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Great Road Ball

The Great Road was an excellent success -- and also a bit of a debacle. Celebrate the great trade routes it established while laughing at the diplomatic squabbles it caused in a fabulous ball at the Menagerie! Play fun games about war and peace, make new allies, and drink and eat to your heart's content!


Feb. 9, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Grazia Bliss


Saoirse Sabella Perronne Ruslan Sebastian Merek Liara Fortunato Sanya Beatrice Agostino Lucita Joscelin Gianna Selene Vercyn Sophie Elsa Cambria Corban Kincade Anabelle Ophelia Hadrian Willow Mikani Jan Olivia Juliana Umbroise Theron Mirella Kaldur Ouida Rey


Rubino-Zaffria Whisper


Arx - Ward of the Compact - Menagerie - Arboreal Enclosure

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

2 House Velenosa Guards, Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery, Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air arrive, following Saoirse.

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

Robyn, an artful archeress, 2 House Velenosa Guards arrive, following Ophelia.

1 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Renault, the fluffiest Velenosan cat arrives, following Selene.

Cecily, a coy secretary, Omero, a hulking bodyguard arrive, following Agostino.

With a flick of her gown, Saoirse Velenosa descends into the forest-y ball -- and in QUITE the gown. It is a stunning creation, a map of the Compact, which is quite befitting for the woman tasked with bringing the Houses along the road to some sort of compromised heel.

Golden, an Oakhaven bloodhound, Gunther, a Rottweiler, Micana, 1 Saik Guard arrive, following Lucita.

2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan arrive, following Sanya.

Saoirse has joined the a sky blue hammock stretched between two trees.

Golden, an Oakhaven bloodhound have been dismissed.

Gunther, a Rottweiler have been dismissed.

Sabella comes in not long after Saoirse and perhaps partially not noticed due to the brilliance of that gown, "Where in Arvum did you get that made?" She asks the Velenosan Princess, "It is completely delightful, I've never seen its like before! What a fun concept for a gown!"

Renault, the fluffiest Velenosan cat have been dismissed.

Ah, the Great Road. An ambitious project, for certain, but every ambitious project will have more than its fair share of difficulties along the way - and this one has been no different. However, this night this seems to be devoted and dedicated to finding what levity there can be found in such a situation. As each attendee enters the ball, they are passed a thin slip of parchment with a single word on it, presumably some kind of notation for a group they will belong to - each derived from one of the names of the Great Houses of the Compact. The ball itself seems to be themed along the lines of the Great Road - trees have been decorated to look like street lamps, and cobblestones have been laid along the path. But that all said, there is an abundance of refreshments from everywhere in the Compact - and light music plays, encouraging dancing and mingling as more and more arrive.

Perronne enters, her expression alight with pleasure as she takes in the 'forest's' reimagining. She doesn't fit in very well, perhaps, in the stark black and white of her outfit, relieved only by gems and the shining of her iridescite chainmail skirt, but she turns a quick circle to get a look at the entire enclosure, and in doing so, the skirts flare out with...well, flare.

Mongoose arrives, following Joscelin.

Mongoose have been dismissed.

As he arrives, Ruslan's bow is worn as a ceremonial piece. There's no matching quiver with it - so why does he have it? As he moves, it shows the list of names slightly refleced in the wood of the bow of those of House Kalslov that were murdered in the Forunier Massacre.

Mongoose have been dismissed.

Sabella has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Sebastian arrives, dressed in a mixture of silk and umbra -- with Beatrice on his arm. The Pravus Voice moves with a slow care -- mostly because when he steps in he's immediately distracted by the changes made to the enclosure. He takes the parchment he's been given and tucks it away quickly without a glance. Exhaling, he murmurs wryly to Beatrice, "Someone really spend some time decorating to make it feel very... road-y," he says, dryly. "Shall we find some suitable wines and somewhere to sit?" he asks, seeking to lead them towards the Lycene flavors.

"Selene Whisper designed it for me and Aurora did the tailoring," Saoirse replies, turning for Sabella. Her hair is worn down, curled lightly, no crown or tiara -- no jewelry at all, in fact! "I thought it would present a nice picture before I traipse down the road trying to find ways to make people compromise with each other. Good luck, Saoirse, right?" She smiles a lopsided smirk.

Merek has put on his best black attire, crimson and golden accents upon it with his belt cape. He walks into the place and looks aroun a bit, and makes his way to a place he can settle in.

Doggedly persistent about wearing a ball gown despite the venue perhaps inviting something a little less floor-sweeping, Liara shows up. She casts her gaze about - or starts to, anyway, because she barely takes in much of the dome before she spots Saoirse, or, more specifically, Saoirse's gown, which catches the Grayson's attention. "Goodness me. That's clever," she remarks, with a quick smile, and then continues farther inside.

Dusk, the artist formerly known as Fortunato, arrives, a soot-crow in black, black only alleviated by the glimmering threads of gold silk and rose-metal laced through his smoky tunic. He's trim and small, his hands shoved in the deep pockets of his longcoat, although he does raise his left hand to take the scrap of parchment, and keeps it raised to wave at Perronne.

Sophie has joined the a sky blue hammock stretched between two trees.

Sanya makes her way through the reptile house into the unfamiliar enclosure, looking around the room with awe, slowing down as she observes the lattice work.

It's an umbra evening. Beatrice flashes Sebastian a wry glance after she takes in the crowding enclosure. "Too little dust - and far more duskstone." She makes a distracted murmur of agreement in answer to his suggestion of wine, even as she touches a hand to her mouth and blows a brief kiss in Bliss's way.

5 House Mazetti Guardians, Possum arrive, following Cambria.

Luigi, 5 House Mazetti Guardians, Mario, Cambria arrive, following Hadrian.

Perronne waves back to Dusk, rising up on her toes with a moment of excitement, her own scrap used as an impromptu flag. "Dusk! You came! And look amazing!" She slips her way through the growing crowds and - instead of the enthusiastic hug that it looks like she might inflict on the poor artist - she sinks down into a thoroughly graceful curtsy before him. As she bounces out of it, though, her smile is more broad than elegant.

Agostino slips into the enclosure quietly, dressed well but simply in black leather and aeterna with silver highlights. There is a mildly curious look on his face as his dark eyes take in the sights around him, a slight smile on his facce. As he moves through the crowd, he bows his head in silent greeting as he makes his way toward the wine so that he can pick up a glass for himself.

Lucita slips in to the area alone, as is more the usual for her than escorted, and glances around admiring the decorations . Then a beguilihng smile is given others as she begins to spot familiar visages around the area, a proper little nod of the head, wave, or curtsy given according to who it might be.

Joscelin Arterius is dressed in a backless lapis blue dress, ornately beaded, the plump, pretty Guildmaster looking a little harried despite the care that's gone into her curls and her minimalist collection of jewelry. She recognizes a few people upon immediate arrival, but ... what a crowd! She spots her work on a few person, pleased, and moves through the throng, taking in the sight of the event; so many people...!

Sabella laughs, "Well, you won't be alone in that endeavor. And it is eye catching, though with those two designing and stitching it's no wonder." She pats her increasingly large stomach and waddles over towards the food saying, "If you'll excuse me, I really need to eat everything in sight before too many people arrive and realize how much I've had!" She grins and starts looking over the offerings, accepting a glass of wine from someone, "ooh. Is that runny cheese?"

Grazia, being the hostess, with Whisper House, already has a glass of wine and a very Lycene body-hugging dress that is completely backless and lacy enough to be nearly nothing with a keyhole neckline that dips suggestively low. Actually, everything about her umbra gown seems designed to show off her lovely golden skin. She looks quite pleased with the turnout, milling through the crowd with a small smile on her lips and a predatory gaze in her whiskey-hued eyes.

Gianna sweeps in, clad in - of course - luxury brocade in the ever-lovely deep blue shade of the Bard's College banner. Neodymium and sapphires gleam at her ears, throat, and hand. Her gown's skirt needs to be held up a little to keep it clear of the cobblestones, but her expression is serene.

There is some kind of old statement about speaking someone's name and invoking them. Pure nonsense. Except she does appear after a moment or two. Selene takes her time to enter, stopping too often along the way in to speak to other participants. People here and there to catch up with slow her progress. But arrive she does, wrapped up in dark night and bearing a very dark rose in her hair. It will be only moments to spot Saoirse and incline her head to give the princess her due. Others in kind - smiles for Sabella and Bliss, a lively nod to Liara. Sebastian and Beatrice are ahead and the latter she sweeps after the latter, somehow moving very impressively on those flower shoes. Because it appears she's gone and robbed the gardens of their irises to walk about on.

