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Poetry Reading: The Thirteen

Poets, novice or professional, and those who wish merely to listen, are invited to join together for a poetry reading. The theme of the latest edition of the readings hosted by Princess Helena Redrain will be "The Thirteen," and of course pays homage to the gods (no Dark Reflections, please!). The poems do not need to be "about" the gods but inspired by them, though as always, all poetry, whether fitting the theme of the night or not, will be welcome and applauded.


June 17, 2019, 9 p.m.

Hosted By



Miranda Waldemai Rysen Willow Zara Mikani Lianne Mirella Gianna Warrick Calandra Khanne Cahal




Arx - Ward of the Compact - Vellichorian Academy - Reading Room

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Miranda enters the academy's reading room and takes a moment to find a seat by the hearth. She is followed by 3 men and a cat - there's a joke there somewehre - and the men stay back, hovering to listen and participate and guard their lady, while the cat, Jewel, follows Miranda. Once Miranda is seated, with a nod to Waldemai, the cat jumps onto her lap. Miranda leans back in her seat and pets Jewel from head to tail, watching the goings on. A wave is offered towards Mikani.

Hickory, a young sighthound arrives, following Cahal.

Cahal has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Waldemai comes in quietly. His hands are empty so at least one of them won't be reading today. He takes up a chair near the fire, as usual. Living in a forge will make you like it hot.

Lianne has joined the a green sofa by the window.

Warrick has joined the a green sofa by the window.

Mikani has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Khanne has joined the a green sofa by the window.

Rysen drifts into the reading room with Mikani and Lygeia. His black mantle flows lightly with his steps as he takes a place near the back of the room, as Lygeia stands nearby.

Zara has joined the a green sofa by the window.

It is with an uncertain look around that Willow arrives. Spotting Helena seems to confirm she is in the right place, and she offers smiles to a good chunk of those present but makes no move to hide a touch of surprise that so many she knows are interested in verse. It is those she does /not/ know, however, that gain lingering curious looks after she settles onto a couch paler than the winter-white of her northern complexion.

Detaching from a pack of young women garbed in Valardin hues, Zara pauses just a moment as a sudden cluster descend on the seats she had in her sights -- and then continues forward. Her voice lowers to a quieter mumur as she introduces herself to those nearby.

Mikani enters with Rysen. Vagari pressing against her legs. She murmurs to Rysen softly before taking a seat. Vagari, the cat, jumping up and laying next to Mika.

Calandra arrives, following Gianna.

Lianne arrives arm in arm with Khanne, the pair keeping rather close as the brunette murmurs quietly to the redhead, a soft smile upon her lips suggesting whatever she's gossiping about must be pleasant. As they move deeper into the busy room, the chatter stops for just a moment, until a spot by the window picked out and the conversation can continue at its same quiet volume.

Already having arrived, Mirella is seated upon that very nice lounging sofa with the soft pillows. And today, for once, she's not sitting with her usual marble-hewn posture. There's even a bit of a sprawl to the way she has arranged herself, with one arm hooked over the back of the cushions and pale bare feet tucked up underneath herself in cosy fashion. The folds of her seasilk skirt are a blue that blends well with the slate padding of her perch, and delicate sandals are placed on the floor nearby. With duskstone eyes she watches, observes -- expression impassive as she studies each face, but Helena gets a nod coupled with a small but genuine smile, as does Willow.

Gianna arrives with Calandra, the Whispers seeming rather companionable. Gianna murmurs something to Calandra, pausing just inside the doorway and gesturing with a flourish that makes the ring on her finger sparkle in an entirely calculated manner.

Mikani waved at Miranda, really Mikani has manners and waves at people when they wave at her. She even gives Miranda a grin.

Warrick enters wearing his best pensive face, thoughtfully electing the sofa near the window. Good for an exit, in case things go horrible south during a poetry reading. He brightens when he sees Zara, and dips his head with a quiet greeting before tucking against the cushions.

Miranda talks with Waldemai by the fire, petting her cat. Here and there, laughter as they speak. Miranda smiles warmly to Mikani, offering her a nod of her head. Jewel turns from her stomach to her side, as if Miranda's not reaching all the right spots on her. The glutton.

