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Great Gray Ball in the Great Gray Hall

There's going to be a ball in the Grayson Mansion. Somewhat whimsically named the Great Gray Ball, guests are encouraged to be every bit as colourful as they feel like. There's an open invitation to whoever fancies showing up. There will be music, food and drink and plenty of dancing, and whatever else Liara Grayson, the ball's hostess, happens to concoct.


Feb. 2, 2019, 6 p.m.

Hosted By



Olivia Merek Malcolm Videl Gianna Perronne Eilonwy Reese Arik Rhiannon Miella Duarte Elsa Jan Alessia Vercyn Ailys Alaric Alarissa Quenia Jaenelle Shard Mia Kaia Drea Gunther Sabella Niklas Vittorio Sorrel Thesarin Signe Ajax




Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

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

2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany, Jan, Rhiannon arrive, following Olivia.

Saoirse has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Harlen arrives, following Duarte.

Olivia enters accompanied by Jan and Rhiannon each on one arm. She has her usual smile on her face, contrasted by the faces of her companions for the night.

Merek has come to visit the ball with his black attire on in accents of silver also. He looks around a bit and shifts his cape about him while he finds a place he can settle in at to relax and watch.

Malcolm's sniffing, rubbing his knuckles against his nose as he steps into the Sluaghter - er, the Great

Videl enters, wearing a seasilk outfit and despite her short stature walks forwards with a confidence and joy in being here, an outsized presence despite not saying a word, and she's headed straight for Liara, offering a curtsey. "Your highness, thank you for inviting me."

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

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

Having parked herself just inside the doors, to greet arriving guests, Liara doesn't take too much finding. She greets Videl with a warm smile. "Lovely to see you, Lady Videl. A marvellous opportunity to meet some people, I should think."

Gianna likes to make an entrance, and tonight is no exception. The Nightingale is rumoured to be singing tonight, and she's clad in a show-stopping aeterna gown with a lovely epiphanite adorning, housed in an iridescite necklace. She sweeps in, hair piled around iridescite hairpins, the skirt of her gown flowing as she goes.

Rosalie, a lady in waiting arrives, following Reese.

Perronne enters with her shoulders straight and her spine stiff, like there's a grumpy matron following behind her, ready to punish any lack of posture or propriety with a stick. Or perhaps she's just worried about being tossed out, which might explain the fancy, ornamental armor bits. She bites her lower lip and slips in behind Videl to offer her curtsy and greetings to Liara.

Entering the Great Gray Hall, Eilonwy is ambling in with another Northerner-Arik. The Blackwood and Halfshav a contrast in colors. Where Arik's garb is muted, Eilonwy seems to have taken the invitation to wear color to heart. They pause to survey things before Eilonwy points out Gianna from the night before.

-- Hall of the Grand Graysons. "Doubtful there will be great gray balls," the Shepherd Duke tells himself before pausing to snort and chuckle behind his hand, waving toward any familiar (and unfamiliar) faces in the crowd. "Gods. No. Focus. Being a peer. Peerage. Peer-ragiest. Now, where are the drinks - where, where --" Malcolm grins, meandering through servants until he gets cider and a tiny plate of food.

Reese arrives while adorned in a violet gown and slippers. She does have devotion at her hip though and pink ribbons are tangled up in her blonde locks. The princess moves with a warrior sort of grace even as she glances over the ballroom trying to get a feel for things here.

Malcolm has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Arik seems dressed in muted hues his coat seeming uncharacteristic for the northern in the midst of summer and a heavy silver toothed necklace around his shoulders. "The Nightingale seems to be enjoying the crowds attention tonight." he remarks to Eilonwy in a low rumble as his frost grey eyes drift from the spectacle of a great outfit towards the room at large. "Do you think Lady Ysbail will catch you being social a second time?"

Arik has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Rhiannon remains at Olivia's side. She's totally more comfortable with the bodyguard thing than the dress that she's wearing. She definitely is very stiff, shoulders back, head up. More of a a military posture than a social one. Her eyes slide around the hall as if looking for things she might need to keep her cousin safe from.

"My fervent compliments to your tailor," Liara says to Perronne by way of greeting. "That's a marvellous outfit. You're very welcome - please, help yourself to food and drink as you fancy."

2 Bisland pride guards arrives, following Kaia.

Eilonwy has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

"I do hope so. What is a party without people, after all?" Videl smiles and looks around the room, trying to find people who seem interesting, but doesn't quite move on just yet, instead showing off the silver mesh half-glove she wears over her gloves, "I saw this for sale, and I simple had to have it, what do you think?"

Miella comes in quietly, hands clasped before her, wearing a red dress that's definitely Lycene in style. Golden eyes glance about the room to see who is here as she heads for the refreshment table to get herself a glass of something dark to drink.

Duarte slips in with some other attendees and gives the requisite courtly bow to Liara, pausing briefly to do so, and then continuing on his way. He meanders at a slow pace thereafter and observes the setting and atmosphere. Something catches his eye and he smiles plainly. "Nice hat, Miella," but he doesn't linger near the woman. Rather, he is making his way to grab a beverage of his own: whiskey.

Olivia has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Merek waves a bit as he notices Miella, although seems like he is looking to find something to drink while he is about also.

The Duke of Halfshav enters the hall, garbed in direwolf pelts and smelling of success and victory! On his arm is Lady Elsa Shepherd, wrapped in an utterly fabulous display of shimmering seasilk and wreathed in glittering jewels, the pale silvers and grays countered by bright drops of color, including a few brightly colored fire opals of the dragon's breath style. She smiles up at her escort and offers, "I hear they went all out in the food and drink. It should be a fun evening, my lord."

Keeping pace with the Ashfords, Jan has on some kind of dress uniform. Her face bears pastel bruises and a nearly healed nose, and although she lacks the passion Olivia seems to be bringing with her, she has brought gifts to make up for it. A bottle of the Kennex Cartugan and something perhaps a bit more appropriate from a Grayson ball. Sabella's own 'Princess Bubbly'.

Jan gets Cartugan - Kennex Brand Rosewater Vodka from Canvas Rucksack.

"I'm at to something of a loss as to what exactly it is," Liara admits to Videl, studying the mesh glove briefly, "But it is certainly eyecatching. A fine purchase." The Grayson offers a quick smile, then greets Duarte affably, "Count Amadeo - you are most welcome."

Jan gets A Bottle Of Princess Bubbly Sparkling Wine from Canvas Rucksack.

"Hard to say. It's rare for her to miss a party, so perhaps." Eilonwy nods to Arik. Spotting Reese she smiles. "Oh look-Princess Reese. I called her the pink lady for the longest time when I was first getting the ropes of the city. And there's your uncle, isn't it?" She adds with a nudge to Arik.

"I won it," Miella replies proudly to Duarte, reaching up to touch the brim of her ridiculous hat that doesn't match anything else. "First thing I've ever won in my entire life! I'm afraid to take it off lest it should disappear. At least it is a good conversational piece." She gets herself a glass of red wine to match her dress.

Perronne turns beet red at Liara's words, and curtsies again. "I, thank you very much, Your Highness. Your own dress is simply amazing, and you wear it so well! It's like the evening sky. And it's a lovely party, although," her gaze flits to the walls, "not entirely what I expected. That's nice!" She grins, then ducks away so she can greet others. Instead of moving immediately to sit somewhere, she roams, her eyes straying to the furniture and artworks around the hall.

Reese peeks over to Eilonwy and Arik, having a smile for them that touches her blue eyes. She then waves to Olivia, Rhiannon and Jan. She smiles to Miella as well. "I used your soap and love it very much. I never been so clean, Mistress Mielle." she says in her direction. She then waves to Malcolm. The girl seems to be in a good mood, but just a touch overwhelmed by the crowd. Her cheeks are pink and everything. Upon hearing Eilonwy's words, she looks to her once more. "I do adore pink." She says.

Duarte laughs and regards Miella fondly. "A lucky hat, then! Guard it with your life." He clinks his newly acquired glass to hers.

Gianna inclines her head to Eilonwy and Arik, seeming pretty pleased with herself for all the attention her outfit is apparently getting. She makes her way to Liara, exclaiming, "Oh, I love sapphire blue. You look radiant, Your Highness."

Alessia enters the hall, making a beeline for one of the servants to request a glass of whiskey.

Coppery brows nearly reach his equally coppery hairline upon seeing his Uncle the Duke of Whitehold with a lady escort. "Well I wasn't expecting to see my cousins here let alone my Uncle, who is that with him. I don't recognize her." he rumbles with a bemused voice as Eilonwy and him reach a side table and he motions for her to seat before taking a seat himself beside her. Likely for wild speculation. Reese gets a familiar dip of his head a simple, "Princess." for a greeting.

Max, an emperor tamarin, Rosalee, The Champion, 2 Grayson House Guards arrive, following Ailys.

"Oh, yeah. By all means, Lady Olivia and -- er -- friends, hi there, feel free to take a seat here with me. I'll even share my tiny plate of tiny food that apparently needs to be eaten in little, super tiny bites. The richer you get, the smaller the food becomes. I've learned this as Duke." Malcolm's grinning, then, just in case he's said something he ought not to.

Liara passes no comment whatsoever on the cheap, splotchy grey cloth hung from the walls. In fact, she even manages to avoid following Perronne's gaze. Then she greets Gianna with an easy smile. "It was a fine reason for another set of hairpins, I thought. Thank you."

The Wolf of Halfshav smiles down to the Lady on his arm. "It will naturally be a wonderful evening my Lady Elsa. I have heard tell of Grayson parties but it has been some time since I have been able to attend one." Vercyn lifts his eyes, gazing around the hall. Reese gets a small smile and a nod from him, as does Eilonwy. For Arik, the Duke gives his nephew a bemused smile.

Reese smiles over to Liara. "Thank you for holding this. It is lovely already." She says toward her cousin. She then notices Vercyn. "Oh, Duke Vercyn, nice to see you."

Standing on her toes, Eilonwy gives up and shrugs as she takes the offered seat. "Don't know. You'll have to ask him later." She notes to Arik before waving cheerfully to Vercyn and smiling back to Reese. "It suits you." She comments and turns her attention back to Arik to speak more quietly at the table.

Miella actually gives Reese a rare smile at the compliment of her soaps after clinking glasses with Duarte, "I'm so glad you like it. There should be more types in the shop early next week. I intend to get us fully stocked up."

"I'm sure we'll get you into a dance or two, too," Liara says to Reese, with a quick grin. Then having mentioned the subject of dancing, she casts her gaze across the hall, momentarily contemplative.

"Admittedly, this is the first time I'll be attending a Grayson party in quite some time myself," Elsa responds with a small chuckle. She lifts a hand towards Reese, smiling brightly towards the Princess, "Good evening, Your Highness!" Looking back to Vercyn, she chuckles, "I take it that's one of your newphews?" She nods towards Arik before noticing Malcolm, "Ah! And there is my cousin. That is the new Duke of Graypeak, Malcolm Shepherd."

Duarte sips at his whiskey and moves slowly away from the drinks to make room for others. He finds a comfortable looking sofa and settles in.

Duarte has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Reese beams toward Eilonwy and then nods to Miella. "I should check out your shop." She muses. At Liara's words, she glances down at herself in the violet gown. "Maybe I will dance. Hopefully you won't be too busy hosting for dancing yourself." She says, before smiling warmly to Elsa. "Oh, Peaches favorite noble is here." She says fondly and is speaking of her horse.

Olivia has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

2 Ashford House Guard have been dismissed.

Bethany have been dismissed.

Perronne makes her way around the edge of ballroom, accepting a few small tidbits of food with a grateful nod at the servant, and a fluted glass of...something. She doesn't ask! She does take a sip, though, and grins at it with pleasure. A nibble at the little tidbit of food she's holding, then a sip of the drink. "Oh, this is lovely," she says with quiet pleasure to no one in particular.

Ailys makes her way in from another area of the building. She doesn't have to travel terribly far, fortunately. Lacing her fingers loosely in front of her, she takes a few moments to let her gaze wander over the gathered crowd, studying who has arrived for the festivities. And studying the food, of course.

Following a little clap of her hands, Liara remarks, voice lifted a little to carry, "You are all marvellously polite. Still," and, well, she doesn't finish that sentence, because the clap had a couple of servants tugging at the rope hanging all that grey cloth in place, and its drawn hurriedly down, to reveal lengths of riotously colourful bunting in its place. Then, with a quick smile finding her features, she moves along towards the top end of the hall.

Jan has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

"I'm not quite sure either, beyond that it's lovely. It was made by Josephine Arcuri." Videl answers Liara, and begins to look around the ball a bit more for people, "Well, I'm going to socialize. Thank you once again for the invitation." And that said, she finds herself headed towards he table housing Arik and Eilonwy, "Excuse me, I don't believe we've met. I'm Videl Igniseri, would you mind if I joined you?"

Reese smiles to Perronne. "Mistress Perronne." She says toward her. "I afraid to ask if you brought us any riddles though." She says, before smiling to Ailys. She moves with her nimble grace, heading toward one of the couches.

"Yes, it is one of my nephews." A small smile crosses Vercyn's face for the hint of a moment. "I would like to introduce you to him, but shall we see your cousin first, or my Nephew?" He looks down at Elsa with another smile for the Lady. To Reese, he bows low. "Your Highness, a pleasure as always to see you."

Reese has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Arik looks up from his conversation with Eilonwy with frosty grey eyes and a wolfish smirk for Videl. "Please Lady Ignisere." he butchers the Lycene surname. "This is Marquessa Eilonwy Blackwood and I am Lord Arik Halfshav, Sword of Whitehold." he motions towards one of the chairs at the amber inset table.

"Uh - so, if anyone that's sitting here would like to dance, at some point, perhaps -- it'd be best not to pick /me/, yeah? Lots of steppin' on toes, elbows in the ribs. It'd just be a nightmare an' a half, I promise." Malcolm's muttering, nose first into his glass of sparkling -- whatever it is.

Reese look over to Videl, having a soft smile for her and for some reason she gives her a gentle smile.

Perronne turns at Reese's address from where she was staring with unabashed delight at the colorful reveal. That grin is still on her face as she curtsies low to her. "Your Highness! No, no riddles - that would be terribly impolite to inflict on someone else's party, don't you think? I hope you're well." A glance to the side as something seems to catch her eye, and she sends a quick wave into the crowd.

Rhiannon gives a little nod of her head to Malcolm's invitation. "Ah, you were the one Lord Pharamond was talking to the other day at the garden gathering. A little twitch of her lips at mention of his dancing skill. "Ah, I /can/ dance. But I question why one /should/ dance. Olivia tells me that I'm a wet blanket on her fun."

Beat to the introductions, Eilonwy smiles to Videl. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Videl. You're most welcome to sit." She offers following Arik's words.

Gianna makes her way over to the band - bards from the College - and offers some words of encouragement. Or maybe they're threats. It's hard to tell, what with Gianna's face being Gianna's face. Is there a drink to be had? She collects herself a drink.

Miella makes her way around the room quietly, golden eyes wandering from group to group, having to stop and adjust her standout hat every so often as it slips down over her eyes when she nods too deeply at some noble. She seems to always stay on the edges of the room, never quite a part of one group or the other.

Chuckling, Elsa smiles up at Vercyn, "Why not both? We can join your nephew and I'll motion Malcolm over, we can do all the introductions all at once." She gives a small squeeze to his hand before turning a bright smile towards Malcolm and lifting a hand towards him, motioning for him to join them at the table with amber inserts and glass badgers. Smiling up at Vercyn, she nods, "Shall we?"

