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Another Wedding Reception

Tis the season, apparently. Having survived a few months since exchanging their vows before Limerance, the new couple has decided to throw a wedding reception. In the interest of the Marquis and Marquessa to know their guests better, they'd like for them to tell a story about as over the top fashion as they can muster.


Sept. 11, 2017, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Hadrian Cambria


Wash Ian Valerio Kael Leona Lucita Lorien



Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Mazetti Manor - Revelers Refectory

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


Good food, good company, amusing conversations, and stories ranging from adventurous, exciting, to humorous or dangerous. Service was impeccable. My cousin will regret having missed this gathering.

Camilla, Luigi leave, following Hadrian.

Echo, a juvenile Oakhaven bloodhound arrives, following Kael.

Camilla, Luigi arrive, following Hadrian.

The Reveler's Refectory has been decorated to the nines this evening; the banners have been beaten free of dust, the windows cleaned until they provide a sort of crisp clarity, and the large room entire scrubbed, polished, and swept so that not even the most fastidious guest (or host) might find cause for fault. Some enterprising interior designer has managed to secure to the ceiling a hanging net of crystal, so that with the flame of the combined torches and braziers, the light shines and reflects off the many facets of the gems and they leave the more romantic feeling capable of reaching up and touching the stars. Upon the dais there is a musical troupe, who currently play at a low decibel, something soft and pleasant, easily ignored and so not intrusive upon conversation. Throughout the refectory are strategically placed Mazetti guards, their cloaks helping them to blend in beside a banner, or perhaps a table cloth. They appear still and silent, are thus relegated to the realm of forgetfulness.

The banquet table itself is laden with appetizers and drinks. Wine predominates, but if one spies the ominous looking liquor cabinet, they'll be rewarded with the knowledge that the Mazetti do, in fact, serve a wide array of liquor and spirits. Tasters are in attendance, brave souls who take their paid duty for the night's festivities with a sombre sincerity bordering on the comical, giving no one the chance to end up poisoned - even if the individual in question wants to. Otherwise the servers are as what anyone would suspect: quick, efficient, and in the background.

Guests would find themselves escorted from the gates of the courtyard by seemingly mute Guardians, until safely deposited before their hosts and within their intended location. one would be allowed to get lost within the manor. At the entryway to the refectory stand the Marquis and Marquessa, ready to greet those who arrive with a kind word and a smile. The Marquessa herself is clad in a shimmering gown of creamy white and blue, accented by gold with tasteful additions of simple jewelry and a pair of stormy blue hairpins. She would look picture perfect save for the inclusion of what a fashionista could only describe as a hideous tumor: a green and black kerchief knotted around her left upper arm.

Lucita steps into the room eyeing the silent escorts discretely from the tail of her eye. She makes just a soft...'hummm', to herself as she glances over the elaborately decorated room with appreciation. In the manner to which she is accustomed in Granato, she bears a gift which she passes to a nearby server for the hosts to perhaps enjoy later.

Ian comes into the area, walking slowly, but with a gait that's almost normal. He nods to Hadrian and Cambria. "Congradulations," he offers to both of them. A little bit awkwardly; he's not 100% certain how to move through events like this.

Jayne Orr, Kennex Thug arrives, following Wash.

Lucita drops an ornate basket holding an assortment of items.

From Cambria's side, Hadrian leans forward and cranes his neck around to take note of her cloth tumor. He studies it for a brief moment, then his eyes flicker up to regard the features of the Marquessa, then down again to the knotted cloth encompassing her arm. There's a quiet sound that rumbles within his throat before he quietly states toward his wife, "One week". Then, slowly yet surely, he leans back once again until the guests begin to filter into the refectory from the Guardian's Gallery. Lucita's arrival is met by a sudden bloom of a grin before he spreads his hands and greets the her, "Lady Lucita! My very favorite dance partner! Thank you for coming, please come in and make yourself comfortable." He takes a moment to offer her a polite bow as one arm sweeps around to rest at his back and his stately half-cloak drapes beneath his arm. When he corrects his posture, he takes a moment to greet the next arrival in the form of Ian, "Lord Ian!", he says with a bright grin cast toward his proclaimed best friend forever and ever and ever, "You made it, thank you!"

A curtsy is given as Lucita approaches the two hosts. "Delighted to come. Lady Quenia was unavoidably detained, which is quite a disappointment to her, she was so looking forward to being here." She gives a beguiling smile as she moves along for the other guests to be greeted.

Kael arrives slightly before some grouping of messengers, who are carting a ridiculously large something -- a something that is quite heavy, and draped in a lovely shade of blue. That's evidently the gift from the Keatons to the Mazetti this evening. While the messengers do not actually invade with the gift, leaving it out from the main festivity, they do ask household staff where it should be brought. Kael, upon his entry, is pausing just a moment to look over the festivity. At least the large young man has the common courtesy to go ahead and sidestep after a momentary pause so that he is not blocking the pathway of anyone else. Also, there is the fact that there is his cousin, Lorien, at his side. He looks sidelong to the young man before remarking, "To the honored couple, mm?" He nods toward Cambria and Hadrian, but given the small group near them already he hesitates to approach just yet.

Aemily - A Black Hound, 1 Saik Guard, 2 Iron Guardsmen, Amethyst - A Clever Raccoon, 2 Navegant Marines, Ortrik, A Navegant Orphan arrive, following Arcelia.

Wash follows close on Ian's heels, a hatbox slung over his shoulder. He is not dressed in finery, but neither has he worn anything to draw attention, other than an ugle scarf.

"I wouldn't miss it," Ian tells Hadrian, solemn and earnest. He's even dressed up! You can tell because his boots are polished and his coat has fancy buttons.

Lorien makes his way in with Kael, waiting for his cousin to move a little bit out of the way before he makes his way further inside. There's a glance for the gift, checking after it for a moment before he then turns to Kael and says, "Yes, to the couple for congratulations." Though they make their progress in that directly slowly enough so that one group might pass before they slip in to make their greetings.

The servant may have taken the gift, but Cambria does not fail to notice it. She smiles warmly to Lucita as the woman approaches, offering her a congenial, "A very thoughtful gift, thank you. I am so glad you could make an appearance this evening, Lady Lucita. Do give our regards to Marquessa Quenia, hm?" Then, as any good host must, Cambria turns her attention to the next guest to enter. "Ah, Lord Ian! I can hardly match my husband's outward enthusiasm, but know that in my heart I am positively gushing." Her eyes dip discreetly towards her armband, then back up to Ian even as she mutters lowly, "What is that now? Four months, five? Oh--" She smiles anew, this time as radiant as ever. "Lord Wash, so good to see you again. And Count Kael, too!" The Oathlander Count is give a happy wave. "How is your wife?" She then turns her focus to Lorien, and he too, is greeted as charmingly as everyone else thus far. "Lord Lorien, thank you, thank you all for coming."