As usual, Helena stands at a lectern set at the front of the reading room, if the little room can be said to have a front. She smiles and greets each of the guests as they make their way in. Those she knows, she greets by name; those she doesn't, she introduces herself and asks them to make themselves comfortable. Around each of the seating areas are small books of parchment and quills and ink, for those inspired to jot down a line or two -- or perhaps take part in a little extemporaneous writing as is often the case. The Redrain princess waits for people to settle and when it seems most have found a seat, begins to speak.

"Thank you all for coming! Tonight's theme is the Thirteen -- not the Thirteenth, though Tehom certainly counts as one of the Thirteen. If you have something you'd like to read, it doesn't have to follow under that theme, of course -- and we could simply say you were inspired by Jayus, no matter what the topic." She grins a little. "I have a few people jotted down to read already, but to warm us up -- and it is a lovely little ice breaker for newcomers, I find -- I'd like to have you grab one of the quills and notebooks if you do not have your own, and join us in a little free writing. I'll give you a topic in just a moment, but the idea is for you to write what you want without worry of grammar or mechanics or any of that nonsense, and just let yourselves be moved. It doesn't have to rhyme. It doesn't have to be a poem. And if you don't want to write by hand, simply thinking about it also will suffice."

Miranda does rise a moment to gather parchment and quill to bring back to the chairs by the hearth. She speaks to Waldemai and seems to lift a curious brow his way.

Helena has joined the Stately Sofa of Somnolence.

After a moment of waiting for those to find the quills and paper, Helena smiles. "Today's prompt is to think about a moment you either felt like you were heard by one of the gods or spirits, or a moment perhaps you questioned them. This is obviously a very personal topic so I do understand if you don't want to share what you write, but take it as an opportunity to meditate on that moment." She too takes up a quill and her own journal today, apparently this time planning to practice what she preaches, rather than just watching them suffer from behind the lectern. Turning over a sand glass that looks to be about five minutes in length, she sets it on the lectern then takes a seat beside Mirella on one of the sofas.

Once she puts quill to page, Willow grows distracted and seems to shut everyone out. Not in any rude or intentional way, more a product of tunnel vision once she finds an opener she likes.

The prompt idea causes Miranda to pale slightly, then she nods and looks to her paper, quill in hand. For a few moments, her quill trembles and then she begins to write. Her attention is quite earnest as she puts ink to parchment, silent now as the task is before her. Several times her hand stops before continuing, her writing more firm and steady as she goes.

Renault, the fluffiest Velenosan cat, Athenais, a dreamy apprentice Whisper arrive, following Selene.

Selene has joined the Stately Sofa of Somnolence.

Lianne doesn't take up a quill when prompted, not reaching for a writing implement until after the topic has been chosen, until after an inkling of an idea starts to form. Not that she then puts quill to page right away, instead turning a slight, impish smile toward Zara and murmuring something softly. Then there's some writing. Just a little.

Waldemai leans back in his chair, watching the others writing frantically.

Rysen cross his arms, and leans against bookcase entitled "Poetry and Music." He gazes thoughtfully at the floor as some of the present company write, and the rhythmic movement of his fingers tapping his triceps might indicate a degree of anxiety.

Mirella blinks twice as Helena sits next to her, but then curves a small smile at the Redrain princess. A light smile, a polite smile. From her half-lounging position she sits up properly, straightening her spine now that she knows that others will be looking her way, as they must in order to pay attention to Helena. She slips her feet back into her sandals, hooking them up behind her heels, and reaches out for quill and a notebook to place upon her lap. With the cover carefully pulled back to reveal the paper within, and the nib of the quill dipped ready to make its mark upon the surface, the dark-haired women considers what the write and brushes a lock of loose dark hair behind her ear using her free left hand.

Calandra arrives nearly on the arm of Gianna, far more at ease than earlier if the returned sway to her step is anything to go by. Her head tipping slightly into the whispering Whisper, her smile turns cattish when looking out to where the woman gestures. Eyes wander further, catching sight of Princess Zara in particular, whom she'll offer a respectful dip of her head should she look over. A familiar face further down, Warrick, gets a more coy flutter of digits before Calandra urges Gianna to come with her to visit them both.

