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Book Launch PARTY!

The Gilded Page is thrilled to present...

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// `V' \\
// A | P A R T Y \\
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Come join us!
Wear your most daring animal-themed
garb to celebrate the launch of
Master Zeriax Moonsong's masterful

Adventures of Zeriax: Prickles The Bear
Part I, II & III

There will be games! Do you fancy that
you have the most impressive scar in all
the Kingdom? Is your crafting of small
stuffed animals better than any other?
Can you spin a tale more fantastical
than any spun before? Come and find out
and win equally wonderful prizes
for your effort!


March 8, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Monique Zeriax


Drake Mikani Waldemai Sebastian Alarissa Beatrice Theodoric Elise Lore Niklas Gianna Rysen Sabella Reese Rukhnis Kyden Liara Roxana Jacali Jeffeth



Arx - Ward of the Compact - Gilded Page

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Drake bows to Princess Alarissa and offers to take one of her hands to kiss, "Princess Alarissa so sorry I missed your enterance. It is an honor to meet you. I was busy sealing a deal as Lady Monique says. Prehals we can meet to speak at a less busy time later."

Frost, a Maelstrom Forest Cat arrives, following Lore.

Rukhnis arrives, following Rysen.

Chub Chub, A fat black rat with an eyepatch, Witness, The Ashen Jackal, Scandal, The White Jackal, Vandal, The Black Jackal arrive, following Jacali.

The party has officially started and everything is ready. The attendants are waiting with drinks and snacks, and a trio of musicians play quietly on the small stage in the corner. The books being celebrated are front and center, of course, and Lady Monique stands ready to welcome revelers, even as she chats with Lord Drake and Princess Alarissa. There's a wave to Sebastian's arrival, before the flame-tressed Greenmarch offers to Alarissa with a laugh, "No giving birth in the library. The books would never recover."

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

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

Mikani enters with Elise in tow. They seem to be talking about books. Which is one of Mika's favorite topics. "I'm excited. New books for my library. It's not everyday." She grins at Elise as they enter. Mikani spots Alarissa and nods to the Princess before she looks around the room.

Waldemai ignores the musicians, but waves to the nearest drink-bearing attendant.

Turning from the books, Sebastian catches Monique's wave with an effortless smile that tugs up the corners of his lips. He doesn't seek to interrupt the discussion of the trio though, instead collecting himself a glass of something -- white, not his usual -- but he doesn't seem to sip it as he circles, looking for somewhere to settle.

"Lord Drake, a delight." Her hand is relinquished to the Wyrmguard but taken back after. "I shall have plenty of time to speak at a later date. As to giving birth, I promise, some months yet." Mikani is spotted and Alarissa lifts a hand, wriggling fingers. "Lady Mikani, have you met Lord Drake Wyrmguard?"

Smile twisting, Beatrice trails after Mikani and Elise and pulls dark strands of hair briefly away from her neck as she takes in the book-lined shelves. Monique gets a blown kiss in greeting across the crowding room as she snags two glasses of wine from a server and sips, alternating hands, while observing the musicians.

Theodoric saunters in, a short man in a big coat, its tufts of fur matching the color of his own woolly beard. He throws furtive glances around at all the finery both decorative and embodied before making a path to what to him must look like the most comfortable seats available. "Lady Monique." he says, in what must pass as a greeting.

Theodoric has joined the overstuffed armchairs around the fireplace.

With a little bit of a strut in his step, Zeriax sweeps his way into the Gilded Page. Arriving after a number of guests, the man quickly made his way towards the table to pop a cookie in his mouth before looking around. "Mmm, a lot different now with people in here." He muttered to himself, eyes darting around as people filed in and made themselves comfortable. After shaking his limbs out, he moved towards Monique. "Had to slip out for a bit. Was looking into a few things. Nice to see so many people flooding in..." He utted quietly, eyes constantly moving across those who entered.

1 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

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

Elise looks around as she comes in behind Mikani. She doesn't say anything. Just looks over the place and the crowd that has gathered. She does curtsey ever so slightly to Monique, before continuing to take everything in.

Spotting a familiar figure, Sebastian steps up behind Beatrice while she regards the musicians. "Two glasses, my lady?" he murmurs in light amusement. "There's plenty to go around, if you're worried." His gaze is on the musicians, too, but not for long, asking in an undertone, "How was Setarco?"

Lore enters the Gilded Page on her own, smiling faintly as she glances around at the books, the people, the people again. She moves towards Monique and Alarissa, dipping into a quick curtsy, "Lady Greenmarch, Your Grace. Successful party, I would think." Her smile widens a touch as she glances towards Alarissa, "Did you get the missive I sent last night? Or was I too late and someone else put you over the top?" She lifts a hand towards Beatrice grinning briefly, towards Mikani with a warm smile.

Niklas comes sweeping in with Sabella on his arm, happily telling her some story or another, "...and he kept saying to Ford 'this your mommy' and hugging the snowman. Of course he hugged it too hard at one point and it completely fell apart and gods did Darion cry for a solid hour. Kid never met Claudia, but he's sadder than any of us that she died." He takes Sabella over to sit, then grabs her a small plate of sugar cookies shaped like bears. "If you need more just go ahead and snap someone's hand off."

Gianna swans in, all aglitter with duskstones in silver-chased stygian. Her gaze sweeps the room, taking in the decor. Spying Beatrice, she inclines her head to the woman. "What a lovely dress," she says as she happens closer. "And those earrings - those look like Joscelin's work."

Mikani moves over to Alarissa, "No I haven't." Mikani nods her head to Drake. "Lord Drake. This is my friend Elise Whisper." Mika introduces Elise to Alarissa and Drake. Mikani smiles at Lore. "Cousin. How are you?"

Toasting Lore with a glass of her wine, Beatrice cracks a brief smile and murmurs her answer up to Sebastian, although her attention is still on the musicians. Absent-mindedly, she passes him one of the two glasses of wine she's holding - until Gianna is suddenly admiring /her/ earrings. "Nightingale?" she murmurs with startled amusement. "You know your jewels and your jewelers." She shakes her head, rubies shimmering at her ears. "I'll pass that on to the good messere. She'll appreciate an admirer of taste."

Rysen walks in to the Gilded Page with Rukhnis by his side. He approaches Monique and smiles, "Good to see you again, Lady Monique." He glances around, and adds, "this is an amazing place, and I'm secretly hoping there are a few books of your own fiery verse somewhere nearby." He makes his way over to a table to grab a drink, and can't help but start looking over the volumes on the nearby shelves.

"That is the saddest, sweetest thing I have ever heard," Sabella presses a hand to her chest before Niklas hands her cookies, "We should set up a play date soon. Or is he so old he won't find the babies compelling?" She bites the head off a bear and gives a cheerful wave around to those she knows. Which is most everyone! "What a great crowd already! I think everyone's heard of Lady Monique's propensity for amazing parties."

"I -did- get your missive, and we were already placed past fifteen by then, so I need to speak with you. And, his Grace and I ahven't forgotten that we owe you dinner. Things have been hectic of late." There's a deep smile for Lore. "Always, you sweoop in with what is needed to bring us over the threshold, every time. A generous heart. Same as the Lady Mikani here." A gesture to the Redreef noble. She looks over to Gianna as the woman makes her way in and raises a brow. "Beautiful" she murmur, to no one in particular.

Reese arrives in the book shop while in the company of Liara. The girl is adorned in her rosy tunic and ivory legging. She has pink ribbons tangled up in her golden locks. She peeks over the shop, trying to get a feel for the current situation here.

Rukhnis drops back a little to follow Rysen at a discreet distance, her dark gaze flicking about the room and from person to person in keen observation. Her eyes pause for a few moments on the immense string-bear, which she observes with a faintly dubious expression before resuming the close perusal of her surroundings.

Monique looks reassured by Alarissa's firmly pregnant status, catching Beatrice's blown kiss with a bright smile, pressing it to her cheek. She turns to Theodoric, looking surprised and pleased both. "Master Theodoric. I do hope you've a fantastic scar to show off for one of our games. I'd be disappointed if you didn't!" There's a wave to Elise and a deep nod to Lore's arrival, and to Rysen. "Welcome, I'm so glad you could come. None of my terrible poetry tonight. Tonight is in celebration of Master Zeriax," she waves Zeriax over. "Have you met him yet? His trilogy is the star this evening!" But then Reese arrives. "OH! Someone tackle that woman!"

Mikani smiles at Alarissa. "You are far too kind, Princess. I just do what needs to be done." Mika pulls Elise off to the side knowing she doesn't like the middle of the room.

