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Poetry Reading: Perspective

Poets, professional or amateur, and those who love them are invited to the next Poetry Reading sponsored by Princess Helena Redrain. This session's theme is Perspective. Those who'd like to read are invited to write to the prompt ahead of time, though poems of all persuasions are always welcome.

The prompt: Write from the perspective -- this could be the point of view of another person, yourself as older or younger than you are now, an object, a natural phenomenon. Challenge yourself to see the world and the subject of your poem from another viewpoint.

As always, requests to read or any questions can be sent via messenger to Princess Helena Redrain.

Set your quills to paper and lift your voices in poetry. We look forward to seeing you there.

Date

April 16, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Helena

Participants

Leta Arcadia Gunther Narcissa Monique Azolla Mikani Khanne Beatrice Merek Etienne Emrys Rysen Donella

Organizations

Scholars

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Vellichorian Academy - Hall of Tutelage

Largesse Level

Refined

Comments and Log


Leta arrives in her somber black silks and her shinies and jewels, hesitating a while by the entrance. She carries a satchel with her, tucked under one arm, her fingers freshly stained with ink. After a small bow of her head, the brawny woman moves to take a seat somewhere towards the back of the room. Or wherever seems to be the back of the room, really. Out of the way.

Arcadia steps into the hall, looking entirely out of place. She gives a quick look around, making sure that no Leary's are there and get the impression that she may be turning into a scholar. She finds herself a seat, and watches as people all file in.

Short stubby legs carry Gunther into the room. The man is clearly not dressed for success and he carries a heavy sack full of what sounds like is rocks. They bulge within and clang a bit and he seems to be lugging it around like a comb-over santa. The pot-bellied man has a white tee shirt that is stained and has yellowing under his arms and down his back. He has suspenders that keep his britches on and he wears the most friendly smile. "Hullo!" He exclaims. And then fat fingers cover his mouth and he lowers his voice to a whisper, "Oh.. sorry, hullo!" He states no less enthusiastically but in a lower voice.

With a disgruntled squawk from her shoulder, Narcissa holds an ink-stained finger to her lips in an attempt to silence the raven perched there. The Lady is dressed in a modest black gown, high-necked and with belled sleeves and flowing skirts that hide almost every inch of her willowy form. Black curls are pulled back into a messy bun, a few strands falling to frame her pallid face. The room, and its strangers to her, are given a once over before she bobs her head respectively - that and a half-second dip of her form that could pass for a curtsy if you didn't blink.

As the witching hour -- or the time for the poetry reading to start -- draws near, Helena steps into the room, brows lifting as she finds a few folks already in place. She smiles, a warm one for those she knows and those she doesn't alike. "Hello!" this is brightly said to Gunther, her own voice not at all a whisper, though perhaps not quite as booming as his. "Please make yourself comfortable, grab a quill and parchment if you'd like, and we'll start in just a moment as everyone settles in," she says, clutching her own journal in her hands as she makes her way to the lectern set in front of the hall.

Monique looks up from the table that she and Etienne occupy, smiling in greeting to the new faces, and the ones she recognizes, tossing a warm wave to Helena. Then she turns back, cocking her crimson head to the Archlector. "... what rhymes with 'Yelm'?"

Azolla wanders in at a slow and steady pace, offering any one who notices her a polite greeting before finding a place to settle and observe the event

Azolla has joined the couches embroidered with an ivory rose.

Mikani enters with Azolla hearing Monique she helps, "Helm?" She looks around and smiles to those she knows.

Chatting quietly with Drysi as she enters, Khanne gives her assistant a nod before looking for a place to sit and a friendly face. She waves to Helena first then pats her bag. "I came equipped. Well, sort of. I came equipped to write if I want to!"

Khanne has joined the a variety of desks arranged in a semicircle.

Beatrice arrives dressed for the autumn - which is to say bundled into a fur-lined cloak like any reasonable Lycene. Gunther, or more accurately his sack, gets a quizzical look while Khanne Halfshav gets a bright smile on noticing her. Taking one of Khanne's hands in both of hers, Beatrice presses to it a warm kiss. "Well met, Vala Khanne." Tone bright despite the serious look to her dark eyes, Beatrice squeezes her hand before turning in Monique's direction. "/Overwhelm/." She slides a chair for herself from the table with a respectful nod to Ettienne. "Something you know far too much about. May I join you?"

Beatrice has joined the an Aion starlight table.

Mikani has joined the couches embroidered with an ivory rose.

Merek makes his way to the hall to listen to poetry!

