Shepherd Family Fete
June 6, 2019, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Shepherd Manor - Dining Room
Comments and Log
1 Inquisition Confessors, Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, Constance, the Staunch Shepherd Champion arrive, following Delilah.
Oskar, the grump arrives, following Malcolm.
Oskar, the grump have been dismissed.
2 Whitehawk Guards arrives, following Bedivere.
Bonnie, possibly setting the foundation for a Big Sister program, has Ronja no doubt enthralled with tales of seafaring derring-do. "..and that's why, you should always spit on it first, even if they think it's gross." So far she's made her way to the 3/4s mark of a bottle brought along and kept far, far away from where Ronja can get at it but where her own superior reach can keep refilling the mug she keeps nearby. It's just one of those mild, light conversational efforts to keep things civil until actually important matters or at least something that requires concerted chewing is provided. "For the most part, however, gloves are a better substitute. Boiled and waxed ropes are rarely either, unless you've got a properly beaten and chastened quartermaster."
How many family dinner parties should start with the following: "Are these our plates? These, these are NICE plates. I think we need some not-so-good plates, just in case I drop any. Also, yes - I think that dart is still sticking out of that poor mountain goat's neck? Poor Bruce. That's ah - that's what I named "
Malcolm says, "-- im." Malcolm's sort of strolls in, not contributing much beyond that before he notices the bottle. The sister. The sister's guest. Then he offers a cheery grin. "Evenin!""
Only late by five minutes, Lord Bedivere and a couple guards from Whitehawk fam show up to the Shepherd Dinner. He briefly smiles to Duchess Delilah before eventually finding a dinner seat. "Evening, Duke Malcom."
Bedivere has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
Malcolm has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
Bonnie has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
Lilah is the one to stand in the corner with two bottles of wine and one very impressive rolled up piece of paper. Very impressive, a ducal bapping stick. She may have acquired the idea from Sina regardless. "Darling, I couldn't decide whether an effervescent red or a left hook to the palate was called for, so I may have brought both. And a little magic, if no one minds."
Delilah has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
An only slightly exasperated looking Wyatt wanders in with a ledger tucked underneath his arm, quill in hand, and clears his throat, "They are Shepherd Family Plates that have been in the family for three generations, when Duchess Kathyrn Shepherd was given them as a gift by a young Uriel Bisland. They were placed into storage by father who, and said, and I quote, 'we won't eat off anything given by a shav-loving weakling like Uriel'." Wyatt looks a little awkaward and then adds, "I thought it best to bring them out of retirement upon your return, and to celebrate your marriage. They are quite good!" Wyatt waves at Bonnie, and looks confused at Ronja, glancing around as if to decide that this was the right place, "Good to see you, cousin. And... guest."
Wyatt has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
Ronja is extremely not a member of House Shepherd. For one, she looks (and speaks, with that sun-dazed accent) like some kind of grubby person who comes to Arx on a ship bringing coffee beans. Just in nicer, and bluer, armor. She's also wearing a cloak that has huge House Valardin iconography on it, which is kind of a giveaway, as these things go. "Oh, of course," she replies to Bonnie. "So, one ship I crewed on, one of the madmen brings aboard a cat. Awful thing. Now, don't get me wrong, I like cats. But this was an awful one. Wailing in the night, nicking the food off your plate. Anyway, so, it's a bad storm, and we get all lost on the Eventide Vast because, well, it's the Eventide Vast, and our navigator went and somehow got a sunburn so bad that parts of him fell off. So we're lost, no food, but this cat keeps wandering around, annoying the hell out of us all. So in that situation, you ask yourself a few questions you don't like asking yourself, Lady Bonnie. What I'm asking you, is: do you eat p--" And then as other people suddenly start wandering in, Ronja cuts herself off, and calmly has a drink from the cup of whatever it is she has to keep asking Bonnie to serve her.
