Silver Day Garden Party
July 13, 2019, 8 p.m.
Arx - Upper Boroughs - Stone And Ivy House - Gardens
Comments and Log
Layne, the withered veteran, Felix arrive, following Juniper.
The afternoon for the garden party has arrived, and on this day the gates into the gardens from the road are left open for all who wish to enter! The musicians can probably heard a little from the road, and once one steps through the gates the festivities are in full swing. There are a few tables spread banquet style with many sweet treats and summer berries, and carafes of water and wine and probably some beer as well. Neighborhood children run about, and there's some mingling of adults as well. There's even lanterns strung up along the trellis, ready for when the sun starts to fade.
Nurie flits about the garden, a little nervously perhaps but with an excited spring in her step as she adjusts things here and there, and then wanders to the gate to begin greeting people, her smile surely as bright and cheerful as the sun overhead!
Cue the arrival of a pair of Godsworn, and the young woman in the lead didn't even bother to change into civilian clothes! No, it's plain white wool for Juniper, though the pendant she wears flashes with both wealth and the suggestion of fire. Her hair too, bright and gleaming, though as she arrives with Felix in tow, she is doing her best to twist those curls back from her face. The unruly rope is tied into a knot at the nape of her neck, to keep it up and out of the way-- or that's the hope, because it doesn't take long for stray curls to begin their escape anew. "Hello the house!" she calls as they step through the gate. "The Faith's come, and it's thirsty-- oh goodness, she set up a /maypole/." Juniper sounds delighted.
Mayir is here! For while he is a resident of the Lower Boroughs, he is also a resident of the Upper Boroughs by virtue of the Grayhope Manor up here. He breezes on in with a bright smile, going to kiss her cheeks and then her lips. "It is so beautiful, Nurie! You are doing great! Everything looks so good!"
Aleksei has apparently brought the present of the very best partier in all of Arx: Holden Morgan. Well, he's taller than Aleksei, anyways. "She's really nice!" he's telling his oldest brother with effusive gesturing. "I mean, I dunno who else will be there, but probably other nice people. Don't worry, you're also nice." He gives Holden's shoulder a firm slap. "Ish." They round the corner to spy the little stone and ivy house, and his smile widens in a particularly effusive way to see Nurie there at the gate greeting people. He continues the journey over, his smile gone rather boyish, until he's close enough to greet Nurie. "Hey," he starts to say, and then Mayir breezes right in, and there's maybe the /slightest/ hint of his momentum faltering.
Felix apparently came straight from the forge; probably dagged out by Juniper for just this occasion. He's at least cleaned face and arms up a bit, but the smell of burning coal and hot steel is unmistakable around him as he steps into the area. The glaive in one hand sheathed and tied, but an amiable smile is on his lips as he steps in and lifts his free hand by way of greeting. "So she did. The last time I attempted to help with one, I'm pretty sure I found myself tied to the pole by the ribbons." for all that, the smith seems more amused than not, waiting as others breeze in, taking a moment to offer Aleksei a nod, "Been a long while. I hope you've been well?" as Mayir takes up the lead.
Nurie doesn't know the flame haired young woman that steps through the gates on sight yet, but how could she not beam brightly at the Godsworn's delight. She holds out her hands in a gesture of welcome, as if to take Juniper's own briefly. "Welcome!" she says to her. "Please do come in and make yourself at home! We'll have games in just a little bit, if you'd like!"
She laughs at Mayir's cheek-cheek-lip kiss, offering him the same in return, and a wink as well. It's just in time to see Aleksei and his brother come in, and she offers him a bright smile, rising on her tiptoes to offer him a kiss on the cheek as well, if he accepts. "I'm so glad you're here," she tells him, looking up at Holden curiously but cheerfully. "Thank you for coming, Messere Felix. It's nice to see you again. Perhaps the secondtime will be the charm," she offers teasingly, about the maypole.
Juniper offers up a two-handed squeeze of Nurie's grip, when she's greeted. "Sister Juniper," she offers in introduction, "of the Commoner's Council, and /thank/ you for having this. It's beautiful." This with an earnest depth of feeling that marks the most sincere truth. She's quick to sidestep, clearing the way for Mayir and Felix, and those who follow after. "She's right," she asides to Felix, "you'll have to try now and I can't promise if it happens again, we won't crown you with flowers while you're trapped." Awful. "Hello!" is added for Aleksei and Holden, the latter's fine armour studied with rather more interest as the details are spotted.
Gianna swans in, dressed down. For her, at least. Is a seasilk blouse dressed down? Rose gold hair comb? No matter. She's here, and she's not trying to make a big deal out of it!
"Hey, Aleksei," says Mayir to the former godsworn when he comes in. "Good to see you. How are things? Haven't seen you, in, like, forever." He goes to help himself to a Lottie's lemon bar and then stands aside, waiting for games to begin.
Nurie is standing by the gates, greeting the guests as they come in, and her smile widens as she sees the Nightingale. She holds out her hands to the Whisper in greeting, and offers a gentle squeeze against the other woman's own if she accepts. "Welcome! Won't you come in and make yourself comfortable? We'll be starting the maypole dance in just a few minutes! I hope that you are well," she tells her, almost shyly.
