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Self-Indulgent Soiree

Frequent recluse Marquessa Lianne Malespero is coming down from her tower on her birthday to celebrate. An entirely self-indulgent affair, there will be no games or favors, the purpose of this party solely to enjoy some fine company in the sun until well after it's set. And maybe a few casks of the well-aged wine which once belonged to the marquis who preceeded her. And some cookies. There will certainly be wine and cookies and sunbathing and conversation. All the best things in life. As it should be.

Date

March 1, 2019, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Lianne

Participants

Venturo Pasquale Sebastian Belladonna Rysen Khanne Brianna Fortunato Ahriman Quenia Gretchen Gilroy Vanora Orathy

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Malespero Tower - Courtyard

Largesse Level

Refined

Comments and Log


2 Pravus Honor Guard arrives, following Sebastian.

August days grow oppressively humid around midday. Blessedly, this party doesn't start until mid-afternoon, after the sun's descended a little from its apex. Really, it's much of a party as far as Lycene soirees go, but there are tables set out with sweets--including a towering pile of lemon cookies--and cheeses and cured meats and fresh fruit and little bowls of honey. There's whiskey and beer and large casks of Nilanzan wine which have been carted up from the cellar, the barrels showing a bit of age. Though the marquessa probably *ought* to greet guests as they arrive, she is happily sitting in the grass with a glass of white wine and a plate of cookies. Fajra handles the greetings, smiling cheerfully, albeit tensely, as she performs this unfamiliar duty.

Drysi, a young shaman apprentice arrives, following Khanne.

Prompt and on time, Venturo makes his way through the entrance of the tower and into the courtyard. A flash of a smile is cast towards Farja, pleasantries exchanged, but then he continues onwards. One hand is carefully kept behind his back as the brewer angles towards the Marquessa, a look of utter delight in his features. "You look to be in the perfect spot to just /enjoy/ the afternoon, rather than worry about anything."

Pasquale is making some effort to be social for this occasion, even aiding Fajra in the greeting of guests as they file into the Tower. He is wearing something other than black for the occasion. It's violet and blue, very dark shades of each, but it's something. "Welcome, please, on this auspicious occasion. There is much fine to drink and eat, in the Marquessa's honor."

The artist of Pravus is here -- and not horribly late for once, which is a surprise for Sebastian. That might have something to do with the fact that it's a very short walk from Pravus Manor to the Tower, and totally not at all because the artist's eyes are bright, his movements quick and jerky like he's somehow wired. Dressed in silks, of course, he greets Fajra with his typical effusive warmth, and then Pasquale with much of the same: "You said my favorite words, Lord Pasquale. It's good to see you -- how have you been?" Of course, his gaze flickers past, catching Lianne on the grass and those approaching her, before returning to Pasquale.

"If you bring me worries, master brewer, I will bring you woes," Lianne warns. Despite the impish glint in her eyes, there's an edge behind it, genuine warning. She'll bear no burdens today. Not while the sun is high and the grass is cool. Well, as cool as it's going to get on such a pleasantly hot day. Not quite as nice as a summer day back home, but it'll do. The marquessa's attention strays from Venturo to turn a warm smile to her cousin as he approaches her brother-in-oaths, her glass raised to the pair.



Fajra turns a grateful smile to Pasquale as he helps out with the hosting. She does well enough leading people through the tower, but there's not really anywhere to lead people. Here's the party. Tada. Nobles are so weird.



Belladonna Pravus walks in with the arched brow of someone who seems to be taking her surroundings and taking notes of all the things Lianne has chosen to do, or not. Not quite critical, the Duchess is just a far more involved in the games the party-throwing people play.



She eyes Fajra, and smiles, awaiting to be announced, and then she steps closer to her cousin to go down to her knees by Lianne and wrap her arms around the once-keen mind of Pravus, now Malespero.



"You look happy. It makes me quite happy as well. Happy birthday, Lianne." She smiles warmly at the Marquessa, and then waves at Pasquale and Venture. To Sebastian, and his jittery behavior, she arches a brow. "I will fetch us something, Sebastian." And she does, wherever drinks may be found. Something light to start the party, and to further analyze why Sebastian is in such an agitated mood.

Drifting into the courtyard, Rysen offers a warm greeting to Fajra, and a brief, respectful bow to Pasquale. "Greetings, My Lord," says Rysen. "I was in the area, and heard the Marquessa was celebrating this afternoon. I hope you don't mind if wish her a happy birthday... and try some of what I hear is the best wine in Arx?" he adds with a grin.

"Fair to middling, so I've no complaints, all in all. Hello, Sebastian. I recommend the wine, of course." Pasquale raises his own glass, to show off the red he's currently imbibing. Rysen gets an approving nod. He likes this one. Kind of. His expression ticks toward cordial, at any rate. "The best wine and spirits in Arx, indeed. The Marquessa is Messere Venturo's patron. So. We are well-provided." Belladonna gets a sweeping bow. "Duchess. Congratulations on the Titan. I mourn that I could not see it myself, but I hear it is as grand a sight as the Compact holds."

Unlike Pasquale, the often colorfully dressed shaman enters the Courtyard with flashes of her pale leg peeking through the lace of her silk and lace dress of darkest black. The red of her hair, the porcelain skin (of which much is revealed), and the stygian garment all contrast starkly with one another. She arrives with Drysi, though her assistant lingers by the entrance and out of the way. It's a bit too warm for Khanne, but wearing near as little cloth as is modestly possible helps. She smiles and nods her greetings to everyone she sees, but it is to Lianne she goes directly, not hesitating to lower herself to the grass, kneeling in order to give Lianne's cheek a kiss in greeting. "Happy Birthday, my Lovely Lianne. You look devastatingly beautiful."

"Not a worry in the world to be had from me, I assure," His free hand lifts in a gesture of completely surrender, and a warm smile is cast towards the others. "Duchess, Lord Pasquale, Lord Rysen," He offers to each in turn, a level of familiarity with each it seems. But it is to the birthday woman that Venturo turns his attention towards, delight in his eyes. "Lady Beatrice sends her apologizes for not being able to attend, but she did, of course, do something. The credit is all hers," And with that, the hand behind his back sweeps out, a leather bound book extended for the Marquessa to take.

"I am partial to a good red," Sebastian replies with a low laugh to Pasquale. "Especially on a hot summer day. It makes me yearn for Setarco, actually," he admits, with a lightness that could suggest it's merely the thing one is expected to say in such a social setting, despite the pause that follows. He doesn't miss Lianne's raised glass -- indeed, it earns a pleased smile. He hasn't his own glass to return the favor, and yet there's his Duchess, eyeing him and offering to collect just the thing he needs in this moment. That earns Belladonna pursed-lips look, shoulders easing marginally. Pasquale's talk of the Titan, though -- rather than energizing him -- has him moving away. Or maybe that's just an excuse.

Is it really /crashing/ a party when noble soirees tend to have such open-door policies to begin with? Dressed to impress and enjoying the wine, Brianna managed to pick up whose party it is, so she makes her way over to the hostess. "Happy birthday, and many happy returns. You've put together a lovely party." She sips the wine in her hand, extending her own to Lianne. "Lady Brianna Halfshav," she introduces herself. And there's cousin Khanne! "Khanne, my dear!"