The Duke of Halfshav is not known for dressing up. It would appear as if this evening was no different. He walks into the Aborreal enclosure with his armor on, moving as if it is a second skin. Still, the design and the polish applied to it would serve for a formal occasion. At least that was the opinion of the Halfshav. Or perhaps Vercyn simply expected not to be noticed much, besides the Lady Elsa Sheppard, who he escorts to the Ball on his arm.

Jean, 1 House Lyonesse Adept Guards, 1 Lyonesse Trained Guards arrive, following Anabelle.

Dusk sweeps a low bow in answer to Perronne's curtsy and raises his head with a light laugh. "And look at you! What skirts! Chainmail in skirts, ready to sweep a knight off his or her feet." His smile is shy, but delighted. "I'm glad to see you here."

Merek offers up a small wave towards Selene as he notices she is there, and smiles. He relaxes while he takes a drink from some liquor which he has found.

"And thank goodness for that," Saoirse confirms to Sabella before settling to whisper in Sophie's ear.

After a mere moment of consideration, Sebastian selects a Pravus red -- the Velenosian reds being rather more rare these days -- and hands one glass to Beatrice before taking his own. He gives a low-throated laugh. "Have to add that Arxian panache. Shall we find somewhere to seat for a moment?" He gestures towards a spot off to one side, guiding them off the 'road'.

Beatrice has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Sophie has snuck in, attempting to be unobtrusive in her white Mercy robes, but where does she sit? Next to the very fashionable Soairse. She's grinning and whispering back and forth with her, nodding politely as people address her and catch her eye.

Perronne turns around again, beaming at the compliment. "I'd have to chase one down, first, and knights run surprisingly fast for all that armor! But I'm glad to see you, too." She offers an arm, playfully, to Dusk. "Isn't it beautiful? And did you see that princess' dress? It's a map of the Compact! would be terribly rude to ask to touch it. But it's very nice." A look down at the scrap in her hand. "What's on your paper? Mine says 'Flax'."

Bliss herself is standing next to Cambria, watching carefully to make sure that everyone gets one of the slips of parchments that is handed to them, a bright smile on her face as she wanders through and checks on things to make sure that everything is being attended to - after all, this is a Whisper-sponsored event. Of course, that means that she is hardly the only Whisper there - though neither are some of the bigger names that attend. Rather, it seems a good portion of the normal attendants and courtiers of the house are here, out and about, and she is simply gliding through and watching to make sure everything is correct. The Softest seems to have gone for a Nox theme for her outfit - spiders in her hair, spiderweb on her dress, the umbra easily helping her vanish into shadow when she does so, nodding happily as she sees the group gathering before she looks at the gathering with a warm smile - any greetings sent her way are, of course returned. "Everyone," she says happily, "Thank you for coming - this is, above all, a night for games, but each of you should have found yourself being sorted into one of five different groups. The relevance of this will come soon - it's to help you find other people for the games we will be beginning shortly. After all, what's a night of fun without fun stories? But for now, please, feel free to mingle and get to know some people you've not yet met."

Elsa is simply stunning in black seasilk overlaid with a golden seasilk 'shawl' that overlays the black, shimmering and creating a train of sorts that sweeps along in her wake. The cut of the gown is Lycene in nature, daring and edging the lines of propriety, and she wears it with confidence. Smiling up at Vercyn, she murmurs, "I don't believe I've ever been to the Menagerie before, perhaps after the ball we can tour some of the areas?"

Proceeding further inside, Liara remarks over towards Sabella, "And you go about it so subtly, too. Careful the cheese doesn't run off your plate." A quick grin follows, then she spots Selene and gives a little flutter of her gloved fingers in a wave. Liara manages to procure a glass of red wine for herself, then drifts nearer to where space is cleared for dancing, her gaze flitting from person to person, contemplative.

Yeah, you can't hide when you sit next to Saoirse Velenosa. Between a sarcastic swipe at this gentle fellow and the forking GOWN, she's kind of noticeable. "Selene Whisper should be here," she says, lifting her chin a little to scan the room. Aha! "There she is. She designed the entire thing, you know. I just ... put it on."

Sebastian has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

"It won't last that long!" Sabella replies cheerfully to Liara, building her plate with the structural integrity of the palace itself. Cheese, crackers, some fruit to seem balanced, then a heaping helping of sweets. Because it's a party. She takes her plate and has a seat by the flowers, beaming a smile around at those she knows and even those she does not. "Can you believe the decorations? Everything looks amazing!"

Shortly after he arrived, Ruslan received a messenger. Stepping back out, he returns shortly with Annabelle on his arm, the pair of them quietly talking. Considering that they are currently on opposing sides of one of the hot spots of the Road it may come as a surprise to some. "It looks a rather.. forced." he comments to the woman, a frown creasing his features as he looks towards Anabelle and turns his attention from the party. "You look lovely this evening."

Dusk takes Perronne's arm, gentle, if firm enough for light support. "Goodness! That is a map. How exquisite! How detailed! And I am feeling quite outshone by this tunic." He steps forward, under lamp and in shadow. "I do enjoy the Softest spiders as well. Now." He raises his paper. "I have-- Lecturer?" He suddenly sottos. "Let's go ask to touch the dress. I'll help."

Cambria and Hadrian arrive arm-in-arm, and though each of the receive a small slip of parchment, there is no telling if they are truly identical. Cambria glances to her own, then says something to Hadrian that is too low to be heard amongst the general cacophony of sound. Then the pair make their way towards Bliss and Grazia, that they may greet the hosts.

Beatrice studies the musicians, the decor and tilts her glass in greeting to Selene before answering Sebastian, meandering toward a bench away from the crowds. "You know, I hope, that I have utterly no shame in competing against you to win. I'd never do you the disservice of pretending otherwise." Dark eyes flash with humor as she sits, posture flawlessly, pointedly correct.

2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany arrive, following Olivia.

Olivia arrives, following Jan.

The First Captain of the King's Own, Sir Corban Telmar, enters. On his arm is Princess Ophelia Velenosa. She surely outshines him in the outfit department, but he does have the sartorial accouterment of a very decorated pendant hanging around his neck. He accepts the slip of paper from Bliss with a nod, and then leans over to Ophelia, murmuring to her. "You look incredible, Your Highness. Not that I expected any less, but I shine in your reflected beauty."

Gianna has managed to procure herself some wine. She studies the musicians as well, her gaze (and ears) critical. Now that she's so armed, she can take a moment to admire the pretty, pretty clothing of those attending. Winding her way through the crowd, she gives some greetings here, compliments a dress there.

Kincade strides in brushing his long blue cloak aside. He surveys the room while lighting a carved bone pipe, puffing to get it lit.

"Why, Lady Beatrice, never let it be said I'm afraid of a little competition," Sebastian replies with artful amusement as he seats himself carefully next to her on the bench. "Though, if it involves running... mm. I think I'll concede immediately." He follows Beatrice's attention towards Selene, regarding the Whisper briefly before sky-blue gaze roves again, murmuring something softly.

"I have had a chance to come here on occasion. It would be my pleasure to explore it further with you, my lady." Vercyn smiles to Elsa as he looks around the area curiously, taking in the decorations, the people, and the various extravegant outfits that are worn.

Perronne chuckles at Dusk. "Oh, my friend, the tunic only accentuates the fire that is within you. It enhances, not outshines! You shine bright!" She follows him into shadow without hestiation, though, the umbra of her dress giving the disturbing impression that most of her body just disappears, and she's a jacket and a pattern of gems with a head on top. His suggestion draws horrified laughter. "We can't ask to touch her dress," she hisses. "We could say hi, though. /Respectfully/." Then she seems to catch another word in the crowd, and turns in that direction.

No kind of running for the Radiant Emeritus. Selene awaits the opportunity to claim a glass of wine for herself, the ideal accessory for someone not otherwise on the arm of a charming individual. A night for games indeed, after all. The most delicate traces of shadow leap over her, elegant as they come. Lifting her glass to her lips, she returns that greeting to Liara with a smile. As she finds her path wherever she will, it's briefly in the direction of Saoirse and Sophie to pay them a greeting. "What a lovely turnout, isn't this? It suits you well, Your Highness." She smiles blithely to Sophie. "And good evening. I hope you find this a lovely time."

1 Redoubt Buccaneers, Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, 1 Thrax Guards arrive, following Mikani.

Kaldur has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Joscelin has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Lucita drifts along with the flow of the crowd speaking to others here and there as she snags a glass of wine to drink and and finds a spot to sit and people watch for a while.

