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Wine & Food Tasting Charity Event

House Igniseri will be hosting a wine and food tasting event, sharing various wines from Granato paired with olives, cheeses, breads, and other delicacies that may be found in the Lycean area. There will be wines and other delicacies for sale to take home, and donations will be accepted in order to help House Thrax with their rebuilding efforts. Entertainment will be provided by Lady Lucita Igniseri and Whisper House.

Date

Sept. 16, 2017, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Quenia Lucita

Participants

Alaric Hadrian Brianna Aislin Cesare Dafne Cara Corban Quenia Lucita Nisaa Logan Valerio Teela

Location

Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Domus Igniseri - Great Hall

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log

Lucita

The servants had decorated the Grand Hall beautifully, Master Cesare sang and played as entertainment and Nisaa performed exquisite dances. I had the pleasure of accompanying them, playing instruments. More people attended than I expected and ...GASP, the King himself, King Alaric surprised us with his very welcome presence. He mingled with people. complimented the entertainment and event, seemed to enjoy the wine. He impressed me as being witty, wise, charming, caring deeply for the city and its people, and he did not even lose patience with my chattering away with him.



    Cesare has been here for a while now, according to the servants. Just moving a dulcimer from place to place and playing a few notes before shaking his head and moving along. He's taken a bottle of red wine, and a large glass- moving a small table along with him. Just to rest his wine and glass. "No.." he mumbles to himself. "Still not right. Still not right.."

Standing at the end of the room that is designated for entertainers, a location easy to see from any of the seating or conversational areas, is Lucita. She casts a critical eye over the preparations, crystal glinting on the shelves, bottles lined up like a line of soldiers at attention, newly tuned instruments setting beside her as she watches Cesare finding a place to his satisfaction. She gives a smile and says. "I should have asked if you wanted to look over the room layout when we met yesterday but the lovely music you were playing just drove all thought of it from my head. Did we allow enough room for you and the dancer?"

'The Dancer' is standing nearby, but quiet. She arrived some time before, just to get a feel for the room. Her hands are folded in front of her, her outfit seeming to be something special, traditional wear for a Eurusi dancer, baring a lot of skin. She smiles pleasantly as verdigris eyes peer out above the veil that covers most of her face. For now, Nisaa simply stays like this, poised and graceful, watching.

Nightshade, a tiny black kitten, 3 Rubino and Zaffria guards, Ariadne, Penelope arrive, following Dafne.

Quenia is dressed in a fur-lined white and blue silk gown, and her hair is pulled back by a pair of snowflake hairpins. She is going from table to table, double checking that everything is set where it should be. She gives Lucita and Cesare a warm smile, having been within them the last hour making final arrangements, though Cesare gets a worried look as he still hasn't found a place to settle. However, she leaves this to Lucita's hands, since this was her project for the evening. She looks up as others start to arrive and a warm smile easily slips onto her features. "Welcome, welcome to House Igniseri. I'm Marquessa Quenia Igniseri, and this is my cousin Lady Lucita Igniseri." Quenia motions over to Lucita as she waves people in. "Thank you for coming to night. We have a wonderful selection of wines prepared, as well as some herbed oils, breads, and a selection of cheeses. Tonight, we have the pleasure of Whisper House for entertainment, as well as my lovely and talented cousin Lady Lucita." This she says to the arriving guests.

The contingent of Northerners arrive together, only two of them but as fierce as any would think they'd be. Surely out of place amongst the very Lycene home they entered. Brianna Halfshav is dressed in a simple cream-colored gown, her freckled shoulders left exposed and the mass of fiery curls spilling over one bare shoulder. But she is all grace as she steps into the hall, her fingers resting only lightly on Lord Logan Halfshav's arm as she leans in to murmur something to her cousin before her bright, blue eyes lift to the Marquessa as she speaks.

The Telmar Voice, Lord Corban Telmar, makes his way on into the great hall, in his Telmar-red silks and with his rubicund sword peace bound at his hip. He smiles warmly at the two hostesses, making his way up to each in turn, and offering them a dip of hand and friendly squeeze of the hand. "Marquessa Quenia. Lady Lucita. I am so glad that this could come to fruition, as we discussed at Northernlude and after. What a delightful gathering you have for the night."


    One final movement of his dulcimer and Cesare seems to have found his spot- "Yes, it shouldn't be a problem. Dancing can happen anywhere there is space. Music, likewise, can happen anywhere." he offers to Lady Lucita with a quiet bow of his head. "Here should do." he continues as he plays a few more notes on the dulcimer's strings. "Yes. Now, do you want to play with me this evening, or have you decided to primarily enjoy the party?" he asks of her, before he begins to play.

Cesare checked charm + performance at difficulty 45, rolling 1 higher.

With Brianna's arm secure around Logan, they enter the hall. There is very little to suggest that Logan is not a northerner. Wearing a leather tunic, trousers, and boots, with beautiful fur around his shoulders. His hair is tied and set apart for the event, decorated with beads. A charming smile presents itself on Logan's face as his cousin leans in to whisper. He laughs and shakes his head, looking about before whispering back to her.

Lucita has rolled a critical success!
Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 45, rolling 82 higher.

Dafne arrives from all of next door, clad all in black: black dress, black cloak, black kitten, black curls. (The last is natural and the next-to-last she isn't actually wearing). She sheds her cloak as she enters, handing over to one of her assistants. Her dark dress is cut low in the back, in Lycene fashion. "Marquessa," she greets warmly, making her way to greet the family. "Lady Lucita."

Lucita gives a beguiling smile, picks up the hammers matching the birch dulcimer and lightly runs one over the strings. "Both! We can play and enjoy the company of others at the same time, for part of the songs that do not require our total attention at least." She replies to Cesare and relying on him as the professional musician, awaits his cues and his lead to try to accompany him.

Teela steps tentatively into the great hall of the lovely home of the beautiful Igniseri home. She looks around and passes off her fur cloak to anyone taking such things before she begins to make her way slowly isnide. She could be, for her fine wear of fur and leathers, be mistaken for a Northerner, given her height. She makes sure to clear the doorway and looks to see if there is anyone greeting guests.

Nisaa looks over to Lucita and Cesare, taking soft steps towards them. Speaking through the sheer veil that covers her face, her voice is like spiced honey; smooth and sweet with tones of exotic flavor, belying her foreign origin. "I have not yet been performing with Cesare, or yourself, Lady Lucita. Shall I dance just as I see fit? I will try not to detract from the music."

Brianna's lips curve into a quick, crooked smile for her cousin, shaking her head softly as she murmurs something back. But then her gaze goes to the entertainment, cocking her head lightly as the music picks up and Lucita picks out such lovely accompaniment.

Quenia inclines her head to Corban as he arrives, gently squeezing his hand back. "Lord Corban. I'm very glad you could make it." She seems to genuinely mean it. "Please come in and have a look around at our selections this evening." She glance around him to the northerners who have arrived and excuses herself to greet them. To Brianna and Logan, she says, "Good evening, and thank you for coming. Please do come in and enjoy our wines. I don't believe we've met before...?" she questions Brianne and Logan, before extending a curtsey to Dafne upon her arrival. "Good evening, my Lady. Thank you for coming." She seems pleased to see Dafne.


    Cesare bows his head and begins to play- for now, just on the Dulcimer. The music he's choosing, for the start of this party, is gentle and soft. Welcoming and inviting. The kind of music that is easy to converse over, and fills the empty moments fully so as to keep most uncomfortable silences to a total minimum.