Ugarte arrives, following Fortunato.



The mention of the Titan of Setarco gets Belladonan's smile to widen, and she is -obviously- beaming with pride over the wonder. She places a hand upon Sebastian's back, "I merely financed part of it. Sebastian gave our dream a form, and let me asure you, it is a sight to see at least once in life." She eyes Pasquale with a ligthness about her that is hard to find, the Duchess of Setarco seemingly relaxed and without a worry in the world!



"Mm!" She tastes the wine, "Nilanza always had amazing batches. Delicious." She nods at Venture, giving him a nod and raising him a glass. Brianna gets a smile, "Duchess Belladonna Pravus," she says, seemingly not having an issue to introduce herself. Although the leatherbound book produced by Venture gets her attention momentarily, Pasquale, Briana, Khanne and Sebastian get her smiles for now, dispensing banter wherever needed.

Dusk, the artist formerly known as Fortunato, drifts soft-footed into the courtyard. He's a slight, small figure in brocade and a little jewelry in gold and duskstone, and he arrives only to stick to the periphery. At least initially.

Fajra is dutiful in her introductions, short and to the point, lacking her mistress' flare for the mostly made-up. Not that her voice is really needed to call attention to the arriving duchess, given how the uniform movement of the guard gates drawing to attention and issuing their salute signals the same before the young blonde gets to it.



When Belladonna draws near, Lianne sets her glass down so that she might lean into that affection, embracing her cousin with an honest fondness. "I'm glad you could make it," is spoken quietly, almost apologetically. She knows full well this won't be everyone's sort of party. A little louder, once the duchess has drawn away, she calls over to Pasquale and Rysen, "Wine once belonging to your felled betrayer is, indeed, the best of all possible wines." Nevermind that Nilanzan wine actually tastes good; it's the smug satisfaction which makes it so very tasty. Luckily for Sebastian, it is, indeed, red. In one of the barrels, anyway. Another is white, blush in a third. It might take the household a week to get through all of it. Venturo is made to wait a moment as Khanne draws near, the marquessa's gaze glittering with delight as she takes in the dark dress. "You took my advice," is murmured as she takes in that affection, a patch of grass beside her patted in invitation. She's happy right here in the greenery. Terrible hostess that she is. But not so terrible that she doesn't accept the offered hand from Brianna as she issues an amused, "Thank you," and holds up her finger to beg a moment.



Finally, the birthday girl's attention settles on the brewer and his book. Beatrice's book. Someone's book. It's eyed suspiciously. "I do worry, Venturo," spoken softly, sincerely. After a peek at what's inside, she sets it on her lap to look through later. Soon.

Taking a glass of red wine in his ink-stained hand, Rysen wanders over to where Lianne is sitting. He smiles warmly at Venturo's greeting, and says, "Good afternoon, Master Venturo. From all I've heard the Kismet Carnival here in Arx was a great success. I hope business has been good."



Rysen sits down in the grass not far from Lianne. Taking a drink of wine, he says to the Marquessa, "Happy birthday, My Lady. I am Rysen Crovane. I don't believe we've met formally, but I wanted to offer my best wishes - and my thanks for your patronage of good Venturo. You have an eye for genius, and every drinker in Arx is in your debt."

Securing his glass, Sebastian isn't shy about gulping down a mouthful -- or two or three -- while Belladonna talks up their Titan. "She's something to behold," the artist finally adds to her suggestion. "I should--" and with a brief squeeze of Belladonna's arm, he steps away and towards where Lianne's settled on the grass. There's an effortlessness with which he sprawls onto the grass beside her, leaning in to kiss the Marquessa's cheek. He doesn't offer any of the usual birthday sentiments one offers: just relaxes into the moment, watching her regard the book, and interacting with everyone.

There is a knowing smile cast towards Lianne as she speaks of worrying, and the angelic look would either put one to full ease or make them horribly nervous. A twitch of a smile finally breaks the reverie. He starts to drift back, before a warm rumble of laughter comes from him at Rysen's words, "You are too kind, thank you. The Marquessa was whom I met in my very first day in Arx." And then the brewer takes a few other steps back so that the others can all have their say to the woman of the day, all the while he settles comfortable against one of the walls of the tower to watch.

Pasquale's eyes shift between Sebastian and Belladonna, at their reaction to his mention of the titan. He lets out a "Hmmm" and drinks. "Grand for Setarco," he says, but it's not a subject he pursues beyond that. Dusk is noted, and given a somewhat tentative little wave of his slim fingers. Hello. Though most of his attention goes to Lianne as she accepts the book. It makes him smile. Just a little.

Settling onto that patted spot of grass, Khanne arranges her legs and dress as elegantly as she is able. It is as Venturo hands a book to Lianne that she smiles to him. "Master Brewer, as always it is a delight to see you." But then there is a Brianna shouting her name. She chuckles and smiles at her cousin with a mch more clam, "Bri Bri... glad to see you back from your travels so soon. We will catch up later, I am sure." For now, it is all about Lianne, well, mostly. She does greet the others she knows, like Belladonna, and Rysen who she has only recently met, with smiles and kind words, not giving up her spot beside the birthday girl, not one inch.

Dusk returns Pasquale's tentative little wave with one of his own. He casts a small half-smile toward Lianne and her dire book, even if he seems set to prop up a pillar of the courtyard. Set to lean and absorb.

Lianne worries about just how much emotion she's going to display if she really looks at that book. She has other things to tend to first. Like tipping into that affection from her cousin, a warm smile turned toward Sebastian. And seeing to introductions. On the wake of Venturo's words, she confirms, "I deprived everyone else the chance of sponsoring said genius. Such is my wickedness." Her bright smile says she's anything but, entirely friendly, a glint in her green eyes. She looks between Rysen and Brianna and offers, "Marquessa Lianne Malespero, Countess of the March of Nilanza, Voice of Setarco--" With a smile turned toward Belladonna and another for Sebastian. "--Speaker for the Dead, Sponsor of Genius, Thief of Opportunity, Liberator of Mistreated Wine, Art Collector, Scientist, Book-Owner and Birthday Girl." She pauses to consider whether there might be any other nonsense she cares to tack on but leaves it at that, lifting her glass toward the pair of them, toward the artist in the distance, her smile going warm when she spots Dusk.

A playful wink is cast towards Khanne as Venturo passes by on the way to his spot, a little lean in, "Far too long, Lady Halfshav! The Marquessa soaked up all your time after the carnival... not that I can blame either one of you." A playful, devious little smile is cast her way before he continues, giving the lady her spot next to Lianne.

There is the slight sound of the cane as it taps ever third or fourth step that precedes the arrival of Prince Ahriman Grayson. The figure that makes his arrival has not been a common sight for many years. A Pravus by birth and cousin to the Archduke the man married out of the family for opportunity elsewhere. And the Grayon's always had need of fine fleet admirals. The figure is dressed in all black. A very thin turtle neck of blended cottons stands in rebellion to the summer climate. The gaunt finger is painfully thin. Skin that once bore more weight hangs over his bone structure. The man is pale if not slightly jaundice in appearance. Dark eyes look around as he gathers in the environment and approaches the birthday party.

At first, Dusk offers Lianne the same tentative echo he gave Pasquale, but his smile widens. He pushes off the pillar to approach. A few steps. "It is good to see you, Marquessa, on such an eventful day. An eventful day. Happy birthday."