Grazia watches over whatever it is that Bliss is doing in relative silence, letting the Whisper take the lead on this one, and meanwhile admiring all of the beautiful new dresses that people have commissioned just because there's a ball to go to. She continues to look mildly amused and slightly aloof, like she isn't entirely certain what to do with parties, even if she is the one throwing one.

Lucita has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Sanya has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Noticing fmilir faces at the wooden arbor, Sanya gets a glass of wine from a server and drifts over to them with a warm smile.

Fashionably late is the norm for Anabelle but for good reason. Wearing a purple silk gown, her honey gold hair is pinned into a tumble of curls perfectly placed to frame her face with cascading tendrils. She looks completely at ease on Ruslan's, smiling warmly to all those they pass. She tilts her head in his direction at his first, a quizzical brow lifting, "Forced? Whatever do you mean?" she asks before his compliment brings a rosy glow to her cheeks as she drops her eyes shyly, "Thank you, you clean up pretty well yourself."

Ophelia Velenosa arrives in her off the shoulder silken gown, a shimmering silver with pearlescent sequins along the contours of her waist and hips. Her hair is done up into an elegant chignon and she has an array of jewelry that give a little sparkle as she moves. Her arm is within Sir Corban's and she sweeps her gaze around the area to note all present before smiling at him. "Thank you. And you're handsome as always, First Captain."

Ruslan has joined the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Joscelin grins at Gianna and murmurs a compliment to the Nightingale as she passes, headed towards an abor with lilacs and roses. Her eyes drift over others that move about, curious, interested in strangers as much as familiar ones. She grabs a glass of something and is already sipping it, blue, beaded gown trailing in her wake.

While Hadrian makes his way through the various avenues among the guests at the side of Cambria, he makes certain to appropriately distribute high fives as he goes. Upon passing nearby Sir Corban, Hadrian's hand rises up in greeting and then continues to be held up as he passes by - clearly a high five is sought. Whether he's left hanging in the wind or the contact is reciprocated, Hadrian continues on his merry way at the side of Cambria in their quest to bask in the presence or radiance of Bliss and Grazia. Or just say what's up.

Willow arrives on Kincade's arm, her hand looped over his forearm as the other smokes at his pipe. Stormy blue eyes match the maelstrom in seasilk clinging to either side of her copper scaled corset, her other hand rising to straighten the duskstone resting between her clavicles as she looks up past the lattice into the trees.

Selene has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

"Sure, sure! And you are a woman of steel /and/ flexibility, a most remarkable combination." Dusk runs his hand light over the brocade. "Ah, ah! Look at that effect." He gestures down at Perronne's invisible skirts. "Sheen and darkness, light and vanishing. A dress of depths. But, yes, let's say hello." He follows where she leads, clearly a little lost in the crowd.

2 Redrain Guards, Lucien, a bright-eyed pine marten arrive, following Helena.

"You are too kind, Princess Ophelia," says Corban, gently, to the woman, guiding her towards someplace they might get a refreshment. Hadrian gets a sort of puzzled look, but he does reciprocate the hi-5, if for no other reason to be polite. He picks up a glass of wine for himself, gesturing to Ophelia. "What might I get you, Your Highness?"

"I know it is supposed to look like the Great Road. But I was not asked for what would have been provided for our section of it. Were you?" Ruslan asks Anabelle curiously, a smile offered to her return compliment. "Thank you, my lady. I thought I should be presentable for our first outing."

Sipping from his glass of red wine, Agostino continues to move through the crowd until he eventually ends up near Beatrice and Sebastien. "Lady Beatrice, Lord Pravus, it is good to see you out tonight. And you as well, Mistress Whisper," he greets them and Selene after bowing to the nobles gracefully enough to keep from spilling his drink. As he speaks with them, his gaze continues to shift about the enclosure from time to time, noting new arrivals.

Making sure papers go out and hearing the buzzing start as people begin to describe exactly what it is they are up to, Bliss seems content, before she steps into the middle of the makeshift road and claps her hands together a few times to try to command attention. "Everyone, if I may have a moment, it seems the first crisis of our evening is beginning," the Softest Whisper announces, lifting her voice to carry through the crowd as people settle into place. "If you do not have a faction - now is the time to tell me and make sure you get put into one." A few moments as she makes sure everyone is listening and sorted, and then she begins to explain. "It seems that our new Great Road, our wonderful great road, is being beset upon by some raiders from the vile Tribe of Snowsnow." She tuts her head, shaking it for a moment as she looks around. "It is time for the Compact to formulate a response to this. Everyone, I want you to try to find groups to work with - they can be small, or they can be big, but I would like you to try to make your groups balanced between the different factions as best you can - after all, we must form new links to succeed and thrive. Sit and discuss, and come up with clever ways that we might resolve the problem of these snowy raiders - each group will get a chance to announce their plans, and then we will vote on whose we will follow through with. Remember! This is a competition! Be creative - be funny!"

Perronne takes the lead, guiding herself and Dusk through the crowd with as much enthusiasm as grace. She stops here and there to curtsy, but does make her way over to Saoirse, to offer a deeper curtsy and say, "Your Highness, I just wanted to say how beautiful your dress is! However did it get mad--" and then Bliss is talking. She listens. "Oh! How interesting. Well," a glance at Dusk, "we're two allied factions already, Mister Lecturer. Assuming that you're up for it?"

Mikani enters wearing her usual black with red. The umbra off set by the red of the ribbons tying it on. Her hair piled high on her head as she looks around. She had been given a faction. Now to find a group.

Liara has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Mikani has joined the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Led in by Olivia, Jan seems pleasantly surprised that something other then dancing might be happening. A bit overwhelmed on who exactly to greet, she simply hangs back for the time being and looks to see if any teams form that need a 'brute force' style of player.

Merek adds to the discussion regarding the conversation mentioned, although it isn't that much. He takes up a drink of his liquor also.

Saoirse's attention flicks to Perronne and she offers the Crown's Official Buyer (real title) a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. It's chilly. But there's no malice either. "I couldn't begin to tell you HOW a dress is made, but I can certainly tell you the history of --" and she's off! Saoirse Velenosa, Best Party-Goer, proceeds to launch into a FIFTEEN MINUTE LECTURE on a sartorial history of Arvum. Until and unless stopped? this is all she's going to be talking about the rest of the night! Don't you dare look like you're interested or she'll NEVER let up.

Murmuring back and forth with Kincade, Willow's lips quirk in a smile, eyes sparkling. She looks around a long moment then, once instructions are given. "...where are the other Whitedaughter at?" she asks, at neither whisper nor yell.

Keeping her arm tucked into Vercyn's, Elsa chuckles at something he's said before nodding and moving towards Bliss and Grazia to offer their greetings before seeing out a group. She dips into a brief curtsy for the pair and smiles towards both Whisper and Duchess, "My lady, Softest, my congratulations on the turnout, and the cleverness of these games. We both look forward to finding collaborators with which to amuse ourselves and everyone else."

Willow stops short as the lecture starts. And looks...genuinely intrigued.

Beatrice beams a smile to Agostino instantly, a hand extending. "Executor. How good to see you. Which faction are you? Lord Sebastian and I are performing an exercise in collaboration across Whitedaughter and Bluehail." To Sebastian, Beatrice adds, "And we seem to be safe for now, both from Bliss's creativity and your enthusiasm."

Dusk raises his hand. He is undeterred by Saoirse's chill in the face of Perronne's interest. He asks, in the middle of this wild sartorial history, "Excuse me. Your Highness? I am very impressed by the depth of your knowledge. Might you ally with us to defeat, ah, the tribe Snowsnow?"

Unlike Hadrian, Cambria does not offer high fives. She does, however, stop by Grazia and Bliss long enough to give each a polite greeting before the game is explained. The pair step back, with the Marquessa peering this way and that as though deciding upon prospective allies.

Anabelle chews on her lower lip as she shakes her head slowly at the dawning realization that she is thoroughly unprepared for the event. "I was not...But..." she beams a smile up at him, "I'm sure it's not too terrible a faux pas as to ruin our evening." Stopping to listen to Bliss as she explains what they are going to be doing this evening, she blinks just a little bit, "I didn't know this was going to a paticipation thing either, what fun!"

As Willow calls out in neither a whisper or a yell Sophie raises her hand and says, "I'm a whitedaughter too!" She smiles warmly and looks toward Dusk and Soairise, nodding her head to Dusk. "Ahh Dusk! It's so good to see you again!" Sophie apparently tried to sneak to find a quiet seat, but sat herself right next to the map-dress-wearing Saoirse.

