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December Grayson Dinner

The next installment of the Grayson Family Dinner is scheduled for December 15th! Grayson family members are of course welcome, as are any vassals or anyone somehow connected to the family. It's just a way for everyone to all get in the same room and catch each other up on what's going on. Attendance is not required, but strongly encouraged and light guilt trips may be arranged for those who can't make it because family comes first, right? None Greater Than Grayson At Attending Family Gatherings!

Date

Dec. 15, 2018, 6 p.m.

Hosted By

Sabella

Participants

Cedric Macda Calarian Dominique Kaldur Lumen Malcolm Lailah Niklas

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


2 Grayson House Guards, Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.

The dining room is prepped, food is out and ready to be served and Princess Sabella is here beaming at people and greeting them as they come in.

Cedric walks leisurely, but with a critical eye, pointed at the place settings. He is followed by some Grayson house staff. Every so often he points at a salad fork and murmurs something, and one of the other servants adjusts the utensil to the proper angle.

1 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Thalia, a beautiful lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Macda had floated in and already captured the attention of a staff member, who ran off in search of her drink. She greeted Sabella as she saw her cousin enter, "Evening, cousin. Seems the crowd might be thin at first. Is that a sign of no great catastrophe to tell us of?"

Calarian arrives alongside Dominique, entering the dining hall slowly enough to allow a thorough look over the sparkling lanterns before he takes note of the food arranged along the title and brightens somewhat. He trails not far after Macda, offering Sabella a genial smile as he nears.

"People tend to drift in and out as the night goes on," Sabella replies to Macda with a smile, mouthing a 'thank you' to Cedric, "It's not a Grayson family dinner if Prince Luca doesn't show up in a bathrobe!" When Calarian and Dominique approach her smile brightens, "I'm so glad you could make it again! Please, help yourselves or if you would rather be served, Cedric will assign a server to you for the evening that will make sure your every need is attended to!"

Dominique's attention is mostly Somewhere Else, entering with a frown tugging at her lips thoughtfully and hardly paying much attention to even her husband at her side. It is good that he is the social one, after all. When Sabella speaks to her, she does straighten, her ice blue gaze dragging to the princess and staring for a moment before she tips her chin in a simple gesture. "Of course," she says, slightly dismissive of-- something? Who knows. "Thank you."

1 Grayson House Guards, Thalia, a beautiful lady-in-waiting leave, following Roxana.

Turning to see Dominque and Calarian behind her, Macda greets them both. "Good to see both of you. I greatly enjoyed the Valardin dinner we had the pleasure of sharing last." With good timing, one of the staff hands off a bottle and glass that she dutiful holds while making conversation.

Cedric will? He raises his brow when the news arrives. But that Cedric, so quick and so keen. "But of course, your highness." He turns to Bartholomew and delegates, "See to it the guests have servers assigned who will tend to their every need." And then Cedric goes somewhere else to do something nuanced but would be noticablely absent if overlooked.....He gets a bucket of ice.

"It will be a dark moment when I cannot find the time to acknowledge my Grayson ties one night out of every month or two," Calarian says to Sabella, inclining his head, apparently quite at ease with his wife's distracted air. "I hope you've been well since the last one of these?" His attention flicks to Macda, then, and he says, "Likewise. And it was. I had meant to make my way over to where you were seated, but it was busy enough to prevent me. The rest of the family can be a bit hard to pin down, so I was loathe to break away from the conversation." His attention wanders past the group to Bartholomew, then the table again, and he determines, "Well, I happen to be rather famished," before skirting around to find a suitable chair to occupy.

The first thing that Dominique does when presented with a servant trying to tend to her needs is wave them away like they are being a bother, muttering, "I'm fine. I'm fine. Go away." She trails after Calarian, moving to sit next to him quietly.

Cedric stands ready at the dining table. When Calarian and Dominique arrive he pulls out a seat and informs Calarian, "You sit here, my lord."

Sabella beams at Cedric since clearly servants love servantering even at houses that aren't their own! "A Valardin dinner?" she asks, looking to Macda, picking up a glass herself, "Was that the one that had the archery contest or am I thinking of the wrong party? And yes, I have been quite well! So many things are happening and all of them extremely exciting! I'm going to be organizing a fundraiser for all the families that have lost someone in the recent conflicts. People have done a wonderful job with charity work after each one but...say families hurting from the Silent War are still hurting even though we turned our attention to the Gyre and now the Lodge crisis. So we ought not forget them." she has a seat as well and starts loading her plate up with...lettuce.

"Aye, Lord Arn likes keep everyone on their toes," Macda shifts and nods in a greeting as the couple move to the table. Sabella speaks and the slightly shorter blond Grayson answers, "No, don't think there was archery, sadly- this was simply a family dinner. I gatecrashed in as a lady-in-waiting to Princess Terese. They have so many kinds of food in a wild attempt to satisfy region tastes. I think I might eat my way out. It was an interesting slice of their dynamics to see."

"Just a social engagement," Calarian agrees, tone level even as the corners of his mouth twitch at Dominique's handling of the servant that tries to attend her. Reaching the table, he fluidly descends on the chair provided by Cedric with a quiet, "Too kind," before his attention settles on Macda once more. "Ah, is that what had you in attendance? I'd wondered. And yes, the Duke does seem to command quite a bit of respect, by and large. That was my first time actually meeting him." He sets a wrist agaisnt the table, leaning into it slightly, and he asks Sabella, "Any plans already in mind for those families?"