There are things going on here in this interaction between Ian and Cambria that Ian knows are happening, but he has NO IDEA what they are or what they mean. He looks briefly concerned. then decides to bow to her over his cane and take himself out of the area.

4 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Leona.

Leona arrives, following Valerio.

Wash comes to a halt and swings the gift over his shoulder, swinging it like a an enormous pendulum before him. "I brought you something." He says without ceremony. "Catalana says I shouldn't have. But she hasn't met either of you yet."

When the pair of them are spotted thusly and greeted, Kael's step is at least picking up the pace to travel in the direction of the hosts, "Good evening to both of you, and many fine congratulations." The question regarding Reigna has his mouth twisting a bit as he remarks, deep voice lowering just a notch, "A bit under the weather, I am afraid. She sends her apologies for not making it, but should she feel better she will be joining us. Squall has been quite troublesome as of late. Thank you for having us." The unborn Keaton, naturally. He glances off to the side and nods by way of greeting toward the others gathered, before stepping off to the side to allow others easy access to the hosts.

"A pleasure to see you again," Lorien says to Cambria and to Hadrian. "My congratulations, more formally, to you both." He then defers to his cousin as far as the state of the lady Reigna. Instead, he steps to the side and takes a moment to look around at the revelry and those in it. There are a ocuple of familiar faces. A nod is given to those whom he has seen before. Thus out of the way, he looks to Kael and says, "Should we find ourselves a drink, then?" Because these sorts of things require drinks.

Having lead a little procession from the Kingsworn grounds to here, the Mazetti Manor. Valerio slips into the Revelers Refectory with his guest. Pausing to look around, another smile escapes him. "Good not too packed but just packed enough. She'll be pleased." He turns towards the aforementioned guest. "Dame Thrax, if you would be so kind as to pardon me for a few moments. I just want to check on the security details briefly. I promise to introduce you to... erm, well most of these faces I know." A pause. "Possibly all of them."

Ian takes himself away from whatever his most recent potential (probable) social sin was and over to where there is alcohol.

Each guests arrival is met by a brilliant beam of a renewed grin from Hadrian Mazetti and he makes no effort whatsoever to conceal or dampen that enthusiasm. Kael and Lorien are greeted with a bow and then, from Cambria's side, he gestures the pair inside with a comment about their gift, "Thank you so very much. I know right where we should put that! Though I do hope that your wife, Count Kael, feels better quickly and is back to her usual vibrant self soon." Hadrian's attention then swiftly turns to Wash and his swinging pendulum of a hat box. He considers it for a moment, then to Wash himself, and once his gaze steadies a lone eyebrow twitches upward, "Is it made of meat...?", he asks cautiously.

Hadrian takes a moment to look away from Wash to call out to the guests gathering at the doorway, "Once you're prepared to do so, please step inside and have a seat at the banquet table. If you happen to be someone that intends to cause trouble or the like, you'll be escorted to the big kid's table and..."

Hadrian trails off at the arrival of Valerio and his eyepatch. The Marquis considers him and the guest which he brings along for a moment. The look of consideration soon gives way to a smoothly generated smile and his eyes alight ever so slightly before he finally tears his attention away and back to Cambria. Then to Ian. Then to Cambria.

Cambria notes Ian's swift extrication while wearing a rather cat-got-the-canary grin. Shortly thereafter the Marquessa is presented with Wash and his gift, which she looks up and down with no small measure of curiosity. "I'll remember your wife's words, so as to properly thank her later," Cambria says smoothly. "Not having met someone is no reason not to execise caution. However?" She gestures to his gift. "I am certain I will love it." Pause. "Hadrian is another matter. Ah ha, I see the Marshal has arrived, and he has brought a guest with him..."

Lucita's glance slips toward each person as they speak and listens for names to match to faces of those she does not recognize. She does note the cloth binding Cambria's arm but politely does not speak of it before so many people. She moves a little deeper into the room as more people join the gathering. "Lord Ian, Lord Wash. Good evening." She speaks more formally at first then adds. "I finally found out your name is Wash, not Walsh as I misheard on first introduction, it was so noisy then. Not a name that will be forgotten after that."

Cambria says to Kael, "I, too, hope Countess Reigna returns to feeling better as soon as possible." With that, however, the Marquessa begins to make her way towards the banquet table.

Cambria has joined the The Banquet Table.

Kael inclines his head in turn toward Hadrian, a matching grin flashed in turn before he is focusing in on his cousin. He considers a moment -- just a moment, mind you -- before there is a swift nod offered and a remark of, "I believe that a drink is just in order. What is it that you are drinking tonight?" His eye is drawn momentarily away from Lorien to the influx of Kingsworn, looking across the gathering as a whole. He nods to Valerio before traveling with Lorien.

Ian nods a greeting to Lucita. He has a glass of something distilled in his hand, now, so the world makes a lot more sense to him. Sip.

"It's a mirror." Wash grunts. "With two handles. So thathat you can each gaze simultaneously upon the one you love most in this world." He says with a sweeping bow. "Sorry. I ruined the surprised." He inclines his head to Lucita. "Walsh sounds like a silly name. Like someone who wants to renege on a debt but lack the intestinal fortitude to go through with it. A proper introduction would be Lord Admiral Washburn Kennex nee Grayson. When I'm drinking, or have any other excuse, I shorten it to Wash. But I don't think I want to answer to Walsh."

Upon seeing Valerio enter, following Kael's glance, he nods his head to the man, a dip of respect, and then he says, "I think perhaps, to the banquet table, and whatever seems to be going with dinner." He smiles to his cousin then, and heads in that direction with convenient timing. Lorien seems content to simply go with the flow of the guests, making his way in whatever direction they are shown.

Hadrian comments toward Wash, "You could always go by Worsh. I've heard so particularly backwater northerner's so 'Wash' in that manner. A bit of a twang to their words," he offers helpfully. As the congregation begins to filter inward, Hadrian laughs over a shoulder in answer to Wash's gift however before he comments on that as well, "Excellent, so it will show me K...", he goes quiet and then he looks ahead once again with a clear of his throat and he studiously makes his way to the banquet table. He waits to seat himself however, until the last of the arriving guests have likewise seated themselves.

Lucita reaches up to the lace veil draped over her hair, not her face, making sure it is doing its job of helping the hairpins restrain wayward curls. She smiles as she replies to Wash. "Under those circumstances, nor would I. A pleasure to again meet you, Lord Admiral Washburn Kennex nee Grayson." She moves closer to the table with the others.