Ronja has joined the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
" -- only if the situation calls for it." Malcolm offers (un)helpfully and with a (not very) straight face. The Shepherd Duke drops into a sit and tips back into it slightly, offering a boyish and crooked smile as he greets (in no order) "Bon. Wyatt. Lilah." A brief, momentary cautious look toward the impressively rolled piece of parchment, He idly rubs his (snoot) nose for a second and snorts a laugh, "Guests. Well met. Like new folks to drop by an' such. Make it so much more interestin, that it does."
Bonnie tops up the mug she has with the bottle, though when Malcolm enters she uses it to wave. "Hey, Mal! Are you alright? You're walking in straight lines." That's obviously a problem and for now, the solution is to lightly lob the bottle she has towards him in an underhanded pitch. Just a nice slow floater helped along its path by being nearer to the halfway mark now. "Quick, before the urchins take it all. I mean, she's paced herself so far, but.." Reaching up, realizing she's still wearing her cap, she sets the rather quaint feathered fascinator down beside her in order to refresh the curl in her hair with some thorough rubbing. It's from that gesture that she comes up with a wave both towards Wyatt and towards Bedivere. "Good to see you again, Wy. And.. guest." That has a slight snickering to follow it, but she chastens herself with an appropriately modest and restrained sip from her mug afterwards instead of a gulp.
Wyatt looks completely lost at Ronja's story and mutters more to himself than to others, "Parchment? Musn't eat that, very dry and provides no nourishment, even in emergencies." He has a pained look at the toss of the wine bottle by Bonnie, raising a hand in alarm. "That's! A great... very expensive... throwing... arm." His arm slowly comes down as he pinches the bridge of his nose, before he sets his ledger down on his lap with a look of resignation.
"My Lords, my Ladies. Ronja Sandreef, at your service." Ronja's name is given out individually and quietly, not just hollered out at the room. She's a guest, after all. "Thank you for your hospitality. Your home is absolutely lovely. I apologize in advance for being a big red blot on its good standing for the evening, and I'm sure that if you send a messenger to the Crimson Blades they'll sort me out for my misdeeds later and justice will at last be served. And quite right, don't eat parchment. It just stays in you and you'll grow a plant out your navel."
The peregrine among a cluster of hounds, a hawk, and a wave dancer puts the pair of wine bottles atop the table with a rather solid thunk. She glances aside at Bedivere, a look of reverent mischief illuminating her features with a wicked brilliance. "Everyone, may I have the pleasure of introducing my uncle, Bedivere Whitehawk, he of far greater military prowess and patient child-rearing than anyone else ever possessed? Because imagine /nine/ of me, and you begin to understand his own generational woes." Delilah wiggles the rolled up paper caught in the crook of her elbow, flashing a sidelong consideration at Malcolm again whilst the others settle in. "The urchins are currently studying upstairs, darling Bonnie, and they've been ennobled. Neither do they drink. I assure you of that, for if I catch one of them doing it, we will have to come up with a more creative punishment than the one I have in mind." She dips her head to Ronja, grin widening. "Say hi to Baroness Violet to me when you can. Vi is good people, and Harlex is... Harlex."
Bedivere waves back his left/only hand to Bonnie, but then he is 'called out' by his Duchess 'niece' after which he stands up with a slight bow for the beginning half before he clunks back down for the latter half with hazel eyes going wide as a follow up to the nine younger than he for whom he is Uncle. Though, he soon smiles, but only briefly/slightly. "Thank you." "I think."
Looking only a little bit sheepish, Jennyva slips in to where the others are gathered. Wine is obtained and she finds somewhere to settle in, not immediately speaking up to join the conversation.
Malcolm does catch that bottle, easily, and he laughs in a puff of exhaled air and shaking shoulders. "Thanks muchly, sis. Fancy a glass of the good stuff, Lord Bedivere? Cousins?" He's working on opening it up - perhaps with some intention on letting the contents of the bottle breathe (or gasp) before he's pouring out glasses. One for himself, taken up and slugged back. He slurps. No, not sorry for that. Although, now, something Ronja says makes him snort on his refreshment. "Big red blot on its good standing. Us Shepherds. Suddenly, yeah, we're in good standing. Yer funny, Sandreef. Welcome any time around the manor, you are. Be welcome here. Same to you, Lord Bedivere - but that goes without sayin on account of you bein family."