There's a tiny smile from Sebastian when Beatrice passes him one of her glasses. He gives her an amused look, setting aside his own -- as yet untouched -- on the table. If there's any frustration at his question going unanswered, it doesn't show: instead sipping lightly at the wine as Gianna praises Beatrice's outfit. "Nightingale," he murmurs, aftwards. "/Now/ it is an event worth being at," is stated with an effortless smile.

Mikani has joined the window seating by the stacks.

"Oh, he /definitely/ won't find the girls compelling, but that's no reason why we shouldn't set up a playdate. He should learn to get used to boring relatives like I did. My Oathlander cousins are some of the most boring people you'll ever meet. Which is why you'll never meet them." Niklas raises a hand to any number of people since he recognizes most of them, but pauses his waving to offer Alarissa an actual bow, before looking to Gianna. "Ah, so dramatic."

Reese smiles warmly to Monique at her words. "Oh, tackle me.." She says and looks to Liara like it could be her. Her cheeks warm with a touch of pink and she seems to be in a cheerful mood.

"I doubt I could show my favorite scar in such company." Theodoric says roughly as he plops down in a large armchair. "I'll make an effort to entertain however." as an attendant comes by he lifts a drink from the tray without being offered.

Kyden wide eyed as usualy Kyden walks into the room looking around her unsure of whats going on, or to be expected. She is handed a number by Monique and she smiles at the woman and then looks at the number again unsure of quite what is going on. The artist finds a place in the back to watch.

Mikani has left the window seating by the stacks.

Mikani has joined the overstuffed armchairs around the fireplace.

Elise has joined the overstuffed armchairs around the fireplace.

Showing up in Reese's company, clad largely in yellow seasilk with glimpses of white aeterna, and some rather flashy griffin hairpins, Liara strolls inside, a smile finding her features as she looks about. Aside to Reese, she remarks, "Better left to someone who actually /can/ tackle you, perhaps." Then she catches sight of one of the 'bunnies' in a fern and grins all the wider.

"Of course," Gianna tells Beatrice. "I love Mistress Joscelin's work. Hers and Mistress Josephine's, over at the Velvet Box." Sebastian is given one of her flickers of a smile; she's clearly pleased by his statement. "Nonsense, I'm sure it would have been a wonderful evening without my even showing up," she says, her tone light. "Like the boat thing the other day. It must have been lovely." Niklas addresses her, and she shrugs a shoulder and gives him one of her almost-smiles. "I like to make an entrance," she tells him. "Prince Niklas, Princess Sabella, so good to see you."

"Hello Mikani! I'm going well thank you. How are you? I think I missed you at the party last night!" Lore offers back to Mikani with a grin before turning to smile at Alarissa with a nod. "Oh good! Don't worry about the dinner, we'll get to it sooner or later. Or not. I never got to have my dinner with Audric before hs death but.. such is life, right?" Her smile warms as she adds, "Let me know when you wish to talk and I'll make myself available, Your Grace." She smiles towards Reese and lifts a hand towards the Princes sbefore looking back to Monique with a grin, "What will you offer if I tackle the Princess?"

Rysen chuckles and nods. "I have indeed met Master Zeriax," he says to Monique, and turning to Zeriax, Rysen says, "You said you were an explorer - but it seems you are a storyteller too." He grins. "Though I suppose with your curiosity and charm, you hear and see a great deal. When you have some time, I challenge you to uncover the mystery of my retainer's past," he says, gesturing to Rukhnis, "and as you are one of the most curious men I know," he adds, smiling at Zeriax, "I'm sure you'll have more luck wrangling information from her than I have."

1 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Roxana.

Reese peeks over to Liara with a smile. "Well you might have more of a chance, because I would never expect it." She muses. She then smiles over warmly over to Lore. "Mistress Lore." The Princess says. She waves to Zeriax. "Congrats Guiding Wolf Star." She says softly, before waving over to Rysen.

"That dress is stunning," Sabella enthuses to Gianna, "I absolutely love the color on you! Are you here to mingle or are you going to sing?" When Liara and Reese arrive she beams a bright smile their way, "I'm so glad to run into the two of you again I--" and then she pauses and says to Niklas, "...what did they say the first game would be?"

"Please, sit with me before the best seats are taken. I've been on my feet all day." Beatrice clinks her glass against Sebastian's and touches a few fingers to Gianna's wrist in invitation. "Jewelery and parties demand serious, sober conversation," she proclaims, before surveying the room and joining Waldemai at the quieter seating near the windows.

Beatrice has joined the window seating by the stacks.

"Oh no tackling her. Leave her be." Alarissa shakes her head to Lore. "Tomorrow. Gladly and happily, some place cool. I am tiring of this heat. I am tiring period, I should find a place to sit." leave everyone to talk while she finds a place to -sit-.

Alarissa has joined the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

Zeriax shook his head. "I did nothing but spin a tale. This wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for Lady Greenmarch." He humbly gestured to Monique, before stepping forward to provide Rysen a slight bow. "Pleasure to see you ag--" Then that gets cut off as someone is called to be tackled. "Oh, well, look at that." He waved to Reese, giving her a nod at her congratulations, before turning back to Rysen. "It's true. I tell stories, thought up until recently, they've been all passed on orally. Or through drinks." When the word 'mystery' was used, his eyes sparkled, and he looked to Rukhnis. "I don't mind a challenge here and there." He grinned and clapped his hands together, rubbing them as if he was about to feast.

Rukhnis offers a bow to Monique and acknowledges her with a a quiet, "My Lady," then also bows just as formally to Zeriax. To Rysen's comment about herself she has no response, and from the perfect impassivity of her expression she could as well have been completely oblivious to it.

"You're far too modest, Nightingale," Sebastian tells Gianna with an ease that suggests he's unbothered. "Ah, the boat thing -- the Carlotta? I'm afraid I didn't make it, so can't vouch for it. Though if /neither/ of us were there," his free hand lifts, palm up, as if to say, /how could it have possibly been any good?/ A lift of brows answers Beatrice's observation, but he follows her towards the windows without hesitation.

Sebastian has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Reese looks over to Sabella, having a warm smile of greeting for her sister. "Oh, games, I am always up for games." The girl softly says.

A party is a party, even if Roxana Grayson isn't much for reading books that aren't trashy romances, she'll certainly attend parties devoted to them. At least for a little while. Catlike green eyes lift from beneath her lashes to take in the crowd, and she chooses Sabella to make a beeline for, greeting her with a perfumed hug. "My favorite cousin! Wait is anyone else here? Oh! Reese!" The hug is dropped and one is given to Reese next. "My favorite cousin! So good to see you."

Mikani smiles at Lore. "Well I had to leave early. I'm sorry I missed you."

Reese happily returns Roxana's hug, wrapping her slender arms around the woman. "Roxana." She greets softly. The smile she has reaches her blue eyes and brings her dimples to briefly bloom.

"Why, thank you," Gianna tells Sabella with another faint smile. "So kind of you to say. No, I won't be singing tonight. Or at least, I wasn't hired to." She nods to Beatrice, moving to follow the other woman, and even laughs a little in response to Sebastian. "Well, there you go. I can't really argue, can I?" She glances toward Niklas and Sabella, then tilts her head in a sort of invitation for them to join, if they like. Happening to pass Monique on the way, she murmurs something to the red-haired Minx.

Gianna has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Kyden has joined the window seating by the stacks.

As is typical, Jacali finds herself some out of the way area where she can lean against a wall, that she might listen in without insinuating herself into this who's-who of titles and pompery. The man dressed in white that arrived with her leans in to mutter something toward her, resulting in a quick, dismissive lift of her gloved hand. "Oy, get gone, then, I'm tryin' to listen to sommit," She fair hisses in the man's direction, "...sake, man..." She mutters, dark lensed spectacles keeping the full brunt of her glaring to a minimum, even as that fellow is retreating off into those gathered to do whatever it is he does. She huffs out an audible sigh, arms crossed over her chest, a lift of her chin toward Zeriax the only actual greeting she's given anyone at this point.

"Its okay! I was delayed in making an appearance anyways," Lore calls back to Mikani with a grin. She gives a nod to Monique before moving to pick up a few glasses. Moving to join Alarissa near the hearth.

Lore has joined the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

Niklas muses, "I'll send Ford a messenger and see if we can borrow Darion for an afternoon. I imagine he'll be glad to lend him to us so he can get back to..." A brief pause. "...just being a really great, competent guy." He pulls Sabella over toward Gianna. "I considered going to the boat party, but I realized that there were actual boats involved, so instead I stayed home and didn't get violently ill." He offers Sabella a seat first, then plops in next to her. "The first contest is going to be a contest of scars. And I do believe that I have a winning entry. Do you h-" Niklas stops and looks to his wife, paling just slightly. "Ah, we can go if you would like, beloved."