"Your Highness." She greets upon reaching the couch, giving one more bow of her head. "A pleasure to see you again. May we join you?"

Khanne had arrived arm in arm with Lianne, yes. (OOC: but the player was pulled away) She wears shades of dawn, or sunset... sort of, pastels of pink and blue. These are not colors she is usually seen in, but the seasilk gown flows around her exquisitely. She pauses their chatter as she greets people she knows and follows Lianne to a seat by the window. She quiets as she listens to Helena then greets those she sits with.

Cahal fidgets with the quill in hand but doesnt actually seem to write anything down.

Zara takes her book and sets to writing, exchanging a few quiet words with those seated nearby. As Calandra and Gianna step forward, her gaze lifts. She inclines her head in particular welcome to Calandra and says, "Whispers, you are always welcome. Please, join us." And because it _must_ be said, she adds in particular to Gianna, "You look stunning," in frank compliment. No rly. It's great.

Helena glances over at the sand glass just as the last silver grains run out, and she stands, or rather leans, against the arm of the sofa. A grin is given to Mirella as the other woman tries to be a little more poised in her posture, but she clearly doesn't seem too offended by how Mirella was sitting before. Her own journal has a scrawled and jaunty script on it, filling a page. "That is time," she says, clear voice ringing out across the room that is almost silent but for the scratch of quill nibs on paper, a rustle of a page now and then, and perhaps a little nervous tapping here and there. "Who would like to share what they wrote? We'll have our prepared poems after."

Calandra has joined the a green sofa by the window.

Gianna has joined the a green sofa by the window.

Gianna inclines her head to Warrick as well. Zara gets a small but very pleased smile for the compliment; Gianna settles onto the green sofa, crossing one leg over the other and arranging her skirt as she gives a quiet reply She makes no move toward any paper or quills, apparently not intending to write anything.

Miranda stops writing finally and looks up, to see if others are ready, then looking to Helena, perhaps to see if it's time yet...

Selene has left the Stately Sofa of Somnolence.

Renault, the fluffiest Velenosan cat, Athenais, a dreamy apprentice Whisper leave, following Selene.

Willow finishes scrawling down words, fingertips stained, and lifts a hand. "I can read a thing, but I cannot promise it will be good."

Helena notices Miranda's look, but Willow speaks up and she gives her a nod. "Lady Willow, of course. And we make no promises. But I should say this should be a safe place -- it takes courage to share our thoughts and hearts and hopefully all present know this. Lady Miranda, I think you have one in you, as well, so you take up after Lady Willow, yes?" she says with a grin.

Miranda nods to Helena, "Of course." She smiles warmly and nods to Lady Willow.

Rysen nods in agreement with Helena, and smiles at Willow.

Cahal has left the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Hickory, a young sighthound have been dismissed.

Pushing to her feet, Willow starts to read,

"Reflections, as a shaman
Are only a facet
Natural order taking shape
In the grain of the real.

Creation, too, is a mirror
As above, so below - sky and sea
Fiery rebirth in seasons change
The ever new spring leaf green

Concepts, a reflection of the concrete,
Justice and law, and even fidelity,
Like charity, these reflect
Our ideals, not often reality

Knowledge and strategy,
Honor and arts,
Again a reflection
Not of reality,
But instead ideology

Even that which was forgot.
Our first and most precious choices,
What happens to our souls in the end,
The nature of existence itself,
Once forgotten, now color again our dreams."

Once finished, she takes a long breath and sits back down, smearing still wet ink on her cheek when she scratches it.

Khanne doesn't appear to be writing anything for the icebreaker prompt, though the topic does make her grin lopsidedly and arch a brow. Willow rises and reads though, her attention going to the Nightgold, and when she finishes, Khanne smiles and applauds quietly.

Gianna raises her hands to applaud politely when Willow finishes reciting her work. She inclines her head to several people she knows, a quiet greeting so as to not interrupt.