Bonnie settles her mug back down and reaches up again, rubbing at her temple a bit, "I thought he looked a little familiar. Good evening then, Uncle Bedivere." A speculative look at Bedivere, and then she has a bit more attention towards her own guest, "Sandreef's interesting enough to keep around. Plus she's fairly good with actual sailing, so it'd be nice to have a genuine captain around rather than swabbies that hung on through attrition with the Effort." Nodding to herself primarily, with a grin up at Malcolm too as he takes to pouring, "It's kind of charming. Maybe if enough people start thinking we're respectable, we'll actually be.." There's a distinct lapse there, slightly evened out by a wave as she notices Jennyva coming in to the table. "..okay, no, even I can't even brazen my way through that kind of lie."
Apparently oblivious to the conversation that's going on, Jennyva doesn't comment on the status of the family. Instead she sips from her glass, sending a smile over towards Wyatt. It's a bright smile, a cheerful smile.
Jennyva eventually winds up with another glass as Malcolm slowly sliiiiiides it toward his other cousin, asiding in his really-should-be-outdoor voice, "JENNY. Hallo."
" By all means, though, if you haven't shared your names, feel free to introduce yourself. Hello darling!" A finger wiggle for Jennyva is warm. The rolled up paper tube, an anointed bapping stick, tumbles onto the tabletop rather than disturbing any of the plates. That much is careless luck at play. Lilah opens her arms and pivots, dropping into the chair next to Malcolm. The weight of her dress roils around the leg of the chair and his boot, even as she nudges his shoulder with her own and leans in diagonally to block the path. "You Shepherds are indeed in good standing, and how delightfully open to possibilities the future is. We would hardly want to waste a moment of it by going to bed early and missing all the fun, so let's all talk about what we can make of the unexpected turn of fortunes in our favour." She taps her fingers along the starry pendant at her throat. "Despite perceived setbacks, our goals might be achieved in very different ways. The Great Road, for example, gives a chance to establish a different legacy from a forebear, for example. And we have many, many questions and offers directed our way."
"At least let me flatter your ego a bit, Lord Malcolm, and call it fair trade for the drinks." Ronja grins brightly. Her wild red hair is woven with braids and beads -- very western, very island-life. "Right, I'm fairly good with actual sailing," Ronja confirms to Bonnie. "Same way this house has a couple dog paintings." Her grin is briefly obscured by her mug, and she settles back into her seat to listen as Delilah takes hold of emceeing for the moment.
"Technically..." Wyatt drags out the word, which might be one of his favorites with how he looks engaged saying it, "we are very respectable! An old, much admired house, and the line that Gregor reenobled on his death bed just reversed the attaintment of the line for our dear cousins. In many regards, Lady Bonnie and Duke Malcolm..." he emphasizes their titles maybe a little too pointedly, "have far older and more storied of a bloodline than many current peers of the realm." There's a long pause and then he hangs his head, "That argument was not received as well as I'd like." He looks apologetically to Jennyva, "I'm so sorry if you need to smooth something over there."
"Hmm? What?" Jennyva thanks Malcom softly for the second glass of wine, scooting it right next to her first. It will get drank, oh it will. Wyatt's apology directed her way earns a look of confusion, and she shakes her head at him. "I'm sorry, I was trying very hard to pretend not to hear the conversation," she tells her brother. "What am I going to need to be smoothing over?" She swallows from her glass of wine.
Bonnie nods firmly towards Wyatt, "I like 'storied' a lot better than other descriptives that come up when talking about my past. So, let's go with that." Still on the more conservative style of sipping, the dipsomania is just gradually stretching out now, along with Bonnie herself. An arm cocked back and over the back of her chair, and underneath the table a soft thump as she accidentally kicks the underside of it when crossing her legs, "Are any of them profitable offers, Lilah? Not that this is my sole goal in life," And this is accompanied with a wide, bright grin that's hardly trustworthy at all, "But I guess if we have to start somewhere, we might as well rank them in descending order there. Then at least we can guess how just each is by how marginal the return is."