"Felix, hey." Aleksei brightens for the greeting, smile flashing wide. "Congratulations on your vows! Both of you." His smile shifts to Juniper next with that same warm smile. "Have you met my brother Holden? Sorry in advance if he gets a bit rowdy; he's a real partier." Something softens in his smile when Nurie rises to press a kiss to his cheek, and his hand settles, brief but warm, at her waist. He murmurs something in a quieter voice, and then he turns his head to press a kiss soft to the corner of her mouth. Finally, his attention is pulled aside, and he offers Mayir a friendly smile. "Hey, man," he says, so totally normal. "Heard you and Mags got a bit banged up." He says it with the sort of wry humor of this not even being that irregular an occurrence.
Holden Morgan is absolutely rowdy; he's a stoic, somber-looking tall Oathlands knight who looks like he'd be more comfortable guarding the doorway than actually socializing. But he follows Aleksei in nonetheless, glancing around for any familiar faces. When Juniper studies him, the godsworn robe earns a look of relief; clearly, this is one of the /sensible/ people Aleksei knows. Or at least, one of the sensible people Aleksei's friend knows. "Hello, sister," he offers, inclining his head respectfully towards her.
"And a pleasure to see you again, Mistress Nurie. And I should certainly hope so. But if not, it will certainly make for entertainment all the same." offering Aleksei a grin in return, and a nod. "With my thanks, and I'm glad to see you doing well. And I have not, a pleasure." offering that free hand out to Holden. "Brother Felix, owner and smith at Seaborn." by way of his own introduction." he circles, so that others can meet and greet, moving to the side where he can settle in for a bit; likely taking a break from the day's efforts."
Gianna takes Nurie's hands with a flicker of a smile. "Why, thank you. I'm doing well - and you?"
"Yeah. Almost killed in a barfight. You know how it is, Aleksei." Does he? Does he, really? But Mayir tries to be nonchalant when he says it, but there is that flash of worry when he says it. And memory of the pain.
Gianna shoots Mayir a bit of a look. Arched eyebrow and everything, even.
"Thank you! It turns out it's almost impossible to argue with a goddess, so I finally gave in. I don't believe we've met, it's a pleasure, Master Holden! Your armour is almost as handsome as the man wearing it," says Juniper, if not in sensible greeting then certainly with a great deal of warmth. And, possibly, a hint of amusement within the twinkling of her eyes. "You look ready for any eventuality, hopefully none of you weapon-wearers need them tonight, except maybe to cut the cake. There /is/ cake?" Her sweet tooth was famous in Whisper House and off she trails, to raid the pastries. As she goes, a cheerful wave goes winging towards Gianna.
"I am as well, Messere Nightingale," Nurie replies gently. "Though I wouldn't want to impose, if you are so moved anytime this evening, you're welcome to sing. Or you can just enjoy and be entertained, as you like. Whatever makes you happiest!" But with the guests greeted, Nurie excuses herself briefly to move towards the maypole in the center of the gardens. "If you'd like to participate in the dance, please come and claim a ribbon! We'll do a few practice steps, and then once the music starts we'll see if we can get the pole completely woven!" There's a bit of a giggle at this, as if it's all in good fun, and a few missed strands or extra people caught in the web aren't untoward. Along with adults, this seems to be especially popular with many of the children in attendance, so those dancing are probably going to have to dodge both tall bodies AND small ones.
Juniper takes Lemon Bar from a sturdy fiery Explorer's backpack.
Gianna inclines her head over at Juniper with a flicker of a smile. She looks from Nurie to the ribbons and says, "I don't think I've done one of those in a very long time. Ooh. Are those cookies? Lottie's cookies?" She eases off thataway.
"It's Sir Holden," Aleksei tells Juniper, not correction, but proudly publicizing his brother's accomplishments. "He was the first person Prince Edain knighted, you know." He gives Holden's shoulder another clap, looking back over to Mayir with maybe a /hint/ of worry. "Yeah, I know how it is," he says, offering a smile, even if his gaze lingers in brief study for a moment before shifting back along to Nurie a she starts to prepare for the maypole dance. /Obviously/ he's going to step up and take a ribbon. He was BORN to maypole. "Nurie, this is the oldest of my hundred brothers," he says in somewhat belated introduction. "Sir Holden Morgan. Holden, this is Nurie."
"He exaggerates," Holden assures Nurie. "There aren't a hundred of us. He just can't count very well." It's delivered entirely deadpan, as though this were actually not a joke. Only the faintest light of amusement to the knight's eyes suggests that if his brother is going to make him socialize, then he can put up with Holden's sense of humor. Such as it is. "A pleasure to meet you. Both of you, Mistress Nurie, Sister Juniper." The remark about 'impossible to argue with a goddess' earns a bit of an odd look from Holden, but the knight doesn't comment on it further.
Felix does correct himself, as well, before moving on, claiming one of Lottie's delicious confections for himself and taking a bite. The call to prepare, however, has him holding it between teeth and lips as he goes to claim a ribbon. Eyeing those near him as if they might be the cause of any future misfortune. "'ood 'uck." is offered to Juniper, before he focuses on finishing the treat before they begin.
"/Sir/ Holden," Juniper amends, with just a touch of rue. "My apologies to the Morgans, all not quite a hundred of you. That was an unfortunate slip." Consolation comes in the form of a lemon bar taken from the table. She nibbles on it while drifting towards the Maypole, there to lay claim to a ribbon-- though doing so requires stepping around and then over a trio of giggling littles. "This is going to be more obstacle course than dance! We're going to need luck," she shoots back at Felix. "...well, you might. /I/ am a delicate and graceful flower."