Alessia offers the Nightingale a wave, with a friendly smile, raising her glass in greeting. She appears to appraise the woman's outfit, before approaching her.

Parking herself at the top end of the hall, Liara speaks up to address attendees in general. "You are all most welcome. I see at least one or two here who may not yet have had the opportunity to attend an Arxian ball. Might I ask everyone to do me a little favour? If those of you who have not been to one previously would be so good as to raise your hand or otherwise make yourself known, I would be /delighted/ if everyone else would then ask those people for a dance."

Videl has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Gianna turns away from the band and offers one of her faint flickers of a smile to Alessia once she spies the woman approaching. "Lady Alessia, good evening. Did you find yourself some whiskey?"

"Ah, Abyss take the damned Voice that's callin' me over. Ladies, beggin' you to 'cuse me while I get up and try an' get my way over there 'fore Lady Elsa sends the dogs after me." Malcolm shrugs his shoulders high, grins toothily, and he hauls himself to his feet -- glass and plate in hand -- before he heads on over at a brisk, enthusiastic pace. Tossing himself into a chair at the table without much in the way of graceful manners, "How'd you do?"

Malcolm has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Ailys offers Reese a warm smile and a nod of greeting as she passes, lifting one hand to wriggle her fingers briefly before turning her focus back to the rest of the hall. Her path takes her over to the food and drink, intending to retrieve both. Both are integral to a good party.

Jan dips her head to Malcolm, but after the mention of the dancing, she steers clear of Liara, mumbling, "I'll make introductions later." She instead makes her way to where ever the other bottles have been set out, adding her own contributions to them and quickly fixing herself a drink.

Jan drops Cartugan - Kennex Brand Rosewater Vodka.

Jan drops A Bottle Of Princess Bubbly Sparkling Wine.

He laughs softly, escorting Elsa over towards Arik and Eilonwy. Vercyn regards the other man with a smile. "Nephew, you are being social." He inclines his head with a soft chuckle before turning to look down at Elsa. "Elsa, it is my pleasure and honor my nephew Arik, Sword of Whitehold and the Marquessa Eilonwy of House Blackwood. Nephew, Marquessa, this is The Lady Elsa Shepard, Voice of Graypeak." He looks over towards Malcom as he arrives, offering the other man a bow.

Miella adjusts her path to take her over towards Duarte and Saoirse, giving a deep half-bow/curtsey to the latter, "It seems like this is a lovely evening for a party," she says politely before having a seat.

Miella has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Alessia dips her head as she greets the woman. "It's a pleasure to see you again, Mistress Gianna." She takes a sip from her glass. "Yes and it did not disappoint." She grins as she glances at the drink. "How are you enjoying the event so far?"

Willen arrives, following Lou.

Willen leaves, following Lou.

Rhiannon is totally hiding with Jan. Out of the way. No way in hell she's going to admit that every time there's a party she finds a tree to perch on. No, she'll just be stiff and commanding and be silent so that she can't be roped into anything far too social.

Reese looks over to Ailys, giving her a cousin a gentle smile. "Princess Ailys, nice to see you and thank you for coming on the patrol with us. I will be so glad to have a healer there." She says softly in her direction. She is still perched on her couch and she smooths down down the folds her skirt.

Arik remains seated as Vercyn and Elsa approach but he does dip his head as introductions are made. "Lady Shepherd, Uncle." he seems a bit amused as he looks moreso at Elsa than his Uncle in an assessive manner. "You are being social yourself Uncle, I haven't even met Lady Elsa myself and yet you seem to have a passing familarity. It is an interesting woman indeed who gets my Uncle away from the Redrain ward." after which he reaches out to touch Eilonwy's shoulder, "Luckily the Marquessa is indulging my own spirit for making social appearances despite the heat."

Perronne looks up to Liara, listening attentively - or as attentively as she can when the food and drink are as delicious as they are - to the request. She laughs, softly. "I have been to a ball before, but the last one I attended, we were all kind of taken hostage. Does that count? Probably. It probably counts." It seems to be more to herself than anyone in specific. She does not raise her hand.

Gianna raises her glass to Alessia. "Good, good. I might have some whiskey after I sing. I rather like it so far. I'll admit, I very much enjoy appearing at such events in a new outfit and seeing everyone else's. Such decadence. Shall we find a place to sit?"

Rhiannon has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

"Uh -- it's nice to meetcha, Duke Vercyn Halfshav." Malcolm blinks, hard, and he sets aside drinks and tidbits in order to offer Vercyn a hand out. "Duke Malcolm Shepherd, out of Graypeak by way of the Crownlands. You, my lord, have excellent taste in facial hair. Also, to note, that there's some Count Amadeo that smells /exactly/ like you do. That's a good thing. Clearly, I need to get better with that smell-good side of things." After that, Malcolm's content to continue nibbling on his tiny party food.

Breaking off her quiet conversation, Eilonwy turns to greet the Duke respectfully. "Duke Vercyn, good to see you as always. Your nephew's been kind enough to cajole me out of hiding in the North ward. Lady Elsa. Welcome to the city. Nice to meet you." She offers and smiles. Arik's touch met with a warm smile for the Lord.

Elsa dips into a picture perfect curtsy before sending Malcolm a quick glance. Straightening, she smiles warmly towards Arik and Eilonwy, "The pleasure is mine, Marquessa, my lord. And may I introduce my cousin? Vercyn, Lord Halfshav, Marquessa Blackwood, this is my cousin, the newly minted Duke of Graypeak. Malcolm, this is Duke Vercyn Halfshav, his newphew and Sword Lord Arik Halfshav, and the Marquessa Eilonwy Blackwood." She reaches for a passing tray, plucking a pair of glasses from it before quickly downing the contents and offering the empty glasses to Vercyn. Tipping a quick wink the way of the gathered nobility, she withdraws a small flask tucked into the garter at her thigh and fills the glasses with something decidedly more amber-colored. Retrieving one, she leaves the other for Vercyn, turning back towards Arik with a smile, "Thank you, my lord. I happened across your Uncle by accident one evening and we've struck up a friendship since. I've discovered that the duke has excellent taste in dogs, horses, and whiskey."

"I cannot wait to hear you perform." Alessia comments with sincerity, beaming. "It's been far too long since I last watched you sing." Looking around the room, she nods. "Where would you like to go?"

Starting to stroll across the hall towards Ailys, Liara gives a little laugh. "My goodness, Ailys, if everyone's hands are to be believed, everybody else has made it to one before. Perhaps I should extend the bounds a little bit? Or maybe I might arrange a couple of dances." Though she's looking at Ailys, Liara's voice is pitched to carry.

Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, Pellinor, 4 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat arrive, following Alarissa.

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting arrive, following Jaenelle.

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

Videl looks up from her table when Elsa and Vercyn arrive at it, "A pleasure to meet you both. I am Lady Videl Igniseri." She introduces herself, before returning some more quieter comments at her table.

Olivia has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

The Northern Duke chuckles, offering a thankful nod to Elsa as she fills his cup. He takes a drink from it and smiles to Arik. "I have been known to be social from time to time. Less so in recent months but it is a habit I intend to get back into." Looking to Eilonwy with a smile. "He does have his moments, doesn't he? Still it is good for us to get out and be seen so the Southerners don't think we wear nothing but pelts and howl from the rooftops." He gives Elsa another warm smile before he turns back to Malcolm. "A pleasure to meet you Duke Shepard. I'm afraid I do not know the Count Amadeo"

"Duke Malcolm. I recently was made Marquessa. A daunting challenge to have so many dependent on you. The pressure and shock lessen with time." She smiles and gestures to Videl. "Ah, yes. Lady Videl is new to the city as well." She notes with a smile to the southerner. Chuckling at Vercyn's words Eilonwy shakes her head. "I keep my howling to balconies. I might slip off the roof."

"I'm alwyas happy to help," Ailys tells Reese with a smile and a nod. "I'm glad that my presence can help alleviate some of the discomfort. I imagine having ready care from a healer soothes many nerves." Hearing her name spoken by another voice, she blinks and turns her gaze over to Liara, blinking a bit owlishly at the other woman with a 'what did I do?' sort of expression. "Sorry, made it to what? I'm afraid I missed something."

Surely nobody else gets away with a fashionably late entrance like the combination of an Archduchess Regent and the King of the Compact. It's all regal smiles and a smooth wave to the inbound gestures of deference from Alaric as he escorts his companion in. "Ah, what a delightfully lively gathering," he observes to Jaenelle. "Shall we get straight to the dancing, or be polite and proper and make some greetings first?" he inquires low-key mischeviously.

Alarissa steps in to a place once called home, the Thrax Princess's chin lifted, an air of displeasure around her and moves with determination to the nearest tray of wine.

Duarte is seated at the seasilk sofa in conversation with Mielle - but he hears his name! He lifts his glass toward Malcolm and smiles, shifting that look to Vercyn. "I smelt like you yesterday, my lord. The scents at Obscura are divine. I was fortunate to grab as well one of her exclusive bottles."

Dressed in her best Igniseri outfit, or at least one of her best, is Marquessa Quenia Igniseri. She is wearing a flame licked aeterna dress as well as lovely ensemble of jewelry and a nice pair of slippers to go with it. Every step she takes is graceful elegance, and she flashes warm smiles at friend and stranger alike. She comes to the party unescorted, as is her usual style these days, and takes a moment to take everything in, her black eyed gaze savoring the decorations, the elegance, the refinement, and the outfits.

Angry royal has a special sort of notability all of its own. Perronne catches sight of Alarissa out of the corner of her eyes, and eeeeeedges careful away from the Thrax princess, sideways, like an exceedingly well-dressed crab.

"Why not both?" Jaenelle asks Alaric, head tilting ever so slghtly to look up at the taller man a her hand remains lightly rested within the crook of his arm. "Would it not be a pleasant surprised to have the King dance in your direction to greet you?" Though her tone remains as light as the smile on her lips, there is amusement and perhaps the smallest hint of a challenge at her suggestion. "Also, lavender does not taste good."

"Why, made it to lifting their hands," Liara replies to Ailys, then concedes, "Maybe you were just stretching. Although if you fancy a dance, I am sure that is very readily arranged." Liara offers a quick grin, and then moves on towards the entrance to welcome the new arrivals. "You're most welcome. If you are wondering about dancing, I absolutely recommend it, and we can see how well your example can be followed."

Malcolm has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Reese looks over to Ailys, giving her another smile. "I think it will. I know I feel much better about things, knowing you will be there." She says while still perched on the sofa. She waves to Quenia. "OH, Countess hi." She says and then smiles to the King and Princess Jaenelle. "I would love to see you both dance. I am sure it will be very elegant." She says.

Alessia has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Gianna has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Igniseri. I have a friend that settled down near Granato, she tells me that the beaches there are absolutely stunning." Elsa responds to Videl with a warm smile. Glancing around as the royalty enters, she dips a respectful nod in the direction fo the King before looking back towards Vercyn with a grin, "Champagne isn't bad, but whiskey is still a favorite." Sipping from her own glass, she looks towards Eilonwy and gives a nod, "Malcolm has been doing very well, Marquessa. Especially for having been thrown directly into the thick of things, as it were."

Briar, a quiet young woman arrives, delivering a message to Quenia before departing.

"I hope I don't disappoint," Gianna tells Alessia with the air of someone who is absolutely certain she won't disappoint. Gianna is not humble. At all. She glances about and indicates some couches. "Mmmn. Let's try there."

"That's more or less what I jus' said, cousin Elsa," Malcolm speaks up in a mutter. Then, as more royals filter into the Hall - the king included among them, he cups his hand around his mouth and shouts, "HEY, Your Majesty! King Alaric! Lookin' sharp."

There's a burst of astonished laughter from Perronne, her eyes wide at Malcolm. She hastily smothers with her hand clapping over her mouth, but she still looks somewhere between mortified and tickled.

"I sympathize. I had quite the learning curve myself-even having been a Voice previously." Eilonwy smiles to Elsa and looks between her and Vercyn. "You're welcome to sit and join us." She offers. Arik seems to be briefly distracted and excuses himself for the moment to find small plates until he gets back.

"Parties are certainly a lovely place to dance, though I am admittedly feeling a little bit put on the spot here given I have no partner," Ailys muses with a quiet laugh, grinning at Liara. As Liara steps away to welcome others, Ailys returns her focus back to Reese and nods. "If nothing else, I'd be able to keep people in one piece until better healing facilities can be found."

Quenia is momentarily stopped by a messenger. She listens to some quietly whispered words, then sends off a quick message of her own. That affair sorted out, her eyes alight on Reese and a warm smile curls upon her lips, "Princess Reese, so lovely to see you this evening. And what a fine gown you are wearing tonight!" she remarks, then grows quiet when Reese addresses the King and Jaenelle. She bows her head reverently to both, and steps out of the way in case they should like to dance, and then her ears hear the Igniseri name, and so she looks in that general direction to see her cousin Videl speaking to a few unfamiliar features. She smiles in Videl's direction, but does not design to interrupt.

Perronne is safe, that well dressed Marchant as alarissa seems to go opposite the woman, sipping at her wine and circling the outside of the Grayson gathering, watching as she moves.

Alaric eyes Jaenelle with a lightly suspcious smirk at her smile. "Now I'm curious as to just -how- one would dance a greeting. Something like this?" He orients them towards Liara and begins to approach his cousin with a smooth, unhurried, side-to-side shuffle-step, bobbing his head and snapping the fingers on his free hand in time with the motion. When you're a jet, you're a jet all the way. "Hello, cousin! Thank you for bringing some festivity to the Hall, once again. Ah, and Ailys! Delighted to see you as well. Have the both of you had the pleasure of meeting Archduchess Regent Jaenelle?" At Malcolm's shout, Alaric glances over and grins jovially. "Likewise, Duke Malcolm!" he calls back.

Alaric checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

"Well whiskey is certainly my preference regardless." He smiles to Elsa, taking a drink from his glass. Vercyn looks towards Videl and offers a bow. "Lady Igniseri, a pleasure to meet you." He turns his gaze back to Elsa with a smile. "Shall we hold court here my lady or do you wish to move around a bit still." He chuckles softly at Malcolms outburst, turning to look towards the king. He does not shout, however the Duke does dip into a deep bow for the Soverign.

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

It's a bit corny, but the King makes it look cool anyway, because he's good like that.

Jaenelle checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.

Shard prowls quietly into the Great Hall. She's barely inside the door before her gaze starts roving the room, pausing here and there on various people, bits of decoration, and at least once the large band. She's not really dressed for a /ball/, per se, though mixed in with her usual black leathers are some pieces of silk, most notably the very nice, if not particularly decorated, silk coat. Her one concession to the theme of the ball is an indigo hair ornament that's been added to the usual twin raven feathers, though her hairstyle alone is enough to make it look strange, rather than fitting.

Reese rises from the couch and darts upstairs for a moment. She might not live here any more, she seems comfortable enough in the mansion to do that.

Alessia chuckles at Gianna's words. "As if that's possible. You're reputation speaks for itself." Turning to the couches, she follows Gianna and takes a seat, greeting those already sat with a smile.

Reese has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Rosalie, a lady in waiting leaves, following Reese.

Liara just can't do the finger-snapping - gloves and all that - but she engages in a sort of backwards swaying shuffle-step anyway, as Alaric moves nearer, then just laughs. "I have yet to meet the Archduchess," she replies, and adds, "One moment if you would be so kind." Liara's gaze turns to Malcolm - he did sort of draw attention - and she calls over, "Duke Shepherd, my cousin Ailys requires a dance partner. Would you be so good?"

