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Birthday Bash!

It's the birthday (or close to the birthday) of Perronne Amboise, and she's throwing a party, because what good is a birthday without a party? Everyone she knows is invited! Everyone she doesn't know is also invited, and the food and booze are free! Happy birthday!

Date

Jan. 26, 2019, 3:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Perronne

Participants

Thena Alaric Oswyn Ajax Theron Reese Gunther Sorrel Brady Mayir

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Ambassador Salon

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


A huge hideously ugly mastiff, a Solace acolyte named Pyotr, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Thena.

There's absolutely no doubt that the party at the Ambassador Salon is nouveau riche in an enthusiastic sort of way. The long-suffering staff is here in their elegant uniforms, carrying around trays of expensive treats from all over the continent, there's free booze at the bar, and a quartet of musicians is playing spritely, upbeat music from the stage. None of the decorations are quite tacky - the staff would never allow such a thing here - but it's definitely more exhuberant than elegant, with explosively colorful bouquets at every table. Perronne is clad in Oathlands inspired fashion of seasilk, rose gold, and champagne silver and bounces from one knot of guests to the other with a wide smile and greetings for everyone. Most of the guests are the upper class of commoners - merchants mostly, with some independent sea captains, scholars, and craftspeople in the mix. More peculiar are the small chests perched on tables around the room, each one watched by a stern-looking and well-dressed attendant who wears a key prominently around their neck.

Thena picks her way into the Ambasador's Salon with her retinue, minus Dog, behind her. But she loses them easily in the crowd as she slinks her way towards where Perronne is currently holding court. She's in a low-key version of her black leather armor and definitely underdressed but black goes with everything, right? A couple of the snootier servers get a 'you gotta problem?' perk of the eyebrows until she fetches up near the birthday girl. "I have come to bash," the knight proclaims solemnly.

"Grandmaster!" Perronne beams. She does not hug, but from the way she bounces in her slipper, it is likely that is only the case because Thena does not give off I-am-a-hugger vibes. Instead, she just tries to project 'hug of joy' in enthusiastic personality. "I am delighted that you are here to bash, for there is bashing here!" She lowers her voice to a stage whisper, and adds, "But probably not with chairs. I don't think they do that here." Then she quickly holds up a finger, and dashes off. When she returns, she's bearing a large ceramic cup, filled with some sort of punch. This is offered. "It's another year in which I am not dead. I'm very excited! How are you? Also, drink this!"

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

"Just Thena is fine," says Thena, accepting the projected-joy-hug with aplomb. "They do get petty sniffy if you start a brawl in here though gods know it's not like they can't afford to replace the furniture." This is said a little louder than is probably necessary, then Thena gets to stand there and eyebrow further at people until Perronne returns with the large cup, which she accepts and sniffs delicately before drinking. "Thank you. Congratulations on not being dead yet and I'm well. Busy. The usual." She's standing with Perronne as a small crowd of other party guests swirl around them. "You?"

Perronne makes a little sound of distress. "Some of this furniture is three centuries old!" A pause, and another not-quite-whisper, "And some of them are very expensive reproductions. Shh." The punch smells citrus-fruity and tart, rather than alcoholic. But who knows! Perronne makes a little spin of delight. "And Thena, then! I'm good! Alive, also busy. I'm sorry about the delay on those hides, but I should have them to you soon. Oh! And I took your...cousin? Dusk! Camping. He's a good camper, and delightful company!"

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: There's absolutely no doubt that the party at the Ambassador Salon is nouveau riche in an enthusiastic sort of way. The long-suffering staff is here in their elegant uniforms, carrying around trays of expensive treats from all over the continent, there's free booze at the bar, and a quartet of musicians is playing spritely, upbeat music from the stage. None of the decorations are quite tacky - the staff would never allow such a thing here - but it's definitely more exhuberant than elegant, with explosively colorful bouquets at every table. Most of the guests are the upper class of commoners - merchants mostly, with some independent sea captains, scholars, and craftspeople in the mix. More peculiar are the small chests perched on tables around the room, each one watched by a stern-looking and well-dressed attendant.

Alaric rolls into the Salon, as he does on the semi-regular, and quickly notices there is an event afoot with all the decorations. Chests everywhere! Free drinks! Wandering trays of hors d'oeuvres! Some would say the party has yet to exist where the King couldn't make himself quite at home at, and evidently he intends to make good on that alleged remark either way, because he transitions straight into schmooze mode without breaking stride, accepting all his inbound deference with a regally sociable smile on his way to scoring that first glass of free booze. Zelda returns to his side after doing some quick social recon with a quiet remark, and the result of that debriefing is that King and drink are now descending upon Perronne and Thena with sharklike directness. "Grandmaster Thena, good day to you," he declares before regarding Perronne. "And you must be Mistress Perronne. Such an auspicious time to finally make your acquaintance! Happy birthday," he quips.

Perronne checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

"Maybe that's why they smell so weird," Thena remarks on the centuries-old furniture, hiding a little grin in her juice goblet. She shakes her hear briefly. "Don't worry about the hides. I know you're busy and I should have been keeping better track of how many tabards I had on hand. Like I said, it can wait. It's not like I even wear /mine/ mot of the time." It's true! She's not wearing it! When Alaric rolls up she looks faintly surprised, but inclines her head respectfully. "Good day to you, your Majesty. Yes, this is Mistress Perronne Amboise, my protege." And here she casts a sidelong glance to the woman in question, with a hint of concern.

To say that the appearance of the King causes a stir would be an understatement, of course. Heads turn, whispers rise, dozens of people do their best to check hair, makeup, and clothes in whatever reflective surface happens to be nearby. Perronne's attention is distracted from where she's standing, being Excited, at Thena by the murmurs, and when she traces the magnetic social force back to its source, she makes a strangled little 'meep' sound. She does not faint. She doesn't even hide behind Thena, although from the look she gives the knight, the urge is there. Instead, she turns to sink into curtsy that hardly shakes at all. "I am, Your Majesty, and it is a great honor to meet you in person. Thank you for the kindness you have shone." She gets through that without squeeing at all, although when she straightens out of the curtsy, it's with more of a /bounce/ than is strictly polite. Her smile flashes out, and if it looks a bit more nervous than usual, well. "Um, enjoy the punch! There are other drinks, but," she nods very solemnly at the drink, "you should definitely drink the punch first!" A pause. "Or not! It's your decision! Um. How are you?"

Alaric practically radiates conviviality as he regards Thena. "Is that so, Grandmaster? I don't know if you've heard, but we've sought to contract out some work for the Ministry of Coin and your protege's been the one selected at the end of our search," he notes approvingly before smiling politely to Perronne's greeting. "I'm well. Delighted to have made the festivities," he replies before eyeing his drink appraisingly a moment. "Well, I will definitely drink the punch first, then," he quips. "Patron and protege, eh! I must say, I'm a little curious as to how the two of you became acquainted."

Oswyn makes his way into the Ambassador Salon, his satchel slung over his shoulder, as usual. The scholar pauses and squints at the room in general. It is a mighty squint. He looks a little bit... not lost, but uncertain? Finally, he murmurs a question to someone nearby. There's a brief back and forth, and that person - one of the guests - points to Perronne. Oswyn nods gratefully and heads over to the woman, digging around in his satchel.

The doors of the Salon open, and the large figure of Ajax crosses the thresh hold in a slow trudge, his fingers moving to the hood of his cowl, his eyes widened as he notices an uptick in the crowd, trying to get a better look around the area proper. Oswyn gets a look of recognition as he just follows after the man.

Garibaldi, the Lycene swordbearer, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants arrive, following Theron.

Thena savors a sip of the tart-sweet juice before answering Alaric. "She /did/ send me a letter asking me if I was the one who had nominated her, apparently with the intention of fussing at me for outing her as an incredibly competent and talented person. I told her I hadn't but I would have had I known it was an option." She flickers a toothy grin. "She agreed to help me out with a prank involving a hideous little carving she had in her shop, on account of her experience with the Solace on her travels."

"I am a minor government functionary!" Perronne sounds terribly proud about that. "It was an exciting process, and I look forward to doing whatever I can to help." She glances past Alaric, and her expression lights up more. Manners forgotten for the moment, she waves enthusiastically towards the approaching Scholar and Ajax. "Hello!" Then she freezes in place, giving the King a startled look. Her hand...comes down slowly. She clears her throat, and curtsies again. "My apologies, Your Majesty. Just, just a moment!" Thena is given a mock glare. "Don't tell him THAT! That's not fair!" Then she skitters sideways and out of the royal orbit to descend upon the scholar and the mercenary. "It's great to see you both! Here!" She snags the same ceramic cups filled with punch that she seems to be trying to press on everyone, and offers one to each of them. "Drink this!"