Gianna nibbles daintly on a cookie as she steps over to the maypole to select a ribbon. A blue one. She's picky that way. Popping the rest of her cookie into her mouth, she's ready. The children are eyed.
Juniper checked charm + performance at difficulty 10, rolling 28 higher.
"Sir Holden, it is an honor to meet you! You'll come take a ribbon won't you?" Nurie looks up at the stoic Oathlander with the biggest expression of hope expectant on her face imaginable. "It seems that Sister Juniper is familiar with the maypole, aren't you Sister? Do they have them in the Oathlands as well?" Because so totally Oathlanders aren't allowed to have ANY FUN at all, right? She does, however, offer Aleksei a playful wink. Mayir's comment earns him a glance of sympathetic worry as well, though it's just a shadow that passes fleetingly, especially since he's standing whole right now. Her smile strengthens further as more and more people take up their ribbons, and she moves over to where the musicians are, to speak softly with them, in preparation for the dance to begin. And as soon as the dancers take their places, so it does!
Felix checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 10, rolling 40 higher.
Aleksei checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 10, rolling 66 higher.
Holden checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 10, rolling 25 higher.
Mayir checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 10, rolling 20 higher.
Gianna checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 10, rolling 85 higher.
Holden is torn between two conflicting impulses: one, the general Oathlands desire to follow the rules of hospitality and listen to the hostess, and two, his own fairly strong desire not to be dancing around a maypole. The internal struggle is quite visible. But then he bows his head towards Nurie in acceptance, taking up the ribbon and joining the celebration. "Of course, mistress Nurie."
It is, perhaps, not the end of the world if Holden looks like a complete fool. (Suitable sibling vengeance -- or whatever passes for it in the Oathlands -- may be visited on Holden's little brother later, however.)
Aleksei gets Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookie from a sturdy fiery Explorer's backpack.
Mayir is not the best at Maypoling. But he can say that he avoids the kid and doesn't trip over anything of anyhing like that. He just tries to make sure that he doesn't fall over his feet as he tries to weave the ribbon.
Mayir checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher. Mayir rolled a critical!
"I can count great! One, two, three, a hundred." Aleksei Morgan: expert mathematician. "Okay, I guess I don't have a hundred brothers, but if you include /me/ there are a hundred Morgan brothers." This makes sense. Somehow. "Ooh! Is that cinnamon?" He snatches up a cookie from the refreshments and takes a large bite, watching with bright humor as Nurie manages to wheedle participation from Holden, looking rather impressed at her success. "Just tell yourself that you're making sure none of the kids fall over," he suggests to Holden. Since responsibility is fun. For some -- people. He's remarkably dextrous on his feet, laughing as he bounds in for all of it, making sure to sidestep any potential collisions, particularly with the kids.
Aleksei checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.
Gianna manages to dodge the children, sashaying around the maypole with deft steps. She even gives it a few extra twirls, somehow not tangling up her ribbon as she does so. The usually aloof Whisper looks like she might almost smile or something.
Gianna checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 43 higher.
Juniper would better resemble a delicate and graceful flower if her first circuit of the Maypole wasn't performed while /laughing/. She starts well! A merry call of, "I've never met a maypole I didn't like!" towards Nurie, with just a dash of saucy starts the giggles, but she's quick on her feet, and knows when to duck and when to stretch tall(ish) to begin the ribbon-weaving. But then a tiny little towheaded child latches on to the tail of her robes, using her to help haul himself along as he keeps a dogged grip on his ribbon-- and that's it. She starts laughing, trying to adjust the pace of her steps to the kid's, when she /should/ be pacing her breathing.
Juniper checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
Holden does not look like a /complete/ fool as he circles the maypole; it's more like 72% of a fool. He avoids collisions, but neither does he skip or -- gods forbid -- /frolic/. No, he approaches the maypole with all the sobriety of a knight weaving their way across the battlefield to get to the one he's defending.
Holden checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.
Felix is surprisingly nimble, for the height and build of the smith, and that his purported claims of getting wrapped up in the last maypole he attempted. Felix is somewhere in between Juniper and Holden; not quite as bright in his performance, but there is a little more than stoic motion through it either. A bit of a shake of his head, a short laugh that is more due to Juniper's own infectious laughter, before he's trying to make sure he keeps track of the weaving between people that is required to make the maypole motions proper.
Felix checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher.
Mayir does /particuarly/ well on this trip around the maypole, ducking under, and then weaving over, and side stepping around a kid, and then leaping over another one. Yes, he is all fancy footwork, getting ready for the big finish!
Gianna weaves around another child, and then an older woman who's trying very gamely to keep up but not managing well. The blue ribbon winds away as the Whisper dances along.
Others at the gathering are beginning to get into the rhythm of the dancers, clapping along with delight, especially at some of the fancier whirls and twirls and near misses! Nurie is one of them, cueing the musicians to begin speeding up the music just a little more, with a great deal of stomping and clapping and cheers for the crowd as the weaving of colored ribbons winds it way down the pole like a living thing, making things a little more difficult as balance now is in play.
Aleksei checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 49 higher.