Cedric assists with pushing in Calarian's chair. He then grasps a water pitcher settled at the table and fills the man's cup. "Dinner will be served shortly." He stands from the water fill and departs from the table with the pitcher, informing Domonique along the way, "We keep the water pitchers on the far table over there." he points to a server's station against a far wall where pitchers have been arranged, and briskly strides that way to settle the one he has on top of it.

Dominique looks to Cedric, briefly, as he commands Calarian to a chair. She pauses, and then moves to sit in it as intended, before Cedric's information pulls her attention to the far table. She frowns slightly before striding off in that direction with militaristic movements. "Lord Arn has ruled for a long time, steadily, and protected his people. I can only hope to be the same, one day," the woman comments of her liege.

*moves to sit in one beside her husband as intended,

Kaldur arrives well after the appointed time looking a bit haggard, the bright cheer of his smile more an echo, thrice bounced, of the sentiment, genuine but without its customary vigor. He bows with chin tucked to those he knows to greater and lesser degrees, aiming to quietly slip in among the diners, murmuring his request for wine to a nearby server.

"I've only ever met Duke Arn briefly, but am told he would benefit immensely from a dinner or two with me," Sabella chatters cheerfully, "And I am thinking some money for food, essentials, children's education, things like that," she waves a hand like those are all easy things to find for so many people, "And yoy, Princess Macda? What have you been up to recently?"

Out of nowhere appears Cedric, helping Kaldur out of his coat - that man's dominant arm becoming free of a sleeve at the exact moment the request wine arrives to him.

Macda focuses a look on Kaldur, but does not know where to place him yet. Making any hope of such a connection in her thoughts, the man stays silent but for a whisper to a servant. Macda fills her own glass of wine listens to her cousin's Sabella melodic voice. "He's immensely entertaining, I wrote several quotes of his down. He referenced us young royals as ones of 'thousands of parasites' off our Great House- though he spoke with much more imagery. Delightful." Perhaps Macda was one of the few that did take it light-heartedly that night. "And I've been well," she mentions with no pause to mention why her hands are wrapped. "Keeping busy and headed to Darkwater soon-ish. I think that's moving along. If you need anything for your donations, I'll do what I can."

When Dominique does not, in fact, sit down beside him, Calarian glances behind himself in curiosity that turns to warm amusement as he spots her intended course. "I pity the god or demon that strives to keep you from seeing that hope realized," he comments, watching on for a moment before Kaldur's quiet arrival draws his focus. "Lord Seliki," he greets, studying the man's features for a moment. Utimately he merely offers a tilt of his head in greeting before looking on to the discussion between Macda and Sabella, lending a nod to the latter at her answer for him. "Naturally. Well, they'll no doubt be better off for your attentions."

Kaldur blinks at the appearance of Cedric, wine, and disappearance of coat all in a twinkling, but only after he's settled and sipping, the whirl of efficiency rather missed in his fog. Thus made comfortable, he settles lifting his glass in salute to their hostess, trying to pick up the thread of conversation. "Mmmh." He grunts, "Duke Arn," he caught that much, "He's, ehm," a laugh, "Terse in his missives." There's a flicker of humor. "Marquis, Marquessa," Kaldur likewise nods at the Wyrmguard contingent. At Macda's look, he pushes to his feet, bowing, "My pardon." Hand pressed to his belly, "Lord Kaldur, Voice of Seliki, Sword of the Pearlspire." True to the last bit, he is armed and armored in well-cared steel plate, Grayson green-and-gray complete with griffons.

Zoraida, a dead-eyed Apprentice Whisper arrives, following Lumen.

Dominique retrieves a water pitcher, striding back to her place at the table and pouring her glass. She isn't a servant; she doesn't do it perfectly. Water splashes slightly, but mostly lands in the glass. Then she turns an about face and moves back to the servers' table to return the pitcher.

Bowing her head respectfully, Macda thanks Kaldur. "Pleasure to meet you, Lord. Macda, if you weren't already familiar." She does sound familiar, in the way she's skirting titles. Her smile turns from the Lord to Lumen with a yet unspoken greeting.

Cedric slides in next to Sabella holding a terrifically ornate goblet. He passes it to her. "The envied, immaculate and bejeweled Hostess Chalice of Grayson, your highness." He departs again with a bow - only to reappear moments later having quick changed into an apron and carrying a discuit serving basket and wielding the custom silver tongs of delivery. He begins placing rolls before the guests.

Sabella gives Kaldur a wave and gestures to an empty seat, "I think so," she agrees with Calarian because who wouldnt be better off with her attention?! "What about you," she asks Calarian, "Any big projects coming up?" She takes the chalice from Cedric with a beaming smile, "Thank you! I believe we have forgotten this the past months! You are amazing, Master Cedric!"

Entering without urgency and every bit the fanfare one might expect, the Radiant slows a few paces outside the entry to indulge in a graceful vertical dip - a bow to encompass all those members of the peerage present. On the rise, Lumen crinkles cutely towards their hostess. "He is, isn't he?" She agrees with Sabella on the subject of Cedric in a cool, melodious tone of voice, "Makes you wonder what might happen were anybody ever to cross him!"

