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Bisland Fealty Dinner

The Bisland duchy hosts the fealty dinner for the autumn to celebrate the return of Lady Lailah Bisland, diplomatic successes with shavs, and a really awesome apple crop. Bring your favourite beverage and roll on in to enjoy the warm company of friends and peers. Dinner will be provided along with a chance to catch up on gossip, news, and rabble-rousing. Or something like that.

Maybe we'll even be able to make Gabriel laugh. Hope springs eternal...


Oct. 23, 2018, 8:13 p.m.

Hosted By

Delilah Michael


Aonghus Arianna Ariel Bedivere Braelynn Elora Emily Evonleigh Gabriel Grady Graham Irisa Jophiel Kenna Lailah Lumen Malesh Mia Nigel Orelia Oswyn Rymarr Samantha Silas Tabitha Thesarin Alaric Traherne Kalani Kaldur



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Bisland Manor - Great Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Princess Muffin, the fluffiest white puppy, Evonleigh arrive, following Kenna.

Evonleigh checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Dauntless have been dismissed.

Garen, the Iron Hound have been dismissed.

3 Iron Guardsmen have been dismissed.

Princess Muffin, the fluffiest white puppy, Evonleigh leave, following Kenna.

The Day of the Bisland Family Dinner, Michael is on time. Very on time. Because he didn't leave the manor this day. So being late would be rather difficult. He is already past the upraised dais where the cool kids might sit, down amongst the longer tables and shrugging at servants who ask Michael for input on arrangements. "Lady Delilah was probably very specific about where things went, trust whatever she said."

A messenger sent, to drag some poor armorsmith from his brand new Forge to ensure he knew he was welcome at the dinner table. Another messenger, but this time only up the stairs to remind Lailah that she has to be here /before/ everyone else. Because its her party.

Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby kitten, Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant arrive, following Tabitha.

Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby kitten, Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant leave, following Tabitha.

Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby kitten, Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant arrive, following Tabitha.

The rap of wood upon the floor of Bisland Manor announces Traherne Nashe quite a bit before the large smith comes into view. His cane is held tightly in his right hand, and he leans heavily upon the walking aid with every step of his right foot. His eyes are busy, scanning the space with a keen gaze that is certainly looking for a bit of booze with every slow step. His eyes find Michael soon enough and he lifts a hand holding the message sent to him like a ticket for admission. "I brought this with me, just in case anyone tries to throw me out," he says with a grin.

Princess Muffin, the fluffiest white puppy arrives, following Kenna.

Lailah has brought not one, but two books when she comes out. She's made sure to look proper for the event but she's by no means looking excited. She gets herself seated and cracks open the first of her books, eyes frequently looking up to ensure she's not missing anything important, or anyone important entering.

Enjoying the autumn weather, which today meant a bunch of stuff on Kaldur's schedule and a lot of other stuff on Kalani's, the two Seliki cousins are among those who arrive on time. Or nearly enough to qualify as a horse-shoe contender. Dressed in a cheerful sun dress, Kalani waves to Michael and then to Traherne Nashe as she spots the smith that has so recently joined the Bisland clan.

Lailah has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, 3 House Riven Soldiers, white-tailed eagle, Lianna arrive, following Mia.

Never one to shy away from making an Entrance, the King arrives in typical energetic stride flanked by his impressive retinue of King's Own as they all enter the Great Hall in perfect formation. Smiling brightly, Alaric looks for all the world like he couldn't be more pleased to be here as he takes in the decorations. First things first, though! His scan of the interior stops as he spies the Duke and heads straight over. "Duke Gabriel!" he declares jovially, positively radiating good cheer. "My thanks and appreciation to House Bisland for hosting tonight." His smile gets just a hint more devious. "I can't be-leaf what you've done with the place. It's a real tree-at to be here," he declares innocently. Yes, it's his first conversation with Gabriel in a while and a half and he's already lobbing puns at him. "How fares it back at Pridehall?"

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

Rymarr has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

The decorating allows those disparate influences of the Gray Forest and its outlying reaches, all the way to Pearlspire's pale shores, representation here. Painted swatches of greenery gone bright in the colours of autumn speak to a certain richness in the duchy. Who doesn't like copper or brass, gold or rubicund? The air smells of apples and pomegranates, the heady weight of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg slinking out from the direction of the kitchen where those little sticky-sweet pastries and cakes are probably being carted off to the not-so-cool kids to gorge themselves. Surely someone around here has a child to get in trouble with doting servants?

Stop looking at the Whitehawk spinsters. Wait, wrong era. Blame Michael for everything.

Into the Bisland Manor, the Whitehawks swoop in! Right through the front door! Lady Tabitha Whitehawk. Lady Kenna Whitehawk. Lady Evonleigh Whitehawk. Lady Delilah Whitehawk. Lord Bedivere Whitehawk. + the Regal Cabbit (claw hooked into Bedi's tabard while additionally supported by a right arm with no hand). Yes, that is 4 Lady Whitehawks and 1 Lord Whitehawk, coming your way!

Gabriel has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Princess Muffin, Her Fluffiness also follows along after the Whitehawk clan.

Kenna is CHEERFUL. CHEEEEEERFULLL. Pretty dress, earrings, and she's giggling about something that's said by one of her sisters. "That reminds me of a time this guy in the lowers tried to throw a tomato at me. Screwed up and he ended up red in the face himself." She is clinging to Evonleigh's arm rather than dancing out into the crowd. FAMILY FIRST.

When Mia arrives, it is as she so often does -- walking at that brisk clip of hers that suggests she has somewhere to be, and that particularly somewhere is to be attended right now (or possibly even five minutes ago), with her skirts fluttering around her feet as a result. Or at least she is most certainly trying to, given that her hand rests in the crook of Thesarin's elbow and should he, even with his long stride, be inclined to meander, well... simply dragging him along is not a practical option, no matter how intently she might try. And Scholar Oswyn! Poor Scholar Oswyn, who she appears to be talking not to, but rather talking at, as the trio steps through the door, ".....Dated from 926 after the Reckoning, by one Scholar Tomlin. Are you familiar with Tomlin, Master Spencer? I'm afraid I've not yet found the full volume of the work, and Lianna has assured me that none of the attendants at the Archives have seen it, either. Apparently, asking for it more often doesn't make the Archivists any more likely to know where it is."

Kaldur enters with an attentive look akin to Traherne's taking in the differences in the decor - extensive. He can't help but bounce a bit at the spread and the smells. The eager spark lit in the young lord's eye has to wait... courtesies must be made. He heads to the Duke and the King. "Your Majesty." He bows deeply before turning to Gabriel, "M'lord. Thank you for your hospitality." He straightens, blinks, lingers a moment too long before turning to scan for a familar face. Any familiar face.

