have a /wonderful/ evening."

Harlex has left the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Dolmen, a Crimson Agent leaves, following Harlex.

Berenice has left the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

2 House Velenosa Guards, Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job leave, following Berenice.

Patches, a three-legged mutt leaves, following Tristan.

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



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