Monique slips away from Zeriax, leaving the author of the night to the adoring public, approaching Reese with a trio of books in her arms. "No one tackled you? Tsk. Still, now you'll be occupied with carrying these, Your Highness. A gift from an early partygoer. I do hope you'll enjoy them." She turns aside to Gianna and grins. "You might be singing tonight. Perhaps you'll enter the storytelling contest and sing out your tale? I, for one, would be grateful for it, Nightingale!" Then she spies Jacali and gives a boisterous wave! "Mistress Jacali, welcome! We're so happy to be giving away your excellent scents tonight!"

Sabella is luckily distracted by Roxana and her hug, laughing at her greeting to Reese in the next moment, "Roxana, it's always good to see you!" She has a seat next to Niklas and looks very uncertain.

Sabella has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Niklas has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Gianna arches her brows, seeming intrigued by the prospect of contests that might involve singing. Hmmn. She takes a seat over by the windows, saying, "I'm not the only one who gets seasick, then. Was it a particularly long voyage?" Beatrice seems to have gone, so the question is directed to her.

Drake is still there but seems he got a bit overwhelmed by all the people entering and finds himself a corner to settle into to watch the events

Niklas has left the window seating by the stacks.

Sabella has left the window seating by the stacks.

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

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

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

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

Sabella has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Niklas has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Parting from Reese's side, with a grin for her cousin, Liara gives a little flutter of a wave to Sabella and strolls on through to fetch herself one of the animal cookies. Thus equipped with her cat cookie, Liara meanders on through the crowd, happening upon Rysen at some point.

Alarissa has left the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

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

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

Alarissa has joined the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

Monique breaks away and gains the stage where the musicians quiet their playing. "All right! The first contest is a contest of scars! I'd like to invite Princess Alarissa to take to the stage first and show hers off!"

Beatrice has left the window seating by the stacks.

As people continued to make their way around and greet each other, Zeriax's eyes continued to scan around, even as he spoke to Rysen and his retainer. "No need to bow to me. No no, it's fine. Something's certainly wrong if anyone has to bow to me." He said, dipping his head towards Rukhnis. "While it ''is'' nice to know what it feels like occasionally." When the woman with the goggles upnodded to him, he nodded towards the pies on the tables. "See? Said we'd have em! Stick around for a little bit." He said, giving her a quick wave. When he saw Gianna, he gave a quick 'yip yip'. "That would be incredible! Especially with the show you put on at the party last weekend." Zeriax moved his way towards the snack tables once more, grabbing himself another cookie. "Mmmh, can't wait till people start showing off. There's probably quite a few people here who have interesting stories of their own!" When Alarissa decided to take first choice, he leaned back and crossed his arms, waiting to see what she'd pull out.

Beatrice has joined the window seating by the stacks.

Roxana has joined the window seating by the stacks.

An anemic sort of smile is proffered to Monique as she addresses the apothecary, thin and colourless, as empty as a politician's promise. Jacali lifts one of her hands to give a wiggly-fingered wave toward the Minx before it's dropped back down into that huffy stance she's decided to take. "S'wonderful, that is, and I'm simply overjoyed, me, overjoyed to have been paid for 'em." She retorts, that pale smirking turning to broader grinning ever so briefly. When announcements are made for the scars to be shown, she grows silent, but at the direction from Zeriax, there is a quick quirk of her brow as her attentions move toward the pies. "... splendid..." She murmurs under her breath as she ventures off like a shark into chummed waters.

Monique steps from the stage as she announces Princess Alarissa as the first contestant, giving the Thraxian High Lady the spotlight with a dubious look.

Rukhnis's gaze briefly follows Zeriax as he makes his way towards the tables, then her attention is caught by the announcement of the scar contest and its first contestant. A look of faint incredulity flickers through her eyes, suppressed nearly as soon as it appears, and she goes back to observing everything with the most perfect neutrality.

Oh, right. Story time. Alarissa presses a hand to the arm of the chair she's in and rises. "Really, you hardly ever notice it." Flawless skin... "There was the matter of a prodigal house that was stirring a little bit of trouble in Valardin at the time. And we were gathered within the walls of the house to listen to a trial that was going, to determine the fate of these men in question. There was a servant who was in truth some... well, inappropriate man. He had managed to slip into service and had begun serving wine and had the intent to poison any and all that were there. Save myself. Turns out he had been a servant in the Grayson Household when Iw as a child. But I digress. He leans in and advised me not to drink. When I called him out on such and someone proclaimed the drinks poisoned, he grabbed me and held me hostage. A blade to my neck. It was brushed with venom from a viper found in the woods." Alarissa sighs. "needless to say, things didn't go well, my neck was cut and swelled and I hardly remember and don't care to remember but I am told it was not delightful, not in the least. To this day, there's a scar on my neck." There's a pause as she lifts her hair to the side to show....

Pale skin, and no visible mark. "Mind you, -I- see it. The occasional person see's it but I think they are just placating me, but it's very faint and I scowl when I see it in the mirror if I look close. A reminder of less... savory incidences." See. A scar. "I was saved by the diligence of the Princess Sophie, and the fact that they caught the viper in a room in the Sleepless Knight. Horrible. But because of it, I enxchanged letters while in a drugged stupor with the High Lord of Thrax and apaprently, that made me a tolerable marriage propspect. High Lord of Meowstrom indeed." And she's done, hair left to fall back. "Terrible. I know. So disfiguring." And she's sitting back down.

Drake make his way to settle in next to Reese and seems to be whilering quietly to her. Still wearing an easy going confident chadming smile but not seeming to know how to handle juggling many conversations.

Reese sucks in a soft breath as she listens to Alarissa's story, seemingly moved by such. Her cheeks are pale and her blue eyes are somber. The girl then smiles over to Drake before moving to take a seat not far from him. "You are as lovely as you always have been, Princess Alarissa."

Reese has joined the table and chairs by the library catalog.

Monique stares at Alarissa. Squints really hard in order to be able to see her scar. And still fails to see it. She clears her throat, murmurs, "Ah, a truly unique addition to your beauty, Your Highness," is what the Greenmarch settles on, diplomatically. "And we are all glad you survived the encounter to give us the tale of it. Thank you!" That seems to be in earnest. "Our next contestant, Lord Rysen Crovane!"

Drake has joined the table and chairs by the library catalog.

Roxana has left the window seating by the stacks.

Rysen nods to Monique and steps toward the center of the room. Reaching over with his left, he rolls up the right sleeve of his tunic, to reveal gruesome, disfigured scar tissue, resembling a mountain range in its shape.

"This is a scar I received while fleeing captivity south of Stormwall. I'd woken up with a strange tattoo on my left arm," he says, holding forth is unscarred forearm to show a tattoo of intricate symbols, "and managed to break free from my captors." The tone of his voice sinks: "While I was running, I was attacked by a pack of wild dogs that roam those parts. The first bit so fiercely to my arm, that even as I managed to slay or drive off the others, I couldn't remove the jaws of the first from my arm."

Rysen looks down at the scar on his arm and continues, "when I woke up in a friendly Shav village, they told me the jaws had sealed around my arm when the dog perished, and it took two men to pry them apart." He rubs the scar thoughtfully for a moment, and forces a smile. "As much as I wish it were the sort of scar that makes one attractive, it's just kind of creepy looking - but it's a lot better now than when it was festering," he says with a chuckle.

Zeriax listened to Alarissa's story, his face pulled into an almost doubtful look as she pulled her hair back. Eyes darting around for a moment, he leaned forward to applaud Alarissa's story. Still looking uncertain, but hey, it was a story! And one about a harrowing assassination attempt nonetheless! So it was that he clapped. When Rysen was next up, he popped another cookie in his mouth, and re-crossed his arms. Time to see if he would impress! As he showed off the scar, Zeriax's eyes opened wide. He was about to reach for another cookie when the festering comment came up, and decided it was probably better to just use his hands to give applause once more. Another interesting story! "So harrowing!" He exclaimed.

Reese sucks in a soft soft breath as she listens to Rysen's words. "I glad you made it back alive and survived, Lord Rysen"

Drake is sitting next to Princess Reese seeming to be whispering to her quietly

Monique leans in closer from her spot just beside the contestants, staring at Rysen's scar with wide eyes. She cringes visibly, paling. "You're damned lucky you didn't die." There's a shake of her crimson head, and she offers a solemn, "Thank you, Lord Rysen. Up next, Her Highness, Princess Sabella!"

