Impromptu Hunt & Ride
June 11, 2018, 4:45 p.m.
Outside Arx - Crownlands near Arx - Public Hunting Grounds outside of the City of Arx
Comments and Log
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Aiden before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Aiden before departing.
Naturally the Grand Duchess and her Consort have ridden out to the public hunting grounds first, a sea of attendants, servants and horses arriving before them. As there are various spaces set up with blankets, parasols, and picketing areas the dark prince looks to his wife and murmurs, "Considering the nature of the hunting grounds and all, what shall we do with any and all catch, do you think?" This, as he's climbing into some leather armour, because why not. There might be bears.
Cambria has, in her own, smaller sea - a squall of servants, perhaps? - also ridden out to the hunting grounds. Letting her horse saunter up to the Velenosan couple, the Hydra Marquessa happens to overhear Talen's question to Eleyna and she calls out helpfully, "If you want to go for public image, after the hunt is over, throw an open roast." She scans their immediate area, expression thoughtful.
Dressed in black, as usual, yet swathed beneath a warm, fur-lined cloak to ward off the cold because winter is terrible, the Archduchess glances over at her Consort from the back of her horse, delicate adjusting the reins in her gloved hands. "I'm not sure. Don't you usually just keep it? Is there something else to do with it?" One of the servants passes up a wineskin to Eleyna and she offers the man a grateful smile. She glances to Cambria and shrugs a shoulder, "We could send word to the Estate and have them make preparations for it upon our return."
Aiden sits tall in the saddle of a black mare with a white blaze down it's nose, the umbra cloak fluttering behind him and only kept down by the bow and quiver upon his back. He's riding in the parade beside his good wife and the Duchess of Rubino. He's comfortable and at ease, although there is often an adjustment of hand and rein, since the mare is not of Grayson stock but that acquired in Gemecitta. A new mount for a new name. Poor Lightfoot is probably bewildered in the Palace stables! He glances over at Grazia and offers with a polite grin, "I'm glad you came for the ride. Your company is appreciated."
Talen looks up to where Cambria sits upon her horse and inclines his head to the Marquessa, saying in all the grace he can possibly muster, "Oh I don't give a shit about that, I just wanted to murder some animals." Then, with an exhaust of air from his nose, he then murmurs, "Though Marquessa Mazetti likely has the best idea. We'll the commons take what they want and send the rest back to be prepared and hold an autumn roast tomorrow, then. Thank you for your suggestion, my lady."
Alessia is here, though she isn't really here to hunt. She's here to observe, though she is wearing her armor and her diamondplate glaive is strapped across her back in its special sheath. She is mingled with Marquessa Cambria's entourage, and when the Marquessa rides forth to greet the Eleyna and Talen, Alessia rides along just slightly behind and to her left. She offers a bow of her head toward the Grand Duchess and Duke Consort, offering a soft smile.
Leta is on a bay horse. It's not a very good horse. It's not missing any limbs, but no one would paint this horse galloping through a field. It's probably a rental. She's not a very good rider, either, but she can stay on her horse as it walks along, bundled up in green cloak, fur trim wrapped around her jaw. She does seem rather more interested in the provided food and drink, and wobbles hesitantly atop her ride.
Grazia is not nearly so experienced with horses as her consort, but she's making a go of it for him. Her mount is very patient with her efforts to ride her, and she lingers nearby Aiden. "Well, I suppose this is as a good time as any to introduce you to the Archduchess and her Consort," she says thoughtfully, motioning for him to head over to the pair where Talen is being explicit about what is going to happen here. "Do you hunt?" she asks Aiden. "I believe they are both into hunting."
"I thought I would try my hand at killing animals, too," Cambria says to Talen, gesturing to one of her aides that they should go and fetch her a spear. She glances askance to Alessia, saying to her cousin, "You really should join in on the fun, coz." Her mouth tugs into a wry grin.
Theo arrives atop a chestnut courser, riding with the practiced ease of a man who is no stranger to horsemanship. At his side atop a larger and darker horse is Austen, the two men engaged in light conversation as they come trotting up. "See, Sir Austen? I told you. You're a natrual." He holds a thin silver flask in one hand, and a burning cigarette of haze in the other, the Prince studying the gathered hunters with a friendly smile and nod. "I managed to find a horse for Sir Austen," he tells Talen, nodding to the big knight. "Look at how he rides! Such grace." Then he's turning to Eleyna, offering a deep dip of his head. "Archduchess."
Alessia glances to Cambria, and when a spear is fetched for the Marquessa, Alessia looks thoughtful. "Well, I hadn't thought of a spear," she says thoughtfully. "When I think hunting, I think bows, and I'm all thumbs when it comes to bows. Perhaps I will take a spear myself then, and see whether or not I can manage to help murder some animals," she agrees, smiling in response to Cambria's grin. She asks the aide to fetch a spear for herself as well.
The Grand Duchess offers Alessia a smile and nods in her direction, "Lady Alessia. How have you been?" Upon noticing that Grazia and Aiden are in attendance too, she shifts the reins into one hand and waves with the other at them before she shifts once more to meet her cousin's bowed head, "And Cousin Theo is here as well. Hopefully all the commotion doesn't scare away all the animals that Talen hopes to kill."
Austen glances to Theo as he trots along alongside the prince, the knight paying more attention to his riding than anything else. "It does come back to me, your highness. Though I really should practice more," he admits wryly. He looks pleased at the compliments from the prince, however. He pulls the horse to a stop, peering at the gathered crowd. "This is rather impressive for something so impromptu."
Mailys has made her way out to the gathering somehow, she certainly didn't ride herself out though, with her lack of a horse, and she has her heavy cloak drawn about her tightly to help ward off the autumn chill.
Bethany rides in along with Theo and Austen, riding sidesaddle, like someone who really doesn't spend much time riding horses, but is giving it a go. She's not graceful, but she's also not in any kind of panic. She gives off, instead, the air of someone enduring an indignity that they know isn't going to last forever.
Aiden looks ahead toward the riders in the front and those who are constantly riding up to them to greet the pair. His shoulders straighten up and back, his chin sets in a determined not to be a wallflower incline, "A good as time as any." He winces a little at over hearing the matter of killing animals, his mouth trying to stay in a polite stretch, "My gyrfalcon hunts." He clicks his tongue to get the mare going a little faster to catch up to the front, "Not everyone can survive just on greens and seeds." Like him. He ensures Grazia's horse keeps up, as he approaches, "Grand Duchess Eleyna, Duke Talen. Fine day for a hunt!"
Aiden checked command + teaching at difficulty 5, rolling 59 higher.
Alessia turns her attention back to Eleyna and Talen while a spear is fetched for her, and as Eleyna greets her, Alessia returns the smile. "I have been well, Archduchess. Thank you for asking. I fear I have not been very social of late, and thought I would rectify that. I hope you've been well?" She glances toward Theo as Eleyna mentions him, and gives him a polite nod of the head in greeting.
"Good, I would hate to be the only one," Talen says with a drawl, giving a nod to Cambria, and a gloved thumbs up. As the Archduke turns to let someone strap him into his jerkin and shove a collection of short spears into his arms to select his favourites. "Lady Alessia, how do you do," he acknowledges explicitly amongst the rest of the introductions - they all pass pleasantly and politely enough. "I was in the Black Fox with Prince Theo and Sir Ferron when I decided I needed to get out of the city for a bit, so they're partially to blame." There are groups setting up hunting birds, hunting dogs, with rangers and spearmen and all sorts. It's quite the grand affair of retainers, citizens and Peers despite the suddeness. "People like to breathe less putrid air, sometimes," he comments down the line to Austen. A hand goes up as he sights the Rubino couple, a signal of greeting, before he moves in that direction, "A little cold for my liking, my lord, but well enough I agree. It'll warm the blood. Well met."
"I couldn't manage a bow, but anyone can hold a spear," Cambria says to Alessia. "And, usually, you won't even look silly while doing so. See," she accepts the proffered weapon, and hefts it in such a way that suggests she may even know what she is doing. When Talen addresses the others, Cambria remains quiet.
There's a sudden flock of predatory birds that take to the sky from a gathering of Velenosa's own, in addition to some vassals, notable lords and ladies who seek to get in on the fun. A few of the lesser trained ones snap at each other and lag behind, before they're up into the air, circling with their beady eyes keen. The hounds are still begin sorted through, leashes tangled, and yapping and snarling providing the background noise of any good hunt.