Corban smiles warmly at Quenia. "As I am glad I could attend as well. Thank you." An air kiss to her cheek in the Velonsian fashion and he allows her to move on to greet the rest of her guests. He seems to be just at the right angle to see Brianna's dress from the back, lifting his eyebrows for a moment before moving on to get himself a glass of wine.

Logan smirks and leads Brianna toward the seats as the show begins, releasing from her arm and asking her, "You want something to drink?" He asks before Quenia greets them. Logan smiles at her politely, bowing his head slightly, "Good evening, Lord Logan Halfshav and our voice, Lady Brianna of Halfshav." He nods to Quenia at her suggestion and while looking between the two of them, he asks Quenia, "What do you recommend for someone with a... Darker and woody pallet?"

"I am so glad to see this house full of life again," Dafne tells Quenia with a warm smile. "And I am always glad to see Granato wines. Or, rather, to taste them."

Lucita's eyes amber eyes sparkle, slender wrists and hands guiding the hammers to follow along so the sounds she produces weave in and out of Cesar's music to create a harmonic blend. She looks to him and then the dancer as she listens to some of the conversation of others. To those who greet her she gives a warm smile and respectfully nods her head. In a low tone to the dancer she says. "Missere Cesare is leading the entertainment tonight, I do not mind however you two decide best to do."

Brianna counters quickly to her cousin, a laugh bright at the edges of her words, "Always!" But then Quenia is there, and the fierce Northerner adopts something more politcal, graceful as she smiles warmly to the Marquessa and tips her chin for Logan's introduction. She adds, "A pleasure, Marquessa. Thank you for opening your House to those of other cultures this evening. It is always interesting to peer into Lycene life, isn't it?" Her gaze slides to the Oathlander as she says it, having caught, perhaps, the look. But she only winks, subtly, towards Corban before returning her attention back at Logan's question.

Corban is caught! He catches Brianna's eye for a moment, and then looks away, a slight bit of color catching his cheek. Whether scandalized or perhaps just flushed at getting caught is an exercise of interpretation. But he steps up towards the tasting table, gesturing at the hip wine. "I'll try that, I suppose," he says, finally. He is not usually a consessuer of these things.

When Cesare begins playing the slow gentle music without answering her, and Lucita says that he is the lead entertainer, a small sigh is given. Nisaa wanders a bit away where she can have some space to feel free, should she be able to dance. She wears a revealing outfit of silk dyed in the colors of the ocean. The skirt rides low on her hips, the halter bodice high, leaving most of her torso bare, her bronzed skin shining. Jewelry of copper, lapis lazuli, shells, and other gems adorns her at head, arm, and around her belly in a delicate chain. Bright eyes peer out at the attendees once more as she resettles herself into a poised, statuesque stance.

Quenia nods again to Dafne, then turns her attention back to Logan once he makes introductions. "Well met, Lord Logan and Lady Brianna," she gives each a warm and welcoming smile, which falters a moment when Logan asks his question. "Typically, I'd recommend a dry red. But the wines we are offering this evening are a lighter, sweeter variety. You may enjoy the rose hip wine over the raspberry wine or our specialty wine called Daylight. I'll be describing them in detail in a moment." She excuses herself from Brianna and Logan to go greet Teela. "Good evening, I'm Marquessa Quenia Igniseri, and welcome to House Igniseri." She spies Valeria coming in and she waves a hand at him. "Welcome Lord Valerio!" she calls out enthusiastically. "Will Marquessa Cambria and Marquis Hadrian be coming this evening?" she asks.

Cesare looks quietly over to Nisaa, "Dance as your heart guides you, my Sister." he answers after a moment.

"Indeed," notes Dafne upon overhearing Brianna, "I am sure peeking into Lycene life is fascinating. Should we turn the Ward into an open air museum? Wander about, peer at Lycenes going about their daily lives?" Her voice is warm, with just an edge of dry humour. "I could hold a dinner for people to watch Lycenes eat," she offers.

When Quenia comes over to her Teela tucks her hands behind her back and she gives the woman a bow, "Good evening, Marquessa, thank you for hosting. I am Lady Teela Blackram." the words come out but she seems awkward in the delivery, "You have a lovely home." she smiles to the woman and then she smiles when she waves towards Valerio and she steps back so he can come speak to her as well.

Logan nods to Quenia, shifting on his feet to first serve and then test the hip wine for poison before handing it to Brianna. His personal choice betrays his alcohol loyalties and reveals that the northern is more familiar with the south than he lets out to be. Expertly he picks something more appropriate for the current company and fills his own glass, taking a sip and then turning to Brianna for her opinion of her own drink. Slate grey eyes fix on Corban and Brianna for a moment but then leaves them to look over the entertainment and present company.

Slipping in slightly on the late side, Valerio stops to observe Cesare start on the dulcimer. A quick nod, and a turn of his head to the left to observe the guests. Then he is called out! "Lady Quenia, a pleasure. I am not certain of their plans for the evening for once, my apologies." Valerio bows to the hostess with a bit of a smile. "I see its starting to get busy, I think I timed it just right then, even if unintentionally."

Nisaa checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

"Do Lycenes eat? I thought they only drank wine and lounged around with grapes, occasionally, if they are feeling peckish?" Brianna questions innocently to Dafne, though her smile is warm and her fierce blue eyes dance with humor as she addresses the Lycene duchess. "Whereas we Northerners eat enough for ten at each meal, storing away the fat forour winters." She pats her belly at that, grinning, before looking to Logan. "Rose hip, perhaps? That sounds /very/ Southern." She introduces to Dafne, as Quenia moves on, "Lady Brianna Halfshav, and my cousin, Lord Logan Halfshav."

Quenia grins over at Brianna. "I do believe some people believe our manner of dress bridging on the scandalous, and that sometimes we can be seen as... hmm... extravagant? Mysterious? Something along those lines," she gives a wave of her hand in answer to Brianna. "I find it's always good to learn about new cultures. You never know who you might bump into while doing so." When she speaks this, her eyes glance briefly over over to Corban, then back to Brianna. She looks over to Teela when she speaks, "You are most welcome here. Please feel free to sample any of our wines." She grins back over at Valerio and nods her head. "Indeed, you did! And, now I should get things officially underway..." and that is when she walks toward the head of the stage, lifts a glass, and taps it gently with a utensil of some sort to make it gently chime to get people's attention.

Corban spots Lady Teela across the room and makes his way over towards her, crossing behind the Northern contingent to do so. "Lady Teela," he says, his glass of wine in the one hand. "I extended my House's congratulations to Lord Gaston on his elevation, but I ought to extend them to you as well on the peaceful transition of power in your House. We look forward to continued strong ties between us." It is a political statement, to be sure. But it is said with a broad smile and genuine feeling. He /is/ glad to see power transition peacefully. And for continued strong relations between them.

"And olives," addds Dafne, lightly, "Don't forget the olives. After all, we grow so many we must sample them occasionally." She takes up a glass of the rose hip wine herself and falls silent as Quenia moves to speak.

Teela smiles to Quenia as she steps away and then she turns to Corban as he approaches, "Yes. It was a wise move on Gustav's part." she says speaking softly as she leans forward some which might make her look like she is looming, "He has not been in the city and he was already preoccupied at Cloudspine with things. Passing it to Gaston moves the seat of power here where we have someone who can make decisions based on events as they happen." she smiles nicely to him, "And how are you?"

Lucita is listening to the various conversations, nodding greetings as she accompanies Cesare. She watches Nisaa out the tail of her eye awaiting the start of her dance. "The rose hip wine is always in smaller amounts than the wines made from grapes or other fruits. The fruit of the rose flower is small in size and quantity and difficult to harvest, but makes such a nice wine when brewed properly."