After applauding Lady Willow's work, Miranda rises from her seat, her parchment in her hand. She looks it over, a bit shy, perhaps. A glance about, "Mine is a quick story." She takes a deep breath before she begins. "I went traveling with others into a dark place. A heavy darkness was felt about our shoulders, surrounding us, whispering to us. I felt the burden grow heavier and heavier the further into this darkness we went. We faced varied trials and some of us were injured, but we came out of it alive and whole. Or, I thought I had. When I came through it and found myself at home, alone, the nightmares came. THe shadows were darker, the emptiness of my rooms seemed ominous. Unable to sleep, I wandered Arx until I became aware that I was at the Shrine of Gloria." Miranda pauses a moment, catching a breath before continuing. Her voice has a natural warmth and softness to it with a light rasp. "I went inside and was overcome. I fell upon the shrine, draped over it and let it all go. I am not ashamed to say I cried. I put all the fear I felt, all the dark whispers I'd heard, and all the terror experienced out on that altar. I cried. I cried and cried and begged Gloria to help me." She pauses, collecting herself. She looks to her parchment, but it's clear she's not exactly reading it. She doesn't need to, though she references her writing. "I have no idea how long I lay across the shrine before I suddenly heard a familiar male voice. I was so distraught, I hardly knew who it was until he carefully pulled me from the altar and into his arms where I felt instantly safe. My good friend, Lord Kincade Blanchard. He saw me home, listened to my story, and stayed until I felt more myself." A pause and a warm, grateful smile, "He told me later that he didn't often visit the Shrine, but felt compelled to go that morning." Miranda nods her head and sits back in her chair, rolling the parchment up and gripping it... just tightly enough.

Lianne gives her quill a shallow waggle at the invitation to share what was written for the prompt. Then she draws it down when Willow presents a full and proper poem so swiftly penned, brows arching in a manner which might suggest she's impressed. Or suspicious. She sinks back into her seat, quill flat upon her page and simply listens.

Waldemai nods as he listens to Miranda. "That's what we want from our nobles. To be protected."

Helena's brows lift, impressed, and she smiles widely. "Lovely and wise, Lady Willow, and quite prolific for five minutes. Thank you for sharing your insights," she says softly, before nodding to Miranda. When the latter speaks of her story, her own expression grows worried, her eyes threatening to fill with tears for Miranda's ordeal. "I understand that darkness. I am glad you found a friend there, and that Gloria clearly led him to you."

Rysen, perhaps demonstrating that he needs a lesson or two on how not to appear an uncouth Northlands barbarian from Gianna, smiles and claps loudly for Willow from his place in the back of the room. "Well done, My Lady."

Helena is overheard praising Willow.

Helena is overheard praising Miranda.

There's no way Mirella is going to share a poem, it would seem. Indeed, her unyielding posture makes it quite clear that she's not one to share her thoughts generally. That said, she does tilt her head when Willow reads her own work. There's a hint of appreciation for the wording there, though the narrowed gaze suggests that the Lycene is thinking deeply on something. Nonetheless, she nods. Good, it seems to say. And then Miranda is next, and the narrowed gaze widens. Scratching a small line of ink onto the page of the notebook, Mirella nods once again.

Rysen is overheard praising Willow.

Zara's quiet words still as she listens to first poem and then story, giving each her full attention, and adding her applaud to the chorus: quiet, understated, but evidently sincere.

Mirella is overheard praising Willow.

Mirella is overheard praising Miranda.

Mirella is overheard praising Helena.

Warrick is overheard praising Miranda.

Warrick is overheard praising Helena.

Willow is overheard praising Miranda.

Rysen is overheard praising Miranda.

Pleasant smiles and small nods greet the other ladies seated around the Princess. She'd hate to intrude on her company right now, so the Whisper takes a seat a little further down nearer Warrick, her smile to him more cool and casual compared to her public face. "Aren't you full of surprises. I didn't know you wrote poety." A curious eye hopes to spy a few words without being too obvious before her attention is drawn to those taking their turns reading. And what writing! A light, indoor clap joins the others in appreciation, knowing she herself prefered to sing what was on the paper than write it.

Calandra is overheard praising Helena.

Calandra is overheard praising Miranda.

Calandra is overheard praising Willow.

There is unduly loud clapping from Willow as she hears Miranda's story, an understanding nod at the words on how profound a moment at the altar can be, and a smile following on the heels of its conclusion with Kincade's intercepting her. She gives smiles and dips of her head to the people who clapped for her, but the apparent relief on her face once her reading concluded was one of those things that speaks strongly to nerves even after the fact.