Gianna's eyebrows go up; she looks to Sabella, seeming a bit surprised. She recovers quickly, though.

Rysen smiles warmly at Reese, bowing his head slightly, and rolls down his sleeve, with a quiet apology to Zeriax for spoiling his cookie and stands beside Rukhnis, turning his attention to Sabella.

As Rysen gives up the center of the room to the next contestant, Rukhnis studies him obliquely, head canted a little to one side. It's impossible to tell just what she's thinking behind her slightly hooded gaze, but somehow, in a extremely subtle way, she gives the impression of being amused.

Sabella gives Niklas a smile then rises up, appearing to be a little hesitant, "Many of you know that I am a very friendly, approachable person. I rarely like to see the bad in people and always try to look to the good. Always. And so it was that I had my good nature taken advantage of and one night I was placed in a precarious situation--intended to be an unwitting distraction during the ambush of an assassin. I had no prior knowledge of any of it going in and the night was truly terrifying. Something that haunts me to this day. The attempt at killing the assassin was unsuccessful and she later took her revenge by breaking into the bedroom of my home and, in front of my husband, leaving this warning," she reaches up and rubs away some of the makeup on her face with a slightly damp handkerchief. What is revealed is a thin scar that starts by the corner of her right eye and goes down the front of her cheek to her jaw. Clearly made by something very, very sharp. "I have never quite slept well since."

Reese's cheeks look pale as she listens to Sabella's story. She sucks another soft breath, seemingly a bit unsettled.

Reese is overheard praising Alarissa: Always beautiful even with scars

Reese is overheard praising Rysen: Amazing he lived!

Reese is overheard praising Sabella: My sister is secretly fierce

Reese is overheard praising Monique: Great Party!

Reese is overheard praising Zeriax: Amazing Books!

Niklas is overheard praising Reese: Great praises!

Liara sort of scrutinises Alarissa from a distance as the 'scar' is shown off, though doesn't show much by way of reaction other than the faintest furrow of her brow. Rysen's demonstration, however, elicits a tiny wince from her. Then after Sabella's done speaking, Liara resorts to taking solace from her cat-shaped cookie, biting its head off.

Monique looks disturbed by Sabella's tale, and she bows her flame-bright head during it, obscuring her features until the very end. That's when she offers a deep nod of that head to Sabella. "Thank you for your bravery, Your Highness. May no one ever know such fear again." And so, on a more somber note, the Greenmarch announces, "To follow that harrowing tale, Master Kyden Black!"

Zeriax nodded to Rysen when he made his way down out of the spotlight. He shrugged, brushing a few crumbs off his tunic, and turned his attention to the next contestant. When Sabella decided to take the stage, Zeriax quirked a brow. "Really now?" He muttered quietly. "This ought to be interesting. And here I thought it was just her sisters..." It would have been easy to imagine the other two being the ones with stories to tell about their scars, but as she continued to speak, he couldn't help but give her a wide grin. He didn't clap at that one, considering it looked a fair amount like she had to work up a fair bit of courage to tell that story. He quickly moved towards Niklas to whisper something to the man, before resuming his station at the snack table.

Brother Chester arrives, following Jeffeth.

"So therr I was washed up on the banks of Escuma, thinkin to myself 'self surly this is it, surly you're dead.' ..." The lanky woman dressed in a captain's coat ducks low and moves from left to right moving her hand across her face then out to the side. She stands pulling her coat off and wrapping it around her waist. She then begins to lift her poison apple gown from underneath but in a way so nothing shows. "One night a sea the storms and winds did wrack our ship, nerry letting us go." Her gown moves up above her ribs and in the middle of her stomach sits a, asymmetric star shaped scar, still bright white like it has not seen much light and is semi fresh. It reaches from each side of her rib cage and from belly button to higher than she pulls her gown. All the lines converge a little off center

"Long story short what did I see when I looked down on that beech? But at pole from the mizzenmast lodged through my midsection. I'm not sure how I made it I just woke up in a home a few days later." The woman's thick pirate cant easing out of a fond memory. She pulls her gown back down and pulls her coat from her waist throwing it over her shoulder not waiting for applause or validation before leaving the stage.

Reese is overheard praising Kyden: almost washed away in the sea and yet now here telling us her story

For her part, Jacali is likely listening to the stories, but more importantly she is by the snacks table, stuffing meat pies into the pockets of her coat, and side satchel as though she were invisible. Perhaps she plans to throw a party of her own a little later. "Horrible, that." She murmurs after every telling, though her attentions have not yet once turned to the stage.

Reese still looks pale-cheeked and somber. She listens to Kyden's story with wide eyes. "Oh, wow..I am glad you survived Mistress Kyden and are here to make your statues. Maybe the experience left you with a special artistic talent." The girl muses.

Rysen grimaces a little at the thought of being impaled, and takes a long drink.

Monique's mouth is agog at Kyden's story. MISTRESS Kyden. "It was /through/ your middle?" she echoes, blinking wide green eyes. "That's incredible that you survived!" There's a shake of her head, and she offers, "Thank you for that. It'll provide me no end of fascination and distraction tonight. Our next contestant is Lord Sebastian Pravus! Think you can top that, Lord Sebastian?" Monique teases, welcoming Sebastian up to the stage.

In contrast to the other, mostly dark tales told, Sebastian's is one deliberately light, which might seem odd, for those that know him. He carries his glass with him as he moves towards the stage -- not that he needs to, to be seen, but he gives a tip of his head towards Monique and a tiny smile as he does so as if to answer her question. "As many of you know, the Silken City is home to one of the foremost courtesan schools -- the Garden of Silken Delights. One of its former courtesans was marrying a wealthy merchant in the beautiful Garden of Lucia's Gift. I, as a well-to-do, talented representative of Pravus, was of course there to lend my authority to the grand event," there's a touch of Sebastian's hand to his chest, as if to emphasize his total modesty, followed by a swift smile. "There was music, wines, foods -- and of course -- excellent company. In fact, the groom was so enamored of the many courtesans around that he... let's just say... took a moment for one last celebration." He clears his throat, though he looks completely unashamed -- he is Lycene, after all.

"Well, the bride got wind of it and was rather ill-impressed, mostly at it being on /this/ day of all days. Up to the library she stormed, catching the two lovers in the act. She drew a knife, threatened both the groom and his lover. I happened to be passing by, and intervened -- I managed to grab the bride's hand just as she her wrist was coming down to stab her groom. She turned to me, furious, throwing her weight against me -- I wasn't expecting it and stumbled back, and suddenly we're on the ground, her on top of me in not-quite-the-way I prefer," the Pravus Lord gives a wry twist of lips. "Before I knew it, her knife slid in here -- just as the guards showed up." He lifts the edge of his silken shirt, and what is demonstrably a knife wound is scarred over, just above his left hip. It's a wound that certainly meets the story... assuming the bride keeps a distinctively large knife on her in her wedding dress, anyway. "Now, whenever I go to weddings, well -- let's just say I make it a point to make sure I stay out of quiet, out of the way rooms."

Kyden nods to Monique "Indeed Ma'am, Truly I thank the healers on Escuma, perhaps someone should go study their ways." She then thanks the others she was seated with and to Reese "You all are too kind." She blushes under all the attention.

The artist murmurs to Beatrice.

Drake is sitting and listening to the stories quietly.

Reese loo to Sebastian. "Oh, weddings can be so dangerous." The Princess says.

Reese is overheard praising Sebastian: Saving grooms from their brides! Weddings are deadly.

Jacali is overheard praising Zeriax: Amazing boobs.

Monique tries in vain to hold back the laughter, but the laughter wins. She dissolves, giving Sebastian's scar a thoroughly happy look. "I'd like to know if they got married anyway," she says to Sebastian once she manages her humor to a certain degree. "And I'm glad that you got stabbed, Lord Pravus, if only because it allowed me to hear that tale." She dabs at the corners of her green eyes, and dips her head. "Thank you." And means it, emphatically. "Up next, Master Theodoric Ulbran. This is going to be good," she grins, waving Theodoric forward.

"They're so lovely in truth. They are the marks, the witness to what has happened in our lives." Alarissa offers up, shaking her head.