Quenia stands as tall as possible once she's settled on the stage. She holds a glass of 'Daylight' in her hands, her head is up, her shoulders are back and she looks determined. Thank you all again for coming this evening, and welcome to our humble home. We wanted to start our inaugural event at House Igniseri by introducing you to a touch of our home in Granato, bu sharing with you our decadent olive oils and fine wines. However, my cousins and I have also decided to combine this event with one that we hope will help benefit others within the Compact, specifically the rebuilding of House Thrax's naval force, which will likely be needed in the coming days in our fight against the darkness that has already taken so many." She pauses there a moment, a touch of sadness coming to her eyes - for she has already lost two members of her family in that fight. Once she's certain she won't get emotional about it, she continues. "Tonight, we will be offering our wines and herbed olive oils for sale, and all proceeds for the sales will be going to House Thrax for their rebuilding efforts. We have many samples of the wine around the room, for your tasting pleasure, so please sample the wines at your leisure - and as you do, I shall be explaining what they are. We hope that you like them enough to consider a purchase and help out such a great cause."

Nisaa with the nod from Cesare and quiet words given, Nisaa closes her eyes. Her style of dance and the style of Cesare's music may not seem a natural fit at first look, but she soon lets the music free her soul. The ends of her veil are connected to the middle fingers of each hand, so that as she moves her arms, rising or lowering her hand in gesture, the veil flows through the air like a gentle wave. The skirt, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the foamy surf kissing the shore with silvery threads highlighting the hem. There is a slit up each side from ankle to thigh, giving glimpses of toned, bronzed legs when she moves this way or that. She starts simply, at first, fingers setting in artful poses as she sways her hips in a circular pattern. Her toes stay on the ground, her heels lifting to give a bit of a hip shake here and there, setting the chain around her belly jingling lightly. Her bright, verdigris eyes are lined with a dark kohl, making her features even more exotic, the veil adding mystery, as she makes eye contact with a guest from time to time.

Logan chuckles towards the exchanges to and from his cousin but keeps to himself. His attention less on whats going on in his proximity and more towards the stage and then on strangers' faces as they come into the hall and pick their drinks. He covers his absence of mind with a drink of the wine. A bit overwhelmed.


    Cesare continues to play on the dulcimer- his pace is picking up. The tempo increasing- something better for dancing, now that people have actually joined the conversation and party proper. He looks over to his fellow Whisper. Watching as she moves to the music. He sets his tempo in the style of her dancing- songs of wind swept dunes and deserts. Southern songs.

Brianna leans closer to murmur a word to her cousin, offering a reassuring smile as she does. But she takes her glass of rose hip and nods to Lucita, sampling it slowly as Quenia speaks. She waits until the woman finishes her speech, before she suggests to Logan: "We should purchase some to bring back for Khanne and to support their efforts. Our cousin likely will appreciate that." She turns to Dafne, however, as the speech ends, before she questions: "I am sorry; We didn't catch your name, my lady?"

"I am quite well, thank you," says Corban, at least of equal height to Teela so that her tallness does not loom so large. "I actually spoke to the Marquessa about this event back at Northernlude, and to Lady Lucita when she was hiring entertainment for it. So it is good to see it all come together so well." He gestures with his hand with the wine glass, broadly at those here. "Lady Monique always like a good wine. I will pick up something for her."

Quenia waits a few moments to see if anyone has anything to comment, and seems relieved no one is booing and hissing over her. "We are also offered entertainment this evening by Whisper House. Master Cesare and Mistress Nisaa are both performing this evening, along with my cousin Lady Lucita," Quenia motions over to Lucita who has been playing with Cesare for a while now. "We thank them for their musical and dancing skills this evening." She then moves over to the first table, full of bottles and glasses of wine. "The first of the wines we share with you is a full-bodied, crisp, refreshing, high-end red wine with a raspberry flavor and just the right amounts of sweet. The red grapes used for this wine are grown side by side with our raspberry bushes, to help infuse the flavors into the wine." She sets her glass of 'Daylight' aside - for the moment - and picks up one of the raspberry wine glasses while she waits to see what others will do.

Teela smiles to Corban and gives him a nod, "Of course. It has come together well. I like the layout." she motions and then she looks to Quenia as she starts to speak. Teela will take a red from a passing server and then she looks at it and then she gives it a taste. She rolls it around and then she nods as she smiles and she looks at Corban, "This tastes good." she then adds, "You should get a bottle of each for her to try, make your own little tasting so she does not feel left out."

Dafne glances over to the wines, and then back to Brianna. "Duchess Dafne Zaffria, my lady," she replies, with an inclination of her head. "A pleasure."

Logan cranes his head with a raised brow towards Brianna and asks, "Really?" He smiles and looks over the selection, "Personally, I agree but... perhaps something from a later season. Otherwise, it'll just be me and you getting shit-faced." Logan turns to browse the wares, inspecting each bottle and requesting a sample. He's a cheapstake like that. His glance is taken to the stage to listen to the announcement. Logan glances to Brianna with a soft smile and nod before turning away and back to the stage. After a moment he whispers back to Brianna.

"You are a bad influence, Lady Teela," says Corban with a small smirk on his lips, though she can see that he is clearly thinking about the possibility, toting up the cost in his head while also toting up Lady Monique's delight at the possibility. "Perhaps."

Logan laughs...

Gathering himself back from his apparent internal reverie, Valerio blinks his good eye and reaches for one of the mentioned wines. He does take a moment to sniff at it lightly. His face implies 'not bad', before he raises his glass in toast to Quenia upon the stage. Then sips at the wine lightly. "Interesting."

"And we do that enough, already?" Brianna counters with a breath of laughter, her eyes crinkling at the corners and her smile bright for her cousin. Her attention returns to the Duchess with a bow of her head, adding: "I'd hope so. I've rarely been called less, I promise you, Duchess Zaffria." She moves to exchange the rose hip glass of wine for a tasting of the raspberry as it is introduced, but not without her gaze catching on Teela and Corban, her brow quirking upwards slightly, before she glances to Dafne. "Igniseri are your vassals, right? If I remember my geography, and I usually don't."

Willen arrives, following Aislin.

Quenia calls out to Valerio, stating, "I promise, the wine isn't spiked like at that Velenosa party. It's all relatively tame - I didn't want to scare our guests away from purchasing any." Quenia gives a little wink at the end, and walks over to Dafne. "I think it's good that there are people here too. It will help chase the spectres of my brothers away, I think - and help make this place happier. Or homier. I hope to do more like things here in the future. Or, perhaps, different things as well."

Nisaa checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher.

The tempo increases, the tones more reminiscent to the songs in her heart and soul. Nisaa becomes more and more at ease with her movements, and soon it is as if she is in her own little corner of the world, dancing free. She pivots on one foot, her other tapping the ground with a small jingling of sound to give her momentum. Her movements are as fluid as the water she seems to emulate as she comes to a stop facing the crowd once more. Her hips move to the left, then right, arms telling a story as they sweep through the air, fingers changing delicate poses. Shimmying with a jingle of shells around her waist, hisp move briefly, impossibly fast before starting a punctuated movement, each pose paused for effect, her eyes intensely watching the crowd.

Cesare checked charm + performance at difficulty 45, rolling 13 higher.