Oswyn produces a leather bound book from his satchel, as well as a rather excellent quality quill. These, he presents to Perronne, after a careful squint. "Happy birthday, Miss Amboise. Here - um - I think everyone can use a blank book at some point, and a quill to write with." He brought a present! He seems happy to exchange it for some punch. "Oh, thank you!" And he glances over his shoulder at Ajax, offering a smile. "Hello again. Ajax, yes?" The 'Your Majesty' catches his attention, and there's more squinting - finally, he gives a bow in Alaric and Thena's direction.

Alaric casually gestures Perronne permission to skitter off. "Does she do a brisk business in hideous little carvings, then?" he asks Thena before following Perronne with his gaze to watch her distribute punch around. "Ah, it's Scholar Oswyn, Lord Theron, and Ajax the sellsword," he notes. He might be showing off to Thena that he's good with names and faces just a bit. He raises his punch glass to Oswyn. "Do try the punch! It's delightfully tart," he advises.

"He wanted to know how we first met," Thena replies to Perronne with mock indignation, then grins as she ventures into the crowd to round up the others. "She does do a brisk business, but I haven't seen any other carvings like the one I pranked my friend with. There was a very odd little painted dog...vase, maybe? I left that alone though." She smiles to the newcomers and offers an introduction. All new names and faces to her. "Dame Thena, Knights of Solace."

Taking a moment once within to observe, Theron has a curious look on his face. His eyes are roaming the salon itself first, as if unsure if he has neither entered this place, or cannot remember the last time. His shoulders roll quickly with a look of discomfort on his face. The fact that Garibaldi is bearing his swords completely may have something to do with that. In Theron's hands is a small cask, complete with a silk ribbon tied in a bow. From inanimate objects, his eyes go to people. Alaric recieves an immediate bow, and various other guests receive sharp nods of the head. Theron's apparently now trying to pick out the woman of the hour.

As Ajax travels closer by, he offers Oswyn a smile first, "Aye, I believe we threw snowballs tog-" he pauses, noticing the king he gives a bow towards the man, before lifting up to accept Perrone's cup, "Thank you, Traderess, an' happy birthday to you. If I had known, I would of gotten you somethin' I will get you something later certainly." he cracks a genuine seeming smile towards Perrone before he takes a sip of the cup proper.

Perronne takes the book and the quill with pleasure. "These are wonderful - oh, wow, this is a really nice quill! That's great! I've worn a dozen or so down to the feathers with writing the new Almanac, thank you so much, Scholar Oswyn!" The book is tucked into the crook of her arm. The quill, after a moment's thought, is carefully tucked into her upswept hair, fastened securely in place behind one of the ribbons that holds it in place. It...clashes a little with the rest of the outfit, maybe, but it does bob rather entertainingly with her energetic movements. Around the room, some people are starting finish their drinks, and several are giving the bottoms of their cups peculiar looks. To Ajax, she laughs, "You don't have to get me anything! I'm just happy you're here. It's going to be so much fun!" She beams at both men, then, seeing Theron enter, quickly excuses herself. Someone is without punch, and this much be remedied. "Hello! I don't think we've met - I'm Perronne Amboise, merchant extraordinaire!" Because all times are good times for advertising. A ceramic cup of punch is offered with enthusiasm /just/ shy of spilling. "Come in, have fun, and drink this!"

"Hello, Your Majesty," Oswyn greets Alaric with more ease than anyone who actually knows Oswyn would reasonably expect. "And hello, Dame Thena. It's nice to meet you. I'm, um, Scholar Oswyn Spencer." He has a dutiful sip of the punch, his eyebrows arching. "Oh, this is lovely. Thank you." He also bobs his head to Ajax. "At least the weather is better this time. No chance of snow getting down your shirt."

Deliverance, an albino falcon, Rosalie, a lady in waiting, 1 Grayson House Guards, Peaches, a lovely white war filly with a peach saddle, Stormy, a silvery gray hunting hound, Rascal, a hyper terrier arrive, following Reese.

"A dog vase certainly sounds like an odd design choice," Alaric notes to Thena with a somewhat skeptical squint as he tries and seemingly fails to envision how it ought to look. "Oswyn here is quite the capable scholar, Princess Sabella sings his praises quite vehemently," he notes before glancing past. "Lord Theron, it's been a while! I haven't seen you since your brother's wedding reception, was it? How have you been?" he calls out as he beckons him over.

"It was an antique," Thena tells the king, like that should explain everything, and turns a smile to Oswyn. "Nice to meet you too, Scholar." As others in the room start to comment on their juice goblets, she peers into her own. With a tiny frown, she shakes her head and takes another swig.

Apparently, Perronne has been tuned in enough to the conversation between Alaric and Thena to call back, somewhat indignantly, "It was a /Silly Years/ vase! They're very rare, and it was a very important period of artistic development!"

Reese arrives in the salon while adorned in her pink and toting along her weapons. She peeks over the room, trying to get a feel for things. She has a gentle smile of greeting.

Perronne bounces over to greet Reese with a deep curtsy. "Your Highness! What a pleasant surprise to see you here! Welcome!" The weapons get a bit of a Look, but she's quickly distracted by snagging a cup of punch in a ceramic vessel, and thrusting it in cheerful offer to Reese. "There are other drinks, and food, here - but drink this first!" No one seems to be collapsing, so she's probably not trying to poison everyone. Probably.

Alaric glances briefly at Perronne before regarding Thena again. "I see. Never was one for art history, much. I defer to the experts," he observes wryly before having another drink. "Ah! I'm number one," he declares, eyeing the bottom of his cup and showing it to Thena and anyone else who wants to look. "Not that I wasn't before," he quips before regarding the cup again. "Hmm. And those look like cherries, to whatever signficance a fruit token might have. Ah, hello Reese! Yes, do have some punch. It comes with a mystery!" he declares encouragingly.

"Lord Theron Mazetti, Sword of Ostria." Theron counters the exuberant greeting with a laugh. "I do not think we have either, but since you are the guest of honor-" Theron is cut off by alcohol pressed at him. There is no objection, indeed he drains half the cup after raising it in a salute to Perronne. "Your health!" Settling the cup lower, he performs his own enthusiastic push of alcohol. "Third Wall, very fine Ostrian brandy. This one has a good solid cherry flavor to it. I hope you'll enjoy it." At the sound of his name, his head inclines once more, and Theron settles that gaze of his upon the King. "I believe you must be correct your Majesty." At the latter question a snort of amusement. "In need of more action and excitement. However, in good health thank you for inquiring. Yourself?" The Arrival of Princess Grayson has him side stepping slightly to be out of the way. He does this while giving Reese a rather wary expression. Apparently a mock expression that does not last due to winking at her as his smile reappears.

"Everyone deserves somethin' on their birthday." Ajax replies, his eyes following Perronne's movements, his expression a tad amused at her hostessing, before he shifts back towards Oswyn, his shoulders rolling slowly, "Eh, I can't say that really bothers me, Scholar. Born on the northern isles, went to the mainland to see the northern fringes, cold, I can handle by bundlin' an eating stew. The heat kills me." he dips his head towards the incoming Reese.

Oswyn doesn't quite blush at the mention of praise, but he is pretty dang humble about it. A quick nod. Oswyn seems to recognize Reese - perhaps it's all the pink - and he bobs his head in greeting to her as well. "The first time I went up north I was introduced to some, ah, pranks involving snow. Dumping it down the back of my shirt. There may have been a dunk face-first into a snowbank." He has a thoughtful sip of his juice. "They warmed up to me eventually."

"Never felt better, I'm happy to say. I think I'll take another stab at completing the Gauntlet under the time limit this summer," Alaric replies to Theron. "Rather don't have the time to train as much as a professional soldier, but slowly but surely I'd like to think that one day I'll make it atop the rope with a passing score. And yourself?"

Reese reaches out for the offered cup. She gives Perronne a warm smile that touches her blue eyes. "Oh, thank you and happy birthday." She says before, taking a sip. She then peeks over to Alaric. "You Majesty." She says cheerfully to her cousin. "Nice to see you." Reese then looks to Theron. "Oh...I don't bite, but sometimes I do stab and well you are perfectly safe." She teases. She takes another sip of the punch and then another. Reese then studies the cup. "Six and a bright sun." She says happily.

Perronne grins at Reese. "Thank you! I am very happy to still be alive!" Then she flutters back to take the offered cask of brandy, her eyes widening. "My lord Theron, thank you so much! This sounds absolutely delicious, and I will see that it will be put to good use." A pause. "In my belly. And other people's bellies! I'm not going to drink it all by myself! That would be sad." She pauses, coughs, and just says, "Right. Let's forget I said most of that - it's a pleasure to meet you, and thank you so much for your kind gift." She slips away briefly, to put both the book and the small cask on a small table with a few other gifts before returning to where Thena and the others seem to be gathering.