"My lord..." Pasquale ventures the title as a guest of sort of Ahriman. He does not, by sight, recognize the man. His experience in Setarco society is limited to the last few years. "Welcome to the Malespero Tower. There is much good drink and food, should you wish to partake. I recommend the wine, of course." He raises his glass and drinks some more, to demonstrate its quality. And, also, to drink. There's a half-glance toward Lianne and Dusk.

For a moment, Sebastian regards the greeting between Lhanne and Brianna -- recognizing neither -- with a kind of avid interest -- before his attention wanders. He is, after all, easily distracted, as one might expect. "Savior of Family, Really Just the Best," is oh-so-casually tacked onto Lianne's introduction of herself. "And this wine is... really just something." That doesn't seem to be something he's just saying, given he drains the rest of it -- and moments later -- is up and heading over to seek a refill with an apparent restless energy.

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The afternoon party isn't quite so grand as typical Lycene soirees, but there are tables laden with sweets--including a towering pile of lemon cookies--cheese, cured meat, fresh fruit and little pots of honey. Beer, whiskey and wine are plentiful, including a trio of barrels brought up from the tower's wine cellar, reportedly imported from Nilanza by the march's previous marquis: one red, one white and one pleasantly sweet blush.

Sebastian is overheard praising Lianne: The Best.

Pasquale is overheard praising Lianne: Happy birthday Best Marquessa

Rysen laughs merrily at hearing Lianne speak. He smiles to Khanne, and blushes noticeably. "It is good to see you again, Lady Khanne. I..." he begins, and runs a hand through is dark brown hair and taking another long drink of wine. "There is something I would very much like to speak with you about later, should you have the time," he concludes softly, with a rather serious expression passing over his face.

"That she did," Khanne smiles to Venturo. "I swear that evening zoomed by in a blink of an eye, time just seemed to slip by. Perhaps I just wished the carnival would go on and on... it was such an amazingly fun night! I will have to visit soon though, I could use a good drink." A hand is raised, fingers wiggled towards Dusk in a hello. Catching Sebastian's interested look briefly, she then waves to him as well. "Hello, Vala Khanne Halfshav," she says, introducing herself when he is drinking his wine.

Belladonna is overheard praising Lianne: Surprisingly warm, deceptively gentle, Lianne is ruthless as she needs to be, and inquisitive like all the best Sins oughta be. Long live!

Khanne then nods to Rysen with a smile. "Of course. If not later this evening... I am sure I will have time soon."

Gretchen arrives, following Gilroy.

Rysen is overheard praising Lianne: A very happy birthday to the Liberator of Mistreated Wine!

Ahriman comes to a stop when he is greeted. His slender fingers curled around the curved top of the cane are joined by the first hand. He leans on the slender object to help take some his weight. There is a slight dampness to the man's brow from the trip's exertion. "Prince." He corrects in a soft enough tone not to call the individual out on his missed assumption. A smirk does rise from the corner of his mouth and his voice is level if not cool in its pitch. "Prince Ahriman Grayson in fact." He continues and lifts a hand, "I've been away some number of years so of course I can understand such a small mistake. And many years before that I went by the name of Pravus before my arranged marriage." The man looks around, "The party looks to be delightful." He offers and pays this compliment in the direction of the woman being praised (Lianne). "Forgive my tardiness, it takes some effort for me to traverse Arx at the moment." His face is fairly neutral.

Ahriman is overheard praising Lianne: Birthdays are special occassions. May your name be at the forefront of everyone's lips on your day.

Lianne's expression goes all soft at Sebastian's addendum, as she leans in his direction again. "It's knowing it really *was* the best part of him that makes it so lovely," she says of the wine, the easier part to address. With a keen rise in her eyebrows, clearly a warning, she tells Rysen, "She's mine today," of Khanne, murmuring in an aside to the shaman, "The games are still there if you want to have a go at the bell again in these dresses." Her attention strays from the group on the grass to the arrival of the seldom-seen prince, her head canted slightly as she wonders if that is who she thinks it is, but Dusk draws closer and steals her focus, her bright smile turned his way. "An *indulgent* day. For enjoying the sun and fine company and--" Oh. That really *is* who she thought it might have been over there. "Uncle Ahriman!" She lifts her glass rather than getting to her feet, really leaning into that indulgence. "I'm so glad you could make it!" Her gaze shifts back to Dusk as she tells him more quietly, "And you."

Bedecked in a a low-neck fitted silk gown with garnet skirts jeweled in crystallized grapes, Quenia gracefully makes her way into the party scene for Lianne's birthday. She may have only met the woman a time or two previously, but they're soon to be in-laws of a sort with Juliana joining the Igniseri family. She chooses her path carefully, stepping out of the flow of traffic until she decides where it is she needs to go and who she might need to greet.



Khanne gets a raising of her glass in greeting, and Belladonna Pravus seems all too content with playing just background noise to Lianne's birthday party. If anyone seems to be too solitary she approaches them to comment on the weather or the wine, spinning a web of useless smalltalk to the best of her abilities so nobody feels alone. She seems to feel quite at ease in the role, and her laughter can be heard here and there.



At the apparition of Ahriman, she nods, but eyes narrow. She remembers a man with those features quite vaguely, but at the mention of her House she arches her brow in surprise. "Welcome to Arx, Prince." She says so with a sly smile to her lips. She doesn't move much, remaning by Sebastian's side.

Dusk turns a third finger-waggle to Khanne, and turns his smile brief and bright her direction, before he sobers, turning back to Lianne. "Everyone should have a day for an indulgence," says he. "A moment to enjoy sun or storm, wine or brisk water. And people." He chuckles. "And if /I/ am to be a Whisper, I must build up more tolerance for parties, hm? What better practice than yours." He turns his attention to Ahriman, quietly curious.

Venturo is propped up against the side of a wall, quite clearly not drinking wine. Wine! Though he has found one of the lemon cookies... three, actually, and he is carefully picking off one of them in small chunks, popping them into his mouth. The brewer seems quite content to observe, nods and greetings given to those who glance his way while he watches the interactions play out.

Wholly focused on this one thing -- getting his wine -- it takes Sebastian a moment to realize Khanne is addressing him. His shoulders shift, as he straightens, with his now-full glass, regarding her. "Sebastian Pravus," he introduces himself simply, with an easy smile. "I think I saw you at Lianne's wedding, though I admit -- I did also make sure to enjoy Nilanza's very fine wines there too, so if we met then, I certainly don't recall," he looks wry, amused: almost like he's hamming up the act. Ahriman's introduction of himself -- and claiming of the Pravus name -- earns a flickered, sidelong look, though admittedly brief. After a moment, he leans in to murmur something to Belladonna, fingers curling around her wrist lightly as he does so.

Pasquale makes a soft "Ah" sound to Ahriman. Some things clicking together in his brain. "Your highness, then. My recommendation on the wine stands." He looks on point of asking more questions, but, he does not. Not right now. He //does// go to top off his drink. Offering Quenia a dip of his chin as she enters and a cordial, "Marquessa Quenia. Welcome. I hope you enjoy Malespero's hospitality."