Lucita has a quick ear and a love of music that permits her, when the tempo changes, to continue seamlessly to meld her playing with Cesar's. She gives a glance of appreciation to the other entertainers and says. "I heard someone say that the first time they sampled the raspberry wine, did not realize how potent the alcohol in it was. They mentioned that one glass and a sip seemed like double the amount of another they had tried."

Dafne exchanges the glass of rose hip for a glass of raspberry. "They are," she replies to Brianna. "And excellent vassals, too. The Marquessa was fostered in my household as a child so she is really more like family." She takes a sip of wine and adds to Quenia, "That sounds lovely! I am afraid that the holding of social occasions is not really my strong suit." She considers for a moment before adding, "I am told the best way to make a place homier is to have children running around but I cannot speak from personal experience on that one."

Aislin Ashford makes her way in to the party, a bit late and a bit distracted; she gazes around the Domus Igniseri with the air of someone familiar with the surroundings but who hasn't been here for a while, and who finds every familiar corner and wall brings bittersweet memories. Still, as she approaches the room full of music, and people, she shakes herself free from those memories and offers a pleasant nod to those she recognizes... notably Dafne, Corban, Brianna, and Lucita.

Teela nods to Corban, "Sometimes. The idea has merit though." she tells him and then she turns to focus on the music and the dancer. She sways a little with the music timing though is slightly off the beat while she then turns back to Corban, "So how come she could not be with you this evening?"

Quenia seems to flush a bit at Dafne's exchange. "Ah... er... well... in order to do that, one must have a husband, and I do not. Nor the slightest clue on how to find one...." she lets her voice trail a bit before she takes a small step away. "If you'll excuse me, another guest has arrived." She makes a timely quick-step exit over in Aislin's direction. "Welcome to House Igniseri!" she greets enthusiastically. "I'm Marquessa Quenia Igniseri. Please do come in. Right now we're sampling the raspberry wine, and we've someone available on hand if you would like to purchase any this evening. All proceeds tonight go towards supporting House Thrax's naval rebuidling efforts."

Only the slip of a shadow passes through Brianna's fierce gaze, her blue eyes flicking towards Logan briefly before returning to the Duchess and the Marquessa. "If you are looking for an eligible bachelor to produce such children--," she teases with a poke at her cousin and a quick, innocent grin. "I've heard other Northern bachelors have fared very well in the Lyceum." But then they lose Quenia, and she is quick to move on, offering: "This is a delicious wine. We definitely should buy this."


    There is a reason Cesare is hired for events like this- its his voice. The tempo continues to grow, faster, faster. In time with Nisaa's movements. He opens his mouth and he begins to sing. There is a reason he's called the 'man with the perfect voice'. His song is a song of praise for the sun. For the wind. For the feel of the breath of the world on one's skin...

Lady Teldra, a Lycene noblewoman, Sir Bristleworth the Hedgehog, 3 Grayson Guardsmen, 1 Armed Confessors, Steadfast, a guardian dog, Buchanan, a Champion arrive, following Cara.

Logan pauses his browsing and looks to Brianna, chuckling and nodding in agreement. "Touche." He looks around at those near him and his cousin, smiling politely and the strangers and brief acquaintances. He settles on his spot, standing silently with a drink in hand. When he is voluntold to make babies for the House, he almost chokes on his drink but then says, "The house would crumble without my attentive care of our books. I ain't going anywhere."

Sir Bristleworth the Hedgehog have been dismissed.

Steadfast, a guardian dog have been dismissed.

Corban takes a sample of the raspberry wine from the passing waiter and takes a sip of it, enjoying the lightness on the palate. "Oh, how very nice," he remarks, nodding his head. "Lady Quenia did not lie that she has some of the finest wines in the South." A beat and he then answers the question about Lady Monique. "Oh, different engagements. With all of the weddings and the rest these days, it is hard for us to arrange it for each and every one." A pause. "You are settling in?"

"Aislin Ashford," the explorer introduces herself to Quenia in turn, with one of her infrequent little half-smiles at both the offer of welcome, and of raspberry wine. "Thank you. It's been too long since I've been here in Domus Igniseri. It's good to see the house filled with people again." She seems about to say more, but then Cara enters and Aislin offers her a bright smile and a wave in greeting as well.

Lucita is silent for the moment, still listening to what she can pick up of conversations and nodding respectfully to newcomers, but with Cesare now singing a beautiful song and Nisaa dancing so exotically, she focuses more on maintaining a musical accompaniment to them.

"No. She did not." Teela responds finishing the wine and then setting the empty glass on a passing tray. She then looks at Corban and she motions, "Do you care to introduce me around?" she looks at the people gathered and then she draws back to the performers for another smile and then she looks at Corban again.

Cara lingers near the entrance to the Great Hall, lifting her gaze upwards in appreciation of the decor and effort involved in the event, before making her way more slowly into the hall proper to mingle with the other guests. Aislin gets a quick smile in return for the wave, of course, but the Grayson Voice's attention is captured by the delightful array of southern wines on order, and she studies them with intent before choosing a glass.

Quenia seems to miss a step when Aislin mentions her name, and then her gaze goes over to Lucita a moment. She bites her lip, swallows, then looks back to Aislin and nods her head respectfully. "Thank you for coming, Aislin Ashford." She didn't hear a title, so doesn't give her one as yet, taking her cue, and then continuing, "I'm certain things are likely a touch different from how you remember them with my brothers. I am doing my best to see things filled out a bit, and adding some decoration. They liked to keep things... lean." She spies Cara arriving as well, and offers the Princess a deep curtsey. "Princess Cara. A pleasure to see you again. You're just in time for the announcing of our second wine. The first was a sweet raspberry if you'd like to try some," she motions to the tables set up in the room, then makes her way back to the stage for a moment.

At the mention of Monique, though, there is a sudden realization. "Gods. I agreed to go to that wedding reception with her." He touches Teela's arm lightly. "I am so sorry. I apparently double booked myself. Please. Do enjoy. I so apologize." This is like a sitcom with the man with two dates on one night.

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

"Oh." Teela responds to Corban, "Well. Might want to get a move on then yeah." she gives him a smile of good-luck and then steps back so she does not block his way so Corban can rush out.

Brianna's gaze flicks and catches the interaction between Teela and Corban, her breath exhaled into a laugh before she moves to join the other lady only as Corban moves to abandon her. "This is why one should never trust men," is just a teasing, light thing with no true feeling behind it. Except then Alaric steps inside the room as she says it, her gaze sliding towards the King, before it returns to Teela. She smiles to the lady, introducing: "Brianna Halfshav."

Quenia ascends the stage once more, and this time she has a glass of rose hip wine. She raises it as she says, "The second of the wines we share with you this evening is a remarkable wine made from rose hips - the fruit of a rose. The wine's body is clean and well made, and has undergone a complex aging process to bring out a silky quality. It has a light, floral aroma that enhances it's characteristics." She motions to the tables with the rose hip wine set up. "Please feel free to try it, and don't forget - if you like it please purchase a bottle. All proceeds go to House Thrax." She descends the stage once more to mingle with her guests.

Dafne gets a fine crystal wine glass from recessed shelves with a rising phoenix paneled door.

"Odd. We men also often mutter the same about women." Valerio comments as he had begun to pass. he stops turning his face to the left so his eye can keep both of them in sight. "Usually after we have already torn our hair out." A smile appears, to impart that he too, was only teasing. He bows to both Brianna and Teela. "Valerio Mazetti, Marshal of Ostria."

