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Royal Birthday Bash

Crown Princess Alessa and her younger twin brother Elisian are turning three! As such, they are actually old enough now to appreciate having a party thrown on their behalf, so it's happening! The Palace's Great Hall will be open to well-wishers as we celebrate the joyous occasion.

(( Also this is basically the OG Alaric player's retirement and riding-off-into-the-sunset event. Come celebrate the joyous occasion of me never having to organize twenty-person fake internet kingdom meetings for an indefinitely long period of time after this too! Wooooo! ))

Date

July 16, 2019, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Alaric

Participants

Lark Tescelina Wash Lisebet Brianna Felicia Shard Peri Bethany Liara Klaus Jaenelle Gianna Victus Rysen Desiree Khanne Zara Alarissa Arcadia Cristoph Rook Miles Mikani Carita Gabriel Michael Alessia Corban Lou Lucita Bliss Sophie Pharamond Duarte Tabitha Mabelle Sparte Pasquale Jasher

Organizations

The Crown

Location

Arx - Ward of the Crown - The Palace - Great Hall

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


2 Grayson House Guards, Crom, an expressive bull-mastiff, Songbird, a dignified war-mastiff arrive, following Lark.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist arrives, following Rysen.

Tescelina takes Aion's Twilight, the scent of fading dreams from a simple, canvas messenger bag.

2 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Once a Crown Princess herself and now merely a Princess like many of the others, Lark Grayson enters the Grand Hall of the Palace with no pomp or circumstance. Two wooden horses have been delivered from Bastion, her present neatly arranged before her own arrival, and when she enters she merely observes, for a moment, with those unreadable dark eyes.

Elena, a solemn knight attache, Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide arrive, following Zara.

Tescelina likes parties. Presumably. She did show up to one. She likes sweets, especially. Though by a glance the Wyrmguard Knight is rather muted in presence. She definitely stopped just outside to apply a bit of her perfume. Forgetting about it up until that last minute. Woops. In either case, the gallant and woeful chevalier looks nice. Her long hair is tied into a bushy ponytail by a ribbon of silk, her skirt modest and jacket high necked. Though her shoes are rather boldly fashionable.



Like any good knight, of course, her rapier and dagger are worn on the slender waist by simple swordbelt. /Both/ peace-bound. She has her hands knit in front of her, momentarily adrift in the sudden swell of sound upon entering not only the /Palace/ of all places but the /Great Hall/ of said Palace. Beneath her expressionless features is a bit of nervous trepidation, impossible to hide. Despite her ardent efforts. She carries a small ribbon-bound box which she has taken away. A gift of Blancbier chocolate in the shape of a dragon.

Just like the event desc says! Demonstrating the wisdom that is (recently) a hallmark of his reign (allegedly), Alaric has adroitly positioned the Crown's finest knights to defend the Peerage of the realm and keep their loud, hyperactive children (and the presents) at bay so they all can enjoy a relaxing, well-appointed night out at the Palace secure in the knowledge that if their little lordling or ladyling gets into a bit of a scuffle somebody else will sort it out. Once they have divested themselves of kith and kit, he stands ready to welcome them as do the stewards bearing trays of wine. So much wine.

No one in their right mind would put Wash in charge of more than one child at a time. Thankfully there is a nanny to monitor them when Wash's attention wanders. The Kennex kinder coterie consists of the two-year old Rahne, four-year old Cerilla, Damien, the toddler-heir apparent to the Kennex 'fortune' and Lief Fireviper, who is not yet one year old. Wash came armed for bear. If the bear was a children's party and arms involved well-dressed toddlers of questionable maturity.

4 Redoubt Buccaneers, Bengalo, the sneaky black cat, Luna, the sweet, studious assistant arrive, following Carita.

4 Redoubt Buccaneers, Bengalo, the sneaky black cat, Luna, the sweet, studious assistant leave, following Carita.

Luna, the sweet, studious assistant arrives, following Carita.

Lisebet is not a princess, but the Duchess Ashford enters, without gift. Because the Duke has them! Which makes perfectly good sense, given that Lisebet can't see her toes she's so pregnant at the moment. A good seven or eight month, goodness is she going to pop any time now? Hard to tell but certainly the petite Ashford has a huge belly. Alas that the Ashford heir will not be joining in this year's shenanigans, due to circumstances beyond his or her control. Lisebet sweeps in, takes a glance around, and laughs as she realizes what is going on. "Oh, now this should be quite entertaining," she remarks, as she makes her way over to greet the king, assuming she can get in.

Tescelina has joined the Green Table.