Thena lifts her cup in a little mock-toast-salute greeting to Reese, then says, "Hmm," to the fruit-emblazoned bottom of Alaric's cup. She drinks deeply once more and finally sees the bottom of it. "Five, apple. Oh blast, Perronne, I didn't bring a gift."

Reese checked stamina + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

"An apple and a five?" Alaric observes to Thena before he glances at Reese. "The sun isn't a fruit. Are you sure that isn't an orange?" he inquires a trace teasingly and returns his attention to Perronne at her return. "Will we be learning the significance of our fruit numbers, then?"

"There are worse goals to have in life, Your Majesty. Honestly, a lot of being so good at such things is all up here." Theron's left hand taps his temple. "Helps with the quickness, you see. Still. It's a good goal for you, I think." Theron's grin styats put as he speaks with the King. Another sip at the cup and a blinking. "Hmm. What's this. No I will consume this at an appropriate rate to finish this discovery of a.. thing." He takes eyes off the inside of his cup to look over to Reese and he snorts. "Ha! Easy for you to say, Princess. All my pointy things are over there with Garibaldi." He flicks fingers to indicate the Swordbearer. "I feel naked." Another sip from his cup. "Aha. An eight and a little flower, very clever." His intense gaze falls upon Ajax, Thena, and Oswyn one by one before looking into the bottome of the cup again. "Is this the number of drinks I am to consume? Well. If I must." A mock sigh, and Theron is looking for a refill.

Perronne beams at Thena. "Of course you did. You came! I spent eight of my last ten birthdays out in the woods, with no one to celebrate with me except two century old statues and squirrels. This is amazing!" She claps her hands together, her smile widening to take in everyone in the general vicinity. "Thank you all!" She grins cheekily at Alaric, her nervousness temporarily drowned in pleasure. "That's up to you, Your Majesty. I will say, there /is/ significance to them, and there's a logic to it, but if I told you, it would rob you of the joy of discovery! Just remember - any good treasure requires cooperation to claim." She laughs at Theron's interpretation of the numbers. "That is /also/ a way to play, of course." And a staff member is there to refill any drinks, or fetch more alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks as people wish.

Reese drank down the whole cup and she has yet to seem effected by the booze. Maybe that will come later though. She did just drink it. Who knows. "Being still alive is a very good thing, Mistress Perronne." She says softly in her direction. "Um, maybe it is an orange." She say sand glances down at her cup once again. "I think six is a great number. Nice and even and kind of rounded." Reese then hmms as she looks over to Theron. "I feel nervous without my weapons too. I am so used to having them and I don't know how to punch all that well. I don't even love peace tieing them, but of course I do when the situation calls for such. It is nice to see you again, Lord Theron."

Ajax takes a long drink from his own cup, draining it down as he peers between Theron, dipping his head towards the man then back towards his own cup, "Me apologies, Lord Mazetti. Ajax a simple sellsword. An honor." his tone polite, before he then over towards Perronne, "So, we're seekin' treasure?" his lips curling into a boyish grin towards the birthday merchantess.

"I'm not sure /I/ would consider my presence a gift, but if you say so," Thena replies to Perronne, but she sounds more pleased than she probably means to. "So it's a game...numbers, fruits, flowers and the sun, or an orange." She waves away the offers of more beverages of any type, having emptied her juice cup rather quickly at the end.

Alaric hmms thoughtfully. "A riddle! Well, numbers usually indicate an order. I suppose we could try to form a word with the rest, of something like it. Cherry, something, something, something, apple, sun, something, flower. Or if you like, C _ _ _ A S _ F." He squints thoughtfully. "I can't really think of a word that ends in A-S-something-F, admittedly. Further drinking is necessary to reveal more clues, I'd say!"

"Er, Scholar Oswyn," Oswyn informs Theron. "Well met, Lord Theron." He has another sip of juice, longer, curious as to what may be at the bottom of his cup. Otherwise, he's pretty quiet, blinking owlishly. So scholarly.

Reese smiles toward Ajax and then she notices Thena. "Oh, Dame Thena, a pleasure to see you." She says happily toward the GrandMaster. "Oh, a riddle..." Reese then adds, peeking toward the king. "I am so bad at riddles."

"Maybe!" Perronne radiates innocence as she grins at Ajax. "Maybe the treasure you find is the friends you make along the way - or maybe it's a heap of gold coins. Part of the great thing about an adventure, is that you never properly know." Thena gets a harumph. "I do. And it is my birthday, so whatever I say is the truth. I'm quite certain that's a law somewhere, but His Majesty might disagree, and if he does, then I'm pretty sure he outranks me, even on my birthday." In the background, a small group of merchants has descended upon one of the chests and its attendant, and are peering at the stone-faced attendant, and then the chest itself. They step back a bit to whisper at each other.

"Knight Votary Princess Reese," Thena replies with a flash of a grin, then looks around at those gathered near her. "Anyone have two?" She outright laughs at Perronne's birthday tyranny. "I concede, I concede!"

Alcohol has been chosen by the Sword of Ostria as a refill. Theron's nod of understanding comes immediately to Reese. "I completely understand what you mean. I don't like the suggestion needing such bonding has on my honor, but understand others are not so honorable. That, and these are strange and trying times. A pleasure as always, Princess Reese." His head inclines, one swordsmaster to another. His eyes shift onto Ajax and his head shakes, but he is smiling. "Come now, Ajax. Nothing simple about such a profession. Well. Ok sometimes there is, but for the most part. Very necessary at times. Well met." next he puts his attention on Oswyn. "Well Met, Scholar. Out of curiosity, is there a particular specilization of study you prefer?" A deep sip from his cup and he looks from Perronne to the King. "Well he's certainly come up with more ideas than I have at the moment. Though, my flower looks like it is just opening. Also, well- fruits. Some form of spring time perhaps? Things you make alcohol with?"

Perronne checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

"Far be it from me to assert royal authority over local birthday sovereignity," Alaric observes dryly. "Legally permissible, perhaps, but terribly gauche," he declares dismissively.

There's an excited flicker to Perronne's expression at something Theron says, but she claps her hands over her mouth until she can control it again. She gives a cheerfully nonchalant whistle that likely fools no one, then offers a graceful curtsy to Alaric. "Your Majesty's generosity is noted with great appreciation."

Reese glances down at her cup once again, still seemingly curious about it. She then turns to Theron, nodding. "It is needful sometimes, but I feel so vulnerable without my blade right at my hip and ready to use if need be." The princess hmms. "I have no idea what it all means, but I am very fascinated." She muses.

Oswyn offers a close-lipped, shy smile to Theron. "I have a, um, a few things I do regularly. I often work as a teacher but there's also a considerable amount of research as well as cartography." He has another long sip of his tart juice and squints into the cup. "An L," he announces. "And upside-down grapes." A pause, and he turns the cup about. "Oh! Seven and some grapes. Sorry about that."

Alaric cants his head thoughtfully at Oswyn's revelation. "Well, ASGF certainly isn't a word. But there definitely seems to be an agricultural theme running through the symbols as Lord Theron's pointed out. One wonders why they're ordered in the particular way that they are, though. It's not biggest to smallest, or anything like that."

In the background, guests have begun to circulate with puzzled expressions, stopping at various points to show the bottoms of their cups and whisper. A few even seem to be trading cups, as if one might be better than another. Several go over to the chests around the room, eye the silent attendants and the chests, then wander away again. Small groups, slowly, seem to be being formed.

Reese hmms softly. "My cup is clearly the boss cup, because the sun grows all the plants or at least I think it does."

"If everyone could repeat their combinations, that might help," Oswyn remarks, though he spares a curious squint in the direction of the small gaggle of merchant types examining the chests and their attendants. Oswyn sidles over to the nearest to peer at the chest.

If he noticed Perronne's reaction, Theron isn't telling. He is looking back into the cup again and looks thoughtful. A blink and he looks to Reese. "Yes, exactly. It's a feeling of absense, like when a close one goes far away for some time. At least for me." Clearing his throat Theron looks upon Oswyn again. "Ah, maps and such. An explorer at heart? My Cousin, Vitalis is the same. Loves his adventures and discoveries." His head shifts to the side to Alaric. "You know here the pictures were enough mystery to me, and you've also recalled the numbers and are working on this." He taps his temple again. "I think your chances for the guantlet are improving, Your Majesty." A look to Thena. "What was yours, erm. Sorry I do not think we have met. Lord Theron Mazetti, Sword of Ostria." He gestures to his own cup. "8 and a young flower, or flower coming into it's own from bud. I am not sure yet."

Reese repeats her words, seemingly in response to Oswyn's suggestion. "Six and a sun." She says in his direction. She goes to find a place to sit.

Reese has joined the Far rear couches.

"Aye. that much I can agree with my lord. Though, I view it as simple. It may just be from my own perspective." Ajax offers, peaking back into his cup, "I got a three, an' what looks like a peach in mine." he offers towards the group with a pursing of his lips, before his shoulders roll slowly, "That drink was not bad at all." he shifts his attention towards the server to order an other, he shifts his attention back towards the group gathered.