Short as her legs is, the toddler has shorter still, and Juniper's adjustment of her pace helps only so much. So finally, she performs a dancer's turn and scoop, hefting the boy up onto her hip. Her ribbon is tucked into a chubby hand with his own, so that she can cradle him while dashing through the next arc. Up and down, and around they go, and now he's laughing too!
Gianna checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
Juniper checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.
Felix checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.
Felix checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 17 higher.
That older woman is determined not to be shown up by Gianna, and so she goes after the Whisper with a vengeance. Gianna tries to dodge her, but then nearly stumbles over a small child, and instead of taking the kid out she dives to the side. When she sits up again, she eyes the old woman.
With the increase in pace, Felix has to pay a bit more attention to not running over the kids, especially since he's picked up one that's wrapped around his leg, causing the smith to grin and just keep on walking, keeping the boy moving with each step, making a more exaggerated motion of it, and giving a playful monster-growl at the little. But he manages to both maintain his grip on the ribbon and to not slow his pace and get in the way of the other dancers.
Holden checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.
Mayir checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 33 higher.
"Oop! Careful there." Aleksei weaves around a laughing toddler with a bright laugh of his own, keeping pace easily and making sure that the kids keep their footing as well. He's a natural with all of it, not just light on his eat, but light -- bright -- in spirit as well.
Never, /ever/ thrown down with grandmas-- they're scary. "Are you alright!" calls Juniper as she skips by Gianna's place, swinging the toddler to her other hip and performing a neat turn to keep an eye on the Nightingale. Luckily she has her little partner in crime there, stubbornly clinging to /both/ ribbons to help complete the weave.
In the end, Mayir is not going to be the best maypoler. He's not that kind of person. But he's still pretty good, jumping and skipping and dodging. And in the end, he's pretty good. And that is what matters for him!
Mayir is overheard praising Nurie: Amazing party!
There's a pileup of sorts as others try to take on Gianna's heroic example and dodge and try to avoid fallen contestants. Except for, perhaps, a certain shamless older woman who looks quite well pleased with herself! Lower and lower the ribbons go, until finally the music stops and all have a chance to catch their breath. Nurie offers a hand up to the Softest Whisper, looking her over with concern to make sure she's not hurt, but then there's one of her shop assistants stepping forward to hand Nurie two crowns woven of wildflowers, and two stacks o silver, tied up in sheer netting. Nurie takes them, and then moves towards Aleksei and Juniper. "I award you the first crowns of the party," she tells them, placing the first crown on Juniper's head and offering a gentle kiss to her cheek, and then once more to Aleksei as well, as well as handing them each one of the stacks of silvers. "Let's take a moment to rest--but in the meantime, be on the lookout for a partner for the three-legged race!" She calls out.
Gianna gets up again and dusts the seat of her breeches off, shooting the woman a --- well, a glare wouldn't be Whisperly, would it? A stern look. Yes. Stern. Eyeing the flower crowns, she sniffs.
Felix is overheard praising Nurie: Amazing host of the Silver Day Garden Party.
Aleksei looks /remarkably/ pretty in his flower crown, and Gianna should be very jealous. His expression flashes into a delighted grin when Nurie settles it on the fluff of his dark hair. "I'll wear it proudly," he promises her sagely. She mentions the three-legged race, and then Aleksei is announcing loudly, "Holden is GREAT at races!" Why is he like this. "Well, he used to be good at chasing me down, anyways." Totally the same thing! He gives Holden a friendly thumbs up as he shoves another bite of that cookie in his mouth.
Felix takes a moment to indeed catch his breath; the motion and dance of the maypole not nearly the same as spending time in the smithy. Shaking his head as he grins at the boy still on his leg, before he gently extracts himself and sends the boy off to load up on more sugar confections. That way he'll have more energy for the run later. But at the mention of needing a partner for the three legged race, Felix begins eyeing the other participants. "I'm going to be the worst at the race, so who wants to be my partner?"
Gianna isn't flouncing off to sit down. It's just a... spirited walk.
Gianna has joined the an exquisiely grand wooden swing.
"You won!" Juniper tells the boy on her hip, and he waves his chubby fists in victory. She bows her head to accept the crown and lifts her cheek to accept the kiss, and there's summer's own sunlight in her grin. The silver she'll take but once she sets the child on his own two feet, her crown she transfers from her own bright curls to his brighter head. Let him storm off with a victor's roar, to show the other littles his prize-- even if it does put her at a disadvantage to Aleksei, in regards to being pretty enough for a partner. "I feel I'd only sabotage you then, if we teamed up," she calls to Felix. "Maybe Holden's great could balance your worst?"
"Hey! Don't poach my partner!" Aleksei says with exaggerated affront to Juniper. Or Felix. One of them.
Gianna has left the an exquisiely grand wooden swing.
Holden gives Aleksei a long-suffering look, but nods to his brother. "I should help you defend the Morgan family honor," he agrees. "As long as I'm here, that is. Though if you really want childhood experience to matter, you'll need to wait until someone's back is turned and then dart off to find some sort of trouble to get yourself into."
Felix waits, but then when Holden makes it clear he's going to partner with Aleksei, he offers a shrug, turning to Mayir, "Would you care to take the Sister's side as partner, or do you want to burden her with my own?" offering to take the sitting out, but if the other man takes too long, Felix is going to move in to get ready for the race.
"You know, sneaking off is a /lot/ harder if you're good with your knots," says Juniper, ever the helpful soul. While Felix and Mayir debate her potential as partner, she stands there and spreads her arms, eyebrows lifting. Ey? Eyyy?