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

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

Alaric enters with the usual moderate production of a large security detail and retinue all finding their way through doorways without creating tremendous traffic problems. The King's Own are professionals at this sort of thing, though, and it goes rather smoothly. Smiling brightly, Alaric proceeds into the hall proper near the stage. "Pardon my lateness, a King's work is never done," he declares engagingly before glancing to Zelda. "Find out if we're too late for the bidding, aye?"

Corban retreating leaves Teela standing there and then there is Brianna. She smiles to the woman and gives her an incline of her head, "Ah. Well met, Brianna Halfshav. I am Teela Blackram." she looks at the dress Brianna is wearing and she says, "I have only heard of the Lycene fashions before, you are quite beautiful." she then glances to Valerio as he comes over, "Oh. Good evening, Marshal. Teela Blackram." she nods to him, "A pleasure."

Aislin offers a nod to Quenia as the Marquessa makes her way back to the stage, turning her attention instead to those in the crowd. Brianna is another familiar face -- albeit one she hasn't seen in a very long time -- and so she makes her way over in that direction next, to join Teela, Valerio, and the Halfshav noblewoman. "Is /that/ why so many men go bald?" she asks lightly, having arrived just in time to hear Valerio's comment.

Logan takes his gaze toward Teela, frowning slightly. As Brianna moves away to join the lady, he turns back to browsing, his back turned to the door when the King arrives. For most of the night, Logan keeps the bartender company, asking for taste tests all through the night before actually making any decision.

"Marquesa Quenia, I'm so pleased to be here," Cara greets the Igniseri lady, before settling in to a spot. She murmurs to her lady's maid, who goes about making arrangements for her purchases. No way is Cara not bringing plenty of olive oil home with her, for a start. When the king arrives, she bobs a polite curtsey out of habit.

"If they were smarter, like women, they would say it /before/ pulling out all their hair," counters Brianna, confirming Aislin's question with a tip of her chin and a quick smile. She greets: "Lady Ashford, it has been too long. This is Lady Teela Blackram and Lord Valerio Mazetti, whom I have just met myself." She smiles to Valerio, her gaze sliding over the man's features with the weight of one soldier sizing up another, despite her attire.

Alaric gets a fine crystal wine glass from recessed shelves with a rising phoenix paneled door.


    Cesare continues to play, singing and hammering away at the dulcimer as his sister Whisper dances. Letting his song wind with her dance.

In accompaniment to Cesare's singing and music, and Lucita's musical talents as well, Nisaa continues her dance. Where before she was like water, moving in a seamless fashion, now she is like the ever changing dunes. Her body moves in a way that seems almost subtle, but shows a great control over her muscles, as if her sine did not move like others, able to move her chest apart from her stomach, apart from her hips. Nisaa does this staccato performance, like several portraits of a woman painted in time, pose after pose, frozen in a sort of stop action motion, before she slows again. She turns her back to the crowd, looking over one shoulder with those black-lined verdigris eyes, her face hidden by a veil. Her legs, her hips, stay still and now she only moves her shoulders, her waist, her upperback, and her arms, back into a serpentine like, wave of motion.

"Aislin," Dafne greets. "True, Lady Brianna. We women would hardly let a man compromise our hair." She falls silent as the king enters, and dips into a curtsy toward him with a flicker of black silk.

Lucita is at the end of the room serving as a stage area. She is playing a musical accompaniment to a beautiful song Cesare is singing while Nisaa dances to the song,. She glances toward the entry on hearing the arrival of other. Her eyes widen slightly and she gives a beguiling smile, curtsying as best she is able though she does not miss a note, nimbly keeping up with the others. Her welcoming of the others is made clear by her expression.

"It has, Lady Brianna," Aislin agrees. "The better part of a year, at least." Dafne receives a warm smile in greeting, and a pleasant nod for the new acquaintances of Valerio and Teela, but whatever she might've said next is postponed as she catches Dafne's curtsey, notices the king, and makes a respectful bow towards the ruler of the Compact as well.

"A pleasure Miss Blackram. How long have you been in Arx?" Valerio looks to Teela as he asks the question, but his vision shifts. Due to the arrival of Alaric, he of course properly bends the knee. Once complete he points to Aislin. "Most of the bald ones had -daughters-!" His inflection is like that when one tells a ghost story. For Brianna a brief snort of amusement. "Well. Sometimes we are slow learners." His left brow arches lightly over his eyepatch.

Quenia nearly mis-steps right off the stage when she sees that the king has joined their small event. That was not something she was entirely prepared for! She quickly glances around, looking for Lucita. Finding her cousin still occupied with performing she takes a moment to compose herself. She stands up taller, rolls her shoulders back, and walks over to Alaric - albeit a bit nervously - to greet him. "Welcome to House Ignserni... er.. Igniseri!" she greets Alaric as enthusiastically as all the others, while maintaining a respectful distance. She offers a low curtsey to the king to show him proper deference. "Please come in and sample our fine wines. We've just introduced the rose hip..." she motions to that particular table.


**********************************************************************
Throughout the maneuvers, from the first sailing until now, the fleet under the orders of the Warlord of Thrax has been sailing the Mourning Sea to attempt to give protection where it can. Small groups of ships break off to pursue leads or pockets of resistance, often rejoining the Fleet proper, though sometimes appearing in Maelstrom for repairs and Mercies. And so this evening, as the sun sets over the horizon, the Grim Fleet is at last, located when Prince Abbas Thrax and the Knight of Sorrows, Lord Darrow Darkwater, sail into the harbor. And of course, since the nobles of Thrax have been accused of many things but rarely good sense, Duke Harald Grimhall pushes himself from his cot in the House of Mercies and walks with a stately gait down the path to the docks to join the Warlord and his fleet. Prince Abbas has called together some of the older reavers, speaking to them for a long time, and they too board longships to join the fleet. And just like that they're gone, Abbas, Darrow, and Harald taking point as they continue their patrol of the seas.
**********************************************************************


"Well I would have something to add," Teela looks at Valerio, "But these fine ladies have already said it." she smiles with a soft chuckle to accompany it. She looks at Aislin and she inclines her head, "Hello. I heard you were an explorer? That sounds like an exciting profession to have." given her size she takes a step back some, "I arrived within the last week after a long trek from Cloudspine." she looks at Valerio answering his question and then she notices the response to the King, she gasps and makes sure she dips as well. A moment and then she rises again.

You know who doesn't bow to the King of the Compact? Brianna. She does flash a quick smile then wrinkle her nose slightly in some silent communication, before her gaze draws back to her companions. "I think the Lady Dafne certainly said it best," she agrees lightly to Teela, exhaling a laugh. "Gods save us all from having daughters. I know what I was like as a daughter--."

Spotting Alaric, the King, Nisaa changes her posture and with arhythmic motions and one leg slowly sliding out to the side, she lowers herself into a bow towards him, about as low to the ground as a person can get without falling over. She lowers her gaze, staring at the ground mere inches beneath her veiled nose, before she slowly begins to glide her body up once more.

Camilla, Luigi arrive, following Hadrian.

Alaric liberally distributes royal waves to all the bows and curtsies and regards Quenia with a confident and reassuring smile. "Marquessa Quenia, thank you kindly for receiving me," the King declares personably. "I hope the charity efforts have been going well tonight. Speaking of," he pauses to gesture Zelda forward. The royal messenger passes Quenia a small lockbox of economic writs. "My contribution," he explains as he takes a bottle of rose hip wine from a servant's tray. "To House Igniseri," he toasts before having a drink.


    Cesare bows his head quietly to Alaric as he arrives- as all Whispers he serves the King first. His song changes, and now he sings a song of the Compact, in praise of the King. From House Igniseri, of course. He is currently hired, after all, by said house. Words made up on the spot to tell of the House's undying loyalty to the crown, and its King.