"And mine was a one and a symbol of a cherry," Alaric repeats. "Perhaps when you put it together it's a sort of rhyming phrase. Very for cherry, each for peach, power for flower, and the like."

"Exploration is great fun," Perronne puts in, cheerfully. "At least for a while, then you start to miss having a bed that doesn't have insects in it by the morning. Or snakes, if it's cold." She grimaces. "But then when you HAVE the warm bed, eventually you start to get itchy." A glance towards Oswyn. "I'd love to see your maps, one day!"

"I'm also a member of the Society of Explorers," Oswyn tells Theron, though now he's getting distracted. "Thirteen chests --- this one has the symbol of Petrichor. A three with a peach, a six with a sun, a seven with grapes, an eight with a flower," he muses out loud. A nod to Perronne and a quick smile. He eases over to look at another one of the chests.

"Apple, five," Thena repeats helpfully, and, "Dame Thena," to Theron. "Grapes, drapes? Apple...hm." It's almost like she's speaking in tongues.

The next chest down the line seems to have Lagoma's flame. As Oswyn approaches it, the attendant picks up a small slate behind the chest and shows it to him. It's blank, but for four straight lines.

"There aren't a whole lot of potential rhymes for apple, admittedly," Alaric observes with a faintly thoughtful frown.

Reese looks over to Alaric. "That is clever maybe it is that." She says softly. She seems confused by the markings on the chests. "Trying to figure this out is giving me headache." she says cheerfully.

Wandering through the crowd, a young man seems to be showing his cup to various people. As he approaches the group around the king, he says, "Snowflake? I've got a snowflake. Anyone have a...snowman? Or a snow...mountain? Snowball?" He casts a hopeful eye about.

"Let's hope that the sun is a sun and not an orange," Thena says gravely, craning her neck to see what's going on with the other chests. "All of our symbols seem to be Petrichor-related. Or are we supposed to be going around to other chests?" Since that seems to be what nowflake-guy is doing.

Oswyn leans over to squint at the slate. He nods to the attendant and says, quietly, "Thank you." He veers toward the next chest, clearly intrigued by this puzzle. Or at least unwilling to let the mystery remain unsolved.

The next chest has Mangata's sigil on it, and as Oswyn approaches, the attendant raises another slate - same thing: blank but for four lines. Down at the far end, four guests are clustered around a chest, and seem to be drawing on one of the slates with a piece of chalk provided by an attendant.

Another sip of the strong potent punch. "Hmm. Rhyming is not my strong trait. For me to solve that would be a long wait." This from the grinning Theron. "Perronne makes a good case for why sometimes exploration can not be the best experience ever." A blink at Oswyn. "Apologies, as am I. I really should spend more time with them. Though you did look vaguely familiar." Theron shakes it off. "Seasons? Sun. Snow. Awakening flowers." Theron muses and finishes his cup. "Hmm. Maybe cups are supposed to get paired up?" Then there is the chest activity for Theron to ponder.

Perronne grins towards Theron. "Hey, I didn't say it wasn't the best experience ever! It's just that sometimes you unexpectedly make new, fangy friends in your bedrolls. And then you scream and flail around and everyone ends up very startled. And bitten." A pause. "Although really it was only me that ended up bitten. I didn't bite the snake. Although really, wouldn't that have been appropriate justice if I had?"

Reese is curled-up on the couch and she has her cup cradled in her gloved hands. The Princess seems rather baffled about the game. "Maybe they re supposed to be paired up. That is a good thought." She muses.

"Petrichor, eh. Hmm," Alaric muses before squinting and muttering half to himself, "If somebody here has a cup with a stoat wearing a sash, I'm leaving." He glances to the chests. "Hmm. Well, if they're looking for four blanks to fill... we've got four fruits here, do we not? Cherry, apple, grape, and peach." He beckons Ajax, Thena, and Oswyn to follow him quite naturally like he orders people around all day and leads them over to the Petrichor chest. "Well then, sowing and harvest is is then." He takes the slate and promptly starts drawing the symbols on it in numerical order. Cherry, peach, apple, grapes.

Alaric checked perception + artwork at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Alaric draws a precise if not especially embellished quartet of fruits.

Oswyn offers a quick, close-lipped smile at Theron. "It's a large organization," he calls out lightly, now heading for the little foursome that's drawing on their slate to peer over their shoulders. Well, squint over their shoulders. "And we've never been on the same expedition." He glances Alaric's way, but doesn't go over just yet. Shocking! He wants to see the other slate.

The attendant looks down at the slate. He seems to think about it for a moment, then picks up a cloth and carefully wipes the slate clean again. A sympathetic bow of his head is given to his King. "The passcode is numerical, Your Majesty," he says, in a low voice. Then clears his throat, as if abashed.

An older woman frowns at various people passing by - she may be recognized by some as a redoubtable old matron of one of the crafting families of the city. "I have a harvest horn," she proclaims, and clearly expects someone to respond to that. A foot taps, impatiently.

A huge hideously ugly mastiff have been dismissed.

a Solace acolyte named Pyotr have been dismissed.

1 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

"Depends on the snake." Theron answers Perronne. Attention shifts from her to Reese and her statement, and then Alric as the King has another idea. "Hmm. Maybe mine is blossom, then?" He peers at the image once more. "But the numbers?" His question is answered about the same moment he asks it. "Oh. Hmm. Well Numerical, but in which order? By alphabetical fruit? Know what, more punch will get this solved." At that Theron gets yet another refill of the strong drink.

Oswyn heads over toward Alaric, leaning in to peer at the slate. "Try alphabetical," he suggests, nodding to Thena. "Five-one-seven-three?" Look, he is not going to take the chalk from the king.

Alaric appears vaguely distressed that his art was scrubbed so readily. "It's a good thing I didn't spend a lot of time on the details," he deadpans before squinting thoughtfully. "Well, we know the form the answer's supposed to take now," he muses. "Anyone have any specific ideas to try? Alphabetical fruit it is, then." 5 1 7 3, he writes and hands the slate back, eyeing the attendant a bit challengingly.

Ajax with a slow trudge Ajax follows along, with the king brown eyes curiously gazing at his drawing before he shifts his eyes over towards Theron and Osywn, "I figured either o' those ideas, are good nuff." his hand moving to rub the back of his head sheepishly.

The attendant looks...SO RELIEVED. Like his day has been made IMMEASURABLY better by not having to tell the King that he's wrong /twice/. He takes off the key from around his neck, and offers it to Alaric with a flourish.

Off to the side, Perronne bounces on her heels, and claps. "Excellent work! I knew you all could get it!"

Reese smile when the riddle seem to be solved. "Oh, yay!" She says cheering for the others.

Oswyn smiles brightly, which makes him look approximately fourteen years old. "There we go," he says, with a nod to Ajax. "There are still the other chests. Princess Reese, you said you had a sun, yes? Did I overhear someone else talking about a snowflake? Perhaps you're in their group. And then there's the matter of the flower." He is so into this. Riddles!

Thena, who has been only marginally helpful, claps her hands sharply a couple of times. "Nicely done!"

Alaric smiles graciously upon taking the key, then turns to present it to Oswyn. "Excellently done, everyone! Well then, Scholar Oswyn, as you told me the correct numbers 5-1-7-3, I'll have you do the honors," he declares regally. He regards the attendant and casually relieves him of the slate and the cloth, whereupon he wipes the slate again and starts re-drawing the fruits.

Alaric checked perception + artwork at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Alaric takes the time to add some details this time.

The attendant throws Perronne a bit of a look as the King claims his slate, a look that clearly says 'I am not getting paid enough to argue with the King about this', and she grins and bobs her head at him, clearly absolving him of all need to defend the slate.

Reese looks over to Oswyn. "More riddles to figure out.." She says trailing off. The girl then hold sup her cup. "Um, anyone with things like suns, stars, snowflakes, rain?" She asks.

The party is in full swing, with groups of merchants and other guests apparently starting to cluster around the thirteen chests strewn about the room, each one with its attendant. The King's party has just managed to gain the key to open their chest, and Perronne is cheering them on.

"Oh," Oswyn says as the king presents him the key. And he kind of has to take it, because the king is swapping the key for the slate. He still seems slightly unsure, and he looks to the others. Well, then. His gaze slides back to the attendant. "I, um, unlock it, then?" So awkward. He leans over to insert the key in the lock, unless the attendant stops him.

The young man who came by before swings his head around and says, "Snowflake? I have a snowflake!" He waves his cup around with a bit of excitement. "Who needs a snowflake?"



Meanwhile, the chest opens smoothly - the attendant seems content to watch with amusement, and perhaps a bit of curiosity. When the chest opens, it reveals...a treasure! No, really. There's a small heap of gold, silver, rose gold, and other decorative metals, in crafting ingots.