Alessia looks to Talen as he greets her as well, and inclines her head in greeting. "Prince Talen, it has been some time since we last spoke," she says pleasantly. "I do well," she adds with a slight grin. "I've come to help murder some animals with you, it seems." A spear is finally handed to her, and she rests it in her stirrup for now as she looks back to Cambria as she hefts her spear so expertly, and gives a soft laugh. "Yes, I see what you mean."
Aiden tips his head to the comment of the weather, "In short order, I suspect." He notes the preparation of the game birds, his own was circling up above - a white gyrfalcon from the northern climates. His back stiffens when the hunting birds are released and he mutters something under his breath and gives a sharp whistle upward, to the white gyrfalcon... The raptor joins the others in scouting is easy enough to see, but it looks to be in front of the others, was it shrieking? Excitable things.
"Well enough, Lady Alessia. Glad to see you out here today." One of the servants passes a set of spears up to Eleyna which she is busily arranging as Aiden and Grazia approach. She offers a half-smile to the Gemecittan couple as she offers in return, "A please to finally meet you, Duke Aiden. I agree with Talen. It's cold, but hopefully it will warm up once we get moving. Of course, I'm not going to hit a thing, so the animals have nothing to fear from me."
Austen gives Talen a thoughtful nod as he reaches for a spear of his own. The knight tests the weight and balance of it in one hand, carefully tossing it up in the air before catching it. "Good enough," he decides to himself, bringing his horse around into the line-up, giving the others respectful nods of greeting.
Renault collects a bundle of small javelins from the ground nearby, approaching Theo's horse to attach them to its side. "Ah, thank you, Renault." He offers the man a bright grin, reaching down to pluck one of the javelins out, testing its weight. "I'm afraid, Sir Austen, that I cannot simply watch others hunt. You must join me! I won't take no for an answer." He flashes the knight a bright smile as he grabs his spear, and then turns to Bethany. "Javelins, Madame Mercier? A bow, perhaps? A longspear?" He gives a vague wave of his hand at a rather large pile of hunting implements.
Bethany comes to a halt at the pavilion (there's a pavilion, right?) around which the activity is centered, and from which servants are handing out drinks and weapons. "This is as far as I go," she laughs. "But I promise to watch carefully, and be awed by your prowess."
Mailys will approach where Theo sits atop his horse, readying for the hunt and she offers a curtsey towards the prince, "Your Highness." She greets, "You look quite dashing." She says with a smile, "I wish you luck on your hunt."
Aiden suddenly bursts out with a small laugh, his hand lifting to cover it quickly before he clears his throat and tries to keep the smirk off his face. It's very difficult to keep the smirk off his face. He suddenly went from somewhat pensive and brooding to jovial. His sterling silver eyes move then to Eleyna, the woman coming into focus after his eyes flick down from the air, "I'm sure you'll get something. If not, the ride is just as fun." A look to the spears, "I admire spear hunting. I wish you luck and yes, well met, both of you."
Leta looks around, frowning for a few moments in thought as she pulls her cloak closer and eyes the various footmen, "That's more like me, really," she comments and stands up a little straighter in her stirrups, rolling her shoulders, still some distance off from the line. She eyes some weaponry nearby, twists her mouth and nose aside, then scratches her jaw, glancing back to watch the nobler sorts line up for - whatever is they're doing.
Grazia glances dubiously to Aiden from the back of her horse for a moment, then looks to Eleyna. "I'd try my hand at it, but I'm certain I'd be terrible. Honestly, I'd worry for the lives of those around me," she admits with ease. "I do like to watch the birds hunt, though. That is a pleasure. They're very efficient."
Austen gives Theo a patently amused look. "Your highness, I don't think I have -ever- heard you take no for an answer," he says, wheeling his horse around and gently nudging it to bring him next to the prince. "As you wish, your highness," he says lightly.
There are large fluttering drapes over wooden poles thrust into the ground for some semblance of cover, so as to provide shelter from drizzle that comes, but provide an easy way to look out at the events unfolding. Talen is not far from one of those as he prepares his weaponry, waiting for his horse to be drawn close, before he grasps the reins and hauls himself up into the saddle. "Five minutes," he calls, "then we're off," he yells. As the last few begin to make their last motions to be ready and ride, he leans over towards Eleyna, saying, "Just don't fall off the horse in your attempt to stab something, and just drop the spear once it's in. You don't hold on, or you hurt for days." As he spies Leta in the distance, he murmurs to an attendant who heads on over, speaking with her in quiet words.
Theo turns to regard Mailys, offering her a bright smile. "Madame Corsetina," he says, giving a quick bob of his head. "Dashing good looks plague my house, I fear. We do our best to deal with it. Will you not be joining us?" He glances over to Bethany, shaking his head. "Suit yourself, then, Madame Mercier. Please drink heavily for me, won't you?" Then he's wheeling his horse about, his gaze settling on Leta. "You! You've healed up nicely." And then to Austen! "Quite right, dear Sir Farrow." He offers a playful smile with that bit.
Eleyna offers Aiden and Grazia a brilliant grin and shakes her head, "I have a pretty good throwing arm, but I prefer throwing vases to spears." She makes a face at Talen and says with a sly little smirk, "I know how to handle a spear."
There's a sharp dive from a tawny bird that draws its wings tight, spins down low towards the ground, and then suddenly there's a streak of white which bombs on after it. With a neater cut and tighter pull of its wings, the latter falls faster, snaps its wings open and cuts off the first to prevent it from taking the prey. Clearly territorial over that specific unseen morsel, it somehow yet doesn't claim it for its own, choosing instead to climb up once more and observe the rest. It becomes a pattern; one wishes to hunt, and that blur seeks to stop it, possessive of but never taking for itself that game.
Leta blinks at Theo when he calls out to her, and moves her hand to her lip. "Oh, it was just a few thumps, wasn't it? Nothing serious, your Highness," she says with a crooked smile and shakes heard. Then someone comes by, and she leans in to listen. "Alright then, I'll - I'll be right over, then." And with that she steers her horse towards some of the attendants with the weaponry, to obtain a spear for herself. She can do spears at least. And then, speark in hand, she aims her horse in Talen and Eleyna's direction and rides on over, bowing her head, "Your Graces. I've never done any hunting from horseback, so I was just going to stay out of the way."
Aiden glances fondly over to Grazia, with a mischievous glint in his eye, something like a cat swallowing a canary might look like. At the very least he's having a really great time, despite not entirely being underway yet. "I'll stay by you, my Lady Duchess." He rides up close to her horse, taking the bridle reins for a moment, "If we stay with the party we can watch." He's not game to participate, but he does have his bow with him if he needs to. He looks up to watch the gathering of raptors, but from a distance it's hard to tell what's going on other than there's several swooping attempts and no game.
"Yeah you do," Talen throws in lewd, and not at all restrained quip, at Eleyna. "Alright, so who've we got," he asks rhetorically, eyeing the gathering riders with spears, before he nods to himself. "We'll let the hounds flush the game and then it's every man and woman for himself. First one to take something down gets 5,000 of my silver. Last one to take anything down has to give me 5,000 silver. Anyone in?" he asks. As Leta comes toward them, he shakes his head, and says, "I need to win money from you if you're so awful at hunting on horseback, so you don't feel so bad when my wife inevitably buys you your own horse, since that thing is just sad." Pointing at the mount.
"It must be a terrible curse to live with, Your Highness." Mailys says with a slight bow of her head before glancing a little from one side to the other, "You mean me joining you, Your Highness? I can neither ride, nor hunt, I cannot imagine how much help I would be joining you other than scaring off all of your game!"
Austen just rolls his eyes at Theo. "Please.. just Austen, perhaps it will be easier to remember," he says dryly, though there's a quirk of his lips nonetheless. Eyes go up to the birds, watching them thoughtfully.
"Oh, I've already given word to the stablemaster to make sure you have a proper mount of your own from here on out, Leta," Eleyna murmurs with a breezy smile. "As for hunting on horseback, most people aren't good at it. When a Lycene throws a 'hunting party' most of the time it's really a 'let's get drunk in the woods and throw spears at each other' party."