Marquis Rymarr's arrival is in usual order. A good clean marching pace, back straight, chin held high, and his shoulders squared. Armed and armored, as per usual. It's a convincing doppelganger, at the very least. Rymarr offers a polite dip of his chin toward those that warrant such, a polite bow at the shoulders for the people who warrant a little more than that, a humbled bow at the midsection toward Duke Bisland, and finally a solemn bow toward King Alaric Grayson IV. Then onward Rymarr travels with heavy footfalls as he ascends the steps of the dais to the table. Soon enough he settles straight-backed into a chair at the table and removes his gauntlets with a pair of twist-tugs. Once the gauntlets are set to his helmet, which rests in his lap, the Marquis' attention turns around to Gabriel and a murmured comment is cast his way.

Oswyn walks alongside Mia, matching her brisk clip. He's wearing his nice clothes again. He even has a little silver pin with the insignia of the Scholars. Also, he is nodding. "The same Scholar Tomlin with the research notes about the Platinum Shift?" he inquires of the Countess. The young man squints at his surroundings. Really, truly SQUINTS. "I'm sure this is lovely."

"Pridehall is in the capable hands of my lady wife, your Majesty," Gabriel replies to Alaric. If he had noted the puns, it does not appear to phase him, much like lobbing eggs at a stone wall would make for a poor attempt at a siege. "It is good of you to come and join us for dinner this evening." Thereafter, Gabriel makes sure to don his best amiable expression as the other guests filter in: Whitehawks, Rivens, Deepwoods, Fluffy Muffins, etc. In fairness, the aforementioned expression may just resemble that of his usual, which is to say, a stoic frown.

The Whitehawks are here, and Tabitha is one of them. Walking in step next to Bedivere, the short artist seems to be staying very close to the cat-carrying marshall, her gaze slowly turning this way and that as she eyes her surroundings and the people housed within them. For the former, a wide-eyed look of admiration, and for the latter, all polite, gentle but mildly timid smiles. The correct greetings and curtsies are given to all the right people, which is to say -- Tabitha is equally courtous to everyone as she dips on her heel.

"Lord Kaldur, Lady Kalani," rumbles Traherne from where he stands, moving as little as he can, least he bump into someone or stab their foot with his cane inadvertently. "It is good to see you both again. I was curious if there would be anyone here tonight that I knew," he says with a tip of his head. The presence of the King seems to have surprised the large smith, and it is quite clear that the man doesn't quite know what to do with himself as he drums his fingers nervously upon his cane.

The Invasion begins, Michael interrupted by thieving a book from Lailah to force her to at least stand and greet people, but Traherne intercepts him. "Master Traherne, don't worry. I don't think anyone has been thrown out of Bisland Manor in years. You're quite safe amongst friends." Friends and excessive amounts of nobility that cranks into overdriev when Alaric arrives to banter with his father. "See...Thats the king. Thats Kaldur over there, /HI/ Kaldur! You've met my sister. Theres Lady Kend...Lady Kenna Whitehawk with her family." A firm hand upon Traherne's shoulder turns him to face the oncoming flock of Whitehawk(HAH)

Thesarin makes his way in with Mia, long strides taken quicker than he otherwise might to keep up with Mia's clip, elbow out at a crook with hers. While Mia and Oswyn are talking history, Thesarin is keeping his looming silence. Possibly sticking to his strengths, there. He's cleaned up and dressed in silk, and most of his tattoos are hidden under shirts, sleeves, and high collars, but there

there's still no mistaking the man as anything but a shav from the Grey Forest dressed up like a Grayson nobleman. He lowers his head toward Rymarr, Gabriel, and the King in turn, making a low noise of greeting toward the back of his throat.

Evonleigh squeezes Kenna's arm as they enter, tipping her golden head against Kenna's to murmur something, before she looks around at the hall and the occupants, as she hasn't been here before. She nods to each, a pretty curtsy dipped when her gray-blue eyes alight upon Alaric and Gabriel speaking. When Michael introduces Traherne, it gives her something to focus on, and she smiles a wide, dimpled smile at the man as he is turned to face them. "Hello, Master Traherne, Lord Michael." She smiles at the Rivens as well, giving them a bow of her head, lashes dropping.

'ware all the Ladies Whitehawk. They require more Lords, truly, and those do happen to be about. Their profile may merely be so much less flamboyant than Kenna in her sparkly presence, Tabitha in her sunny tenderness, Evonleigh in her glitterball riot. That leaves Delilah to form the counterbalance to them all, as if she has the serenity and gravitas to make that happen. Somewhere must be a relief, and there she is, the countess entering stage left brawing her attention forth. Head tilted, she follows the source of Mia's voice back to its origins and thoroughly stands on her tiptoes, the better to spot the couple and their scholarly companion. "Let's blame Tomlin for everything. I swear he couldn't index half his work if he tried, and he must be falling asleep during the process," she sings with a sunny kind of lilt to her voice. There will be all matters of greetings to be found. But first! There will be properly bowing to Alaric and eyeing the thirteen guards. Oh yes, the King's Own probably get buns, too. And /then/ Gabriel, dip of curtsy, and all the way around as she blithely straightens anew. A nod will follow in Oswyn's direction. Magic words were spoken. He has summoned the blithe star elemental. /WOE/.

The Seliki's are here, two of them at any rate, and Kalani dips into a curtsy at Kaldur's side, head angled in a gesture of respect to the king and their hosts, only rising when he straightens. "Everything looks lovely," the Seliki healer chimes in before she moves away and aims a smile at the smith, Traherne even as Michael offers reassurance against being tossed out. Michael's words draw a laugh from her, "Just in case anyone gets tossed, we should drink enough so that we bounce," she suggests en sotto voice to Traherne.

"Ah, Duchess Iona will certainly have all well in hand," Alaric declares approvingly. "Well, I won't hold up the greeting line, then. I'll leave you to it," he concludes with a regal grin as he proceeds to go occupy his guest-of-honor spot next to Gabriel at the big table. On the off chance it wasn't there, well, it is now! Said regal grin along with greetings are liberally dispensed on his way there to all inbound expressions of deference on the way.

Alaric has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Lailah puts down her book when people start to come in, especially the king and she rises. "Your majesty. Thank you for coming." She smiles and turns her gaze to all the others but doesn't leave her spot to greet them, just nodding to any who roughly approach and sits back down as soon as she can.

Bedivere uses his only hand, on the left arm, to pet down Cabbit's back while doling out the greeting nods to each person as he makes eye contact with each then looks over to Kenna with the faintest notion of a laugh creeping up into his flatlined lips. It never comes, but family would know. They would know! Then, he fondly smiles to Tabitha before he looks over to the other ladies, perking up at the Tomlin talk but not adding to it for the time being. It is a slow walk to figure out where to sit down so he can keep petting this cat.

Kenna drops into a curtsy, "Lord Michael Bisland." It's said coolly, like Kenna has only the most passing knowledge of the Bisland lord. Instead her eyes focus on the smith beside him who she sparkle-smiles at. "Master Traherne, you must come join us for some drinks. Are you a newcomer to Arx?"

Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby kitten, Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant leave, following Tabitha.