Etienne is dressed in dark colors, black and red and sits at a table lack of parchment or other parchment related articles. He is relaxed and positioned to easily see and hear the room, as would be necessary. "Helm?" he offers Monique in answer. "Perhaps realm?" he adds for consideration.

With a narrowed amber gaze at all of the seating arrangements, Narcissa lingers near the door, no uncertainty but calculation.

Leta has joined the a variety of desks arranged in a semicircle.

Emrys doesn't quite look the poet, truth be told. The Eldest Whisper arrives clad in blue and grey, his appearance immaculate, and in so being, remote. His face is a calm mask as he considers those assembled therein, his dark gaze moving upon face after face, before inclining his head to those present. No one in particular. He does notice Narcissa, standing by the door. "Does My Lady require aid to enter?" he asks. The words might be mocking, yet it's so very difficult to tell, the tone purposefully flat. And then, to confuse matters, he offers her his arm. "Lady Narcissa Fidante."

Rysen enters the hall and bows to Helena. He turns to take his customary place in the back of the room, smiling to see many familiar faces. He finds a place in the back not far from Leta.

Leta has chosen a desk. Sadly, they're in a semicircle, so there's no desk in the back she can abscond to. Instead, she picks one furthest off to the side. She lays her satchel on her knee, opens it with ink-stained fingers, and starts taking out a number of pieces of parchment. There are poems on them. There's more errors and crossed out lines and ink blots than poem, but it's definitely arranged in stanzas or something like them. She spreads them out on the table, then tries to sort them into the right order, tongue hanging out of her lips. Now and then she looks up to offer respectful nods to anyone who comes near, starting with Rysen.

Monique catches Mikani's suggestion and turns it over on her tongue. "Helm. Hm. Helm. That might work." She offers the woman a gracious nod. "My thanks, my lady!" And then Beatrice is joining them and the smile grows wider. "Oooh, overwhelm! You all are so /good/ at this! How are you Lady Beatrice?" she asks, waving the lovely lady to join them. "Realm..." Etienne's suggestion seems to be a good one, too. "Well, now how will I choose," the Minx pouts.

The use of her name gets a sharp turn of her head, Narcissa's lips caught somewhere between a smile and a smirk. She settles for a radiant curl of her lips, extending her arm gracefully for the elder Whisper to take. "You surprise me, and us only having met once before? Your memory is immaculate. Shall we?" and with a small curtsy, she concedes to him the seats to be chosen. As they walk she asides, "I do hope the evening finds you well? Any other faces I should be knowing, from -your- knowing, here?"

Gunther has joined the couches embroidered with an ivory rose.

Arcadia keeps her back against the wall. Eyes wide as she watches all these people writing. Her foot begins it's nervous habit of tapping whenever found in silent scholarly places. She resists the urge to start humming, when Jesmond shoots her a look. She tries really hard to be quiet, but her toes certainly keep jiggling around in her boot.

Mikani waves at Arcadia. "You can come over here Cady. Have you met Lady Azolla?" Mika calls out. Mika never one to be too quiet just smiles warmly at Arcadia.

Gunther smiles and grins to one and all. He waves a mitt and lumbers over to the couches where he just sets down the rocks with a bunch of clattering within the sack. And he grunts and settles down. His fingers rub together over and push over each other nervously. His eyes look around warmly at everyone. At one point he spits a little in his hand and pushes his wet hand over the few strands that beg for mercy on the top of his mostly bald crown. He flattens them down. Preening.

Noticing Arcadia fidget, Rysen laughs softly, unconscious of his own foot nervously tapping as he leans against a tall shelf of books.

Emrys has joined the a variety of desks arranged in a semicircle.

Narcissa has joined the a variety of desks arranged in a semicircle.

It is to Etienne that Beatrice answers as she pulls her cloak about her arms. "Do I want to know what a yelm is?" A wry, slow-curving smile flashes Monique's way. "Positively miserable until three minutes ago. How do /you/ do, my Lady?" A searching look over Etienne. "Are you a poet, archlector, or an admirer of them?"

Azolla offers Arcadia a warm smile and says, ?Yes, do join us Lady Cady.? Azolla also smiles at Rysen, giving his a small incline of her head in greeting

Mikani grins more as she sees Rysen. "Lord Rysen!" She calls out. "Good to see you again."