The assistant brings Nurie several color coordinated sets of ribbons, as people start to divide into teams, and then the two will move about to help bind the teams together, quite literally.
"I would love to have a pretty redhead as my partner!" declares Mayir, delightedly, as he steps towards the newer godsworn. "Please! Sister! Captain Mayir Grayhope, at your sevice." Let the race begin!
Before long all the teams are established, and there's one more set of ribbons left over. Nurie grins up at Felix. "Would you care to team with me, Messere Meadson?" she offers. "I'll try to not to take you down too hard!" It's a promise made with laughing eyes. The assistants mark a starting line, and set up a couple of flags at the far end of the garden. One steps forward and calls out loudly, "Teams take your positions on the line!" Once everyone is more or less there, she calls out again, "On the mark, get set, GO!"
Juniper checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Mayir checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
Aleksei checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.
"I really do apologize," says Juniper in return for the compliment. So earnest. So amused. She knows what's coming. Standing for the lashing together, she loops her arm over Mayir's shoulder and eyes the course. "We're doomed," intones the priestess-- but when the call to run is given, she gives it her all! Which... lasts for about four steps before her legs end up tangled in her robes, and her feet end up tangled with Mayir's, and /whups/, over she goes.
Felix offers a little bow and a grin to Nurie. "I will gladly claim the pleasure of the Hostess' company. I will try not to fall on you, when I inevitably fall." but he stands still, letting them get set and ready, "What if I just pick you up and run with you?" he laughs, and then starts when she makes the announcement of 'go'.
Felix checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 24 higher.
Nurie checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 3 higher.
Holden checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 20 higher.
"Why do you gotta be so /tall/," Aleksei mutters as he and Holden get bound up together and shuffle up to the starting line for their race. It's only about a four inch difference in their heights, but everything makes a three-legged race awkward. However, maybe they've got some fraternal instinct despite their differences, because they manage to take off with aplomb.
Ohhhh no. Juniper wasn't lying when she said she was going to be a drag on him. And honestly, Mayir isn't very good either. When the godsworn goes over, he tries to drag her forward. But he can only get a few feet ahead, so they are definitely not coming in first.
For all that Holden has a long-suffering look over the games, the elder Morgan brother does actually seem to take this race seriously; perhaps he's doing it for his brother's sake, or perhaps he does have a competitive streak buried somewhere under all that Oathlander honor and duty. "I chose this height just to annoy you," the knight retorts, between strides. "No, I don't have the ability to alter my own height, or anything else. So I think you'll have to complain to our ancestors."
Nurie is off to a shakier start, almost biting it a few times, though luckily she has the smith to balance herself against until she starts to learn the pacing difference between Felix and herself. Still, feats of physicality are somewhat scary for the dainty tailor, and if anyone looks she's actually closing her eyes as if she can't bear to look, relying on Felix to steer and just fully concentrating on being able to keep up where he leads! "Are we there yet?" she calls out to her partner.
The race is off to a lively start, with many of the kids having an unfair advantage, but since Aleksei and Holden's legs are MUCH LONGER they can handily outpace them of course! The Nightingale's nemesis is back for the race, and seems to have recruited a similarly elderly woman for this jaunt. The move off at a brisk pace, cackling as they start to pass Mayir and Juniper. It may be the imagination and heat from the sun, but where the words "Eat my dust!" uttered as they passed? But all the teams manage to make it to the far line at least, one way or the other, though Aleksei and Holden are by far the favorites here, and can probably turn around and head back before most anyone else reaches the first target!
Juniper /always/ tells the truth and so it makes her something of a prophet. Doom continues to dog the Grayhope-Godsworn pairing because once she's down? Another fit of laughter strikes, weakening her while she does her utmost to get upright again. It's a losing proposition but she's trying, Mayir, honest she's trying. There's only so much that fluff and sunshine can manage in contests such as these. But the real villain here? "...Felix /so/ set you up," she giggles as she gets up. Again. And tries to hobble along.
Juniper checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.
Mayir checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher. Mayir rolled a critical!
Aleksei checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.
Holden checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.
Felix initially tries to go at what would be a normal pace for him, but then realizes that some people have shorter legs. Oops. But he recovers quickly enough, and adjusts his steps to better match with Nurie's. Juniper falling has him trying not to laugh, and offering a wave back at the pair. "Redheads are always trouble. But in the best ways!" he calls back, and then focuses on the race - even though Aleksei and his brother look like they're going to be handily taking another victory.
Felix checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.
Nurie checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.
Honestly, if Aleksei weren't /distinctly/ athletic, he'd probably be at risk of collapsing in laughter for Holden's deadpan reply, and then the pair of elderly women. As it is, he's cackling, but he's also /competitive/; maybe this is a family trait. (You don't get a family reputation for /excellent service/ without being a bit /dedicated/ with your competence.) "Just throw her over your shoulder, Mayir!" he calls back.
Mayir is really in a bad spot here. His partner is on the ground. He is trying to drag her forward. But when he sees Aleksei and Holden in front of them, he finds reserves lf energy and just SURGES forward. It won't make him win. But it will allow for a respectable result! He says to Juniper: "It's okay! You serve the gods! But maybe I. an get a kiss of apology!" Gotta try.