"Let us stay with the party, then, and watch. It ought to be quite exciting," Grazia replies, letting her husband handle her horse. She actually sounds like she might be excited about it, a hint of emotion in her usually neutral if pleasantly husky voice. She can handle getting drunk in the woods and hopefully dodging spears thrown by other people who are also drunk in the woods.
The hunting dogs aren't the same kinds one might find on a battlefield, the kind meant to bring down men so they can be stabbed in the face, and they certainly aren't murderdogs from the Abyss. Lean, enthusiastic and very smart determined canines meant to sniff out and scare out the wildlife from the small neck of woods and brush are here. When their handlers begin to run with them in that direction, there's excitement heard, with only one or two of the houndmasters being drug along behind and being caked in mud for their transgessions.
Talen says, "This is why I can't bring Victus, Elly. He tries to throw his fucking axe from the horse. I swear."
"You are welcome to come along, Madame Corsetina. Or you can wait with Madame Mercier, and give up your opportunity to /kill/ something." He bats his eyelashes at the woman. "You may ride with Sir Austen or I if you like." And then, the invitation given, Theo rides off, coming to a stop near the gathering of hunters. "You're on, cousin," he says, giving Talen a wicked little grin. "I look forward to taking your money."
Alessia sits ready in her saddle, waiting for the hunt to begin, her spear held easily in her right hand, reins in the left. As Talen offers the terms, she smiles. "I'll take that on," she says, "even though I'm not much of a hunter. I can always use more silver. Maybe I'll get lucky. Though, I'll be happy just if my spear finds it's mark today." She waits for the signal to ride, her eyes turning toward the birds and squinting, and she waits on the hounds.
Bethany had a servant lift her off her horse and set her on the ground, fixed her hair, and now she has a hot drink in hand and, true to form, finds a place where she can see the open field. She draws the hood of her winter coat up so that the winter wind won't mess her hair back up again.
"Archibald, let them have some ground prey!" Aiden laughs. But who the hell is Archibald? Who knows. It could be a retainer that goes zipping by or was that a Rubino guard back there? His eyes were aloft in the sky before he settled down and encouraged the horses ahead. He nods to the Corsetina and Mercier, but their horses are keeping a steadying pace, with Aiden apparently managing two horses.
Aiden checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 77 higher.
Austen blinks as Theo rides off, bowing his head to Mailys in farewell before he chases off after Theo to join the rest of the hunters. "Trying to lose me already, Prince Theo?" he calls, grinning a little. He dips his head to Talen, but makes no comment to the terms.
"He's not sad, he's just - he's just not fancy, that's all, I think," Leta defends her sorry mount, giving him a pat on the neck. She doesn't sound too certain about this, but she's sticking for the little guy. "Oh. Right. That's good then. I've hunted boar before, but that was 'cause it was laying waste to some villages and we got paid to take it out, and so some of the fellows went out and chased it in our direction and we skewered it good, but that was on foot. Your Grace." She explains this to Eleyna with a small smile making what appears to be a skewering motion with her spear. Talen gets a squint, "I don't know. I suppose I can give you the silver for room and board, at least."
Austen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.
Austen checked strength + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.
Theo checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Bethany curtsies to Aiden as he rides by. "Good luck, Your Grace."
"Alright, someone, take their names so I know who owes me money," Talen insists from a nearby servant before he jerks his chin towards the hounds. "They're off. Let's go!" he barks, striking his horse with a crop needlessly so it launches forward from the cruelty of its rider rather than the urging of a firm, knowledgable hand. "Hyah!" If he heard Leta's offer, he ignores it, because clearly it's nonesense.
Talen checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Aiden checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.
Eleyna checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.
Theo checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.
Austen checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.
Cambria checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.
Mailys is rather swiftly left behind as both Austen, and Theo dart off to go join the hunting party, but she will turn to look towards Bethany, "Well, My Lady, it looks like I shall be spending the hunt with you. Mailys Corsetina, at your service." She says with a curtsey.
Lys checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
Leta checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.
Theo checked perception + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
Bethany inclines her head to Mailys and gives her a pleasant smile that lights up her fine features, but not her eyes. "Bethany Mercier. I think I've met your... sister? Cousin? Mirari."
Alessia checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
After some time there are pitiful screeches from field mice, the odd hare, even a fucking ssssssnake. This all happens not long after Aiden is screaming at the sky god Archibald or whatever. As some of the happier, more successful birds take their prey, they return to their keepers with a mouthful of gore that lasts a short time. The hounds drive towards the forestry, the bushes, even some trenches found in the edge of the field set to drain the rainwater. There's snarling and yapping but for those in the canopies and awnings set up for the observers. That's when the good shit comes out, the fine wine and the fine food, as if someone was just a little bit underhanded in making sure those who aren't enjoying themselves hunting get the very best stuff first. It's basically unfair, if you ask Talen.
"Cousin, though we are as close as sisters, and many think us such." Mailys says with that soft smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Bethany." Her attention shifting to watch as the hunters begin off on their grand pursuit.
In a cloud of dust and beating hooves, Theo goes charging off behind the gathered riders, his unkempt hair blowing in the wind. Though he is not the fastest rider, he keeps up well enough. That is until, at least, movement in a nearby stand of trees catches his eye. A wicked little grin comes to his eye, and then he's charging off in that direction, away from the pack of hounds. "Keep up, Sir Austen! Can't you see it?" There it is again, the bushes rustling.
Dame Earpricker with her jaunty hat is having _none_ of this nonsense. None of it at all. Lys tugs on her reigns but there is no way in the Abyss that she's going anywhere near that snarling and yapping. The filly shies backward and turns about in circles, while Lys tries to get her under control. The redhead eventually gives up and just sits there for a moment, before nudging her forward once more. "At least follow behind the last of them, Dame. Audric'll eat you if we get lost."
Austen turns his horse to follow Theo, quickly catching up to the prince. "Did I say I was a bad rider, my prince?" he calls, a challenge in his tone, grinning at the other man. "I appear to have been wrong. Fancy that." He hefts his spear, frowning slightly at the weight of it, the grin fading slightly. "...spears on horseback, however..." he admits. "I could have thought this through better."
Leta gives her horse a pat and points forward as Talen rides off. "Off we go, then! That way. Giddy up." The horse does eventually leap forward, once sufficiently annoyed by Leta squeezing his flanks, and she rides forth, spear held high so as not to accidentally stick it through somebody. She can ride, and she can hold a spear, but otherwise she seems rather puzzled by the whole affair, and just follows behind, giving every tree and rustling bush a suspicious, squinty look.
Cambria was paying attention. Definitely. So that when she heard Talen's 'hyah,' she calls out the same and urges her own mount into motion. The horse responds beautifully, and whether the steed itself thinks this is a race, or the Marquessa does, off the pair go.
Has she even seen any game animals?
Does she know where she's going?
Apparently, ahead of the Archducke.
Aiden slows the horses, letting those actively involved in hunting charge on ahead. He shakes his head at something, laughing again at some unseen thing, his eyes a bit distant. Then they swing with a sharp hawkish edge to Grazia, "They've brought out the fine wines and food. I'd be quite content to sit upon our horses and have a glass, while we watch the experts take on the game animals."
"Then let's hope we can scare up a boar or something. Also, if you give Talen even a single silver for room and board, I'll throw vases at you both. It's -my- house!" Eleyna grins at Leta and then begins to kick her horse into a run, shouting behind her, "And you're still getting a new horse, even if you want to keep that one!"
Bethany returns her attention to the hunt as well, not that she's got much of an idea what's going on. "What brings you out here to watch the peerage stab animals?" The light amusement in her voice comes and goes as a small smile.
"Every day you confirm that I married the right man," Grazia says with a measure of delight, offering Aiden a rare smile. "Let us get wine and then keep up with the pack. I want to watch the hunt, now!"
Duarte slowly makes his way to catch up with the party - the little stumpy legs of the tiniest donkey in all of Arx being pushed to the limit. "I should've taken one of the horses from the stable," mutters Duarte.
Aiden turns a wink at the rare smile, gesturing out for one of the cup bearers to bring over a few goblets of wine. They're served as well as they can be, with Aiden overseeing the two horses, keeping a steady eye on Grazia's mount. "They're bound to flush out something decent, with all that noise," he takes a sip of wine, indulging in it before they move on to keep up with the pack, at least to be in observational distance.
Leta checked charm + seduction at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.