Liara checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Perronne smothers another peal of laughter behind her hand as Alaric dances his greeting, glancing away before she just loses it completely. She tries to drown the laughter in sips of wine and people-watching, her eyes drifting towards the door. As Shard enters, her eyebrows go up with surprise and curiosity.

"Hmmmmmmmmmmm... I see no reason why we shouldn't settle in right here. If we are summoned, we will move, but I do like this table and the chairs look quite comfortable." Elsa responds to Vercyn with a warm smile. There's an almost satisfied expression that crosses her face briefly when Malcolm is called out by Liara, her eyes shifting briefly to her cousin, one brow lifting up at him.

When Mia arrives, it is not as she so often does -- the oppressive humidity has slowed her brisk pace significantly, which is likely quite the relief for her lady and other attendants. A lace fan flutters lazily in front of her face, providing relief where there might otherwise be none.

Ailys hears someone else calling her name and her head turns to look around for the source again, this time settling on Alaric. She offers him a smile and a wave, head turning slightly so she can listen to his question more clearly. "Mmm? I don't recognize the name, so I would have to say no," she says in response to the question of introductions with Jaenelle. Then Liara is setting her up with a dance partner and she just stares at the woman for a moment, looking bemused. "Goodness, you move quickly. Helpful, but quickly."

Rosalie, a lady in waiting arrives, following Reese.

Nope. Jaenelle is far too amused at the act that she completely forgets what it is she is attempting to do. Forget grace, ignore polished refinement. She begins to giggle, this not haulting when they arrive to their destination of Liara. She clears her thought, the gigglings slowly subsiding as she offers the hostess a polite dip of her head, "Your Highness, I dont think we've had the pleasure. Thank you for hosting such a beautiful event." She does her very best not to look at Alaric for fear of another round of laughter. "Your Highness" she then greets Ailys the same way.

Olivia sees Jan and Rhiannon sitting on the couch and kinda forcibly wedges herself in the middle with a big goofy smile plastered on her face. She waves to Reese, "Princess. As always what an honor to see you. What do you think of my outfit?

Duarte deigns to interrupt at he stands prompty when he sees Quenia and makes grand obvious welcoming gestures in her direction. "Marquessa!" he beckons. Look at me! Look at me!

Rising, Eilonwy collect a couple of drinks. One for herself, one set aside for Arik. When she reclaims her seat there's a small smile on her lips before she murmurs something to it's occupants.

Reese returns and is all adorned in pink once again, adventuring pink with leggings and weapons. She then smiles over to Olivia. "You look very lovely, Lady Olivia."

Elsa has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Elsa has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

"Thank you, your Majesty! I'm pretty fond of my new clothes too. Did you know -- or, well, yeah maybe you did -- that the white stuff's practically stain free. Aeterna, that is. Hm, what? Pardon? See, that's what good Voices and courtiers are for, my lady." Malcolm murmurs toward Videl, offering a bright smile as he shrugs his shoulders. "What good is a ball without expressive and enthusiastic conversations, right?" Then, just then -- he hears his name from Liara and he shrinks, "Dancin'" Oh, yeah, sure."

Elsa has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Quenia sighs a bit to herself, some sort of disappointment touching her eyes. She finds a server to get a glass of wine, and once one is snagged she starts to roam the room. And then she sees Duarte's grand, obvious gesture. She gives him an amused look and smiles warmly in his direction, nodding at him. She then purposefully makes her way toward where he, Saoirse, and Miella are seated. "Mind if I join you?" she asks, even if he practically invited her with his grand gesture.

"My Lord Duke, it is bad luck to refuse a Princess a dance. You had best go over quickly." Vercyn smiles in amusement as he takes a drink from his glass. He pulls a chair out for Elsa to take a seat before he takes a seat for himself.

Malcolm has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Vercyn has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Shard moves down along the the length of the hall, sticking mostly near the walls. She's not even giving the space for dancing a second glance, though she does continue to study people in turn. She might be here, but, well, for the moment she isn't exactly moving to socialize. Baby steps.

And as she came, Alarisa's circled the room, finished the glass of alcohol and places it with a servant before she is off, dipping out of the great hall. Discord, after all, makes for poor conversation partners.

Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, Pellinor, 4 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat leave, following Alarissa.

"I always do, at balls," Liara replies to Ailys, with a quick grin, and she beams a smile at Malcolm, too. Then she replies to Jaenelle with an incline of her head. "Lovely to meet you, your grace. You are most welcome; I am keen to see if this idea of dancing at somebody to greet them catches on."

"You may not." Duarte says to Quenia.

"Yes! Absolutely. Please do." Duarte beams, stepping aside to make room. "May I introduce the irrespressible Mistress Miella Corsetina? A fine apothecary and soap maker."

"Aw, Abyss take the fool that invented dancin'. Fun to watch, mind. Lousy to actually do unless you're a long-legged bird." Mutter-mutter. Malcolm smoothes his hands down his lapels, and ambles over toward Ailys. "Princess Ailys, it seems as though I have been volunteered. As tribute, I guess, you'll need to tolerate me for a turn or two on the dancin' floor." He offers a shallow, respectful, and way well-practiced bow before straightening up and offering his arm.

Miella's attention is drawn to the dance floor where Alaric and Jaenelle are before she turns her gaze on Quenia as Duarte calls her over, then stands and gives a deep nod along with a half-bow/curtsey that has her having to put a hand up to catch her hat, "Please, Marquessa," she gestures to the places where they are seated and will wait until Quenia sits before seating herself again.

"Well then, allow me to present my cousins Princess Ailys and Princess Liara, then," Alaric declares regally. "I am quite honored to be escorted tonight by Archduchess Regent Jaenelle Velenosa, ruling Princess of Lenosia and the Lyceum. Even if she is presently giggling at me for mysterious reasons." Truly, it is a mystery why anybody would be giggling at him. Alaric eyes Jaenelle, waiting for her giggles to subside before raising his hand and very deliberately snapping his fingers one more time just to try and re-peturb her composure. Revenge! "Indeed, indeed. Have fun dancing!" he adds to Malcolm.

Arik returns to his table with some plates of finger food and plops down into his chair unceremoniously before placing the tiny plates here and there. "You know when they say the Gray ballroom I figured it was just brick with soot but it's Green which seems wildly misleading."

If she can catch her eye, Perronne offers Shard a little wave, but otherwise doesn't bother her. Instead, she finishes off her glass of whatever it was, and gets another glass, this time recognizably of wine, and wanders a little, peering with interest at the artworks and furniture on display in the ballroom.

Rhiannon has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Kaia Bisland would sway her way into the Grayson's Great Gray Hall, wearing an empire style sea-silk long dress, in a light rosy-peach shade, with a slightly translucent overskirt, halter neckline and delicate flounce angel sleeves; and emanating with a warm and sensuous scent -carefully crafted from essence of sweet peaches, spicy ginger, fragrant cherry blossom, and gentle white jasmine. Her big blue-grey eyes taking in the lovely d├ęcor and ambience. She watched some dancing and a smile spread across her face in delight. Everything looked splendid, the room, the music, the food and drinks. Surely princess Liara had been hard at work setting up everything, and it looked fabulous. "How lovely~." She would say, as she made her way in further into the room and taking a glass of champagne from one of the servers on her way as she looked for familiar faces amongst the crowd. At last when she spotted Liara, she made her way over to greet her. "Good evening princess Liara, everything looks stunning!" and then glancing at the group gathered around, "Your majesty, your highnesses, all are looking splendid.~" She greeted to the group, once it was proper.

Ailys gives Jaenelle a bright smile and bow of her head. "A pleasure to meet you, your grace. It would appear as though I'm being... ah... dancing. So I'm afraid you will need to excuse me." She grins and turns properly to face Malcolm as he approaches. "You and me both, Duke. You and me both. But then we can say that we've done it, yes?" Her brows loft and she reaches out to accept the offered arm, grinning and allowing him to escort her.

Malcolm checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 13 lower.

Mia's dark eyes sweep over the room in search of a familiar faces, her dark brows arching once ore twice at the sight of some face or another, but then... yes. One corner of her mouth finally lifts in something vaguely akin to a smile. Perhap's a smile's second cousin once removed, or something along those lines. Curling her fingers in the lace of her gown to lift her hem just so, she moves to find Elsa and her crowd of companions.

It takes a while, but Shard does eventually seem to notice Perrone. She eyes her for a long moment, and then lifts her hand halfway in a sort-of-but-not-quite return wave, even if her expression is a little perplexed.

Siggi, a small fox, Aralie, the shy assistant arrive, following Drea.

For a brief moment, though only brief, Quenia looks taken aback by Duarte's first response, but then he's absolutely inviting her to sit. Relief colors her features for the smallest of seconds as she settles herself at the silver seasilk sofa. She sets her glass down a moment to smooth over the tresses of her gown, and once she's certain it won't wrinkle she picks it up again to take a sip. "Did I miss much so far?" she asks. "I see people are still arriving. Did you see my cousin across the room? That's Lady Videl Igniseri over there," she tells those who are seated on the sofa as well. She offers Saoirse and Miella warm smiles, offering, "I am Marquessa Quenia Igniseri." To Miella she adds, "A pleasure to meet you, Mistress Miella."

Over by the entrance as she is, Liara's well-positioned to greet Kaia, with a warm smile. "Lady Kaia, lovely to see you, and that is a splendid dress. There is abundant food and drink, should you fancy, although if you would rather have a dance, there also happens to be an abundance of people situated quite close to the food and drink, studiously not dancing."

Quenia has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Malcolm leads Ailys toward the space that's been reserved for dancing. Which, we hope, is a LOT of room because Malcolm can't dance for shit.

Mia has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Elsa lifts a hand towards Mia, smiling brightly at the Countess, motioning towards an empty chair.

Ailys checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 11 lower.

Clearly, 'perplexed' is the same as 'warm welcome', because Perronne wanders in that direction with a cheerful little smile. "Hello, have you tried the little ones made of the shredded fish? They're really better than that sounds, I promise. I'm Perronne Amboise. And you're...Shard, right?"

"Mysterious" Jaenelle repeats with a nod of her head as if she completely agrees with Alaric's assessment of the current situation. Despite her inabilities of before, the Regent does not seem to be willing to take back her suggestion and claim her wrongdoing by issuing the Dance Greet challenge. Quenia gets a smile and wiggle of her fingers as she passes to head towards Duarte, who also inturn gets a smile in greeting along with Saoirse and Miella. She finally turns back towards Alaric and strikes a pose, both hands lifting to snap in unison.

Shard looks a little more perplexed when Perrone starts heading toward her, but by the time the other woman reaches her position, that expression has mostly faded. Mostly. "Fish? No, I just got here." There's a pause, and then she says, "Yeah. Shard."

Reese smiles over to Kaia. "Lady Kaia, nice to see you." She says in her direction. She is back into the warrior princess mode and leans against a wall in a relaxed sort of pose. "Beautiful dancing." She says of the King and Jaenelle. "Lady Olivia, could I possibly convince you to dance with me?" She asks of her.

Miella looks over to Videl when Quenia introduces her and offers a nod that the other woman might not see because she is so far away. Jaenelle gets a deeper nod and then she says to Quenia as way of conversation, "I run Corsetina Mercantile for my family. If you have an interest in soap or perfume, we should be stocked again at the start of next week."

Ailys moves out onto the dance floor with Malcolm. Skilled dancer or otherwise, she still seems entertained by the opportunity to move about the dance floor in something that resembles dancing.

Drea walks in the hall, looking less like the Northern Princess that she is and more Southern in silk and slippers. Though the fox that pads along at her feet is hardly the most tame of all pets. She pauses at the entrance to greet Liara. "Princess, a pleasure to come to the Grayson lands again."

Alaric's eyebrow flares lightly at Jaenelle's double snap as he regards Liara briefly. "Excuse me, but I do believe I have a challenge to answer," he declares apologetically before eyeing Jaenelle again with an arrogant smirk. "You're on," he declares as he takes her by the hand and to the floor for some decidedly Lycene-styled ballroom dancing.

Olivia stands gracefully her face beaming with happiness at the request. She walks over to Reese. "I would be honored Princess, I was beginning to worry the unmatched beauty of the Grayson Princesses was going to leave me without a dance partner all night" She slips her hand in to Reese's. "But be warned... I am not very good."

"Oh, you really should, although the little onion and mushroom ones are even better, if you don't have a violent aversion to mushrooms. Which a surprising number of people actually do," Perronne chatters cheerfully at the poor mercenary, maybe taking shameless advantage of the requirements of peacebonding. "And the wine is lovely. As is the decor - do you know, I think I saw a vase from the Three Queens era over there? It was beautiful."

Quenia catches Jaenelle's greeting as she comes floating by, and grins and wiggles fingers back at her. "You dance divinely, Archduchess," she tells the passing regent. She then turns her attention easily back to Miella and brightens a bit. "Oh? Indeed? It's possible House Igniseri could use a few different soaps and perfumes. Our hollowed halls are starting to fill up once more. So many Igniseri back in town." Which seems to please her. "Gone are days when it was just Luis, Lucita, and I." Please her quite well! "I'm sure the others would love a fine selection of commodities to try."

Reese seems happy with Olivia's response and her blue eyes are bright. "Oh, no I wasn't going to do that and I am not worried at all. My feet are legendary and you can step them on all you want and I will be fine." She says, heading in her direction and reaching out a hand to Olivia.

It resembles dancing in ways that could simply boggle the mind. The dance version of an abstract painting, truly, but Malcolm's attempting to take the lead before he gives up and lets Ailys lead because she's only a little bit better than the Duke. A couple of wobbly spins and a thrown elbow later, Malcolm's murmuring apologies to the servant that he almost crashed into. Then, he offers Ailys a wide - warm smile. "Not too bad, your Highness, see?"

Still by the entrance as she is, Liara warms with a smile for Drea. "You are very welcome - and, my, that is an utterly marvellous outfit. Do please help yourself to food and drink as you like, and if you fancy a dance, I suspect you need only stand near the dance floor and a partner shall appear." The fox receives no mention.

Saoirse has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Shard listens to Perrone with what can best be described as a strained sort of patience, glancing toward the food just once as she elaborates. However, as the topic shifts, she seems to shift with it. "What's the Three Queens era? And how can you tell?" That may not be a devoted amount of interest, but it is, at least, some.

Drea gives Liara a smile and then nods. "Oh, I shall likely wander a bit, make a few greetings and then be on my way again. I don't like being too far from Donella and the twins with them so little at the moment. The best part of having children is the grandchildren to spoil."

"Thank you princess." Says Kaia "I had it made for the event, I was sure you would appreciate it." she then takes a look at Liara's own attire, "But must I say yours is equally, if not even more, splendid! I absolutely adore it!~" she says, before glancing towards Reese's voice of greeting. "Princess Reese, likewise!~" she says with a delicate wave of the fingers from her free hand, before shifting her attention back to Liara. "You mentioned dancing? And abundance of people not dancing? Would you introduce me to someone, then?" she says while cheerfully moving to the music's rhythm, "I have to show my Bisland moves.~" she says with a giggle, before taking a sip of her champagne.

Olivia takes Reese's hands and kind of stands there looking very confused and unsure of what she is supposed to do, but ahe definitely thinks she is doing it wrong already. "What next Princess?" She looks around nervously, thinking she is embarassing herself and her family.

There is a moment in the conversation at her small cluster when Mia pauses, catching sight of Drea. From across the room, she offers the deepest of curtsies to the Princess-Mother.

Ailys seems to be enjoying the dance with Malcolm, even if it isn't the most graceful thing or the most beautiful to witness. She smiles and laughs, spinning on the dance floor and staying up on her own two feet. As they come to a stop, she gives Malcolm a bright smile. "Not too bad at all," she agrees with a nod. "And now you can say you've done it, and are assuredly just too tired to do it again. Unless you WANT to dance with someone else, naturally."