"Dame Leona Thrax," Leona introduces herself smoothly to Cambria, showing off those years of womanly Thrax education that she couldn't be bothered to sit through really. "And please forgive the armor. The invitation was a spur of the moment thing, as Lord Valerio - Sir Valerio? - and I were working on something as he realized the time. Congratulations on your marriage. I hope it brings each of you great joy."

Ian ambles in the general direction of the banquet table. He's not the first to sit, observing what others do before doing his best to imitate. He's still pretty far out of his element. He's got a drink, though, which makes things more okay, marginally.

"To the banquet table it is then," confirms Kael with a nod toward his cousin. He is moving with him toward it, of course, though he casts a hopeful look toward the door. No, there is no serendipitous manifestation of his wife, alas. Nonetheless he is easy enough in his gait, and moving to select a chair at the table, though he does not sit just yet.

Kael has joined the The Banquet Table.

Ian has joined the The Banquet Table.

"I'm afraid my lady, that I owe you an apology. I spent much of the last three months in a haze of alcohol and the fumes of indignation. Our encounter has completely slipped my mind. When was it we met Lady Lucita?" Wash is probably restricted entirely to information about the woman that he has received in the last minute or so.

Lucita has joined the The Banquet Table.

Cambria, having been told of the gift from the Keatons, begins smiling broadly, yet it is Wash and his announcement of what he had brought himself that has the woman laughing richly. "Your wife was right," Cambria says slyly. "Giving a Lycene a mirror as a gift could be perceived dangerously..." Her eyes snap sharply towards Hadrian, and her mouth suddenly seems incapable of knowing what it wants to do frown or smile. In the end, Cambria finds herself distracted by Leona. Thoroughly.

"Lord Commander," the Marquessa greets, regaining her composure swiftly. "It is an immense pleasure to make your acquaintance. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, armor or no." She grins, the expression wry, and it transforms her from prim and proper into something else entirely. "There are times when I imagine I would feel much more at ease if I wore armor."

Hadrian has joined the The Banquet Table.

Being named has the effect of summoning him back. Apparently satisfied with the security and the Guardians in general, Valerio has returned in time for the introductions occuring. Kael gets a hearty nod and wave, and Wash, Ian, Lorien also recieve inclines of his head. "Ah, Yes. Darling Niece, the Commander of the Kingsworn, who is probably better at introductions than I. And my Nephew In Law, Hadrian." His niece picks it up and runs with it quickly. Her words however. "Aha! See, I'd rather you did so. You keep resisting me on the topic however!" Valerio does not note he'd likely stick her in armor, within padding, within more armor, within a tower, upon an island in the middle of a lake.

Leona chuckles. "Armor is easy because it always goes together and it's always in fashion," Leona remarks casually. "As for the rest - it's a pleasure to meet you too. I've been perhaps overly busy of late, but it's good to make new acquaintances when I have time for it." Her gaze slides to Valerio. "So you're saying you lead by example in your attempt to make armor the height of fashion?"

Wash says, "Why? Are Lycenes... oh right. Mirrormasks. I'll be honest I did not consider the implications from a religious angle."

Lucita says, "I was at the Golden Hart one evening when a roaming party came in, sharing music and dancing and drinks. You were seated at the bar, not far from where I was." She reflects on the evening. "Was easy to get lost in the crowd there." She speaks to Cambria then. "Really? It always seems so heavy.""

Lorien has joined the The Banquet Table.

Kael returns Valerio's hearty nod with a mirror's image one in turn. No wave to match, but there is a curve of his lips offered forth instead. When the man is pointing out the Commander of the Kingsworn, his eyes move down the line to take stock of the woman with no small amount of interest. He regards her for a stretch of time -- if he catches her attention, he inclines his head humbly -- and then thereafter he is looking out across the banquet table once more.

Ian is sitting still and being quiet, just nursing a drink along, but he's definitely still paying attention to what's going on around him. His almost unnaturally blue eyes shift from person to person, always with a sense of intentionality. The weight of his focused, attentive gaze almost has a physical feel to it.

"Well, maybe I liked. Maybe it isn't a mirror. Maybe it's a lantern." Wash says. "The Lycenes don't have a fetish for lanterns, right?" He takes a seat at the banquet table opposite Lucita, unless of course there is assigned seating. "How much was I drinking? I'm very sorry for any fault in my memory. I'd promise to stay sober tonight, but I already promised someone else that I would not."

"I only resist because the armor you showed me makes it appear as though I would be unable to move my arms...or legs, for that matter..." Cambria says in a pensive voice. She then smiles to both Valerio and Leona before commenting to Wash, "I find the mi- 'lantern,' romantic. I am sure one day it will see good use." But by the sound of it, Cambria made that seem incredibly unlikely. Shaking her head, Cambria raises her voice for all to hear, "The food is hot and fresh and truly delectable, I heartily recommend you all to eat whatever you may like, to your hearts content." She then falls to observing her guests, content, for now to merely be silent.

Leona meets Kael's gaze and inclines her head politely in response, adding a smile before she comments to Cambria, "Armor that is made to fit properly does not impede legs or arms. And if you cannot move in good armor, made to fit, then you should train longer." As people start to sit though she shakes her head. "Forgive me, I have business elsewhere, but I enjoyed Valerio's company enough that when he invited me, I wanted to meet his family and offer congratulations in person. I'm certain we'll see each other again. Arx isn't quite that big, after all."

Ian gives Wash an inquisitive look, but he knows better than to ask questions. So he goes back to watching people. Sip. Once again, he waits to take food until such a time as he's watched several other people do so.

Hadrian's attention drifts from the table-at-large to Cambria, Leona, and Valerio. He considers the Lord Commander for a moment before a grin prospers across his mouth, his fingers snap, and he points idly toward the knight, "You're more than welcome here, thank you for accepting the Marshal's invitation to be one of our honored guests." After that his attention turns to a passing servant and a hand lifts to sweep a glass of wine from their hand. It must have been intended for him. Certainly. He beams a grin toward Flora, the servant, and then turns his attention back to the gathering.

Hadrian rises from his seat and takes a moment for a lull in conversation to establish itself. Once that occurs he begins to speak, his orators voice reaching up and rebounding throughout the refectory, "The ability to tell a grandiose and thoroughly unbelievable story is a time honored tradition in the south - regularly these are simply lies, woven together for entertainment. It needn't be for nefarious purposes as so many would regularly make you believe a lie to be. Sometimes? Sometimes a lie can be for good. 'Not tonight, I have a headache', such an innocuous lie, but one that is heard the world over without doubt, but it is harmless. Likewise, the world is full of tall tales and fantastical stories that when one peels back the layers, could easily find that they are built upon lies. At other times though? Even the truth can be believed a lie, because we're all prepared to think of strangers as liars - intentionally or otherwise. So shall we begin with the game? Enjoy your food, indulge in your drink, and be entertained by a story. A story of ourselves with the full intention of spreading a smile on your faces. Do we have a volunteer or shall I, as one of your hosts, be the first?", Hadrian asks this question with a glance toward Cambria as though determining whether she wanted the honor.