Alessia's mount springs forth when the signal is given, and she rides forth alongside everyone else, managing to control her horse while also carrying her spear with dexterity and precision. She is probably not the fastest rider of the bunch, but she juggles the burden of spear and mount with decent skill. She looks over at Cambria briefly, and grins a little, before spurring her mount a little faster.
As Talen catches Cambria in his perirphery, there's a narrow of storm grey eyes, the kind that could harden and condense to steel from frustration. The horse Talen rides, Chianti, is an Ostrian horse-- that much is clear to any familiar with them. So too is the Archduchess', in fact, one Bianchetta. "I see you, Mazetti," is called to his competition. "If you take my first kill--" he threatens in a natured tone that one couldn't possibly claim to to be 'good', "--I will be vexed with you."
"Prince Theo invited me out, My Lady." Mailys says with a soft laugh, "And I'm happy to come, though I imagine they'll be doing much of the stabbing well out of sight of us here, but perhapos they'll find something nearby?"
Duarte checked mana + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 61 higher.
"Oh, piss it." Lys gives up altogether, and manages to direct her horse off to the side. Away from all the noise that is _far_ too scary for the eternally startled. She canters up to where the food and drink is left, and swings down off of the horse. A frown is given and she tilts her head toward Mailys and Bethany. Saying to the latter, "Mistress Mercer, would you mind watching Dame Earpricker? She's far... far too skittish for this."
Duarte carries a little stick in one hand. He lifts a glass of wine to his lips as the stick begins to waggle in his hand. The stick is lifted and waggles toward the east. He hmms! "According to my make-shift divining rod --- the prey is thataway."
Bethany laughs and takes a sip of her mulled wine. "Did he now. I had a feeling." The sharp humor is gone from her eyes before Lys rides up, and her smile is more placid. "I'm not sure I'm the person to ask, my lady. I don't know very much about horses. There should be a servant who can take yours."
The smaller game is extensive, running wild across the field. A particularly distraught bunny in vibrant white even crosses over a blanket far away from the hounds, horses and hunters that sits under a canopy. It snuffles around a basket set down nearby Bethany and then stares at her for a long moment in reduced terror. When a young buck makes its way out of the early trees by the forest, it veers into the path of Theo's horse, within throwing distance. A smattering of songbirds take to the skies from a bush that is thundered past by another group of riders, and as a falcon sweeps down, that blur of white-- a larger bird of some kind-- makes to clear the skies for those last to flee the area. It seems no birds will be eaten today thanks to that sentinel of the skies, though the hares, snakes and mice are all victimised plentifully.
Cambria checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.
Eleyna checked intellect + alchemy at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
Talen checked strength + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.
Lys checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.
Bethany checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
"I meant if I lose, your Grace!" Leta calls out after Eleyna as the Archduchess sets her horse running. The knight shakes her head and hastens her horse forward. It doesn't seem too keen on actually running, but it humors Leta and sets off at a - let's be generous and call it a gallop. She keeps her spear up, largely trying to keep it from bumping into any branches or bushes or other bits of foliage. It really doesn't seem like Leta's going to catch anything, is she? Not at this rate.
Alessia checked strength + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.
They're closing in in that stand of trees faster and faster, Theo lifting his hand to indicate the points of a deer in the nearby bushes... and then, it is charging out into their path! "Sir Austen! My Champion!" The Prince's smile is wide, the slender Lycene making no effort throw a spear. "There!" He looks over to Austen, his face twisting into a pout; ever the performer, even atop a galloping courser.
Theo checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.
Oh, look. There's a bunny running over and staring at Bethany! Lys eyes it for a moment and then on quick feet she reaches out and snatches it (or attempts to) by the ears. To Bethany she says, "Ah, well."
Cambria glances over her shoulder, hair whipping across her face, though not enough to obscure the toothy white smile that splits her mouth. Her own horse is of Ostrian stock, as should come as no surprise. "Can't have that," she calls out to Talen, laughingly. "I'll let someone else earn your wrath, and--" She turns her head forward, so as not to do something incredibly foolish like fall off, or let her mount break its legs, or whatever other terrible thing that can happen while racing on horseback across the countryside. "Someone else owe you coin!"
"Did you now, Lady Bethany?" Mailys asks with a soft laugh before she nods her head, "Well, it is always nice to come out to these sorts of things, even if I'm not much of a hunter myself."
Bethany totally had a small rectangular case with her, about the size of a lady's purse. probably nobody noticed it because they all assumed it was a lady's purse! Really! She studies the rabbit that's settled in so close by and then hands her wine off to a servant and opens the case to reveal a metal flute in three parts, neatly nestled away in the velvet interior. This she puts together and begins to play. And it really looks like the creature is listening, like she might be able to coax it over -- then here's Lys making a grab for it instead.
Aiden looks abruptly satisfied at the last game birds get clear of even archery range. He sits back now with his cup of wine and side glances blissfully to Grazia, "This is such a great day." Nevermind the bloodshed of little critters otherwise. When he turns back, he notes a buck fleeing and sighs quietly, "Petrichor provides." A look upward as a white gyrfalcon wings back over to the Rubino Duke. Large white wings unfurl as he comes in low for a landing, Aiden's arm outstretching. The raptor looks tired and promptly receives a reward from Aiden's side pouch when the falcon settles its wings and wiggles its flight feathers. Praise is given to the bird, "I know I know... we can't always. But today, we did." Was he just talking to the falcon? Maybe. He ruffles the feathers in further reward.
Austen gives Theo a disbelieving look. "-Really-, your highness?" he asks, looking at the man's lack of actual spear throwing. He shakes his head at the prince and grins. "Fine. For you, if I must." He hefts the spear, preparing to throw it, and at that point the horse jolts and he... drops it? They're very close to the deer now and Austen frowns. "Oh bugger it." he grumbles, shifting in his saddle and bodily -hurls- himself off the horse at the deer. His intention is clearly to land on the thing and punch it a lot.
Duarte checked intellect + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.
As the flute is screwed together, the floppy ears of the snow white bunny seems to twitch, though they're so soft they more just flap. It seems focused even into the melody, its nose wriggles, its whiskers tremble and as if it senses motion on the air before Lys' hands sink into voluminous fluff, it leaps forward out of reach and toward the song. Just shy, Bethany ends up with a wild creature in her lap for all of a few seconds, before it dashes away with the prospect of predators (specifically the de Lire) nearby. Bounce, bounce, hop, bounce.
Duarte walks his donkey to the east, as the diving rod suggested, and stops several yards away from some grazing rabbits. He slides off the world's tiniest beast of burden. He creates a trail of small nibbles, breaking off little pieces of lettuce from a satchel and spacing them into a path the leads to a nearby bush, where Duarte crouches with dagger in hand waiting for a stupid rabbit to come and get stabbed.
Well, it was worth a try. Bethany lowers her flute and raises her eyebrows at Lys.
"My wrath is fierier than a thousand suns," Talen insists, as if this will make Cambria less likely to want to win the game they'll eventually come across, and thus let the Archduke acquire the kill. "Just so you know," he pants, leaning into the neck of his horse, eyes set ahead. With his spear tucked to his side, it's not readied, still on the hunt for something. "I must reiterate my thanks, however, for this horse from your House. It hasn't died yet." Talen's horses tend not to last very long.
Everyone's just running around while Leta's left behind to rides by herself in the woods. She's completely clueless, but at least she cuts a dashing figure atop her horse. Dashing but sad. Tragically sad and handsome. She can sometimes be seen around the grounds of the Velenosa estate, looking sad. Or leaning artfully against a column while staring off into the distance, all broody, as one does. Occasionally she sits on a bench, writing poetry of all things. She leans forward on her horse now, melancholy blue-eyed gaze fixed in the distance. She sighs. Then she raises a hand, offering a small wave and a sad smile to one of the common hunters assisting with the proceedings. She's seen her around the grounds, and Leta's always nice and polite and - well, one thing leads to another, and Leta's got a rabbit.
Lys gives Bethany a toothy smile, "Whoops." And then she steps off to the side to grab a glass of wine.
Today will be the day that the Lyceum remembers Sir Austen Ferron the Flying Knight, for he leaps from his horse, lifts his fist and gets a good old smack into the side of its neck. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't like that at all, striking him in the abdomen and wobbling skittishly in the direction of Theo once more. It has decided that it shouldn't fuck with the man in steel. Not long after, the commotion between the other riders has a fox vacating its hidey hole, zipping to the quieter end of the field and dives right into a bush by Duarte.