"The best part about parties in Arx so far is that they don't appear to have guest lists," Gretchen leans in to tell Gilroy, flashing a winning smile about the room, "And the refreshments at the ones I've been to have been fantastic so far, so here's to keeping the streak alive. Your mission is to figure out who the guest of honor is so that I can introduce myself."

"I like that thought," Lianne tells Dusk. "That this is a practice party. All wine and sunshine and lemon cookies and not nearly enough intrigue." In truth, she sounds outright proud of that. Intrigue can be such *work*, and this is decidedly her day off. She looks between Sebastian and Khanne, curious to find that they somehow don't know one another yet, but maybe that's something to be corrected later. For now, she's lifting her glass to Quenia cheerfully... and finding it all but empty when she goes to take another sip. Fajra quickly steps in to correct that, leaving the marquessa empty-handed and tilting toward the might-be-Whisper nearby to murmur something softly.

Rysen grins at Lianne's claim to Khanne, and nods his assent. He rises to his feet, and makes his way toward Sebastian, Pasquale and the wine casks to refill his glass. Noticing Lady Gretchen arrives, he raises his glass in a toast, and when his eyes fall on Gilroy, he can't help but smile.

Dusk laughs. "Yes. Leave the intrigue and the invisible knives for shrouded days hosted by other people." He leans back on his heels and returns the marquessa's whisper as he surveys the other guests. Especially the purportedly less-invited ones.

Blinking, Khanne asks to Dusk, "wait, you are going to become a Whisper?" Though, Sebastian soon gets her attention again. "I was there, yes, but I tend to uh... feel overwhelmed in crowds and often a bit out of my element when surrounded by the lovely. I am sure we will both remember this time." She smiles at him then looks to Lianne. "If we find ourselves woefully energized and awake with absolutely nothing else to do after your party... we can go try the Hammer Bell again... otherwise, we will have to make another day of it." When Lianne's attention is secured by someone else, Khanne leans over to steal a cookie from her plate and gets to nibbling.

Quenia dips her head into an equally gradeful nod at Pasquale. "Lord Pasquale," she offers in warm tones. "Thank you. It is my hope that I shall be able to do so this evening. I needed a break from the piles of paperwork back home," a light grin comes to her lips as she says this. She looks around, "Sorry though that I am late. Meetings overran a bit. I hope I didn't miss much?" she asks. She spies Lianne nodding at her from a far and offers her a warm look that seems to promise she'll come greet her in a moment.

"If my youth in Lenosia taught me anything it's that there's nothing Lycenes like more than strangers wandering into their homes," says Gilroy cheerfully in response to Gretchen. He steps away from his companion long enough to make himself a plate of meats and cheeses with a pile of lemon cookies. When he rejoins Gretchen he holds the plate out to her. "Look, I bought you a present. And it means a lot, because you know I'm poor. That cost me everything." He looks around and gives enthusiastic waves to the few people he recognizes, including Venturo, Rysen and Ahriman, but Dusk gets the most enthusiastic wave of all before he considers the task of greetings done and looks back to Gretchen. "Tt. No Lady Beatrice. That's too bad. I think she's sweet on me."

"If I may be directed to a place where I might find relief from standing." Ahriman suggests to Pasquale, "I would especially welcome some of the wine you suggested. Please have the servant fine a regionally appropriate vintage." The neutral expression of the figure seems not easily excited. He appears on the surface a cold individual by nature. He continues to lean on the cane and addresses Belladonna first, "Thank you Duchess Pravus." He inclines his head towards her and the dark critical gaze settles upon Lianne, "Congradulations on the anniversery of your birth, Marquessa Malespero." The man then adds, "I trust no talk of my indulgence will find the ears of the Mercies tasked with restoring me to my health. They are very diligent in their duties. But seem incapable of understanding the relationship between a Pravus and their fine wines." He muses. That's about as close to humor as the man gets. Observational.

"A Whisper?" Pasquale overhears the exchange between Lianne and Dusk. A touch surprised, perhaps, though he raises his glass readily enough. "Congratulations. I presume it's a thing to congratulate one for, at least. I could not abide the parties, but my talents, such as they are, lie in other areas." Gretch and Gilroy earn a doft of his wine glass. Hello. Then he drinks some more. To Quenia, "No apologies necessary, my lady, this is an evening of leisure. We are all of us in fashionable sloth tonight." A servant is gestured to. They will get Ahriman's wine promptly enough.

"Yes!" Dusk turns lightly to Khanne. "I am in training to become a Whisper." Bluntly. "After all, there are Grayhopes enough for the priesthood and no one is going to risk scandal by ennobling an aging artiste to no purpose. So social graces it shall be! I ought to have -- two or so." He turns his smile to Pasquale with a laugh. "I will not be primarily for parties myself. More, ah, one-on-one counseling." He returns Gilroy's wave a bit more subdued. "Ahah! The Lenosian Gilroy Grayhope. Here he is."

Up Venturo hefts a hand, not with a drink in it, but a cookie, in a warm greeting towards Gilroy, "You were missed at the carnival, my good man! I'm certain you'd have done well at some of the games." A twinkle of mischief enters those pale green eyes, before his head shifts, soaking in the newcomers and unknown faces of Gretchen, Quenia and Ahriman.

Lianne's nose crinkles ever so slightly at something Dusk says--an answer, perhaps--before she leans back, one hand planted in the grass. The other is soon occupied by another glass of the white, the young woman who delivered it quick to return to an out-of-the-way place where she can enjoy her own whiskey. Slowly. Fajra's still on duty, as it were. The marquessa looks, for a moment, like she might challenge *something* Dusk says to Khanne, but she doesn't. "I expect his talents will serve him quite well with the Whispers, and I'm glad for it. If I haven't said so yet." She follows the artist's attention toward Gilroy, named a Grayhope, further welcomed by Venturo. Twice-vetted, the stranger is given a lift of her glass, a toast to his boldness, but then she's looking on to Ahriman. "Thank you, uncle. It is a genuine pleasure to see you." Nevermind that she hasn't seen him since she was two and doesn't seem inclined to get to her feet to greet him now. "I hope you'll forgive my indolence on my birthday. In exchange, I promise to refute any rumor which might work its way around to the Mercies."

Gretchen accepts the plate from Gilroy and then promptly abandons him to head over to Rysen without so much of a thank you, "Master Rysen, what's this about Whispers? Are you thinking of joining the order?"

Lianne adds to Khanne, "It depends on how low the sun is by the time we're left alone."

The cane is set in motions and Ahriman finds a place to sit. He hooks the can at the top of the chair and then uses his hands to lower himself. The smale lines of veins in his pale flesh jut against the skin as he grips and eases himself down. Once seated the man slides one leg over the other. He watches as the servants bring to him a fine vintage and he takes the glass with the barest recognition of the effort. A fraction of a nod is provided before dark eyes settle on the festivities and interactions.