"A Whisper with a poor memory could ill afford to bear the title at all." Emrys remarks to Narcissa as they make their way towards the desks. "As to the evening, we shall see. I imagine it will be dependant on the quality of the contributions tonight." No pressure, everyone. Except all of it. "As to the faces..." The Eldest scans the room again. "Should depends on your needs. There may be many, or none. As to the ones you might find interesting..." It's not quite a full shrug, but the gesture is there. "Perhaps we'll see with the poetry put on display tonight." And then they arrive by the desks, and after Emrys pulls Narcissa's seat, as manners demand, he sits down.

Helena looks amused by those entering (or not) and Monique's use of the other reading attendees as rhyming dictionaries. She steps behind the lectern, her chin lifting as she addresses the group. "Welcome one and all! It's lovely to see new faces tonight, as well as those who have been here before. I appreciate all of you coming, whether it is to listen or read one of your own pieces, or both."



The Redrain princess tips her head. "I have a few people reading tonight, so we'll save the rest of you from doing the writing prompt -- if you want to try later, the prompt was going to be to write from the perspective of your favorite color. Fitting for today's prompt, which is on perspective, and trying to see from the eyes or point of view of someone or something other than yourself." She glances around. "I have two of my own tonight and one from Lord Alessandro Greenmarch's lovely poem."

3 Last Watch Sentries, 3 Redrain Guards arrive, following Donella.

"An admirer of prose in all forms, I've never thought of myself as much of a poet though." Etienne answers Beatrice. "I've been told I have on occasion pulled together some interesting imagery, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to them." he smiles and continues to watch the crowd form.

Rysen bows in return to Azolla, and blinks to see Mikani in the hall. He walks over to her side and whispers something to her, smiling brightly, before wandering again to the back of the room, to lean nervously against a towering bookcase.

Monique grimaces at the mention of her cousin-by-marriage. "Oh, well, that's just not fair. Alessandro is ever so much better at these things," she grumbles aloud, scowling in the direction of the Greenmarch Lodge unerringly.

When she arrived, Beatrice had kissed Khanne's hand in greeting, leaving the shaman blinking and staring at it as if unsure what to do, or even what this thing at the end of her hand is anymore. It takes her awhile, but, eventually, she smiles. "Lady Beatrice. It is always a pleasure to see you." The Lycene all wrapped in a cloak leaves and Khanne sits at one of the desks, smiling towards Leta when she joins the semi-circle. Otherwise, she has a rather thoughtful look on her face while she pulls out a book and a quill to write with.

"Poor memory could easily be passed off as selective memory. If not of import, if trite, is there reason to recall it?" Narcissa opines to Emrys as she takes the seat so properly pulled out for her, nodding her thanks. "Since I am a contender, I will leave you to be judge and jury of the contributions. Impartial, and all of that." With a waggle of her pale fingers she greets those they sit beside.

Donella finds a way to wedge herself into the poetry space of the Hall of Tutelage, activities already being underway. No quill, no paper. Just her little wax tablet and stylus, though those stay poking half out of her dangling pocket.

The Redrain princess pulls a folded parchment from her journal. "This has no title, but Lord Alessandro told me it was from the perspective of the Prodigal refugees forced from their lands.



"What is home?

Four walls, a roof, a door

A hearth with a crackling fire, the smell of bread baking

In the kitchen.

Laughter.

What is home?

Bootsteps thundering down a smooth road

Screaming voices, the clash of swords

Ringing in the air, a clarion call ?

A death knell.

What is home?

Weary feet, muddy clothes, a torn dress

Surging forward without rest, looking ahead to forget

behind.

What is home?

New faces, new names

New hopes, new fears, new dreams, new loves, new

home."



Her voice is clear as she reads, but her eyes glimmer as they do when she is touched by beauty or sorrow or both combined -- often the case in poetry, of course.

Rysen applauds warmly. "Very well written, and very well read."

Monique waves to Donella from across the room, motioning the High Lady of Redrain over quite emphatically, though the motions fall as the first poem is read.

A small book resting on her knee, Beatrice scribbles onto it as Helena recites. She taps the fingers of her free hand against the edge of the table in soft applause. "Diving straight to the heart this evening."

Azolla offers her applause after the poem is read. She keeps a quiet focus of the event

Donella has joined the an Aion starlight table.

So many people spotting Donella all at once. Khanne does as well and smiles, lifting her hand to wave to the wife of her High Lord.

Gunther has his thinkin' cap on and he listens quietly next to his bag of wrocks. He listens and seems a bit puzzled and he scratches at the back of his neck while he contemplates, "I reckon that's a fine poem. Cuz their home was something, then they gots to move. I done that a lot. When there wasn't enough money for no vittles. My Sally and I we had each other as home."