"I'm an Ashford." Aislin's answer to Teela is wry, as if this explains it all. Perhaps, given the family's reputation, it does. "But yes; I'm an explorer, and the current Pathfinder of the Society of Explorers." To Brianna, she shakes her head. "Honestly, I'm not certain whether I was the bigger headache, or whether Harlan was; I never asked my parents. But I think Olivia must have almost been a relief; she wasn't quite so eager to go leaping out of treehouses pretending to pilot a griffon, or climbing on the roof to be atop a 'mountain'."

"To House Igniseri," Cara repeats after the king, raising her glass of rose hip wine high. If there's mayhap a touch more enthusiasm in her voice than such things would normally merit, who's to notice?

"To House Igniseri," echoes Dafne, raising her glass of the raspberry wine.

Quenia flushes faintly at Alaric's words. "The efforts thus far, are going very well, I think, your Highness." Quenia offers another curtsey at being addressed. She settles her glass of rose hip wine down to look inside the lockbox, and her eyes widen. "A most generous donation your Highness. I'm certain that House Thrax will make good use of it. Thank you," Quenia tells Alaric. She picks up her glass once more, and raises it at his toast. She counter toasts. "To King Alaric Grayson's generosity!" She then steps back out of his way so he can mingle with the other more important people in the room. She completely misses Hadrian's entrance in her flustered exchange with the king.

Teela raises a glass for the toast, "House Igniseri." she takes a sip of the wine and then she gives a nod returning to the conversation, "I gave my father reason for pulling the hair on his beard quite a bit." she admits, "Sneaking out to hunt and fish. Hiding from my tutors." she lets out a sigh, "And the time I hog tied one to show her my new rope skills. She did not appreciate the knots that I could do at all." she then says, "Lady Ashford, may I call on you sometime? I might be interested in your society."

Hadrian Mazetti's shown in, with his usual compliment of personal assistants trailing in his wake. A large basket, tinkling and clinking resides looped over his arm. While he walks at his usual brisk, ground-eating stride he comments back to Luigi, "And you said she may be along after she's handled other business? Very well, very well," he offers prior to an exasperated sigh. The sound quickly dissipates however and the vexed expression quickly flits away from his angular features. A prominent grin slides into place as smoothly and easily as some would shed their clothing and Hadrian continues onward into the great hall of the Domus Igniseri. Sword cloak slightly ruffled, yet somehow perfectly in place. Deep, but bold green silks rumpled just-so, yet fashionably-so. He appears as though he may very well have just sprang up from napping on a chaise, before dashing off to his next appointment; in typical Lycene fashion.

Aislin, too, raises a glass in toast, perhaps to both Alaric and House Igniseri. Then she turns back to Teela, offering a nod. "Of course; I'm always willing to speak to others about the Society. Are you an explorer yourself, then? Or just one interested in tales of adventure?" She sounds as though she's used to queries from both sorts.

"To House Igniseri, to the King!" agrees Brianna in a toast, lifting her glass, before she takes a long sip. Her gaze lingers on Alaric curiously, before she draws her attention back to the conversation at hand. "Unfortunately for my father, it was only ever me," she replies lightly to Aislin, her smile easy despite it. "If you'll excuse me-- I should check on my cousin and make some of our purchases to support Igniseri, speaking of." She bows slightly to the others, Aislin and Teela and Valerio, before she draws away from the group with a graceful, cat-like stride.

Ahhh, a challenge, an improvised song! The dulcimer hammers Lucita wields still for just a moment then pick up the notes of the melody now being sung with the technique of musicians and performers playing together for the sheer enjoyment of music. If some of the passages she plays do not exactly match the song, they blend well enough to seem intended as a discrete background showcasing Cesare's voice. A faint rosy color rises in her cheeks and she looks over at Cesare as if asking if he wishes her to step down a while or try to continue.

When Cesare changes his song to one praising the Compact, Nisaa alters her movements to a gentle shifting of hips, tipping the left forward, then the right, back and forth, sending the shells and bells upon the chain at her bared belly tingling against one another as her hands lift, palm up, fingers half curled, and her arms raise as if in praise, up and up, slowly. She dips her head forward, closing her bright eyes, the veil over her face draping down.

Cara turns her attention to the Whispers and the music, swaying slightly to the rhythm as she listens and watches Nisaa dance. Her eyes widen a fraction at the dancer's skill and she sets her glass aside to clap gently in response -- though not so loudly that she interrupts. "How lovely!"

Logan is shit-faced from all the testing. Barely hanging on, the man stands awkwardly next to the bartender, turning around to look at the king as he engages everyone in the hall. He studies the once sleeping king now up and moving. As Brianna approaches him, Logan smiles to her and raises his cup to greet her.

"I am. Was. A military scout. I was going to consider signing up with the Few or the Blades to get back into some work. I think something different might do me some good." Teela tells Aislin, "You need an explorer's spirit to be a scout in the hills." when Brianna makes her leave she smiles to her, "It was a pleasure meeting you Lady Brianna. I hope we talk again." the change in music has Teela tapping her foot to the timing while she talks.

Alaric smiles courteously in acknowledgement of Quenia's countertoast and drinks to it, letting her get back to running the event with a last raise of his wine goblet. Looking about the room, he takes a few moments to observe the collective art performance of Cesare, Nisaa, and Lucita. Nothing like an improvised mini-concert about the King to draw the King's attention. "It's too bad nothing rhymes with Zelda, otherwise you'd make it into a song too," he tells his Observer aide with a crooked grin, taking another drink of the rose hip wine.

"Meld-a sword, felled-a tree, belled-a... something," counters Brianna to Alaric, calling it out to the king even as she rejoins her cousin. Her grin is fierce and victorious for her rhymes, despite their quality. But then she leans closer to Logan, murmuring something before passing him a bag of coins.

Hadrian approaches one of the two hosts first with his basket of bottles. Clinking with each step, he comes to stand near Quenia - but not too near. A respectable near. Hadrian fills that time in waiting for the Marquessa to be available. For the time being, Hadrian simply turns his bold green eyes this way and that. His grin subdued now, it lingers on as an ever-present, half-amused smile.

Hadrian quietly mutters, "Smelled ya."

Logan sips on his wine and nods to her, taking the coins and adding them to his purse. The accountant smiles and whispers to her before looking around to actually buy a wine, except, he just keeps on taking free tests.

Quenia makes her way back to the stage again to announce the next wine for the evening. "The final wine we are introducing tonight is an old favorite of House Igniseri, particularly of my brother Pietro. It is so much so a favorite that the wine has its own name, Daylight. Daylight is a light, crisp drink incorporating notes of pear and hints of tart green apple. It has a nice, cool finish that has notes of orange and hints of cardamom within it." She pauses, remembering her brothers a moment, before she continues. "We hope that you enjoy this line as much as he did." She also motions to the final table, which is steeped in different foods. "And, also, lastly - we are sharing with you fine herbed olive oils from Granato's olive groves. Each oil is steeped in differing herbs that you can dip bread into, and enjoy on the tip of your tongue. You can also dip pieces of cheese into them for a bit of a taste explosion." She grins a bit, then this time makes it off stage without mis=stepping.

Cesare checked charm + performance at difficulty 45, rolling 22 higher.

Cara checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Dafne checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 11 lower.