"Armor should be the height of fashion really." Valerio's grin is unapologetic. "Its functional, has form, and I am tld it can be made to look fabulous. Whatever that should mean." For his Niece, Valerio gives a very straight faced. "Movement is overrated." Unspoken is the 'in your case'... also unspoken is how Dame Keaton could have put him on his arse earlier for his lack of mobility. "Dame Thrax, again, thank you eariler for the tips. I'll put them to good use, and certainly I do appreciate you coming to meet my Niece, and her Husband." Valerio does gesture to the speaking Hadrian, actually settling down quietly when Hadrian takes to speechifying.

4 King's Own Guardsmen leaves, following Leona.

Lucita's laugh is soft, melodic. "M'Lord, I was not watching how much anyone was drinking, so the secret of how much you had is safe with me, since I don't know it at all." She samples some of the food in neat, dainty bites. "Oh, someone else for a story, first, please.

Cambria leans over within her seat to mutter something only for Hadrian to hear.

Kael's people watching is interrupted just as soon as Hadrian is rising to his feet. Or it should be said that his looking from this person to that is interrupted, for now it is most decidedly person-watching that he is doing. It begins pleasantly enough, the Count in fine spirits, and as soon as the topic of lying comes about his lips starting to tug down at the very corners. He averts his gaze to the table, his expression smoothing. Is anyone surprised, given that he's an Oathlander? At least his eyes show more thoughtful than not, even if the table itself, the wood it is crafted from and so forth, holds the bulk of his focus.

Wash gets his first drink and rather than let the servant move on, drains it, and holds the glass up for a refill immediately, a professional drinker it appears. "Well, if you won't accept an apology, I will have to tender again at a later date. But not tonight, tonight I intend to do something for which I will have to apologize later."

Hadrian has joined the line.

Lorien has left the The Banquet Table.

Ian has joined the line.

Lucita has joined the line.

Wash has joined the line.

Hadrian remains standing at the table's edge, though Cambria's quiet utterance is met by a simple dip of his chin before once more the Marquis turns his attention back to the gathering at the banquet table. Briefly his green eyes dancing up and down the length of it before he continues, "I met a woman once. The bluest eyes and hair like spun gold. We knew each other since childhood. We grew up together, off and on, throughout the years. My mother hardly approved," Hadrian interrupts himself with a chuckle, perhaps at some memory, "I remember the first time we made love. It was atop the back of a shark. Yes, the back of a siege engine with teeth..", Hadrian nods along before he continues on, " know what they don't tell you about sharks? Their skin isn't as sleek and smooth as distance would tell you. No, it's coarse and altogether unpleasant against bare flesh. I remember wrestling with that shark in the shallows, until it finally submitted to act as the raft for my next conquest. That's why one of the titles that I will occasionally sign my letters with is 'Shark Wrangler' - since so many people have asked for the story of that title alone, never mind the many others. When that shark turned on us however, it wasn't I who put the shark in it's place. No, I remember watching her climb up that shark's body as though she did it every day. She punched it in the snout and, I remember quite clearly pointing at it's black eyes and saying in a scathing voice 'That'll be enough of that, shark. You're interrupting me getting mine, so you'd better cut it out' and the beast listened! That's the day that I fell in love..."

For a moment Hadrian seems as though he were preparing to continue on with his tale. He pauses however to afford himself another sip from his glass of wine. Harlequin eyes dancing up and down the banquet table while he wets his whistler.

Ian knows about sharks and their razorblade skin, from the brief wince and shake of his head when Hadrian talks about making love on the back of one. With one. Whatever is happening in the story.

Cambria has joined the line.

Cambria checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

Lucita's eyes widen slightly as she listens to the story. Needless to say, she makes no comment other than to say. "No one has a chance of topping that story."

Hadrian's drink concluded, he sets his wine glass aside. A clear of his throat later and he continues on with his story, "...when we made port somewhere off the eastern coast, the shark swam back out to see. We were lost, to be certain. It was dark and I distinctly recall looking into the sky and thinking. My's full of stars." Hadrian pauses a moment to comment back to Lucita, "Don't count the others out. I imagine Lord Wash will surpass mine. He *did* wear a suit of meat to a hosting of Donkey Knights." Hadrian's attention drifts back to recounting the tale before he continues, "I remember looking at her. Staring her in those blue eyes. Getting lost in them. Then, gradually, her eyes began to melt. The blue soaked the world. Turned it black. There was only the darkness. I couldn't breathe. I could only hear her laughter. I fell to my knees. I tried to rise again, only to land on my face again with the most horrendous of screeches...marble on bare flesh was terrible like that when your body slid across it as you try to undress. Her laughter? Was because I couldn't get my shirt off. The moral of this story children, lords, and ladies...don't over indulge. No matter if you think: Dust, or alcohol, or the latest is hallucinatory substances, could *never* have an affect on *me*. It will. And it will make certain that you can't perform. When I did finally free myself of my shirt, I do believe that she had watched me swim across the floor of my chambers, laughing hysterically at me, while I tried to free myself of my shirt."

Hadrian seems to frown at the end of the tale, as though he were recalling the conclusion of a past evening that hadn't quite gone as planned. Because drugs are bad, kids, m'kay.

Cambria checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.

It is now Hadrian's turn to speak.

It is now Ian's turn to speak.

Even Ian cracks a grin at that, and the sharp humor the story lights in his eyes can't possibly be a good omen for what's to come.

Ian looks up and down the table, once he realizes that he's sitting next to Hadrian and thus it's probably his turn. He finishes his drink in a shot, and sets it down, then looks at Wash for a moment, and dry humor flashes sharp in his intense blue eyes. "This is the story," he begins, "of how I met Wash." Oh yes, Wash. He's doing it. Possibly because he has forgotten that Wash knows some stories about him, too. Or maybe because he's pre-emptively getting payback.

"How did he get a shark into his bedroom?" Wash leans over to ask Kael. "Did you follow any of that?"

Wash covers his face. "None of this is true. After four years it's been exaggerating far out of proportion with the truth" He prefaces Ian's story.

Hadrian's story concluded, he settles down into his seat. The frown whisks away to a smile however when Ian stands. A glance is cast from Ian, to Wash, and back to Ian. He plucks up his glass of wine and settles in for a stellar story...