Mikani smiles listening to the poem. She claps softly when it is done.

Helena is overheard praising Alessandro.

Donella Redrain, professional wife and mother. She ticks her fingers in the air in greeting, embarassed to have been caught sneaking in so late, but very grim plants her bottom on the edge of a seat. "Helena," she says, "What do you think that poet would say to the idea of home as a place that only exists in hindsight?"

Leta looks up from her papers and listens. She's thoughtful for a while, and remains silent for a few seconds after the poem's done, only then clapping once she realizes everyone else is and that's what you're supposed to do.

Carefully folding the parchment, Helena tucks it in her journal, before opening that to a page marked by a green ribbon. Donella's question turns her head that way, and she tips hers thoughtfully. "I think he would sadly agree that for many that is true, but for those given a place to rebuild, it doesn't have to be," she says quietly. "I know those Houses who are offering their lands to those displaced hope that the Refugees will come to see them as their homes, in time. For some, home can never be replaced, of course." She offers a sad smile to Donella.

Arcadia eventually makes her way over to sit with the others.

Arcadia has joined the couches embroidered with an ivory rose.

"I've just two small ones to read myself," the Redrain princess continues. "The first is perhaps a little solemn, so I'll read that next, before I give something a little bit lighter, perhaps."

Mikani looks at Helena. "I think for some of those 'displaced' where they were coming from may not have been a home. In the case of Thralls ... Home is a place in the future. It is hope ... it is a place you can't dream of yet. A place of belonging you have never had." Mika closes her mouth suddenly. "Home ... for some is untangible ... yet something you reach for."

Monique has joined the line.

Narcissa has joined the line.

Donella says, "I hold with those who hold their home only as an idea. With few exceptions, it is the only place you can keep it, and only the failing of the mind can take it. But the poet makes the previous home sound like the mouth of a shark, the burning deck of a sinking ship in blockade. I do not know how many times one can reinvent home before the shine comes off."

Leta has joined the line.

Rysen's grey eyes shift to Mikani as she speaks, and then to Donella.

Gunther stands and looks around. He opens his mouth and then shuts it. He then takes a big breath full of courage and when he exhales a squeak instead of words comes out. He takes a moment and states, "Ain't so good at making words sound like other words or nothin' fancy pantsy. One of them Mercies told me mayhaps I be doin' some poem about how I feels. So I'm gonna try it." Her Gunther pauses, does another breath and then recites with eyes closed while his fingers tug and let his suspenders snap back in place with a /pop/.



"Mah Sally..



In the mornin' I turns over,

And love flows from my peepers,

And if I just think in the right way,

It's like you're still there.



I remember them soft sounds,

When my brain ain't so foggy from all them blows,

Of your voice, echoes of what was.

That follow me around like ghosts.



You is always by my side,

But I can't put my mitts in yours,

Why them Gods took you,

I reckon I'll never understand.



The hot days seem like the y burn forever

And them dark nights just goes on and on

Dreams ain't so sweet and sometimes them nightmares come,

Like when I get scared I'll forget you..

and that's worse than death.



But despite it all and the sorrow,

My love never goes away,

You may be gone and lost to me forever

But in its in my heart you stay.



So I'll go on breathin'

Cuz then you is in some way still alive

And when them Gods take me

All I can do is hope to be by your side.."



Gunther opens his eyes and then states softly, "Thank you." And he sits.

Rysen smiles to hear Gunther's poem, and he applauds from the back of the hall.

Arcadia immediately dampens her eyes with Gunther's words. Hurriedly she swipes then with a handkerchief. "That was lovely." she adds her applause as the crowd does.

Mikani smiles at Gunther. His love for his wife always warmed her.

Minerva, the Northern Hawk Owl arrives, delivering a message to Arcadia before departing.

Mikani's words earn a nod of agreement from Helena, and so does Donella. "Very true," she says. " before she turns to her journal. Gunther's popped up to read, though, and she turns her attention to him, smiling softly. Somewhere along the way, though her smile's slipped away and that threat of tears grows, welling up until a couple slip free and down her cheek. "Beautiful," she says softly, before stepping away from the lectern, wiping her eyes. "Not forever. You'll find one another again," she whispers, before reaching up to brush tears from her cheeks and pressing her lips together.

Khanne holds up a finger to another she speaks with in the cluster of desks as she pauses to hear Gunther speak. When he finishes, she seems struck silent. Her lips purse slightly in a small pout and she clasps her hands together, not clapping, but holding them close to her heart. Nodding, she whispers, "beautiful sentiments... melancholic beauty."