When the applause dies down for the grander pieces penned in answer to Helena's prompt, Lianne again lifts her quill and offers succinctly, "Prayer upon another's breath, and suddenly I could breathe, and suddenly I could see, true and clear and terrifying." And that's it. Her chin dips when she's done, a subtle bow to mark the conclusion.

Miranda looks mostly shy about the sharing of so emotional and cathartic a moment. But she does offer a nod to those who applaud her and speak to her. Otherwise, she returns to being quiet, sitting with Waldemai by the fire and listening. She applauds for the next person who speaks up, Lianne!

Gianna applauds for Miranda and Lianne as well, her head tilting to the left as she considers their words. She seems content to listen to the others.

Willow is overheard praising Lianne: So evocative in so few words. Beautifully done.

Rysen is overheard praising Lianne.

Helena is overheard praising Lianne.

Khanne smiles at her friend and says, "that was beautiful and mysterious. Of course. Just like you."

"Beautiful. It is exactly like that," says Helena with a nod to Lianne, before she pushes off of the sofa arm to go to the lectern again. She smiles at the gathered crowd, dark blue gaze alighting on each face, as if to truly take account of each person present. "I've learned not to follow Lord Rysen, so I'm going to be selfish and take the first spot today," she says, grinning a little impishly.

"I actually found, after setting the theme for this reading, that it was difficult for me. I don't often write about the gods or spirits, and it's hard to, to be honest. It's hard to capture the greatness and also the simplicity of the divine. So my poems are very short, little thank you notes, really, to two of the gods in particular. One to the Queen of Endings and Beginnings, and one to Skald."

Waldemai nods his head at the explanation.

Miranda nods in understanding, still listening quietly, hands gripping her rolled parchment.

Rysen blushes furiously at Helena's words, and chuckles, shaking his head.

Opening a well-worn journal to a page marked with a green ribbon, Helena smoothes the page, biting her lower lip for a moment -- though she is a princess, it's clear she isn't as fond of the spotlight as some.

"The first is to the Queen," she says simply.

"When the night's dark silks ensconce the sky,
I wonder that we were strangers once, you and I.

"We spoke different tongues, walked different lands,
And now you sit beside me, my heart in your hands.

"Somewhere above our heads, a spider weaves
its web like silver, between the golden leaves.

"I close my eyes and whisper a thankful prayer
to the Queen of Endings for this time we share."

"Gods and spirits," says Rysen softly. "She has such a way with words and images." He leans forward, eager to hear the second poem on Skald.

Between those going up to speak their poems, Calandra looks back to Warrick when he presents his piece, which isn't words at all, but a drawing. Her brow quirks with interest, a dainty hand moving to lightly touch an edge while leaning over a bit. "Well now, this is quite good.. Better than I could hope to do, certainly. I'm surprised you aren't nurturing this talent."

But as lovely as the drawing is, it's Helena's poem that suddenly draws all her attention, dark eyes drawing up to watch the woman speak such dark, alluring words. One could call her entranced, to say the least, with the little shine of gold welling from the depths of her eyes as she murmurs, "My.. such lovely words.."

Willow nods at Rysen, smiling to herself at the imagery of silver webs and golden leaves.

Mikani listens to the poems with wrapt attention.

Lianne murmurs softly, "Oh, that's lovely," before her words fall softer, the rest of her commentary not carrying much past those seated by the window.

Miranda murmurs her own appreciation of Helena's work, waiting to applause. She did say 'the first' yes?

Calandra is overheard praising Lianne.

Khanne smiles and nods towards Lianne's murmured comment. "Truly," she says with a small applause.

Gianna casts a glance over at Warrick's drawing, her expression thoughtful, but turns her attention to Helena's recitation. She applauds quietly, inclining her head to the princess.

Her cheeks look a little rosier than they were when she began to speak, and Helena quickly finds another page in her journal, this marked by a red ribbon. A small smile curves her lips. "My working title here is 'This is not a prayer because he does not like prayers," she says with a laugh. "I will say, I did pray to him once, despite being warned that he does not listen to prayers. But he answered -- or the spirits did, and the answer was both beautiful and terrifying, as has been said." She begins to read.