Zeriax quickly forgot about Rysen's 'incident' upon hearing Kyden's tale, rubbing his abdomen as if he were trying to imagine the sensation. Her scar was the most curious-looking one thus far, even resembling a star! He still winced, reaching for another cookie to pop into his mouth. "How did she ''survive'' that?" He muttered to himself, peering off to the side to watch the apothecary sneak pies away. With another contestant taking the stage, his attention shot towards Sebastian. He couldn't help but chuckle by the end of his story. Once more, he applauded, his meaty hands coming together in appreciation for Sebastian's story. Time to see what Theodoric had to offer!

Theodoric ambles on to the stage, drink in hand tucking an arm into his overcoat and throwing it open widely. He stares at Monique for a moment. "Nothing like setting expectations... I've plenty to choose from.." He might have an advantage in scars-manship. Knuckles of course, lightly decorated with thin white lines standing out from the darkened skin surrounding them. Another along the curve of his neck, causing a small part in the otherwise woolly beard. Surely there are more beneath his overcoat and many layers. "I've got a grand crescent shaped scar on my arse." he begins saying, "They say the safest way to stab a man is in the back, and I wholeheartedly agree but if you're to miss, I couldn't think of a more fortunate place. I wish I could impart a heroic story of valor, but in truth..." he pauses and makes a click of his tongue after the word. "...It was a simple disagreement about a bet, I insisted I was owed money and he insisted I wasn't. While I wasn't looking he stabbed me in my arse. Very embarrassing for him. Not that I am claiming to have enjoyed it." He shimmies slightly, pulling at his belt. "Should I?" he asks, the well worn smirk he carries on his face growing.

Sebastian clears his throat, to voice a response to Monique, "I'm afraid they chose to part ways. Something about the merchant being nervous about his bride-to-be being so ready with her knife, I imagine."

Mikani watches Theodoric as he tells his tale. She laughs softly as he offers to show the crowd.

A large figure clears the door. Sticking near the entrance, Jeffeth Bayweather folds his massive arms over his chest. Going to lean against the wall near the doorway.

Reese is overheard praising Theodoric: He has a celestial bum

"Not how she took the initiative and was forward-thinking?" Liara quips at Sebastian from her spot off to the side. Then her gaze flits back to Theodoric and she listens quietly, eyebrows inching up a little as he volunteers to show the scar.

"Aye, let's see it, then!" Jac calls, mouth stuffed with meat pie, the remainder of the meal still in one of her gloved hands, crumbs tumbling from her lips as she stares expectantly onward.

Monique nods understandingly to Sebastian before turning back to Theodoric. "By all means," the Minx of the Marches says with a quicksilver grin, waving her hand in the direction of his posterior. "Else how will they vote?"

Rukhnis stares at Theodoric, hard, with a look that clearly replies to his question that no, not under any circumstances should he do this.

Reese listens to Theodoric's words, the girl looking a bit amused. A touch of pink even returns to her cheeks and everything.

Rysen grins at Rukhnis. "Aren't you glad you came along?" he asks with a quick wink.

Theodoric surveys the audience reaction for a moment, hand gripped around the tongue of his belt, but after a moment the large chested man laughs deeply and steps off the stage. "Maybe I'll accept a wager or two later on it." and returns to his seat.

"I say he's lying til he shows proof!" Lore calls out as Theodoric steps down, grinning broadly.

Waldemai calls out, "I'll take that betting action. How much?"

Monique looks /deeply/ disappointed as Theodoric chooses not to flash the audience. There's even a sigh. "Fine, fine. Perhaps our next contest will oblige! Prince Niklas, you're up!"

Rukhnis turns her head just enough to give Rysen a crushingly flat look. She gives herself the very smallest shake, as if brushing off the horror of Theodoric's offer, and schools her face back to expressionlessness.

Zeriax clapped his thigh with a hand. "Ha!" His story was the most comical thus far, even if he wasn't willing to show the scar. "It's just skin!" He called out, before watching to see what Niklas would say. He shuffled closer to Jacali. "Hey. Who do you think should win so far?"

Drake listens quietly to the stories, leaning back in his seat with an confident manner about him.

Niklas hops on up to the front, taking just a moment to relish everyone's attention because come on, it's Niklas. Then, "I have told this story once or twice, so if you have already heard it, then I don't apologize, because now you get to hear it again! So there I was, facing down an entire army of shavs. Shavs riding on giant wolves! With great leathery wings and fiery breath! And- ah, no, that's clearly not accurate. Giant wolves with leathery wings have scorpion tails, not fiery breath." Instead of continuing that particular fabrication he unbuttons the top two buttons on his shirt and pulls the umbra to the side, showing off a pretty horribly puckered mess of scar tissue collarbone. It's a pretty surprising scar for someone as lazy and foppish as the Playwright. "Some of you may know of Lady Renatta Kennex. Admiral of the Kennex fleet under Marquis Denholm, in fact the first woman to serve as a fleet admiral in the Mourning Isles, a top flight swordmaster and, most important, my sister. I was as close to her as I've ever been to anyone in my life, though only recently did it occur to me that she may have been attempting to kill me. When I was eight and she was thirteen we made a bet. Now, we made a number of bets, and sometimes I won them and more often she did, but this bet involved my father's brand new set of rubicund armor. She took it out of his display case and dared me to try it on. Obviously it was far too large, but on seeing how just the chestplate went from my shoulders to my knees," he grimaces and asides, "I remain one of the shortest members of my family," then continues, "we came up with an idea. I can't say which of us came up with the idea, but ultimately we climbed the three hundred stairs to the top of Stormwatch Tower, the lighthouse at Port Stormbreak, I put on the armor and then I jumped down the stairs. It was fun at first. Sliding down stair after stair. Then I hit the first uneven step and went flying. I don't have a good accounting of what happened next. Mostly images of the whole world spinning around me. When I regained consciousness I was in bed, covered in bandages, the Stormward seraph, Willas, and one of the Mercies standing over me. I'd broken three ribs, my left arm and snapped my collarbone right through my skin." He looks down at the scar, then buttons his shirt back up. "The bet, by the way, was that I wouldn't die. I didn't, so I won. I may have broken a half-dozen bones, but I did win her desserts for a week, so I can honestly say it was worth it."

Reese peeks over to Waldemai with a smile that reaches her blue eyes. "Oh, yay, the Smith is here. Waldemai makes every event a little more exciting with his bets." She says softly to Drake. She then looks to Niklas and her blue eyes are widen once again. "Oh, wow, that had to hurt. I think my Sister got very very luck." She adds with a warm glance for Sabella.

Reese is overheard praising Niklas: Broken, but mended back up and can still dance good enough for a king and Sabella!

"Boo, hiss!" Jacali is decidedly disappointed, tsking quietly as she returns her attentions to the pie, lips settled in a scowling frown. It's hard to pull off with chipmunk cheeks full of pie, but she manages. As Zeriax shuffles closer, her chewing pauses long enough to give him a sidelong glance and a furrowing of her brows, "Not a damned tease, that's for sure. Sake, man... had his hands on his belt'n everythin', he did, had it right there." She grouses, still talking around the food that's been stuffed in her gob. Her attentions shift to Niklas, a quick, quiet sniff taken in before she turns her guarded gaze back to Zeriax once more. "Wagerin' that gal with the two belly buttons, I'd say, I would -- aren't so entertainin', but... c'mon... two belly buttons."

Drake smiles warmly at Princess Reese and says, "I am glad you are here to keep me in the loop."

Monique gags, just a little, when Niklas describes his collarbone coming out of his body. She looks a little pale at it, too. "That's..." the Minx is lost for words, shaking her head to the Grayson Prince, refusing to return her gaze to his scar like the sight of it might evoke the memory of the words. "That's impressive. Thank you, Your Highness, for that." She puts down the pastry she was holding, and motions, "Princess Reese is our final competitor!"

Elise finally grins the slightest bit. "One can usually work one or two in, on a good evening. If not you are doing something wrong." She finally figures out how to cheer Mikani up, "I am not sure your own in the mirror counts My Lady." Once again her tone of voice might betray her, mid joke is the worst time to be monotone as hell.