Brianna arrives, far, far overdressed for a children's birthday party. That's fine. That's Brianna. She hands the gifts over to attendants -- a drum and a recorder for each child. This wasn't specifically calculated to the the most irritating set of birthday gifts in the world. Not at all.

Felicia dips her head in respectful acknowledgment of the King's Own as she hands a couple of small glass spider figurines wrapped in silk as presents for the children and moves off to offer Alaric bow with her hand over her heart and a grin,"Organized chaos, your majesty... looks like they're having fun." she offers with a nod in the direction of the children.

Shard arrives alone, with peace-tied weapons and an expression that, while not sour or angry, certainly doesn't seem particularly festive. Solemn, maybe. Pensive, maybe. She brings a present though--two, in fact, more or less identical--of carved wooden birds about the right size to fit easily into a child's hand. They're probably ravens from the shape, but they're unpainted, and they were obviously not made by her.

Glory, Doreen arrive, following Klaus.

Hickory, a young sighthound, Russel, a discreet assistant arrive, following Cahal.

Children love noise, right? Peri is not a parent and thus she thinks nothing of a gift of two whistles for the twins. She passes her offering along to be inspected by the customs officers since she is too tall.

Glory have been dismissed.

Doreen have been dismissed.

Bethany slips in and sets on the gift table... a bottle of wine? For a child? No. The elegant wine bottle with a playful bow tied around it is labeled as grape juice, but care has clearly been taken to make it seem like fine wine, fit for a princess or a prince. The bottle has even been treated to make the glass look older than it is, and the cork is sealed with beautiful golden wax.

Liara makes her leisurely way into the hall, her gaze drawn quickly towards the cordon, and the scene beyond, which elicits a light arch of the princess's eyebrows and then a quick grin. She's very very much too dressed up for a children's birthday party (though she's dressed up for pretty much everything she does). By way of a gift, a pair of griffin plushies are passed in through the cordon, then Liara carries on over to find some wine.



Klaus sneaks in the back, trying not to draw too much attention to himself as he looks for food and booze, and not really particular in which order is which, oh and looking out for his wife in case he needs to run.

"Enjoy" Jaenelle tells the children she has brought and the nannies who are tasked to sit outside the designated area. Donato, Adriana, Luciana, and Leonora, the children of Eleyna and Talen, as well as her own Vittore, all of various ages and assist levels. After the children are settled, she turns to drop off the presents she has brought, two frames delicately wrapped in the intricate webbing of a spider, the thin like strands twisted and coiled in geometric wonder. Caught within the webbing are small gem etched creatures in various stages of capture. It is truly beautiful! "They have been practicing not to make horrible faces when boring presents show up" she informs her assistant.

Tescelina lowers her eyes and moves with a somewhat hasty step toward a table, downcast and slipping into a seat at one of the tables. The green table, in fact. Sitting quietly with her hands in her lap, at least for the moment. She waves at Shard a little, when she sees the pensive mercenary enter the Hall. Then has to awkwardly ask a servant for tea, instead of the offered wine.

Gianna strides in, all bold yellow and flashing purple sapphires. Sapphires: they come in purple, too. They're quite rare. What do you do when you come in third at a fashion contest? You redeem yourself at your next public outing. Gianna struts through all the chaos, making her way over to the gift table and setting down two wooden birds - nightingales, but painted blue with gold accents, like the Bard College banner. Look. There's no reason not to advertise, alright?

Stepping through the decorated halls of the Palace was the Prince and Princess-consort of Maelstrom. For the first time in awhile, Victus was arriving without armor. Instead a champagne silver formal coat was draped across his shoulders, his hair pulled back into a well-groomed knot. The tall Thrax was arm and arm with Princess Alarissa. On his other side, he held the Princess Astrid's hand in his own grip. The heir of Thrax was similarly dressed well for the occasion with a seasilk dress. She'd also brought a friend. A life-sized mermaid plush that was dragging across the floor behind her. The over-excited child was constantly pulling on her father's grip. Like a curious hound that just could not stop testing the pull of their leash. The last member of their ensemble was the Claw of Arx herself, the disdainful looking feline perched on Victus' shoulder.



Between his daughter's need for freedom and Victus' intent to mingle, the Prince released her. "Go on. Find the non-grown ups party. Do not hit the King's children. Please." Astrid gave a quick 'yeahyeahyeah!' before she was wandering off toward the front, where she could terrorize the rest of the royal children.

Lark has found wine, capturing a second glass and offering it to her fellow Voice as soon as she moves away from the cordon. "Good evening, cousin," she greets with a light murmur. She nods towards a couch in invitation, quirking her brow.

Lark offers that glass of wine to Liara, that is.