Ian clears his throat and then begins. The ease with which he plunges in suggests that the glass of spirits that he just finished is not his first this evening. Or his second. "This took place when I was fifteen. My brothers -- Aethan and Porter -- and I had just put in at a little port town after a skirmish at sea the day before. I'd been gashed in the leg, nothing very serious, and Aethan had a nasty wound in his shoulder where a pirate put a harpoon almost all the way through." Sip. "So we went to have our injuries tended to, and then after, to somewhere to get drunk. Porter... probably had someone to see." He clears his throat, then, after a moment, picks up: "While we were on our way to the local inn, Wash came charging up the road, not looking where he was going, smelling like he's brought the whole inn with him, ale, sweaty sailors and all, and ran right into Aethan's shoulder on his way past." Sip. "Aethan had him on his ass before I really knew what had happened." He pauses to collect his thoughts, but there is clearly more to come.

Ian manages to get another drink while he's "collecting his thoughts" (so, you know, really it was more a "collecting a drink" thing). "Aethan... has a temper. After he put Wash on the ground, he stood over him and said --" Here, Ian stops himself short with a metaphorical screeching of breaks. There's, clearly, some sudden mental backpedaling, possibly because he's realized that he's barreling towards a part of this story that he -doesn't- want to tell. His cover is pretty pathetic: "... He said... something... about Lady Catalana." A pause. "And... then words were exchanged." There's a whole interaction here that he's frantically deleting and/or skipping over. "And... Wash... demanded his satisfation from my brother." Whew! Disaster averted. Totally. "They agreed when and where to meet. Wash got up and went where he was going, and Aethan and I went to the inn. But it wasn't sitting right with me, my brother fighting a duel with his right arm useless, and having lost as much blood as he had. So I decided that I was going to find a reason to duel Wash first. I'd duel him and leave him in no condition to fight -anyone-." He's taking it for granted, not only in the thought processes of his fifteen year old self but in the general context of the story, that he could have done this. "I slipped away from Aethan and tracked Wash down. It wasn't hard. There were only two bars in town." Again he pauses to collect his thoughts. "Anyway, I found him, demanded he fight me, and he just started laughing." He cracks a brief smile. "... Because I was a fifteen year old kid, and who fights a duel with a boy? If you win, you've just beat up a child, and if you lose, you just got out-fenced by someone a decade younger than you are, and half your size."

Cambria listens to Ian's story intently, smiling as she looks between one Kennex lord to the other.

Hadrian listens on, sipping his wine. Though the last bit about fighting a child earns a quiet snort of laughter from the Marquis before he murmurs something aside to Cambria, though his gaze remains fixed squarely on Lord Ian, a faint twitch of a smile persistently threatening to form.

Lucita listens to the story, taking a sip of her drink now and then. There is an expression of concentration on her face as she focuses attentively on the others.

Wash says, "Seven years, not ten."

Cambria checked composure at difficulty 35, rolling 21 lower.

Whatever it was Hadrian said to his wife? It has her barking out a most undignified laugh. Her hand claps to her mouth almost immediately after that hyena ululation, and Cambria quickly averts her face, shoulders shaking. There may, just may, be the evidence of tears in the corners of her eyes.

"I still would have beat you." Someone may not have QUITE let this go. Ian takes another couple of swallows from his glass and gives Cambria time to compose herself. And gives himself time for another refill. "... The time we'd picked for the duel came, and Aethan and I went to the alley where 'we' were going to meet Wash and fight -- he still had no idea what I planned to do. When we got there, I layed in again, demanding that Wash fight me first. I was actually insulted, by this point." A pause. "... I seem to remember yelling something like 'I could kill you where you stand.', and Aethan was leaning against a building, drinking out of a bottle of something and laughing until he risked popping a stitch. And in the middle of all of this, Porter turned up, looking..." He clears his throat. "The worse for wear. Come to find out, he was there to fight a duel with Wash, too, although neither of them would say why. Aethan and Porter started bickering over who would get to duel him, and in the middle of this, Wash drew his sword and yelled 'I'll fight both of you at once'." A pause. Ian looks at Wash and grins. Wash knows what's coming. "... Tried to draw his sword. He didn't manage to get it to clear the scabbard until his third try. Turns out, his dueling skills began and ended with knowing generally what part of the weapon to put into who, and that was only if he was sober, which he was not." He shakes his head slightly. "Aethan gave Wash a good long look, shook his head, and told Porter and I that..." And here, he adopts, possibly in an attempt to imitate Aethan, a delivery even slower and drier than his normal one, almost drawling, with slight snide undertones: 'there's as much honor in sticking a man -that- helpless as there is in sticking a pig.'" The way he drains his glass at the end of the statement may or may not be the tail end of his Aethan impression. "So they agreed to put it off until Aethan could teach Wash to fence." A pause. "Although..." He looks at Wash. "-Did- you ever get around to fighting that duel? Either of them?"

It is now Lucita's turn to speak.

Lucita chuckles softly at listening to the end of the tale and then prepares to tell her own.

Hadrian is overheard praising Ian for: A very fine storyteller.

Hadrian is overheard praising Wash for: We all suffer from performance anxiety sometimes.

Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 41 higher.

Lucita says, "Since I lack the life experiences to weave an enticing tale such as we have been enjoying, will have to fall back on a story of how I heroically rescued someone when I was just ten years old. While sitting by a stream practicing my music lessons under the shade of some trees, I looked up into the branches overhead, and there, right over my head, I spied some knees." She plays her lute so it gives the impresion of a little creek flowing over rocks and a breeze, a nice pleasant tune to accompany to the story."

Lucita says, "Whose up there?" I called out and scooted aside, not wanting them to jump down on me from the branches on which they did hide. Sometimes my siblings did that. However a strange voice, a grownup's voice replied. "Its just me." We did a bit of back and forthing of 'Who's 'me'" "I'm me" "Are you a robber or a kidnapper?" "No, don't you recognize me?" It was very frustrating. The leaves were dense enough to block view of all but those bony grubby knees. Eventually the voice came back. "I'm stuck, get me down!""

Wash says, "No. But now that I am outside of reach of most of their blades, I've finally decided to learn a thing or two. Safety is a long sea voyage between you and whomever thinks you deserve a good thrashing."

Kael had been doing a mighty fine staring down at the table, perhaps a vaguely uncomfortable shift of his form. When Wash is asking if he followed any of that, there is a vaguely rueful shake of his head in turn. Other than that, the Keaton Count is staying peculiarly silent. It is somewhere amidst's Ian's tale though that he is looking up, and yes, he seems woven into the tale. He's distracted by Cambria's laugh, but it threatens to summon one of his own vague smiles, before Lucita soon enough has him focusing in on her.