"I don't believe I'm familiar with his work on the Platinum Shift," Mia replies, her voice slipping into a pensive murmur. "I wonder if the volumes are in any related, or if it's simply a matter of the Scholar moving from one subject to another, not unlike my volumes from Scholar Wynna's "Histories of Arvum", back on the shelves at Heron Hall. Mmmm, something worth considering, I would say." She was about to say more when she caught the words of Delilah's reply, and she heaves a sigh. "Unlikely, then. Damn the man for being so careless with his indexing and his notes. Wherever his soul may be, I hope it is somewhere maddening that involves cataloguing his own work."

Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby kitten, Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant arrive, following Tabitha.

Gabriel gives a curt nod of his head to Alaric, then focuses his attention upon his guests. Particularly Thesarin and Mia, whom he greets verbally. Something said at the table by Rymarr, however, has the Bisland duke smirking as though amused.

Traherne returns Evonleigh's smile with one of his own, stooping into a short bow toward the woman before he straightens and says, "Hello to you, miss." Eyes shifting to the various people that Michael introduces to him, the Smith nods his head in a way that reveals that he likely will not remember anyone's name past this night, though when Kalani comes across he chuckles and nods his head. "Perhaps we should, at that. Do good to dampen the nerves, huh? I can tell you're nervous."

Tabitha never went away. Instead she joins Bedivere as he looks for somewhere to sit. Her face is already pinched into something of a nervous expression as she eyes up the possibilities. When the knight finds a place to sit, she joins him, smoothing down the blue skirts of her dress and picking at the wrist hems of her sleeves.

Rymarr seems to glance toward Lailah, whom he casts a subdued smile to. He begins to chuckle, nodding along with the sound. When the chuckle slips away, he nods once or twice more. Count Thesarin seems to take the Deepwood marquis' attention from one corner of an eye, a glance his way, and then a solemn nod is cast toward the Prodigal. Then Rymarr's attention turns back and toward Alaric. He considers the Sovereign for a moment before he provides a stern nod toward him.

The good Seliki get Michael's attention now. Since the Whitehawks(KENNA) are being all haughty and inhospitable. He'll step away after introducing Traherne to track down Kaldur where he had meandered away. "Kaldur, my good man. And...Lady Seliki." His brain will click over and find the name. Give him a few seconds... "Lady Kalani Seliki. Welcome to Bisland Manor. We are opening the bottle of whiskey gived by Zoey very shortly."

Oswyn smiles a little, crookedly. "Well, if things back then are anything like they are now, I can certainly sympathize with jumping from one subject to another. It seems there's always five different directions to go in, research-wise, or someone new who'd like help. Hello, Lady Delilah!" He squints and doesn't really seem to actually see her. Just a vague wave. And, suddenly, a blush.

"Marquis Rymarr. Duke Bisland." Thesarin places a hand to his chest, and lowers his head again. "Majesty." He looks around the room to give nods of greeting and acknowlegement around the room, standing otherwise mute beside his wife as she and the other scholarly sorts talk away.

Traherne is a familiar face. The first one Kaldur's eyes fall on when he spins away from pun-eggs smashing against the impenatrable fortress of Duke Gabriel's bluff expression. Kaldur sidles up to the smith, smiling, and is about to lift his voice in greeting when Kenna intercedes. "Good evening, Lady Kenna." He does note Kenna's cool composure and wonders at it. It HAS been a while since he last saw her outside the barracks. Brow knit, he drafting along to wherever the kettle of Whitehawks settle to perch and preen. He laughs at Kalani's suggestion to drink enough that they bounce and offers a crooked arm to his cousin. His attention swivels to Michael, "Good evening, M'lord. Thank you for inviting us." He smiles at the offer of whiskey-to-come and inclines his head. Oh, look! Countess Mia and Count Thesarin. He inclines his head to the two from where he stands.

"Come bother me tomorrow, perhaps, over a good cup of tea." Invitation made on the sly by Delilah to Mia and Oswyn, and by proxy Thesarin, comes easily enough. "We can talk about the Shift. What little there is, thus far, though I've plans. Wait, Lord Kaldur might be interested too." If he is about, she's seeing the Seliki, or by proxy, Kalani. Warm waves that direction will suit just perfectly, thank you. "This is very much up his alley. Perhaps something to be considered before the Rose Appreciation Society dinner." Her fingertips steeple together and she starts her inward path for somewhere to sit not terribly far from Lailah. An apologetic smile flickers over her lips. At least they have lots of vegetables which definitely /aren't/ veggies to enjoy. The better she can hide, one can hope.

Delilah has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

"Evonleigh, have you, wait, come back Kaldur!" Kenna says, her withdrawn facade fading away as the Seliki introduces greets him. The smile is warm and welcoming as she pulls her older sister along to Kaldur's side. (IGNORING MICHAEL.) "Lord Kaldur, I don't believe you've met my older sister Evonleigh."

Poor Scribble. Forced to work even here. He goes perilously dashing about like a person of unbearable dignity forced to work. A disapproving look goes after Delilah as he ceases to admire the dignity -- proper and /acceptable/ -- of Duke Gabriel to receive several drips and drabs of objects. Wrapped objects. The gentleman draws himself up with proper height and then beelines over to Lailah to discreetly inform her of such things so that people shan't notice or start singing the birthday song at her.

Lailah though quiet, it's clear that in between flipping pages Lailah is actually talking to others at the table, and she does still keep an eye out for anything that might demand her attention.

Kalani rests one hand on Kaldur's arm as she dips another curtsy, this time to Lord Michael as they make the rounds and a few introductions are exchanged. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Michael, and thank you for inviting us," she echoes Kaldur's words as she straightens. A faintly sheepish grin is shared with Traherne, "Truth. It's a great deal less nerve racking, social situation wise, when in the middle of a messy post fight mop up or in the middle of a sick ward," turning slightly as Kenna and her sister Evonleigh come near.

At the Duke's greeting, all of Mia's murmurings and considerations of the late Scholar Tomlin and his fate cease, at least for the moment. She slips into a curtsy for the man -- a touch lower, even, than is warranted by rank perhaps out of regard for his hospitality, or out of some measure of personal respect earned ages past. It is soon followed by those due to the King and to the Marquis-Consort. "Your Majesty. My good lords. A pleasure as always to see each of you, at a time when pleasures are far too few. Shall I make with the usual niceties by asking after all of your collected wives and children, or may I spare you the usual civilities and set you off to pursue other lines of conversation you won't be asked a dozen times tonight?"

Bedivere has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Tabitha has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

That kind of a war veteran, Bedivere sits down on the far side of the table from the door, so he can see everyone entering/exiting this place during the unfolding events. He scoots his chair back a little bit, so Cabbit can be purrdy comfy without the table edge bothering him.

Evonleigh turns to direct her attention to Kaldur as Kenna introduces them, dipping her head and lashes, and then to Kalani as well when she turns that way. "I have not, I believe you are the first of your family I have had the pleasure to meet," she says, smiling, before glancing over at Michael and giving him a *look.* What did you do, Lord Bisland? "Also, we spoke about that word, older, and how it makes a person sound *ancient,* Kenna, darling."