Reese looks over to the young man and has a gentle smile for him. "Oh, I do. I have a sun and think ours go together. What number is with your snowflake?" She asks.

An older figure enters in fairly worn clothing and he looks to be not nearly as elegant or refined as the place calls for. Meaty fingers lift and run through the tuft of hair at the top of his head. Fingers meet bare skull and then hair again as his hand costs to the back of his head; he rubs the back of his neck nervously a bit as he enters. The man is cautious and one could easily assume he is never been in the establishment before. A few tentative steps and Gunter seems to be precariously evaluating his continued presence in such an establishment.

Reese looks over to Gunther as the man arrives, seemingly curious and yet unfamiliar with him. She gives him a smile of greeting that touches her blue eyes.

The young man gives Reese a shocked look of recognition, and hastily bows - so hastily that he almost tumbles over on his face. "Oh! Your Highness! I. Um. Four! It's four. My number is, I mean." A sheepish sort of smile. "And yours?"



Perronne notices someone new coming in, and excuses herself from the group to bounce in that direction. "Hello! Welcome! Thank you so much for coming!" She takes a cup filled with punch and offers it enthusiastically to Gunter. "I don't think we've met? I'm Perronne Amboise, Merchant extraordinaire! I'm so glad you're here - drink this!"

"Oh hey, well done indeed." Theron murmurs in regards to Alarics work. Oswyn has the cup raised at him. "Yeah in here, hang on." Theron drains the glass and inhales a breath as it is strong stuff. He tilts the cup so someone can have a look at his budding flower. His eyes are of course drawn to the chest out of sheer curiosity. "Quite the game we have going on!" He tries to drink from his cup only to recall it is empty because he's supposed to be displaying it. At Gunter's entrance, a sharp nod interrupted by more numbers being called out.

Alaric puts the finishing touches on his fruit still life and puts the slate down with a bit of a flourish. "Goodness, it is a bit of treasure after all," he declares in amusement. "You all can have my share to split as well, I'm merely a riddling competitor for the fun of it," he declares magnanimously.

Thena peeks over Team King's shoulders to look at the chest's contents. "Ooooh, it /is/ riches." But then, alas, her aide de camp shoulders his way through to whisper something in her ear. She heaves a sigh. "Must run, I'm afraid. Enjoy the rest of your birthday, Perronne." She follows Pyotr out.

Oswyn blinks a few times in astonishment when the contents of the chest are revealed. "Oh," he says. "Oh, my." He glances about, squinting at Perronne's retreating form. "Um. Well, we need to split this." Alaric is nodded at, dumbly.

Reese looks over to the man with the snowflake. "Mine is six." She says softly. "I wonder how they match up?" She looks over to Oswyn and Theron as if seeking help. The Princess seems challenged at this sort of thing.

"I uh..." Gunter looks to the cup and then Perronne and then back to the cup. The fat mitt wrapped around the cup cautiously brings it up to his nose and he sniffs. The sight of the treasure though leaves the man gawking a bit. After a time he recovers and nods, "Thank you.." He peers at the cup and the bottom of it. Then the man introduces himself, "Reckon you should call my Gunter. Not so extraordinare or none of that." His grey eyes look over at Reese. A brief flash of a smile is offered to the woman, "I er, uh... don't know what this 2 on my cup means?"

"I should have mine donated to something. Maybe the Society itself?" Theron muses, and then back to the matter at hand. Looking to Reese, Theron gives a shrug. "I fell off into the deep a while ago, really. Possibly related to the punch." Theron clears his throat. "So I have an eight. Coupled with this flower that looks like it is opening. I mean, in theory the sun would cause this to happen."

"Well done." Ajax offers towards Oswyn, his hands clapping politely at the man his lips curling into an easy going smile, he dips his head towards Alaric, "Gratitude fer yer generosity, yer Majesty."

Alaric regards Oswyn encouragingly. "Now now, if you're going to be a proper explorer you're going to have to get used to opening chests full of treasure as a regular occurrence! Or so they say. They do tend to over-romanticise these sorts of things and leave out the exposure to harsh weather, deadly fights, stretched provisions and other deprivations," he declares regally. "Point being! Don't say 'oh my', say something like... hmmm. 'As expected', or 'all in a day's exploring'," he advises. He smiles to Ajax. "You're quite welcome."

The man looks at Reese, then down at his cup. "Um," he thinks about it, carefully. "Well, it looks like the symbols go with the numbers, right? So they're probably in some sort of order. Uh. If mine's a snowflake, and yours is a sun, maybe that's...winter and summer?"



Meanwhile, Perronne grins at Gunter. "A pleasure to meet you, sir! They're all trying to figure it out over here." And unless poor Gunter protests, she's going to gently seize his sleeve and draw him over to the King's group. "This is Gunter! He claims not to be extraordinary, but I think he seems very nice."

Reese looks over to Gunther, seemingly thoughtful. "Does the two have a picture near it?" She asks of him. "The numbers of ours are even numbers?" She asks. Reese then looks to the boy. "Oh! Seasons. That make sense. So sun is summer, flower is spring and the snowflake is winter?" She says musingly.

Oswyn attempts not to look dubious at Alaric's suggestions and instead nods and smiles. He is a well-trained commoner. And there is a distraction in the form of Gunter. "Well met, Mister Gunter. I'm Scholar Oswyn Spencer. Welcome to the party." The Scholar divvies up the treasure, passing it off to Ajax and Theron in turn. There are two lone ingots left, one a precious metal and the other a luxury metal. He eyes Gunter speculatively.

"Huh." Gunter stares at his cup and then the number. His eyes shift to the symbol near his number and he rolls his shoulders in a shrug, "Don't rightly recall the name of this symbol." With a fluid movement Gunter drinks the contents of his cup and wipes at his mouth with his sleeve. He then shows the symbol (a cornucopia), "Don't remember what this is called? But you know, it's like when you got more enough. Sort of like we had before the high-fallutin' big muckity muck head of the Compact guy drug us into all these wars." The man shrugs, "So maybe it matches with Spring? I don't know, my Sally was good with riddles. I bet she would know know."

Oh dear. This is what Perronne gets for not properly introducing people. She siiiidles over to Gunter, and leans close to whisper something low and urgent in his ear.

The mid-fifties commoner grins a bit to Oswyn, "A scholar eh? All fancy and book smart I bet! Wish I was a scholar. Gets hard tilling and moving things for your bread." Gunter gives him a respectful nod as if the man was instantly the smartest person in the Kingdom. Ain't never met no scholar before."

Reese looks over to Gunther, listening to his words with close attention and seemingly thoughtful. "Plentiful.." She says thoughtfully. "Like harvest or fall?" She asks.

As Gunter reveals his symbol, Theron looks back to Reese. "Which order? Traditional spring, summer, fall and winter?"

Teonia Redreef, Aryka Wyrmfang, 3 Thrax Guards, Marquessa Pudding, a doughy dog, 2 Thrax Elite Guards arrive, following Sorrel.

"None high-fallutin'er than Grayson," Alaric observes whimsically. "None busier these days either, alas. It's been delightful puzzling out the riddles with you all, but I must be going," he declares to Team Fruit as he gestures to his retinue to form up for departure. On his way out, he smiles to Perronne. "I quite enjoyed the entertaining diversions, and I do hope you have an excellent birthday."

"It must be," Oswyn agrees with Gunter. "Especially since I'm not very athletic, and certainly wasn't as a child. It was either books or being... not very useful, I'm afraid. Thankfully, books! May I ask what your occupation is?" He's tucking some ingots into his satchel. He bows as Alaric begins to leave. "Thank you, Your... um..." A sidelong look at Gunter, and then back to Alaric. "Your Majesty."

Perronne grins enthusiastically at Reese. She doesn't say anything. But the grinning is real. She keeps a careful eye on Gunter, even so. As the king steps away, Perronne curtsies deeply. "Thank you, Your Majesty! It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you, and I hope that you enjoyed yourself. And have a wonderful day!"

Reese looks to Theron. "I think it make sense to try that." She says. The princess then smiles to Alaric. "Oh, take care, King Alaric." She says to her cousin.

Ajax accepts the treasures, dipping his form in a bow towards Alaric, "Thank ye yer Majesty." he offers, before giving Oswyn a thankful smile, his gaze slowly shifting towards Gunter, "Ajax, a simple sellsword." he offers in brief greeting his lips curled into a warm smile.

"Hello and goodbye, Your Majesty," Sorrel says as she moves out of the way coming in so that the king may pass, and ambles her way in, offering a pleasant smile to those already assembled.