"-- statue." Malcolm repeats to himself, working out the context of something murmured as the wheels churn in his head and maybe a gear gets stuck because the look is a little lost for a second or so. Then, right back to self-awareness and he nods, "Colorful. Scandalous. Fer, ah, you know -- a Crownlands House. Stalwart for sure. Bright an' as good-natured as all get out. Loyal. Bold. As Boofus was, certainly." His glass lifts. "Profit's secondary, sis. Secondary-ish. Workin on improvin the lives of those in the Duchy does come first -- an that starts with smoothin things over tween Gallo and Groverfield. An' then makin somethin of clan Stormstorm that don't involve pullin a Gregor on them."
Wyatt tries to sound very reassuring to Jennyva, "It's almost certainly nothing. Just that one House Gallo, the one that wants to go to war with our vassal Groverfield and wipe them out or something? Well, there was just an idle comment by someone of House Gallo about their enemies being sworn to neonobles, and I said that was a funny comment since technically Malcolm's bloodline was about three times as old as House Gallo's founding, so in many ways, they were far more neo than Mal. And much less storied than Mal and Bonnie." He smiles cheerfully at Jennyva, "I thought it might help to give perspective, but I don't know if it was received as I'd like. They seemed a little cross."
When Bonnie greets him, Bedivere nods her way. "Good evening to you, too." Then, after saying so, he looks to all the others who begin introductions or not. Either way, he seems content to begin dining, flicking his hazel gaze from food to friend then back again in between bites.
"All the research I have ever done suggests every point there is correct, Lord Wyatt. The fact is fairly solid and no doubt a bit of designing up a family tree by pursuing the matter within the Archives would confirm the ties. A Thraxian tie of old renewed with High Lord Victus might not be a bad idea." Delilah glances askance at Bonnie. "You might consider that profitable, relocating a few of the thralls and endeavouring to re-establish the old links again given we directly face the Mourning Isles across our eastern border and a good deal of water. Though the more immediate issues lie much more in the province of..." Great, there's a toast. Constance is there to bring her a glass, and she takes it from the woman, lifting it up in a toast. "To the spirit of Boofus." It's hard to keep a straight face. A swirl of the liquor and she lifts it up. "May his presence remain throughout the night. To courage and happy tails." Or tales. Take your pick. "House Rubino -- its duchess, and now its voice -- have been kindly inviting us to help settle Wavewave and Stormstorm. Which are their actual names. They launched their army a time ago to try and bring Wavewave to the diplomatic table. It may not have worked terribly well."
"I suspect they are cross for more reasons than just that," Jennyva tells Wyatt, rolling her eyes for his cheerful smile. She falls quiet again to listen to Delilah, lifting her glass for the toast, drinking in turn.
Ronja runs a hand back through her wild hair and looks at her mug during the talk of Thrax and the Mourning Isles. In a more crowded function, it'd probably stand out less, but even so, sometimes looking at a mug is just looking at a mug. She lifts that very same mug for the toasting, joins in with the "hear hear"-ing or however Shepherds respond to a toast, and then lets out a loud snort of bottled-up laughter at House Wavewave being mentioned. Her face is bright with mirth until Ronja slowly realizes that Delilah isn't playing some kind of practical joke -- and then her expression softens into first embarrassment, then bafflement.
"Maybe we ought to take it up with, ah, the chiefs of those clans -- Wiley the Wildly Excessive or whatever he was called was the one I heard about for Storm times two." Malcolm shrugs, trying again, "William? Willy? Wilbur? Somethin."