"Forgiven." Prince Ahriman answers, "One hardly stands on protocol at 'quaint' affairs." And tada! Jab. "Discretion is certainly a fair return." He observes and with that the wine is swirled, sniffed tentatively, and with lidded eyes Ahriman indulges in Lycene wine. He takes the first drink and lets about as close to an affectionate sound as ever comes from those frosty lips, "Marvelous." He murmurs and takes another drink. Fifteen years in captivity. One lives for these moments. (Away from the Mercies of course)

"Then, my lady, you should make it a point to visit the Lycene more often. We are always lovely," Sebastian replies to Khanne with what appears to be a mix of amusement and no amount of modesty. "Though I should warn you: we can often find discomfort enjoyable, too," he adds, ruefully. He notices Quenia's arrival, an easy smile -- and a lift of his glass -- given in silent toast to the Marquessa and his soon-to-be in law. As Ahriman muses over Pravus and their wines, he earns a long look from the other Pravus Voice -- Sebastian seemingly not apt to greet him as effusively as his cousin does.

"Congratulations, Dusk." Khanne smiles at him genuinely. "Life of a Whisper is not at all just about parties. I am fairly certain you have a few talents. I am sure you will positively shine as a Whisper." She nods to Lianne in agreement then looks for a servant to fetch her a drink of some sort as she continues to talk. "We shall see.. not that the moon being high in the sky would deter me if we wanted to do it." Laughing, she nods then to Sebastian. "You are but, some of you can also be intimidating... or try to feed me flowers." her nose wrinkles at that, shaking her head. "Discomfort.. uh.... There's... well, see... um..." Thank goodness Quenia arrives. Khanne stuffs the rest of that cookie in her mouth to shut herself up.

Gilroy watches as Gretchen wanders off and says, "Hurtful!" Rounding on the others, but now finding his hands empty, Gilroy makes a beer disappear and heads over to make some more formal greetings. "Marquessa Lianne, so kind of you to accept me into your beautiful home. I was recently paid to break into a tower and let me say it wasn't nearly as lovely as this. Honestly, there were piles of books and party invitations and old liquor bottles everywhere. It looked like a crazy person lived there." He thinks better of that statement and adds, "Break in to drop off a romantic present, that is. It was a wonderful gesture, probably. Or terribly disturbing and invasive. With Lady Isabetta it could go both ways." To Venturo he says, "It certainly sounds like I missed quite a thing. It's the talk of ... well, everywhere, isn't it? So congratulations to you and her majesty." His eyebrows raise at Dusk's news, but he follows up with, "I considered becoming a Whisper when I first came to the city, but Softest Gianna advised me that I lacked everything they were looking for while simultaneously having many traits they avoided. Gianna is what, in Southport, they call a 'straight shooter'."

Only a few hours late, the only pale skinned, ginger-haired Pravus known of thus far slips into the party. The Duchess Vanora Grimhall is wearing strapless umbra twisted with richly dyed seasilk, the gown carefully designed to reveal and conceal in intriguing combinations. A tiara of stygian and iridescite sparkles on her brow, with coils of red-gold hair piled up and pinned behind it. Pale green eyes skim the party, seeking out the guest of honor first to make her apologies. "Lianne. I'm so sorry I'm late, there was a bit of Isles business I had to deal with last minute. I'm so glad I did not miss the entire thing. You look lovely." She greets her cousin with an airy almost-kiss to each cheek, the Lycene mannerisms coming as easily to her as if she never left the Ward.

Enjoying the wine immensely, Rysen begins to make his way back to where Lianne is seated. As he begins to circle around to take a seat beside the Marquessa, something catches his eye in the available light. His brow darkens for a moment, but he says nothing, and sits back down. Overhearing Gilroy's account of Gianna's advice, he laughs. Turning to Lianne, he says, "You thrown an excellent birthday party, My Lady. There's something profoundly relaxing about drinking the finest wine while sitting in the grass under an open sky."

Dusk at last, at last bends to the side to gather himself a glass. "Ah, Gilroy," says he. "Always entertaining. And doesn't a Whisper entertain? The way you write in the Whites invites bloodsport, and here you are waltzing up to a Marquessa to speak blithely about a break in. I am sure certain of high society will see your value." He laughs, a little lower, and sips from his wine. "Thank you, Marquessa Lianne, Lady Khanne. I will, in truth, try to serve the position as much as it serves me." Two beats. He blinks at Khanne. "Ah, flowers?"

"Thank you, Master Gilroy! It's pleasing that the House Malespero gave the opportunity to put on display with the carnivals throughout Arvum are doing. It does lose a bit of it's flair without the tents... but the Hall seemed to do well enough." Venturo is positively pleased at it all, a sparkle of life glimmering through those features before he works upon the second of his trio of cookies.



Belladonna finds herself clinging to Sebastian and laughing about his anecdotes as they are whispered to her ear. The Duchess of Setarco has some Nilanzan wine in her goblet, sipping from it from time to time, and it is only at the arival of Vanora that she extends a hand towards the Duchess of Grimhall.



"Vanooooora~!" There is no worry about being subtle, as she beckons the woman over to them while bugging a servant to get the woman something to drink. "Here, here. You have to try this one. Nilanzan wine! Can you even remember the last time you had it and didn't feel like retching?"



Anger levels over Argento betrayal may vary. Also, Lianne's wedding had plenty, but who can keep track of was or wasn't consumed then? Bella and Sebastian probably can't.

Quenia smiles a bit at Pasquale, "Then I shall endeavor to enjoy myself." She walks away with a wink at the lord, and turns her attention to the party proper. She does, in fact, wander in Sebastian's direction. "Lord Sebastian, Lady Khanne. It's wonderful to see you both this evening. Having a delightful time?" she asks, giving Khanne a curious look at her discomfiture. "I hope?" she asks.

Pasquale commits himself to joining in the lounging. Relaxing. Ish. He sits at drinks, at least. An "Ah" to Dusk, as he explains his interest in the Whispers. "That sounds a more bearable way to go about it than a parade of parties. Congratulations. It's a great honor to be accepted into their ranks. Has a new Radiant been named yet? I've not heard, though I don't pay as much attention to such news as I should." Vanora earns the slighest of smiles, and a toast of his wine glass. "Indeed, my lady," he says wry. "I'm enjoying the wine myself and still quiet free of retching. Though the day is still young."

Sebastian's brows go upwards as Khanne indicates someone's intention to feed her flowers. "I would say that's hardly representative of the whole of us, my lady. I can think of much more enjoyable things to try in the Lyceum." His gaze seems to linger on her, as if, indeed, he does find enjoyment in her apparent discomfort and seeking of distraction. Soon enough, though, he's sipping his wines again, offering Quenia an effortless smile. "Of course. The wine is--" he's about to say something positive, when Belladonna's greeting of their cousin involves some shade, the artist giving Belladonna a wry, sidelong look. "Cousin Vanora. You're looking well."

Lianne laughs, bright and delighted, at that jab at her party's modesty from Ahriman. "Indeed." Her attention flits toward Belladonna curiously, then Sebastian a moment later. To the latter, she calls, "If you can find what makes the Vala uncomfortable, do let me know. I've yet to find her weakness, brave and graceful as she is." To Khanne directly, she says, "But it would cut into our *sunbathing*," with a devilish glint in her eyes and a keen widening of her smile. Her attention shifts toward Gilroy as he approaches, her weight settled comfortably against her hand as she looks up at him, still contentedly reclining in the grass. "I won't tell you what I keep inside mine," she tells him, eyes widening slightly with entirely feigned worry. That impishness returns just before her gaze strays again, settling on her approaching cousin. She straightens a bit to accept that affection, her grass-planted hand coming up to claim Vanora's fingers briefly to give them a knowing squeeze. "You're perfectly on time, darling. The sun's still shining, and there's plenty of wine." As one cousin calls to another, the marquessa turns an odd smile to Rysen to tell him quietly, "Thank you. It's certainly *busier* than I anticipated," but that doesn't sound entirely unwelcome. Her free hand sets on the book on her lap. Soon, soon.