Metzger, a great grey shrike leaves, following Dominique.

"Mm. I've been mostly occupied with facilitating this public opinion poll the King wanted conducted in relation to the upcoming Commoners' Council term," Calarian tells Sabella with a minute shake of his head, watching his wife come and go with the pitcher - and then end up drawn away by a messenger in Wyrmguard livery. "It's been rather time consuming but I believe the rest of the process ought to lie in other hands, fortunately enough. Outside of that just a few scattered interests. Looking up old records, acquainting myself with more in the way of Valardin customs, the like." His hands quickly find the roll placed before him, breaking off a small portion while he speaks. "Little more worth noting, I fear." Lumen's words draw his gaze to the woman, scrutinizing her for a moment before he offers a cordial nod.

"Likewise," there's a flicker, "Highness," Kaldur returns to Macda, his internal mental Cedric delivering the name and rank by some miracle. "Hmm?" His brow furrows and then he catches on, smiling at the sliver-tong-wielding roll-bestowing bastion of buttlery, "Thank you." He rumbles at his plate, looking for some butter, "I think we can all thank the gods if we never find out." He smiles wearily at Lumen, brow creasing briefly before he turns attention to Calarian's report. "What customs have stood out?" This, to the Marquis, adding, "And who will we hear from next?"

The butter seems to float to Kaldur's hand, carried on the gentle breeze of Cedric's grace as the aged butler manuevers to discard the basket to another servant in the same deft motion that pulls out a seat for Lumen. Cedric stands waiting to push it in once the Radiant Whisper sits.

"Yes, do tell us of their customs." Macda had turned her head to listen to Calarian and finish her glass, before she began to speak. "Notable also is the number of names for the Commoners' Council. No complaints of choice, I hope."

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

"Oathlands customs can be so wealthy in chivalry. I envy you, my lord." Wariness and scrutiny! That warm reception aside, Lumen presses her eyes into pleasant crescent moons. There's a quiet word of thanks spared for Cedric before she leans into her hip and takes her place. The whisper's hands move absently, fixing the fall of her gown so as to be most pleasing. It less conscious and more habit. "As to the Commoners' Council, there /do/ appear to be quite a lot of interested parties. Kudos."

Cedric checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

"But, do /you/ find any of them interesting, Lumen?" Macda tosses the bait into the air, hoping it works.

And Cedric is gone.

Bartholomew leaves, following Cedric.

Calarian pauses at Kaldur's inquiry, his lips thinning pensively. Before he answers he inclines his head toward Macda, agreeing, "A satisfying turnout, I should think. The scribes will be doing the majority of the work, truth be told, and you likely won't hear from them. But when this period has drawn to a close and things have been finalized I believe Joscelin Arterius will be announcing the new members as her last act on the Council."



He quiets, chewing on the small portion of bread he tore off a moment before, and swallows before saying to Kaldur, "The most peculiar tradition I've heard of cannot be ascribed to the whole of the Oathlands, but is worth mentioning nonetheless. I was reading of a dispute some time ago and Dominique introduced me a strange tradition held by House Steelhart, one of our vassals. If any member of the fealty, commoner or lord, draws a blade against another, they are bound to fight to the death. Duels, civil wars, and such allow for no quarter." Calarian dusts his fingers together after the account, brushing free a few crumbs before reaching up to rub at the corner of his jaw, gaze winding back to Lumen for a less intent study at Macda's question for the Radiant.

Bartholomew arrives, following Cedric.

Cedric returns, leading Malcolm in and directing the newly appointed Duke to the table, where a seat is drawn out for him and water glass filled and roll delivered....etc.

"Well, shit," sheepishly mutters Malcolm, late and not even ashamed of himself for it. His hair is tidy save for a place in the back where there was a patch that didn't cooperate, leaving a cowlick. His boots have been polished, his clothes neat, but as he scratches one stubbly cheek - squinting dark eyes at Cedric and following his directional cues toward a chair. He drops himself into it, tearing into a roll of bread as the first thing he sees, he offers: "Drank against the Sword of Farhaven and lost. Didn't really know what to have expected, save that the hangover knocked me further on my ass." He hushes, "Explains my tardiness, 'scuse me."

Feigning a small degree of horror at Calarian's anecdote, Lumen produces a quick feminine gasp. She eats daintily and really, almost not at all. Mostly leafy vegetables and cut up carrots! "How thrilling," the whisper says, eyes widening and shrinking mildly. "What stood out to me were those names most associated with various institutions most influential in commoner life, your highness," she answers, "Members of the Faith, or those associated with. Members of the Crafter's Guild. And of course, those names with less savory connotations. I look forward to seeing what sort of representation the end result reflects."

"The new hopeful appointees to the Commoner's Council are being discussed, my lord." Cedric informs Malcolm with a slight bow. There is a light Cedric finger pressed to Malcolm's forearm that lowers the roll and slips the man's elbows off the table...but Cedric then 'accidentally' knocks a fork to the floor. "My apologies," he says, distracting, as he kneels to collect the utensil, it being replaced on the table with a new one by Bartholomew.