"Merry wanderer of the wood,
Shapeshifter, Mischief Maker,
Father to every precipice stood
upon by every choice made
since yours gave us free will.
How could you help but be a little mad
when we make ours unwisely still?
Merrymaker, Chainbreaker
Mage and Wolf, God and Kin,
Thank you for the choice to choose
time after time, again and again."

Rysen is overheard praising Helena: The heart and soul of poetry in Arvum.

Miranda can't help but laugh at the title, quickly putting a hand to her mouth as if to sifle her amusement. This time, she does applaud, even if Helena has more to read!

Waldemai smirks. "How much fun was that one?"

The comments make Helena blush a little, and she dips her head in thanks for them, lashes lowering demurely, before she turns to look at Rysen. "Lord Rysen, who will surely have something epic and worthy of a thousand copies made by a thousand scribes," she says with a smile to the poet, quickly moving to take her seat beside Mirella again.

Gianna leans back on the couch, applauding again for Helena's second poem. She says something quietly to the others nearby.

Though Mirella makes not a peep, she nods after each poem with a respectful dip of her chin. Helena's words in particular are considered with a thoughtful gaze, a tilt of the head. So thoughtful. And there's an enigmatic smile as well.

Zara holds her applause for Helena until she has finished both poems, but she's unstinting as closes her last. There's a quiet discussion where she's seated, but more loudly -- and clearly meant to be heard -- she says, "Tremendous talents tonight."

Rysen checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Lianne is overheard praising Helena: Eloquence enough to shift an opinion.

Rysen smiles. "I wish, but thank you, Your Highness." Rysen comes to stand before those in the reading room, and his left hand fidgets slightly. Lygeia hands Rysen a blackwood lyre, and he begins to run his fingers lightly over the strings, producing a slow, enchanting melody. "I hope you don't mind if play a simple tune to accompany my poem," he says, blushing a bright red color. "This is a short and simple poem: something for the spring time, and for Our Lady of Change." His fingers continue to dance over the strings of the lyre, and he closes his eyes a moment. He opens them, and begins to chant in a full, resonant voice:

"Sing, Muse, of Lagoma!
The goddess warm and bright,
Whose flame that dance and changes,
Defies the Queen of Ice!

Her adherents in their labors
Are the cherished pride of Arx:
Sister Sophie, honored Mercy,
Has when th' outcome looked most dark

Pressed against a sickness
That had an unknown cure.
Herself soon was afflicted,
Yet dauntless she endured!

And with Rukhnis she labored,
'Gainst time and cold despair,
And with Marquessa Keaton
Brought hope when none was there.

O, dance flames of Lagoma!
You shed the warmth of life!
Against the cold our surest shield,
The foe of stasis' blight!

The feelings you engender,
With every season's change
Fills with everlasting hope
Those who seek to learn your ways!"

Rysen's changing ceases, and his fingers slow and stop their movement. His melody fades away. He hands his lyre back to Lygeia, and seems relieved to take a seat next to Mikani and Willow on the sofa.

Rysen has joined the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Mikani smiles at Rysen. "Well done." she compliments him.

Willow is overheard praising Helena: Beautiful poem to the Queen of Endings.

There's a flicker of a faint smile on Gianna's lips as she applauds, this time, for Rysen. A gentle upward tilt of her chin.

Lianne is overheard praising Rysen: Quite the bard. A rousing tale.

Willow claps enthusiastically at Rysen's work, smiling at mention of Sophie.

Helena is overheard praising Rysen: No one better to sing the tales of our people.

Mikani is overheard praising Rysen.

And yet another nod towards Rysen from Mirella, and even a faint quirk at the corner of her mouth.

"We never say no to music. It is the soul twin of poetry after all," says Helena with a smile, and when Rysen finishes, she applauds. "He has to out blush me too, doesn't he?" she asks Mirella, with a shake of her head as if Rysen were trying to outdo her.

Mikani hesitantly raises a hand. "I could ... share something."

"Marquessa Lianne, you're up next. How lucky, we get another of your thoughts tonight," Helena says, before hearing Mikani's offer to share as well. "Countess, you can be next, if that will please you?"