Oswyn coughs, covering his mouth with one hand and nodding quickly to Delilah. He takes his cues from Mia and bobs in a series of respectful bows to Gabriel, Alaric, and Rymarr, as befits someone super common. Oswyn is not the best at recognizing people at a distance, which may make him seem aloof. Really, though, he's not being shitty on purpose.

Gabriel, not unlike his daighter Lailah, remains largely quiet. He is observant, however, and engages in conversation when approached. In particular, he says to Mia, "I can say that my children are, by and large, doing well..." His dark eyes peer first towards Michael, then swing to Lailah, and finally, Rymarr. "My lady wife, though sorely missed, has thriving in Pridehall. Then again, she thrives wherever it is she finds herself. Thank you for asking."

"Countess Mia, a good evening to you. Arguably you might get better answers asking our wives and children about us," Alaric quips to Mia with a sociably personable grin. "Nevertheless! I'm quite pleased to say the twins are proving to be remarkably precocious. They're both running about the Palace and Alessa is ordering around Elisian in two languages already. The Queen is continuing to refine her childrearing master plans and remains quite thrilled to put a thousand years of theory into practice."

"Oh dear, right." Kenna says smartly at Evonleigh's talk of older. "My sister who popped out of my mother a couple years before I did. You know, how babies work." Eyebrow wiggling goes on. "Shall we discuss what else happened //before// that?" Her gaze is WICKED.

Michael does flash a wink off towards Kenna regardless of the woman's flat out denial of his existence. "I was very happy to hear of your entrance into the Iron Guard, Kaldur. Theres always need for solid swordsmen within the Guard." Michael is doing /okay/ at the moment, Daddy Dearest. Probably. "Finally, meeting. I've heard tales of you on occasion here or there, your skill as a physician." Towards Kalani, who receives another nod of his head. "Would Baron Silas be coming tonight? I think Master Traherne may want his ear for a brief moment." Another who's ear he may want, or didn't know he wanted is that Duke. Michael's chin lofts towards his father, Gabriel, at that moment. Eyes towards him, then towards Traherne. Its that guy.

Looking as though she wishes the ground might swallow her, sooner rather than later, Tabitha quietly leans over to Bedivere to whisper something in timid agreement to the big cat-loving knight. That done, she tickles behind the ear of the feline, before plucking up something biscuity and sweet from a serving plate to daintily nibble around the edges. The talk of reproductive toomfoolery sees her shutting her eyes, though, and rubbing the fingertips of one hand over the faint crease that forms across her brow. Ground. Swallow. Now.

Delilah's mention of his name brings Kaldur's attention around. 'Shift?' "My shifts have been at the Marketplace of late." That's what Kaldur knows about Shifts, platinum or otherwise. His attention bounces back to Kenna when a sister is presented, and the knight dimples grandly at her, teeth flashing as he bows, "M'lady Evonleigh, Seliki's regard," his voice is pitched into its lower registers for the greeting and his brow. His ears color at Kenna's ribaldry, but he pivots and looks to Kalani and Traherne, offering his speculation on the events prior that Kenna alludes to, "They waited and waited on the roof tops for the stork, right?"

Bedivere nods solemnly to Tabitha as he provides closer Cabbitness, so they can both pet him. He looks up at Kenna and slow blinks before letting out the faintest exhale via his nose as he keeps his mouth shut as tight as cat be!

Oswyn peers over at Thesarin and Mia and asks, "Er. Are there assigned seats, or...?"

Exhaling a quiet laugh at Kenna's words, "I can provide diagrams and practical illustrations if it'll help with the topic at hand," the Seliki healer volunteers with a bit of a grin. She angles that grin toward Michael, "The guildmistress of Physicians is a wonderful teacher, we've all benefited greatly from her guidance," she adds in a quieter voice, falling silent as the conversation spins around again, tapping Kaldur lightly on the wrist and glancing at the tables that are starting to fill up.

"I do believe, Your Majesty, that that is called 'idle gossip' or possibly even 'palace intrigue' when involving such august people as members of the royal family. Or something else equally obsequious, that you're free to imagine as you like. Still, I am pleased to hear that they, and the Bislands, are all well." A pause, and she gestures to Oswyn, seemingly intent on introducing him to Gabriel and, yes, Alaric. "Have you met Master Spencer, my protege? A Scholar and a cartographer, just returned to us from the North, precisely in time to avoid spending a winter there." Ohh, dear. What timing she has! Right as the man meant to sit.

Traherne has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Kaldur has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Kalani has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Michael has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Not one to blush, not usually, but Evonleigh does, this time, a rosy hue tingeing her cheeks. "Kenna Mercier, when you and I get home," she says, though it's a teasing thing, for they are all at least adults here. She smiles at Kaldur. "And here I thought they were dropped down the chimney by owls who had stolen them from the nests up in the stars."

It is evident that Traherne is beginning to get lost in the swirl of nobles and their conversations. He shifts around the room, seeking out a drink, and then he stumps across toward one of the empty tables and eases himself tiredly into a seat, sticking his leg out at an angle to stretch it out. From there, he simply people watches over his drink.

Evonleigh has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Oswyn blinks when Mia thrusts him to the forefront. So to speak. He actually seems to be more nervous about Gabriel than Alaric. He bows again to the Duke, saying, "Well met, My Lord." And another bow to Alaric. "Your Majesty, hello again." A little smile, even, for the King.

"Glad to hear," Thesarin rumbles out toward Gabriel and Alaric. He gets just a touch of amusement on his face at the King's comments, and dips his head again. "...being honest, folk all have notions of how to bring up children. None much of it ever seems to bear out." The big man's shoulders rise and fall slow. "Long as you keep 'em alive long enough to change their own britches, reckon you've got most of it right."

Kenna winks at Kalani's offer of diagrams. "Oh dear, it looks like we might needs some of those diagrams. I will drop by to get them on our way home if it is okay?" Turning back to the group she squeezes Evonleigh's arm. "My Princess Sally Acorn actually comes from Seliki's own gardens. Lady Peri and I were chasing some... sick bunnies and Sally warned us before we got bit by the creature."

Thesarin doesn't answer Oswyn's question about assigned seating. Rude, maybe. Or maybe he just has as little clue as the scholar does.

The staff go about delivering the meals as the nobility take their seats. And the commonfolk, not to be forgotten there. Helping to deliver those platters or distribute buns is all well and good, though the King of course receives the first kick at the cat. Or in this case, the delectable cone that would have a squirrel having conniptions, raptures, and a heart attack of spite all at once.

"Be welcome, master Spencer, and have a seat," Gabriel says to Oswyn. "There is a particularly good vintage of wine being served this evening, if such is to your liking. We Bislands are hospitable enough," said with a low rumble of a chuckle.

Oh no. Oh no no nono. Michael slips away from his small group to grasp Traherne's elbow lightly before he sits down. "Oh, Master Traherne. Not quite yet. I'm sure my father would like to meet you." Then amongst the tables and chairs headed towards the big boy table. King and Duke and Lailah and others. "Father, Duke Gabriel Bisland." The last bit for Traherne's benefit, because Michael knows who his dad is. He hasn't been hit in the head that often.