"Of course - I shall do my best best not to foist a partner on you, then," Liara says to Drea, with a quick grin. Then Kaia makes that query, and Liara lifts a silk-gloved finger as if to say 'one moment', and she starts to move towards the tables and couches. Someone's about to have Liara Grayson happen to them. The trick may be not to make eye contact.

"Neither -- really. Just thinkin' that th' paperwork that I need to review might be better than dancin'. But only slightly, your Highness, on account of your pleasant company. Thank you muchly for the dance." Malcolm offers another bow, respectfully, and he flashes a grin -- all teeth -- before he meanders toward the exit.

Jaenelle places her hand within Alaric's as he leads her towards the floor. "The last time we attempted this I left you to perform Lord Sistermander duties" she reminded him when they reach their destination and her other hand sweeps up to rest lightly on his arm. "Are you sure you're able to do this?" she asks skeptically, peeking up from beneath her lashes. As the music begins and she allows him to lead, he is clearly capable. She seems quite content to let him lead for now. Through the twists of the dance, the conversation ends as they simply act towards the music, and when the dance ends, "even one year older and it hasnt affected you" she teases.

"The era between the early five-hundreds and early six-hundreds After Reckoning. It was a period of rebuilding, so a lot of the artifacts from that era feature portraiture of one of the three good queens, and themes of rebuilding and restoration. One of the hallmark measures of a potential piece from that era is the depiction of a building or temple in progress with scaffolding presented. In most other eras, you might see a building it its prime, or a ruin to portray tragedy, but only in that era is it a common icon." Perronne says it all in a rush of enthusiasm, and grins at Shard. "They're very rare!" Then she coughs, and her smile dims just a bit. "Sorry. I kind of ambushed you, didn't I? I apologize - you're probably looking for someone!"

Reese tries to gently guide Olivia to the dance floor. She gives her a smile that she hopes is reassuring. "You can just follow my lead and we can stop whenever you want." She says softly in her direction. "Even if you don't dance that well, it is all having fun. But I am sure you will." She murmurs.

Reese checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Vercyn rises from the table he is seated at as he spies Drea enter. He offers his cousin a bow and a smile.

Shard shakes her head in response. "No, I wasn't looking for anyone. I was just looking." And, as it's mentioned, she does sweep the room with her gaze again, though it's much faster this time. She looks back to Perrone. "So, after the Elven War? I guess that makes sense. Who are the queens? Alarice?"

Arik looks towards Drea as well and since Vercyn rises up the younger Halfshav likewise stands and dips into a bow for the Princess-mother before retaking his seat beside Eilonwy

Olivia nods once to Reese, she is clearly still a little nervous, but the confidence of the Princess is reassuring her, She follows the lead of Reese as she bigns to dance, she glances over to Jan looking for confirmation she is doing alright.

Reese seems to know how to dance despite her primary profession as a warrior. She keeps the dance simple and tries to be gentle with it all. Olivia is given a warm smile. "Thank you. I really did want to dance."

Oh no, someone caught Liara's attention. And it's Vercyn, coming into her line of sight just as he stood up. And just like that, she wonders, "Have you met Lady Kaia, my lord?" She indicates the Bisland lady with a gentle gesture of a gloved hand.

Alaric grins a bit breathlessly, having led Jaenelle through various conformations turning her into a swirl of silk through the bards' latest song. "I'd like to think -we're- still young enough not to worry about having precipitiously like that," he quips with subtle emphasis. "Fairly sure one doesn't just up and forget things exactly on your birthday, anyway. But splendidly danced, thank you for the company. I think we've earned a bit of repose with some drinks after that little run out, hm?" He glances around. "Any particular couch you'd like to descend upon and send into a mild tizzy?"

Drea turns as she notices eyes on her and she smiles at Mia and gives a dip of her head and then makes her way to her cousin. She stops at Vercyn's side. "My dear cousin," she says with a smile and offers him a kiss on the cheek. "I am so glad to see you again. Are you going to dance tonight? I'm not sure I'm up to speed on the southern dances, but if anyone can show me the way, it might be you." She gives Arik a smile as he bows to her. "Oh, you don't need to do that for me." She looks at him as though she's trying to place him.

"It's really beautiful, isn't it? I adore watching everyone with all their finery move about. Like living paintings, really - although they protest terribly if you try to check behind the frames," Perronne adds the last in a playful undertone. "And I'd have to check my books for the actual names," she admits. "I could give you a breakdown of ceramic structure, glass quality indicators, paint ingredients and the like, but /names/?" She makes a hopeless little gesture. "My nemesis. Nemeses? Names is plural, so yeah, nemeses. Not /arch-nemeses/, because I'm pretty sure you're only allowed to have one of those, and even if you weren't, 'names' would be mildly pitiable, even for me."

Jan makes a point to offer her best fake smile of encouragement in the dancing Olivia is taking part in. She raises a drink and tries too look interested, although her conversation on the couch seems to have her a bit distracted.

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

Reese is overheard praising Liara: Wonderful party

Reese is overheard praising Alaric: The King can bust a move!

Reese is overheard praising Olivia: Lovely dance partner.

Olivia is overheard praising Reese: Teaching a poor clueless girl how to dance

Reese is overheard praising Jaenelle: The Archduchess is elegant!

Vercyn stands to his feet, giving his cousin a smile and a hug. Looking towards Liara he smiles softly "I have not had the pleasure, no." But then a messenger presses something rather urgently into his hand. He takes it, a soft mutter in Northlands shav. "It will have to wait. Some urgent business calls me elsewhere."

Shard tips her head just a little bit to the side. "You just said a whole lot of words that mean something individually in an order that makes no sense whatsoever to me," she notes, then glances back at the rest of the hall. "I guess." She sounds uncertain. "It's mostly just strange, to me. But I guess it's beautiful too."

Olivia is overheard praising Jan: Best bodyguard ever!

"Lord Arik Halfshav, Princess-Mother. I'm Duke Vercyn's nephew. My sister is Vala Khanne whom you likely know better than I." Arik explains in a helpful manner at that searching expression from Drea. Then Vercyn is excusing himself and he calls after his Uncle, "Our dancing duel to be decided another time Uncle."

Elsa stands at Drea's appearance at their table, dipping into a brief curtsy, "Your Highness. A pleasure." Glancing to Vercyn, she smiles up at him, "You will owe me a dance later, then, my lord." Winking at him, she steps aside to make way for his departure.

"Have an excellent evening!" Liara offers by way of parting to Vercyn, with a ready smile. But she's still looking, looking... her gaze happens across Arik, but she doesn't interrupt the introductions (yet).

Given that Mia has settled in the same little cluster of mostly-Northerners that Vercyn has, Mia offers the faintesthint of a smile -- a rare sight, that! -- as Drea approaches. "Your Highness. A delight to see you again. May I offer my hearty congratulations on the news of your latest grandchildren? We were so very pleased to hear of it at Heron Hall, and while I believe my brother has already conveyed as much directly to your daughter-in-law, I should like to add my own."

Vercyn has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Kaia grinned at Liara's shift to action on trying to find her a dancing partner, without avail on that first time, it seemed the first possible victim had been saved by a messenger. Kaia chuckled, waving to the lord in passing, before taking another sip of her champagne and looking around at the dance floor.

"I informed Leona that our birthday was canceled this year so only one of us got older" Jaenelle helpfully shares, despite being 3 weeks older than the man. "I think a moment's break sounds perfectly reasonable after such an excitable dance. Lets see," she glances around the room, a soft humming soft escaping as she considers each option. "I do have a thing for table legs. Whether its three legs or one hundred perfectly placed legs. Perhaps the long table over there?" she points towards the one with the griffins along the legs. "Unless its too out of the way and you wish to find a seat at one of the couches?" Either way, she seems agreeable.

Perronne looks down at the floor for a moment. Then she glances back up, with another flash of a smile. "It's not the first time I've heard that," she admits, with a chuckle. "Sorry. I do ramble on. You put up with it very politely, though, so thank you for that!" She clears her throat. "But I'll leave you be so you can observe in peace. Not in quiet, because - well, /ballroom/, but at least in peace." She winks, and starts to drift away towards a small display.

Alaric has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.

Jaenelle has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.

"I dispute as to whether there's such a thing as one hundred perfectly placed legs, because by definition about ninety-six of them made it onto the wrong table," Alaric observes dryly as he leads Jaenelle to her selected table, idly snagging a pair of fluted glasses off a passing servant's tray and handing one over. "Cancelling birthdays, though! I don't know about that... it sounds like a severe solution to me. Did you return all your birthday presents, then?"

"I don't know why you're apologizing," Shard says to Perrone. "You know a lot of things about pots, right? /I/ don't know what those things really even mean, let alone their history." There's a pause, and then she says, even as Perrone is trying to make her exit, "I was never good at making pots. There was a man in my tribe who loved making things out of mud and clay though. Pots. Sculptures. Offerings. We could never keep as many of them as he wanted to make."

Olivia continues following Reese's lead while they dance. The poor girl doesn't really onow what she is doing and just waits for Reese to show her what to do and when, for a moment however, she takes control for a split second and pulls her self closer to areese and whispers something to her, but as soon as the whispering is complete she returns to following the steps laid out before her.

Reese continues to dance until this song comes to and end. "Thank you Lady Olivia. I have feeling you would be even more amazing if we were dancing in a field of wildflowers. She murmurs softly something to her.

Olivia curtseys to Reese as their dance ends and she wanders back to her couch with Jan.

Gianna gets Song - Dream-Time from repertoire.

Reese has a gentle smile and then she quickly slips from the ball.

Gianna rises from her seat with a quiet word to Jan, shrugging out of the aeterna wrap she was wearing - what does she think this is, spring? - and making her way toward the band of bards. Their current song ends, and when Gianna makes it to the forefront, she waits for one of those hushes of conversation before she begins to sing. "It is the time when crimson stars, weary of heaven's cold delight..."

Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.

Gianna drops Song - Dream-Time.

Perronne pauses at the response. "I know a few things about pots!" She says it like she has never been accused of anything so grand and wonderful before. "He sounds like a very prolific artist - did he have any preferences for the types of clay? Or maybe interesting additives? There was a trend in the Lyceum about three hundred years ago for weaving colored glasses into ceramics and firing it together so that the resulting pot would have interesting bits of texture under the fingers. Supposedly, there were even secret codes that very clever courtiers could read by touch, so you could pass intrigues and flirtations by sending pots filled with gifts to one another..." Gianna's voice stops the quiet flow of words, perhaps thankfully, and Perronne turns in that direction to listen.

Ceasing her endeavour to find Kaia a dance partner for the moment, Liara smiles broadly when she sees Gianna move to the front of the band, and she falls quiet, to listen to the song.

Gianna's voice is pure and true. The bards provide accompaniment, as they've no doubt been trained to do. The Nightingale's song rises and carries through the hall, filling it with its warm, rich tones. Gianna's expression, so often haughty, is soft, now, as she sings. Expressive. Hers is a singular talent.

Jan dips her head to Gianna as she gets up to perform. She holds Olivia's drink up for the girl to take without a word, and makes a space for her on the couch. "Fine dancing Olivia." She offers quietly though before she settles in to watch.

Drea smiles at Arik at the introduction. "Ah! Indeed, yes. Your sister is one of the most amazing women I have ever known. You are blessed in having her as your sister." A nod to Elsa. "Good to see you, too. Though I am afraid I have been out of town so long that I don't recognize a number of the younger people. You all have changed so much, so please excuse me if I don't remember names." She steps forward to greet Mia with a kiss to the cheek and a light embrace if she allows. "Ah, Lady Mia, it is a pleasure. Thank you so much for your good wishes. Grandchildren are my delight. I do wish that Kieran would look at marriage at least as a possible future he will consider." Vercyn gets a smile and a wave as he darts off.

"I would love to dance, Count Duarte." Quenia says to him as she gracefully accepts his hand. She grins at him, her eyes twinkling somewhat. "And, I promise, even, not to step on your feet."

Owners of toes and fine footwear, beware! The particularly cloddish Duarte Amadeo approaches the dance floor with the Marquessa of flames. "I make no such promises, love!" he warns Quenia.

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

Gianna doesn't stay still as she sings her song of dream-time; she sways and moves with the music, her arms describing an upward arc, as though she could raise her voice to the heavens at the same time, to Elysium. There are several verses, each as enchanting as the last, before the song ends on a note held impossibly long. And then it's over, and Gianna bows, her smile wide, her eyes shining.

"I don't know," Shard admits. "No glass; we didn't have a lot of glass. We traded for it sometimes, but it's too fragile. I think he sometimes mixed different clays, because there'd be...bands?...bands in the pot, or the bowl. And he'd paint them. Sometimes he'd hang beads on them, or get some woven grass from--" But she doesn't actually say the name, she just keeps going, "when we were near other tribes we'd trade the extra things."

Alaric is overheard praising Gianna: A superlative performance!

Ailys retrieves some food and drink for herself, a small plate of things to nibble on and a cup full of whatever is handed to her. She isn't terribly picky. Sustenance retrieved, the Princess makes her way to a table to settle down and eat.

Quenia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Gunther is in his finest cloth trousers. His shirt has buttons and only a couple of buttons strain over the bulge of his belly. He has put some sort of oil or something on that small little island of hair on the top of his head. The comb over does little to disguise his baldness. His fancy clothes are not custom fit -- the ankles have been hemmed to far and the attire is at best second hand. Hairy arms hang at either side of the mid-fifties man and the fella is wearing an eager if not nervous expression on his face as he enters.

"Marvellous!" Liara calls over towards Gianna, and she lifts her silk-gloved hands to applaud briskly. After a few moments, she turns, gaze finding Kaia once more, and moves nearer, wondering, "How's the champagne, my lady? And should I resume my search or has someone perhaps caught your eye?"

Arik checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Liara is overheard praising Gianna: A fantastic performance.

Perronne applauds enthusiastically once Gianna's song is over. "Isn't she amazing?" she offers to Shard, before her attention turns back to the woman's words. "Oh, those sound beautiful. Bands could be different types of clay, or additives in the clay like powdered dyes or metals, or it could even be something in the glaze, if he made glazes. There's a few glazes that have fallen out of fashion these days, but which provide beautiful multicolored variation once fired." She grins. "And making pots can be very soothing, too, you know. Working the clay is lovely on your fingers."

Elsa checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Drea's embrace is returned with no small amount of warmth. Though Mia does not seem to show very much in the way of vivacity and welcome among those she does not know, it's much more freely bestowed upon those she clearly cares for. "I look forward to meeting my own -- some day. Given that Vahari's only just teetering on the brink of fourteen, I have few objections to waiting a decade or so before holding her children in my arms. A statement she'd likely have a small fit at hearing herself, so my sincerest sympathies on your youngest. Give him a few more years, and perhaps His Highness will outgrow it? I owe him a letter at present, though on an entirely unrelated topic."

Quenia follows Duarte out onto the dance floor, each step a motion of grace and poise - and that's just getting there. Once out on the floor, she allows Duarte to lead her about, each of her movements flowing effortlessly with his. And! Should he happen to dance near her toes, she elegantly moves her feet out of way in time so as not to be stepped on.

Arik leads Elsa out onto the dance floor with a dip of his head to Drea on the way. It seems despite a Swords footwork the man can barely dance without risking bodily harm. Near misses abound. There is at least one point that the peacebonded swords on his right hip nearly sweep the leg of another dance, it's a tradegy to watch but a miracle no one is hurt.