Macda grins at Duke Malcolm, distracted from the Radiant by the mentions of drinking, a Sword, ass, and then the tonality of recovery. She knew it all too well. The moment passes and to avoid speaking over Lumen, she remains quiet as her attention shifts back to the woman. "Indeed, I suppose it might be an impromptu census of what support goes where."

Kaldur makes a small sound in his throat, thanks to Cedric for the magically appearing butter. Between the now-buttered roll and Calarian's report, Kaldur sits munching happily, perking up at mention of Joscelin. He swallows and smiles, a bright beaming thing, brighter for his general haggardness, "Remarkable woman, Guildmaster Joscelin." He sits back abruptly at Calarian's pronouncement of to-the-death duels when steel is drawn among the Steelharts. No feigned horror. His chair creaking with the suddenness, "And how many times has it come to that over the years?" He listens to Lumen's report, nodding, "Aye, I'd thought the same, though I admit I only knew a few of the names." He rises briefly at Malcolm's entry, settling again as the man sits, eyes narrowing with amusement, "Did he challenge you?"

Lips twisting in a wry grin at Lumen's comment, Calarian studies Malcolm. After the excuse, and the clatter that accompanies Cedric's distraction, he greets, "Hardly a required time to arrive when it comes to something such as this. Are you the new Lord Shepherd, by chance?" Breaking off a new segment of roll, he nods to Kaldur and agrees, "She has been a pleasure to work with so far. And yes, as far as I know the policy has seen action a number of times. I'd like to hunt down where it originated, and why, but I doubt I should have too much time for that in the near future."

Cedric waves a hand over Malcolm's head as he departs and the cowlick mysteriously disappears. The butler retreats out of view again, his presence replaced by half a dozen lesser stewards who fill glasses and collect used plates and utensils, readying the attendees' settings for the main course.

Malcolm shifts his elbows back from the table's ledge, pausing midway through shoving bread into his mouth as his eyes - dark brown, all wide - and he offers the butler a sudden, bright and boyish grin that doesn't take away from those smile lines that make the edges of his eyes crinkle. Mouthing, "Oops." Although it's not whisper, it's said out loud. "Huh? Uh, nah. She didn't. But, you know, four glasses into a bottle and it practically be a sin not to keep drinkin' - it was a fine bottle of whiskey." He pauses, again, and considers. Heavy brows furrowing, "Oh, yeah -- Duke Malcolm Shepherd of Graypeak. It's a pleasure." And he resumes his eating.

Lumen remains politely unmoved by Malcolm's... Malcolming. That is until his identity as the new Duke is revealed, at which point her dark eyes slide up with innocent interest. "My thoughts exactly," she affirms Macda, punctuating the statement with a happy twitch of her nose. "I've heard many a great thing about that Dame, but nothing as of yet about how well she holds her liquor. Might I recommend some hair of the dog? Or has that moment come and gone?"

"Came, went, came back again and left again. Nothin' Westrock coffee and a long winter nap can't cure. Think I might've drooled on some paperwork, it'll be fine." Malcolm's certain of this, offering the others at the table a broad smile.

Cedric returns with a stream of servants carrying platters - one per servant, one for each guest.



Cedric announces, "Glazed roast beef with fruit chutney and mashed potatoes, and aspargus." (Except visibly for Lumen who is being served a gorgeous salad of assorted, chopped greens, chopped apple, diced carrot and beets).



Cedric nods once and all the platters descend in front of the guests, hitting the table simultaneously. (Except Lumen, whose platter arrives a split moment before the others - though Cedric maintains he doesn't have any 'favorites').

Macda settles comfortably into her seat, and pours herself the last glass of wine from her bottle. She was fit to let others converse. She's brought out of that thinking when the new noble brings up Westrock coffee, and she can't help herself but to ask Malcolm. "Is that coffee with the pint of whiskey added? I've heard it thrice now in conversations but never got a chance to ask about it."

"I'm partial to the Mourning Isles roasts, but then my days start very early," Lumen deftly punctures a teensie-tiny sliver of vegetable on the end of her fork, bringing it up to her mouth and closing her lips over it without ever bending her neck. She dabs the corner of her mouth with a cloth napkin. "Delicious," she proclaims over her shoulder for the benefit of the cooks, whom will surely hear of it.

Mmmnhh. Kaldur blinks and takes a long sip of his wine, with a gesture of it towards Malcolm, "A nap would be grand." He definitely looks like he could use the sleep. And speaking of naps, "How is Prince Luca, it's been a while since I saw him at one of these." He draws breath to speak again, but is saved whatever non sequitur would have followed by the arrival of dinner which he looks at with clear pleasure. He lifts brows to follow the byplay between Macda and Malcolm, but returns attention to dinner. "This smells wonderful." The young lord sets to with some eagerness, flinching as his gaze drifts down the table to Lumen and the flawless polish of her manners. He clears his throat and makes a concerted effort to slow down.

Merril, an Assistant Page, 3 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Lailah.

"Marquis-Consort Calarian Wyrmguard," Calarian offers back to Malcolm. "And likewise." He pairs the introduction with a genial smile before letting his attention fall primarily on his food, now that it has arrived. Setting the picked-at roll to one side, he sets to with the eager restraint that comes from quite a few lessons in etiquette.