Alaric turns to regard Brianna casually. "It's not a proper song lyric if it doesn't end a verse," he proclaims instructively. "Can't go putting swords, trees, and somethings afterwards." He pauses and turns a raised eyebrow Hadrian's way before glancing at Zelda for consultation. "And I'm afraid I won't be attending one of your concerts, Marquis Hadrian. I get the impression I'd have to fill a vacancy in the royal messenger position due to a resignation," he explains with a grin.


    Again, Cesare bows his head towards the King when he's noticed, still singing and playing the hammered dulcimer with all the skill one expects. Singing along with the music, praising the King- and, somehow, manages to use slanted rhyme to work in Zelda - the King's trusted companion.

Hadrian checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

"Says who? You're just making things up," accuses Brianna of the King, her brow arching upwards in a challenge with a smile on her lips. She waggles her finger at Alaric, before turning it into a lazy salute. "Have a good evening, your majesty. Please keep my cousin out of trouble." She nods to Logan, before she moves to slip away again, this time towards the exit of the great hall.

"Lady Zelda fair, so bright we cannot quell the stares," Cara lilts brightly, "May her delight remain eternal, whilst avoiding all infernal."

"It could just as well be a flattering statement, King Alaric," Hadrian chimes back with a prominent smile and mirthful harlequin green eyes as he quietly croons, "Oh Zelda, I still can't shake the feelings I had since the last time I smelled'ya." His one free arm shifts and his hand slips up to press a palm to his chest as he offers Alaric's very own Observer a deep, respectful bow before he corrects his posture once again. Still his basket of bottles tinkles and Hadrian addresses Alaric next, "In fact, I'd say that having a memory of someone tied to their scent? That you simply can't get out of your head? That you pursue actively even when they're not around? Is quite the compliment.

It has been some time since the Igniseri brothers died. Time tends to heal wounds. Even so, Dafne bursts into tears at the mention of Pietro; an action that seems to startle her, too. She settles on a chair, and covers her face with a handkerchief embroidered with spiders.

Then the duchess eats cheese. Cheese fixes everything.

Quenia does notice Hadrian this time, now that she's found her footing free of the king again. She smiles warmly in his direction, moving to greet him, since she has not yet. "Good evening, Marquis Hadrian. Thank you for coming to House Igniseri tonight. Things seem to be quite a success!" She exclaims, then continues, "King Alaric has also given writs toward our charity event this evening, to be used for House Thrax." She pauses a beat, then asks. "Is your wife coming this evening?" she looks around the room to see if Cambria has already arrived.

Teela gets a fine crystal wine glass from recessed shelves with a rising phoenix paneled door.

Nisaa checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 39 higher.

Nisaa steps from the staging area to the table where all the wines are set up. She dances, even then, arms held out to her sides, hips shimmying with each step. She takes a bottle from the offerings and slowly glides her way back over to near Cesare and Lucita. She holds the bottle in front of her, just in front of her navel, as she starts to dance to the music once more. She tries to make her tempo match that of the song, while maintaining her own exotic flavor of style. Carefully, slowly, she places the bottom of the bottle on top of her head, balancing it there. She stands still for a moment, then begins small motions, first with her arms, rolling in a wave, then shoulders lifting and lowering before her stomach undulates. Her focus is great, and the bottle does not even seem to shift.

Cesare gets a fine crystal wine glass from recessed shelves with a rising phoenix paneled door.

Zelda, the royal messenger is dealing with suddenly being the object of lyrical inquiry from Whispers and nobles and half the room with fairly good grace, in that she is only slightly hiding behind the King and her appreciative smile is mostly not awkward. Said King is getting a little accusatory side-eyeing from the royal messenger, however.

Quenia checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Hadrian takes a brief aside to answer Quenia's inquiery, "And I hope it has been quite the fine evening for yourself as well, Marquessa Quenia!", he offers back with his usual charcoal-paste whitened grin. He holds the basket, filled with bottles and the like, out toward Quenia before he explains, "Marquessa Mazetti has been detained, unfortunately. House business and such, as you no doubt have experience with. She informed one of my assistants that she will make every effort to attend though. These however, are for you and your House. We received something similar from yourselves for during our wedding reception, so I felt it only prudent to return such a favor. It's...well...wine. There aren't soaps or dyes or fragrances. Just wine. Wine basically makes any situation better. Except when it doesn't." The basket is then held out for Quenia, or a servant at the very least, to accept. Then his attention shifts back to take in Alaric and Zelda as well.

Teela's attention drifts as the conversations shift from around her and she takes the time to get one of the glasses from the shelves that were mentioned. She looks at it and gives a nod before she tucks the stem in to of her fingers to hold casually while she talks or walks around with it. Her body language shifts and she focuses on the dancer with the musicians, watching Nisaa move while the music plays. Then she says, "Lady Zelda, will find a fella. Who approved by the King, will give her a ring."

Lucita continues playing though her amber gaze slips from person to person in the gathering as they converse. When there is a break between songs, she sips a bit of wine then resumes as the others begin another song. Her expression softens as she spots Dafne and she tries to signal Quenia with her eyes, not seeming to succeed. She murmurs to Cesare. "will switch to lute in a moment, let me refill our wine glasses." Without waiting for a reply, she sets the dulcimer hammers aside when a musical interlude permits and walks over toward Dafne. She moves in such a way to shield her from sight of as many as she can after resting a hand briefly, lightly on her shoulder, working at pouring the wine s.l.o.w.l.y to let her have a moment to blot tears discretely.

One of the House Igniseri servants steps up to grab the offered basket from Hadrian, and send it off to be placed carefully into their liquor cabinet. Quenia nods respectfully to him. "Thank you very much for your kind offering. It will, no doubt, go to good use. We plan to hold several other events in our home this year, and they will be a good addition to our current collection." She takes a moment to look around the room, and let herself relax as she takes in the people who are there. "I confess, I was a bit concerned we would not get a good showing of people here tonight. I'm glad that not only did we get a nice gathering, but we also received a visit from our King. This is something I'll have to write home to my mother about. She'll never believe it."

Alaric laughs brightly. "An attractive smell beats a repellent one, that's for certain," he tells Hadrian in good spirits as he takes a goblet of Daylight from the next tray, replacing it with his empty rose hip wine goblet. "Oh, don't give me that look. Embrace your fame! Sail with the wind, instead of into it. It's a much better trip that way," he tells Zelda before looking back to Hadrian. "As I'm sure Marquis Hadrian would concur. How fares affairs in Ostria?"

"Scouting and exploring seem to encompass many of the same skills," Aislin assures Teela. But then she tips her head as a messenger arrives, adding, "But in the meantime, please forgive me; it seems I have something I need to go deal with. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I'm sure we'll speak again more later."

Teela gives Aislin a nod, "Of course. I will contact you. Tread safely." she offers to the explorer as she goes. Teela watches her depart next and then she turns back to study people before she focuses on the performers again.

Dafne blots her tears with her handkerchief, and, very discreetly, blows her nose. It's a dainty lady-like nose blowing. "I'm fine," she mouths to Lucita, before falling on the distraction of the cheese.

Willen leaves, following Aislin.


    Still he plays and sings as Lucita heads on. Cesare Whisper happy to entertain with his music. His voice lovely- and not not so quick to bother the fair Zelda. No, the songs are the same as before- entertaining and unthinkingly so.