"King Alaric, your majesty." A bow from him to the king now as well, can't ignore that guy. "This is Master Traherne, from Pridehall. The premiere armorsmith has journeyed to ply his trade in Arx proper. A veteran of the Battle of Pridehall, Bisland provided the initial investment for his forge."

Traherne has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Mia has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Alaric smiles very reassuringly at Oswyn. "Indeed! Hello again, Scholar Oswyn," Alaric declares sociably. "Congratulations on escaping the frozen North. Never been much for bitterly cold weather, myself. It's good to see you back in familiar circumstances," he quips before nodding to Thesarin. "I'm feeling fairly confident on that front, the twins have nearly mastered it already. Or at least they're definitely good at removing them," he deadpans. "The other half of it can't be too far behind."

Oswyn has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Kaldur is, for a change, not sporting his armor, it should be noted. He's dressed in a gray silk velvet jacket, with gold lining and a cream tunic beneath. Thus garbed in gray, he seeks the table also decked in gray to best coordinate of course. Or perhaps it was simply because Traherne was there on his lonesome. The Seliki knight settles at the table with Kalani just as Michael bustles up to hustle Traherne away. He blinks and looks at Kalani.

Thesarin has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Samantha makes her way into the banquet hall, some few minutes after Rymarr, smiling at the sight of the Bislands and company. Alaric's presence causes a double take, but she offers him a curtsy and a wry grin. So after briefly brushing Rymarr's cheek, she goes to Gabriel and opens her arms for an embrace. Michael and Lailah are next on he agenda.

"Master Traherne," Gabriel then greets, staring this particular fellow down in a way that might be a touch uncomfortable. "Your name is not unknown to me. Your skill proceeds you, and I always have work for veteran campaigners in my fealty. Please, do relax, and enjoy your evening here with us all." A small smile is given, then the weight of his gaze lifts, and Traherne can breathe again.

Traherne jumps a touch in surprise when Michael takes him by the elbow, pulling him up from his seat just as he was about to get comfortably drunk. When the man begins to drag him along toward the other table, the Blacksmith does as best he can to keep up, his cane clicking a bit more quickly than usual as he makes his way to be introduced to the Duke and King. He offers a short bow toward Gabriel, and then another toward Alaric. "Uh... hello," he says anticlimactically after Michael sets him up with such a good introduction. "Yes. I have just recently opened a forge over near to Of Works Obscurra called the Tilted Anvil. I hope that you both will be willing to grace me with your business one day. And of course, thank you for your investment Duke Gabriel."

"Thank you, Duke Gabriel," Oswyn tells the man. Take a seat! He's just going to follow Mia and Thesarin, really. But before he goes, he tells Alaric, "Thank you, Your Majesty. It's good to be back."

"I look forward to it, master Traherne," Gabriel says with a nod. Oswyn, too, gets a nod, one that seems to suggest he understands.

"Delighted to make your acquaintance, Master Traherne," Alaric declares regally, sizing him up and studying him keenly for a brief moment. "I do wish you all the best establishing a trade here in my capital. I hope you find your time here successful and inspiring in equal measure."

Kenna has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Mia simply offers the King one of her fleeting smiles -- and this time, it is the knowing, and all too sympatheic one, of a mother. Yes, she knows the age well. "My thanks, Duke Bisland. And my best wishes for swift accomplishments by your children, Your Majesty." And it is with that the Countess dips into another curtsy to excuse herself and her small party to a table. And in Oswyn's case, perhaps subtly steer him towards one.

Kenna giggles another time and then drifts away from her family, heading towards the Seliki's and their corner of the room.

"Please don't," says Evonleigh back over Kenna's shoulder to Kalani with a smirk. No diagrams, thanks. Sitting at the table with Bedivere and Tabitha, she widens her eyes a little at them, then smiles at the others present. "Evening."

Traherne has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Rymarr's chin lifts in acknowledgement of Samantha's arrival. The brush of his cheek results in his rubbing at it as though attempting to soothe away some sort of annoying tickling sensation. His hand lowers, he strokes at his beard, and he then glances toward Gabriel again.

A few nods of her head (nod nod nod) serve as something of a substitute for actual words as Tabitha listens to Bedivere's observations. She goes to open her mouth to reply to him, but then it clamps shut as newcomers approach the table. There's yet MORE nods, these in place of a curtsy, as Mia and Thesarin and Oswyn arrive, with faint smiles given in addition that are nonetheless filled with genuine friendliness beneath all the anxiety. The smile she flashes Evonleigh is one of relief and panic shared as she subtly darts a gaze around the room, but then it's all courtesy as she greets the Rivens. "Hello, Countess, Count. So good to see you." And then to Oswyn, a smile that's a little less wibbly-wobbly. "Oh, and good to see you too, Scholar Oswyn. The sketchbook is /wonderful/, it really is. Such a pleasure to draw upon. I must visit your shop again."

As she passes to find her own seat, Mia offers a nod of greeting to Kalani and to Kaldur. A touch late, certainly. More than a touch, in truth. But perhaps having been distracted by the call of their host might provide some excuse. Either way, she settles in with several of the Whitehawks and finds herself a glass to enjoy.

Cabbit is getting some quality Bedivere snuggles, and doesn't mind at all when his paw is lifted to give a wave. His purr is a happy rumble.

"Lord Seliki, Lady Seliki," Thesarin gives a nod and grunt of greeting toward Kaldur and Kalani, settling in at the table beside Mia. There's a hint of a smile directed toward Samantha as she arrives as well. "Marquessa. Too long, how I reckon."

Oswyn is speaking quietly to the people at his table, smiling.

Lifting the glass she's holding as a salute to first Mia and then Thesarin, "Good evening to you both," Kalani calls from where she's seated alongside Kaldur and Kenna.

Michael leaves Traherne for the moment, letting him speak to the table as he steps away with a nod towards those upon the dais. To turn and head towards The Seliki's table, and its addition of a certain Whitehawk. He'll stop to grasp a glass of whiskey or something but does not drink from it as he goes.

Michael has left the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Michael has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Michael mutters, "... ... good to see you"

Traherne chuckles and nods toward the King before he nods his head and says, "Of course. Well, the offer is on the table, should you ever find yourself in need of an armorsmith. I do hope that you fellows have a good evening." With that, he turns to begin walking his way back across toward the table he had been about to sit at before Michael hauled him to meet the Duke and King.

Traherne has left the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Traherne has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Bedivere just helped Cabbit wave a paw to all those who joined his table, the one decked in gold linens. He slips his finger out from under Cabbit's paw, strokes down the cat's back, and then he reaches out to pluck off a fresh cup from a passing tray in a server's hands. He turns back to his table to then quietly speak to them there.

Kenna mutters, "... me? I'm speaking to ... Seliki's ... now, thank you."