Helena is overheard praising Gunther.

Monique is overheard praising Gunther: Eidolons, most certainly.

Leta sits and fidgets with her belongings. As Gunther rises, she turns to listen, taking in the man before taking in his words. Halfway through, she draws her lips into a tight thin line and lowers her eyes to her hands on the desktop, swallowing in dry. She draws a sharp sniff and brings her hands together to clap. Her eyes stay down.

Gunther nods slowly, "Thank you. She was special. I prays and does good by her. So that's all I can do." It's all he says. And then adds to Khanne, "And thank you to that Melancholic fella, I'm sure she is pretty as you say."

Khanne just grins and nods to Gunther with a smile.

With a nod from Helena,Rysen makes his way to the front of the hall. "I have two short poems to test your patience,” he says with a wry smile. "The first is also on the subject of prodigals. It is written in blank verse, and I call it The Mother’s Lament." As usual, Rysen does not read from a paper, but closes his eyes for moment before opening them again with a solemn expression.



Rysen beings to chant in a solemn voice:



"Gone now a full year, my love, gone

Forever but not forgotten. For a

Better life you allied yourself, and payed

With all you had, but for your service and

Loyalty, what recompense from those you served?

Cold hatred, fear and envy – they call us

Prodigal, corrupt, savage – not brothers

And sisters but animals to be culled.

Your son cries out for food and love, but

Only the stalest bread and exhausted

Kisses can I give. O that my body

Could give more! Yet does the toil in the

Field, seek to end my weariness forever,

As the arrow that brought you to the House of Death."



Rysen ceases his chant, and lets out a deep breath.

With a murmur and a smile to her table, Beatrice slips out of the room between presenters. She wraps the fur-lined cloak tighter around her body.

Beatrice has left the an Aion starlight table.

Arcadia inhales and holds her breath at Rysen's words, watching him impressed.

Donella has left the an Aion starlight table.

3 Last Watch Sentries have been dismissed.

3 Redrain Guards have been dismissed.

After a moment’s pause, Rysen says, "I would like also to present something in a happier strain. This poem is called The Shepherd’s Song."



Rysen beings to chant in a rich, melodious voice:



"I tread through dewy grasses,

All through out the fells,

My flock full happy bleating,

Through the meadows and the dells,"



"The streams are singing merrily,

In harmony, my heart,

Adds its soaring, happy song,

And joined next by the lark,"



"For what in mighty Nature,

From the worm to fiery bull

Can keep a song from bursting forth

When its soul with love is full?"



"We wander to a flowing rill,

And my flock there happy graze,

And I from reeds soon fashioning

A pipe therewith to play"



"A soaring rural aria,

In tribute to my love,

The humblest of offerings

Yet from true devotion comes,"



"And though I wander far and wide

My flock to guard and feed,

My thoughts are ever with you, Love,

As I play this pipe of reeds."



Rysen’s chant ceases, and he bows. He then makes his way again to the back of the hall.

Arcadia applauds immediately for Rysen, she shifts back from the couches she's at to congratulate him.

Monique has joined the line.

Narcissa has joined the line.

Leta has joined the line.

Monique's hands come together, applauding the latest set of poems with a more somber nature than is usually her wont. "Lovely work," the Minx compliments Rysen.

Mikani applauds Rysen and smiles.

The poor sensitive Helena is still tearful over Gunther's when Rysen's next has more tears welling up and slipping down her pale cheeks. She applauds softly the first poem, then listens, smiling at the second's pastoral beauty. "Lovely, as usual, Poet Rysen," she says with a dip of her head for him, a hand reaching up to brush another tear from her cheek. "Gods. Keep reading, I cannot yet," she says, gesturing to the others with a slightly abashed laugh.

It takes Leta a while to look up after Gunther's poem, finally focusing on Rysen's two with a faint frown of thought for the first and a small smile gradually warming up for the second. She applauds too, then leans back and rubs her hands across her thighs under the desk. She looks at her own work, on the parchment, and scowls.

Helena is overheard praising Rysen: beautiful poetry

Monique is overheard praising Rysen: Yet again, he proves to be an incredible poet

Khanne applauds gently for Rysen, smiling as she does and nodding to those she sits with.

Gunther claps and all and his rope secured and worn boot pokes at his bag of rocks absently. He smiles and at Rysen and contemplates the words. It will take some time for him to get through them.