Gunter leans into Perronne and listens. He nods his head and verbally agrees with her, "Yeah, yeah... that's his name I remember..." And then he follows her gaze towards Alaric. He notices a few things and snorts, "Oh, that's rich. Ain't no way know big fallutin' fella like His Majesty gonna be mucking it up with ol' Gunter. I may be a poor yokel and this may be my first day in Arx but ain't no way I'm ever gonna be in the same room with a King." The man state defiantly and give the woman a gentle tap on her shoulder with his nucks. When the scholar calls Alaric your Majesty Gunter just stares and his jaw drop then Reese. And the man just blinks dumbfounded and stammers his way through answering Oswyn. "Uh, my.. I don't have no work." He answers, "My Sally, she always wanted to come to Arx. Said that we could have a cottage and hot stew every day for honest work.." He shrugs, "So here I am. Tryin' to honor her memory, empty chamber pots if I gotta I guess. Whatever work I come by for viddles." He then asks, "You all are pulling my leg right? This some tavern gag?"

Perronne pats Gunter gently and briefly on the shoulder, before breaking off to greet her new guest. "Hello! I'm not sure we've met," she says, with a curtsy, "but it's a pleasure to see you! I'm Perronne Amboise, merchant extraordinaire!" She grins as she straightens. "Come in, come in! I'll get you a cup of punch. You really must try it!" She skitters over to get one of the remaining cups, filled with a sweet-tart punch, and offers it to Sorrel.

Reese looks over to Gunther. "Oh, well he is really the king. He comes out and likes to be accessible to the people. I'm Princess Reese." She says, introducing herself. The girl then looks to Theron. "We will try that order." She says. "Spring is 8, summer is 6, winter is 4 and fall is 2."

Alaric nods pleasantly to Sorrel in passing. "Princess Sorrel, enjoy the party. Have fun with the riddles!" He pauses before departing with a bit of an impish smirk over his shoulder. "Oh, and welcome to Arx, Master Gunter," he declares regally before strolling out.

13 King's Own Guardsmen, Zelda, the royal messenger leave, following Alaric.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Perrone Amboise," Sorrel says as she takes the cup of punch and tastes it. "I'm Princess Sorrel Thrax, Bladesong and Singer of Heroes. I thought I'd come by and see what was happening at the Ambassador. It's a lovely place for a party or social gathering. But I hear it's your birthday, so Happy Birthday!" She offers a little wave to Reese and to Oswyn by means of greeting.

"Well done again, Your Majesty. I look forwards to your attempt at the Gauntlet with great intrest." Theron looks to Gunter with that intense gaze of his. But his lips quirk sideways as the poor man realizes what he just stepped into. "No no, that is His Majesty, The King." Theron confirms Reese's statement. "Lord Theron Mazetti, by the way. Sword of Ostria." Then he's turning sharply to Reese. "Your handwriting is likely better, so. Write away?"

Oswyn bobs his head up and down in a very emphatic nod to Gunter. "That's him," he says quietly, and with sympathy. "He's... somewhat surprising that way? I know." He pauses. "I think he thought it was funny. I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you can enjoy your time here." And he squints at Sorrel then bows forward at the waist, offering a little wave.

"Your Highness!" Perronne bobs into another curtsy. "Thank you so much! Please, let me know anything I can do to help you feel comfortable!" Somewhere, another chest is opened, and there's a small collective cheer from the group who managed to do it. Treasures are distributed, then bargained over in low, enthusiastic tones. Perronne attempts to lure Sorrel back towards the group recently vacated by the King, giving Gunter a quick, concerned glance as she returns. "Everything okay?" she asks him, hopefully.

Reese looks over to Sorrel, smiling toward the princess. She then goes to write out the numbers.

"Aye, right? I kinda expected em' not to seem like a normal person." Ajax offers quietly towards Oswyn, his hand moving to settle on his hip. he shifts his form to look a the entry of Sorrel letting his lips curl into a genuinely warm seeming smile, his head dipping for her, "Lo' Yer highness!" he calls over before he looking back at the other two men, pausing to look at Perrone, "We're keepin' the man outta trouble."

The attendant offers Reese the slate, her lips twitching upwards as the princess writes. She keeps her composure better than the first, maybe because it's not the King. And because she got it right! The key is solemnly removed, and offered to Reese.

"Oh, why happy birthday to you too. Everything is fine, just.. dumbfounded. Ain't never seen any royalty before. Few kick-butt dukes and the like. My fair share of knights and Lords and Ladies. Ain't never one of the bigguns. He is much smaller in person I figured him near a giant, not like any the rest of us." Gunter states over to Perrone. The fella then nods to Oswyn, "You're not pullin'. She's really a princess?" He then asks at the sight of Sorrel. The man then looks around, "Am I in the palace area? You get all these royal muckity sorts around here in the city like this?" He asks in wonder and then looks at his cup. "So if I got a 2, and I got the fall harvest thing. Does that mean I'm fall? Or is someone fall?" The man then tells Oswyn, "Oh, thank you... she died a year back or so. Took to fever I was told but was burned before I got back from workin' a caravan." He informs him, "Took my time workin' my way here --

-- (sorry) "Just got here and looking for work, loss been long time now."

Reese smiles to the attendant and then open the chest. She looks over to Gunter. "There is lot of royalty around the city. Sort of gathering point for us, I guess." She says thoughtfully in hi direction.

"Arx is a bit weird like that," Perronne says, sympathetically, to Gunter. "I didn't really expect...um, anyone like that to show up. But," she grins, "I'm really happy they did! They all seem very nice." A nod towards the various lords and princesses in the room. Then she makes a gleeful sound as Reese goes to open the chest. "Yay! You did it!" The chest opens to reveal...pelts! Very fine, strange pelts of exotic animals, neatly rolled. And under them, ingots of sturdy rubicund.

"Oh, I hope I'm really a princess. My husband would be mighty disappointed if I were not, because it'd probably mean that I'd left him and our two small children to have adventures as a knight," Sorrel says impishly to Gunther with a playful wink. She sips her beverage and peers at the bottom. "Does this mean I am a winter storm? I have a dog that looks like a snowdrift, if that counts."

Reese pulls ten exotic plets and ten rubicund igots from the chest. "Oh, wow, this is amazing." She says softly and seems thoughtful. "Is there anyone who needs a weapon or armor? I have so much already myself, I couldn't possibly keep them."

Brady saunters in with unearned confidence. He takes a deep whiff of the air, as if he smelled the party from afar and has at last found his delicious prey. Half-dancing, half-walking, he weaves his way through the room straight to Perrone. He gives a little wave, but keeps a respectful distance until he came talk to the birthday girl.

"Huh." Gunter answers Reese. The man grins at the haul and whistles. To him it's a bunch of meals and a lot to behold. "I ain't never rightly had a weapon. Held a few from time to time the elder man states. "Don't reckon I'd have much use for any armor or weapon -- nothin' I can't settle with these ol' hamhocks." He raises his gnarled giant fists, "Sally wouldn't take to me fighting too kindly anymore. I mean, not unless someone deserved a wallopin'."

Perronne laughs at Sorrel's remark. "That would be a shame, Your Highness. Although it does sound like a fun recipe for adventure!" Then she briefly excuses herself to slip over to the newcomer, snagging one of the very last cups of punch on the way. "Hello, I don't know you, but you seem fun!" The cup is offered. "Drink this! I'm Perronne Amboise, merchant extraordinaire! It's delightful to meet you!"

Reese looks over over to Brady, giving the man a smile that touches her blue eyes. "Hi Master Brady." She says and then turns back to Gunther. "Well there are many who deserve such, Master Gunther. We have wars in front of us and you might want the protection. It is yours if you want it?" She says, looking toward the pelts. "As a princess with armor like mine own, it would be dishonorable for me to keep it." She tries to hand to pelts to him. She then looks to Theron. "Did you want any of the prizes, Lord Theron?"

"It's weird alright." Gunter answers Perronne, "I am gonna write all about in my journal don't you doubt it." He whistles at Sorrel, "Well, nice to meet you -- yur Ladyroyalship." He corrents himself, "Er, princess. Gunter... uh, Crownsworn." The red in his cheeks is up and flushed. To the shcolar he asks, "You know where I can find a place to sleep. Any common houses or good alleys? Not too damp or breezy?"

Gunter takes the pelts, "Oh, I mean, thank you." He looks to Perronne, "Thank you."

Reese smiles over to Perrrone. "Such generous prizes." She says softly. "We will see if Lord Theron want the rubicund when he come back." She says, not noticing the Lord for a moment. "And if he doesn't you could take too if you want. It can be made into armor or weapons. I have a rubicund knife myself." She says and touches her blade at her left hip.

"The Murder of Crows is extremely affordable," Oswyn tells Gunter with a nod. "Anything in the Lowers, really. There's also less royalty down there." He frowns for a moment, eyeing the pelts in the man's arms. "You will want those tucked away out of sight if you do go there, however. It's a rough neighbourhood. I can say that, I grew up there. Maybe the Badger Boardinghouse would be better. You've... well, you've got options, with what you're holding now."