Khanne nods to Dusk with her nose crinkled again. "Rose petals, to be exact. It was thankfully years ago but uh... I fear they left the nightmare of their taste upon my tongue. I love flowers... but I prefer to not eat them." Her attention shifts to Quenia with a smile and she lifts a hand to fan at her slightly colored cheeks. "A very delightful time, I promise. It is good to see you... been quite a while." She smiles and nods to Sebastian next. "Yes, like wine... and pools.. and Lovely Lianne's company.... " Then a chuckle to Lianne. "I assure you... I am not always any of those things... But oh yes, let me add sunbathing to the list of lovely things to try in the Lyceum."

"Bella." Vanora responds as the only voice that could trill her name in quite that way does so. There's a warm smile of greeting on her lips, and a kiss for her cheek. "Diving into our cups or just feeling celebratory? I can't remember the last time I had Nilanzan wine at all. Did we drink the last time I came to visit?" She asks Lianne with a shrug of her own, and squeezes the Malespero Marquessa's fingers back, just as knowing. "Perfectly on time. Good. You seem to have the right idea of it." With that, fancy gown and all, Vanora lowers herself near Lianne in the grass, the slit in her skirt allowing for movement. She slips her shoes off one by one, getting comfortable and summoning a glass of blush from somewhere or other. "Cousin Sebastian, you're looking the same."

"No new Radiant as yet," says Dusk toward Pasquale. "Soon, perhaps. I am only an apprentice as yet. I can perhaps help choose, but nothing more, nothing yet." Toward Khanne with another quiet laugh, "I remember someone offering candied rose petals, I think? I never quite saw the appeal."

Ahriman sits and tends to his wine. At the laugh from Lianne he raises his glass and drinks readily. Half-lidded eyes settling in on the experience and tuning out the surrounding drivel. Truly at the moment the man only considers Lianne and Belladonna worthy of his attention. But only second to that of the wine that rests in his fingertips. A hand flags down a passing servant and he gives a little privileged look to his near empty glass that dictates all that needs to be said. As Sebastian's name rings out the man takes note and a quick glance is afforded the individual. He probably did a quick research of those on the periphery and got up to speed on who is who in Pravus and among its vassals. He sits in judgmental (church biatch) silence. Dark eyes condeming one and all in a severity befitting their station. He says nothing nor does he seem to favor socializing at this point. He gets more wine and drinks.

Of the Nilanzan wine, Lianne reminds, "It's all that's left of our dearly departed Salazar," with genuine pleasure. The dear part is certainly that he's departed. Years ago. And it still makes her happy. It's the talk of flowers which distracts from the talk of wine, her thoughts turning toward one she wasn't quite so glad to see leave this world. "Lady Juliet," she reminds Dusk. "Who insisted that you and I ought to meet years ago." A fond memory, it would seem, though somewhat somber for the loss.

Gretchen sits down in the grass with a glass of wine she's acquired from somewhere and gives the dour Ahriman a lazy smile, "You should stop by the spa sometime, I can help take care of those tired eyes. We've got several lotions and a good massage might have you kicking up your heels and ditching that cane of yours. At least for a couple of hours."

Quenia quirks a brow lightly at Sebastian as his words cut off, and then she follows his line of sight to Vanora. She's not sure of the familial waters around here, stays out of them. "Assumed to be equally delightful?" she suggests to Sebastian. She then looks over at Lianne and offers her a warm smile. "Happy birthday, Marquessa. I hope it has been a good day for you. I meant to bring over some bottles of Igniseri wine to share, however I'm afraid I left them at home. When I return, I shall have a servant fetch them over to you as a gift for your hospitality this evening." She looks between Sebastian and Khanne and says, "There are some new faces I've never seen before this evening."

"Is it really a bloodsport if the only blood is mine? Or if I'm the only person who considers it a sport?" Gilroy tilts his beer toward Dusk. "There's a turn of phrase in Rivincita that the person who doesn't fear the flame gets burnt and the person who doesn't fear the blade gets cut, but the person who doesn't fear to be disliked can do anything they want. Of course Rivincita is the seat of House Daveiga and this philosophy has lead to war, so..." Gilroy shrugs and knocks back his beer. "Pithy sayings can only get a fellow so far." To Venturo he says, "I do seem to miss the best parties. That's why I'm trying to get out more." He waves to Ahriman and confides to the others, "Now there's a fellow with a story. Of course that can be said of most people, but most people don't go missing for however many years."

Rysen takes his time enjoying the wine and listening to those around him. When his glass is finished, he hands it to a nearby servant and rises to his feet. "Thank you for your hospitality Marquessa," he says to Lianne with a smile. His gaze lingers on Khanne for a moment, but seeing her otherwise engaged, he makes his way to Gretchen to says his farewells. "Please give my best to Darla, My Lady - and whatever you do, don't let him sweet talk her out of the Serenity Spa," he says, flashing a quick grin to Gilroy.



Rysen bids farewell to those he encounters, and makes his way out of the Malespero Tower.

"Who is your friend who regards us all with such disdain, Lianne? It's as if you've invited a disapproving great aunt, but did we even have any of those?" Vanora asks her cousin with warmth and amusement in her voice, taking another sip from the blush. "It /is/ good." She agrees with Belladonna. Catching Gretchen's eye as the lady sits down among them, she states, "Duchess Vanora Grimhall, but born a Pravus of Setarco and first cousin to our Duchess here. It's lovely to meet you..."

"Of course. No secrets from you, my dear cousin," Sebastian replies to Lianne with an easy smile, his gaze touching on Khanne briefly -- as if just to see her reaction -- and then moving on. He does seem to catch Ahriman's look and -- if anything -- the judgemental regard earns something decidedly amused from the Pravus, though his attention doesn't linger. He looks pleased at Vanora's response, giving a brief, low laugh: "A stretch of the truth, but an exceptional and effortless one, for which I always appreciate your grace," comes his wry response, tipping his glass towards her and downing just about the entirety of it.

"Ah, ah, Juliet. That was who. Alas, Juliet." Dusk looks down briefly at the ground. "We never managed quite as much art together as I would have liked. The idea of it, the plan of it, but never the fruition." He glances to Gilroy and smiles, slightly. "A fine, pithy statement, if not always true. Certainly Brass would not hurt you even for suggesting we destroy him, but some people do hold poisonous grudges, sometimes with actual poison. As long as you enjoy it, I suppose." He idly notes to Vanora. "I do not know this man, the marquessa's uncle? But I /am/ slightly upjumped riffraff."

Pasquale gives himself over fully to lounging. Fading into the background of the party, to enjoy good wine and the generally Lycene company.

Ahriman says, "Uncle." Ahriman amends Vanora's statement, "They always marry the best of us off to Thrax's lesser vassals I hear." The man murmurs pointedly, "Or so I here they explain to them before the marriage." To be fair he was married to the Grayson family so their is plenty opportunity for thematic retort. The wine glass (refilled) is lifted and angled in the direction of Vanora."