Bonnie lifts her glass and even stands for the moment, with a slow grace that is just a wonderful cover for grabbing the edge of the table with her free hand, "As Boofus would do it.. probably a bit noisily." Up comes the mug and most of it seems to disappear, given how long it takes for her to get it all down. When she's finished and the mug is settled, there is a surprisingly/falsely sober nod towards Ronja, "Yes. Wavewave. And Stormstorm. It's.. probably something Mal and I did to offend the pantheon that means we have to deal with this now." A grand wave towards Malcolm before she sits down, and then srpawls a bit with her arm going back over the edge of the chair again, "And it's not that profit is important, but isn't it the best way? I mean, everything good we do seems to.. well, have a bad payoff. I think we should just use that to judge things straight off instead of being disappointed afterwards."
The mention of profit perks Wyatt right up, as he nods agreeably at Bonnie, "She's exactly right! While of course we want to help our vassals, it's almost a certainty that the Wavewavestormstorm issue could be in some way advantageous. Possibly. I think House Rubino and House Shepherd could move closer together, if our vassals don't kill each other."
"Perhaps so, but, ah - least it's not Clan Thorntoe or ah - the Fine River Oughters or whatever --" Malcolm blinks hard. "Profits are good for keepin people happy, grant you that, an everythin past that ain't in my purview. If that's the word that's the right one. But, same can be said for rulin. Or sailin. Or diplomatin. Uuuuuh, and a politics."
Finishing off that first glass of wine and picking up the second, Jennyva eyes it for a moment before she sips. Carefully. It's set back down after, and she moves to slide back up to her feet. "Sorry for being late," she says, on the occasion of leaving early. She didn't even play at eating. "It was nice to see everyone in the same place." She doesn't wait too long for replies before she's retreating.
"I thought 'Sandreef' was a bit on the nose, myself, but there but for the grace of Mangata..." Ronja says, after a long pull from her drink. It seems like her mug is empty, as she starts looking around to see who's got the bottle, and making semi-polite 'over here, please' motions. "What your House calls its priority is for your House to decide, not a guest who's still motioning for that bottle, yes, that one, there," Ronja is indeed still motioning, "but I was brought up that first you go out and get the money -- then you use the money to build the legend -- and then once you have that, the money finds its way to you."
"Wavestorm? Stormwave? Waterwater?" Delilah tries squashing together other options in a portmanteau that lacks the initial charm of the Abandoned tribes names. Ronja's disbelief produces a sudden smile that comes at a magnificently high wattage, and she uses the glass to lightly point at the ceiling. Not quite a toast. "I find it hard to say without... Well. Smiling too much. It will be a test of any diplomatic venture. Though I will suggest that we all take a concerted effort to resolve this matter, possibly by finding a very charming Whisper and pulling them along. Does anyone wish to talk to Radiant Bliss Whisper and pull in the House's aid? Because I promise, I have a thrilling list of opportunities that could involve silver. Or better yet, /fun/." She pauses for a beat.
Two beats. "The kind that wins you fame and the appreciation of the Faith, in fact. Because we've got something /big/ hiding around the corner. But first, we need agreement on what to do about Clan... Stormwave."
Bonnie runs her fingertips along the rim of her mug, tilting it here and there while waiting for the nearest bottle to make the rounds. The actual dinner portion of the dinner is kind of an afterthought, though she does have a roast potato at hand now too. That, too, gets kind of tilted and rolled back and forth while putting on a guise of deep thought; lips quirked to a somewhat tilted grin, and eyebrows raised, "Well~ I know our predecessor's policies didn't work out so great. But I still think a direct approach is best; financially and socially. We just challenge the chieftains to personal combat, gut them like fish, and then figure out the rest later." The potato is picked up to nibble at, with some chewing and swallowing before continuing in that mode of thought, "I mean maybe we can sneak one by them and say that some relocated thralls are actually trusted vassals and they can marry the clan's sons and daughters off to them, get them started on social integration."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Bedivere before departing.
Wyatt was busy cutting a fish with a knife as Bonnie speaks and he slowly stops and looks down at his fish apologetically. "Ah, that does seem like an approach that father would have approved of. If it works, one can hardly be upset about it." He looks at Delilah, "I think the peerage would be annoyed if we took the Abandoned trouble makers in as prodigals, but it would certainly cause the least bloodshed."