Lucita's music rises dramatically at the appropriate points of the story. "So I asked them. "What are you, the chef's cat, stuck up a tree again?" And the reply came back. 'Noooo, you silly child, My name is Stuck.' Now I wasn't the best at climbing trees or rescuing stuck up people or cats. I was to weak and too little to carry ladders or ropes to the tree and knew better than to bother the servants when they were busy, but I had a wonderful idea of how to get Stuck down. I put my instrument out of tune, and played such horrible sounds that the hounds began to howl, the guard sounded an alarm, the cows started giving curdled milk...." She plays just a couple of very bad notes before returning to pretty background music. "...and Stuck let go the branch to which he was clinging to cover his ears and fell out of the tree. That was one way of getting him down. He landed on the soft grass and his only injury was to his pride, and his ears. And the lesson from the story is don't call Lucita a silly child or be Stuck up around her."

Hadrian's features erupt into a grin at the conclusion of Ian's tale. He laughs a fair bit, though he keeps it modest so that when Lucita begins to tell her own tale, Hadrian may fall silent and turn his focus to the lady of House Igniseri.

Cambria is overheard praising Wash for: Some of us more than others.

Hadrian is overheard praising Lucita for: A master of word play, it would seem!

Wash applauds uproariously at the climax of the shaggy dog story. "Hear hear!" He calls emptying his glass and standing up. "When it comes to stuck up people, we Graysons are more than our fair share. Or at least that is how it seems to me, not that I no longer bear their name."

Ian looks like he's really following the story, all of his attention on Lucita as he pictures it. The pun catches him -entirely- off guard, the way the best puns do, and drives out of him the second wince of the evening.

Cambria is overheard praising Ian for: Perhaps it was the most I've heard the man speak, ever, and it was masterfully done.

Hadrian lets loose an amused chuckle in response to Lucita's tale. He even applauds the wordplay for a moment before he comments to her, "A well told story. It was one surprise and twist to the next, very well done, my lady."

Lorien listens to the stories, his attention shifting from Kael and the table to each of the speakers every so often. He hides his expression behind his drink, seeming to consume a bit here and there. But otherwise he remains quiet, observing.

Cambria is overheard praising Lucita for: I, for one, am a fan of puns.

Wash remains standing as his glass of wine is filled and he gets a long drink in before beginning modestly. "As far as I know, the only reason Porter carries a sword is so that he can fall upon it at opportune times. He sorts things with his fists far more easily than any two men with blades. In this case, it wasn't Porter that swore me to secrecy, but I who begged him to say nothing. In a clever twist, he ensured that no one would pester him for the story by reversing our roles. True to form, whenever Porter is asked, he sends them my way. This is that story...."

It is now Wash's turn to speak.

Wash says, "I didn't know the Kennex brothers from a hole in the bay. I knew two Kennexes, Rician, and Catalana. I had spent four years at sea, off and on, earning a commission in the Kennex navy. They wouldn't even let a Grayson buy a commission in those days, so like any honest sailor, I started on the oars. I did write to my lady, the reason for my toils, and her letters were promising. So the first time I set foot on outside Port Stormbreak as a sailor I thought nothing of seeking her out. I didn't get as far as the front gate. I looked every bit the hoary sailor, unkempt beard, patchy, the kind that Valardin's giggle at behind their mustaches, reeking of salt and worse. So I had the clever idea of climbing up to Catalana's window. Or at least... the window I thought belonged to Catalana."

Cambria has been thoroughly enjoying herself from one tale to the next, calling out praise or clapping at a story's conclusion. Despite the first story of the evening, which the Marquessa had sat through stony-faced, Cambria now seems entirely engaged.

The startled look that Ian gives Wash when he learns that it was WASH who swore PORTER to secrecy indicates that this was not a part of the story he knew. He's really interested, now. This is probably something he's been wondering about for years.

Wash says, "The roofs in Stormward are low curving affairs, for it never snows there. So it was of little difficulty to leap from one roof to the other and eventually I found myself outside the palace window. Frequently Catalana had written to me of looking out that veru window, with its view of Port Stormbreak and it was the only window with that vantage point. I imagined that I saw her at the window, and gestured to her, indicating I would climb up. I admit, the gesture was fairly vague, but I took her leaving the shutters open as a sign of encouragement. So I clambered over rooftops to the window and beheld, to me utter dismay, a man in my beloved's bedchamber who was engaged in defiling her mattress in the most intimate of manners."

Wash says, "Naturally, I had to answer this affront to dignity, and I leaped into the room without thinking for a moment that as a poor sailor I did not yet own a blade. Not one I could bring to the Mourning Isles. So instead, I grabbed the nearest blade expecting it to spit the man on his very own blade. Unfortunately, as it turns out, Catalana had had to loan her bedroom to a visiting family member and his wife, two of my very own family. Both of whom were well into their sixties and to their credit, both remain very active paramours. Additionally, the man collected his own blade in response. Now, I've been threatened by all manner of family members, but most of the time they are clothed."

Hadrian begins to laugh, quietly, but persistently..

Ian coughs out a sudden, startled laugh.

Cambria continues to hide her mouth behind her hand. Her eyes glitter with mirth, however.

Lucita stows the lute away and settles into place to listen to the next stories. She gives a modest nod of thanks to those complimenting her story. She is quite interested in Wash's story, giving a soft laugh at the predicament.

Hadrian is overheard praising Wash for: The Geriatric Avenger.

Wash pauses to drink again, letting the image settle in the minds of the listeners. "It was here that Porter enters the room, not from the bedroom door but from the closet. Though, he pretends to come through the bedroom door, and the old Graybeard buys it. When I try to point out that Porter's shirttails are sticking out of his shirt, he answers by accusing me of being a peeping Thomas. Fortunately for me, my beard, though batchy, was four years of disguise and neither aunt nor uncle recognized me.
For all that, I sensed that I would get in slightly more trouble if I stuck around than if I lit out. So I did, getting a shave, a new set of clothes and some liquid courage at a local bar. And how did a poor sailor pay for such a makeover? Well, I sold Porter's sword. My aunt had intended to throw the sword out the window, so her husband would not find it, but when she saw me eyeing that very window she hid it under the sill. Not knowing who it belonged to, only that they had lied, trysted with my aunt in my uncle's ignorance, and accused me of perversion, I felt justified. But... I still probably shouldn't have done that."

Ian opens and closes his mouth once, as the horrible implications dawn on him. "... THAT was who... "

Wash says, "And who do I run into but Porter himself who had been carrying on with one of my relatives. Naturally I thought he should answer for his deception, and that gave away my identity. He asked me for his sword back, I let him know exactly which pawn shop he could find it in, and where he could find me at noon. Then I laughed as he left to get his sword back. The joy of being challenged to a duel by a nobleman in a bar full of sailors when the nobleman doesn't have a sword... priceless. It was good for more than a few drinks and a loan of a sword for the upcoming duel. However, I did overdo it, so I had to hurry to make our appointment. The rest is... as Ian tells it."