A stupid rabbit indeed begins nibbling at a piece of lettuce. It hops to the next piece as well. By the time it gets to the third piece it is looking less tense, any wariness draining from its features. It haughtily hops to the next piece, then the next, and then THWICK! Duarte stabs it right in the back with his rubicon dagger, turns it around and sticks it in the air like a trophy. All without upsetting that delicate hold of his wine glass with the other hand. He looks passive about the whole affair. It might even be ominous for those who know him. He strolls back to his mighty stead and re-mounts.
There was a brief ordeal with a fox somewhere in there, too. Also somehow symbollic.
Eleyna checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
There is a shouted, "You're welcome," from Cambria to Talen in regards to the gift of horses. Try as she might, riding with some modicum of skill, and, surprisingly, even spotting game, it is not Cambria Mazetti who catches the hare. Later, much later, when she's at home with a glass of wine and her pride to assuage, she will tell a story about a how a man went flying after a rabbit, which caused her so much distraction, she missed her own opportunity to prove that she, too, can do physical things!
Theo gives a tug on the reins, his horse slowing down at about the same time Sir Austen /flings/ himself at the deer. Say what you will about that particular stunt--that he is insane, a madman, a legend--but it is fucking impressive. Theo doubles over on his horse in laughter as the big man's considerable mass smashes into the animal. "Well, that's one plan, Sir Ferron," he says, reaching down to grab at a javelin. Drawing the weapon back, he releases it in the direction of the dazed deer.
Bethany's flute is put together now, and she decides to leave it that way for the time being, resting in her lap, while she takes back the mulled wine that she handed off when she started to play.
When no one is looking, the Archduchess very calmly slides a small vial out of the bodice of her gown, rubs whatever that fluid is over the tip of the spear, and then puts the vial right back where she found it. Then, with an eye for one of the critter rustled up, Eleyna tosses one of the small spears in that direction. Calm the entire time as if the outcome doesn't matter much.
Theo checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.
The game from the forest is a slower win, yet with Leta, Cambria, Talen and Eleyna still riding around seeking their victims, the hounds are nothing if not persistent under the care of their handlers. Deer are not infrequently found around Arx, after all, so Eleyna's spear finds purchase into the flank of one of those forest creatures. The effects of whatever she's putting on her weaponry will likely be found out soon enough. As it begins to bolt off, it seems to slow, it seems to stagger and that leaves an opening for the remaining hunters and huntresses.
"Are you serious? Are you poisoning the wildlife? We can't eat that now, Eleyna!" Talen shouts, looking over his shoulder, wheeling his horse around. "Cambria!" he calls, informal and quick, as it often is in war and games. "There," he says. "Think you can throw it from here?" he asks, "or you racing for it?"
"Mistress Mercier!" Fashionably late, Sabella of course seeks out the person that has the musical instrument out. She picks up a glass of wine from somewhere and smiles at the other woman, "I understand I missed the hunters. Did they all look very bold on their horses with their weapons?"
Cambria checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
"Well that worked for my sister," Austen grumbles once he's got his breath back. Watching Theo finally throw his spear, Austen nods, limping off to retrieve his own spear. Leaning against it he watches and waits to see if there is any more game. "Room for two on your horse, Prince Theo? Mine seems to have wandered off."
Bethany rises when Sabella comes over, and curtsies to her. "I don't know about bold, Your Highness, but they're certainly dashing." She motions a gloved hand out to the field where people occasionally plunge in and out of the treeline. "Have you met Mailys Corsetina and Lady Lys de Lire?"
"What are you talking about? That was just a good throw." Eleyna sniffs primly and sits a little straighter in the saddle, but definitely has eyes on the deer that she struck.
"Possum," Cambria calls to her lanky shadow of a servant, who had been, all this time, riding with her. "GET IT," she commands, and because she commands, Possum does. But does Possum succeed? One can only hope.
"Where do I put this?" Duarte asks as his donkey approaches...someone...wherever they are. He is holding up the dead rabbit by the ears.
Mailys will offer a little curtsey as Bethany introduces her to Sabella, "Your Highness." she says in greeting to the woman, flashing a bright smile, "The hunters are off in the woods, though they're making quite the racket with the hounds and such."
Sabella gives Mailys and Lys a bright smile, "I have! Mistress Mailys held a wonderful alcohol tasting the other night and I sent Lady de Lire a hat when she first came to town as I am well acquainted with the Baron. It's good to see both of you."
That bunny Duarte holds up is snow white, floppy eared, and apparently wasn't any safer away from the Lady de Lire in the bush Duarte was present beside. Good bye, Mister Flopsy.
"For you, Sir Austen? Anything." He grins, easing the horse up next to the knight, and offering him a hand. Off in the distance, a javelin sticking out of its side, Theo tracks the fleeing deer. "Hurry, though, before it convalesces!" Then, with the Oathlander knight at his back, Theo is charging after the wounded dear, following a trail of scarlet.
Lys lifts a gaze toward Sabella and smiles faintly, "Lovely to see you, your highness." Though she gives a little bow toward Mailys, "Though Mistress Corsetina and I have not. A pleasure to meet you, mistress. Lady Lies d'Leer are your service."
Talen has opted to pull off a glove for a better grip on his spear, as he rides after the poor drugged deer that is chased, his call to Eleyna an agreement. "It was a fine throw, I wasn't complianing about the throw," is called back at Eleyna. As the deer rushes by him, chased by Possum and the Marquess Mazetti, Talen lifts his arm and throws his weapon. Unfortunately for him he also throws his glove, but in a kinda roundabout way, it probably means he was issuing a duel at the same time. Strength and etiquette, bitches.
Look, there's Leta, eventually catching up with the others, while trying to stick the rabbit on her spear so it looks like she actually speared it herself rather than someone having taken pity on her. Infatuation, pity, both? She seems quite pleased with her rabbit, and doesn't bother trying to run down any deer or boars or bears. Very modest, Leta.
Bethany keeps her flute with her as she steps away to round up someone to bring some mulled wine to Sabella.
Austen takes the offered hand and swings himself up behind Theo, carefully settling himself behind the price. "I will just hang on, your highness. I am not sure I can be trusted to throw anything further, including myself.." he considers wryly.
"Just because he's NAMED for an animal, doesn't mean he's part of the game, Talen!" Cambria calls out as that glove goes flying to harmlessly bounce off of the passing Possum's head. The spear does not go anywhere near the man, but that hardly seems to matter to Cambria, shakes her own spear in the air in a manner most menacing. Or at least in her mind it appears as such. Possum, meanwhile, flings his own hunting javelin as though he'd been born and bred in the wild and not, in point of fact, a sultry city-state within the Lyceum. He looks rather proud of himself, too, watching as the animal is taken down. Behind him, Cambria can be heard shouting, "I accept your challenge, Archduke!"
"I was trying to hit the deer, okay?!" Talen proclaims, even as Cambria decides to take the glove from as in her direction, because it kinda was. "Fine, fine, I duel you over stealing my kill on the hunt! Now I have to pay -myself- 5,000 silver for being the one who lost. How does that even work?!"
Reaching behind him, Theo claps the big knight on his steel-clad knee, roaring with laughter. "See, Sir Ferron? I told you that you were amusing! You'll be the talk of the City for /months/ after that." Off in the distance, their quarry finally comes to a stop and slumps over into the grass, succumbing to blood loss and exhaustion. Theo pulls his horse up next to it, coming to a stop. "A fine stag we have found together, Sir Ferron. It looks so very heavy." He slides off the horse, then, giving the Oathlander one of those pouty looks.
Theo checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.
Theo is overheard praising Austen: I heard he killed a stag with his bare hands!
"A pleasure to meet you as well, Lady Lys." Mailys says, giving a curtsey to Lys as well, "How long do you think the hunters shall remain out there?"
Austen has rolled a critical success!
Austen checked strength at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.
Lys flicks her eyes toward where the hunters are off to, and gives a small shrug of her shoulders. "Depends on how long it takes the majority of them to find something." She lifts a hand to run it through her riot of coppery curls.