Reese rises to her slippered feet and pads to the front of the room. She lifts her tunic, showing off the side of her lean right stomach which has large pink claw marks against her pale skin. "As many know I have been in many battles and I have a few scars. I choose this one because Lord Killian carried me home from this battle and so in that way he is always with me a little bit. This scar is more about my allies than myself"

The princess then continues. "There was once a wolf living in the Gray Forest who was hunting some specific persons. I figured the beast was there, but I was unsure how to find him. I had prayed to Gloria, but I realized that I needed help and couldn't find the beast alone. I also realized that I shouldn't just pray to one god and so I prayed to them all, even the thirteenth. Dame Esoka, Marquis Rymarr and Lord Killian prayed with me. Gloria gave us a vision. In the vision I fought the beast alone, destroying such, sacrificing myself to save my friends with me and to save those being hunted. Reality was much different but the vision lead the way and I am forever grateful to Gloria. We found the beast who was very difficult to take on. Much like the murder dogs who later killed Dame Zhayla and who later took Lord Killian from us. I was not a great a mighty warrior at that moment, I fell quickly to the beasts blows, bleeding heavily and almost dying right at the start of battle. It was those with me who took on the creature, who defeated him and who carried back my unconscious body to Solace. Without allies I wouldn't be alive to share this scar and the forest would still shelter this wolf. If I fought the wolf alone, I would be dead and he would be at large. And well they were my heroes and still are. My scar's lesson is that we need all the gods and all of each other."

"If you let everyone hit you with a hammer, but I give you desserts for a week, would /that/ be worth it?" Liara wonders of Niklas, with a flash of a grin. Then as an afterthought, "Don't say yes. Someone would probably prefer you intact."

Mikani Elise = maybe I'm way too tired but I didn't get the joke ... LOL

Lore has left the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

Frost, a Maelstrom Forest Cat leaves, following Lore.

Still leaning against the wall, Jeffeth's head slowly slumps to the side. His head thumps against the wall. Eyes fluttering lightly as he watches the stories go by.

Rysen gapes as Reese lifts her tunic, and his cheeks flush red. He quickly averts his eyes and finishes his drink, nodding as she concludes that we need all the gods and each other.

Monique listens to Reese's harrowing tale and ducks her bright head to the Grayson warrior. "That," she intones after Reese finishes, "is an excellent lesson. Thank you, Princess, and I think you know how glad I am that you survived." She turns outward then, to the crowd. "Now, the voting!" The servants circulate with slips of paper and writing implements, offering them up to the partygoers and holding boxes for the ballots to be dropped in.

Gianna has left the window seating by the stacks.

Zeriax lifted his fist in the air as Niklas rounded out his story. "That would be the way to go, Prince Niklas! You showed her! Woo!" It was kind of silly, but the man's scars spoke for themselves. To Jacali, Zeriax nodded. "I know right? He should have shown everyone." Then he peered over at Kyden, still muttering to Jacali. "Hm. Yeah. Not everyday you see something like that. I don't think I've ever been implaed like that, and I've had a lot happen." As Reese took to the stage, his attention moved to her, and he narrowed his eyes as she finished her story. It looked more like he was thinking about something, more pensive than he was with any of the other contestants. At the end, he still clapped. "Alright. Let's see who takes the cake. Or the other prizes. Probably the other prizes."

"I hope you never have to be Zeriax!" Kyden calls from the peanut gallery.

Sabella winces a bit as Reese shows her scar, then gives her a reassuring smile from where she's sitting.

Drake quietly keeps his gaze on Reese as she tells her story.

Chub Chub, A fat black rat with an eyepatch have been dismissed.

Witness, The Ashen Jackal have been dismissed.

Scandal, The White Jackal have been dismissed.

Vandal, The Black Jackal have been dismissed.

Monique gets a rich brocade cloak of charcoal, crimson and gold from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

Monique gets a stunning top hat of gray, crimson and gold brocade from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

Monique gets a refined pair of brocade gloves in charcoal, gold and crimson from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

Rukhnis shifts her weight a little, her gaze drifting about the room once more now that the scar-parade has come to an end. Her brow furrows faintly, and after a moment she leans in towards Rysen to inquire softly, "Have you finished your drink, Lord Rysen? May I get for you anything else?"

Monique waits while the votes are being tallied, nursing her drink and bringing forth the rich brocade cloak, hat and gloves that are prizes for this event. "All right," she announces, the slips counted and results handed to her. "In first place, winning the brocade cloak, Princess Sabella Grayson! In second place, winning the gloves, Mistress Kyden Black! And coming in third with his distinctly gross break, Prince Niklas Grayson, claiming the top hat!"

Monique is overheard praising Alarissa.

Monique is overheard praising Rysen.

Monique is overheard praising Sabella.

Monique is overheard praising Kyden.

Monique is overheard praising Sebastian.

Monique is overheard praising Theodoric.

Kyden's mouth falls open. "Thank you! I can always use more gloves!"

Monique is overheard praising Niklas.

Monique is overheard praising Reese.

Sabella beams when her name is announced and then even more when Niklas is as well. "Looks like we picked the lucky table to sit at," she laughs and then stands to collect her prize, "Thank you everyone who voted for me. I very much debated on whether to share the story, but doing so makes me feel a bit lighter, so thank you for listening."

Drake is sitting next to Princess Reese listening to the resaults

Reese has a gentle smile when the results are listed. She does try to take a peek at the prizes. "Very lovely." The girl softly says.

Niklas graciously takes the top hat and gracelessly gives it a spin before putting it on, or rather before it goes flying out of his hand and he staggers to catch it, the hat bouncing off of the back of his wrist twice before he finally snaps it out of the hair and puts it on, all cool like he definitely meant to do that and doesn't have Legerdemain -2. "Thank you all! The companion story about how my sister Elara and I ruined father's diamondplate sword can be found in my autobiography I Did A Fuckup." Then he goes to sit back down with his wife, reaching out to give her hand a squeeze.

Once the prizes were announced, Zeriax finally moved away from the table, snickering at Kyden's comment. "Yeah. I'm not looking to have any more added than I already have. After all, if women adore scars..." He left that one to the imagination, clapping loudly for the winners of the scar contest. "Congratulations, contestants! Surviving to face another day!" He glanced quickly towards the string-bear in the one corner, bouncing on his toes almost. "I can't wait for this next one..."

"I suppose they were right..." Theodoric sighs dramatically, hand against his chest. "The people really did want to see my backside." downing his drink in one gulp.

Waldemai applauds the winners. Then he signals for another drink.

Rysen claps warmly for the winners. Turning to Rukhnis, he says, "yes, something strong please - but then cut me off no matter what I say." Rysen grins to see Niklas put on the top hat, and says softly to Rukhnis, "Ah, he'll likely start a trend."

Monique happily hands out prizes and then nods sidelong to Zeriax. "Nor can I, so we might as well start now, hm? I'm expecting some very... interesting... stuffed animals." She gives a signal and a table is brought out, filled with needles and thread, soft cotton rags and fabric, and an assortment of other decorations. "The next game is where you showcase your creative side. Who would like to try their hand at crafting a stuffed animal?"

Kyden giggles at Zeriax's exuberence and models the gloves for him to see when he is near her. Seeing Reese peeking she also shows them to the Princess with a smile. The artist comes to rest beside Beatrice again and asks the woman "Are you going to enter any of the contests?"

One gloved hand juts upward from the pie-thieving apothecary, "Skilled with a needle, me, I right am at that." Why Jacali would be good with needles is anyone's guess, and each should be more horrifying than the next.

'Well chosen, well chosen." Alarissa claps her hand before starting to rise from her seat, a hand seeking out Waldemai's for assitance in that. "I should be getting back to the house, hopefully it has cooled enough. Lady Monique this is lovely, and I am taking one of each tome home with me." that fan will start fluttering back and forth the moment she's outside likely.

"I'm so glad you could come, Your Highness," Monique smiles to Alarissa, sketching the beauty a deep curtsey. "And I think you still look incredible. Even with the," she makes a motion to the back of her neck, wincing dramatically for poor Alarissa.

Reese looks over to Kyden. "Oh, yes, probably." She says softly. "I would love to craft one!" The girl says. She then looks over Kyden's gloves. "So lovely." She smiles to Beatrice upon noticing her. "Lady Beatrice." She greets.

"I'll have a go if there is a shortage," Liara volunteers. "I once held a needle when I was seven." Clear competence, right there. She doesn't really budge from her seat, though, far too taken with the available array of animal cookies.

Rukhnis casts a glance over at Niklas and his brand-new hat, then frowns a bit dubiously back at Rysen. "As you say," she agrees in a tone that matches her doubtful expression, and then with a slight bow to Rysen, moves over to the refreshment tables. She surveys the assortment of drinks with a look of faint bafflement, seeming rather at a loss to even identify the various beverages, let alone select a suitable one. She frowns deeply, clearly giving deep thought to this challenge.

Conversing quietly at her table, Beatrice looks up at the sound of her name and lifts a hand in greeting to Reese. "Princess Reese Grayson. A beautiful story, but forgive me if I can't carry you today."