Wash tosses back the rest of his wine and sits down. "Now, if you try to pin me down on the exact names of the aunt and uncle in question, I swear on my mother's grave, that I'll admit this was all just a clever tale because I was given permission to lie with impunity."

Hadrian is overheard praising Wash for: He and Lord Ian should probably write a series of whacky adventure novels.

Cambria, beside Hadrian, is unable to keep herself laughing with a real, genuine pleasure at the conclusion of the story as told by Wash. "Truly exceptional," she says, though it is directed to both Ian and Wash, given the way their stories were so cleverly interwoven.

Kael's just shaking his head slightly, a bit of a rueful cast to it, even as he looks between Wash and Ian. There is only at least a mildly uncomfortable squirm when lying is mentioned anew. He's able to snare a drink to cover it up, however.

Lucita says, "Those stories were just delightful."

Ian is a terrible liar, and the look on his face makes it pretty clear that, knowing the rest of the details, he knows this is all true. Or enough of it, anyway.

It is now Cambria's turn to speak.

Hadrian claps along with the conclusion of Wash's story. Finally, as the game begins to wind toward closure, Hadrian shifts in his seat to consider Cambria. He watches her as though he half-expected her to back out of the game at the last moment. He watches her expectantly, smugly peering down his nose for the moment. Though a moment later he murmurs aside in the direction of Wash, "A well told tale, Lord Wash...and?"

Hadrian pauses for a moment as he takes a look of those gathered around the table. He gestures then toward the stack of casks nearby before he adds, "Each of you are free to take a cask of brandy with you when you leave. A token of our appreciation at your coming to celebrate."

Then Hadrian's attention returns to Cambria to await her own telling.

Cambria, when it is evident that it is now her turn, looks around quickly, furtively. Eventually, she spies something she apparently desires, and gestures for a servant to fetch it for her. The item in question just so happens to be a long-handled serving spoon, which came from a bowl of a light, thin broth, that had been served earlier in the evening. With it in her hands, Cambria clears her throat, then nods once, muttering, "Now..." as she gets to her feet.

"This will not be a tale of duels, though I promise you I have been in many," she begins somberly. "Or of love." She then gives Hadrian an equally smug, and dare we say it? Even challenging gaze in return. "Though my lovers outnumber even my duels...Come to think of it, I may have even won some lovers *for* duelling them..." She glances down thoughtfully, then shakes her head, dismissing the unnecessary detail. Then? Then the Marquessa climbs onto the table, and brandishes her spoon towards her guests as though it were, in fact, a sword. She looks around the table, winks to Kael and Lorien, and grins.

So yeah, the sight of Cambria -climbing onto the table- snaps Ian out of whatever horrible musings Wash's story set him on real quick. He blinks once and watches and listens.

Whhile Lorien listens in silence, he does not seem to squirm quite as much as his cousin does. His attention shifts from storyteller to storyteller, and when Cambria climbs up onto the table, brandishing a spoon in their direction, Lorien can't help but smile just a little bit in amusement. He lofts a brow at the wink, but then dips his head, continuing to watch the tales unfold.

Hadrian slowly leans back in his seat and his chin inclines to watch the Marquessa as she climbs atop the table with her spoon in hand. An eyebrow twitches upward ever so slightly while he watches and it only rises farther as his attention drifts from Cambria to those she acknowledges from above, Kael and Lorien. Hadrian remains still and silent, the only movement being the faint shift of his jaw and cheeks while his tongue runs across one cheek. He goes still once again while he listens patiently for the tale the progress. Though the notion of Cambria dueling? That's enough to draw an amused chortle from the Marquis. In fact, he gradually begins to devolve into outright laughter.

Wash arms himself with a round dish cover and a fork, just in case.

Kael inclines his head toward Hadrian when he is remarking that they may take a cask of brandy with them when they leave. He settles in, politely turning to listen to Cambria, expression a pleasant neutral. There is the fact, however, that the Marquessa happens to climbing up and brandishing her weaponry--er, serving utensils. Both brows raise up in shock and there comes forth a choked little sound. That may have been a laugh from Count Keaton. He does similar to Wash, though his counter happens to be a meek dessert spoon.

Lucita slides her chair back a little, nodding to Hadrian at his gifts for guests and giving the hostess more room, and making it easier to view her without looking up so much. She stays silent as she listens, a smile turning up the corners of her lips.

Ian leans over and says quietly to Wash. with enough drawl to suggest that this might be another Aethan impression: "It's only honorable if both parties are armed, after all."

"It is of adventure and derring-do!" Cambria calls out triumphantly, slashing her spoon-sword at an invisible enemy as she advances a few steps down the table. "Some years ago, in the deep south of the Lyceum, I was approached by a group of sellswords who wished for my patronage. Mostly, however, they wished for my coin. You see, a rumor started going 'round, as rumors do, that I was not only fabulously wealthy beyond measure, but was also capable of charming even the most cantankerous of beasts. One need only read Scholar Abaddon's account concerning the Maid and the Manticore to know the truth of this...Anyway..." She turns towards Wash when he takes up his sword and shield, and the spoon spins menacingly with deft twirls of her wrist.

Ian leans gently sideways, anticipating the path of a couple of drops of broth that go shooting off where his head was a minute ago and thus effectively dodging them.

Hadrian idly reaches out to collect his wine glass once again as Cambria begins to swing her spoon about. Judging by the manner which he holds it, he may very well be prepared to break that glass and cut someone if the need arose. Not one to be wasteful... sometimes, at least... Hadrian busies himself with taking a drink.

"The legend had it that there was a most foul beast terrorizing the countryside. In fact, some attribute its continued reign of destruction and child-thieving to why Ostria is known as the Walled City - because we could not stop it from doing whatever it wanted, we collectively said fu-" A sharp, sudden pause, then a jab with her spoon towards Hadrian, right at the heart, as though she hadn't missed what he intended with that glass. "Screw this, let someone else take care of it. Yet these sellswords had determined that they would profit not only off of me, but off of slaying the Beast, too. Since as foul beasts do, they collect treasures and trifles aplenty, and horde them jealously..."

Wash slowly lowers his guard.