"Uncle." Ahriman amends Vanora's statement, "They always marry the best of us off to Thrax's lesser vassals I hear." The man murmurs pointedly, "Or so I here they explain to them before the marriage." To be fair he was married to the Grayson family so their is plenty opportunity for thematic retort. The wine glass (refilled) is lifted and angled in the direction of Vanora.

"Darla's not that easily sweet talked. At least, not by anyone other than me," Gretchen raises her glass to Rysen as he leaves and flashes Vanora a smile, golden lips all a-glitter, "Lady Gretchen Moore," she introduces herself and has a sip of wine, "I should have been born a Pravus, alas, so I am envious of your delightful family."

"No gifts are necessary, Marquessa," Lianne answers Quenia, "though I would never decline so fine a gift should you find it fitting. Today is about the sun and the company." That has her looking to Vanora and from Vanora to Ahriman. "He's our uncle, by some measure." Someone spent an awful lot of time studying lineage charts and family trees while avoiding marriage of her own. Back before she met Valerius and gave up that fight. "Prince Ahriman Grayson. More Uncle Niccolo's contemporary than ours. Married out ages ago." And then went missing for a substantial chunk of time, though she leaves that part out, implying *something* grave in her tone. She doesn't seem at all put off by Ahriman's evident disdain, her glass lifted his way as makes what might be another jab at Vanora this time. Looking to Dusk, she says, "Always more ideas than implementation with Juliet. Always a dreamer." Rather than dwell on it further, she sips at her wine.

Turtle arrives, following Orathy.

Khanne sits with her lips twisted to the side for a moment, stealing another cookie before a glass of whiskey is delivered to her hand by the servant she sought earlier. She smiles at them then simply drains the glass before handing it back. "Another, please? Thank you."

The sound of introductions catches Quenia's attention. She glances between Vanora, whom she's at least heard of from various proclamations, and Gretchen. She inclines her head to both and offers. "Marquessa Quenia Igniseri, as introductions are being made. A pleasure to put faces to names and meet you both," the words are spoken with a warm tone, and she offers each an equally warm smile. Her attention goes curiously over to Ahriman a moment and she offers a cordial nod. Then a messenger comes and whispers something quietly to her. A sigh escapes her, and she gives the messenger a grim look, whispering something back, then looks back to Sebastian and Lianna and says. "I was glad to have stopped by, if even for a few moments. I do hope you continue to have a lovely evening."



Belladonna arches her brow at the interaction between Vanora and Ahriman, eyes narrowing right after. There is a subtle shift in the Duchess as she places herself closer to the Grimhall Duchess, in clear support of the woman, speaking with her gestures more than her words for now. She smiles at Lianne.



If the Marquessa of Malespero doesn't seem put off by the remarks, Belladonna seems to be riding the line between being civil and speaking her mind. Speaking her mind makes for more gossip, but it isn't her party.



Still, she smiles at Vanora, "We let this one slip. She should have never left Setarco, even if she has made her House greater and more powerful than it has ever been. Her place is among us." She winks at the redhead, before she points at the wine. "See? I know my wine."

After a last murmur to his Duchess, Sebastian abruptly winds his way between party-goers towards the exit. Those who know the Pravus artist probably aren't surprised: he is given to abrupt whims of attention, and it's a wonder at all he made it to the party on time.

With his third sweet polished off, the lemon cookies seemed to have put enough of a spring back in Venturo's step that he brings forward. A rakish smile curls to the corners of his mouth, only one cheek managing to dimple it's bearded flesh, and around the group gathered by Lianne he looks. Introductions? Fantastic! "Venturo Thayne. Proprietor, story teller, brewer and more at the Raconteur.... and, above all? The Marquessa's protege. A pleasure to meet so many of her friends I haven't had a chance to do so, yet." Vanora, Quenia and Gretchen are all studied, as if trying to commit names to faces.

What in the actual --- That's probably what a few individuals might be thinking upon the arrival of a brooding bulk of Lower Trash. Alright, he doesn't quite smell so bad and his shirt even looks... washed? One can hope. The rag tag collection of silks and leathers makes the whole concept of a rogue quite visible. The grizzled Culler boldly strides into the area, having known it from his time served within the ward. Orathy's tailed by one little man, something of a bookish looking fella. Nevertheless, the commoner allows a thin wolfish look to cross his lips, his dark eyes wandering.

2 Pravus Honor Guard leaves, following Sebastian.

"Uncle? That's quite impossible I'm sure. I know all of Lianne's uncles, as my own father is one of them." Vanora responds. She watches Lianne glance between them and raises an eyebrow, "Is it so? Our uncle by some measure. But he's not sibling to Niccolo or Papa or...well." She doesn't need to list them all out, as he's either one of those siblings or not, after all. "The best of us married out to Thrax's lesser vassals hmm? Oh maybe at first. I suppose my first match could be described that way. I wouldn't call Grimhall a lesser vassal though. Maybe back in your day....uncle?" She lifts her voice with the question, though nods when Lianne explains he's a Grayson prince. Nods and raises an eyebrow at least. Her attention then turns to Quenia. "Oh, how lovely to meet you. Duchess Vanora Grimhall, nee Pravus." Maybe a stop or two in between. Belladonna's smile makes her laugh. "Silly thing, you were so eager to get rid of me to seal your Isles alliance you shoved me into...well. We all know. But I love you and forgive you, and I'll always be a Pravus. Even if I'm also leading the largest force on the seas. Or well, assisting to." She jests, and then takes a drink of wine.

"You could always marry into the peerage, cousin, and then you'd be proper upjumped riffraff. I understand there are still some Whitehawks available." As another plate of food with a person attached passes by Gilroy fixes himself a plate to replace the one with which Gretchen cruelly absconded. He wanders over to Rysen, collecting a new beer as he does so. "Lord Rysen, the poet himself! Good to see you anywhere, but always grand to see you at a party." He turns and surveys the crowd of Pravuses. Pravii. Pravopodes. "Have you ever made it out to Setarco, my lord? Possibly the finest city in the Lyceum, which is saying something since there is considerable competition. If I had any issue with it it'd be that it gets even hotter than Lenosia, but I understand they recently installed a grand sunshade, so I may have to make my way back out." He lifts his bottle toward Gretchen in greeting, giving her a brief bug eyed look before turning back to the Sonneteer of Stormwall.

"Courtier is as high as I aim, I believe," Dusk says, idly, toward Gilroy. Toward Lianne, subdued, "She -- was a dreamer, for certain. She desired so fervidly and, well." He shrugs. "I am glad she introduced us. All the same, all the same."

"Ah, perhaps back in my day then." Not in his day. They were likely still the second most powerful vassal under Harald's leadership. Ahriman dips his head, "Pleased to see they have ascended." He remarks, "That happens when you mix Setarco wine with rum I suppose. It makes it more palatable for those not used to scrubbing their hulls with what they party with." The prince stands slowly and leans on his cane. He offers a nod first to Belladonna and then to Lianne. "It is good to see that this family has thrived." He begins, "And that you have come so far." He tells Lianne. A slender trembling hand gestures out towards the massive structure and in the direction of the rest of Pravus' Arxian holdings. "May you continue to thrive, may your glasses be free of poison, and may your heirs not murder each other." He shrugs. "Too much." He concludes. And with that the prince without further comment exits. The *tap* *tap* of his cane fades after his form has departed sight.