"Someone will have to sing a song about it, I'm sure," Austen says dryly, also sliding off the horse. He gives the Lycene an unimpressed look, reaching out to gently poke him in the shoulder. "Do not think I do not know what you are doing," he remarks, reaching down to pick up the deer, slinging it over his shoulders as if it weighed nothing. "Should I carry you also, your highness, or will your horse do for that?"
"As long as it takes for everyone to catch a little something I'd imagine," Sabella comments, looking out to the treeline, then grins at Lys, "Clearly not your first hunt?"
Duarte and his trusty donkey stead make their way back to the concessions. Duarte dismounts and ties down the indomitable beast. He hands off the rabbit carcass to a servant and grabs some more wine, settling on a bench to await the re-arrival of the hunting party.
Bethany returns along with a servant she's herded over who has a drink for Sabella. Seeing that the hunters are starting to come in. she starts taking apart her flute again.
"I'm sure an account would understand," Cambria replies to Talen, looking as though she herself is trying to really make sense of it. "Name your Champion - don't be boring about it, either. And we'll duel like real Lycenes," she then says. "Possum, get someone to skin and prepare that, will you? I'm dying of thirst."
"I shall commission a singer as soon as we return to the City, Sir!" He flashes the man one of his trademarked grins. "I appreciate your concern, Dearest Champion, but just the deer will do. Let's get back, though, shall we? Honor and glory awaits us!" To his credit, Theo does /not/ go galloping off in a cloud of dust as some might expect him to. Instead, he walks the horse alongside Austen as the big man carries the heavy load.
Signe has caught up with the hunter party after wandering and doing her own thing with her animal companions, Atila and Tempest. She's making a visit to the food and drinks as her furry friends wander to secure the parameter.
"I've a rabbit," Leta informs the Archducal couple as she comes near. It's technically true. If other people take it to mean she caught a rabbit herself, that's not her fault, is it? Not that she was terribly sneaky about it in the first place. "You could maybe give it to charity?" This is what she suggests, earnestly, to Talen.
"Oh good," Austen says with a roll of his eyes, just trotting along towards where everyone is gathered. "Maybe there will be some dinner, I am famished," he considers. He really doesn't seem to even notice the deer that he's carrying, moving at a fast pace back to the group.
"Enjoying the day?" Duarte asks over his glass of wine of Sabella and Mailys. He has had his dagger returned to him after being cleaned by one of the servants and it finds its way back to its sheathe.
Lys smiles toothily toward Sabella once more and says, "Mmn, no this is definitely my first hunt." A glance is given toward Mailys and she says, "I think I heard you were looking for an economics teacher, Mistress Corsetina, I could give you some pointers if you like."
"Name your terms then, first! That's how this works!" Didn't you see that etiquette check, Talen knows these rules, see! "Also, let us get back to the damn canopies, yes. I need a drink," he agrees more pleasantly. Then, riding up beside Eleyna, he says in full audience of Leta, "I think she knew what she was doing. Take the slow horse, veer off to the side, get the small prey-- still counts. I like it." Then, to Leta, he shrugs, "Name your charity and I'll see it paid on your behalf. You did win, fair and square, you cheat." It seems to be a compliment.
Talen is overheard praising Austen: An absolute mutant.
"Thank you, Mistress Mercier!" Sabella says when she receives a glass of mulled wine. She waves over to Signe, "Lady Nightgold! I met your cousin the other day, she is lovey!" And then she smiles at Duarte, "I am! How did you fare on the hunt? Catch anything interesting?"
"After a drink, then," Cambria says to Talen, grinning lopsidedly. "He's not wrong," she says to Leta and Eleyna in regards to Leta's 'tactics.' "While everyone else wrestles for the obvious, go for the stuff they've missed. I'll remember that for the future."
Bethany finishes putting away her flute and closes up the compact case that holds its three pieces, turning it back into something that looks like a lady's purse.
"I was hoping to find someone who could help instruct me on the finer points of finance, My Lady." Mailys says at that with a bow of her head, "I've a few offers, but one cannot have too many teachers, can they!" She says with that bright smile. "And hello, Lord Duarte. How nice to see you again."
Signe approaches Leta with a drink in one hand and some pastry treat in the other, "You could make a stew. I do love a good rabbit stew. I haven't met you before, I am Signe. Nightgold." She brightfully comments before overhearing Sabella call out her name, causing the shaman to chuckle. "Which one? Tall? Short? Red? Brunette?" She laughs.
"I managed to stab an unsuspecting rabbit." Duarte says with a smile to Sabella. "Not very bright creatures, it seems." He shifts his gaze to Mailys and dips his head, "And you, Mistress Mailys. You were stunning in every regard at our liquor tasting. Thank you for helping."
Theo slides off his horse as he arrives at the tent, tying the fatigued courer to a post. He waves, vaguely, to the ground. "Here seems good as any place, huh?" He offers Austen a wink, turning away and striding into the pavilion. "Cloaked in glory, we return!" He glances between Mailys and Lys, catching the last bit of their conversation. "Don't trust her, Madame Corsetina." He's crouching down behind Lys, then, wrapping his arms about her in a powerful bear hug. "Princess Sabella! So glad you could make it." He offers her a smile over the redhead's shoulder.
Talen dismounts with a thud, lets his horse be taken by attendants, then spreads his arms and waits for his cuirass to be hauled off his body and the rest of his armours to be dismantled around him. Then, as Eleyna rides in, he steps up towards the Archduchess' horse and steadies the stirrups before extending his hands to help her down. "Whyever are you wearing a gown for this?" he asks absently, arranging them so they don't tear, and so she doesn't trip in her descent.
Austen follows after Theo, carrying the deer over to wherever he's directed and swings it onto the floor. "All yours," he says cheerfully before stepping back and towards the larger group. "Lady de Lyre!" he says, dipping his head. "A pleasure to see you."
"How could I turn down so thoughtful an invitation?" Sabella replies to Theo with a laugh, raising her glass to him, "Thank you for it." To Signe she says, "It was the Lady Cosette! I met her at the duel. She is quite charming. And a rabbit?" the last to Duarte, "Too bad they aren't still offering bounties on them."
"Because I look good in this gown, thank you very much. Why do you wear armor to dinner parties?" Eleyna replies archly as she accepts Talen's help down to the ground. "Wearing a gown didn't stop me from throwing a spear.
Leta also dismounts from her horse, sets aside her long spear, and holds the rabbit by its ears. "I could, couldn't I? But I think this is for - I don't know, it's for something. Uh. M'Lady. Leta Broadbent, Dame. Knight of the Lyceum," she introduces herself with a polite bow of her head, then glances back in Talen's direction, thinking. "I don't know. I always give a bit to Gild, but - toys for the orphans, your Grace?"
"Thank you, Lord Duarte, such kind words you have fore me!" Mailys says with a playful laugh but she bows her head his way none the less. She is soon looking over towards the arriving Prince Theo and she curtseys deeply, "Your Highness. How was your hunt?" she asks, "Did you catch what you were after?"
Bethany curtsies to Theo when he moves to join them. "It looks like you've had quite a successful hunt today, Your Highness."
"It is entirely too bad." Duarte laughs and grins at Sabella. His attention is grabbed by the returning hunters. He sips from his glass of wine with a soft smile. He chuckles at Maily's comment and nods. "I have the best words."
"I am a curse with numbers." Signe quips to Mailys, smiling broadly. "My brother Mydas has all the luck with them. Isn't that right cousin Elenya?" She queries Eleyna right before biting into the pastry in hand. "Did you enjoy yourself?" She asks then Leta returns an introduction and Signe returns, "Well Met Dame Leta Broadbent. And yes. Though you may want to chop off a foot. Some say they are lucky to keep."
"I'm sure I coul-" Whatever Lys was going to say is cut off because Theo is grasping her in a bear hug from behind. There's a small noise and though she _tries_ to be stony faced there's a curl at the edge of her lips and a hint of warmth in her tone. "Prince Theo let go of me so I can go greet my patron." It lacks any actual sting or urgency. The redhead twisting about to briefly wrap her arms around the Prince and brush a kiss against his cheek, "Have fun, my prince?" And then a tilt of her head is given toward Austen and she grins at him, "Ferron, I see you're still cavorting with Theo over me. Don't think I haven't noticed that."
Talen lets his hands linger on his wife a while as he helps her down, thinking a moment, before he nods, "Fair point," he drawls. Then, with a less than subtle measure of handsiness, he ferrets her towards the drinks. There's a murmur to her ear, and a sudden twist of his lips in a wicked half-smile.