Leaning against Lianne, who has her hand curled around one of Khanne's arms, the shaman's eyes alight upon Rysen. She smiles and whispers, "Ah... Spring, one of my favorite subjects," before her begins to play. She smiles bright when her other dear friend's name is mentioned, whispering, "aww... Reigna." and when Rysen finishes, she snaps her fingers, as clapping is currently difficult.

Lianne slips away from a modest entanglement with Khanne and rises when called upon to present her prepared poem, a nod tipped to Helena first before she looks to Rysen. "Mine, too, is for Our Lady of Change. It does seem the season for it, mm?" Her lips purse, and she draws a deep breath, chin lifting as she looks to those gathered.

It burned so cruel and so quick, taking
everything I'd built, no chance to save
anything but this precious, pitiful breath,
routine ruined, old dreams all laid to ash.
So then, how did it burn? Mercifully swift.

I surrendered myself to the current
with a desperate desire to change--
self, scenery, anything to be rid of this restlessness--
but the water slowed until it could no longer carry me,
and I surrendered myself to the stillness,
with the stream gently rubbing at my back.

She smells like a house fire.
Her skin is smooth as a river stone."

Recitation complete, the marquessa bows her head, reclaimes her seat, and once more snags the shaman's elbow as if she had some claim to it.

Miranda closes her eyes to listen to the poem of Marquessa Lianna. When it's done, it takes a moment for Miranda to realize she is through, so caught up is she in the imagry. Miranda applauds, "A sad tale, but so lovely."

Gianna tosses her head and applauds for Lianna, her brows arching gently upward.

Something of Lianne's words seems to strike Willow and just stick. It leaves her blinking and looking shocked before clapping.

Warrick likewise takes in this poem with closed eyes, and nods firmly when it's finished. "Well recited."

Khanne listens attentively as the Marquessa speaks. She smiles as she absorbs every word, clasping her hands together and shaking her head for a moment. "Magnificent... I really do love how your mind weaves words that take me on a journey."

Listening, Lianne's words make Helena tilt her head, caught up in the tumultuous rhythm that captures the story so well. "Lovely. The last image will stay with me," she says softly.

Helena is overheard praising Lianne.

Rysen smiles at Gianna and Khanne, and nods to Lianne in agreement that something about the spring seems to suggest Lagoma. Rysen listens thoughtfully to Lianne's verse, and claps loudly at its conclusion, though his smile has changed into an expression more contemplative.

Mikani applauds the poem. She is struck by its beauty.

Waldemai has left the chairs by the bookcase hearth.

Waldemai has joined the chairs by the bookcase hearth.

Zara catches herself rubbing her thumb against her fingers, as if chasing a memory imagined by Lianne's words: as if sliding her thumb against stone. It's a gesture she stills, and converts to quiet applause.

Mikani checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Mikani stands and rubs her hand against her thigh before she moves to where the poets in the past have stood. "Mine is simply called Thirteen." She says before holding up her pad to read.

"Thirteen, ten and three,
Unbridled passion to a t.
Highest highs and lowest lows.
Only one knows how your soul flows."

"Thirteen, six and seven,
Look to a mirror, see how you should have been.
Reflection bright and dark.
Hopefully shows you your heart." Mika bows her head at the end of the performance and takes her seat again, quickly.

Helena is overheard praising Mikani.

Rysen is overheard praising Mikani.

Miranda applauds again, "Well done, Countess." She smiles warmly to Mikani and her cat rejoins her, once more upon her lap. Miranda returns to petting the kitty.

Willow claps loudly for Mikani and smiles warmly up at the Countess. "I especially like the closing line," she says.

"Lovely," Helena says with a bright smile for Mikani. "Wonderful insight on how everything has two sides, including ourselves, Countess." She smiles, and looks for Khanne, the last scheduled reader of the evening, to take the lectern.

Rysen smiles at Mikani. "Very well done, Countess," he says.

Mikani nods a bit and looks at Rysen. "Thank you, My Lord."

Gianna politely applauds Mikani's work; she turns her attention to Khanne next, tilting her chin up.