A brief pause, and Mia looks between Eilonwy and Drea. "Forgive me for presuming, Your Highness, but have you yet met Marquessa Eilonwy Blackwood?" She then gestures towards the young woman at her table. ((OOC: Should've said that on my last pose.))

Elsa join Arik in the dance, moving into position. She fares quite a bit better, moving gracefully around, her seailk gown swirling and sweeping just so to allow her freedom of movement for the steps. She chuckles and offers quiet comment to her dance partner as they move around the floor.

Jan waves to Gunther in greeting. "Greetings Gunther. Don't you just look sharp." She offers him a seat on the couch. "Won't you come join us?"

Shard considers for a few moments. "Clay does feel nice," she concedes. "He was our best one, so he taught the younger ones. And sometimes just kids, when there was time, and material. There weren't ever very many who made those things, though." She thinks a little more. "He made glazes sometimes, yeah. Usually just paints, but sometimes glazes."

Nothing too impressive, but neither too bad is how one could describe Kaia's current mellow but tasteful swaying to the music's rhythm while she continues to enjoy her champagne. "All is well your highness, and yes, the champagne is superb!" she replies with a friendly smile, "Ah, worry not, I can dance on my own for the time being. Surely I'll run into someone soon enough.~" She says with a chuckle, before taking another sip of her drink and continue with her swaying.

Drea smiles at Arik as he leads Elsa away and then turns back to Mia and her attention is drawn to Eilonwy. "Ah! Marquess! Your sister is one of my Spirit Walkers. It is a pleasure to meet you, indeed."

Duarte laughs as the dance begins. He seems particulary regaled by his partner's ability to nudge him in the proper direction and make it look good when she has to take command and manuever him away from bumping in to any others on the floor.

Miella stands from where she had been seated and moves over to the refreshments table to get a new glass of wine.

Gianna makes her way back to her seat, still smiling, though the smile is less wide by now. Whatever magic makes her so happy only lasts so long. She accepts kind words and compliments as she makes her way along the edge of the dance floor, not wanting to interrupt.

Perronne nibbles on her lower lip, thoughtful. "I'm not surprised - it sounds like your tribe was pretty nomadic, yeah? Glazes are tricky, even if you have a permanent workshop. The slightest bit of contamination can ruin some of the more delicate ones - cracks, stains, pitting. Not fun!" She sees Gunther enter, and offers the man a warm smile and a bit of a wave. Her attention turns to Shard again, and her lips suddenly quirk with suppressed laughter.

"If you set off at a sufficiently brisk pace in that direction, my lady," Liara starts, with a sweeping gesture towards the rest of the dance floor, "I rather expect that you will run into somebody sooner than later, if you so wish." Then the Grayson gives a quick smile and moves on, this time towards the table with the amber and glass badgers, and she asks its occupants, "How is everybody?"

Looking to Drea, Eilonwy smiles. "Lady Ysbail takes her duties to the Spirits strongly to heart. We couldn't be more proud of her." She nods and looks from Mia to Drea. "I haven't introduced myself properly, no. But I have seen her highness around in the Ward." She tells her with a crooked smile. "Prince Kieran was one of my first friends in the city, so I know her son better in fairness."

Olivia looks around the room and smiles. She looks back over to Jan, "There has to be at least one man here who would put up with my terrible dancing for at least one dance right?" She takes another drink of her wine.

Shard nods at Perronne. "Yes," she says. "And carrying a whole lot of fragile things on a horse that needs to be able to move at least a little quickly can be ridiculous." She tips her head again, but this time at the suppressed laughter. "...What?"

Arik and Elsa continue their dance and apart from the Sword of Whitehold clearing a 'healthy' two foot gap around their pair it's not so bad. They seem to be carrying on a light conversation.

Gunther grins over to Jan. The man looks down at himself with a bit of a proud expression, "Got me a helluva fine deal on it onna account its second hand. What do I care someone worn it before? Suckas born every day -- barely cost me anything." The man adds, "Reckon I'll join you. I'll try an not embarrass you none. Ain't never been to something this fancy. Sally would be so happy I got up the gumption to stick my tootsies in this big ol' high muckity kettle." He offers smiles to everyone he passes; toothy.

"Lady Ysbail has been nothing but a delight since we met, and was in fact the lady so kind as to suggest that I make my introductions to the Princess-Mother. I'll be teaching her one of the elven tongues at a small lecture I'll be holding for the Scholars in the next month or two, and look forward to spending more time with her in the future. Perhaps the three of you together might be able to instruct me properly on the Augury you mentioned earlier, Marquessa? I can't imagine having better teachers than two devout ladies of the Northern houses, and the High Shaman herself to guide us." Both of Mia's brows arch, an expression of hope coming across her face as she looks between Eilonwy and Drea.

Gunther has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Perronne winces. "Oh, yes. Don't I know it? I swear - a horse is more danger to fragile pottery than five hours of storms." At the question, she gives a little shrug, and then leans forward to say something quietly.

Miella has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Gianna takes Song - Dream-Time.

Alessia has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Shard listens. She looks thoughtful, and then replies in kind, her voice little more than a murmur.

Quenia continues to move across the dance floor with an elegant ease, definitely making certain they don't bump into anyone. It seems the Marquessa has been practicing since that fateful night Lord Cullen Greenmarch had first ever asked her to dance at the Whisper House ball all so many ages ago. Not that she was bad then, but she's certainly better now. Her cheeks flush a light rosy pink at something said between her and Duarte, and she looks up at him with light amusement in her eyes as they continue around.

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

Ailys finishes off the small plate of food she's assembled for herself, rising from the table and letting her eyes roam over the remaining crowd. She hums thoughtfully for a few moments before moving to the door.

Drea reaches out a hand to Eilonwy. "Oh, your sister is a total delight. And I know she has thoroughly enjoyed my Kieran. They seem to be going back and forth with pranks. Not everyone can handle him on equal footing and it's a pleasure to see." Mia gets a smile. "Oh, of course, I thought I had already agreed to answer your questions. I do love to answer questions about any of the Northland traditions or way of life."

Sabella comes sweeping in, or waddling more these days, beaming a smile for the party that's already in full swing and waving at people as she passes, "Countess, what a lovely gown! Nightingale, is that a new jewelry set? It's divine!" She thanks a passing waiter for handing her a whole tray of delights, which she daintily starts placing in her mouth one by one. Okay, the chocolate ones are two by two. "Liara! Everything looks amazing!" She calls out to her cousin.

Quenia's eyes widen at something else Duarte says, and then she lets out a hearty laugh even as they whirl around the floor. Though her rosy cheeks grow a little hotter for all the attention that might cause. She leans in to whisper something quietly to him.

Smiling to Liara belatedly, Eilonwy says softly "This is a lovely party." Shifting back to Drea and Mia she pushes her curls back and nods. "I'm no shaman, but I do hold the spirits dear and have worked with Vala Khanne a few times in ritual. I am sure between the three of us it would at least prove to be somewhat educational." she looks to Drea and adds "If your highness would care to visit." She offers politely.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise, Roland, the worst bard in Arvum arrive, following Niklas.

Arik finishes the dance with Elsa and offers his arm while finishing a quiet conversation on the path back to their table.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense have been dismissed.

Roland, the worst bard in Arvum have been dismissed.

After a quiet exchange of words, Perronne laughs delightedly at something Shard says. Although her reply is quiet, the amusement is dancing in her eyes as she talks.

Gianna raises her glass of wine in Sabella's direction, the corner of her lip quirking to the side at the sight of chocolates disappearing two by two into the princess' mouth.

"Sabella!" Liara replies, attention drawn by the greeting. "Lovely to see you here. I was just seeking to match a few people to dance partners, although perhaps dancing might not be your very strongest point this instant." A quick smile follows. Then she responds to Eilonwy, "I am glad you are enjoying it, my lady."

Mia smiles, more fully now, and explains, "The Marquessa was just describing to me the Augury that's been built -- is being built? -- at the Blackwood's estate in the city, and had offered to show it to me. At Heron Hall, our only current construction is the library which I've had in mind for some time now, and spent entirely too much silver outfitting with one of those map tables I'd heard so much about."

If Shard's telling jokes to Perronne, she's doing it with an entirely straight, completely serious expression. There's a certain amount of fervency in her face.

Arik arrives at the table with one final exchange with Elsa before leading her to her chair before walking behind Eilonwy to rejoin her with a plop.

Drea looks between Eilonwy and Mia and she nods. "Of course, Marquessa! I would be delighted to come and see your Augury and perhaps, if you desire, you can come and see ours. It is my haven within the city. An oasis of peace."

Kaia would continue to stylishly sway around the dancefloor, setting aside the now empty champagne glass on one of the servants' trays before continuing to enjoy the music.

"I would be happy to dance with anyone that you could convince I wouldn't bounce out of the hall, Liara," Sabella laughs, pausing in her devouring of all the treats to look around and see who is without a dance partner.

Max, an emperor tamarin, Rosalee, The Champion, 2 Grayson House Guards leave, following Ailys.

Perronne glances over towards the part of the crowd that contains Alaric, her expression moving from cheerful to thoughtful as she replies quietly to Shard, her non-wine-bearing hand gesturing animatedly as she speaks.

"Why, then, Lady Kaia would be a splendid start," Liara answers Sabella.

As the dancing continued the distance between Duarte and Quenia grew incrementally smaller, and now that the music of that particular piece has come to a stop, so too does their dance. Duarte finds himself searching for something in the Marquessa's eyes with his own. His wide smile has diminished in breadth but to something warmer and more fond. His lips part and he takes a step back to give his partner a bow. He turns to face the ensemble of musicians and offer them applause for the song just ended.

Looking to Arik as he circles back around, Eilonwy smiles slowly. She pats him on the shoulder and keeps her focus on Drea for the moment. "I would be honored. I lived in the Redrain Villa for a time but I confess I didn't wander much and once I was Marquessa it made more sense to be settled in the House to better manage things." She notes and turns her attention to Arik to catch him up softly.

As if on cue, Prince Niklas Grayson steps into the ball, glances around and sees his wife packing away the hors d'oeuvres (or as they call them in Arvani, Sanctum Snackos) and moves over to the tubby princess. "You've tried to bounce me many times, my love, but I keep bouncing back. So if you'd care to waddle your way over to the floor, I would be delighted to accompany you."

At the sound of her name from afar, Kaia glances over to Liara and Sabella with a smile and waves, while still keeping up with the classy dancing on her own.

Olivia stands from her couch and approaches King Alaric slowly, maybe a bit nervously. She curtseys to him gracefully and smiles, "Your Majesty, I saw you were an incredible dancer out there. Would it be too forward of me to ask you to teach me a few of those moves?" She looks around a little nervously.

Olivia has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Jan has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany, Jan leave, following Olivia.

Sabella gives a wave to Shard, leans over to kiss Niklas on the cheek, then shakes her head at a guy who thought he'd be helpful and take the tray from the Princess talking about going to dance, "No, no. It's fine. Nik, would you like to dance with Lady Kaia while I finish these up?"

2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany, Jan arrive, following Olivia.

Olivia has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Jan has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Shard catches the way out of the corner of her eye, and glances toward Sabella, though she's still having that quiet conversation with Perronne. Accordingly, she only lifts her chin in acknowledgement before responding to something that's been said.

Speaking up, Jan sends her voice towards any men she sees within earshot. "We need a man for a proper escort to Lady Olivia Ashford onto the floor. Would any of you enjoy that honor?" Her cold stormy eyes make eye contact with anyone that looks in their direction. The girl sits snuggled beside her like a cute fluffy kitten clawing the back of a large bulldog, Jan being the bulldog in this scenario.

Quenia finds herself looking back at Duarte, studying his own eyes. It's as though there are some unspoken things between them. When he steps back and bows at her, she offers him a graceful curtsey in return as thanks for the dance and also applauds the musicians and singers as well. "Shall we find a place to sit again," she asks Duarte, warm smile easily upon her lips.

Perronne is back to being playful, apparently. As she talks with Shard, she's grinning and poking the air with vigorous enthusiasm.

Vittorio Gilden arrives at a time that has pushed far beyond 'fashionably late', his eyes glancing around the great hall with an appraising eye. Running a hand over the front of his coat to iron out any wrinkles, he begins heading further into the hall. Along the way, he passes one of the servants and picks up a glass of champagne, eyes still searching out the hostess of this shindig. Finally, he manages to approach near where Liara stands, and he offers her a polite nod. "Good evening, quite the event that's being thrown here. Makes my heart yearn for some of the parties back home." He flashes her a large smile.

"Let's shall." Duarte answers. He offers again his arm to Quenia.

Shard looks just a little exasperated at whatever is being said, but not in such a way that she actually seems annoyed with the conversation. The opposite, maybe. She's invested at least.

Not otherwise occupied that instant, her gaze having gone over towards the piano, briefly contemplative, Liara's attention is quickly drawn back to Vittorio, and she offers a ready smile. "You are very welcome, my lord. Which parts of the parties at your home do you happen to yearn after?"

Alaric glances up from his coversation with Jaenelle to regard Olivia with a friendly smile. "Ah, Lady Olivia, Lady Jan, nice to see you both. And that's quite nice of you to pay me such a compliment, thank you." He regards Jan's pronouncement with a curious glance before grinning at Olivia. "Any man will do, hmm?" he observes dryly before having a sip of his drink.

Quenia delicately links her arm within Duarte's own, and then allows him to lead her to a place to be seated.

Olivia blushes at Jan's announcement but nods, "I was hoping to find a dance partner, and since I had no volunteers I thought I would ask you Your Majesty, but I can understand if you would not want to." Her fair skin turning bright pink on her cheeks.

"Certainly," says Nikllas cheerfully before stepping in to compliment Kaia's clunky dancing with his own sweet moves. "Good evening, Lady Kaia. I do hope you are enjoying the Princess's ball. I nearly slept through the damnable thing! Long nights working on my next work!"

Getting up, Jan approaches to offer a more formal greeting to the King of the Compact. "Your Majesty, I wanted to wait til you had time to settle before jumping in line." She tries to be formal anyway in her dress uniform, but it more or less just highlights her flaws in such occasions. "I'm sure I speak for Lady Olivia when I say you'd make her the envy of the ball if you were so inclined to grace her with your second act of the evening."

Jan has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

"Mostly the wine. Oh, and the scantily-clad beautiful people. But mostly the wine." Vittorio responds to Liara, not missing a beat as he sketches a small bow, smiling all the while. "Vittorio Gilden, and I feel that I must add that it's a pleasure to arrive at such an event and make this my, ah, first real taste of the city in quite some time. A shame that business so often keeps me from enjoying the finer things in life." He takes a small sip of the champagne, nodding to himself.

Arik laughs at something from the inset amber and glass badgers table while standing up and holding out his hand to Eilonwy

Olivia has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Alaric gestures reassuringly as he finishes the rest of his drink and stands up. "Worry not, I'd be delighted for another spin around the floor," he declares regally. "Can't promise you'll learn much, but I assure you your toes will be quite safe." He offers an arm. "Shall we, then?"

Jaenelle lifts her attention from the quiet conversation, dipping her head towards both women as she is ignored in favor of her escort for the evening. "Lady Olivia, Lady Jan, lovely to meet you both!" She turns towards Alaric as she stands, "i'll order you another."

"Good evening, Niklas!" she says with a smile. "I am, and that sounds slightly dreadful. Did you have that awful coffee to keep you awake?" she inquires with a bit of a giggle, as she now begins to dance slightly more freely and comfortably.