"It's nice to meet you, too. What do you do for a living? I know a lot of members of the Crafter's Guild and perhaps could point you in the right direction. There was also an initiative for opening shops here in Arx for awhile; I'm not sure if that's still going on, but if you're interested, send a message to Princess Jaenelle. If she's not handling it anymore, she'll know who is," Sorrel offers cheerfully to Gunter. To Perronne, she says, "That's a nice pile of pelts and rubicund. You'll make him a rich man very suddenly."

Perronne actually looks a bit abashed at both the thanks from Gunter and the comments from Reese and Sorrel. She bites her lower lip, briefly, before saying, "When I planned the party, I thought most of my guests would be, um, merchants. These things - split four ways, they're generous, but not /extravagant/ when you're talking about merchants. At least, merchants who are doing well. But they're," she laughs, a bit shame-faced, "a bit underwhelming for nobility, and a bit overwhelming for people on hard times. I'm sorry if it's uncomfortable! I didn't mean it to be!"

Reese look over to Perrone, seemingly thoughtful. "It is not underwhelming at all. I mean, I would be happy to keep the rubicund and make myself a bow. My bow is steel, it just feels like, I have so very much. I don't know if that makes sense? I think it is a great gift for nobility and I think the the pelts will very much help someone starting out. I think it is a thoughtful and generous gift."

Brady takes the punch with zero qualms. "I'm Brady Grayhope, of the Valorous Few, and I've heard you collect curios, so I brought a doozy for you." He hands over a plain, brown paper package. "I collected this before the last Assembly ended." He lowers his voice, crytpically adding, "The first one -melted-." He gives Perrone a wink.



There's a bright smile reserved just for Reese that's given, before he bows deeply, "Good evening, your Highness." He sips from his cup, and slyly makes his way over to Gunter, commenting softly, "I can show you the Murder of Crows, if you like. Get ya a room with good locks, and my word you won't be messed with. I'm Brady, well met." As he drains his punch, he peeks quizzically at the bottom. "Weird."

Gunter slides the pelts over his shoulder. He looks at the lot and then to Oswyn, "Ain't freezing none with them at least." The man then nods and grins, "Alright, I'll look into them places." He then shrugs, "Don't want no fisticuffs or to get shiv'ed onna count of me holdin' the pelts." He tells the man, "Reckon I could pay someone to hold them for me for a time. Never had this fine o' something before." He looks to Reese with wide eyes, "I mean, ain't had this kinda good luck before. Sally would think I did something wrong and underhanded were I ever to walk home with this kinda haul. I think maybe give it to someone more desrvin'. Ain't gonna look no gift horse in its rear quarters."



He looks to Brady and then raises a skeptical brow. A look to the scholar or anyone else, "You good for walkin' I'll take you up on it. I don't know where anything is. No rush though, ol' Gunter just was about to pop some bubbly. Do they sell that fancy wine here?" He asks and looks to the Princess, "What's a man with pelts like these usally drink?"

Perronne exchanges punch for paper package. "Why, thank you! Thank you very much!" She peers curiously at the paper, turning it around in her hands. Her eyes are alight with curiosity. "Oh my, I wonder what it is!" Her eyes widen at his words, and it makes her perhaps a little cautious to open it and peek inside. She gets the most PECULIAR expression on her face. "Is...is that from? Oh my. Oh my. This is certainly...a gift! Thank you, Brady!" See the bright smile! See her moving towards the gifts table and putting the package very, very carefully down, and then stepping away briskly. She returns to the group to catch Gunter's question. There's relief. "Oh, yes! Here, try this!" She waves one of the servers over to bring champagne for...well, for everyone. "It makes your nose tickle!"

"Your problem here is that you've got two well-armored princesses among your merchants and such," Sorrel points out with a lovely musical laugh to Perronne. "I mean, it seems greedy for us to take things when we could share the wealth. But it's nice to win things, too." She touches her necklace. "I got this epiphanite from winning a joust. It was a good time." She looks to Gunther and grins. "I imagine it's a pretty surreal experience, coming to Arx for the first time. But you never did tell me what you do for a living."

Reese looks over to Gunter, nodding to him. "Maybe you could bring them to the bank and I think they can hold them." She says thoughtfully. She looks over to Sorrel, nodding in agreement with her words. "Congrats on winning the joust, Princess Sorrel." She says to her.

Oswyn squints at Brady, and at the package, and at Perronne's reaction to the package. He offers a smile and a nod to Brady, recognizing him from the Assembly. Oswyn then opens up his satchel and digs around until he comes up with what seems to be a notebook with sketches and the like. He rests it on the table and removes a kit with a quill and ink with practiced ease, as though no stranger to having to write things down randomly, and begins to draw.

Perronne peers at Sorrel's necklace as it's noted. "Oh, that is absolutely beautiful. And so well made! Is that iridescite in the setting? Your Highness, it suits you very well." She catches Oswyn's squint and gives a reassuring smile. This is fine. This is all fine. "The bank can certainly hold them - you could sell them if you'd prefer the silver," she says cheerfully to Gunter. "Or trade with someone at the party for something you want more! But if you're not a great bargainer you might wait for the market. Some of these ladies and gentlemen are sharks." It's said with fond approval.

Brady tells Perrone offhand, "It's definitely from 'him'. I don't know anyone who has some, so I thought it might be... I dunno. 'Neat'?" He shrugs and chuckles, tilting his cup towards the champagne to be filled, with an offhand nod to Oswyn. "So how old are you, Mistress Amboise? If it's not rude to ask?" He glances around for looks of disapproval.

Returning from getting a messenger, as well as checking in on his swords borne by Garibaldi, Theron strides back into the thick of it. "Do you have an idea of someone deserving? I could take something back for my House. Yet, if someone else is in more need?" Theron makes a vague gesture as he speaks with Reese.

Reese seeems thoughtful as she looks in Theron's direction. "Oh, you can take them back to your house, Lord Theron." She says toward him and stacks up the heavy red metal nearby. "I am sure this will go to help someone very much to get a weapon or armor that they need." She adds. "And well with what is to come, the more well armed and armored the better."

Perronne turns wide eyes on Brady. "Neat." She shakes herself. "Yes! It is definitely neat, and unique, and I greatly appreciate the sentiment and the gift." A pause. "Possibly appreciate it in the bottom of a steel-lined box. But it will be appreciated!" She grins. "And I think it's technically terribly rude, but I don't mind. I feel like it's silly to celebrate still being alive, if you're not keeping score on how LONG you've managed to be alive! I'm twenty-nine."

Gunter takes the glass and holds it all wrong. But he takes a drink and tosses it back and swallows. He lets out a breath and grins, "Why if only Sally could see me now." He states. one meaty pinky extends out and the gnarled digit hangs there as he answers Sorrel, "Well, that's tricky. Done mostly manual labor. Ain't much I can't move. Ain't shy, if I gotta empty chamber pots I gotta do it. Just want enough to have some not so rotten stew and to be dry, save a few leaks. Long time ago I used to pummel people. But that was before Sally."



Gunter gives Brady a nod. "Alright, I'll hit the bank and visit yur place with you." He tells him, "I think I'll store the pelts. Maybe I might need em' later. Patience and what not."

Oswyn doesn't look up from his map-drawing; he's inking carefully, working from right to left, because that's what left-handed people do when they can. Less smearing.

"Have you ever done any sailing? Would you like to do some sailing? I can introduce you to people who could make a sailor out of you, if you're willing to work hard," Sorrel notes cheerfully, smiling at the man.

Brady nods agreeably to Reese at some comment, "My Captain is gonna give me a diamondplate sword if I succeed in the quest he's given me." He waggles his brow comically, excited at the prospect. He then lifts his champagne in cheers to Perronne, "Cheers then, I wish you a happy birthday, and many more. And... if it's any consolation, I took it to the Great Cathedral to ask the Gods to sanctify it." He drinks deeply from his cup. After a moment of confusion, he states plaintively, "My cup has two tears in it." He looks around with a gormless smile, "Anyone feel like dancing?"

"If you insist, then. I'm sure Hadrian can find someone in need." Theron accepts the award and turns beckoning over Garibaldi to burden the man further. "Hadrian is always doing some sort of work of one sort or another." At least Therons got his punch cup refilled and sips away at the strong mixture. His stare falls onto the newer arrivals one at a time.

By this point, all of the chests have been opened, except one. Two merchants wander around, a bit forlornly, and approach the group. The taller one, a rangy woman with a bright, steely smile, says, "Pardon mlords, miladies, but might either of you know about a couple of cups that would go with, um, a river and an ocean?"

Reese looks over to Brady. "Oh, that is very good news. I cannot wait to see your new sword." She says softly, before giving Theron a smile. "Marquis Hadrian is a good man. I should get going though, it was nice to see you and all and happy birthday Perronne." She adds.