Rysen and Lygeia arrive in Great Hall, the later carrying a bundle of large brushes and several thick vials of paint in a blackwood gift basket. Rysen's hair and face seem to glitter in the light, and the slightly embarrassed look on his face implies that this was not a fashion statement. His aeterna cloak flows behind him as he walks and his sword and axe have been peace-tied to his belt with tattered strips of Asger's cloak. Lygeia passes off the basket of all natural, child-safe paints and brushes to an attendant.

Brianna has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Desiree arrives to the party alone and gets a drink for herself. When she sees Tescellina she waves to her cousin. She takes a quick glance around to see who else whe might know.



Klaus perks his ears up and thinks it must be his most solumn duty to mentor the Princess Astrid in how to get in the most trouble she can, and then blame the whole thing on squirrels.

Tescelina lifts a hand to wave toward Desiree as well, offering a slight smile. The Wyrmguard ladies are flying solo tonight.

She doesn't even have children, what is the Vala doing at a children's birthday party? Well, it's for the Royal children, and she is a Minister for the Crown. She thought it best to come and schmooze and be on the very best of her behavior. Khanne even dressed up for the occasion, possibly in a far-too-fancy gown. She brought gifts for the Prince and Princess, of course. The inspectors would find a couple stuffed wolf plushies hidden amongst brightly colored fabric wrapping. Dropping them off, she heads over to the adults to drink wine and mingle.

Shard jerks her chin in response to Tescelina as she sets her presents amid all the rest. After that, she retreats to the nearest wall, from which, at least for the moment, she seems entirely dedicated to merely watching the barely controlled chaos.

Zara releases a present with solemn courtesies to those on border customs check. The present -- presents -- are bound in an intricate weave of ribbons; it honestly looks like more frustration to unwrap than it can POSSIBLY be worth. (Who needs that many ribbons? No one!) Only then, with her most important duties done to the hosts, does she move on to the hellos and how do you dos that end with her catching Tescelina's servant to add on a second order of tea, and speak quietly to her at the table.

Brianna spots her cousin, sidling up to Khanne. "I thought you didn't like wine," she teases her gently, blue eyes sparkling beneath her absurd headdress.

"Don't lose the siren..." Alarissa cautions herdaughter, wincing at Victus' warning given to their daughter. 'That isn't going to go well." She murmurs quietly, her arm still in his as they move further in. There's a hand lifted to wave discreetly to Lark and a sile for her sister.

Zara has joined the Green Table.

"Dame Felicia, delighted you could make it," Alaric declares affably with a personable smile and a glance over towards the Real Party afoot. "Leadership is primarily about managing chaos, you could say. Best to start them young, hmm? Speaking of starting young, maybe you can scout out some potential future deathspeakers here." He regards Lisebet next. "Duchess Lisebet, a pleasure to see you as well! I don't know if Elisian will let you both in the party, but you can always try asking him." He regards the growing crowd as some highlords take advantage of the free babysitting and smiles brightly at a few new arrivals when they make eye contact. "Though I don't know how much you enjoy crowds," he appends in a deadpan tone.

Desiree has joined the Green Table.

Arcadia is holding the hands of Value and Kestrel Stormbreak, her sister's small twins whose faces light up with joy at the no grown ups allowed party. Fleeing from their aunt into the swirling chaos of small children, Cady finds her way to a seat where she can keep a close eye on them. She notices Rysen's shimmery sparkly face and hair and immediately grins to herself.



Klaus first starts Princess Astrid's education in courtly manners by first introducing her to...coffee. He personally cannot stand the stuff, but believes it can have an impact of almost magical proportions by making the world stad still for everyone by Astrid as it flows through her, or be highly entertining, one of the two.

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari - Cinder Kitten, 1 Order of the Firebird, 4 Byrne Mountain Men arrive, following Mikani.

"Eadric, get DOWN," Cristoph informs the future (gods help everyone) duke of Artshall as the rambunctious (out of control) child tries to climb on a very expensive looking piece of furniture. Said child is mandhandled by his father to the royal border and he gently ushers his son into the children's section of this party, present included. Once that's completed, he takes a deep breath and then exhales.

In the PARTY ZONE, Alessa and Elisian are making introductions with the arriving guests and seem to be collaboratively sorting everyone by apparent musical aptitude as a precursor to handing out all the noisemaking presents.

Cahal has joined the Green Table.

A rare smile touches Lark's lips as she returns Alarissa's smile, tipping her chin in turn in a discreet gesture of her own. But then she takes her glass of wine and settles down on the couch she indicated before to Liara.