"Wouldn't that mean he'd be pulling his own leg up, since they'd still be tied together? I don't think hopping along one-legged will improve their speed," Holden notes to his brother. After a moment's consideration, he qualifies the statement with, "Much."
"Our /ankles are tied together/!" Juniper calls after Aleksei. He might be winning but boy is he wrong about how shoulder-tosses work when restraints are involved-- and doesn't that mean, really, they aren't winning at all? Except Holden is scoring them extra points with low-key sassy and somewhere, somehow, she digs deep. Back onto her feet she goes, clinging to Mayir's side like a limpet as they... well, limp forward. Maybe they can still crush the biddies.
Not only can Holden and Aleksei smoke out the competition, they can be waiting at the finish like to wave everyone else in! Nurie and Felix are making pretty good pace, but those elder women are hot on their heels and putting a lot of pressure on. They edge up so close that Nurie spooks like a green carriage horse, and not even Felix can keep her from stumbling. She throws her free hand out as if to try and get her balance, which has the effect of making dastardly devious Team Matron have to edge back, and whie Mayir and Juniper do manage to catch up to Felix and Nurie, they all cross the finish line /before/ the grumpy biddies, by just a pace. Guess who looks even grumpier now.
Felix is moving well enough that when Nurie takes her stumble, he makes it only partly with her - enough that he can get her back on her feet and moving, edging out those grumpy old ladies, and offering them a boyish grin - full of mischief. "Well run, well run." and then cheering on Juniper and Mayir. "Kisses come with victory, Mayir! But she might take some pity on you all the same." the tone is teasing, hwoever, just as it is encouraging. "Come on, Sister, don't let him drag you down!"
"I am /not/ kissing my brother," Aleksei says very clearly -- from the finish line. In case this is now part and parcel with winning. He looks quite pleased with himself, there at the end, hooting and applauding for the others. /Graciously/.
Nurie is breathless with laughter, beaming at Felix. "Well raced, Messere!" she tells him, with a smile that lights her eyes with good humor, ad moves to pluck at the edges of the wrist ties to loosen them, and then the ones at the ankle. She even turns to Team Biddy, offering each wizened cheek a gentle kiss. "Ferocity most beautiful!" she tells them. "And well done!"
There are more crowns brought out, though instead of flowers, these are wreaths of fragrant leaves from the herb garden, glossy and green. Nurie once more takes them, to place one on the head of each brother Morgan, and a soft kiss on the cheek for each, her smile both amused and delighted. "Our last crowns of the evening!" Nurie declares. "Well earned, Sir Holden, and Messere Aleksei!"
"Pity kisses are still kisses!" says Mayir, cheerily, as he gets himself and Juniper over the finish line just about the same time as Nurie and Felix. He grins over at the godsworn next to him and goes to undo the ties, beaming at her. "And we made it! So that is what matters."
Holden does not look inclined to kiss his little brother either; instead, he claps a hand on Aleksei's shoulder, and offers him a grave nod. "Family stood together, and won through honor and determination. Dad would be proud." He doesn't sound entirely like he's joking. But he turns to Nurie when a crown of leaves is placed on his head, and bends down for the kiss on the cheek. "Thank you, Mistress Nurie."
Kissing Juniper may seem less a winning prospect by the time they cross the finish line. She's apple red in the face, flushed and sweating and not just breathless, but /panting/. Rolling patients and cleaning linens is not the same sort of physical as running races! "Yay!" she wisps, raggedly, then goes up on tiptoes once the bonds are released, to direct a peck at his cheek. There! "For being a good sport. Aleksei, would you like a victor's hug?" She shuffles sweatily towards the fellow, sticky arms outstretched.
Felix offers applause when Aleksei and Holden are crowned, "Well won, Sir Holden, Aleksei." to congratulate the pair, and then laugh at Juniper's offer. Stepping out of the way so that she can get passed, before he slips a few small coins, leaning down to whisper into one of the boys' ears. A few short exchanges, and then sending the boy off at a run.
After so much activity, there's probably a rise in very thirsty guests. And so there's more beverages brought out, water infused with fruit and mint as well as plain, and a refilling of the wine carafes and beer mugs! Nurie accepts a glass of the infused water, and gratefully, chugging it down like a regular at some dive bar might guzzle down the swill of the week! A sigh of satisfaction escapes her, along with probably a louder hiccup that she didn't quite intend. Now that the races have ended, people drink and eat and enjoy, though many people stroll individually or in clusters about the gardens, in search of that elusive painted rock.
Holden checked luck + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.
Mayir checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.
Mayir accepts the kiss from Juniper gratefully, and returns a kiss to her cheek before chugging a water. Dragging a godsworn is hard work! But then he is wandering around the garden in search of that dratted rock.
Aleksei laughs brightly at Juniper's sticky-armed offer, and he drags Holden over closer just so he can fling his arms about Juniper and lift her right off the ground in an enthusiastic hug. (Hopefully /then/ he'll get unbound from his brother.) "Excellent race, everyone!" It's easy to be cheerful when you've just won, Aleksei. He grabs a beer for himself, downing about half in one go just to slake the thirst from all that activity. His gaze slants over to Nurie, smile widening at her hiccup, and then he pulls his attention away with something of an effort. "So! How're you two, uh, settling in with your vows and all that?" he asks Juniper and Felix, as one of the few non-Godsworn about who experienced it.