"We'll all see one another again soon," Lianne assures Quenia as she makes overtures toward departure. "I'm rather looking forward to the wedding." That warm smile of hers, a touch rosy-cheeked from her wine, seems wholly sincere, even if it edges toward amusement as Sebastian takes such swift leave. Her brows arch curiously as that departure allows her to catch Orathy's arrival. Maybe someone ought to run the Culler off, but the guards seem to be taking their cue from the marquessa, and she offers no indication that he should go. Instead, her attention drifts back toward Ahriman to see how he handles Vanora's objections, even as she leans in toward Khanne, bumping shoulder to shoulder. Softly, she tells the woman, "You do look stunning today. A perfect complement." She's still leaning slightly against the shaman when she offers a fond smile toward Dusk. "As am I. I, mm." Her head tilts. "Ask me later to tell you about my portion of Lady Juliet's will."



And still tilted against the northerner, the birthday girl looks to Ahriman, her expression affectionate for the man she hasn't seen since she was just starting to walk. "And may the Mercies allow your escape more regularly. It is good to have you returned to us."

There is a soft sound from Khanne, sort of like a hum at something someone says that she overhears. But soon, the server returns with another whiskey. Her fingers curl around the glass and she lifts it in toast to Ahriman. "Apologies, I have been distracted this evening. A relative of Lianne's is someone I will have to meet. Perhaps another time," she says to him after his toast, before he taps away. She is soon turning back to Lianne to ask, "wedding? Who is getting married now?" She smiles at the birthday girl then asks, "who... Me?" then bumps her shoulder against hers in return.

Orathy's hard gaze settles on the Grayson Prince, not necessarily for that fact but something of an unspoken kinship there. Or maybe the brute was sizing up the weakness of that cane. He even does a little half spin to watch, muttering something low into the ear of his fellow. Not too long after, his counterpart trundles off rather casually and Orathy's attentions return to the other guests. He seems amused by the looks he garners from the guards, perhaps, their cues to restrain themselves from instincts of throwing him out mirror in the taunting grin he flashes at them. He furthers himself into the mix... listening? Looking at everyone's particularly closely.

"I should show you mine in turn," Dusk says to Lianne with a light twist of a smile. He leans forward to regard Khanne. "Hah! I imagine you are always stunning." In a light wane, he steps back. He says, "I ought to take my leave soon, soon. But it was good to be here." He does note Orathy. Sidelong and speculative.

Turtle have been dismissed.

Lianne clucks her tongue at Dusk's words to Khanne, like he's giving away some secret. With feigned resignation, she tells the woman at her side, "It's true," as if it invalidates her earlier compliment. While she's addressing Khanne, she explains, "Juliana and Luis. Finally. She'll be an Igniseri soon." When she looks back to Dusk, she follows his gaze toward Orathy and assures, "My guards can skewer even the trickiest liver if he's here for anything other than conversation and cookies," but she seems to trust that he isn't, not terribly troubled by the man's presence. Looking to the artist more directly again, she tells him, "We'll have to get together soon. I'm glad you were able to make it." It sounds like there's more to that thought, but she falls quiet there, lips smiling and silent.

Khanne smile softly to Fortunato, blushing a little. "You are too kind," and to Lianne too. "Especially when I reflect your beauty with you shining beside me." She winks at Lianne then and takes a sip of her whiskey.

Orathy might have caught some of what Lianne said, MAYBE. The weapons on his person suggests he might be more than thrilled with the challenge of the guards, eyebrow quirked so tauntingly at them as he scoops up a handful of ... well whatever was on the food pile and pops a few bits into his mouth. He side long glances back toward Lianne, his voice rumbling out of his broad chest as he nears, full on Lowers accent thick and stupid as they come, "Reckon I heard it were yer party 'n such. Ya might as well share the joy - whatever these silkies don't eat, have yer guards bundle it up 'n I give it out to the sick and starvin in the Lowers, eh?"

Dusk bows and low. "Until soon, then, Marquessa. Happy birthday," says he, and departs.

Ugarte leaves, following Fortunato.

Gilroy watches as first Gretchen and then Fortunato take their leave. And Rysen too, apparently! "Tt, now I won't have anyone to walk me home." He wanders back over to grab a drink for the road, then offers Lianne a dip of his chin. "Happy birthday, Marquessa." He lifts his drink to the others with whom he has interacted, then makes for the exit.

"A fine idea, Orathy." Lianne lifts her glass in his direction. "We'll have it sent on to the soup kitchen after. Though I do hope you enjoy some of it while you're here." Finding her glass empty again, Fajra comes to collect it. Before another can be delivered, the marquessa lays back on the grass, perfectly content to sprawl out and soak in the sun. And maybe a teensy bit tipsy.

"Ahhhhh aye, I do be missin the fine rich food of Pravus..." he did look more or less underweight from his service in the said quarter. His eyes roam to the guests that still loiter then back to the food, "Reckon there be plenty of folk who would wish ya health 'n hail proper like, if ya bless 'em with what be good to eat that ain't." He shifts a bit, then moves back to the table of food. He's hungry - it shows, he starts to use a plate.

Orathy ^

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

Climbing to her feet from the grass, Vanora dusts herself off and flashes Lianne another smile, reaching out to clasp her fingers once more. "Until we next speak, my dear cousin. Which I pray will be soon, because I may burst otherwise." She turns towards Belladonna and brushes a kiss on the Duchess' cheek. "You owe me a visit as well. But only because I miss you so dearly." With that she bids farewell to all the other party guests as well, before slipping out towards the Thrax ward.

Orathy receives a messenger and it wasn't that scrawny fellow he walked in with. He flips open the letter, having some issue reading it - elbowing the messenger to make out the words for him. The poor messenger looks awkward as he does it, as it's something about a ship and nudity and ... WELL, one can only IMAGINE the messages that an infamous uppity rabble rouser gets. Orathy ends up chortling and shakes his head, "He outta let me eat a bit first... Shit. Reckon I bloody well jist be gettin here.. Ya know the trouble it took to get all this way up into the wards?" He scowls a little then piles more food on his plate, somehow keeping the messenger there to talk back and forth too, pushing food an a plate at him too, "Son, ya gotta eat. Shit wages like you get, ya gotta take advantage of good food like this aye? With yer shit pay, you'd have to work months to avoid even a bite of this..." he goes on and soon enough the messenger is right there nodding along, smirking, grinning and making half assed chuckles in response to Orathy.

Lianne puts A Dirge for Regret in a well-loved leather satchel.

"Very soon," Lianne promises Vanora, though she seems in no state to have any meaningful conversation at the moment. She's even forgotten the book on her lap. Until she rolls over in the grass, at least, and the book falls with her turn. Scooping it up as she settles on her stomach, unconcerned with how her dress has tangled about her calves, she finally sets to reading the odd collection of letters, occasionally looking up to cast an odd look at one of the remaining guests, half-affectionate and half-accusatory. She'll be a bit, trying not to let her emotions get the better of her as she goes through these pages while the wine and sunlight have her disarmed. Surely, there will be more drinking and silliness, but for now, there's trying not to cry.



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