Perronne breathes a sigh of pure relief at Brady. "Oh good. I am very glad to hear that. Not that I was thinking it might be...cursed or evil or anything like that. That would be silly and superstitious, and I'm not superstitious at all." She closes her mouth with a snap. She turns to Reese and offers a deep curtsy. "Thank you, Your Highness. It was a great pleasure to see you again, and a great honor to have you here! Please be safe!"

Reese has left the Far rear couches.

Oswyn also looks vaguely relieved. And he removes a little quill knife from his satchel and begins cutting the map he's just drawn out, setting it aside. Then he's packing it all up again, the book, the quill and ink kit, the tiny quill knife. The map of the city - basic, but quite serviceable - he offers to Gunter. "Here you go. I've marked where we are and a few other places that might be of interest."

The elder common man ponders Sorrel's statement. He shakes his head, "Ain't never been on no boat in a lake, neither. I might plump my britches the first few times out. I better learn to swim though. Let me make sure ain't no dryer labor first but if I can't find work that would make Sally proud I'll come find you. Where would that be?" He informs the princess. The man looks over to Oswyn just to check on him. He was truly the first person to be kind to him in the city. And Gunter thought it was neat the man made a living with books. City life was definately not the short man's fortay. He looks over to the map and smiles, "You're and alright fella, Oswyn." He extends his gnarled and grizzled hand, "It's been my pleasure to meet you. Any sharp-tongue litts pissant gives you some shit. You find me in that Murder place. I will give them a good whats what.. he states, a sound thumpin'. I ain't got much, but.." He folds the paper up, "I could always take a punch. Don't take no gus from no one."

Brady looks over the merchants holding the chest quizzically, shooting Perrone a sidelong glance. "I dunno. Haven't seen them, but, you could ask her?" He gestures to Perrone, "I mean, you are kind of interrupting her party with your riddles." He gives Gunter a small nudge, chuckling, "I mean... heh." He shakes his head, beckoning the server with champagne to refill his cup with a warm smile.

Gunter speaks up, "I'm not sure what's goin' on." He states, pelts over his shoulder. "Anyone got in their cups something that's got to do with that chest and them merchants? I just got this 2. And this fall thing. I don't think I got what is needed."

Oswyn smiles broadly and reaches out to clasp Gunter's hand to shake it. "Thank you, Mister Gunter. It's my pleasure to help out." That said, and the hand shaken, he does up the clasp on his satchel and squints about for Perronne. "I ought to get back to the shop. Happy birthday again, Miss Perronne."

The merchants look...bewildered. They turn identical, confused faces towards Perronne. "Are we interrupting?"



"No, no, of course not! Going around asking is what you're supposed to be doing," she hastily reassure them, with a /stern look/ towards Brady. Then a bright smile at the merchants. "Um - it looks like most of the cups have been used already over here. But, oh! It seems Princess Sorrel and Master Brady both have cups that have not yet been used!" It's not the most subtle of hints, ever.

"Talk to Magpie, at the Murder of Crows," Sorrel recommends next. "He knows where to find practically anything." To the merchants who are forlorn, she notes, "Look, my cup has a rain cloud. Might that go with a river and an ocean? They're all Mangata's domain."

Brady squints at Perrone, mirroring the frown. He quickly drains his punch cup, (twice refilled with champagne), and offers it to one of the merchants. Tone apologetic, he explains, "I'm sorry. You can use mine..." He glances to Sorrel, "It's got a teardrop and a number two in it." He hesitates for a second, then wipes off the rim with his sleeve, offering it again with a smile.

The merchant accepts the offered cup with an easy smile. "Ah! I see. The remaining chest has Mangata's symbol on it, as well. So - a drop of water, a cloud, a river, and an ocean? Hmm. What must be the order?" The merchants exchange looks, then glance back to Sorrel and Brady. "Did...you wish to solve the chest with us? If not, might we purchase your cup from you, Princess?"

"Perronne, it was a pleasure. I hope your birthday continues to bring you entertainment and pleasure." Theron grins, and looks like he may have had just a half-glass more of the puncht han he should. "But alas, duty calls. I must depart."

Brady furrows his brow at the merchant? "The order? I -knew- it was a riddle. It's cloud, drop, river, ocean. At least, that's the path of rain, from birth back to it's own Wheel, and back again." He glances around, shrugging, "I don't know if that's right though."

Garibaldi, the Lycene swordbearer, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants leave, following Theron.

Perronne offers a deep bow to Theron. "Lord Theron, it was a pleasure to meet you, and a honor to have you as a guest! Thank you again for the wonderful cask, and I hope you will not be offended if I write to you once it's been opened to tell you how much I enjoyed it!" She grins at him. "Be safe!"

Gunter wishes the scholar a farewell. The man finds some more of this champaign. He is walking around with a big grin, "I'm going to take these pelts to the bank. And I'll be back."

"The cloud rains drops of water into the rivers which flow out to the oceans which form the clouds," Sorrel suggests to the merchants with an amused smile. "So my guess is that the cloud comes first, too."

The merchants brighten. "Say, that does make sense, doesn't it?" They bob hastily in bows to Sorrel - and Brady, for some reason - then, assuming Sorrel would be willing to share her number with them, they slip away to open the chest.

"It's four!" Sorrel calls as she follows the merchants, curious to see what's in the chest.

The chest is opened! What's inside? Gems! A double handful of gems in a rainbow of colors, cut just enough to allow identification of the quality and type, but still in good shape for being cut down further to be placed into jewelry. Perronne makes a happy sound. "That's the last chest," she announces to the room at large, and there's a smattering of applause. "Thank you all for coming to celebrate with me, and I hope that you enjoyed it!"

It clicks for Brady then, and he turns to look at Perrone. "It's a party game! You set this us, that's so clever and thoughtful of you!" He chuckles with delight, snagging a small treat from one of the trays, "I'm gonna steal that for my own party, if you don't mind." He peers over at the merchants now, mouth agape and utterly surprised. "Whoa... No, yeah, it was fun... I hope I didn't come off harsh, but where I'm from, someone comes up to you spouting riddles, you don't engage them. At all." He moves to inspect the stones.

Perronne grins at Brady. "Yes! And I can totally understand the reluctance to engage with random riddles. I mean, who knows what might have happened! I could have put snakes in those chests!" A pause. "I didn't, though. Not in any of them. Aside from anything else, I think it'd be rather cruel to the snakes, don't you? I mean, they don't really want to be bothered, generally, and then you put them in a cozy warm box to sleep in, and then someone opens it and screams and it's just very distressing, I'm sure."

Pete, a Grayhope account manager arrives, following Mayir.

Brady nods agreeably, following this logic perfectly, "Then you have a bunch of distressed snakes to divide. No, that's not nice for anyone." He casually fills his pockets with half the gems, offering Sorrel a warm smile. "I think we've all had fun, yeah?" He looks back to Perrone, "It's more important to me that -you- had a good party, though?"

"Yes, Perronne, did you have a good birthday?" Sorrel agrees, once she's split the gems nice and evenly with Brady, quite cheerful.

The party is, it seems, winding down after the excitement of the last of the small chests opening has settled. People are more talking and drinking and in some cases haggling over trades regarding the contents of the various chests, with several drifting in and out. Perronne is over in a little knot, talking with Brady, Sorrel, and Ajax. She grins at Brady and Sorrel. "Oh, I always have fun!" She twirls in place, her skirts flaring out like flame. "One can't throw a party and not have fun! And I've had lovely guests, and - wow - the King came! To my birthday! And Princesses! And Lords! That's so weird! ...good weird, not bad weird!" She flaps her hands in Sorrel's direction. "You're all very nice!"

Mayir may be coming in at the tail end -- but he is /here/ and that is what matters, right? Right. Sure. "Perronne! Best! Partner! Ever!" He opens his arms wide, announcing his presence, his hat at the proper jaunty angle. "I am sorry I couldn't be here sooner! I had to see a guy about a thing! But I couldn't not come and wish you a happy birthday!"

Brady upnods Mayir, "Hey man, glad to see you here! You missed the prizes... And Princess Reese." The latter is said softly, almost swooning. To Perrone he exclaims, "Wow, the King came? That's amazing." More of the little snacks find their way into his palm, and all the while he's giving a little shake to the music.

Perronne turns with delight at the sound of Mayir's voice. "Mayir! Hello! I'm so glad you could come!" And hey, since his arms are wide, unless he dodges, he's going to get a hug! Brief, but enthusiastic. Then she bounces back. "There's another family member of yours here! Brady!" She gestures in that direction. "And this is Ajax, and that is Princess Sorrell, who seems very nice! Would you like something to drink?" A wave of her hand brings over a tray of glasses with various liquids in them.

Mayir hugs Perronne with gusto and then releases her, but not before pecking her cheek first. "I was going to propose that I get you a corner on the steelsilk market as a gift, but then I realized I needed you for that!" He winks at the trader and then picks off one of the fine whiskeys from the tray presented. "Happy birthday. I couldn't ask for a better friend."



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