"Is it - maybe, possibly, wouldn't have remembered to take the time to remember if it was." Malcolm's quick to duck his head to mutter back at Macda, offering the Princess a half-smile. Then, cautiously, he slides his gaze toward Lumen. His expressive eyebrows lift - raise - and pinch down again in a series of thoughts that he only gives voice to once she compliments the cooks, "How do manage that without looking down?" He asks, genuinely curious. He glances down at his own roast beef and eats like he would anywhere else - with gusto, "'S good, yeah." He agrees. Agreeably.

Cedric filles Malcolm's water glass.

Macda begins to eat in adventurous and small bites of everything. Each part seems agreeable with the wine, which disappears quickly. She's never been one to eat much at a public table, and uses a moment not chewing to nod at Malcolm.

"Just another application of situational awareness, my lord," Lumen obliges Malcolm, lowering her napkin to her lap. Her eyes tighten, one twinkling with mischief. "Either that or Master Cedric over there and I are in /cahoots/!"

Lailah arrives... let's charitably call it fashionably late. She's still got her nose in a book even when she arrives in a hurried pace.

Malcolm's eyes cut to the side, narrow, and he sits up a little straighter. Chewing a little slower, but not by much. "'S gotta be both," he adds with a cheery smile toward Lumen, and then to murmur a reply to Macda's question. "We've got a barleywine that's outstanding. And wheat beers. An' Graypeak farmhouse sours. Jus', need to bring over those products for the consumption of the folks in the city."

"Farmhouse sours," Macda lets play around her tongue before nodding to the Duke. "Look forward to it then," she offers in a rising tone which leads into a greeting for Lailah. "Lady and her book, good evening."

Lumen's smiles rarely ever press beyond closed-mouth. She returns Malcolm's with one of her own, sincere but supressed with flirtatious skepticism. As Lailah enters, Lumen shows the rest of the party the side of her face to give the Bisland lady her full attention. Really, it's just to crinkle her nose cutely in her cousin's direction. That's an important thing to do, though!

After a span of dedicated focus on the meal before him, Calarian surrenders one antique utensil to the plate and reaches aside to take a slow drink. "I'll be interested to see when those products arrive. Sound promising, to say the very least." He glances up to take note of Lailah's arrival upon hearing Macda's greeting for the latest arrival. "Lady Bisland," he acknowledges, offering a brief smile before taking the utensil back up. "And you, Lord Seliki?" he asks aside to Kaldur. "Anything keeping you terribly occupied of late?"

Lailah responds to the nose-crinkle with a half-raised eyebrow. "Hello, Lumen. Princess Macda, Duke Shepherd, Marquis Wyrmguard. Master Cedric." She heads towards a table. "Terribly sorry I'm late. I was nose-deep in the archives and didn't notice the time."

"Oughta be, I think, an' - an' uhm the dogs. A'course." Malcolm remains good-natured, even if his expression grows that much more goofy and sheepish when the Radiant graces him with that fine-lipped smile. He looks as though he might be prepared to ask for an autograph - or, or something. Then, he nods a little more, giving himself some kind of internal talking to that's clear when you're someone that wears their heart on their sleeve the way he does. "Lady Lailah, good evenin'. Hey - least you had reason. I was hungover." He grins, "Could always be worse."

Kaldur espies the entry of Lailah and rises to his feet with a smile and bow, "Lady Lailah, it's good to see you." Something flickers in Kaldur's recollection and he squints, still standing, at Macda. "Ah!" he snaps and lofts a single finger at the rafters. "Bisland Manor. The night Lady Lailah offered me patronage." His face is lit with triumph momentarily before clearing his throat and settling again. His eyes narrow with undisguised doubt at consuming 'farmhouse sours.'



At the passing of the conversational torch to him, Kaldur gives a weak laugh as he settles his napkin, glancing up, "I think everyone has heard quite enough about the Great Road." He takes a deep breath and settles, cutlery in hand, poised to return to the work of eating, but offers, "I am still waiting to hear from some of the Great Houses, but Grayson," Kaldur dips his head at Sabella, "And His Magesty are both now involved. It's... a staggering amount of work ahead that will continue in perpetuity. The wheel turns. Ah!" He brightens visibly, "Marquessa Samantha and Radiant Whisper Lumen are negotiating a marriage between Seliki and Laveer," he nods at Lumen, "Lady Rey and... me." He blinks, "I am quite taken with her and count myself lucky to have such a, ehm, potential match."

Belatedly, he adds, to Lailah as it is the speaker's duty to call on the next, "My esteemed Patron, what is keeping you busy these days?"

"Ahh," Macda perks at the news. "So a Nearly Congratulations are in order. That's good news." She offers it with an amused smile as Kaldur seems to stumble over the last bit of detail, and the flush of the wine makes her dimples stand out as if she'd said something impish though she doesn't seem to think she has.

"A very smartly chosen match if I may so, my lord, and an equally clever choice in representation," Lumen nods coolly to Kaldur behind a smile, "Though, that's all I could be made to say on the matter as, well, we /are/ still in talks."

"Well, ain't love the grandest thing," Malcolm comments, nearly to himself, and he glances across the table to offer Kaldur a wide, toothsome grin. Then, as he sets his cutlery down on his empty place - he has time to reconsider. "Err, sorry. On the political match."