Helena has joined the line.



Monique rises from the table, clearing her throat regally. "I have prepared for you a /truly/ spectacularly awful piece tonight. It is from my own perspective, I'm afraid, but it was a situation I simply had to capture through my own eyes because telling it from the subject's point of view would have been in bad taste." She takes a fortifying breath, and then begins to declaim.



"'I was still feeding when the book was shut, I was reading!'

Is that what the fly was thinking to itself?

it got stuck at 'quibbling', the least appealing word

in a book on problems of philosophy.

Were you attracted to the two b's?

I'm sorry, I didn't notice you

But you died by the words of a profound thinker

Yelm would have been proud to know you landed on

Platinum's dialogue with Copper.

'Fire is the test of gold, adversity is the test of men'

I'm sorry, I didn't see you fly by

You didn't die, in my mind. But

it is your mind that matters

if you were paying attention to Platinum.

You were most certainly a fruit fly

Were you after the fruit of wisdom?

I tried to flick you, but you stayed stuck

I admire you for sticking by your words

This is an ode to you

the wisest of flies."



And that seems to be... it. The Minx of the Marches takes a sweeping bow, and then sinks back into her seat, completely satisfied with her work of awful.



Narcissa listens to each poet in turn, applauding after each one with a polite and reserved mien.

Rysen beams at Monique and claps loudly. "Every poem you present is an epic, Lady Monique - filled with terrible violence, high wisdom and beautiful words!"

Gunther chuckles and claps, "That's interestin'." Gunther states, "Cuz the fly was stuck to them pages. And he was a fruit fly of wisdom! I really like that one I does. It's realy nice."

Arcadia applauds Monique, while after, she gives a brief dip of her head and heads towards the door. Ready to deal with the missive she was just sent.

Arcadia has left the couches embroidered with an ivory rose.

Jesmond the Giant leaves, following Arcadia.

Monique snorts in Rysen's direction, giving a shake of her crimson head. "You insult me, Lord Crovane! I might have to call you out in Challenge for such praise," she teases him lightly. "It's meant to be /awful/."

Etienne adds his applause to each poet as they recite, when it's Monique's turn he claps a bit slower, as if having trouble digesting the words. "Well, at least that fly led an interesting life?" he asks.

Rysen laughs! "It was awful - for the fly," he says grinning.

"And here I was expecting something on cheese," says Helena, but she smiles and applauds. "You say it's awful, but it's actually quite clever, Lady Monique. I wonder what sublime heights you might reach if you weren't aiming for awful, because your awful is still awfully good."

Helena is overheard praising Monique: Lady of the Flies

Mikani sips from her flask as she listens to the poems.

Rysen is overheard praising Monique: A verse that flies in the face of good taste!

Khanne has joined the line.

With a murmured something to Emrys as she rises, Narcissa moves to the forefront as her turn comes with a swish of black silks. "I know half of you as well as ..well, no one. I know none of you save Whisper Emrys and now Vala Khanne." A beat. "And Leta. But, without much ado or ague, I am Lady Narcissa Fidante - The Wallflower of Tor." she introduces with a smirk, her conversational tones shifting intonation for velvet euphony - in spite of the macabre subject matter.



"The bow's cruel twist, the flash of pearl,

Whispered nothings into cruel sneer.

What matters if one's king or churl?

Crimson flows, staining pride's veneer.



%Youth's first blush turned to heart's regret,

Her folly given the Wheel reins to steer.

Another turn, another knave and coquet,

The cycle churns, never learn, always revere. "

Monique mock-glowers in Helena and Rysen's direction, settling in to sulk at Etienne and listen to the next poet. Poor Archlector.

Khanne spends a moment writing... no, scribbling in her book. After a few lines are jotted down, she frowns and taps at the page with her quill.

Rysen's laugher fades with Narcissa's poem, and he claps when she finishes, but his expression is deeply thoughtful.

Emrys is overheard praising Narcissa: To the cycle.

"Pleased to have you, Lady Narcissa," Helena says with a smile, before listening, nodding with the meter of the poem. "Well done. Such lovely and disturbing imagery, making the dark beautiful," she says with a nod, her tears at least at bay for now.

Helena is overheard praising Narcissa.

Narcissa pauses at the silence that follows. "Well, we can't all be sunshine and rainbows, darlings. Thank you for the opportunity." she imparts to Helena with a kind smile and a hand pressed fondly over her heart, moving to take her seat once more.