"So I agreed, with the condition that I would accompany them on their most brave, selfless mission to make safe the roads again. And, of course, we all agreed to follow the Law of Quarters. Which is, for those of you who do not know, a quarter of the spoils from the top down. Fair is fair, after all." She stalks down the table, her expressions animated to be a glare of a beast or the sly grin of a mercenary, or even a frightened peasant by turn. Her recounting is as much an act as it is a show. "So we hunt, for nine days and nine nights, and we suffer terribly on our journey through Shav-infested land. Who are, by the way, cannibals of the worst sort, as they prefer whiskey to wine with their meat. Gear is lost, or stolen, men and women are lost or stolen, until all that we have left is a grumpy mule, seven men, myself and a rotting leather hauberk that fit no one. And that...that is when we found *it*..." Her voice lowers, she crouches down, her free hand spreads out and wobbles upon its wrist as she aims to further set the mood.

Hadrian offers a half-amused smirk at Cambria's tale but he does not interrupt. Briefly he takes a moment to glance around the table to their fellow guests, then again back to Cambria when she crouches down and his eyebrow twitches upward.

Hunting and beasts? Naturally Kael Keaton is watching with rapt fascination as the Marquessa expertly delivers her tale.

Lucita listens carefully, hands folded in her lap, head tilting to follow Cambria's gestures and position.

Ian watches and listens with dry amusement as the story unfolds. Possibly at least half of that amusement is at the absurdity of the situation he currently finds himself in.

Wash seems wary of an impending jump scare, poised to respond, possibly with additional hilarity.

"It was HIDEOUS, terrible beyond measure. The stench was so bad, so vile, that one could not approach it, not even within ten meters. Its eyes were sunken and red and glared out pure evil, so much so that my very blood turned to ice in my veins. Old Bastard the Legless' heart finally stopped then and there and he toppled from the mule, such was his fright. And here then, at last, arrives the shining, blazing, astonishing nexus, the penultimate pinnacle of this profound night, as bold Cambria Mazetti leaps her ferocious war-mule into the path of one Beast Most Foul and Evil. Mule sees Enemy. Both halt with a bare fifteen paces between them, ears at bristling attention." She nods, then, looking around to all those listening, she hopes, rapt. In a voice barely above a whisper she murmurs, "Thus, the tableau is set." Al at once Cambria springs to her feet, sword-arm punching the air, tables and plates jostling as she shouts, "ATTACK!"

"I called out to the remaining sellswords, expecting fully to have my brave comrades-in-arms back me up as I charged. Instead, I heard a collective sound something like..." She pauses, draws a breath, and then, "Mlawhlaoblossblayowblagnilebbinggoblaiblblafblablallblayarblablabnablahblallblah!"

"What!?" I shout back over my shoulder.




"Ugh! Stupid and useless and ugly besides," and she mutters, completely to herself, "And I don't countenance ugly people." She scowls.

"The mule charges, one plodding step at a time. The Beast holds still, surely frightened. I think to myself: poison will do the trick, only something strange happens about that time..." Cambria gives another shake of her head, this time rueful. "I cannot tell you what happened, only that the next thing I know, I'm on my back, seeing stars, and there's a furious sound near, but far, as what happens when your head is ringing. I think to myself, surely my fellow warriors are dispatching the I roll to my knees, prepared to join the fight..." By this time, she has actually sunk to her knees, and stares up at the ceiling as though beseeching the gods.

"The mule...the mule had mounted it. I'd never seen such manic fury in all my days. I'm told it lasted for an entire night and half the next day, that brave mule all on its own laying low the Beast...and that, that my friends, is how the unimule was born, and its raging mother, was made to stop destroying the countryside."

Ian has left the The Banquet Table.

Hadrian is overheard praising Cambria for: Clearly she spent her time studying to become a talented theatrical performer!

Lucita ducks her head as she tries to mask the laughter threatening to bubble out. A few soft chuckles, a giggle and a soft laugh escape her efforts before she contains them and says. "That was well told. All of you told such amusing stories!" She then turns toward the hosts. "Much fun as this is, I need to return home. Thank you for inviting me."

The Marquis, Hadrian, bursts into laughter at Cambria's tale. He had seemed so resolute not to find humor or merit in the story told by his wife. He'd seemed outright driven to remain stoic and stone-faced. And yet he laughs. He laughs long, he laughs hard. To the point that he must put down his glass of wine order to prevent the spilling of the dark red contents. He sucks in a breath as he attempts to bring himself to order, though it's slow going. When his laughter does finally begin to die away, he begins to chuckle. When the chuckle becomes a snicker, he finally exhales a heavy sigh and nods his head a few times.

Hadrian rises up from his seat. Wine glass in hand again, he lifts it before himself as he looks to those gathered together around the banquet table. When he begins to speak it is with a look to each face that turns back his way, "We've filled the night with stories. Embellished and false, perhaps. But, here is a truth...", Hadrian pauses for a moment, likely for effect, before he continues, "...we truly appreciate each of you coming here this evening. We appreciate your time, your well-wishes, and simply being here to show your support for us. Individually or together..", he grimaces for a moment before his throat clears. He then gestures up and down the table, "To those who didn't partake in the story telling? I appreciate your presence as well! In fact, it takes a great deal of resilience not to give into what those around you are doing. So Count Kael? Lord Lorien? You have my respect for sticking to your values and not shying from them in the face of adversity or pressure."

Then Hadrian gestures again toward the stack of casks as he looks back to those gathered at the banquet table, "And, seriously, take a cask. I want you to drink it, tell us how you enjoyed it, and if you did? Then we can talk future business. Tell your friends, tell strangers, just... don't tell small children. I hear imbibing stunts their growth or something. I digress... thank you all, again, for coming. You're free to indulge in food and drink further, but I'll officially call this reception to a close. Thank you all for coming and may the gods watch over each of you and those you adore."

Hadrian gets Third Wall, an aged cask of Ostrian cherry brandy from a stack of brandy casks.

Kael stares at Cambria. He stares, and he stares some more, and in the very end he is -- yes, yes, that is a guffaw that was offered forth. It's a sudden and abrupt thing, and he silences soon thereafter before snaring his glass of water and taking a giant gulp. Most certainly, from his own expression, he was not expecting to be so amused. Thereafter, once the glass is lowered, he bows his head toward her deeply by way of his own applause. When his chin lifts, he is offering forth, "Indeed; thank you for the invitation." The latter is more directed toward Lord Valerio before he focuses in on Hadrian. "Thank you for understanding, my lord. It was quite the event."

Hadrian puts Third Wall, an aged cask of Ostrian cherry brandy in a stack of brandy casks.

Lucita gets Third Wall, an aged cask of Ostrian cherry brandy from a stack of brandy casks.

Kael gets Third Wall, an aged cask of Ostrian cherry brandy from a stack of brandy casks.

Lorien gets Third Wall, an aged cask of Ostrian cherry brandy from a stack of brandy casks.

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