Calarian's eyes arch a fraction and he rewards Kaldur with a brief smile. "Congratulations on the tentative negotiations, should they prove fruitful," he says. "Provided that is the case, it will no doubt be a joyful union."

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

"I hope you will find your Rey of sunshine." Lailah answers Kaldur with no hint of anything in her voice, a straight deadpan. She sits down and glances around to see if there's still food to be had. "As for me, what has been going on is either incredibly dull and not worth talking about, or involves matters I'm under oath not to talk about, so I'm afraid you'll have to skip me."

You probably thought Cedric was gone. Or that he wasn't there. But he was. He always is. And now he is refilling water glasses.

The princess rises before Cedric need stop to find her water glass still full. "Wonderful meal, wonderful hostess. I have heard good news around, so I shall roam to find a spot of rest knowing the Compact's wheels are turning in the hands of capable people like yourselves." Macda gives a broad smile and courtesy bow, since she lacks a skirt to force other gestures. Without a cloak or coat, she surely mustn't be going far and excuses herself from the table.

a small twilit kingsnake leaves, following Macda.

"I will confess to hoping I'd, ehm," Kaldur's ears go quite pink, "Be fond of the woman I wed." He clears his throat and studies the plate between his still-poised cutlery and tongues the backs of his teeth glacing at Lumen with a nod in concession at Lumen's demural of speaking more on the matter, "I'm afraid you'll need to save those congratulations until terms have been struck, but the sentiments are appreciated. And I am ever so glad not to have to meet the Radiant Whisper across a negotiation table." He grins at Malcolm, "I think she'd swallow me whole without even a glance." A little food and talk of (potential) betrothal has perked the lad up it seems. He peers at Lailah, squinting, as if he can sense something in what she's said, but veers to address her lack of address, "Nothing, m'lady? It is cruel to taunt us with secrets. He rises to his feet at Macda's exit, bowing. This time he forgets his napkin and it falls to the ground, unnoticed. "It was good to still-not-quite-properly meet you, Highness."

[EDIT: ...it is cruel to taunt us with secrets." He rises...

"Is there to be another wedding?" Sabella asks as she sweeps back into the room having tended to some disaster. Probably named Niklas, "I feel like this spring is going to be full of happy weddings! As they all usually are but this one in particular I have a very good feeling about!" she says as she retakes her seat.

"Malcolm's brows lift high - higher - aaaaand he looks at Kaldur. Looks at Lumen. Squints at Kaldur. Squiiiiints at Lumen. His mouth's tugged into a tentative smile, even while his eyebrows continue to see-saw. Malcolm opens his mouth - shuts it. Opens it again. "Radiant, uh, does your jaw unhinge like a snake?" With a perfectly earnest expression.

"What a provocative and mysterious statement," Lumen admires Lailah's oaths of secrecy playfully. "It's actually very pleasant and /usually/ involves those little cucumber sandwiches," the whisper lifts both hands, demonstrating just HOW little the sandwiches are. (Very!) She's perfectly content until- Malcolm. Swiveling her head on her neck elegantly to regard the man, her eyelids sink with sultry suspicion. "/Who told you that/?" She asks, breathy and accusatory!

Malcolm checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 12 lower.

"Well - uh, Radiant, seems like Kaldur just did. Though, it might explain the mysterious smiles and that eerie way that you don't look down at your food. Maybe." Malcolm's puffing out his cheeks in some attempt not to laugh. He fails spectacularly. Laughing the kind of laugh that starts in the belly and vibrates outward, low and rumbly and ever-so-amused. He even claps a hand against the table that rattles the water-glass, rippling the liquid within. "This has been a hoot," he tells the table.

"Duke Malcolm! I'm so glad you could make it! So sorry you will now be consumed by Lumen and all ger good graces," Sabella says with a big smile, picking at the lettuce still on her plate. "As a new house to Arx you ought to get on the good side of the Whispers and," she leans towards him to say in a stage whisper, "Whispers don't have bad sides. Or at least anyone that's ever seen it hasn't been around to comment."

Suppressing a faint smile at Kaldur, then further at Malcom's question for Lumen, Calarian takes a final bite from the food on his plate and then nudges the food somewhat farther from himself, discarding the utensils. He lets out an amused breath at the Duke's laughter, though a moment later he twists aside to smoothly rise from the table. "Lords, ladies," he bids, shoulders and head dipping in a slight bow. "It has been a pleasure, though I've a few other matters to tend to. Good evening."

"Oh, well," Lumen pouts, "So long as you heard it from a viable source." As the lords begin to take their leave, the whisper offers polite and appropriate goodbyes. She's almost not even serpentine about it at all!

Kaldur rises to his feet, bowing in farewell to Marquis Calarian, "My best to the Marquessa, m'lord." Up down, up down. Sabella now! He bows again, smiling, a little revived and relaxed by food and conversation. He settles again, "Oh, I do like little sandwiches." He discovers his napkin gone astray, leaning down to get it. By the way Kaldur has laid waste to the food brought in succession to his plate by Cedric's attendant staff, it seems there's probably not a food Kaldur has met he didn't like. Still dubious about 'farmhouse sours,' though. He pauses in his blind grope under the table for where he thinks the napkin is based on where he projects it's at, "Oh, well, that remains to be seen, Princess. Lumen Whisper and Marquessa Deepwood are in talks for Seliki and Laveer right very- Aha!" There's the-- no that's not a napkin...

