Niklas and Zoey's Duel! Now with Bliss and Sorrel!
It's a duel! With singing! Join both Lady Zoey Kennex and Prince Niklas Grayson as their chosen champions battle it out at the Bard's College to decide once and for all if Prince Niklas is a sadistic patron who delights in tormenting his familial protege with singing, coffee-wielding assistants, or if Lady Zoey has to suck it up and deal with the intrusive wench.
As it is a singing duel, apparently, come prepared for music. It's likely that there will be copious amounts of alcohol as well.
Sept. 19, 2018, 9:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Crown - Bard's College - Main Hall
Comments and Log
The College still isn't quite open, but it'll do. Part of the floor - the mosaic - is still covered up but other than gettings some sawdust out of the place it's pretty close to ready. Gianna stands near the entrance, fingering her ring and arching an eyebrow.
Sorrel enters with a retinue of people and animals, though the dog seems at least as well behaved as the Thrax guards. She's a hefty puppy, the sort of dog who doesn't miss a meal and then goes out looking for snacks. The sort of dog who counts meals the way hobbits do. No telling with the pygmy goat, though. "So," she says. "How is this going to work, exactly?"
Zoey has set up shop over by the liquor cabinet that's practically groaning with bottles. If she tried -really- hard, she could probably fit a few more bottles in it. She's already got a drink in hand and is steadily consuming the thing. "I have -no- idea," she comments to Sorrel. "It's Niklas' terms. I'm content to let him be the ringleader."
Galen accompanies his wife, bottle of rum in hand, already unstoppered. Or is it uncorked? Either way, he takes a swig, nodding to those present and beaming an easy-going grin at Zoey. "I'm not ready for an arrow to the butt today, Lady Zoey. Please make sure that's out of the terms. "
"Perhaps by volume of the cheers?" Bliss suggests to Sorrel as she comes in, followed only by her apprentice. It may be the Bard's College, she may be here to sing, but this is a duel! She's dressed in her flashy combat leathers, broad-brimmed feathered hat on her head, rubicund rapier hanging off her hip. "I was going to see if they had ideas, or if we were just going to pick a competitive duet and see what we can come up with. I'm not going to make you improvise, I'm not cruel." She smiles at Zoey, then looks around for Niklas, shrugging idly when she doesn't see him.
"When Calandra and I had our contest at the Hart," Gianna says, shooting the main entrance another look, "We took turns singing more and more complex scales until she couldn't hit a note." She inclines her head as various people arrive. "Please, do make yourselves comfortable."
Zoey gives Galen an amused ghost of a smile. "My bows are at home, Galen," she replies dryly, "but I've no problem sending for them. Should the need arise." She gestures at him with her whiskey as if to drive the point home. She looks around, however, an eyebrow arching. "If Nik doesn't show, does that mean I win?" she murmurs hesitantly.
2 Grayson House Guards, Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.
Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise, Sabella arrive, following Niklas.
Galen glances to the left, glances to the right, then back to Zoey. "No, no. They're not needed here. And besides, I doubt they'd understand you want the PRACTICE arrows, would they, now? It's best if we don't do that. Please. I want to be able to walk out of here. Rather than be carried out."
Sorrel is dressed in a flowy mauve gown that has really no business at a Champion's duel, but is somehow quite appropriate for singing. She twirls to make it stand out, the layers swirling around her body, and she considers. "I don't think it actually works that way, unfortunately," she notes to Zoey with a little laugh. "Oh look. Prince Niklas and retinue. Hello, Princess Sabella!"
Waldemai is slouched in a couch and has already made himself comfortable.
"Nobody is shooting any arrows in my College," Gianna says. Pleasantly. Something in the eyes, though, that's flinty.
"What if I tell them it's my college and that they can?" Bliss wonders to Gianna playfully, giving her a wink to play it off as she walks over to the alcove and presses her fingers briefly against the Shrine of Jayus, murmuring something quietly there. "Going against one another on scales might work, but we have quite different ranges," says the contralto Lycene.
Zoey snorts at Galen. "Please. Have more faith in Hart's staff," she teases. Her gaze turns then to Gianna and she shakes her head. "Of course they aren't," she responds lightly. "If they do, however, Bliss is outfited and ready for the job of terminating hostilities, I'm sure." She takes another sip of her whiskey, only to finish it off when Niklas arrives with Sabella. "Oh thank gods," she murmurs. "Nik, your terms. You need to set the ground rules, I suppose, and Galen has requested a lack of archery. Gianna has seconded the motion."