Hadrian's arm freed of the basket, he sends his two assistants off to see to their own needs while Hadrian himself occupies his time first with Quenia's words, which elicit a grin from the Mazetti marquis, "There has been a noticable turn-out, which only bodes well for your efforts to aid House Thrax - of which, simply inform me how House Mazetti and I can be of assistance, and I'll see what arrangements that I can make." Hadrian's attention drifts to Alaric at Quenia's mention of the King, then back to Quenia before he offers up a quiet chuckle, "Well, let's hope that your mother will believe it. If you'd like, I can write her a sworn testimonial to inform her of the authenticity of your tale?" The grin persists for a moment longer. Then Hadrian's attention returns to Alaric. The grin doesn't disappear, but it does subdue itself while he considers the question asked. An answer is quickly formed and presented, "Ostria? Quite well, actually. We recently returned from our honeymoon there. For a city that's reputed to be so secretive, those in the outer walls are very welcoming. Or at least they were of me. Private meetings with a number of noteworthy nobles and commoners. Hear out their concerns. Public speaking. All in a days work, really. It was an exciting and thoroughly rewarding experience, I think. Ostria fares well and I hope that, with the plans that the Marquessa and I have agreed upon, it will only prosper yet further."

Lucita nods to Dafne and picks up the three goblets. She regains the stage, setting them for Nisaa and Cesare to enjoy then picks up a lute, holding it so the fingers of her right hand parallel the seven strings in a position to use the double-plucking technique. She picks up the rhythm and melody of the songs in progress.

Cara listens to the music for a while and, while largely keeping to herself, finishes her donations and makes her farewells in time, slipping out with another group of party goers.

Cara gets a fine crystal wine glass from recessed shelves with a rising phoenix paneled door.

Lady Teldra, a Lycene noblewoman, 3 Grayson Guardsmen, 1 Armed Confessors, Buchanan, a Champion leave, following Cara.

Alaric ends up with a small plate of cheese and olives which starts to get whittled down as he listens to Hadrian. "Is that so, very good to hear it. Congratulations on the wedding, of course. I do hope it serves as a foundational point for smoother relations between Houses Mazetti and Malvici going forward, to put the troubles of the last generation behind them."

"If House Mazetti has any silver or writs they can donate, outside of what we're selling here tonight, I'm sure that'll be a huge help to House Thrax," Quenia suggests to Hadrian. However, when the king comes to speak with Hadrian, she wanders off to see to some of her other guests, wandering closer to Teela and Logan. "How are you both this evening?" she asks. She may have completely missed Logan getting hammered. Having a king arrive tends to lower your perception of anything else!

Teela smiles to Quenia as she turns from the performers, "I am doing well thank you for asking. Although I believe Lord Halfshav might be too far into his cups." she chuckles softly and then she says, "You have truly hosted a wonderful event, Marquessa. I am glad that I got the recommendation to attend." she then motions, "I did not expect to see the King at something like this so that is a treat as well."

Logan flashes Quenia a playful grin, keeping himself up by leaning against the bar. He looks between Quenia and the bartender before responding to her, "Yes, very well. Great performance." Logan smirks to Teela but skirts back by hiding his face behind his cup.

Nisaa eyes the goblets Lucita brought for them. She doesn't stop her dancing, hasn't, not since she began, but for to switch tempo and style. With the bottle still upon her head, she makes her way over in that shimmying walk. Just how will the Whisper drink with a bottle atop her head? She starts to bend backwards, holding the goblet to her lips and keeping her head mostly upright until slowly the liquid within is able to pass her lips. She rises up once more, just as slowly, smiling beneath the veil.

Quenia glances over at Alaric, still a bit in awe of the king being there herself, and then back to Teela. "I wasn't entirely expecting the king either!" she confides to the northerner woman. "But, I am glad to see his support here, and I'll certainly have something to people back home in Granato. My sister Iovita, I think, would be envious." She grins a bit as she makes this announcement. She looks back over at Logan when Teela suggests he might be a bit far gone. "Lord Logan, will you be able to find your way home this evening? If not, I'd be glad to send someone to help you home when you're... ah... ready to leave." She gives the northern Lord a concerned look.

"When he is ready, Marquessa, I can carry him. Would not be the first time I have done so." Teela tells Quenia as she looks at Logan and then back to the Marquessa, "I will have to write my mother and tell her of the wines. I might have Gaston reach out to you to get a barrel or two to send to Cloudspine. I know that they would appreciate the flavors you have developed in your vineyards."


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It's an uncertain time right now. The reports from Maelstrom are grim, and more and more people are flocking to shrines of Mangata to pray, to offer gifts, to give thanks and to pray for their loved ones to come home. Under the direction of Baron Silas Whitehawk, small shrines to Mangata have been built all along the White Mountain River and the Gray River - personal shrines but no less beautiful for all their size. In Farhaven, Prince Darren calls for Shaman and the Faithful to band together to build more shrines to the goddess around Red Run. Lady Arianna Stonewood, Sister Thena of the Knights of Solace, and Lieutenant Calaudrin Estardes of the Iron Guard all offer help to protect the craftsmen organized by Eshken Greenblood. The shrines are safe and used - in ones and twos people come to offer prayers to Mangata.
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Hadrian offers a thankful bow of his head back to Alaric and the congratulations, "All thanks of course, King Alaric. We'll see how the situation between House Mazetti and House Malvici unfolds with time. So far they've done nothing but offer insult to either myself or my new wife, with my aunt offering quite the characteristic description of the Marquessa that I found distasteful and generally on par with someone far more commonly born. So, only time will tell. I'll remain hopefully optimistic." Hadrian offers only a light shrug of his shoulders as he speaks rather plainly on the topics in question, "My 'bitch wife', I believe she referred to her as. So common." He shakes his head slowly before he clears his throat, straightens somewhat at his full height, and his features take on his usual lighthearted and mirthful smile before he continues, "These Crown's Observers, Your Majesty? Who might I speak to about inquiring further about them and their duties? Without a duchy to rule, I find that I'm dreeeaaadfully free on time these days and nights. It only stands to reason that I try to fill that time with productivity."

Logan motions in a disregarding fashion toward Quenia, "Hopefully I don't have to go all the way to the redward. The night is young." He laughs and shakes his head, clearing up the misconception of his state, "I'm great." Logan says with a shit-eating grin on his face. He reaches over for some bread to soften his drunkness.

"That's a shame to hear. But serious divisions aren't erased overnight," Alaric notes sympathetically to Hadrian. "As far the the Crown Observers go, they are Prince Calarian's charges as First Observer. I can say that the Crown is always looking for reliable and loyal people with diplomatic skills to serve as the eyes and ears of the Compact in a variety of situations." He smiles brightly. "And we still have to find time to have a chat on managing affairs of state and the like, you know. Don't think that I've forgotten about that, now!"

Quenia looks up at Teela and raises both brows. "Carry him?" She looks back to Logan to size him up again, and of course also has to look up at him. They both tower over her. "Yes, I see that you could, if you must. But, we could call for a carriage instead, and have him driven home should he need aid," she suggests, but then Logan clears things up. She nods her head in his direction. "Indeed, it is," she agrees. She is momentarily distracted by Hadrian's explanation of his family with relation to Cambria, and frowns a bit, shaking her head. She glances briefly at Valerio to see his reaction, then back to Hadrian. She hmms to herself, and then starts to move about to mingle again, this time landing near Dafne. She pauses by the Duchess, taking a seat upon the bench to sip at her wine and take a moment to listen to the music and enjoy the dancing. At one interval or another, she claps for the entertainers.

"Lucita," Quenia calls to her cousin. "Why don't we let our entertainers take a break and have a chance to mingle with our guests? Yourself too. I'm sure we'll be fine without music and dancing for a spell." She smiles warmly in Cesare, Nisaa, and Lucita's direction.



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