Aleksei gets a jaunty silk poppy from spring lily wooden chest.
That is a most enthusiastic hug! Juniper squeaklaughs as she goes up, and continues to bubble with amusement when she's set down. "I don't think I'd have finished at all if Captain Mayir hadn't dragged me to the end," she remarks, reaching aside to claim a glass with water and mint for herself. Then, casual as casual can be, she sinks to the grass. Yes, right there on the ground, folding up and letting herself flop backwards. Those white robes, they will not /stay/ white for very long. Still, she strives for a dignified note when she says (from the ground), "They haven't asked me to leave yet but we're still in the early stages." Resting the glass on her belly, she turns her head towards the bush beside her-- and pauses.
Felix does claim a water, but also a lager, so that he can both drain the water and then settle in with the drink. At the inquiry, he focuses in on Aleksei, considering it, before he shrugs. "I've mostly been left to it. Doing what I can to equip the Knights and Templars, and those of the Inquisition who are not yet, with weapons and armor suitable to fighting the enemies they do. But aside from that.." a shrug and spread of hands. "I haven't been tasked with anything." with a short laugh, he moves to join Juniper. Sitting upright, but planting himself right on the ground.
Holden is unexpectedly tugged over in Juniper's direction, though recovers enough to offer her a respectful nod. "Well-run, Sister Juniper. And everyone else." Felix, Mayir, and Nurie all receive nods as well. "It's nice to see that even outside of the Oathlands, a party can include a test of martial strength." That's... that's not what it was, Holden. He's joking, right? He's probably joking.
Demetria Arcuri arrives, following Josephine.
Aleksei gives Holden a bland sort of look, then shoots a more apologetic one to the others. He's SORRY for him. "Yes, we're very martial," he says, giving Holden's shoulder a fraternal slap. "Don't worry: you have to /really/ fuck up to get asked to leave," Aleksei tells Juniper with a wry hint of a smile. He looks briefly curious at something Felix says, but doesn't ask anything particular.
"Don't forget getting your forge remodeled!" says Juniper. Even winded, even still flushed, she remains helpful. Helpful but distracted, as she rolls onto her side and perches on one elbow, reaching with her other hand into the bushes. "I was terrible but that's very sweet of you to say, Sir Holden," is added, though the redhead flicks a teasing glance at /Aleksei/ for some reason. Then she's rolling to sit up and in her hand... the stone, painted to look like a ladybug. "Does this make me the Summer Queen?"
She's late, Josephine's very late. But the older woman has managed to come to Nurie's garden picnic, all silk and a far more simple cane than usual, looking about at the gathered group.
Felix eyes the stone, reaching for it with that mischevious grin returning to his lips. "Does /what/ make you the Summer Queen?" he doesn't compelte the attempted grab, letting his hand fall a moment later. "Aye, and getting the forge remodeled; congratulations, Sister - seems you win the final prize of the evening." Josephine's entry gains a lifted hand in greeting from the smith. "Welcome, Guildmistress." from his position seated on the ground.
Her thirst slaked, Nurie seems to be back to her chipper self, and she claps delightedly when Juniper holds up the rock painted like a ladybug! "No crown of flowers, but there will be a surprise delivered to you in the next few days!" Nurie promises, though she does produce another stack of coins, bound in fabric netting and a brightly colored ribbon, offering it to the Sister. Josephine's arrival doesn't go unnoted, and Nurie is moving off towards her, holding out both hands in welcome, as if to take Josephine's if she allows it, and also to touch a gentle kiss to the other Lycene's cheek if she similarly allows it. "Please, make yourself at home! The games are over, but there's still time and food and drink!"
"I'm pretty sure that's the law, yes," Aleksei confirms solemnly to Juniper. Ladybug rock, Summer Queen. That's how it works. "I feel you've got real autumn hair, though. Then again, it could be any season hair, except maybe winter." He pauses. "Now I'm making this weird. Uh." He looks back over to Josephine in her belated arrival, offering her an easy smile. He sidles back over to Holden, now that their legs are unbound and they don't /have/ to stand next to each other, saying something to him in a lower voice.
Juniper snatches her hand to the side and pulls a face at Felix, chasing that grimace with a laugh. "To the victor go /these/ spoils." The presentation of coins leads her to grin at Nurie. "I'll be giving these to Jayus' shrine, under your name, Mistress Nurie. As thanks for the wonderful evening you've given all of us." See? Gracious as a queen! She tosses the hair in question over her shoulder and includes Aleksei in her grin. "Fire keeps us warm in winter. I'm multi-seasonal," she quips-- she thinks she's funny TOO-- before the rock is waved in a flourish at Josephine. "Welcome!"
"Good, I've timed it right. Here for a drink before stealing away." Nurie gets a cheek kiss back, Felix a wave and a bow of the head to Aleksei. The man may no longer be Godsworn but there's still respect for him from the older woma. "Juniper my girl. Is that a ladybug?"
Pete, a Grayhope account manager leaves, following Mayir.
"Perfect timing indeed!" Nurie agrees cheerfully with Josephine, offering the Guildmaster a cheeky grin before she claims a glass of wine this time, and moving to take a seat on the large swing, settling in to catch her breath and relax a little. Juniper's revealing her plans for the coins has her brushing the fingers of one hand over her heart in thanks. "Oh, that's such a delight, Sister Juniper! Thank you! And 'tis true, there are even bonfires on warm summer nights!" she agrees.