Like Bedivere, Evonleigh and Oswyn, Tabitha is also chatting to those at their table. Although there's still a hint of tension made evident by the upright way she sits, she seems to have lightened up a little after exhanging some conversational words with the Scholar. Turning a quick gaze over to Kenna and Michael, brows lifting, she perhaps rather wisely turns her attention back to her tablemates as she gives Bedivere's feline sidekick an absent-minded tickle behind the ear.

Kaldur smiles at Countess Mia and Count Thesarin as they pass, Riven and Seliki cousin Houses under Deepwood's banner. But he rises to his feet as Samantha nears, bowing as she passes, courtesies offered silently to his liege lady, before settling again to conversation with his cousin and Kenna. He likewise rises when Michael joins their table, bowing before settling again.

Kalani is overheard praising Michael.

Delilah has left the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly leaves, following Delilah.

Family first. Once her adopted family is greeted with suitable and appropriate affection, Sam then turns to greet her vassals. "Count Thesarin. You're right, to long. Countess, you look lovely. And Lord Seliki. What a fine figure you're cutting this evening."

Michael mutters, "Perhaps we'll just talk some ... time then."

Michael is /quick/ to wave down the standing up at this table. His gaze flits from Kenna and their exchanged words, towards Seliki Kaldur, and Kalani and Traherne. "Oh, no, Sorry...looks like I'm just stopping by for a moment." The glass of whiskey is moved and settles in front of Traherne in his chair. "Something fine for you, master Traherne. After your beer." Then he straightens up to cast an aside glance towards Kenna, then dragged away towards the servant and a bottle of whiskey being waved over. "I am sure we can speak again, very soon."

Kenna mutters, "I am ... sure that ... ... a good idea."

Mia's lips part for a moment, as though she were about to say something to her table, when she catches wind of Samantha's voice. Rising, and then swiftly falling, as she dips into another curtsy. "Marquessa Deepwood, thank you. I find the season tends to brighten my spirits. Something about the harvest, I think, and so many days of labor finally coming to fruition that adds a bit of brightness to eyes. But imagine it's much the same at Old Oak, and you're looking forward to another fruitful season?"

Kenna checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 13 lower.

Tabitha checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Kenna stands up from the table, apologetic as Trahere and others come sit down. She smooths her dress and tries to keep a straight face after whispering something to Michael. "I'm sorry, I really need to go. Please excuse me." With that Kenna quick steps away from the table doing her best to keep her head up as she walks but her fists are clenched at her side and her walk is stilted. Angry.

Kenna has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Princess Muffin, the fluffiest white puppy leaves, following Kenna.

Rymarr shifts up to his feet after a moment and begins to slip his hands into his gauntlets. Once they're locked into place, Rymarr's helm is reclaimed and tucked away beneath his arm. He offers nods to some and bows to others before he shifts straight-backed once again and states toward Gabriel specifically, "Duke Bisland is has been my distinct honor and pleasure to share your table once again. Thank you. In the meantime, I've a patrol that demands someone to walk it. The Seawatch Gate awaits". Rymarr begins to step back and away from the table, but he stops himself. He grimaces a touch at the mention of Everard, but Rymarr's attention ultimately drifts to Samantha, "Speaking of harvests, that makes me think of festivals, and I just wanted to make it clear that I'd like ice skating at the next opportunity during a held festival... thing". Rymarr nods once toward his wife before the Marquis of House Deepwood turns and begins to march his way away.

Bedivere almost gets up, but Kenna is too fast and already gone before the one-handed man can get situated. He sits back down after her speedy escape, doing so with a quiet sigh.

"So, Duke Bisland. Majesty." Thesarin gives a low dip of his head toward the dias and its occupants. "Thanks for having us, and glad Lady Lailah's come to stay. Was-" and then Kenna stands and makes her exit, while the Prodigal Count sits silent at the table. An awkward silence. "...anything might need doing in days ahead." He dips his head toward Rymarr as the man starts out. "Have a care, Marquis."

Evonleigh too looks like she might get up, the expression on Kenna's face stays her, and she shakes her head, a hand lifting slightly as if to gentle a stallion, to indicate to her other family members to let the woman go. Her brows are knit with concern and she looks to Michael, raising a brow, her expression not angry, but worried for him as well.

Michael can wave off the rising for himself, but Kaldur's upbringing demands that he acknowledge the comings and goings of his table, particularly Kenna's sharp and clearly upset exit. He rises as she leaves, brow furrowed and settles again. He's about to turn and ask Michael what the devil that was about, his expression screwing up into just that when Rymarr takes his leave. The young knight rises to his feet, bowing as Rymarr passes, an exchange of eye contact what passes for farewell between them, a murmured, 'm'lord' before he settles again. If anyone has ever wondered how Kaldur achieved his nearly perfect physical conditioning - it's from dinners at noble estates where he is outranked by nearly everyone present.

Michael is returning to the upraised table on its dais now, missing /most/ of Kenna's speedy departure before taking the steps up the dais, then settling into a chair. "Have a safe, yet productive patrol, Marquis Rymarr." A heave of a sigh as he now notes that Kenna has departed. An interesting evening so far at least, might almost drive him to drink from his wine. But doesn't yet.

Michael has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Michael has joined the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

"Until next time, Marquis Deepwood," Gabriel says to Rymarr by way of farewell.

"Turns out secret Abyssal conspirators can manage a fair bit of lasting damage when they make their way into positions of power," Alaric observes wryly. "Although for having a Lord Commander and a Master of Questions actively undermining us as long as they did, I think we might have gotten off easy. Provided we don't have any more unwelcome surprises yet to be unearthed, of course."

If Mia has made note of the abrupt exit, there's little sign of it save for the path that her gaze slowly follows from Michael, to Kenna, to the door the latter is exiting through. But she has certainly sat, straight-faced, through far more unusual displays in the midst of formal dinners during her time in Arx and so, aside from that short glance, shows little sign of having interest in anything save her conversation with Samantha and the contents of her glass.

"The harvest is absolutely one of my favorite time of year." Samantha says agreeably to Mia. She's about to say more when Rymarr makes his exit, and she laughs. "Oh, dear. The ice dancing competition. I have no doubt the Marquis aims to win it again, come winter festival." There's a look over at Michael, a quirk of her brow and purse of her lips as if silently warning him to behave himself. To Mia, "It's my hope that in the coming year, there will be much to reap."

Rymarr comments back to Michael, "Feel free to join me some evening, Lord Michael. I'd love your experience added to the roster of those providing their presence at the Seawatch Gate," he offers in a neutral tone. He pauses however to look to Michael, then toward the way which Kenna had gone, and then back to Michael. Rymarr's lips purse, his face shifting about causes his beard to wiggle, and he watches the Bisland heir through squinted eyes. There is much judgment being conducted. Then Rymarr turns away again and continues on his way. He dips his head forward in order to pull his helm on and his visor down as he ventures onward to adventure.