Anabelle has joined the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Perronne just listens, wide-eyed and clearly fascinated. "Even I didn't know that, about the early dying procedures of the south Crownlands, and I thought I had that area pretty well covered. That's amazing, Your Highness!" Dusk's words bring her out of history-haze, and she coughs. "Oh, yes. Snowsnow. Very vile. Shall we cooperate? If it's not, um, an imposition, of course."

Grinning somewhat when Beatrice uses the title house Malespero has given him, Agostino takes a seat with her and the others nearby.

Agostino has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

2 Redrain Guards, Lucien, a bright-eyed pine marten leave, following Helena.

Gianna has to hold the hem of her skirt in one hand and a wine glass in the other. In the guise of chatting someone up for the purpose of the game, she manages to convince a young noblewoman to prepare her a plate of food to nibble on. And once she has that, she somehow winds her way toward the arbor without coming up with even one strategy for dealing with the Snowsnows.

Gianna has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

To Elsa, Grazia looks quite amused, and nods politely. "Thank you, thank you. I think something so spectacular as the Great Road ought to be celebrated for both its successes and its failures. And I look forward to hearing what sort of wonderous diplomacy and/or violence is to be wrought against the Snowsnows," she purrs.

Oh. Oh - right. This is a party, not an academic think tank. Saoirse fades off with a pause, as if it just dawned on her that maybe this isn't actually an interesting topic for, like, 98% of people. She flashes that thin smile again and looks at the groups now forming. "Um. I-- thank you. No. I think I should remain neutral. For appearances. This, you know, is not ... a game. Real houses have real grievances."

"So," says Corban to Ophelia as he hands her a glass of wine. "Do you see anyone that we ought to sit with tonight?" He gestures at the various places where others have gathered. "You, after all, are the princess of the Lyceum. I am just a simple knight." He winks at her, clearly teasing.

Kincade leads Willow to the other whitedaughts announcement is made her is also a whitedaughter, the tall man chuckles.

Sanya has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan leave, following Sanya.

Vercyn offers a bow to both Bliss and Grazia. "Softest. My Lady. A pleasure to see you both. Thank you for hosting such an interesting event." He straightens before his gaze sweeps over the area to take in the various party goers and who might be worth allies.

Ophelia accompanies Sir Corban to get a glass of wine and once that is achieved, she moves out of the way so others can get by to do the same. It'll reduce the risk of getting bumped into -- and she needs all the luck she can get to not spill anything on herself or her escort. She keeps her arm around his and sips her drink while attempting to find a place to sit. Or stand. "I'll find us a place." Which means she's leading him toward the tables.

"Oh." Perronne's shoulders droop, visibly, but she's quick to rally. "Of course, Your Highness. Our apologies," she says, with another curtsy. Then whispers something to Dusk while giving Sophie a hopeful, sidelong look.

Mikani nods to Vercyn as she sees him enter. She looks back at her group before making her own introductions.

Ophelia has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Murmuring something to Vercyn, Elsa turns towards the Mazetti couple and offers a smile towards Hadrian and Cambria, "Marquis, Marquessa... would you care to collaborate with us on a solution to the problem at hand?"

As the small groups begin to form, Bliss seems satisfied, taking a step away from the center and returning greetings to people as they are given with a warm smile. She does turn her head, murmuring something low to Grazia.

For anyone not sorted into a group, Selene watches out for them. Whomever it is, anyone out there on their own receives her nod and a light encouragement by nod or tip of the wine glass to join them.

Dusk blinks owlishly at Saoirse as if he doesn't quite understand. "Oh, our apologies, your highness. As commoners caked with the dust of road and labor, we were not positioned to know. Thank you for your kind attention." With this, and after a whisper with Perronne, he waggles his fingers in Sophie's direction. "Your highness! Will you ally with us against, ah, Snowsnow?"

Even Olivia seems a bit overwhelmed by the large crowd. Sbe stays close to Jan, keeping her arm linked with Jan's (She is at least getting better at leaving Jan's drinking hand free). She leans over and whispers something to Jan, looking around the crowd somewhat nervously.

Tyce the gruff and disapproving arrives, following Juliana.

Sophie nods to Perrone and she says, "Let's work together? Though I fear diplomacy is not my strong suit. Perhaps Princess Saoirse can at least nudge us in the proper directions from time to time, hmm?" She waves Dusk and Perrone closer and moves to stand from the hammock and she takes a step closer to Dusk and Perrone. "So, what shall we do?"

Corban nods his head to something that Ophelia whispers to him, moving off in the direction of Lord Kaldur and Lady Rey. His arm remains in hers and he sips occasionally from his wine, pleased to be led where the princess of the Lyceum cares to go.

Hadrian casts a nod toward Elsa and provides a gentle elbowing at Cambria. Possibly to grasp a tight hold on her attention. He then offers a broad grin in answer to Elsa's question before he follows it with actual words, "Why we would be thrilled to join you! We've already concocted a winning strategy. Maybe not *the* winner, but *a* winner. It'll be fantastic!" Hadrian's laughter can be heard shortly after as he motions toward one of the exhibits. "Shall we take refuge over there, discuss our super, super, super, super secret plans? Perhaps pray for the gods to show us favoritism in our senseless plan being inexplicably successful?"

Hadrian has joined the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Cambria has joined the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

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

Elsa has joined the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Rey has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Jan has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Merek walks through the place, nodding to folk, to Dusk, to Sophie, to a lot of folk. He seems content to keep to him self while greeting folk.

Vercyn has joined the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Cambria glar-- that is to say, looks towards Hadrian with an obviously adoring gaze when he elbows her. "Yes," she replies, mouth formed into a tight smile. "Definitely a winning plan. Over there, you say? Sounds excellent."

"I think that seems a sound strategy. Perhaps together we can come up with something that will work." Vercyn smiles to Elsa before glancing towards Mikani when he notes her presence. He inclines his head to her before moving to join the Marquia and Marquessa.

Corban has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

As the groups seem to have formed for discussing the resolution to this event, the music continues to play on near the dancing floor. The rumble of conversation seems to fill the air, but it doesn't completely stop the sounds of the forest arboretum - night birds make their noises and animals scurry through the trees, real fireflies filling in the space between the lights and dancing in the summer night in a nearly hypnotizing display.

Better late then never or carefully timed entrance? Its hard to tell but the Lady Juliana steps into the ball in a cloud of silver and lilac mist. Her dark hair piled in artfully haphazard curls on top of her head and held in place by amethyst pins, she pauses just inside, eyes the color of summer skies sweeping slowly throughout the room searching for someone or just giving those that turn a moment to stare? See it's the dress..tissue fine silk of silvery mists that hang from two broaches as wide as a man's hand securing it in place. The fine material hiding none of the lady's charms as she steps spots who she is looking for and steps forward. So fine the silk as she moves that it clings transparent to the skin. And that is where the magic is, as across the pale skin floats intricately painted lilac, falling in all the right places as the vines weave around her body in deep greens and pale purples returning a semblance of the modesty that the gown stripped away.

Juliana has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Kincade has joined the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Abruptly, Sebastian rises. His gaze is on his twin as she arrives, a hand reaching out to beckon Juliana over towards the group with a small murmur.

Umbroise finds her way into the menagerie, where she has heard there is some sort of ball going on. Hair styled impeccably around a delicate coronet of antique silver inset with moonstones, and dressed in pretty shades of purple seasilk, black velvet and moonstone accents, the Acheron Master of Trade pauses to glance about the gathering with eyes like black sapphires. She is late, but that does not deter her as she eventually moves to a place where she can sit and observe for a time to discern what is going on. She takes a glass of wine in hand, and glances about, occasionally sipping. No sign of recognition touches her features when she looks upon faces that she sees, and her own face might be unfamiliar to others, as she doesn't tend to leave the Acheron estate very often of late. She dips her head to Juliana, who arrived just slightly before her, and gives a rueful smile to the woman in silent solidarity among those who are /late/.

2 Ashford House Guard have been dismissed.

Bethany have been dismissed.

Once again a Sword arrives precisely when he means to. Theron takes a moment to look about the converted menagerie with eyebrows raised. "Well." A Pause. "Damn." Shortly after Theron comes the harried looking Garibaldi, the Swordbearer. Theron's left his usual companions to Garibaldi's care in favor of being dressed in something less martial and more silk in nature. Finally on the move again, he seems to avoid the dance floor as if it is plagued. Eventually he settles on a particular pair of targets, and heads in their direction.