Niklas sweeps in with Sabella on his arm, offering greetings as appropriate. He gives Zoey an appropriately chilly look before glancing around. "You didn't bring Chloe? Well, who is going to sing to you the victory song I wrote after Bliss Whisper takes this? Tut, Zoey. Poor form!" He looks between the singers. "I say either you take turns belting out your favorite song, or have a proper duel and sing in and out of one another's tunes. Either way, the Nightingale can judge. She may be my protege, but her cool demeanor hides a cooler heart. She can be impartial, I think."
"Excellent. I think everyone is happier for a lack of arrows inside the Bard College, yes," Galen seems certainly enthused by this. He takes a deep swig from his rum, and then asks, "So... where's the food? There's food, right? It's going to be a sing-off, and rum just tends to give me an appetite."
Niklas receives a wary look. "I swear to gods, Nik, if that woman ends up singing another song at me, I will cut off my ears. And then have to donate my earrings to charity, I suppose." Zoey looks at Galen and shakes her head. "I could send for something," she offers. "I only brought the alcohol." The liquor cabinet is gestured at.
"Mmmph," is Gianna's reply to Bliss. She folds her arms across her chest and sighs. "My pardon, my lord," she tells Galen. "We don't have snacks. I'm fairly certain they don't have snacks at the proving grounds, either. There will be food at the official grand opening, however." She glances at the liquor cabinet. "Though likely less alcohol."
Luna, the sweet, studious assistant, 4 Redoubt Buccaneers, Helia arrive, following Carita.
Puff, a dainty yellow-green canary, 2 Leary House Guards arrive, following Arcadia.
The College is just about ready to open. There's a spot on the floor that's covered up - that's the mosaic - and some sawdust around the edges, but the building should be ready soon. The terms of the duel are still being sorted out. A liquor cabinet that does not match the rest of the furniture strains under its load of various bottles.
"Shall we just sing ourselves a duet, then?" Sorrel suggests to Bliss. "My range and your range should sound lovely together, so truly, there will be no losers. Here, I will begin a melody, and you can work off of it, shall we?" She makes a graceful gesture and motions to the Whisper.
"There's snacks if people sell food there! A lot of people are rather fond of peanuts or popped corn during duels," Bliss claims as she comes back from the shrine, bringing her hands behind her to look them, then looking at Sorrel. "I have an idea," she says as she approaches the bladesong, turning her head to murmur something in the woman's ear.
Carita's arm-in-arm with Helia, the pair are talking amicably as they enter. "You did so well," she tells Helia, unlocking her arm with the the brunette's.
And before the unlocking of arms, Helia smiles a wiggle-nosed smile at Carita, "Oh, thank you so much! it always helps when one has a skilled dueling partner! Inspiring." Then, afterwards, Helia raises both hands in a little side-to-side wave of greeting to Sorrel, smiling at both the princess and Bliss before a respectful bow is dipped into. Nonetheless, she doesn't bother the two women, but instead takes a place to watch and observe the duel that's to come.
Gianna inclines her head to Carita and Helia. "Welcome to the College. Do make yourselves comfortable. Lady Zoey has brought the contents of a tavern." She makes a sweeping gesture toward the cabinet, lips curved up in a faint smile.
Waldemai is unsuccessful in locating any ale, but makes a few interesting discoveries. "Cider, hmm..." he says, pulling out a jug. "And...is that apple brandy?" He fills a mug with cider and then adds a healthy dollop of brandy, a drink called the Southport Slug.
Puma, The Stonewood Forest Cat arrives, following Gailin.
Zoey gives Gianna an amused look. "Taverns don't usually carry the things I stock," she teases lightly. But for real. There's a liquor cabinet and it's open and its overflowing with various goodies.
Sorrel nods to something that Bliss says to her, then shakes out her silks. She takes a step back, swepping her skirts out so that she can half-bow to the Whisper with a bit of flourish, and then she begins a song in a clear spirited soprano, beginning a tune and weaving it so that Bliss will be able to come in and take it over with relative ease. It may be a competition, but there's a lot of cooperation and respect going on here between singers.
Sorrel checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.
Bliss checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.
Zoey moves over to the others as the singing starts. She has a brand new glass of whiskey in hand. Galen gets a bit of a shoulder nudge as she steps up beside him.
Bliss begins to tap her foot along to the beat, her head lifting and a smile beginning to spread slowly across her face as she recognizes the song. She turns her head, looking over to the crowd and the second that Sorrel's voice begins to fade away, her own picks up. The lightness of the Bladesong's contralto is starkly contrasted by the depth and timbre of the Whisper's contralto, and while the lower notes carry further, this part of the song has nothing incredibly complex going on. Or else she's just a little flat right now, it happens, but she picks up toward the end, her voice starting to warm up and grow more full-bodied.