"Least bloodshed. Would improve our standin with the Abandoned to go about this as, ah, as civil as possible. Also - hard, yeah, it's not the best - but I think we can make them productive folks beneath Graypeak's banners. Just not close to Groverfield's March." Malcolm offers counter toward Wyatt as he guts the innards of a roll and eats them.
Ronja eats whatever's put in front of her fairly uncritically. She eats fast, though, like someone who's used to having to exist in an "eat it all now before someone else tries to take it" mind-space. This approach also leads to her thank-you coming out as "Mmh, phhg hhuu" when the bottle is passed her way and she refills her mug. She at least chews and swallows before saying anything else: "Should I be covering my ears for this big Faith thing?"
Malcolm has left the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
"The annoyance of the Peerage is in part being driven by a Dark Reflection of Gild and its aspect rattling around, weakening the bonds in the Compact and the city. The simple reality is, we cannot wholesale eradicate every Abandoned. They vastly outnumber us, and how does that set up future relations in any good way?" Delilah shakes her head slightly. "Neither Rubino-Zaffria or Shepherd has shown a desire to kill. House Gallo might not be happy if we absorb Clan Stormstorm, but Duchess Grazia can keep them in line. Especially if we can work on a resettlement away from House Groverfield, the Stormstorms might actually be advantageous in the long run. They are named for water. We need better port facilities. And Bonnie, a duel might not be recognized by them. Different standards. Considering they nearly took the Sword of Rubino captive because she pursued their scouting party..." She shakes her head.
Bonnie reaches up - with her mug hand, thankfully - to rub through her curls and fluff them a bit when scratching her head. "I don't really mean a duel-duel. Nothing with, well, pageantry and pomp. I mean telling the chieftains that if they don't have the ballast to come out to the field, then they're weak, their lineage is weak, and their children will be ash on the winds. Just put the chieftain down and claim their family, then settle them off somewhere else." It all seems so simple when she puts it like that, with a fairly wide shrug as she finishes the last bit of potato there and gently wipes her fingers off on her opposite palm, "It usually settles things pretty quick for a lot of those situations. Well, unless they /do/ believe in the concept of seconds, which could get messy really quick if it's also thirds and fourths and just the whole sharded clan wanting to step up afterwards." Now it's getting complex, so she sits back and considers more of what Delilah has to say about the alternative there. A glance at Ronja, and she shrugs, "Frankly I think the, ah, faith part is going to be trickier and probably left to the faithful."
Wyatt tenatively tries to eat some of his fish again, and gestures with a fork towards Bonnie, "While the duchess has a point, I think that it might be worth a try. A number of Abandoned houses have honored contests between champions, such as house swords, like when Prince Fergus did so on behalf of Redrain for example. It does happen, to prevent clashes between armies, and Bonnie is our sword. Though I'd hate to place you in harm's way." He glances back at Delilah, "If they seem like they'd at least honor the arrangement."
"I'm faithful," Ronja says, and seems to mean it, "but probably not the kind of faithful that's practical here, yeah." She has a long drink. "Well, Lady Bonnie IS speaking in a manner that'd be practical on a boat -- if a leader is giving you trouble, and somehow throws that leader off the boat, well, he's not exactly leading that boat anymore, is he?" Ronja says this with a shrug like it's nautical common sense. "Of course, you can't exactly throw someone off dry land without a cliff involved, and it all gets a bit dramatic, there, and turns into a whole thing. But. If they respect the folk who win fights, sure, win a fight. But maybe also bring along someone to talk sense with them in case they're sore losers."
Floofus, the fluffiest Graypeak Mountain Puppy, 2 Redwood Regulars arrive, following Ajax.