Cambria also dismounts, making her way to the tent in order to fetch herself something to drink. Well, that is untrue. She does not get anything /herself/. She has someone to do that for her.
Theo's gaze flicks between Bethany and Mailys when she asks if he had caught what he was after. A wicked little grin plays along his lips, and he shakes his head. "Not as of yet, Mailys." As Lys turns, he flashes her a grin, his flushed face a mess of sweat. "Quite so, Lady de Lire," he responds, leaning in to wipe his sweaty face along the shoulder of her tabard. He plops down into a nearby afterwards, sucking in a deep breath. "Sir Austen is a man of refined and impeccable tastes, Lady Lys." He turns to regard the man, nodding to the chair next to him. "Have a sit, Sir Knight, and regale everyone with the tales of your heroics."
Eleyna just gives Talen a look as he gets handsy while both helping her off the horse and over toward the booze. She manages to hear Signe's voice and responds with a little laugh, "Mydas' ability with numbers is fantastic, but his wife's is almost supernatural. If they manage to give us nieces or nephews, it'll likely be able to add columns of numbers before it can walk." With a little laugh, the Archduchess leans in to whisper something to Talen and then pulls away to get herself a drink but not before she actually -gooses- him.
Austen laughs softly. "He says nicer things about me than you do," he remarks dryly to Lys before bowing to both her and Theo. "I apologise, my lady, your highness, I should be going. I have spent far too much time in frivolity. That is my quota for the month. Otherwise I will be banished from the Oathlands forever."
Lys checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.
Lys' hand flashes up, fist balled up and stops >an inch< before Theo's cheek. Her emerald eyes flashing fire at him. "I. Will. End. You."
Sabella gives smiles, waves, and nods to those returning from the hunt, "It is a beautiful day for a ride through the woods! Whoever had the idea should be hailed as a genius." She pauses as Elizabetta notes the time, "Ah, I have lost track of the hour enjoying myself! I shall have to take my leave. Prince Theo, thank you for the invitation. It was a very thrilling event to watch!"
Theo waves Austen off at that. "And how terrible that would be, hmm?" There's that grin again. "I'm sure we could find some place for you in the mansion, Sir Knight." To Lys, he offers a look of utmost innocence. Then, he's lifting a hand to Sabella, wiggling his fingers. "I am certain I will see you at some event before too long, Dear Princess. Be well!"
"They say that, don't they?" Leta asks of Signe with a jovial smile briefly flashing across her face before she gives the rabbit a contemplative look. "I don't know, seems like there's some folk that might need the luck more. I mustn't complain. And then there was all those stories about rabbits too, weren't there?" She crooks her nose and grins, before handing off the rabbit to a servant. "I'm sure someone'll figure something to do with it. Eat it probably."
"Well I've no doubt you'll find what you're after in short order, Your Highness." Mailys says to Theo with a pleasant laugh, though the smile fades a touch as Lys makes as if to smack Theo one.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Cambria before departing.
"I have no doubt he will," Bethany agrees with Mailys with a smile. "From what I hear, he's accustomed to getting what he wants."
"Sir Austen can attest to that, Madame Mercier." He flashes the big knight another grin.
Lys's eyes narrow at Theo and that innocent expression of his. She chews on her lower lip for a moment and gives a shake of her head. A snort is given and she turns to make her way in the direction of Eleyna and Talen. "Your grace, your highness." She bows smartly and then with a toothy grin asks, "Did I hear something about a duel?"
Signe nods with a cup to her lip to Leta. "Mmhm." After a drink she returns, "That they do and sure, some might. It will find one who needs it most." She smiled then from some distance the shaman offered a wave of the hand to Cambria, Bethany and Duarte as she was currently occupied with devouring the pastry.
"I'll make it happen," Talen tells Leta with a nod, musing over that, before he takes Eleyna by the hand and pulls her onto a blanket under one of the coverings to take a glass of wine poured for them. Handing it to Jiacomo, it is tasted, and then he passes it to Eleyna. The second is for him. "You did, Lady Lys. Marquessa Cambria," he gestures, "stole my kill. I warned her, fiery suns, a thousand, something something. Now I imagine she's concocting a plan in typical Lycene fashion-- to win. I am excited, I do say, so I can watch her pretty face so well composed drop when her Champion is -crushed-."
Talen points two fingers at his eyes, then at Cambria, as if he's onto her.
"So I've heard him say, My Lady." Mailys says to Bethany with a little laugh, "Though most Princes I think have that mentality, don't they?"
Austen bows to Talen. "My thanks for the hunt, your highness," he calls, and moves to step out.
Talen says, "Farewell, Sir Ferron."
Cambria checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Signe before departing.
At first, Eleyna seems into whatever Talen is saying and then, with a huff of irritation, she takes her wine and throws it in his face. "Cur!" She looks at Lys and says with a scowl, "He's about to have TWO duels!"
Cambria waves to Signe, smiling cheerfully. However, as she catches Talen from the corner of her eye, the Marquessa turns to face the Archduke to calmly weather his scowling. Head held up proudly, she says, "We shall /see/." Then she too, is bringing to fingers to her eyes, to point them right back at Talen. Then, "Lady Lys, what would you think about dueling your cousin?"
Bethany's smile takes on a catlike quality when Austen suddenly finds Very Important Business elsewhere. "The real question is how many who think they'll always get what they want are right," she muses to Mailys. "If any."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Cambria before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Cambria before departing.
Taking a waterskin from a passing servant, Theo Velenosa draws it up to his lips, drinking deeply to quench his thirst. Theo Velenosa drinking /water/? That's a first. But he does, and when he's done, he tosses it aside, raising his hand lazily to beckon Renault over with a glass of red wine. To Mailys and Bethany he offers only the faintest of smiles. "Have you two gotten to know each other, then?"
Lys blinks at Eleyna throws wine in Talen's face, taking a step backward so she doesn't get splashed. And then pivots on her toes and tilts her head toward Cambria, running her tongue along her lower lip. "Mmmn." A glance toward Talen and she asks, "Do you me to stand Champion for you, Archduke Consort?"
"Oh I wouldn't even dare to try and answer that, My Lady." Mailys says to Bethany before turning back to nod her head at Theo, "We have spent some time conversing with one another, Your Highness. The Lady Bethany has been quite a fine companion to speak with while you were off hunting."
Overhearing that last bit, Theo shoots a glance in Talen's direction, along with a wink.
There's a splutter, then a lick of his lips, and then an exhaust of breath before he says, "I'm just -saying-, Eleyna," before he receives a towel to wipe down his face. As he manages to blink out of the surprise, he looks between Cambria, Lys and Theo before he says, "I don't even know what the terms are yet!"
Bethany takes note of Eleyna throwing wine in Talen's face with the air of someone who's used to this by now. "We have a lot in common," she says to Theo.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Cambria before departing.
Eleyna goes to sit on her -own- blanket -away- from Talen. And she also has no wine. Which is probably one of the reasons she's sulking.
Signe watched the wine splash and spill, her eyes look to the spotted wine colored ground while tempering her smile. "Drunk up little bugs. That's a rare treat."
"I'm still thinking about them," Cambria says to the group.
Turning, then, to regard Bethany, the Prince offers another smile. "Indeed, Madame Mercier. As to your earlier question, well..." He draws himself up from the chair, now, running a hand over his linens to smooth them out. "I know of at least one such Prince." And then he's striding over towards the other side of the pavilion, coming to stand by Lys. "Are you poaching my champion, dear cousin?" He wraps an arm about Lys, regarding Talen with a grin.
A roll of her eyes is given toward Theo and she says, "I haven't even agreed. I should ask Audric to stand champion for -me- and then you'll have to give up cavorting with Austen." But then she's nudging him in the ribs so she can step away, grab two wine glasses and follow after Eleyna. One is held out to the Archduchess and she says, "Thank you, by the way, for pointing me toward Lord Giulio, he's been very helpful in getting Arienne up to speed on investigative techniques, your grace."
Bethany finishes up her glass of wine and finds someone to give it to. "It's been very nice to meet you, Mistress Corsetina. I think I'd better get back to my tea shop now, though. I don't generally like to be away this long."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Signe before departing.