Olivia nervously takes the Kings arm and looks to Jan. A little bit of fear in the girls eyes. She looks back to Alaric, "Y-your majesty... I h-have no clue what I am doing"

Once settled back at their initial seat, Quenia turns her attention briefly to the events unfolding with Alaric. She's curious to see how it plays out, and once the king accepts the dance, she smiles at both Olivia and the king before going back to her quiet conversation with Duarte.

"I am sure you will find at least some element of both here," Liara replies to Vittorio. "Certainly, there is an ample selection of wine to be found in Arx - and indeed at this very ball. I cannot speak as to people's state of dress or lack thereof, since I'm not certain where the line is drawn." She goes on with a quick smile. "Are you acquainted with many people here?"

"You'll be fine," Alaric declares with absolute confidently to Olivia. "Just don't land on the floor, and I'll handle the rest." He stage-whispers to Jaenelle as he leads Olivia to the floor. "Make it a double, if you please."

Gianna rises from her seat and finds herself someone in livery to do away with her now-empty wine glass. Instead, she approaches Sabella, Niklas, and Kaia. "You missed me singing," she announces to the former two.

Rising, Eilonwy shakes her head at Arik. "If I didn't apply all your lessons what's the point in listening to them?" She asks and takes Arik's arm as they slip out.

Alaric checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Drea gives a nod to those she has visited at their table and she steps back. "If you will excuse me. I must go back and check on the babies. Do let me know when you'd like to get together again.

Eilonwy has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Arik has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

1 Crimson Blades Lieutenant, Arik leave, following Eilonwy.

"On the contrary," Sabella gives Gianna a brilliant smile, "It was the sound of an angelic voice that drew us both downstairs!"

Olivia adjusts herself to Alaric's lead. She shifts nervously as his hands take her tiny little ones. She looks up to him, the fear that was in her eyes giving way to nervous happiness. "My hands like this Your Majesty?"

Siggi, a small fox, Aralie, the shy assistant leave, following Drea.

Jan shoots Olivia a quick wink as she remains near the table herself to greet Princess Jaenelle. "I'm not sure we've made formal introductions, I'm just another Kennex washed back up in Arx from the sea." She offers a small chuckle.

Alaric leads Olivia through a very stately dance that nobility throughout the ages have used as a go-to standard for use with partners who may be excessively imbibed, elderly, half-petrified due to nervousness, and so on. It's a classic for a reason. "Just like that," he declares with assurance.

Gianna has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

"A double!" Jaenelle announces to a passing server, grinning slightly at the order as she then adds more softly, "and another for me as well too, please. Thank you." She turns towards Jan once that is done and offers a dip of her head and warm smile, "it is lovely to meet you, Lady Jan. Welcome to Arx. I am Archduchess Regent Jaenelle Velenosa, formally a washed up Thrax" she winks.

"The coffee at The Spirits is truly the worst coffee in the city, possibly in Arvum! So yes, it's certainly a favorite of mine. Nothing maintains alertness quite like the concern that one may need to call the Mercies at any given moment." As he speaks, Niklas dances ever so gallantly. He glances over toward Sabella when she plies Gianna with compliments and sends her a thumbs up. That's how one keeps a Nightingale happy!

"Oh I have already tasted some excellent vintages." Vittorio says, nodding to Liara. "As for the people here? No, not really, but I am hoping to make an acquaintance or two. Make my face known here and there, perhaps. Put in a word or two into some ears about how I am one that loves to discuss business and business opportunities, especially when it concerns making a healthy profit for both House Gilden and our partners." He flashes her another smile, though his eyes begin to scan the room. "I see there is some dancing going on, I would be remiss if failed to take the opportunity to dance with a pleasant young lady this evening." He bows his head to her, "Once again, thank you for hosting such an event. I will not take up any more of your time."

Olivia follows Alaric's lead through the motions. The nerves finally leaving her face as the two of them dance around the dance floor. Back, forward, right, turn. She continues to do her best to keep up. She might be wishing she had changed in to her flats for this, she isn't entirely comfortable in her heels, but she isn't doing half bad considering how nervous she can get and the fact she is dancing with the King. Her eyes meet Jan's and Rhiannons and a smile comes across her face before she turns her attention back to King Alaric and the dance.

Sabella perks up when Vittorio says he wants to meet people, "Pardon me, but I couldn't help overhearing that you want to be introduced to people and it just so happens I absolutely love making introductions. I'm Princess Sabella Grayson," she says with a big smile his way, "Princess Liara's cousin! Is there anyone you do know here already or shall I just start pointing and throwing names at you?"

Rhiannon is back at the couch that Olivia was sitting at and she watches her cousin dance, glancing around the room at everything else and then back to Olivia. She is quite protective, but if you can't trust the King.. who can you trust?

Gianna is pleased. Niklas is right, Sabella knows how to keep her ego fed. Gianna reaches up to touch her hair, preening a little. She casts Vittorio a curious look and inclines her head to him.

"Might I suggest Lady Kaia, if and when she is finished with her dance with that Playwright fellow there - goodness knows what his real name is," Liara replies to Vittorio. Then Liara flashes Sabella a quick smile and detaches herself from chatting with Vittorio, to drift on across the hall. And she sees Rhiannon! Poor Rhiannon? Liara steps on over that way, asking, "How are you doing, my lady? Keen for a dance?"

Kaia chuckles at Niklas remarks about the coffee from the Spirits, and shakes her head slightly before taking a glance over to the mention of her name from where Liara, Sabella, Gianna and an unfamiliar face were chatting. All the while, keeping up with Niklas gallant dancing, although not quite matching it herself -she still had much to learn.

"You're doing splendidly," Alaric tells Olivia approvingly. "I think you're ready for something more advanced. I'm going to throw you up in the air and you'll do a full rotation before I catch you again. You'll need to keep your elbows tucked if you don't want to end up taking a tumble," he explains confidently. "Get ready to jump on my mark, here we go. One, two..." His grip shifts like he's going to pick her up under the arms and fling her skyward, but he only does it for an instant before returning his hands to where they were. Just teasing! "Back, forward, right, turn," he reminds her helpfully.

Rhiannon suddenly finds herself at Liara's focus. Her eyes go a bit wide, but then she hides it quickly and sketches a graceful little dip of her head toward the Princess. "Princess. I am fine, thank you. These big social events are a bit noisy for a Tree Scout. But I do my best to be a proper representative of the Ashfords. I do hope that I have not done anything questionable?" She has not climbed out the window and into a tree in seasilk yet. Yet.

"Then Arx should be happy that the sea tends to spit so many things of value into the Compact Your Grace." Jan offers a small grin, peeking once to check on Olivia. Good thing the King has experience dancing with starry eyed girls that feel they must wear heels.

"Oh, certainly not, my lady," Liara answers Rhiannon. "Do you dance? You don't have to, of course, but I have tended to find that even those who are at first reluctant about the prospect quickly warm to it when they try it, and thought to give you a little encouragement." She offers a ready smile then.

Quenia raises both brows at something Duarte asks her, a curiously quizzical expression adorning her features. Truly, the expression itself is probably pretty comical.

Murmuring his thanks, Vittorio glances in the direction of Kaia and begins to slowly head in that direction, still nursing his drink. Nearing Kaia and Niklas, he asks, "Mind if I have the next?"

Jaenelle grins at Jan, nodding in full agreement. She lifts her glass in toast before allowing her gaze to follow Jan's towards where Alaric and Olivia are. "I am certain she will be fine" Jae assures her with a soft smile as she watches the two dance. "Do you dance as well, Lady Jan? It can be both exciting and soothing all at once."

Olivia looks like she might cry out of fear as the King explains he is going to throw her. She braces for the worst as he counts down, but then a noticeable wash of relief on her face as he doesn't and just continues the dance they are doing. "Thank you Your Majesty. It is easy to do so well when you have suxh an incredible teacher" She continues following his lead, her steps with a little more confidence now.

Niklas steps back and offers Kaia a low bow. "It was a pleasure, my lady. Though I do believe you have a line forming!" He turns to Vittorio and nods, "I step aside for you, my lord." He then heads off to his wife, taking her by the hand. "Come now, there's more to do than eat everything in sight. Though that /is/ a fun thing to do at these events!" Pulling her to the dance floor, he offers others around an apologetic wave for taking Sabella away.

"Don't worry, Lady Olivia!" Sabella calls out with a laugh, "It's only treason if you step on his foot. If he falls over, though, that's high treason, so you might want to watch your step." She beams at Niklas and actually sets the tray of food (or at least, a tray with bits of crumbs on it) to the side as she's pulled on the dance floor, "I'm not eating everything in sight," she protests with a grin as she puts a hand on his shoulder, "I'm still eyeing that cheese over there and haven't made it across the room. Let's dance that way!"

Sabella checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 30 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.

Vittorioage Sabella=Sorry, totally missed your pose. Responding in my next.

Rhiannon clears her throat a little, looking back at Liara. "Indeed, Princess. I can dance, though it is not one of my favorite things. I am properly trained as a Lady of House Ashford. My skills are more stealthy than that. I you would like a tour through the trees or learn how to climb and travel through them, I can assist with that, of course."

"Not me Your Grace." Jan more grunts then responds. "I was able to be fortunate enough to simply wear a costume and pose as Olivia's security." She returns the toast, all too happy to have a reason to have a drink from the rocks glass she carried over with her. The pink tinged vodka disappears like it was never there, and she moves to top it off. "I'm not so spry without a cutlass or a flail in my hand."

Gianna looks over Sabella's discarded tray, but alas, crumbs. She takes a detour to find a thing or two to nibble on before making her way toward the round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Gianna has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

"Don't praise my talents too much, or I really -will- decide I'm incredible enough to teach you the rotational toss after just three minutes of sharing the floor with me," Alaric quips in amusement to Olivia, glancing at Jan and Jaenelle as they dance past. "Security?" he asks Olivia. "Goodness. Are you running afoul of anyone in particular?"

Kaia smiles and bows to Niklas, "Likewise, prince Niklas. Thank you for the dance." she replied, before her eyes moved over to the lord (Vittorio) that had just approached to ask for the next dance. "Well met, Lord--" she pauses, not really knowing his name, "Forgive me, but I don't believe we have had the pleasure of meeting before." she says, allowing for him to introduce himself as she prepared to join him for a dance.

"Not at all something I have an aptitude for," Liara replies to Rhiannon. "I would fall over things and grumble and be an utter pest in general, presumably." She snags a glass of red wine from a tray carried by a passing servant, then goes on with a smile for the Ashford. "Dancing /is/ one of my favourite things. I seem to have done rather little of it this evening; perhaps I should seek to remedy that."

Vittorio returns Gianna's incline of her head by incling his own, but a little lower, and with a quick smile. Sabella's introduction is responded to with a bow. "Princess, I am Vittorio Gilden, and indeed I am always happy to meet new people and make new acquaintances. The Princess has already directed me to her." He gestures to Kaia, "But rest assured that any others you may know, I shall happily meet!" He takes a step back as she is whisked away, but then focuses on Kaia. "We have not. I am Vittorio Gilden, and I beg the pleasure of this next dance, my lady." Graciously bowing towards her, he offers a hand for her to take.

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

Olivia continues her following of Alaric's lead on the dance floor, her confidence in what he is teaching her showing as she moves with a little more purpose. "No your Majesty, but letting her be my bodygiard is the only way I could get Lady Jan and Lady Rhiannon to join me" She does a confident little twirl mid step.

Niklas pulls Sabella well away from any cheese she might be looking at and makes certain she focuses on the damn dancing! Is he as good at dancing as her? Well, what is the difference between a 59 and a 60 anyway? 1.02 percent? Pfft. Like anyone would even notice the difference. Nope, they're both great and he's great and it's all great! "Actually, now that you mention it cheese does sound good."

Alaric laughs sympathetically. "Wait, you brought two people to the ball and couldn't get a dance out of either of them? That's harsh treatment! You can tell them the King said they ought to be more generous."

With a pleased smile, Kaia makes a gracious bow of her own towards Vittorio "Kaia Bisland, a pleasure to meet you, and I'd be honored to join you on this next dance." She replies with a grin, as she takes his hand and allows him to lead.

Olivia glances over to Jan and Rhiannon

Jaenelle has a small army of guards so she really can't judge anyone or hiring her own! "I have found that sometimes stepping out of one's usual circles can give you something interesting to speak about later. Hopefully. Maybe. I really do hope its not so bad here, Lady Jan" Jaenelle laughs softly.

Rhiannon gives Liara a dip of her head. "Indeed, Princess. If you enjoy it, then you should indulge. It seems an innocuous enough joy. It is not like you sneak out into the trees and risk your life without doing your best to be safe. A proper hobby, indeed." Unless you are Rhiannon and if it isn't a tree--well, it's just not that interesting. Usually. She is all that is polite, however, if a bit too serious.

Sorrel drifts into the ball dreadfully late, but dressed for dancing nonetheless. She pauses to survey the room, making long strides as she looks for potential dancing partners. She turns a cheerful pirouette as she goes, just to make her skirts flare and undulate.

Alaric finishes the dance and gives an inch perfect courtly bow to Olivia. "Well, thank you for the dance. And remind your friends that they've got two feet to dance with, too!" he advises cheerfully before they part.

Vittorio checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Kaia checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Alaric promptly gets snagged by some enterprising NPC attendees before he can escape the floor and get back to his waiting double, which serves as his excuse for the next half hour of afking. Back in a bit!

Perronne and Shard have been having a nice, quiet conversation. But something Shard says draws a sharp laugh, more surprise and disbelief than actual amusement, from the merchant. She turns red and claps a hand over her mouth for a moment, before resuming the quiet conversation, with additional emphatic gestures.

"I would be terrible at sneaking about forests, my lady. Somebody would end up having to come and fetch me, I'm afraid." With a smile for Rhiannon, Liara then adds, "I'm glad you were able to attend." Then the Grayson detaches herself to move back towards the dance floor, sipping at her wine.

"I might make a concession for the Sword of Ashford should he make an appearance. We did have some fun at the games they had us play for the spring festival. Although I think it might be in bad taste to get /that/ drunk in front of the King and His Majesties company." Jan wears an amused expression, not really amused enough to want to go stumbling in front of everyone though. She leaves lord and lady stuff to Niklas and Sabella.

Smiling, Vittorio gently squeezes her hand and leads her to the dance floor. He leads her gracefully through some of the steps of one of the dances he remembers. As they dance, he lowers his voice and asks, "So Lady Kaia Bisland, how are you enjoying this evening? I myself am rather glad I decided to step away from my ledgers and enjoy myself for a change."

Sabella twirls as lightly on her feet as if she were not ten million months pregnant! Swirls of rainbow seasilk and aeterna nearly block out Nik from view and yet, somehow, when the song ends they end up near the table with the cheese spread, "Oh, is that brie?" She asks, letting go of Niklas and heading for the table as fast as her swollen ankles can carry her.

"Good work, Prince Niklas. Your wife looks absolutely divine," Sorrel says, touching the Grayson man on the elbow as she approaches, too wise to get between a pregnant woman and her brie.

Shard is still talking too low for her words to be understandable, but there's something intense about her now, both in her posture and in the quiet murmur of her voice. Intense, and passionate, with at least a few hand movements to emphasize whatever she's saying.

Olivia wanders back over to Jan with a huge smile on her face, the young little lady can't stop grinning and giggling

Quenia seems to finish up conversation with Duarte and rises from her seat, and it seems she prepares to follow him.

Rhiannon dips her head to Liara, smiling a little then. "Likely me, Highness, though I would be glad to do so." She remains where she is behind the couch, trying not to be a wet blanket upon the entire affair.