When Alarissa mentioned she was leaving, Zeriax nodded towards her. "Thank you for coming, your highness. I hope you enjoy." The rubbed his hands together once more, clearly excited that people were going to be reading his work. Or maybe it was the excitement for the new contest? Either way, he was positively beaming.

Alarissa has left the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

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

When the stuffed animal challenge is announced, Sabella hands the cloak over to Elizabetta and gets up looking incredibly excited, "Do we get to keep what we make?" She asks as she looks over the materials, "Assuming I don't leave a needle in it or make something monstrous, Relara would adore a new lovey."

Drake gently rises to join in the stuffed animal contest. Seems to focus on his work. He manages to stitch togethe a semi-decent, cute pink stuffed dragon and offers it over to Princess Reese to see. "What do you think," he asks her quietly.

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant have been dismissed.

1 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.

Sabella gets to work on creating the perfect little stuffie that any toddler would love! She starts by creating a soft, white base of a body, adds four solid looking legs, and then gets to work on a perfectly soft rainbow mane and tail. Eyes are lovingly stitched on and then the finish touch--two horns at the very top of the horses forehead. Beaming, Sabella holds up her creation, "It's hard to get the spectral aspect of Garyl down, but I think this does him justice." She says with a nod.

Reese looks over to the pink stuffed dragon and has a bright smile for Drake. "Oh, I love it!" She says. The girl is working on a pink puppy herself. She seems to be okay at such.

After quite some time of waffling over the drinks in an attitude of muted despair, Rukhnis finally fastens onto a selection seemingly at random, pouring a wine glass full of some amber-hued beverage that is quite possibly brandy. Having committed herself to this course of action, she weaves through the crowd and back to Rysen's side, offering him the glass.

Reese smiles over to Drake and takes hold of the pink dragon. She now has both a pink puppy and a pink dragon. The girl makes them walk over her lap and seems to be playing with the plushies.

It was, perhaps shockingly, no lie: Jac is great with needles. With tongue slightly protruding in her conversation, she busily works at her masterpiece -- that is to say, a replica of Chub Chub, the fat black rat that the majority of those who know her have had the pleasure of meeting. Soft, pudgy, and oddly adorable in its own way. She's even gone so far as to create the puckering under that rust-coloured eyepatch, threads used for his bristly whiskers, that one golden eye wide and alert. She places it down on the pie table, gesturing toward it. "Ey? Strikin' resemblance, that, innit? 'Course it is, as with all what I touch, that damned thing's so bloody splendid you could use it for ransom."

Waldemai finds himself fashioning a small unicorn out of soft metal. His fingers, even the one with the purple nail, are surprisingly deft considering how built up his muscles are from years of swinging a sledgehammer.

Monique gets Voice of House Don'tgotothedarkwaterareyoucrazy from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

Monique gets Shadow At The Gates, a medium painting from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

Monique gets Portrait Voucher, by Lady Willow Nightgold from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

All Liara's memories of using a needle at age seven maybe come flooding back to her. Nope. It's just fluke. She starts out promisingly, on a fairly plain brown bear, and it's going swimmingly until she gets to adding the finer details such as adding a head. It's just not the right shape. Not right at all. No bear has a head that long, and her endeavours to remedy the matter by bulking it out just don't help.

Drake is caught smiling warmingly at Reese playing with the stuffed animals in her lap.

Niklas leans over to look at Sabella's work as he attempts and fails at not getting yarn just all over the place. "Garyl Glitterhorn? Subject of our summer series of plays for children in Nightingale Park? How delightful!" He goes back to his work, making a soft avian body with a big orange bill. "Ah, Steve the Pelican brought to life! Well. I mean, Steve the Pelican is alive, and this isn't, so I suppose it isn't really brought to life. But rendered in yarn."

Standing from by the window, Sebastian carries his purloined glass with him. The Pravus artist, it seems, picks a particularly difficult creature -- on purpose. The body of it doesn't make it obvious, really -- he chooses dark material, building a circular, flat-ish body. It becomes a little more obvious when he starts crafting the legs -- eight of them, thin and spindly, bent in such a way that the creature can stand on them. It's the head he works on last, getting the expression right -- if spiders can convey expression -- he's trying. Nothing warm and cuddly -- he's creating no kid's toy -- but something that has an air of ever-present menace to it.

Rysen accepts Rukhnis's glass, amid the admiring whispers of many in attendance preoccupied with Prince Niklas's hat. Rysen sniffs the brandy, and glances at Rukhnis. "...thank you," he says, "but they normally put the brandy in sni..." he stops, and chuckles to himself. "Never mind. Thank you," he says and takes a sip of his drink. "You didn't get anything for yourself?" he asks her. "It's either mead or nothing?"

Mikani smiles at the crowd and slips out quietly to not ruin the event.

Turning to Monique, Rysen says softly, "Who painted that one," he says pointing to the medium sized painting, "the 'Shadow at the Gates?'"

Mikani has left the overstuffed armchairs around the fireplace.

To Rysen, Niklas says, "Looks like the word of Lord Jyri Whitehawk, I believe."

Rukhnis's brow creases in a subtle look of consternation following Rysen's reaction to her drink selection, as it seems to strike her that her chosen combination of beverage and glass might not have been entirely the thing. She presses her lips together briefly and slides her gaze back off across the room, fixing it on some far indefinite point. "I am here to serve you," she replies a bit stiffly to Rysen, "Not myself."

Monique drifts around the people making stuffed animals, genuinely surprised, it seems, by how incredible some of them are. "This is going to be /much/ harder than I thought it would be," the Greenmarch grouses, pausing to refill her whiskey and signal the band to play something more inspiring. "Hm. Hmmm. All right. All right! These are all excellent. Not one is falling apart, nor profane. But in my estimation, there are three that have stood out above the rest! The first place prize goes to, Prince Niklas' Steve the Pelican. There's just something so lifelike about it! Second place to Master Waldemai for his use of metal and an enchanting unicorn! And third place to Mistress Jacali, for Chub Chub, who is surely not quite as adorable as the original Chub Chub, but incredible none the less!"

To Rysen, Monique offers, "That painting was done by Lord Jyri Whitehawk. Stunning isn't it?"

Reese is still playing with the plushies. She seems to be having a good time. She smiles as the winners are announced. "Woots!" The girl says. She looks over Waldemai's unicorn with intense interest.

Reese is overheard praising Waldemai: Lovely Unicorn!

Niklas holds up the painting he won, Voice of House Dontetc. To Monique he asks, "Did his majesty do this?"

Drake seems happy enough that Reese seems to like what he made anyways.

Reese is overheard praising Jacali: Adorable Chub Chub

Monique nods to Niklas with a grin. "He did. He's building quite the reputation as a provocative painter."

Zeriax walked around as people took to their stuffed animals, watching them work silently. He didn't say anything, simply marvelling at the creativity and the energy put forth by the contestants. While clearly there were some who had more talent than others, the efforts nonetheless brought a smile to Zeriax's face. "This is wonderful!" From vermin to mythical creatures and everything inbetween. It wasn't until he heard Rukhnis's comment that he swerved towards her. "What if he ordered you to have some fun? Would that not be serving him?" He asked, before sweeping around to look around at the other stuffed animals. Once the announcement was made, Zeriax began to applaud once more. Some of them really were quite something.

Waldemai holds up the painting. "Going right on the forge wall," he announces.

Reese looks over to Niklas. "Oh, oh, can you show us the painting?" She asks.

"Never doubted myself." Jacali affords, graciously taking her prize.

Niklas drops Voice of House Don'tgotothedarkwaterareyoucrazy.

Rysen nods to Niklas and Monique, and continues to admire the painting. "It is extraordinary." At Rukhnis's reaction, he lets out an exasperated sigh. Turning to her he says, "I don't think your service will suffer if you enjoy yourself a little, Rukhnis - though I reserve the right to rescind that statement if it turns out you're a lush," he says smiling.

"Oh, that is really impressive," Sabella says of the painting Niklas is handed and then adds quickly, "Also that plushie is adorable and Relara will love it. What a clever contest!"

Niklas takes Voice of House Don'tgotothedarkwaterareyoucrazy.

Kyden's mouth is agap again as she rushes over to take a closer look at the painting. Spending a longer amount of time and probably unintentionally being rude to someone or another of higher rank she takes in the brushstrokes and the attention to detail of the painting. Slowly, eventually she makes her way back to her seat exclaining to the others how good the painting is.

Theodoric has left the overstuffed armchairs around the fireplace.

"The final contest of the evening before out grand prize draw is one done in pairs," Monique announces, having reclaimed her little stage, beaming out at the crowd happily as the paintings find their new homes. "One of you will be the storyteller, and one, the actor! Do you think you can create an experience for us?" She waves a hand to the small stage beneath her. "We're ready for it!"