Lucita listens a moment as a messenger catches her and with an apologetic glance to the others with whom she was pleasantly visiting and making plans, she rises and discretely makes her way out.

Lucita has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Micana, 1 Saik Guard leave, following Lucita.

A bell rings, one that is in the hand of Bliss Whisper, before the hostess steps forward and clears her throat. "Alright!" the Softest Whisper announces. "I think you have had at least time to come up with some barebones plans - and it's time for us all to hear what you've come up with." She turns her head toward the group of Dusk, Perronne and Sophie first. "Dusk," she says with a warm smile, "Do you feel comfortable coming up and sharing with everyone what your group's plans are to help stop the menace of the Tribe of Snowsnow?"

Theron has joined the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Stefano, an inconspicuous Lycene bodyguard, Carmela, a gleaming dusken-feathered crow arrive, following Mirella.

Dusk emerges from the knot of Perronne and Sophie. He inclines his head toward Bliss, takes a deep breath, and launches, "We propose a two-pronged, ah, strategy. First, we would do the practical, martial thing of increasing patrols, with the kind and sacred help of the Knights of Solace. We would also spread vivid, pictoral propaganda along the road, targeting the Snowsnow tribe with offers of comfort and drink, hearth and attractive, well-fed potential friends should they bend the knee. Hopefully bleeding their numbers down without shedding blood."

Grazia stands next to Bliss and watches the crowd, looking quite interested in what sort of things the groups have come up with for dealing with Clan Snowsnow. When Dusk speaks for the first group, she nods politely to him and then looks on to the second group to see what they'll say.

Umbroise has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

"A very practical and pragmatic approach," Bliss says, lifting her hands up to clap for the trio that Dusk had spoken for with a smile on her face and a nod as she looks around at the others. "Perhaps strategies that many people here will be wanting to try in the sorts of situations we find themselves in - Peace without bloodshed is a goal so many of us should be striving for. Will there also be pictures of the beautiful people of the Compact, to encourage them to bend the knee that way?" she wonders with a little bit of a playful smile, before nodding her head and looking to Hadrian. "Marquis Hadrian Mazetti, I can't imagine those around you would pick anyone but yourself to speak for them. What might you have in mind?"

Kincade has left the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Saoirse has left the a sky blue hammock stretched between two trees.

Dreya, an older woman in Velenosan livery have been dismissed.

2 House Velenosa Guards have been dismissed.

Ailfryd, a tall, thin man with a haugty air have been dismissed.

Mirella has been here for some time, perhaps, clad in a dress of umbra and as quiet as the brush of a quill cutting through the air. She has a glass of glittering red wine in one hand, and is using the other hold delicately bring a slice of peach to her mouth for slow nibbles as she thoughtfull looks around. She keeps her own company on the periphery for now, silent and attentive.

"Of course. The members of the Compact are terribly attractive," Dusk says, with a small bow before he rustles back near the hammock.

Hadrian steps away from the ring-tailed lemur exhibit in order to present a plan, "Okay, so, here's how it works. Dealing with the Snowsnow Tribe is really, really simple. First and foremost you hire some sellswords to dress up as their archnemeses from the Warmwarm Tribe - it's a working name for now. That should put the two sides at war with one another more than likely. You let Snowsnow and Warmwarm fight it out for awhile, then when they've weakened themselves on one another, you come in like a third party to an orgy and slide in with ease. Slap each of them on the backside and call it a day". He pauses for a moment and lifts his gloved hands in mock surprise, his eyebrow dancing high on his forehead, "But oh no! As always things never go as planned, so that's why all along you have a plan in mind to draw the attention of the Faith to the Snowsnow Tribe. What's that? Some pilgrims were butchered on the roadways? Of course it had to be the Snowsnow Tribe! The Faith sends out their troops, Snowsnow and Warmwarm merge into one tribe - the Slushslush Tribe - and then more and more they begin to rally to fight back against the onslaught of the Pantheon's cleansing,"

He lifts both hands to the world above in anguish, "The losses on both sides are catastrophic! Men, women, children, they're all dying left and right. And then... suddenly... there's some woman at the head of an army with the goal of ending the conflict once and for all, installing herself as a pseudo-worshipped individual that when looked at from a logical and reasonable perspective given her often sarcastic and thoroughly unpleasant demeanor doesn't make sense as any sort of fantastic leader." He pauses for a moment, a breath taken before he continues with some measure of hope spread throughout his voice, "In the end the Whisper House comes in and appeases all the tempers. They say nice things, they dress nice, and suddenly everyone just thinks... you know, they're right, let's stop fighting because manners, I guess?"

There's another pause before he concludes the strategy, "So after the Whispers show up to appease all the aggression, the secret weapon that the Warmwarm Tribe had been working on is deployed. The large ice lense is set up and in the Warmwarm Tribe's betrayal, used against the Snowsnow Tribe. After they're melted away, the Warmwarm Tribe sets up a backwater resort in the newly created puddle called 'The Dripdrip Hole'".

Sophie sinks back into the hammock as their strategy is revealed, and she smiles warmly as Perrone returns. Saoirse has left, so now Sophie has the entire hammock to herself, and she swings on it lightly while she watches the next group present their suggestion.

Mikani orders some wine for Ruskin and Annabelle at the treehouse. Looking around the room she slips out silently.

Mikani has left the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

1 Redoubt Buccaneers, Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, 1 Thrax Guards leave, following Mikani.

Perronne gives Sophie a little wave of thanks, then makes a flourishing gesture to offer Fortunato her arm again. And then, off towards the food and drinks she goes, although Hadrian's recitation appears to be prompting some serious giggles she's trying to cover with her free hand.

Dusk tries for a restrained wave to Sophie this time, and marches foodwise with Perronne. Not without giving Hadrian a couple of very impressed stares, however. Very impressed.

Mirella just slowly nibbles at her peach slice.

Grazia claps in appreciation of Hadrian's description of his group's plan. "That sounds delightfully complicated and impressive. Most ridiculous. I wonder if any shall top you," she says brightly, a small but present smile on her lips.

"I ... don't think I have anything I could possibly add to that!" Bliss says after Hadrian has given his idea to the crowd, nodding a few times and looking clearly impressed before she turns her attention to Sabella. "Princess Grayson - or is it Flax for the evening? What do you have to offer as your own response to this dire crisis?"

Kincade says, "I have been wanting to experiment with grinding lenses with your finest quartz Lady Grazia."

With one last look around, Ruslan and Anabelle slip out of the party, apparently heading elsewhere as the pair continue to converse quietly.

Ruslan has left the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Anabelle has left the a comfortable wooden treehouse.

Jean, 1 House Lyonesse Adept Guards, 1 Lyonesse Trained Guards leave, following Anabelle.

Anabelle leaves, following Ruslan.

Mirella has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Sabella stands and offers a smile to the room, "Champion Bliss, while I am sure that you put a great deal of work into this party and the decorations are delightful, I have to say that I find the humorous undertone to this game uncomfortable considering the number of awful things that have been blamed rightly or wrongly upon the Great Road--the murder of women and children among them. While I am sure that the Marquis is only playing in line of how the rules were presented, I wonder at the humor in a situation where this is a very real issue that many are currently grappling with. And I would hate for anyone here to think that the peerage and Whisper House were making light of such situations. That said, our group over here discussed rather seriously how a problem like this might be solved--such as dispatching diplomats to nearby tribes that might be more favorable to discussion, who had had dealings with this attacking tribe and might know the best how to engage with them. Whether an outreach would be profitable or if there would be no dealing with them except with the sword. Or hammers, as was brought up over here. A solution meant to avoid bloodshed, much like was proposed by Master Fortun...ah." she pauses, like she knows that's wrong. "...Dusk's group."

Kaldur stands slowly, looking shocked, frankly, but standing behind Sabella, his ears turning scarlet, but his expression resolved.

Agostino has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Cecily, a coy secretary have been dismissed.

Omero, a hulking bodyguard have been dismissed.

Gianna sets her wine glass down but remains seated at the arbor, by Sabella and Kaldur. She looks rather thoughtful, her lips pressed together and a faint line between her brows.

Julian steps away from Sebastian, stepping up beside Kaldur and touching his elbow, leaning in to whisper.