Lailah seems incredibly amused by that line of though, though she doesn't comment until Sabella brings up a point. "I think house Telmar might beg to differ with you on that, your highness." She says and then gets back to her eating.

"I'll pass that along," Calarian promises Kaldur with a wave over one shoulder. Collecting an attendant by the entryway, he fastens the claps on his coat and departs.

Philip, an overworked assistant, 2 House Wyrmguard Guards leave, following Calarian.

"Princess Sabella, it seems to me that with every Whisper I've met - every side is their good side. Unless you got on the wrong side, which means that no one would ever see you outside again. One would wonder where they'd hide those that done any of them wrong." Malcolm asks, scrubbing his knuckles against his cheek and chin, "'Sides, all the courtiers I've met are all elegance and grace. Such fine manners. Hopefully I'll learn some when I apply myself." A beat. "But - not t'day. Need to head on back to the manor." He rises from his place at the table, dipping his head in a brief bow. He doesn't leave yet until he takes some cookies. "For Lump," he explains as he steals shortbread into the pockets of his coat.

"Ladies and Lords, I proudly present the scenarist of Stormward, the beloved of Bastion and the Golden Quill of Arx, Prince Niklas Grayson!" Niklas walks in, announcing himself with all the shame of a professional Whisper. "Is what they will say when my next play finishes it's run, having shattered all records and redefined the theater for all time." Niklas walks over to the table, waving to people as he passes. "Duke Malcolm, truly wonderful to see you at your first of many Grayson family dinners. Lady Lailah, as delightful today as the first day we met! Lord Kaldur, a man of nerve and verve. Cedric, a proper greetings. And Lumen!" Niklas stops and glares at Lumen. "Make a proper announcement about Gianna! I want to gush about her so as to publicly embarrass her! It will be years before I can do that to my actual children, so I have to get my jollies where I can!"

"Cheeky," Lumen muses under her breath at the mention of Telmar. "Your highness," the whisper regards Niklas coolly, "The proper announcement has been made, by Softest Bliss. Internally. If you're referring to the means by which the Peerage and Faith announce news of importance... you may be disappointed. It's not our way. I do, however, wholly encourage you to dote and celebrate Softest Gianna as much as it pleases."

Cedric passes a small bowl of bon-bons to Niklas "Your jollies, my lord." as he makes his way to Lumen and settles there beside her as servants begin removing the platters and clearly away used utensils, and take dessert orders.

Sabella beams at Niklas when he comes in and then comments to Lumen, "Don't mind him. He just really likes being the Voice of something and the Bard's College, being new, doesn't have nearly as much paperwork as the Houses. So, he basically lives to comment on proclamations!" She picks up the huge glittering Grayson goblet and has a sip of wine. It sparkles almost blindingly in the candlelight.

Kaldur makes a face, confused by whatever he's discovered in his under-the-table groping for errant napkin and ducks under to get eyes on whatever it is, quite bonking his head when Niklas makes his entry. He eases out from under the table rubbing his head, but triumphant. He's got his napkin and also something sparkly which he offers to a servant. He's missed his opportunity to rise and bow to Niklas but offers him a grin and a nod, "Highness." He lowers his voice to a neighbor, asking, "Ehm, what is a 'scenarist?'"

Lailah takes another bite and glances towards Niklas. "Have you met my cousin Dariel yet, your highness? He's mentioned to me he's looking for acting work." She offers politely in between works, glossing over more discussion of whispery matters.

"Oh, no," says Niklas with a radiant smile. "I meant the means by which Softest Bliss announced the retirement of Radiant Selene and where Softest Bliss announced the choosing of two new Radiants! But the point is well taken. Well-ish. Ish. It's fine. I'll find some other way. It can't be that hard. Maybe I'll commission her a nice gown dropping with gems, but have them put a picture of a kitty with hearts for eyes on the front or something." When Cedric offers up candy Niklas gives a nod. "You always know just where to be, my good man." Niklas walks over and flops into a seat next to Sabella, going full boneless. "My love." To Kaldur he says, "Someone who writes scenes, of course! It's a real word and I definitely did not just make it up. Go ahead, I'll wait for you to message a Scholar." Lailah gets a nod. "I've met the man once or twice. Should he stay in the city long enough for something to start, I assure you he will find a place on my stage."

Cedric takes his leave.

Bartholomew leaves, following Cedric.

Sabella shakes her head quickly at Kaldur but it's too late! He asked! She gives Niklas a smile and reaches out to take one of his hands, "A kitty with hearts for eyes? Relara might like something like that, but I can't quite see the Nightingale liking cats," she says gently. Then she looks to Lailah curiously, "I don't think I've met him yet! I certainly would've remembered a Bisland actor! Lady Evonleigh of the Whitehawks is also an actress. If we keep this up we could have an all Grayson production!"

Ehem. Lumen lowers her gaze, lifting it pleasantly after a fraction of a second, "It's been wonderful to see you all. Thank you so much for hosting us, your highness. I would stay longer were I not soon to be missed." Gently curving into her hip, the whisper makes to rise from her place. Once upright, she dips in a slow bow of reverence to those nobles present.