Monique is overheard praising Narcissa: Pride is The Best

Khanne tilts her head, quill still tapping at her page as she listens to Narcissa's poem. She sets it down finally to applaud. "Youth's first blush turned to heart's regret.... I like that line."

Leta claps for each poem, but she's growing increasingly distracted, chewing up her lip while she goes over over the parchment in her hands with a growing scowl marring her brow.

Mikani closes her eyes and leans her head back against the couch to listen to the poems. She allows the words to flow over her and through her as she listens.

Rysen has joined the couches embroidered with an ivory rose.

Eventually, after looking around, Leta slowly stands up and bows her head to the gathered public, tugging down on her doublet before grabbing her pile of messy parchments. There's a hint of pink to her cheeks. "I - well, it's a long poem. Sorry. It's not about anything like some poems that are about themes and whatnot, as we've heard. It's just - it's from the perspective of my Meowlarice. Sorry." The brawny knight is trying to tone down her Boroughs accent for this. She draws a breath and starts.

I sit and survey my domain,

my lofty perch steady and sure,

and while without there's wind and rain,

within these walls my realm's secure.



The big one comes in steel and silk,

she pokes and stokes the logs aflame,

she sets out food, fat fish and milk,

then sits and coos and calls my name.



I shall not go, I'll soon be full,

I bagged a bird just before dusk.

And while she calls, I bite and pull

feathers and flesh from boney husk.



My children come, in threes and twos,

in from the rain, out from the gloom,

to nip at food and nip at shoes,

meowling of ghosts and elves and doom.



She does not hear, she never does,

but pets them all and finds them food,

and soon, like lazy balls of fuzz,

my brood lies strewn across the wood.



I deign, at last, to leap below,

from my high perch upon the shelf,

to counsel her on things I know,

since she knows not even herself.



She sits with quill in unsure hand,

thinking of things best left unthought.

I stalk her desk and there shall stand

ere any writings can be wrought.



She grieves for things that are long past,

for missing scents this house once knew,

when I bare claws, feline and fast,

and claw her arm, and bite and chew.



She yelps and barks in disbelief,

while kittens flee across the floor.

Like fury chased away her grief,

I let her chase me out the door.



In time she stills, I hear it through

The flame-lit panes of foggy glass,

she cries, then laughs, then that fades too,

replaced by snoring like an ass.



It's raining yet; I return soon,

and name my throne the windowsill,

where I rule, curled, under the moon,

my realm at last silent and still.



She recites it from memory, glancing only briefly at her papers. At the end, she just sits back down. Then gets up. "Thank you." Then sits back down.

"It's refreshing to have the cycle be so represented. Thank you." Emrys nods to Narcissa, and then falls silent as he listens to Leta's contribution.

Khanne smiles and applauds. "That was very good, Dame. Almost makes me want a cat."

The apologies about length get a handwave of dismissal from Helena. She likes big poems and cannot lie, and Leta with the big poem is here to deliver. She smiles after a moment, quite charmed, and laughs now and then at the lines describing the cat's attitude and superiority. "You have quite captured the essence of our feline overlords, I think, Dame Leta," the princess says with a pleased smile.

Monique is overheard praising Leta: An epic Epic!

Helena is overheard praising Leta: Pawsitively Purrfect

Now that his part is over, Rysen sits down on the couch next to Gunther, Mikani and Azolla. Mikani offers him her flask, and Rysen accepts it with a grin and takes a long drink, before handing it back. When Leta recites her poem from memory, Rysen leans forward. When she finishes, he claps vigorously, and his eyes remain on Leta as she sits, rises and sits again.

Helena stands and heads to the lectern next. "I have just two small ones. I think I'll read the more somber one first, followed by the lighter one," she says thoughtfully. "The first is called West. It is no secret I am a fan of trees."



"Each of us is a universe

unto themselves.

Each branch, a world,

home to millions.

Each leaf, a life:

Birthed, grown,

changed, fallen.

Mourned.



Each of us is only a part,

fragment of the forest

father, mother to all.

Our voice is the whisper

of millions of leaves.

In the hundred years it takes

for us to grow tall,

we watch over those

who call us home:

Birthed, grown, changed, fallen.

Mourned."

Sir Floppington, the soulful hound arrives, following Rowenova.

Azolla is intently listening to the poems as they are read, offering her applause after eachon

"Thank you." Leta inclines her head again at the applause, glancing up briefly from her parchments, her rosy cheeks ruddier still. "Well, it's hard to write on account of Meowlarice sometimes so I thought I'd write that because of the perspective thing and all..." She explains, then just settles in, pushing the writing away from herself so she can fold her hands on the table and listen to the following poems.