Juliana has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Juliana has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

"I hear and understand your concerns, Princess Sabella, and I assure you that no disrespect is meant," Grazia volunteers, speaking up and gesturing with her glass of wine in a gentle fashion. Her voice is low and husky, and she might be hard to hear over the general hubbub of the party. "As someone who is dealing with vassals who are having very real issues that stem from the Great Road, I can tell you that I have firsthand knowledge of the real situation. But I also understand, to a degree, that one of the best ways to deal with problems is to poke a little fun at them. Diplomatic solutions are necessary in real life; in the game, we can fantasize about Clan Warmwarms and the effect that propaganda posters of beautiful citizens of Arx can have on our 'problems'. If only real life were so easy as the game. But it is a ball, and it is a game, and it is a fantasy, and I hope that you will accept it as such, with the caveat that we all feel the effects that the real Great Road has had." She spreads her hands. "We could be endlessly grim about the Great Road, or we can celebrate its achievements and poke a little fun at the very real diplomatic decisions the peerage is going to have to make regarding its failures. And we can let others in on the fantasy diplomacy, others who have new perspectives and ideas, and perhaps in addition to silliness, we can find some actual solutions."

Cambria is overheard praising Grazia: Well spoken.

Juliana has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Juliana has joined the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Sophie is overheard praising Cambria.

Jan drops Cartugan - Kennex Brand Rosewater Vodka.

After joining the bench that Juliana had drifted too and making quiet introductions there, Umbroise sips her wine, and quietly turns her attention toward Sabella as the Princess rises to speak about the flippant undertones of the game. She remains seated there, watching the exchange with Grazia curiously with her dark eyes, her expression unreadable. She glances about, studying those who have spoken. After a time, her attention is drawn away however after something Beatrice says to her, and she quietly murmurs back to her.

"Your objections are noted, Princess Sabella," Bliss says after a moment, keeping her smile warm. "There are many things I could say, of which Duchess Rubino, who has so graciously sponsored this ball, has said far better than I ever could. One thing I do wish to say of my own is that often, the solution to a problem involves being creative - and that taking a step back from our problems can give us perspective. No disrespect is meant, and you have presented me with an opportunity to remind those here of something - the Faith of the Pantheon has taken some rather pointed losses from this road, with the Knights of Solace being stretched to their limits, the Templars suffering losses, and many prospective Mercies never making it to Blancbier. One of my hopes in running this ball was that we would be able to generate some funding to help them with their problems, and to that end, I encourage those of you here who have not gotten involved yet to please do so. Whisper House has." She folds her hands in front of her, then says, "Part of the reason I encouraged people to meet new people, juggle ideas, is to create new contacts from this event. It is not just from serious approaches - but a party where you find someone you can laugh with is also one where you can find someone to work with. Look to those near you and how easy it is to plan for a fictional disaster - apply those same skills to the real world, and the Compact will go far." She lets out a soft breath, then looks to Beatrice. "Lady Malespero, please, I believe I saw you signal that you were ready to speak for your group?"

Sophie is overheard praising Bliss.

Sophie is overheard praising Sabella: One has to respect someone who stands up for their convictions, no matter how ill-timed.

"Indeed, I am," Beatrice murmurs smoothly. Touching a hand to Sebastian's shoulder, she moves to her feet - and then stands on her bench, swaying a bit as she finds her balance in her long, umbra ballgown. "Bliss, Duchess Grazia. Thank you for this evening and the company of friends. I'll echo your encouragement." She does not or cannot quite supress an arch smile. "For this, however, a whitedaughter, two bluehails, and a paladin recommend most earnestly that we throw a grand ball for all of our region's factions, there to engage those attendees in a competition to develop and execute a plan to stop our Snowsnowian assailants. We would, of course," and here she gestures to Bliss with her wineglass, "invite Champions and Whispers to draw attendance and enthusiasm, something I would note is clearly not lacking. And, if all of those fail, we will send Lady Juliana directly to the raiders to /pointedly/ solve the issue." Beatrcie twists into a playful sketch of a bow before stepping, oh, so carefully back to the ground, wineglass still in hand.

Sophie is overheard praising Hadrian.

Sophie is overheard praising Beatrice.

Sabella gives Grazia a deep nod of her head and a smile, "Of course, Duchess Grazia, I can completely understand the desire to see the best in the situation and approach things creatively and am relieved to know that this is your perspective. I would only caution that it is still a new wound for some of us and poking at it, even in fun, can cause discomfort." She also nods to Bliss, though not as deep a one as Grazia got, "Princess Saoirse is leading a diplomatic envoy out shortly and I know Lord Kaldur holds this all very close to his heart and has been helping where he can. Is there to be a collection at the end of the night? Or is Whisper House soliciting them? I know that I would be very interested in donating to whatever efforts I can."

Olivia has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

"Thank you, Highness." Kaldur ears flame, the color spread up from his neck, "You are an uncommon and remarkable woman, Princess Sabella. Your grace is something we could all stand a measure of." He steps forward, "Duchess Grazia." Kaldur inclines his head and lifts his glass in salute, "The Duchess was one of the earliest supporters when what became the Great Road was only an infrastructure project." He lifts a glass to her. "I don't think either of us anticipated what it would become. And it might not have been anything at all without her." He nods his head, bowing at the hostess. "I agree with her Highness, that making a game of atrocities commited with the hardly dry is in - at best - poor taste, but you are Lycene and can be forgiven such things." He looks, thoughtful a moment and back at his arbor of lilacs. To Bliss: "It is, as you say, an opportunity. And the Paladins suggest getting everyone /good and drunk./" He looks at the gathered glitterati, "That stolen Lycene booze, it wasn't stolen. It was commandeered to send to Snowsnow, because who would rather raise a sword when they could," he demonstrates, "Raise a glass. To Whisper House, and our Hostess, and benighted Snowsnow-" he lifts his head to cry, "Cheers!" And downs his glass, waving a server over for a refill.

2 Harthall house guards, Niall RedTree, adorably awkward squire arrive, following Ouida.

"The Faith took some of the greatest hits from the building of the Great Road," Grazia says seriously to Sabella with a thoughtful nod. "I would encourage those present to donate to the Faith. We can also ask Princess Saoirse if she would like donations, because although this party was planned prior to her announcement of being a diplomatic envoy, we certainly can provide her with extra funding if she likes. Princess Saoirse? What do you need?" A pause, and she adds, "And Lord Kaldur? What do you need? What would make your mission easier?"

Meeting Sabella's gaze, Bliss holds it for a while before she says, her tone warm, "For those who wish me to handle the publicization of any donation, you can feel free to send a message to me with the amount and I will make sure that is done early on next week - as a thank you for coming to this ball. But we are also lucky to have the Mother Mercy in attendance, and I am certain that she is perfectly willing to discuss any idea for the Mercies, in particular," she says as she motions to Sophie - before giving her an apologetic smile. "This is encouragement, communication, meeting - the things that are needed for civilization to flourish, and Gild welcomes all generosity." Then she brings her hands behind her back, looking to Beatrice and giving her a nod. "I think that it sounds like your group has rather a good idea for a specific thing we can do that could work - as tonight shows, Lady Beatrice. A suggestion about what is happening is very, very clever." And then her head turns to Kaldur, and as he goes into his plan, she begins to smile brightly. "Indeed, my lord!" she says with a happy laugh. "Let's all begin on that suggestion at once, I think - there is wine flowing freely around us, and do be sure to take part in it. For those of you who would like to vote on your favorite suggestion, please use the back of the paper you received today to do so - if there is a tie, I will have a tiebreaker between the groups that we can let go on after tonight. Please don't vote for your own! But it's already growing late and I am far, far too sober right now."

Hadrian's hand lifts and clutches to his chest, "Oh muh stars! You can't just talk about the Lyceum's stolen wine! We're still reeling from the pain of our loss! Think of the children, please!" Hadrian wails out from the ring-tailed lemur exhibit. "This is an outrage! A travesty against civilization! WOE! WOE BE UNTO OUR FERMENTED GRAPES!" Then Hadrian settles down once again, his elbow planted atop a wooden railing overlooking the exhibit as he offers up a cheerfully bright grin, the faintest evidence of crow's feet appearing at the corners of his eyes, "No, no, it's okay. Because this is a game and it's all hypothetical". Once his theatrics are concluded, he turns his attention back to the exhibit of ring-tailed lemurs and asks aloud of those nearby the exhibit, "No, really, seriously, what is the purpose of these things?"

Following a bit of a chat with a person or two at the arbor, Liara moves away, crossing direct towards the area set up for dancing. Reaching it, she turns about, and turns her gaze about those present, eyebrows arched - expectant or inquisitive, perhaps - and with her gloved hands clasped neatly together down by her stomach.