Olivia giggles wildly

In quick reply, Liara remarks to Rhiannon, "I shall make sure to send you a note before I ever endeavour to fall down a tree." She winks, then her gaze turns back over the dance floor, and she sips at her wine again.

Duarte has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Quenia has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Harlen, Quenia leave, following Duarte.

"Lady Olivia, you danced beautifully" Jaenelle tells the woman as she reapproaches the table. "I also think if you get the King drunk first its perfectly acceptable to get drunk afterward" she then tells Jan with a grin, motioning to the drink she is keeping safe for Alaric when he returns.

Thesarin makes his way to the ballroom, looking... well. He's always glowering, so the frown on his face isn't exactly something that draws comment. And he's still as tall and squared and commanding as ever. But he looks somewhat anxious at the ball, striding in looking like... well... like a shav who's wandered into a royal ball, even if he is dressed for it. He looks over the crowds, giving low nods to familiar faces and starting in toward the round table in the ballroom.

Kaia smiled as she was gracefully led through the dance floor. Her classy dancing was not at all as good as Vittorio's, nor her other peers (Niklas and Sabella's); nonetheless, it was decent enough not to be mocked. She managed to take all the right steps, and most importantly not fall nor step on anyone's feet. "I am enjoying it quite fine." She'd say with a grin, "The champagne is quite exquisite!" she'd continue, before pausing to consider his words further. "Ah, yes, taking some time for leisure is certainly important. You delve in finances?"

Gunther has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.

Olivia smiles at Jaenelle, "Thank you Princess, That means a lot to me. I never thought the King would care to teach me how to dance." She hugs Jan from the side and waves Rhiannon over to them.

Rhiannon steps forward as Olivia gestures to her and she walks over to join her cousin and her friend. "You enjoyed your dance, cousin?" She asks, though that is very evident from the look on Olivia's face.

Vittorio leads Kaia into an outside spin followed by a bit of deliberate hesitation and then into a reverse turn, each step careful not to step on any toes or blunder into another couple on the floor. "It is lovely champagne, some of the best I've had in quite some time, in fact." He nods, smiling at her question. "Indeed! I've been a man of numbers and commercial transactions my whole life. My father thought waving a sword around might have been a better path, but a pen is far lighter to carry around."

Niklas smiles at Sorrel. "Indeed she does. Though I think it may be time to soak my clothes in Limerance after the next is born. I think two is enough, and having Sabella go months all waddly is such a price to pay." After saying the most callow thing ever, Niklas gives his wife a spin and spins her on toward the exit. He waves to everyone as they leave the party. "Good night, all! So good to see everyone!"

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

Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise, Sabella leave, following Niklas.

Happy that she at least can say she did her duty by finding Olivia a more then proper dance, Jan pats the girl briefly in response to her clinging from the peacock costume. "I think you just made yourself envy of all the young girls." She remarks with a smirk. She briefly raises her glass to Niklas as he departs.

Sorrel has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Shard studies Perronne's face. "...Sorry," she says. "Sometimes I forget he's not this...looming threat to most people. The Horned One is a Herald. Like Brand, like the Gyre. Except he's more powerful, and he's out there, and he's been out there for a long, long time. He used to be a Metallic, like Brass, except he betrayed all of them." Pause. "But, no, that's not going to sway most of Thrax, if any of Thrax."

Olivia seemingly refuses to let Jan go, her face looks to be stuck in a permanent grin after her dance. She looks over to Rhiannon and grabs her hand and pulls her in to the akwardly long embrace, "I did cousin. It is likely something I will never forget!"

Rhiannon is pulled into a hug and blinks, though she allows it. "I am glad that you are enjoying yourself, cousin. That pleases me. Now, don't forget, we must take some time before we leave to take you through how to move in the trees."

"He is a patient man. I am sure he was quite happy to assist you in dance lessons before duty took him away a moment" Jaenelle assures Olivia with ease. "Now I think you have to return the favor and find Lady Jan a dance partner as well!"

Liara's eagle... eared? One of those things. She certainly picks up on the apparent need to find Jan a dance partner, because she's soon heading along that way, though she does query of Jaenelle, first, "Were you looking for a dance partner yourself, your grace?"

Thesarin has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Perronne's eyes widen a bit as Shard's voice carries. She clears her throat, and grabs another drink from a passing tray and pushes it towards Shard. Even if Shard has another drink. HERE. Then she takes a sip of her own wine and murmurs something with raised eyebrows back to her.

2 Ashford House Guard have been dismissed.

Bethany have been dismissed.

Shard didn't have a drink, so a drink works. She cups it in both hands for a moment, grimaces, and then takes a long sip. A looong sip. Nothing to see here. Eventually she responds in turn to Perronne, and it's with a voice that's carefully lowered again.

Thesarin looks over toward Shard as her voice carries, as he moves toward the Round Table. He lifts his chin in her direction a moment before settling in at one of the chairs, his face as impassive as ever. He looks to the Alaric, giving the king an incline of his head before he moves to sit down near Mia.

Kaia is dexterously led into a graceful spin and reverse turn successfully. A smile and a few giggles accompanying the sudden unexpected moves; still, keeping up with them with class. "Ah, interesting! I must agree." She replies, "About a pen being lighter to carry around,--" she clarifies, before adding "It's not at all the same, as I am awful at numbers and finances, but I do find my own use for said tool in the arts of sketching and fashion a diversion of course.~"

Alaric cross the room with a return nod to Thesarin as he makes a somewhat delayed return after his NPC dancing delay to Jaenelle's table for his still-waiting drink. Where he finds his erstwhile dance partner and company there as well. "I agree, he's an incredibly patient man," he declares. "More patience than he I've not seen in I don't know how long. Who are we talking about?"

Gianna has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

A low sigh escapes Jan, she kinda figured this might happen after all. She finishes her drink, which she just filled, setting it down with a solid *clink*. "Might as well get this over with. Who fancies having this big Kennex foot trodding across their toes?" Her glower across any would be dance partners in accompanied by her nails drumming on the guard of her peace-tied cutlass. Her last hope is to just scare them off.

Gianna partakes of a few farewells as she retreats, leaving the ball. Probably back to work at the College. "It was lovely, Princess," she asides to Liara as she passes, if she's able.

Jaenelle reaches over to pat Alaric's arm lightly when he retains the seat beside her, even as she slides his drink over. "No one you would know" even though that is a lie as he knows everyone. Ever. "You danced beautifully, Your Majesty. You deserve a drink. Lady Jan has been keeping me company until you returned."

"Oh, so you are something of a fashion designer then. How wonderful!" Vittorio exclaims with a smile, still leading them through the dance. "Have any of your designs become popular in the city? I would very much like to see one or two of your sketches at least. I've never had much artistic skill, I'm afraid. Tried my hand at painting, but aside from making the sky blue and the grass green, my one attempt at a piece of art looked as if a child had splattered paint all over the canvas."

Olivia giggles at how distressed sounds at the idea of dancing. "Lady Jan would like to dance with Gunther I believe"

Jan motions to her mending nose and face. "I /have/ danced with Gunther. I'm not sure that is the kind of embarrassment that is required of me." She grunts towards Olivia.

Olivia finally lets Jan go and turns to Alaric and offers him a graceful curtsey, "Your Majesty, I hope you do not mind, but this is a story I will tell my childrens children. Thank you so much for putting up with my terrible dancing" She lloks her cousin Rhiannon in the eyes, "Well since you so graciously came to this party with me, if you wish to play in the woods, I so suppose Inowe you dear cousin."

Alaric takes the drink and has an immediate go at it. "I absolutely deserve a drink," he declares emphatically. "Catching up on the Isles, then? Well, don't stop on my account." He regards Jan curiously. "Really! That old rascal's something of a pugilist then, eh?"

Kaia chuckles, "Well I wouldn't say I //am//, as much as it's just something I do on my spare time just for leisure. I merely create the sketches and ideas and let the experts in tailoring do their job." She explains, before gesturing to her current dress, "Take this one for example." She makes a twirl to better showcase how the fabric moves, before returning to his lead. "I had it be made specifically for today's event. The fabric was quite a hassle to obtain, or so the ones I appointed to procure it told me, it seems it's somewhat of a rare pattern."

Liara detaches herself from people in general for a moment, to instead go and park herself behind the piano, following a word with the band. Her wine is set carefully aside, gloves removed, for the moment, and she undertakes to cover the music for the next dance herself.

Liara has joined the a mahogany grand piano with an ornately carved cabinet.

Liara checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Liara's turn behind the piano, despite that she picks a fairly brisk - if not hugely complex - piece, turns out quite well as far as musicianship goes. She goes on to produce a jaunty, fast-paced tune. (And, coincidentally, gets to sit down for the first time in a while)

"Don't let his appearance fool you, Your Majesty. I had to sacrifice my dashing Kennex looks to bring him out of retirement, but I've not seen any better." Jan chuckles as she remembers the first time she met the Crownsworn. "Tried to tell me he wanted to empty chamber pots rather then get in a ring again. "If Your Majesty ever makes it to one of Valencia's Sip and Spars, I'm sure we could get him riled up enough to put on a show for you." Now that the conversation has shifted, she relaxes just a bit.

Perronne steps away from the quiet conversation with Shard, but only enough to turn and do a very proper sort of curtsy. "Would you care to dance, Shard?" It's very polite, but also teasing, and her grin is lively.

Shard does not curtsey back. She doesn't bow either. She just sort've stands there, looking awkward. And then she breathes deeply and steps after Perronne. No verbal confirmation, but she's apparently going with it anyway.

Kaia puts Ginger Peach, a warm and sensuous perfume in A small cotton pouch with a sapphire satin interior.

Alaric looks contemplative. "You don't say! I suppose he'd have to be exceptional, to overturn your reach advantage," he observes to Jan. "It has been a while since I've put in an appearance at one of the spars. Still, if he wants to remain retired, I'd rather not badger him into acting against his wishes. It's not for nothing people give up things that they're good at," he observes.

Perronne looks utterly delighted by the agreement, however reluctant it might be. She leads the way to a clear space on the floor and offers her hands to Shard. "I'll lead! Don't worry - it's a lot of fun, and once you learn the basic steps, you can do half of the common court dances with only minor variations." If Shard allows, she'll position them and start carefully demonstrating the steps for a court dance that is PROBABLY more popular in the Oathlands than Arx, and may be a few years out of fashion, but oh well.

Perronne checked charm + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

"Sometimes it is best to allow those who no longer wish to do something the ability to keep that desire" Jaenelle nods with agreement. "It can be difficult to give up something youre good at, when you know youre good at. Even without knowing, like painting" and she eyes Alaric.

Rhiannon smiles at Olivia a bit and then touches her arm. "I think I will step out then, Cousin. I will see you back home." She nods to Jan. "Lets meet this week sometime and we'll do that walkthrough."

Shard checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

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

Olivia nuzzles up to Rhiannon, "Thank you for coming with me. Let us venture in to the woods tomorrow then?"

"How do you know you're good at something without knowing, exactly," Alaric deadpans straight back into Jaenelle's eyeing before giving Rhiannon a parting smile. "Pleasure to host you here at the Grayson mansion, Lady Rhiannon. Gods light your path."

Shard doesn't know this dance, or anything like this dance, that's immediately clear. She practically stares at Perronne's steps for the first little while, and occasionally has to glance down even after she's stopped. But that sort of more natural grace she seems to have carries her at least a little ways. She dances...adequately. There's no stumbling over Perronne's feet or entirely out of place motions.

Tempest, Atila arrive, following Signe.

Vittorio looks over her dress with an appraising eye, nodding here and there as his gaze falls over certain features. Finally, he looks back up at her and smiles. "What a magnificent dress, my lady. I've not seen something that beautiful in some time." His voice softens and he repeats. "In some time." With the faintest shake of his head. "Do you sell your designs or are they for your own personal use?"

Rhiannon nods at her cousin, dips her head low in a bow to the King and then strides out like a Lady much more comfortable in a military setting than a ball. She definitely doesn't glide. She strides, her steps sure and solid.

"I could be the very best at many things that ive never tried before, so how can I know im good if I dont have the option to do the thing I would be really good at" Jaenelle tells Alaric helpfully. "Like ive never really tried to wield a sword. What if I did and I was better than Leona? Mmhmm."

Perronne is not really a teacher, at all, but if someone wants enthusiastic encouragement, that she has in spade, as well as the meticulously correct steps of someone who has been drilled in at least not making a misstep in court dancing until her feet bled. And she seems to genuinely enjoy it, her seasilk dress flaring out in a fiery halo around her legs on the turns. "Very good! You're getting it really quickly, Shard. Isn't it fun?"

Jan nods, "Pardon, I've just spent my life with the job of getting men /to/ fight. Suppose that makes me a bit insensitive. I'll have to remember your wisdom." Jan dips her head and glances away long enough to spot Rhiannon. It isn't mirth that crosses her features though. She is sure if she is pressed to join the foot prancing, her own dreadful performance would make the Ashford look like a professional dancer. Her gaze hardens a bit and her glass is absently filled without drawing the attention of her eyes.

Sorrel has left the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

Sorrel has joined the long table of polished wood with griffins rampant climbing its legs.

Liara finishes at the piano with a flourish and lets the band get back to producing the music instead. She extracts herself from behind the piano, draws her gloves back on, and strolls out across the hall once more, gaze roaming.

A fancy ball required fancy attire and that expectation was intentionally overlooked by Signe who was dressed in a simple kirtle. Absent her usual furry companions the shaman entered the fabulous festivities to join in on the fun hosted by the Gray folk. Out of habit Signe headed straight for the food

Alaric eyes Jaenelle steadily through her explanation, maintaining his mildly neutral expression. "I feel I have a much greater understanding of 'without knowing' now," he quips before having a drink and grinning at Jan. "He's old enough to be your father, anyway! Don't be going about giving old men a rough time of it, now. Unless they're Corsairs. If they're still in it for this long, it's probably the rough time of it that they -like-."

Sorrel drifts along to another table, making her rounds at the ball, trying to be social with everyone. "Archduchess Regent, Your Majesty," she greets pleasantly.

Kaia smiles at Vittorio, "Glad to know my peers appreciate the effort." she affirms, somewhat proudly of her design, before letting out a melodic giggle. "I make them for my own personal use."

"A little?" Shard doesn't really sound convincing, but it doesn't really sound like a denial in disguise either. And as they continue, she glances down less, and there's slightly more confidence in her movements. "An important part of fighting is knowing where to plant your feet." Although no one, absolutely no one would call her particular style of fighting a dance.

Liara is overheard praising Grayson: For facilitating a marvellous ball.

Alaric is overheard praising Grayson: None greater than Grayson!

Olivia walks up to Liara with a smile on her face, "Thank you for allowing me to ruin your perfectly good party with my terrible dancing. It has indeed been a very lovely evening. We even managed to get Jan out of her armor.!"

Alaric smiles brightly to Sorrel at her approach. "Ah, Princess Sorrel, delighted to see you. Welcome to the Grayson ward. Seems we've been just barely crossing paths ever since the concert. How have you been?"

"My lady, nobody could possibly ruin a party of mine. They are entirely too excellent for that. Notwithstanding that, I am delighted when people go to dance, even if they do not necessarily excel at it. It is a joyful thing." Liara offers Olivia a quick smile. "I am glad you have enjoyed yourself."

Kaia is overheard praising Liara: A splendid ball, with superb champagne! Well done!