Tabitha giggles lightly at a comment Oswyn made, but there's something of a nervousness in it. Not because of anything her fellow wallflower said, but more because of the bottlenecking awkwardness of the tension in the room, which builds and builds until it finally shatters in a delicate explosion of social awkwardness. Clearly at the end of her rope as far as these things go, she finally clasps her hands in her lap and breaths out a little breath of relief when Kenna walks out. While her fellow Whitehawks go to stand, Tabitha just looks down, blushing furiously. And then, after a few more moments, she lifts her glass of white wine to her lips and sips a little more deeply of it than perhaps she intended. And then she falls silent for a while, catching up with the conversation.

Alaric nods to Rymarr to see him off. "Marquis Rymarr, good evening," he declares before regarding Thesarin. "Nothing new; continue your existing preparations and be ready to enact them. At last report, the supplies and provisions are all in place and accounted for. All our party requires now is the guests," he observes.

Bedivere gets himself and Cabbit seatuated all over again and then picks up his forgotten drink which he completely downs before reaching back, setting down that empty glass on a passing tray of dirty dishes behind him.

"I can't decide whether that sounds delightful or ominous, my lady," Mia murmurs in reply and, in that moment, it's difficult to say whether she's referring to what the Deepwoods intend to reap or the thought of what she might witness skating atop their frozen pond. Her hands lace together and, whatever else she may have intended to say, the words she offers now are not simply for Samantha's ears. Giving the conversation exchanged between her husband and the King, Mia adds -- at a volume meant to extend to tables beyond her own -- "For those who are making preparations, I make no claim to be a scholar of war, or to be familiar with the details of your tactics. But only these two days past, I came across some writings on battling the Gargantuans not with rituals and with magic, but with weapons and with men. I would share them with any commander who may make good use of them."

Traherne finishes off his mead, and then shoots the whiskey Michael had left him before he heaves himself back up to his feet. To his table he offers, "I'm afraid I still have some work to accomplish for the opening of the forge. I need to be getting back to work. It was good to see you once again." With that, he turns and heads across the room, making for the exit and offering nods of farewell and waves as he goes.

Rymarr has left the a grey and yellow table set upon a raised dais.

Patsy leaves, following Rymarr.

Bedivere says, "Countess Mia, I could use that information if you would not mind providing it to me. I will be commanding forces when the time comes."

"A little of both." Michael is back from his introspecting, mental eye inward and coming back to life to conversation at the table. "That sounds like information quite a few commanders would like to hear about." No, Michael is not looking towards curious gazes that might look to him. Kenna is crazy.

Kalani is overheard praising Traherne.

Traherne has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

"Lord Commander Silas should be informed, at the very least," Alaric notes to Mia. "I don't know if we have the manpower to engage the monsters in regular combat without horrendous losses, but better to know anything that could mitigate the danger were it necessary as a last ditch effort than not."

Into the awkwardness of Kenna's exit Kaldur accepts a drink from Kalani, "Thank you. Ehm," he holds the glass towards her, "Cheers." And with Traherne's departure, which warrants a smile and a lift of his glass. "Good fortune to you, Master Traherne." He's about to take a sip when Mia offers up - to the room - information on battling Gargantuans. He twists in his chair, marvelling momentarily at the range of motion he has when not wearing plate mail, before turning the full weight of his attention - considerable when he marshalls it - upon Mia. She has his attention. All of it.

"You are making me regret not delaying my husband, Countess." says Samantha, studying Mia intently. "That said, in answer to your comment - perhaps a little bit of bot."

"...can say, I hope it ain't come to that," Thesarin mutters low, as he looks over the details. A slow shake of his head, and a low grunt through his nose. "But it might. Damned sure it's worth knowing."

"As I understand it, Your Majesty, it is mostly a question of siege weaponry and finding a means of holding the monsters still long enough to hit them. After all, they are living siege weapons themselves, are they not?," the Countess asks, her eyes sweeping the room. "I cannot say if we have the time or the crafters to build them now, and I regret that it took so long to find, but I will see to it that Lord Commander Whitehawk receives it. And any of the King's Own you wish, if I have understood their role in defending the Lodge correctly." Mia inclines her head for a moment more.

At the mention of non-magicl tactics to be used against monstrous creatures, Tabitha's eyebrows shoot up. All nerviness is forgotten, because this is big news, and very important.

"I knew it!" Kaldur bellows. He grunts, settling, lapsing into an excited silence as the import of that revelation buzzes through the gathering.

Kalani startles visibly as Kaldur bellows out those three words. "Mmhmm, no more booze for you," is declared as a summary decision as she slides the bottle toward her and away from Kaldur.

Evonleigh too quiets when the talk goes to discussion of weapons and monsters. She looks from the Countess to Kaldur when he shouts, and smirks at Kalani's moving of the alcohol.

"Please do," Alaric nods to Mia, leaning back in his seat and frowning thoughtfully. "Siege weapons in great numbers at the Lodge would be extremely problematic, however. Those that have taken refuge there have done so -because- of its natural condition. We therefore cannot just chop up the forest and build siegeworks of our own, otherwise we will be defeating our own purposes by driving them away. It's one thing to place a platinum ballista up on the Crownguard Tower, up on the plateau of Arx, with a commanding view over the bay of Arx and the open spaces in all directions. It's quite another to put it in a small clearing in the middle of ancient forests where any direction you fire it will cause as much damage to the woods as the Gargantua." He glances to Gabriel to see what he has to say about it.

Michael glances sidelong across the table he has settled at. Kaldur is an interesting man. Lailah has made an odd suggestion. Tonight has been odd and interesting. "Felling select trees before they can to direct the enemy forces to where we want them might ensure siege weapons have an easier time finding targets." The wrong Bisland spoke first.

Oswyn shares a few quiet words with Tabitha; he's put his drink down, and now the scholar is listening attentively, squinting at people as they speak.

The olde Knight of Solace, Lord Bedivere, had been pretty quiet so far until the recent information for war tactics came up, and now the cat-holding man is speaking up. "Thank you so much, Countess Mia." Then, he double pets Cabbit whilst panning over his hazel gaze to King Alaric, then to Duke Gabriel.

"I have to agree with his Majesty on this," Gabriel says solemnly. "Funneling the enemy is all well and good, but I sincerely doubt there will be any directing these Gargantuans. They will go whither they wish, as I understand it."

"Could give word to Redrain," Thesarin muses aloud with a nod. "And the Few." He looks up toward Gabriel, and then toward Alaric. "I've set traps at the approach to the Lodge, worked with the Guard. But can't say what they'll do, this manner of thing. Fought... more of this enemy's slaves than I'd like, but never seen such things myself."

Tapping one fingertip lightly against the glass in front of her, Kalani finally ventures: "Large animals can have very sensitive feet. Horses, for example, can be rendered lame with the smallest of stone. If we could perhaps spread a great deal of sharp rock and rubble along the path that we want to funnel these large creatures, perhaps we can slow them down - make them hesitate over the path."

Lailah considers the matter of Gargantuans, and comes up short. So instead, she simply reiterates what she's said before. "Don't take any unnecessary risks, I don't want to hear that all of a sudden I'm the heir, or worse, Duchess; unless it's for a good cause."