Better late than never, perhaps? But there is another arrival, as Ouida enters, cheeks flushed ever so slightly perhaps from a brisk run or gallop over. Her hair isn't too mussed, at least. She makes an attempt to slow her pace, and perhaps ease on in to a group of other minglers.

Corban rises to his feet at the table, and then pauses to smile at Ophelia. "You ready to go, Princess Ophelia?" And with a kind nod to Bliss and Grazia, Corban offers the Velenosian princess his arm to lead her back to her Estate.

Sabella is overheard praising Grazia: An eloquent and engaging hostess who has constantly shown herself to be supportive of important public works

As Bliss motions toward her Sophie smiles warmly and nods her head from the hammock where she sits. She speaks up and says, "While the Mercies have suffered the terrible loss of so many of our young ones, we understand the importance of humor in coping with tragedy." Sophie folds her hands back in her lap and when a nearby attendant walks by she retrieves two glasses of wine, holding them up to Bliss as she does. She calls out to her, "To help with the sober problem!"

Ophelia finishes giving her regards to her group and then sets her empty glass down to accept Sir Corban's arm. "Yes, I am." She then leans a little closer to murmur something to the First Captain as they both make they way out of the Menagerie.

Ouida bows her head in respect to Corban and Ophelia, as they're leaving as she makes her way further in, with a warm smile for them both. She too picks up a glass of wine from an attendant, something to occupy the hands at least!

A few papers start to come Bliss's way, and she turns them over, looking through them with a warm smile as she leans in to whisper something to Grazia - taking the wine from Sophie with a thankful smile. She might try to turn and hide herself as she lifts it to her lips, but it's pretty clear how quickly that glass is emptied when she lowers it and there doesn't seem to be a drop of the liquid left. "Well," she says after a moment. "I think it's time we made the music a bit more the focus of the evening, hm?"

Gianna has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Mirella checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Ophelia has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Mirella was there at the arbour. Now she's not. She's gone.

Mirella has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Stefano, an inconspicuous Lycene bodyguard, Carmela, a gleaming dusken-feathered crow leave, following Mirella.

Corban has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

"Yes, I invite everyone to dance and drink and enjoy the hospitality," Grazia agrees, motioning to the room. "Don't forget to give your vote to Bliss Whisper!"

Selene has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

After a time, Liara gives a tiny shrug and strolls away from the dance floor again, back to the arbor.

Liara has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Liara has joined the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Umbroise is overheard praising Bliss: For an... interesting party. Wish there had been more dancing though!

Sophie has taken one small sip from her own wine glass and she offers that to Bliss if she should wish it as well, and as she does this she turns her attention to Grazia and says, Duchess, it's been a lovely event, and surely will continue to be as the music and dancing begins. Thank you, both you and Bliss, for hosting such an event. I only feel sorry that I didn't have more time to have a dress made. I always stay so busy... one day though, there will be nothing but peace and the Mercies will have little to do, I hope.

Umbroise is overheard praising Grazia: For an... interesting party. Wish there had been more dancing though!

Elsa has left the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Vercyn has left the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Vercyn leaves, following Elsa.

Ouida apparently takes the Duchess Gemecitta at her word, because she downs the contents of her wineglass in a single shot! She does have the grace to /look/ appreciative afterwards, though!

Umbroise has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Olivia has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

2 Ashford House Guard have been dismissed.

Bethany have been dismissed.

"Alright, well, in that case, it does seem that the winner for tonight's event is Lord Kaldur's group," Bliss says with a soft laugh as she begins to read through the votes, nodding once to herself before she says, "Marquis Hadrian's group is a close second, and Princess Sabella a third. And with that, let's let everyone turn to getting to know one another better - because really, isn't that the point of any ball? I want to thank Duchess Grazia again for hosting this, and House Rubino in general - we know this is a hard time for you, and being able to smile now is so important."

With that said, a swell of music comes from those near the dance floor, as the instruments begin to pick up louder at some signal from Bliss. The banquet tables are still loaded, and the wine is still there for any who wish to partake of it - as some of the courtiers of Whisper House begin to search through the attendees looking for anyone who might be looking for a partner with whom to dance.

Juliana has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Joscelin pauses mid-sip on her glass of delicious spirits to 'WHOOP!' as her patron's group is declared the winner. Rosy cheeked and likely tipsy, she's completely unabashed as she raises her glass to Kaldur.

Sabella is overheard praising Kaldur: Full of good ideas!

"Thank you, Mother Mercy," Grazia replies to Sophie with a pleasant little smile. "I assure you, you look lovely nonetheless. It is my hope that we will all find peaceful, reasonable solutions to our problems. Civilization will grow more civilized in the eyes of Gild, and we shall use the great benefits of the Great Road without suffering its flaws."

Ouida applauds the winning group, casting curtsey of respect in their direction, as well as a smile, and a nestling of her attention upon each group leader.

Juliana slips away from the bench with her brother then crosses the floor to stop not far from Grazia and waiting for the Duchess to have a moment before smiling with a dip of her head. "Before I left for the night. I wanted to thank you for the lovely evening your Grace."

Hadrian's hands come together at the announcement of Lord Kaldur's group and their win over the game. He claps with a broad, cheerful grin etched across his features. He seems to put to practice that groups suggestion and turns his attention to drinking soon after. Though he seems to lace speaking quietly with those near the lemur exhibit in among his acknowledgments of winners.

2 Harthall house guards have been dismissed.

Niall RedTree, adorably awkward squire have been dismissed.

Kaldur's head comes around at the announcement of a winner, and it's them? "That seems highly unlikely." He turns back to his gathering and then back. "They're serious. Highness, please." Kaldur presses a kiss to Rey's temple, unwinding his hand from hers, before he stands and offers Sabella his arm. He'll follow her lead thereafter.

whisper hadrian="You always were better with appearances than me," Cambria says to Hadrian, before making her way out.

Perronne curtsies playfully to Fortunato, then grins brightly and leads him to the dance floor, continuing a quiet conversation with him. The animated gestures that accompany it aren't probably part of any court dance.

Suiting action to words, given Lord Kaldur's strategy. Theron plucks up a bottle of wine to enjoy, a quick drink and he sets it aside long enough to applaud the victor.

Perronne checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Fortunato checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Cambria has left the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

5 House Mazetti Guardians, Possum leave, following Cambria.

Dusk follows Perronne out onto the dance floor with greater than average offputting clumsiness. He smiles all the same.

Grazia hands out small prizes of silver. "You can share those with your group, or donate them to charity," she says pleasantly as she gives them out.

Liara has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Tyce the gruff and disapproving leaves, following Juliana.

Rising, Sebastian offers an arm to Beatrice, not to head to join the dancing just starting up, it seems, but to escort her from the area, his steps unhurried, murmuring to her as he goes.

Joscelin has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

Sebastian has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

Beatrice has left the a sturdy pine wooden bench.

2 Pravus Honor Guard, Beatrice leave, following Sebastian.

"I will try not to bump you too badly," Sabella laughs as she stands to take Kaldur's arm, "But I appreciate that you'd dare to dance with me in this state. At least Mother Mercy is here if I pull a Princess Sorrel." And then they're off to the dance floor!

Sabella checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

"Bliss, darling, would you indulge me in a dance?" Grazia inquires, turning towards her cohost curiously and offering her hand gracefully.

Turning her head toward Grazia, Bliss nods at her and takes the woman's hand, leaning her head briefly to hear a whisper from Sophie before she lets out a small chuckle. "I would be delighted to, Duchess," she says as she gives Grazia's hand a squeeze, beginning to walk with her out on the dance floor, her steel-tipped shoes clicking on the cobblestones as she does.

A turn for victory at least, Kaldur smiles at the gift of coin, "I'll direct it to the Knights of Solace, thank you." To Sabella, he smiles, "When last we took a turn, you quipped that I was the first not to-" his brow furrows, "I don't recall exactly... headbutt you?" He laughs, "No promises this time."

Kaldur checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Bliss checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 51 higher.

Kincade watches all the dancing puffing on his pipe with a smile.

Sophie calls over to Sabella, "Perhaps I should have brought my field medic bag?" Then she makes her way back to the hammock she was in and sinks into it, smiling contentedly.

"Hit me in the--" Sabella winces as she executes a turn under Kaldur's arm and the inevitable happens, "...ear with an elbow. But tell Lady Rey not to worry, I already married that guy."