Turning her gaze back to Rysen from whatever far-off point she had been staring at, Rukhnis gives him a look of deepest indignation, but then evidently chooses not to dignify his remark with a reply. She merely sniffs with extremely un-servant-like disdain and clasps her hands behind her back in a docile attitude that doesn't go with it at all.

Reese is overheard praising Alaric: Amazing painting!

Monique is overheard praising Alaric.

Monique is overheard praising Jyri.

Monique is overheard praising Zeriax.

Sabella checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 36 higher.

Niklas checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 13 higher.

Sabella checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Jacali checked intellect + occult at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.

Elise checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 20, rolling 34 higher.

Jacali has rolled a critical success!
Jacali checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Sabella grins and hands her bicorn plushie to Elizabetta, then grabs Niklas' hands and pulls him up! These two are no strangers to the stage and this is easy to see what with the ease with which they stand in front of the audience. Sabella is, perhaps surprisingly, the one to tell the story of the Seafoam Princess, whose dress was stolen by a sailor who kept her as his wife for years and years, until one day one of the children found a locked chest and pried it open. The sailor flew into a rage and the Princess fled with her children and her dress to disappear into the waves. The sailor, ashamed and distraught at his actions built a lighthouse on the shore where he kept a constant vigil hoping for the return of his family.

Apparently with more yarn to spin than was necessary for the crafting of Chub Chub, Jac begins her epic tale: "So, right," Good start thusfar, "Once upon a time there were ..." And boy, what follows is a truly astounding story of fanciful occultery involving some sort of feral threat, corrupted by some abyssal hand that's very far removed from reality, she assures. It's a stirring bit of oration, obviously unsullied by her unique way of speaking. I promise.

Niklas looks utterly bewildered when it comes to acting this out, but gives it a try, reinacting the story in the form of interpretive dance. This would probably work better if he was more agile, but he gets his point across with broad movements and wavey gestures. Eventually he builds the lighthouse, climbs up top and stares out wistfully at the sea. And doesn't fall down the stairs while wearing rubicund armor. That done he hops back down and returns to his seat with his wife.

Monique is overheard praising Sabella.

Monique is overheard praising Niklas.

Monique is overheard praising Jacali.

Monique is overheard praising Elise.

Elise pantomines about to the tale being told. Crafters. Monsters. Things of legend. The Whisper uses all the space she can. And when the time is right she vanishes... Perfect Jump Scare on the crowd as Jacali gets to a particularly harrowing part of the tale.

Reese gives Drake a gentle smile. She then pads over to Niklas and tries to whisper something to her Brother-in-Law. If Sabella might be close enough to hear and Reese seems to be fine with her hearing as well.

Rysen checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

"Gods that's sad," says Rysen with a melancholy smile as Sabella completes her tale. He holds up his glass in toast to the Prince and Princess, before taking a sip of brandy. Listening intently to Jacali, Rysen seems a little baffled, but intrigued. When Elise jumps out of hiding, his eyes widen ever so slightly, but he manages to remain stoically leaning against a bookshelf, with his drink unspilled.

Reese is overheard praising Niklas: So helpful!

Monique's applause for both partners is appreciative, but it's Elise's scare that tips the scales and the Greenmarch actually jumps, looking over her shoulder into the darkness of the stacks. There's a shiver and she shakes her head as if to banish the demons there. "The amount of talent you've all shown makes you /all/ winners to me, and so I think you should each get prizes! Mistress Jacali, you have won a set of the newly-released books, as the other prizes are your creations!"

Monique gets A marbled mad moon of clouded cardinal glass, a radiant swirl of gold whorled through in hectic display, containing the fierce fragrance 'Bloodmoon', a palm-sized articulated bear pendant, An exquisitely carved, fierce white ash bear figurine with a glass insert that contains the triumphant fragrance 'Prickle's Demise', Adventures of Zeriax: Prickles The Bear, Part II, Adventures of Zeriax: Prickles The Bear, Part I, An exquisitely carved onyx howling wolf figurine with savage amber gems for eyes, containing the fierce fragrance 'Feral' and Adventures of Zeriax: Prickles The Bear, Part III from Simple Wooden Gift Box.

"And I'd have worn them splendid, I would've." Jacali does, however, lift a hand to doff her cap toward the rest.

Rukhnis watches the performances impassively, merely twitching an eyelid at the unexpected scare tactic. At their conclusion she folds her arms over her chest with a thoughtful expression, though it's impossible to tell whether her mind is on the stories and their actors or somewhere else entirely.

Elise curtseys and points to Jacali, as if to say 'credit goes that way'.

Sabella applauds for the opposing team and certainly doesn't write their names down on a list of people to someday get revenge on. There's not even a quill around! "Bravo! That scare at the end was fantastic! Completely unexpected!" She catches Rysen's eye and smiles, "Lord Rysen, I'm surprised I didn't see you up there!"

Zeriax moved back to the snack table at some point during the night, and listened in to the stories being spun. The acting was a nice touch on both contestant's parts, but the jump-scare from Elise really sold Jacali's story, bringing his heart rate up a few beats in haste. Clutching his heart, he let out a few breaths before bringing his hands up above his head to clap for the contestants. All that energy used called for another cookie, maybe. Definitely. "What a wonderful display of talent, this night. Thank you all so very much for attending, and showing off what stories and skills you have!"

Monique waves Zeriax over, grinning. "And on that note, I think it's time for the man of the hour to do the draw for this incredible stygian, iridescite and dawnstone pendant crafted by the inestimable Mistress Josephine." The Greenmarch holds up a small, dark bag for the author to stick his hand in and pick a number.

Sabella has left the window seating by the stacks.

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

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

Zeriax has rolled 1 20-sided dice: 6

Rysen smiles at Sabella. "I love telling stories, Your Highness, but I love to hear them as well - and I don't think I could have performed anything so tragically moving as that which you and the Prince told, nor so thrilling as that of Mistress Jacali and Elise Whisper." Leaning towards Elise with a slight grin, Rysen says in a low voice, "I see can see a bit more clearly what you meant about your fighting tactics."

Elise turns to rysen and offers up a quick smile, "One would be surprised how helpful it is to be able to... fade in to the background."

Waldemai waves around and heads off in the direction of Southport Squares, where, rumor has it, a fine painting of a dragon will soon grace the walls of Champion Chainmail.

Waldemai has left the a gilded sofa near the hearth.

The gentleman clad in white that'd been with Jacali at the begining of the evening meanders his way back in, leaning toward the small top-hatted woman to mutter something. It's something that gains another audible, huffy sigh from Jacali, before she waves him off. "Aye, aye, fine, right," With her books tucked under her arm, and her voucher tucked away who knows where, Jac lifts a hand to fire off a lazy salute toward those that yet remain. "Congratulations to them what stand victorious, ey? Congratulations, indeed, but I really must be away, me, truly I must... but do keep us in mind for your alchemical needs, should you dare the Lowers." With that, she's headed for the door.

Niklas tries not to look too terribly put out at losing the raffle and pushes himself to his feet, holding out a hand to his wife. As the pair head for the door they pause in front of Monique so he can say, "Another delightful party, Lady Monique. Thank you for hosting."

Niklas has left the window seating by the stacks.

%Zeriax swooped in beside Monique at her urging. "One must wonder what caused you to stick around with all of these wonderful prizes." He said, giving her a wink as his hand dug around in the bag. He pulled out a number, holding it above his head, eyes scanning the crowd. Dramatic tension buildup complete, he snapped the number open in front of him. "Number Six! That would be..." He looked around, his eyes eventually settling on Drake. "Lord Drake Wyrmguard!! Come one up, and claim your prize!" Taking one last look around, Zeriax clasped his hands together. "Once more, thank you all so much for taking the time to come out and mingle with each other. Thank you for supporting my work, and thank you for the appreciation of the efforts put forth by Lady Monique Greenmarch for making this all possible. May you all have a wonderful evening!"

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

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

Reese has a warm smile for Elise that reaches her blue eyes. "Whisper Elise." She softly says. The princess then cheers when Drake is announced as the winner.

Rysen laughs. "I'm not surprised at all after that demonstration," he says to Elise. "You'd have certainly caught me off guard. Alas, if I ever turn from the path of chivalry and abandon the teachings of my current instructor," says Rysen, gesturing to Princess Reese, "I will take your advice and try my hand at the more subtle approach." He grins, and finishes the rest of his brandy.

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