Mailys flashes a smile Bethany's way before turning her attention towards Lys and Theo, and the alleged Champion Poaching, laughing softly. "Oh, yes, it was nice to meet you as well, My Lady. Do not hesitate to send me a message if you ever wish to talk or anything."
Eleyna glances up when she sees someone approach and the way her eyes are squinted and her lips are pursed, one can see that she was probably expecting it to be Talen. Her face smooths and she accepts the wine with a gracious smile, nodding at a space on the blanket for Lys to join her. "I'm glad. Lord Giulio is very skilled at what he does. I'm glad that he was able to help her. Is there anything in particular that you are seeking to investigate with her or just wanting to have those skills available incase there ever is?"
As Eleyna and Lys pair up on another blanket, Talen yells over the way, between the divide of the blankets, "This blanket is better anyway! You just downgraded to a worse blanket." It's petty, yet it works to satisfy him a moment, before he tells Theo, "In my experience, hiring a de Lire when your opponent is going to try every trick of the trade to work against you, it gets very expensive." There's a tap of his chin as he considers Cambria a moment. "I'm keeping my cards very close to my chest, as I'm sure the Marquessa can appreciate, so as not to give her too many advantages."
"That's what I hope," Leta says and rolls her shoulders, then reaches out to pat her sorry horse. It's not a very good horse, after all. She tilts her head to watch the busy crowd milling around, then throws her cloak back pver her shoulders and announces, "Think I'll go have some refreshments." She heads over to fetch herself a drink and probably some kind of pastry of her own.
Cambria spends some time drinking and relaxing, and just generally fading into the background while the company enjoys the rest of its time out in the countryside. She does however, acknowledge that she /does/ appreciate Talen's methods.
Signe is approached by a messenger and quietly reads the letter. She takes another drink from her cup and hands the empty to a servant with a polite word. The group still lingering Signe calls out, "Thank you for a great time!" Then starts heading back to the city while gathering her animal companions.
Lys settles down onto the blanket, her legs cross and she sips at her wine. A smile is given toward Eleyna, all toothy and sharp. "Oh there is something in particular I'm looking into at the moment, yes." There's a small tilt of her head to the side and she says, "Some what of a private matter, though I would like to speak to you about it."
Theo spins around, quite suddenly, looking over at Bethany and Mailys. "Madame Mercier! Sneaking away without a goodbye!?" He wears dramatic expression of pain on his face, bringing his hand to his chest.
Theo checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
Bethany checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.
Phantom, the Great Grey Owl arrives, delivering a message to Talen before departing.
Bethany turns from her survey of the horse she was riding when Theo calls her name. She takes in his performance with a pointedly skeptical expression that she doesn't bother to hide. Then the skeptical expression fades into a smile, and she curtsies. "Goodbye, Prince Theo."
"One moment," Eleyna says with utter, exquisite politeness to Lys. She looks around her protege, calls out Talen's name to make sure that he's looking in her direction, then makes a rude gesture at him. Then, she smiles sweetly, and returns to the conversation with Lys as if nothing is amiss, "A private matter? Well, now you definitely have my attention."
Talen gives a flat look at the insult and then glances down into his wine, saying audibly, "Well, that's just rude."
Lys's attention briefly falls on he antics of Theo and she says, mildly, "I'm going to put thistle milk in his wine tonight." It's bland and dry, and more to herself than anyone else. Then she shifts back to Eleyna and smiles a little bit, "It's well... something I've heard about." She leans back on her elbows.
Theo eases down on the blanket by Talen, flashing him a knowing look as he glances over to Lys and Eleyna, and then back to him. "Shall we make them jealous, cousin?" He raises his hand and snaps his fingers, and up walks Renault with that cigarette case at the ready.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Talen before departing.
Bethany is boosted up onto her horse and leaves as she came -- that is, without any skill at riding whatsoever, and at peace with this fact.
Phantom, the Great Grey Owl arrives, delivering a message to Talen before departing.
"Try nettle juice on all of his silverware. The reaction is hilarious," Eleyna says with a touch of nonchalance as she leans in to listen Lys. Her brows lift as her eyes fill with obvious curiosity.
Mailys waves farewell to Bethany before turning her attention back to the rowdy Velanosans with a slightly amused look and a smile upo nher lips.
As people begin to disperse, Talen begins to pull the corners of the blanket up that he's sat on, pushing baskets and other goods off to be collected by servants. Whatever he's got planned for that large mass of cloth it's not yet made certain, though he does seem to be trying to do it surreptitiously while Eleyna's busy fuming in her company, talking. To Theo, he says, mildly, "Grab those two ends, I'll get these."
Leta eats, drinks, and eventually goes brood somewhere out of the way before getting on her horse and slipping off as things wind down.
Lys gives Eleyna grin and she says, "Mmn. I could put some of it in his haze." There's a little shrug of her shoulders and she lowers her voice a little bit more. Briefly glancing away and then back toward Eleyna.
Theo studies Talen with a smirk, but does as he's instructed--by the Archduke-Consort, no less!--and crouches down to pick up the the blanket. Behind them, Renault selects a cigarette of haze for himself, drawing it up to his lips and lighting it on a nearby candle. He watches the Princes as they go about their mischief, a grin playing along his mustachioed lips.
Lys flxes her fingers, briefly bawling her hand up into a fix, before murmuing softly to Eleyna still, with a toothy smile.
Theo says, "Now!""
Eleyna reamins obliviously speaking to Lys in a low tone.
Mailys makes her way over to loiter nearby Renault as the princes get up to their hijinks, pulling her own cloak around her a little more as she watches.
Once Theo has helps, the blanket lifted, Talen begins to murmur to his cousin by adoption, marriage, and probably more. At Theo's surge, they run towards the two women with the blanket extended in a fluttering wall of cloth, then bring it up and over until the whole thing is sent to settle down over him in a heavy embrace to entrap them in the struggle of blankets. Eugh, imagine all the hitting it and squirming to try and get out of it, it's awful. Okay so it's nothing awful but it's probably a bad idea when your wife is already pissed off. "Get the horses before they kill us!" And yes, the Archduke Consort attempts to bolt it.
Grazia is just going to watch this, this bit of bad behavior on the part of the Archduke-Consort, just to see how it turns out. It might be interesting to see where the line is wherein Talen can get away with things. Besides, Eleyna is busy talking to Lys, and she wouldn't want to interrupt, just in case Talen is actually being good. Ish.
Lys checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 8 lower.
Lys wields Deceit, a rubicund rapier.
Nope, he's not being good. Unless you count that he's only killed animals today. Which Talen does. He's fucking best boye.
Lys checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.
Thoroughly unwilling to be caught in this little misdeed alone, Theo charges after Talen, grabbing Renault's silk in one hand to pull him along. "Come if you wish, Madame Corsetina! There will be drinking and haze!" And then he's gone, hot on Talen's heels.
"ARGG!!" Lys is suddenly covered underneath a blanket, and there's a brief moment of punching at it... And then the sound of a sword coming free of its sheath and then Lys is _cutting_ herself at the Archduchess free, and she's coming up to her feet. "THEO VELENOSA I AM GOING TO KILL YOU."
In mid-conversation, Eleyna is covered in a blanket. She sputters and thrashes, calling, "Talen Eugenio Velenosa, I swear on the Thirteenth that I am going to light your stash on fire when I get home! You think I don't know where it is, but I do! Who do you think keeps giving it to Luca, you gaping horse's ass! I hope you never plan to sleep again!" when Lys cuts them out of the blankets, she's sputtering, her face is red, and her -hair is a mess-.
Grazia will just tattle later, in case it wasn't obvious. She crosses her arms across her chest and looks completely neutral, possibly more disapproving than anything. Or perhaps that's just her resting bitchface.
"Uh... yes of course Your Highness." Mailys exclaims as Theo calls for her to come along, she's not nearly as fast as the two Princes running, but she does her best to try and keep up.
Talen checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.
"GUARDS! ARREST THE ARCHDUKE!" Eleyna rises to her feet, letting the people that she's hired chase him down instead of doing it herself.
Theo checked command + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.
Talen makes it to a horse, jumps on the back of it, then starts to thunder away with harhs smacks of a riding crop and pinches of his heels. As he makes it a safe distance, he wheels the horse around to hear that, and calls back, "Try catch me, motherfuckahhhhs," before he's off again.
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