"It certainly isn't a bad idea, by any means. Merely throwing out my suggestions. I think we'll want to pull Lady Jennyva in for the talking component and have the rest of the House chat up the Rubinos. We might have a joint effort at play." Lilah runs her thumb around the wine glass and sets it down, offering a slender arc of a smile. "I want you to be safe as much as anyone, Bonnie, but if you want to go I will not deprive you of the fun. Though it helps -- I think we might need someone who speaks Crownlands or Lycene shav if we eventually try to relocate them. Mistress Ronja, any help you might have in ideas of calming them, by all means, say so. As for the other excitement, Legate Ailith -- who represents the gods of Concepts, Gild, Limerance, and the Sentinel -- discovered an ancient shrine from the time of the Reckoning in one of our baronies. The shrine is more like a fort, and it sits near the three-way borders between the Lyceum, Oathlands, and Crownlands. When armies from the south and west joined to relieve Arx, they gathered there and apparently great acts of faith sustained them when there was great fear the armies of the west might never arrive. She wants to restore the fort in question -- Shieldfort, it's called -- and the Crown and the Faith have given great support. More significantly, houses from the time in Graypeak's dominions were present, for they lent knights and military support. It might be a positive help for us to figure out who those houses were, and help with the restoration of the place."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Bedivere before departing.
Bonnie nods thoughtfully, and begins to gently prise apart the fish on her plate. Mostly to get the spine out of it, the smaller bones don't seem to be a real problem when she hacks part of it off and chews. "Well." Okay it's more like 'rowmlg,' but she lifts the tip of her knife for emphasis and for a brief pause until she chews and swallows, "Someone that speaks the language is a good idea. I mean, I know I'd take it poorly if someone just stabbed me in the face with no introduction, no preamble, or even a quick drink first." Chopping the rest of her fish apart and then working through the bones with a distinctive crunch every so often, the other part of it is promising. She even gives Ronja a slight elbowing, "See? That's probably do-able. Clean everything up, make sure nothing important gets stolen, and then refurbish whatever's left."
Wyatt squints at Bonnie for a long moment as if he isn't sure what to make of her comment and then glances at Ronja for confirmation before asking Bonnie, "Is that how it works with stabbings? You have to be sociable and have drinks first?"
Ronja nods along to the conversation in between making short work of her own fish and the potato besides. "Well, it makes them think they might not immediately be stabbed, sometimes. Which is good for stabbing unawares." Ronja grins. Maybe she's just joking! Or maybe she knows about stabbing people. "I'd be happy to come along for Lady Bonnie's dueling, or whatever you'd like to call it if not a proper duel. I'm a commoner, unconnected to your House except by friendship, and I can talk my way out of things pretty reliably -- so I might be able to sway them from a perspective like their own if they put up a stink about Lady Bonnie slapping the flat of her sword against their mightiest fighter until the poor thing weeps from the humiliation." Ronja swallows more wine and then turns to listen to the tale of Shieldfort. She can't hide how much it seizes her attention: hazel eyes go wide, and she straightens up and leans forward in her chair a bit. She blinks when Bonnie talks to her, and then nods, maybe a little too emphatically. "Very do-able, my Lady."
Bonnie waves the cutlery a bit vaguely but with great enthusiasm, "Of course. You lay out your terms - 'your money or your life,' 'surrender your cargo,' 'I saw that lad first,' - something like that, and then you get down to business." Forking a bit of fish and chewing it and the bones rather thoughtfully, judging by the way she lets her eyes roam up to some middle distance towards the ceiling, "Something as abstract as 'now you have to stop stirring shit up and burning out our vassals' is a tougher sell, but it should be manageable."
Someone comes by with a fancy letter for Lilah. She moves a little /too/ sharply when it comes to Scribble approaching her, though she knows the silver fox very well, and she nigh to leaps out of her seat. The effect might be comical were she not so evidently narrow-eyed, reaching for a fork. Perhaps time to duel someone on the matter of etiquette. "Forgive me. I thought... It's no matter." He hands her the letter, which she breaks open and reads, thoughtfully quick about it. "Advantageous, that, to be someone without a tight connection to the rest of us. Pardon me for a little, I need to respond to this. And somehow figure out how to compress a thousand pages into a paragraph."