Puff, a dainty yellow-green canary, 2 Leary House Guards leave, following Arcadia.
Galen nudges Zoey back, except with his elbow, since their height difference doesn't really account for a shoulder bump from the Prince without him toppling like a house of cards. At the sight of Carita and Helia, he smiles to the latter. "Lady Darkwater, Mistress I don't know. Hello!" Oh, his wife is singing. He shuts up immediately to listen as she and Bliss start to duke it out in a duet.
Gianna tilts her chin up and listens to Sorrel and Bliss sing, one arm remaining at her waist and the other elbow braced on her hand. She touches her lower lip as she considers. Apparently, she's taking the duel quite seriously.
Jared, an overworked-looking, nervous Apprentice Whisper have been dismissed.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Helia before departing.
Carita heads straight for the liquor cabinet, a respectful dip of her head to Gianna and a quiet, "Thank you," with a smile. Studying the cabinet she tilts her head, and notices one bottle that she likes in particular, pulling it from the cabinet to pour herself a glass before replacing the bottle. For Galen there's a warm smile and a curtsy with, "Your Highness," her glass lifted before she looks for a place to sit.
It's not the sort of duel that tends to attract the crowds somehow, even though these women on another day could be facing off with swords. They're capable. And they'd probably still be singing, too. Sorrel is well-taught, well-practiced, and quite used to singing under stress. She turns the tune easily to cover for what may be a little flatness on Bliss's part, but it's a complex melody, a little catchy if somewhat more ethereal than most bard songs.
Sorrel checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 39 higher.
Gailin wanders in looking better than he has for a while his hair pulled back neatly his goatee well trimmed and groomed again as his ice blue eyes scan the place. Finding Carita he heads over to where she stands and smiles with a bow. "Lady Carita its good to see you again." He says and her mention of a your highness he turns and offers a bow to Galen. "Your highness, Im Count Gailin Fireviper." He says before straightening up and leaning in and speaking to Carita.
Bliss checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 38 higher.
Gianna's words are met with a bright, "Hello, and thanks!" And then, eyes wide because BOOZE. A grin at Zoey. She goes and pours herself some rum. Darkwater Rum, in fact! Then, before the singing starts, she waves quickly to Waldemai and lifts a thumbs-up at him. To Galen, "Helia! Pleasure to meet you, your highness!" All smiles, then she sips and smiles and listens to the duel with a dreamy look on her face.
Helia also bows when she needs to. She's polite like that.
Gianna inclines her head to Gailin as the man arrives, though her attention immediately goes back to Sorrel and Bliss. She purses her lips for a moment, looking like she very much wants to open her mouth and say something. Or sing something.
Zoey glances over her shoulder at the sound of Gailin's voice. The former Bisland's velvety brown eyes watch him as he zeros in on Carita, sparing a brief moment to greet Galen and no one else. Slowly, one eyebrow arches. "Count Fireviper," she murmurs lowly. "How lovely to see you out and about again. I've not seen you since you brought me that gift from Titania. Please help yourself to a drink, as the singing is underway."
Galen nods an acknowledgment to Gailin. "My Lord, hello. A pleasure to meet you." The Prince is really, really quiet as he listens to Bliss and Sorrel, smiling at the latter in barely-suppressed cheer. With another swig of his bottle of rum. "Hard fought."
At this point, only the most trained ear could possibly tell the difference between the voices of the two women. As Bliss picks up into the central foray of the song - and oh, those who have seen her fight can definitely say that she would have been singing during that, though less something so formal and prescribed and more an improvised string of barbs and insults - here, the Whisper begins to show why she was able to get into the House on the merit of her voice alone. The song twists, moving from sections that are point and counterpoint, to others that are short fugues that the two flow between smoothly, and to others where one picks up the melody while the other does a heavily technical harmony in sync with it. The grin spreads wide on Bliss's face, and soon she is beginning to throw in arm movements and exuberant dancing, her feet carrying her into living the life of the song rather than staying still and stodgy - though moving with the grace of a dancer (or a duelist).
Sorrel checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 39 higher.
Sorrel plays her part as well, though she's more still and her motions are smaller and less exuberant. Her range is higher, and she reaches for the high notes with aplomb and charisma. At one point, she catches Bliss's hand and lifts to twirl, then spins herself, a swirl of silver and mauve. It's a performance that is nothing less than spectacular. Two of the most skilled singers in the city performing together a duet, with motion and a feast for the eyes and for the ears.
Waldemai claps for the dueslists
Bliss checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.
Adam, A Young Apprentice, 4 Navegant Marines arrive, following Turo.