Perronne beams. "Right! Absolutely. Balance, footwork, situational awareness. Things that apply to both sorts of activities, although dancing is less likely to get blood on your shirt." A thoughtful pause. "/Statistically/ less likely, although I was attending on my mother at this one party, and ooh, these two gentlemen both wore the same jacket, even though the tailor had promised each of them that it was an exclusive design. They called for Champions right there on the dance floor! It was very exciting, although the poor fellow who lost gave up his jacket out of sheer mortification and danced the entire rest of the night in shirtsleeves." She giggles. "He had lovely arms, though."

"Wiser" Jaenelle tells Alaric, touching her nose. When Sorrel approaches she beams towards her sister in law, "Princess Sorrel, welcome! How have you been? I am sorry we have not connected, things have been hectic."

Kaia is overheard praising Grayson: A most interesting location to host the ball, well done!

"Oh, just busily dealing with some ugly politics involving Brass and how his history is problematic at best. That's what happens when you're the best known source of information on the Metallics," Sorrel says brightly to Alaric and Jaenelle, nodding politely. "But I am in the process of investigating something new about GoldenPyre and one of his last battles, so that's quite exciting."

Olivia turns to Jan, "I am glad you are having more fun than you wanted to. I think I will escape now. You seem rather busy, having fun and I do not wish to get in your way"

Jan dips her head and makes way for Princess Sorrel. "Your Majesty, Your Grace, my thanks for your attention." She takes her out while she can. "I should make sure you get in at least." She replies to Olivia.

"That is /so weird/," Shard says, with a slight shake of her head. Step, step, step. Her new coat is good for a dance--it hangs long enough to swish with her motions, but not long enough to get in her way. "They're just clothes. Or at least, get mad at the tailor."

Thesarin sits at the round table with Videl, Elsa, and the Countess Mia. He looks toward Signe and gives the young Nightgold a nod, before looking over toward Shard and Perronne on the dance floor with a distinctly amused expression.

Olivia curtseys to all present and takes Jan's hand with a wide smile. "Thank you Grayson's." She tugs on Jan.

Deliciously decorated trays were well balanced atop of the servant's arms and Signe plucked some tastefully brightly colored treat before the carrier passed out of reach. And then another treat was collected until she had overstuffed her palm. The shaman weaved through the gathered bodies, admiring in passing the dancing pairs linked arm and arm or hand in hand. She heads towards a round table hosting Videl, Elsa, Mia and Thesarin. "Good evenin' all." Signe raised an empty hand. greeting all those at the table, as the other was tasked with holding all the pastries she's collected. "You all look wonderf--is, is that Shard?" The Nightgold would appear to be pleasantly surprised.

Alaric chuckles lightly at Sorrel. "I suppose that I wouldn't be far off to say there's been something of a dramatic increase in interest about Brass since the last Assembly," he observes dryly. "Lady Jan, Lady Olivia, Gods light your paths."

"Certainly, my lady. I could hardly claim myself a man of commercial interests if my eye could not see the quality of something right in front of my face." Vittorio laughs, then leans in and murmurs to the young Bisland lady.

"Understandable that you would be highly sought out after the success of your investigations and the songs that came from such" Jaenelle tells Sorrel with a nod of appreciation for both.

"Oh, I'm sure words were had with the tailor," Perronne says, with a laugh. "But it was fun, and a way know, just put the argument to rest before it became a, you know, a /thing/ that ends with a border war. Instead, the winner got a chance to boast, and the loser got a chance to show off his /very/ fine biceps to all his peers." She grins. "I'm pretty sure he ended up being far more popular than the winner, for being such a gracious loser and, uh, other reasons." She puts a couple of flourishes in the next steps, making the basic movements a bit more complex, but is careful to telegraph them to Shard and whispers the upcoming gestures as well.

Elsa smiles towards Signe as she arrives at the table, "My lady, a pleasure to meet you."

Jan falls in step with Olivia after she goes through any missed formalities. Victory is nigh, so she follows after the Lady she escorts and manages to avoid the ballroom floor after all.

2 Ashford House Guard, Bethany, Jan leave, following Olivia.

"Lady Nightgold," Mia greets Signe, gesturing towards their table and its empty chairs. "Please, join us. Have you met Lady Elsa Shepherd yet? She's been in Arx these last few months, and I dare say I find her absolutely delightful."

"Fabulous!" exclaims Kaia in a lovely melodic tone, at Vittorio's reply, before politely and gracefully bowing as another song ends. "Thank you so much for the lovely dance, Lord Gilden. Although, I fear it's getting quite late, and I should probably make my way back home." she explains.

Shard follows along in the same way as before; that is, her dancing is acceptable, if not remarkable in any way. "You know what I think," she says. "I think nobles just get damned /bored/ all the time, so they have structured fights instead of having people chopping each other to bits."

Vercyn steps once more into the Grayson Hall, letting out a long breath of air. He lifts a hand, smoothing his hair back before his gaze slowly travels around the room.

Liara retrieves a fresh glass of wine from a tray and lifts it in a brief toast to the servant, with the few words, "The Compact endures." She sips at that and, what with nobody in the hall appearing to be unoccupied, she simply props a hip against the edge of a table and watches those still dancing.

"There are a lot of things about Brass that were left out of the song because they were less flattering... because the song is about remembering heroes, not rabble-rousers who started wars. But I'm sure you're both familiar with Brass's history at this point, and if you're not, we're going to have to sit down and chat soon," Sorrel says with a musical little laugh to Jaenelle and Alaric.

"Of course, Lady Kaia." Vittorio sketches a polite bow, taking a step back. "It has been a pleasure dancing with you this evening, and I hope we can meet again in the very near future. As for now? I wish you a good evening and a safe trip back to your home."

"Lady Signe." Thesarin looks toward the approaching woman with a slow nod, and gives her a low nod, raising a cup he's been brought by one of the helpful servants walking through the room. "How now. Lady Elsa Shepherd, this is Signe Nightgold." He looks over toward the dance floor, and gives another low grunt. "...and I'd thought that Shard, until a few moments back."

Standing, Elsa offers a quick curtsy towards Signe, "Lady Nightgold. I don't believe we've had the pleasure yet." Rising up, she glances over Signe's shoulder, her expression warming. Smiling, she lifts a hand towards Vercyn, trying to catch his attention before looking back to Signe, "Its wonderful to meet you, my lady. I've been enjoying the hospitality of the Redrain Ward of late, its been a welcome change of pace."

Perronne clears her throat as Shard, a little nervously. "Oh, I wouldn't say that!" A little glance around at all the nobles on the dance floor around them. "Actually, there's a lot of purpose to etiquette and such, but it's really, really boring to talk about. But dancing is fun." Another glance out at the other attendees as the song begins to wind up, and she starts guiding them delicate towards the edge of the dance floor so that they can stop at an easy place to step away.

"I have not Countess Riven." The Nightgold smiled all too brightly in meeting someone new. "If you find her delightful then I assuridly will too! It is a pleasure to meet you too Lady Elsa Shepard." She offered while using the hand fisting a wad of pastries to touch her chest, leaving behind a powdery residue. Upon the invitation to join them Signe does so then settles her treat collection upon a nearby empty plate. "I am glad you are as if there is anything to take away from the Ward it is appreciation of our hospitality rather than a headache from a hangover." She laughed lightly then nudged the not so pretty collection of pastries towards Thesarin and Mia, "Hungry?"

Signe has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

"I imagine 'instigated a failed slave revolt' is difficult to put to a catchy phrase and meter," Alaric deadpans to Sorrel. "To say nothing of the question of what rhymes with 'slave revolt'?" He looks thoughtful a moment. "Besides 'brave wee colt'. That's a bit of a non sequitor, though." He glances at Jaenelle low-key expectantly.

Kaia smiles, "Likewise, my lord. Be well." she says, before stepping away gracefully, and making her way over to where Liara is with a smile. "Princess, like I've already said, wonderful event.~ All has been exquisite. And I managed to find some lovely dance partners in the end. I fear I must take my leave, but thank you so much for having me!"

Following a murmured word from Liara to a servant who approaches her, there's a general shift in the activity in the hall. Less bringing food out to people, more starting to clear away leftovers. A sort of gentle hint of 'almost done'. Liara offers Kaia a ready smile. "I am glad that you got some dancing in, my lady. Lovely to see you, as always."

The Northern Duke smiles at Elsa's wave before he makes his way back over to her. He bows to the Lady Shepard, taking her hand in both of his before kissing the top of it. "My lady, due forgive me absence."

Vercyn claims that

"Some, not all" Jaenelle admits to her knowledge regarding Brass, taking a sip of her newly topped off drink. At Alaric's words, she muses for a moment thoughtfully, "he lead a slave revolt, which caused quite the jolt. Done!" She can retire.

"Don't worry, they're ignoring us," Shard says, lower, but with a fair amount of confidence. She follows along the same as she has been, as Perronne leads them toward the edge of the dance floor. And, with fervent agreement, "It /is/ really boring. I'm sure there are lots of reasons for some of it, anyway. Wars can start at the literal drop of a hat." A beat. "Or a shirt."

"Very good," Sorrel replies to Jaenelle with a laugh, amused at her turn of phrase. "Still not exactly how we'd like to remember our heroes. For things that make them wanted war criminals in other countries. It shall be a very interesting Assembly of Peers."

Both of Mia's dark brows lift at the pastries presented, though she does pluck one up from the selection. "Thank you, Lady Nightgold. I saw that Lord Brogan has returned to the city, and had the pleasure of meeting him again at an event hosted by Lady Ysbail Blackwood. We'd discussed seeing your family at Heron Hall some time for dinner. Perhaps we can arrange as much sometime soon." She then turns to Vercyn as he returns, offering him a deep inclination of her head. "Welcome back, Duke Halfshav. Have you had the pleasure of meeting Lady Nightgold, or my husband, Count Riven?"

Perronne gives Shard a wry look, and leans in to murmur something to her before pulling away at the end of the dance to offer another curtsy. "It was a great pleasure to dance with you," she says, very properly, before almost bouncing upright. "See, that's one of the things etiquette is supposed to prevent. It puts barriers between the shirt dropping and the war. But, with that, I should probably be heading home." She glances at the change in the staff and says, "See that - etiquette that tells us it's time to move on before someone has to be directly rude and tell guests to leave." She winks. "But it really was a pleasure to meet you! Properly. Without all the shouting. We should talk more! I like your ideas."

A warm smile graces her lips at Vercyn's return and apology, squeezing his hand and murmuring, "Nothing to forgive my lord. Duty takes us all from time to time. I'm only glad that you've made it back to me before the end of the ball." She glances towards Mia, then chuckles softly and motions Vercyn tot eh empty seat next to her, "Please, join us again."

Elsa claims ^

Kaia grins, "Likewise, your highness. Be well.~" she said, before courtesing and taking her leave, issuing a friendly wave and goodbye, in passing, to some familiar faces by the round table with inset amber and glass badgers, "Count Thesarin; Countess Mia; have a lovely evening.~".

"Oh come on, at least try to rhyme -two- syllables," Alaric tuts mildly to Jaenelle before regarding Sorrel. "It remains far from proven that other countries have a demonstratively better set of proscribed criminal offenses than the Compact's," he declares more than a little dismissively.

Thesarin takes one of the offered pastries off Signe's plate, starting to chew slowly with another low nod. He looks toward Vercyn with an incline of his head, sitting at the table looking exactly like a shav out of the Grey Forest who's dressed up like a Grayson nobleman. "Lordship." A glance over toward Signe, and a hint of a grin. "We should, Lady Signe." A look over toward Kaia, and a raise of his glass in her direction. "Sorry we ain't spoke, Lady Bisland. Come find me a time."

Shard attempts this: she sketches a very careful bow in return to Perronne. It's not terrible, but it is rather stiff, and awkward. "Keep safe," she says, with sincerity, and then she adds something lower in turn, before she steps away.

"Lady Kaia!," Mia exclaims, surprised. But, ahhh, the young Bisland is on her way out. "A lovely evening to you."

"I did manage return before the end, though it seems just barely." Vercyn chuckles softly as he takes a seat. "Hello again Lady Mia. I have not met your husband before but Lady Signe and I have exchanged words."

2 Bisland pride guards leaves, following Kaia.

Perronne grins, and whispers something back to Shard, her eyes sparkling before saying, more conversationally, "I'll do my best, if you promise to do the same." With that, and a cheerful little wave, she turns to go, making her way through the press towards the doors.

Following the clinking of a spoon against the side of her glass, the sure sign that she's about to say something or another, Liara speaks up to those still about the hall. "As the ball - certainly as much as was planned, but you all have entirely commendable endurance - is drawing to a close, I shall say that it has been lovely to have you all here. You are all more than welcome to linger, and to help yourselves to food and drink."

Shard gives Perronne a firm nod in return. She watches her departure, then turns her attention to Liara as she speaks. And then, more thoroughly, toward the gathering near Alaric. She goes a few steps in that direction, though she doesn't entirely close the distance.

"I should have known better than to compose poetry infront of you" Jaenelle tells Alaric, sighing and shaking her head. "Not everyone should be considered a hero. Not ever hero should be perfect, it is how we learn that we are more like these people we idolize than we think. They are flawed, as are we, despite everything they have done."

"Ahhhh," Mia replies. "Then by all means, please. Allow me. Duke Halfshav, my husband, Thesarin Riven, the Count-Consort and War Chief of House Riven. My love, Vercyn Halfshav, the reigning Duke of Whitehold -- with the very enviable library that Lady Shepherd and I were discussing earlier. You may know his nephew, Lord Arik, or likely Lady Khanne, though I'm afraid my studies of the bloodlines of the Peerage is escaping me at the moment, and I can't recall precisely their relation."

Signe searches the table for a napkin to dust off the icing and powdered sugary goodness from her hands and a little dusting of her attire that had become soiled by the pastry. "Uncle Brogan?" She confirmed with Mia. "He's quite the gem isn't he? It would be wonderful to have your family's company for dinner. Will the children be attending as well? They would love Tempest and Atila. Shard should be welcomed too. Soon I hope, the gardens have flourished with the season and eating on the ground is delightful this time of year." With Vercyn's arrival the warm greeting is shared, "Evening your grace." The plate of slightly damaged pastries from her hand is nudged both his and Elsa's direction.

Vercyn has joined the a round table with inset amber and glass badgers.

With Kaia's and friends departure, the large man known as Ajax slips into the great hall proper. Brown eyes looking around with an idle curiosity, his fingers moving to pull down the hood of his cloak, his gaze settling down on the long table noticing Sorrel and the other people lingering as he starts his slow trudge over.

"I mean, I can't really blame him for starting a slave revolt; he was a slave and he didn't like it much. And he'd have stayed a slave if he hadn't been such a brilliant artificer that Amber brought him to Platinum's attention," Sorrel points out seriously. "I don't really disagree with him that slavery is a stain upon the Compact and upon the Mourning Isles in particular. But as an Islander by marriage, I have to say that his methods for fixing these problems are probably not appropriate for civility and peace -- two things he seems to care little enough about. Which is a problem for the Mourning Isles, where the High Lord would like to not promote civil unrest. But he did make some beautiful things, and he was really very good at innovation, and for that, we can celebrate him."

Shard's gaze shifts to Sorrel, and her lips pinch quite noticeably.

Following another brief, quiet chat with a servant, Liara makes for the stairs leading up out of the hall. The band starts to go about packing up, mostly, except for a couple members who stay to provide some quiet ambience to those guests still about.

Thesarin is overheard praising Liara.

"Well said," Alaric tells Jaenelle before nodding to Sorrel. "And I agree that Brass' intellect and creativity seems not to engage much with matters of civil administration. He is one of those 'big picture' sorts of fellows, I suppose, and implementing details on the ground is not much his forte." He notes Shard's look and smiles, beckoning her over. "Prima Shard! Delightful to see you tonight. How have you been?"

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