"Gods go with you, Radiant Lumen." Kaldur smiles, "Please give my best to Marquessa Samantha when you next see her." Kaldur seems much cheered from how he arrived, lifting a glass in farewell to Lumen before turning to Niklas and blinking owlishly at Sabella for her headshake. He opens his mouth and closes it. A blink for Niklas and then, to Lailah, "M'lady," he leans towards her without taking eyes off of Niklas, "You're a Scholar, aye?" He pauses, but only a moment, "Is that a word?" Trust, but verify.

"The more common term used for such Lord Kaldur, is playwright." Lailah answers with bemusement and then Lumen gets up to leave. "It was good to see you again, Lumen. Come visit sometime." She takes a sip of her drink and considers a few matters, especially when Kaldur asks. "As a certified scholar, I can verify that scenarist is an actual but not a commonly used word, but at least it dodges the association with such professions as shipwright or wheelwright. I'm sure that's a key motivator in choice of words."

Zoraida, a dead-eyed Apprentice Whisper leaves, following Lumen.

Niklas watches as Lumen gets up to go and leans over to Sabella. "I don't think she likes me. But I'm so great!" The interplay between Lailah and Kaldur gets a shake of the head. "I was a scholar once! I had plans to become a senior scholar but it required being a disciple of Vellichor. I couldn't sneak around behind Jayus's back like that. That's why I joined the crafters guild. Would you like a bookcase? It's a single plank of wood, because I don't know how to make a bookcase."

Sabella grimaces briefly as Lailah and Kaldur fall into Niklas' trap, "You've done it now, he'll be making things up for the rest of forever assured that the things he says must have some basis in reality." When she finishes she's smiling again, though, waving goodbye to Lumen, "That might have been my fault, mentioning that I'd remember a Bisland actor, as she is one. But I just meant in recent arrivals! I shall make it up to her and all will be well." She reaches out to pat Niklas' hand, "You should have no need to fear Whisper assassins in the night. Probably."

Kaldur supresses a shiver at the apprentice following Lumen out, looking around the table at the others, "Was... she here the whole time?" The dead-eyed apprentice. He draws a slow breath and turns attention to the vast array of desserts. His mouth rounds a bit, pondering where to start with that and then drags his attention back to the conversation, nodding attentively, or something very close to it (dessert is distracting), "Oh, I always had trouble spelling , be cause of 'writing,'" he pantomimes writing, "And 'wrighting,'" he pantomimes hammering... there's hammering involved, yes? I'll take three. Bookshelves. And I

[FOR REAL POSE]

Kaldur supresses a shiver at the apprentice following Lumen out, looking around the table at the others, "Was... she here the whole time?" The dead-eyed apprentice. He draws a slow breath and turns attention to the vast array of desserts. His mouth rounds a bit, pondering where to start with that and then drags his attention back to the conversation, nodding attentively, or something very close to it (dessert is distracting), "Oh, I always had trouble spelling playwright, because of 'writing,'" he pantomimes writing, "And 'wrighting,'" he pantomimes hammering... there's hammering involved, yes? I'll take three. Bookshelves. And I'll put all your scenaristicisms on it."

"Oh but rest assured, your highness. I promise I will correct him when he spouts nonsense rather than merely using obscure vocabulary." Lailah answers Sabella, ignoring the discussion of Lumen's reasons for departure for now, though she can't help but comment. "One should always fear whisper assassins in the night. Because they are as hard to notice as a whisper in the wind."

"I'm incapable of lying," says Niklas, shooting his wife a hurt look. "Just one of the things about me that makes me a truly beloved figure." He sits up and decides to start serving himself copious amounts of everything, because anything that's left over is given to poors and NO THANKS. "Maybe she feels like I made fun of the Whispers. I can understand her being sensitive about that and she once journaled that she hates it when people don't understand what the Whispers do. I should write an apology note. Perhaps I'll hire a Whisper to do it."

Sabella grins at Lailah, 'Aha, I knew you were clever in not just scholarly ways!" She moves the lettuce on her plate around and laughs when Kaldur does his own play on words, "You're just encouraging him and if you've spent more than three minutes with my husband you know he doesn't need it." As Niklas hatches his latest scheme she sighs, though she's smiling, "Just let me know when I need to go smooth things over with Lumen. You do realize she's starring in your latest play and you should wait until after opening night to annoy her, right?"

Kaldur laughs, eyes bright. They're red-rimmed still, but he seems more at ease. "I have enjoyed myself this evening. Thank you, Highness, for hosting us." He sighs and looks longingly at the desserts, "Would it be terribly rude of me to take dessert with me?" The somewhat revived Kaldur seems a bit restless, and he fidgets a bit at the table awaiting the response.

Kaldur is overcome and excuses himself, "If it is, I'll consult a Whisper!" That seems the thing to do. Kaldur rises, bows, and grabs two desserts on his way out, "Thank you, Highess!" And then he's gone!

Lailah finishes her own meal and rises. "Well it was lovely, your highnesses. But I must be off. There's work yet to be done." She offers politely.

"Thank you for coming," Sabella comments to Kaldur and then to Lailah as they say their goodbyes, "I always love it when more than Graysons show up to this dinner. It's so interesting hearing what everyone's up to!"

Niklas offers waves to Kaldur and Lailah as they go, then looks to Sabella. "Well. I'm going to have all of the cake, then I think we're probably done."



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