When it is her turn, Khanne rises from her seat. Awkward in the eye of a crowd, she reaches up to lightly rub at the back of her neck a moment. "So. Hi... The Gods are not my usual topic to speak on, but, I really did want to participate in this reading. A lot of my work has been entwined with that of the Faith, my prayers to the Gods mingle with my offerings to the Spirits. Anyone who has known me for some time knows just how often I speak of the importance of balance. So.... I guess it is in the same idea of Mikani's." She smiles towards Mikani. "Anyway... I took some inspiration from someone dear to me and... wrote this. It uh... doesn't have a title. I am awful at titles.... Anyway..."

"Under the spell of roses
we met
upon a bench
in an air of
Around us
fists thrown
taunting shouts
cheers of victory
Through words
we knew each other
Through deeds
we grew close
Close enough to
look into the mirror
I saw darkness and
it frightened me
though scared
I did not run
screaming until
no voice came

Swirls of confusion
light becomes shadow
night turns to day
joy becomes sorrow
and you went away

I still see the
mirror and the
darkness and I
remain scared
though I do not
merely remember
can so easily
be tipped."

Khanne looks up and grins crookedly. "Tehom, of course, is the first inspiration, then a friend... and.. Sorry it is kind of.. well.. anyway.. thank you." She nods and looks to quickly take her seat.

Miranda applauds once more for the poetry read. "Never apologize. It is exactly as it was meant to be!"

Willow claps a long time in Khanne's wake, visibly considering some of the evocative imagery even after her applause concludes.

Rysen is overheard praising Khanne.

The quirk of Mirella's lips is paired with a thoughtful narrowing of eyes, and when all words have come to an end, she applauds silently, gently. She sits for a while, hands folded upon the open notebook of her lap.

As usual, sad poems, sad words, draw sad expressions from the Redrain princess who clearly should never play poker. "Don't apologize. Sorrow is a part of life, and so it should be reflected -- no pun intended -- in art, in poetry. It was lovely, and real, and truth is what poetry should hope to achieve." Her eyes glimmer a little with tears, though she smiles. "It's a beautiful reminder not to take anything for granted.

Gianna now applauds for Khanne, her expression thoughtful. She clasps her hands together and rests them on her knee.

Khanne smiles a bit sheepishly at the applause and compliments. "Thank you.." Then looks to Helena. "Thank you.. thank you for getting it." She herself looks a bit saddened or tense, but smiles through it and continues to nod to those with kind words and applause.

Rysen listens to Khanne, a sad, wistful smiles passes over his face. He claps for her when she finishes, and nods in agreement with Helena's words.

Lianne tilts in toward Khanne when she retakes her seat, pressing shoulder to shoulder as she simply gives her friend an expectant *look*. They'll talk about that later, one might imagine. Helena's words steal her attention, and she dips a nod of agreement her way, lips curled in a warm smile.

To Mirella, Helena says, "There is some poetry in everyone, I firmly believe, but it will come out of you when it is ready," she says with a grin. "And it may not be you who sees it but someone else entirely."

Hickory, a young sighthound leaves, following Cahal.

Lianne is overheard praising Khanne: Ever my reflection.

Standing from where she perches, Helena moves to the front of the little room, though she doesn't retake the lectern. "Thank you all for coming and sharing and listening. Truly, that is such a gift in and of itself. Especially our brave readers, but we are nothing without someone to read or listen to our words, of course."

Helena is overheard praising Khanne.

Waldemai smiles faintly and shakes his head at the suggestion that there is poetry in everyone.

Lianne is overheard praising Mikani.

Helena is overheard praising Scholars.

Mirella is overheard praising Scholars.

Lianne is overheard praising Scholars: Another fine evening of remarkable poetry.

Zara is overheard praising Helena.

Willow has left the a comfortable ivory leather and mahogany wooden sofa.

Intrigue, a sleek, diminutive raven with blue-black plumage have been dismissed.

Miranda rises from her chair, Jewel hopping off her lap. She begins to make her way out.

Miranda has left the chairs by the bookcase hearth.

Gianna rises to her feet, smoothing her skirt. "Lovely. I'd like to remind you all that anyone with an interest in poetry is, of course, welcome at the Bard's College."

2 Rubino and Zaffria guards, Brenlin, Aide-de-Camp, Jewel, a Maelstrom Forest Cat leave, following Miranda.

Calandra is overheard praising Khanne.

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