With a slow trudge into the dining hall properly, Ajax makes his way inwards, freed from his usual gaggle of men his brown eyes shift around the table with an idle curiosity, canting his heat towards the side at the seated people his fingers move to rest against the back of his neck rubbing it almost sheepishly, "Sorry, I suppose, I am a bit late to the party." he offers with his lips pursing, his large form gently moving with his rumbles, but he does dip his head towards those gathered.
"Is there some other group you'd rather have them stirring shit up with and burning out? If you can dominate them, you can put them to work, I should think." Ronja is speaking to Bonnie, letting Delilah have her privacy while she responds to her letter. When Ajax enters, Ronja lifts her mug his way. "Ah! Now this seems like a man who knows about knocking people around until they behave better."
"I could write a formal Agreement To Not Be Stabbed Contract or Post Stabbing Treaty." Wyatt muses, and promptly stands, his ledger folded neatly under one arm, "Maybe I should work on some rough drafts. Your pirate negotiations are extremely helpful, Bonnie, it definitely cuts to the heart of the matter." He looks at Delilah, "I better get back to my books, I am fairly certain that costs literally accumulate the longer I ignore them."
"Messire Ajax, you're welcome to sit down and enjoy something to eat if you like. Forgive me, I had a bout of unfortunate correspondence to deal with." Delilah flashes a quick grin. "I like this idea of a treaty like that. Would it work? I have to hope so. Though Lord Wyatt, shall we head out together? There are further things I need to look into before it's bedtime, and those will keep me up later than I wish."
Bonnie beams suddenly and quite eagerly, "Yes, a Post Stabbing Treaty would be best. As long as they can read it and not.. well, stab us further for requesting it." Shrugging, she starts back in on her fish and drags it through a bit of wine that slopped onto her plate at some point. It certainly seems to work for her though there is a pause needed to extract a grinding-resistant bit of bone. "Oh, Ajax. Nice seeing you, bastard." Snickering, she fills her mug again, and even takes it nearly to brimming over, but still has something left in the nearest bottle to push down towards Ajax. "The duchess has a lot of ideas for what needs to be done. I've been in favor of the 'take off the head and the rest of the beast dies' approach, personally.."
"My gratitude, Baroness Shepard, it is always good to see you." Ajax offers with an easy going smile, as he moves to settle into a chair properly, "We the Redwoods do have an interest in Greypeak thriving, this type of thing I tried come earlier for. But other business had kept me. For that? I do apologize." he settles into a seat as he nods his head, "She is a very smart woman, and full of good ideas. Once our projects on the isles are done. We do firmly intend to head towards Greypeak."
Delilah has left the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
Wyatt has left the a walnut wooden table stained a red-brown.
1 Inquisition Confessors, Scribble, a Delicate Social Butterfly, Constance, the Staunch Shepherd Champion, Wyatt leave, following Delilah.
Ronja pours herself more wine, since the responsible adults going off to be responsible adults means that the young sailors are markedly more free to get sozzled. "I mean, there are a lot of right answers to the problem," Ronja notes. "Also infinitely more WRONG ones, but. I'll be kind and trust you all that those aren't the ones you're seeking out." She lifts her re-filled mug toward Wyatt and Delilah in turn as they depart, and then glances between Bonnie and Ajax -- and Bedivere, she hasn't forgotten him. "So. Greypeak, then? What souvenir will you bring me?
Bonnie twirls a fork through the remainder of inappropriately pungent sauce and fishbits on her plate, holding it precariously without finishing it off just yet. "I don't know. Do you want a Greypeak puppy? By the time the next winter comes around, they'll be big and warm enough to replace a cloak." Then she finishes eating, with just the minimal decorative flourish around the edges and maybe a bit of the 'sour' contingent in so far untouched winter greens. "We were talking about how to handle.." And there's an internal wince that pains her eyes, "Stormstorm and Wavewave." Even a pirate has her dignity. "My idea was to call out the chieftains and then marry their heirs off to our recently released thralls. Kind of get everyone settled in one fell swoop."
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