Narcissa is overheard praising Helena: For finding poets in us all.

Khanne applauds for Helena's poem about trees, smiling, though, she licks her lips, also starting to look a little nervous.

Monique's lips curve up at Helena's poem, pressing her palms together in open appreciation for the work being presented. "Truly lovely," she compliments softly.

Turning the page, Helena smooths the green ribbon in the journal. "And a lighter one. On behalf of my poor quill."



"They say the pen is mightier than the sword

and yet they ever credit the writer,

not the quill. Still, it is I who flies

In flourish and loops, serifs and dots,

limited by the margins of the page,

though once I owned the entire sky

and was king of the horizon.



They say the writer breathes life

Into words penned upon paper,

but mine knows not what it means to live.

Not like I! My spirit danced with the wind,

My wings, kissed by the warmth of the sun.

And now I must content myself as she

drags me, east to west, in her flights of fancy."

Monique is overheard praising Helena: Wiz of Words, Master of Metaphor

Narcissa totally sits her for the remainder of the poems read, only dipping out when all have had their turn.

Narcissa has left the a variety of desks arranged in a semicircle.

Nevermore, the sulking raven leaves, following Narcissa.

Rysen smiles as he listens to Helena read her verse. He applauds warmly, and says, "I think I owe my quill more thought than I've given it."

Rysen is overheard praising Helena: Vibrant, beautiful verse.

Mikani smiles as Rysen takes the flask and when she gets it back she takes another long draw. She applauds at the end of the poems. "Very well done." She is impressed by them all. Poetry was never her forte.

Khanne clears her throat and stands to head towards a spot where everyone can see her. She has her book with her, held tightly in her hands, fingers stained with ink and knuckles white. Looking up she sees all those waiting for her to speak and clears her throat, quickly looking to her page. "Um... Hi." She removes one hand and waves before grasping her booka gain. "I'm Khanne, for those who don't know me...." Looking around the room again she squints. "A few of you... Um, so, I am new at this poetry writing stuff. I am not the poet in my family, by far, and, well, they are short, maybe even too short to be poems...." She stops and looks up, twisting her lips to the side before standing straighter, as if she reminded herself to do so. "I just wrote them, so, uh... They aren't titled. First..." Clearing her throat again, she reads.



"to the mountain peak

we are infinitely small

to the blade of grass

we are immeasureable giants

yet within us

we have the power to

destroy

both;

one with a simple step

the other one rock at a time."



Finishing she looks up and flips the page to her other poem.

Helena steps away from the lectern, done with her part for the evening, listening to Khanne with a smile. She applauds. "There is no such thing as a poem too small, Lady Khanne. Well done, and very wise."

Helena is overheard praising Khanne.

Mikani is overheard praising Khanne.

After hearing Khanne's introduction, and then hearing her first poem, Rysen shakes his head and says, "That is most certainly a poem." He glances at Helena, with a smile, and says softly, "She just wrote that?"

"The other," Khanne says, eyes scanning her own words. "I probably shouldn't even read. It was rushed, truly, and, not really where I want it, but someone really wise and lovely once told me that poetry isn't about perfection, but about practice.. and that I can only get better by writing more... so..." She clears her throat again, and swallows.



"Eyes from the past watch

weary

thinking us lost and unprepared

while bright eyed

the future waits

seeing us as hope

for if we fail...



they may never be."



Khanne nods and walks back to her seat. She smiles at Helena and then to Rysen. "Yes... just sitting here."

Mikani looks in awe. "Well you may think you need practice but I think you have the soul of a poet."

Rysen nods to Khanne, and smiles. "You should most definitely continue your practice if you enjoy it," he says, but there is some sad look in his eyes after her second poem, that may suggest his failures have made him the murderer of countless bright eyed futures.

"Lovely, again. Your words ring true and there is beauty in that. Well said," Helena says, applauding again, before she lifts her chin to address the rest. "Thank you for coming tonight and supporting those who are brave enough to lift their voices, unpracticed or professional, to share our perspectives on the world. I hope you learned something today, if only to avoid closing a book too quickly." Her eyes sparkle a bit as she nods to those in attendance her appreciation and farewell.

Helena is overheard praising Scholars.

Khanne smiles towards Mikani and says, "thank you... very much," and to Rysen. "I will try." Closing her book she is starting to look a bit bashful. "Thank you.. Helena. Um.. Thank you for hosting! I am glad I could make another one!"



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