" not believe these are creatures in the sense we use the word," Gabriel says to Kalani. "I have heard reports that describe them as traversing hillock and ravine, through water, trees, plains, and seeming unperturbed by terrain we would otherwise consider difficult. In brief, I do not think they possess anything sensitive."

"They're not natural." Samantha explains. "They take their power from the names of their victims."

"Reckon we'll all do best to not die, Lady Lailah," Thesarin rumbles out. "And your father and me both got some practice at that."

Mia inclines her head to Bedivere and, as the discussion falls to tactics, falls silent -- but not for long, it seems. She professed that war was not her area of expertise, and yet she is a woman of strong opinions. "With all due respect, Your Majesty. Duke Bisland. I adore the Gray Forest. I've freed, with my own hands, one of the first griffins we've seen in an age. I've spared shadow-hinds from the taint of the Abyss. And even were it not for the wonders we seek to shield? A part of it is my own home, and I have called it that all my life. But if the beast that threatens the Lodge acheives its ends, then the destruction to one area of the forest will be far, far from the greatest of our worries. I do not say sacrifice it without regard, and I do not say it easily. I saw the burning of Stormwall, and hope I never live to see another sight like it. But I think we would be wise to consider all options -- even those we might despise."

Gabriel nods his agreement with Thesarin on that particular point.

With the help of Cabbit and his pointing paw, Bedivere indicates Kalani there. "Rough terrain. A good tactic, too."

"I see," Kalani murmurs with a slow nod. "It does beg the question as to whether or not they're impervious to the actual terrain or only impervious because they have no sense of self or free will. If we're lucky some of the prep work that's being done to free some of those stolen names and souls will make those gargantuans less empty of reaction and more aware of what they're stomping through."

"I am well versed in considering all the options, particularly those I despise," Gabriel replies to Mia. "It is not a completely foreign situation to me. In fact, I would say more of my adult life has been spent making such decisions as otherwise." He glances towards his children. "Not many would call me a merry man because of it." He frowns deeply, recalling Stormwall. "I do not dismiss your thoughts, nor do I doubt that the king here does, either. It is indeed as you say, we must consider everything, and make our best judgments against an unconventional foe," understatement of the year. To Kalani, Gabriel offers a simple, "It is possible."

"It's not a question of despising, Countess Mia. We are here to -assist- the First Children in their defense, who have independently decided to make their stand at the Lodge and will just as independently decide to make their stand -elsewhere- if we make it an uninviting place for them. They won't simply accept anything we do in their defense as necessary. They've certainly not refrained from making their protests known in the past, as anyone involved in the rabbit fiasco can attest. And they have specifically come to the Lodge less for anything we've -done- there as much as what we -haven't- done to it," Alaric declares. "Make no mistake, the First Children -will- leave if they consider us so blind to their needs as to be a detriment to their safety, and if we are split we will have done most of the Herald's work for him."

Tabitha listens quietly to the discussion at hand, her wine placed flat on the table. Her expression is one of serious consideration, all nervousness forgotten as she becomes absorbed in the what-ifs and how-can-we's.

Bedivere listens closely to the ongoing talk before speaking up once again, "Have we any documents or histories on whether gargantuans have been tricked into fighting one another before? Or, are they always aware of their 'allies' through the slaver's ties?"

Dark eyes flick between the Duke and the King and, as they do, Mia's lip press together in a thin line. But then, they so often rest that way, when she is considering something. "As you say," is all she replies, before finally resuming her seat.

Michael has little more to add to this. Another situation where he will be playing commanded captain once more. A hasty smile towards Mia if she might catch it. "I am sure there are many who despise the idea of fighting a losing battle to only weaken a foe. I hope for a final defeat for the Slaver."

Oswyn quietly stays and listenss, a little wide-eyed at the conversational topics. But very attentive.

Oswyn has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

"I'd still reckon it a good idea to make it ready. If can be done," Thesarin says from his spot at the table, hands together on the top. "A hurled boulder ain't do so much damage to the forest, to what I've heard of these Gargants. I'd rather the mystic sorts take it out--but if even one of 'em gets past to the Lodge, how it sounds, we're fucked. Tossing rocks into the trees ain't like to hurt the woods as bad as if the Slaver's monsters reach 'em."

Gabriel turns his attention to Bedivere. "I do not personally possess any such information. Such is not to say it does not exist, however."

"I hope you all forgive me if I propose this evening is for family and friends to enjoy what we fight for, rather than dwelling on the fight itself." interjects Samantha soothingly. "He's at home tonight, but I should very much like to introduce you to your grandson." This to Gabriel, before she looks around to see if anyone will support her notion.

"At any rate, there is no reason not to retain our confidence in all our existing planning. If new things -can- be feasibly incorporated into our existing efforts, so much the better. If not, the enemy may be upon us literally any day now," Alaric declares. "We already have rather a few unwelcome surprises in place for the Herald, and while more of them could do nothing but help, gods willing we are already prepared to carry the day."

Cabbit climbs up onto the tabard-clad shoulder of Bedivere as the man himself leans forward with his handless arm resting atop the table edge before his unfilled plate. He firmly nods to Gabriel, doing so with a thankful gaze.

"To family and to friends, then," Mia says as she reaches for her half-full glass, and for a means to fill it. "And to the hope of victories, mmm?"

"Too right." Thesarin nods to Mia, and lifts his glass again. A short smile toward Samantha. "And how is the little lordling?"

In turn, Tabitha lifts her glass and smiles. She's quiet now, oh so quiet, but she's there.

Due, a large hunting dog, Sir Peckingston the Third, a chestnut colored hawk, Princess Sally Acorn, an acorn toting red squirrel arrive, following Elora.

%fEvonleigh also lifts her glass when Mia does. "Too family and to friends," she agrees, a somber look on her face. She looks to her fellow Whitehawks. "We should probably be going, too," she murmurs.

"To another dinner, a year hence, with everyone present and accounted for." Michael lifts his his glass to toast with the group.

Bedivere has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Evonleigh has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Alaric raises his glass enthusiastically. "Indeed! The Compact is made of valiant souls. While one should never take victory against the Abyssals for granted, I've more than just a little hope for our prospects at the Lodge. To family and to friends, the lights for whom we fight."

Kalani rises to her feet as well, sipping from her glass as the toast makes the rounds. She speaks quietly to Kaldur as well before slipping away.

Kalani has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

It has gotten late, and as much as the dinner was most beloved, it is now time for the Whitehawk flock to get themselves to bed. Bed, or Bedivere, reaches up with his remaining hand to help steady Cabbit as he himself rises up to his towering height of 6'3" tall. "Thank you so much, each and every one of you." Then, he waves goodbye with his nub-ended arm because the other one is helping make sure this cat who perches on him is not going to fall (and that is more important than being timid about one's old wounds). "Farewell for now." Then, nodding to Evonleigh and Tabitha, both, they all swoop out the same door from whence they came in!

With a last curtsy and smile, Tabitha follows!

Tabitha has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby kitten, Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant leave, following Tabitha.

Tabitha, Evonleigh leave, following Bedivere.

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