Gailin turns to look at Zoe."Lady Zoey my apologies I didnt see you. How have you been?" He asks and than at her mention of Titanias will. "It was what my late wife wanted you to have. And As I said she wouldnt want me to stay in mourning and shedding tearn for her. So I felt it was time to start coming out for a good time and to start rekindling friendships and alliances."
Zoey sighs softly. "Count Fireviper. Later, if you please?" She motions to the two people singing their hearts out and doing an amazing job of it.
The College is nearly ready for opening. There's some sawdust in the corners and the mosaic on the floor is currently covered, but... soon. A liquor cabinet not matching the rest of the furniture is open, and people are fetching drinks from it. Quietly, because Bliss and Sorrel are singing. Gianna stands and watches, a tiny, crooked smile curving up the corners of her lips.
Both of Helia's hands are wrapped around her rum, loosely held in front of her waist as she gently sways side to side in time with the beautiful song. The look on her face is faraway, her lips curling up at one corner as she simply allows herself to drift into the loveliness of it all.
Rising into the crescendo along with Sorrel, Bliss lifts her own into the mix, raising it higher - but she doesn't seem quite able to push out at the top of her range quite like Sorrel is. Still, she's holding her own, certainly a strong singer even if she's not hitting the high peaks that Sorrel is, twirling along with Sorrel and holding her opposite hand out to the side, beginning to focus more on the movements than the song now - and that's maybe an apologetic glance given to Niklas - but she and Sorrel each hold the last note in a loud crescendo for as long as they can sustain. It's Bliss who falls off just slightly first, and when Sorrel continues after her, the Whisper releases the other Champion's hand and is the first to lift her own in applause, adding a cheer to it as she eagerly claps, clearly conceding.
Turo might have arrived late to this event, but he's here nonetheless. Friendly smiles along with nods of greeting for those he recognises, the man makes his way over to sit down, lest he interrupt the show. As it happens, he sits beside Carita, who gets a whispered greeting, with a smile.
Sorrel bows to her audience and bows to her duet partner with a sweeping flourish and a smile on her face. "That was exquisite, and it was an honor to sing with you," she announces to Bliss, applauding her partner with a beaming and friendly smile. She may have won the duel, but the beautiful music was created by both of them and she respects that. "Lady Zoey, it was a pleasure to sing on your behalf; may you be spared unwanted music in the future."
Gianna inclines her head to Turo when she spots him, then joins Bliss in applause for Sorrel. "Well done!" she says. "I believe Princess Sorrel has won this challenge for Lady Zoey. It was the loveliest Champion duel I've ever attended, certainly." Her shoulder rises and falls in a gentle shrug in Niklas' direction, but she doesn't look particularly apologetic.
Zoey applauds for both singers, having handed her drink off to someone. Probably one of the thousand servants, assistants, guards, and animals hovering around. At Bliss' consession, she turns and points at Nik. "I await your public admission, Niklas Grayson, that you are a sadistic soul who takes far more delight than is healthy in teaching Chloe new songs with which to torment me." She looks like she's about to say more when a messenger dashes up and shoves a letter in her hand. Zoey reads it and casts Sorrel an apologetic smile. "You did wonderfully, both of you, and thank you, Sorrel dear. If I can just get her to show up at seven or eight in the morning instead of four or five, I'll count it as a victory for humankind." She gathers her belongings and directs the roughs over by the liquor cabinet to pack it up and ship it back to the Hart. "Forgive me, all of you. I have to run to a surprise meeting."
Zoey picks up an ashwood liquor cabinet.
Looking around and behind herself, Helia finds a place to set down her rum, and does so with a light 'don' of an glass upon a wooden surface. Then she turns back to grin at the duelists and applauds with enthusiasm, raising her voice. "Beautiful!" After that, though, she bows and says her goodbyes to all those around her. In particular, there are appreciate nods to Bliss, Sorrel and Gianna. It was a lovely duet, after all.
"And an honor to sing with you," Bliss says to Sorrel, sounding quite sincere as she does so, keeping up the applause for a long minute before she turns her body toward the audience, lifting her hands to encourage them. "Next time, I'll try to not get sick when this is coming!" she says with a laugh. As people start to make their way out, she nods. "I think we can call that good. I need some wine, now, I am parched," she says, walking over to Gianna and putting a couple fingers on her shoulder. "I still owe you drinks. I haven't forgotten. I'm just terrible," she teases.
Waldemai applauds one more time. "Thank you for that. It was quite the show," he says, and heads off home, finishing off his Southport Slug before departing.
Waldemai has left the couch seating.
"It's not as though I haven't been busy, too," Gianna tells Bliss, making a dismissive gesture with one hand. "There's wine aplenty in Lady Zoey's cabinet. I'm sure she'll have someone come pick it up tomorrow."
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