Ouida allows her wineglass to be filled, as she finds a vantage point from which to enjoy watching the dancers. She really can't help but smile at Kaldur's turn with Sabella, though at least she hides it behind a full wineglass this time. The Councilwoma and Dusk are also watched with merry eyes, for a turn around the floor. But it is hard to not have her gaze drawn to the Duchess and the Whisper most of all, as she enjoys her wine under the summer stars.

Rey is watching the fance and wrinkles oh so slightly as Kaldur just barely nudges the Princess the wrong way. A little shake of her head and she says something at the table.

Kaldur winces, "Oh. Ah." Whoops. Kaldur decides a different tack, letting Sabella direct the artistry, and he'll just scaffold for her. They sweep around the floor, skimming by the Mother Mercy, "Stay close." He smiles at Sabella, doing his level best not to grunt because he is not going to let a pregnant woman cavort without support, "Oh, there's not much that scares Lady Rey. She should have been born a Bisland." He grins and they sweep!

Kaldur checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Grazia checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Grazia is admittedly not much of a dancer. And she's more concerned about the way her dress is staying on her body and not exposing her by being too Lycene. But she doesn't fail at dancing with Bliss; she just lets the other woman do all the leading.

2 Ashford House Guard have been dismissed.

Bethany have been dismissed.

Is a Whisper a dancer? Is a Champion in control of her body? Both of these facts seem to be easily answered by watching how Bliss leads Grazia around the floor - and even though she is wearing a gown which is very, very Lycene as well, she seems less concerned about how it might move as she gracefully guides her co-hostess in the dance, at a few points taking up more complicated steps, but with each move never seeking to outshine Grazia but to instead lend her grace to her dance partner.

"Prince Niklas and I shall have to have you both over for dinner," Sabella laughs again, ignoring the throbbing of her ear as they move around the dance floor, "So that we can get to know her. And I don't know if I've told you that I'm helping Princess Saorise with her diplomatic envoy."

Kincade seeing Mother Mercy sitting alone and walks over to her "Mind if i enjoy the view with you?"

Hadrian has left the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

Sophie seems pulled from her reverie as Kincade approaches and she smiles warmly and nods, "Please do. I'm simply enjoying the dancers in their beautiful gowns. Impressive aren't they?"

Kincade says, "Indeed, doesn't Grazia look simply smashing?"

Kincade has joined the a sky blue hammock stretched between two trees.

After a moment of quiet conversation with Theron, Hadrian finally pushes himself away from the railing at the lemur exhibit. He points a gloved finger toward Theron and with a click of his tongue he turns away. He offers a wave here and there to those who may take interest in such a thing and then continues on his merry way from the arboretum.

Luigi, 5 House Mazetti Guardians, Mario leave, following Hadrian.

Theron has left the Ring-Tailed Lemur Exhibit.

"Indeed she does, indeed." Sophie says quietly with a smile, and it's apparent that the pairing containing Grazia is the one she's most interested in watching. Sophie stands, then, and brushes herself off before giving Kincade a polite nod of her head. "If you'll excuse me. I have to be getting back to the House of Solace." And *poof* she's gone.

I would like for you to." Kaldur smiles at Rey as he and Sabella sweep past. He winces as he turns Sabella and sees a pinkening of her scalp, "How's your ear?" He is rather a'clatter, ceding the floor to Bliss in her element. Wait. "What is a 'Princess Sorrel?'"

Sophie has left the a sky blue hammock stretched between two trees.

Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes leave, following Sophie.

Kincade has left the a sky blue hammock stretched between two trees.

"Well, I lost a Game of Stones. I owe everyone some entertainment." Jan glances to the passed out Olivia. "Someone will just have to tell her a Kennex always honors their word." She stands awkwardly with her bulk as she makes an open invitation to a willing victim. "Who is wearing some decent armor around their feet and would like to help me get this over with?"

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

A gangly looking squire approaches where Ouida stands, speaking quietly to her. She offers him an appreciative nod, before straightening somewhat regretfully. A last look cast towards the dancefloor, her smile still warm, and then she is turning to go.

"Princess Saoirse," Sabella clarifies, swirling closer to the edge of the dance floor, "And apologies, Lord Kaldur, but I don't have the constitution I used to. You should find Lady Rey. Or maybe Lady Jan would like a turn on the floor! Her ears are a bit higher than mine."

2 Harthall house guards, Niall RedTree, adorably awkward squire leave, following Ouida.

Kaldur ushers Sabella to her rest, "No no, 'Pull a Princess Sorrel' you said. And, aye, I saw that you were part of Princess Saoirse's, ehm, diplomatic efforts. I'm glad. I directed her to my father, spread thin as I am." He arrives at the lilac arbor and holds out a hand, looking between his betrothed Lady Rey and the Lady Jan. "At your peril, Ladies."

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

Rey shakes her head and chuckles. "I love you dearheart, but I am not the best of dances unless it is alone and under the moonlight, I believe Lady Jan should enjoy dancing with you this time. I have no desire to have to heal your feet after our dance.."

"Oh! Give birth at a party," Sabella grins at Kaldur and pats her stomach, "I believe I've taken enough attention for the night. And Prince Niklas is horrified this second one happened so quickly, so I'm trying to drag it out as much as possible."

Pausing as she had begun to pick the sleeping Ashford up, "Oh, I suppose we can do that." Jan leaves the poor drunk girl alone. "Jan Kennex. I hope you didn't plan on having a run anytime soon." She positions herself in an archaic stance that looks like her grandmother taught it to her.

"Oh! Oh." Kaldur shakes his head, "Don't do that." He shakes his head again, "Rey, have you ever midwifed?" What? Midwifery hasn't come up in their courtship yet. He smiles at Rey and back at Jan, "It's true. Moonlight. Alone. Mostly alone." He bows to Jan, "Kaldur Seliki. A pleasure, Jan." He is already not familiar with modern dances and isn't sure what Jan is adopting, but makes a game effort to ... match her stance, murmuring to her.

"That's how the lady stands." Shaking her head, she helps Kaldur into a position that looks more feminine. Jan has no idea what dancing is, this is not an abstract dance, this is the work of Cartugan and confidence. "Okay so its like.." She begins counting but it only outlines how out of rhythm she is and makes her movements even harder to anticipate by her partner.

Jan checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Rey smiles softly as she glances towards Sabella but answers Kaldur, "Yes, more than a few times. So all should be well.." She tells him and motions him off to enjoy himself. She doesn't even blink at the oddness of the stance. For really who is she to say anything?

"Princess Sabella, you are always welcome to voice your concerns at an event, especially one that is tinged a bit by scandal," Grazia assures Sabella with a small but pleasant smile. "You should not go unheard. And I will reach out to Princess Saoirse about her diplomatic trip and see if she needs resources or silver." She continues to dance with Bliss, though, letting the Whisper lead.

Kaldur checked charm + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Kaldur hitches and halts, hands and hefts, managing to smile through the awkwardness of unknown steps. He notes the exchange between Grazia and Sabella, "I believe Princess Saoirse's efforts are already underway," by a small miracle, thanks to which god is uncertain, Kaldur spins Jan without incident, "But my betrothed had some ideas about Waystations." He and Jan pass by, and he takes the opportunity to sweep a hand at the pale Mercy as they pass, by way of introduction.

Perronne steers herself and Dusk to the edge of the dance floor, speaking quietly to him as she does. From her expression, their conversation has become more serious, and she seems to hesitate about something before nodding to him and speaking once again.

Jan checked charm + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Jan tries to take after Kaldur's lead now, completely abandoning the half remembered dance from her childhood. She does stifle a burp after she is spun, looking confused and as if the vodka and rosewater dinner did not agree with her spinning about. Save for that, this new tactic seems to make her much less of a bumbling fool as she moves about. Still out of rhythm a bit, but if you move enough, it hides some of the mistakes.

"I am working with House Graypeak to deal with Clan Stormstorm in the most diplomatic way possible," Grazia notes to Kaldur in even, serious tones. "I may see about putting some Whispers to work on that matter. But I think a lot of issues are being handled locally, and people do want to help. If you work on a project to improve the infrastructure of the Great Road, do let me know. It was more of a success than I think most people give you credit for, my lord."

Kaldur checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

"Princess Tikva will be happy to hear that," Sabella says to Kaldur before standing with some effort and returning Grazia's smile, "Perhaps I ought to attend more parties in the ward of the Lyceum. This was a fabulous event, regardless. The attention to detail is astounding and your generosity of course knows no bounds. I'm sad to have to turn in early but," she pats her stomach again. "I tire easily these days."

Sabella has left the a whimsical wooden arbor with lilacs and roses.

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

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