Nurie has joined the an exquisiely grand wooden swing.
Felix levers up to his feet with a bit of a groan, finishing off his lager in one final pull, wiping his mouth with the other hand before he sets the tankard into the to be cleaned area. "Mistress Nurie, with many thanks for hosting a delightful evening. Sister Juniper, I look forward to continuing our conversation from before." with a grin and incline of his head to her. "Sir Holden, not that I suspect you have pressing need, but come by Seaborn Weaponry if you have need of weapons, and I can also provide armor up to a point. Aleksei, hopefully it is not too long before we cross paths again." and a grin for Josephine. "And hopefully next time you show up after the start of the last race, the better to cheer us on. Enjoy the evening, Nurie did great." that offered to everyone as a whole.
"It is! Mistress Nurie hid it as the evening's final prize." Juniper flattens her hand and holds up the rock, so Josephine can take a better look. When Felix moves to stand, she tracks his progress. "Soon, Brother Felix! Sooner rather than later, I hope. Oh, you should take some of those flowers with you, before you go." Because what muscled smith /doesn't/ need a poesy, to keep up their spirits? Speaking of, she rocks up from knees to feet, in order to go claim some for herself. "
Juniper takes a cheerful silk morning glory from spring lily wooden chest.
Felix gets a sweet sprig of silken bluebells from spring lily wooden chest.
"Oh my, very lovely. You'll have to keep it somewhere in your shop so when the small ones come in with scrapes and such, they can hold it and be soothed while you tend to them." Josephine nods approvingly, taking up a glass of wine too and finding some place easy to sit.
"Oh, it was wonderful to see you again, Brother Felix," Nurie says to him. "I hope it won't be long until I do so again. Thank you so very much for joining us, and taking time from your work. May you be refreshed upon your return!" She nods enthusiastically to Juniper's suggestion as well. "Please do, I don't want anyone to forget. If not for you, then as a gift to be bestowed as you see fit!"
"Take care, /Brother/ Felix," Aleksei says with bright warmth when Felix looks to be taking his leave. "I'm awfully curious what your prize is gonna be now, if it needs til /tomorrow/ just to prepare and deliver." He looks from Juniper over to Nurie, giving her a look of exaggerated suspicion. Maybe it's a puppy. (It should be a puppy.)
Holden finally takes his leave, offering Aleksei and the others a nod of farewell. "I fear I need to return to the Valardin ward; I have preparations to make to provide appropriate security for a foreign dignitary's visit." If there's a wry and faintly irritated edge to that last part, well, perhaps it was only imagined. "But it was... not unpleasant. To attend this gathering." Perhaps 'not unpleasant' is the somber Oathlander term for 'pleasant'.
Please don't be a puppy. Juniper tucks a silky morning glory behind her ear, the flair of purple dark against pale skin and fiery hair. "That's a /wonderful/ idea. Maybe I can find some river stones, and paint, and set up a little table for them to make their own. I've had a few children come through, with their parents..." She slides a speculative glance at Aleksei. "...jealous?" she inquires, wide-eyed, innocent. Lucky for him, Holden provides a distraction. "It was a pleasure, Sir Holden! Next time, maybe we'll see you in a flower crown!"
Nurie is all innocence despite Aleksei's suspicious look! But a Lycene wouldn't be a Lycene without at least a /little/ mystery, and so she doesn't give a hint! "You'll just have to go visit Sister Juniper to find out," she tells him, all smiles. Holden's praise makes her blush just a little, and she doesn't seem offended at all. "I know it's difficult to find time for pleasure inbetween duties, Sir Holden," she says to the knight. "But truly, you have brightened the day, and I'm so very glad that you shared your time with us! May the gods keep you, until our paths cross once more."
"I'm not jealous!" Aleksei claims, reaching to adjust his flower crown, which totally proves it. "I'm just /curious/. I mean, unless the prize is something I'd really want, then maybe I'll be jealous when I find out." It's only reasonable. He offers Holden a quick, brotherly sort of smile. "That means he loved it," he translates 'not unpleasant.' "See you later, Holden."
As Holden looks to be preparing to depart, a fairly large white dog pads over from near the entrance, where she had laid down to wait patiently. As she makes her way to Holden's side, she sits on her haunches and gazes up at the knight with hope shining in her eyes; she has been /very good/ and did not come chase anyone /at all/ when the people were running. And now she would /very much/ like a treat.
Holden reaches down to scratch the dog behind the ears; for once, that somber expression brightens with a genuine smile. "Good girl, Daisy." Glancing back to Juniper and then Nurie, he adds, "If you're important to Aleksei -- and I believe you both are -- then I know we'll cross paths. It was nice to meet some of his friends."
The knight pulls a bit of unseasoned jerky from a pouch, offering it to Daisy, whose tail wags in that slow but extremely determined fashion. When she reaches out to take it -- gently -- from his hand, he scratches her behind the ears again, then rises once more.
"Oh that's a lovely idea Juniper." A look to the dog from the jewler. "Ohhh that's a lovely dog, so well behaved." Josephien murmurs.
The festivities continue, with guests invited to linger as long as they like, even when it's time for the lanterns to be lit in the balmy summer night, at the gathering of friends and neighbors and other guests that drift in and out, until it's time at last for dishes and cups to be cleared and the grounds once more restored to just an ordinary garden.
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