Lark has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Bethany pats her hair, which is done up in a complicated twist, as though ascertaining that everything is where it's supposed to be. Which, of course, it is. Not a hair out of place. As she passes into the room, she pauses to dip into a deep, graceful curtsy to the King. The motion looks as natural as anything, but it's so picture perfect, skirts moved just so, head bowed for just the right amount of time, that there must have been practice put into it.

Cristoph has joined the Green Table.

Felicia chuckles,"That's in Her hands, not mine. So far most at least seem to have come into their talents later... probably fortunately for them." she does cast a look over the children pit anew though, stepping out of the 'line' and falling in somewhere near his majesty's left shoulder from years of habit.

Cerilla leads the troupe of tiny nobles into the Adults-Not-Allowed section. (She is easily the loudest.) Wash betrays a moment of disappointment, but decides that the promise of alcohol and the secession of authority is an adequate substitute for spending time with miniature people. He crosses the room to the king and inclines his head. "Your Majesty. Thank you for the invitation."

Liara gives a flutter of her gloved fingers in a tiny wave to greet Lark, then accepts the glass of wine with a flash of a smile. "Thank you. How do you do?" She steps lightly over towards the indicated couch, adding then, "Do you suppose that if I were to crouch somewhat that I might make it past the cordon?"

Liara has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Lisebet chuckles softly at Alaric's deadpan comment. "I think that I shall remain on this side of the cordon, and not try poor Elisian's logic too significantly. Thank you for the suggestion, I am quite sure we would enjoy it." She nods to Felicia, brightening slightly. "Dame Felicia, it has been a while!" And then back to Alaric. "I shall find myself a spot to sit, and leave you to greet all the - adult guests at least." She does just as she's suggested and moves off, looking for a drink of something.

Victus takes a long look toward this gathering crowd. Eyes wandering over the cavalcade of nobles and then the absolute monstrous party about to occur in the aforementioned 'party zone'. With his hand free of a small wild child, he begins using it to direct traffic. "There's rum over there... And... Familiar face over..." His finger lands in the direction of the Crown Couches where Brianna dwells. "Over there." With a nod to Alarissa, he makes his way over, somewhere they won't need to worry about all the commotion.



Meanwhile, Astrid has begun introducing her mermaid friend in earnest. Her name is T. The letter T.

Victus has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Rook enters, hand in hand with his toddling only child Yelena. The pair are dressed fine enough for any fashionista to notice, with the youngest Champagne wearing the finest that can be bought. The merchant-prince oversees that his child is set off on a single-minded pursuit of either cake, entertainment, or both -- as it usually goes for a tiny person that can make fun out of anything and everything. He offers a deep, sweeping courtier's bow to greet the assembled, offering the guest of honor a grin before he steps off to make himself comfortable with a drink elsewhere. "Good evening ... to those grown up and barely grown, all."

Khanne has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Jaenelle turns from the present mountain, and there is still something left in her hands. Moving towards Alaric, she holds up a shiny gold gauntlet trophy with both hands high above her head. "Your Majesty. While I have accepted that you are a cheater, and will make up loopholes to find ways that I am unable to win even if I am the actually winner and not you, I have forgiven you. Here you are." And with that, she passes off the trophy.

Alarissa has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Arcadia can't help herself. Shifting over to Rysen, she compliments his look as innocently as possible. "I do love how you got into the spirit of the children's party."

Rook has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Felicia grins briefly at Lisebet,"Always too long, Duchess Lisebet." she offers with an inclination of her head, then there's a small flush of color and a clearing of her throat. An apologetic look cast Alaric's way before the former King's Own elects to prowl off in the direction of the drinks in Lisebet's wake.

Khanne smirks at Brianna as she comes to join her. "I don't. But... if it is what is vastly available, I have been known to drink it. It's what I get for having Lycene friends." She chuckles and gives her cousin a smooch to her cheek. "Good to see you again, Bri Bri."

After having successfully pawned his child off for awhile, Cristoph scans the room and manages a glass of wine before he joins one of the tables. "Hello fellow notable Oathlanders. Specifically Lord Cahal that I rudely departed company with last week, apologies again," and so he enters into conversation there.

Gianna adjusts her bright hat on her head, flicking her hair over her shoulder to show off her elegant drop earrings. She arches a brow, surveying those present. The brow stays arched as she listens in to the general ruckus. A faint sigh, and then the Nightingale of the Bard's College goes to find herself a drink. Spying Lark, she offers one of her flickers of a smile her patron's way.

Miles comes into the Great Hall in his King's Own amour. He surveys the assembled crowd warily. Then the physician moves his eyes slowly across the room searching and searching.

Rysen gratefully accepts a glass of wine, and raises his glass in toast to Brianna seated over on the couches. He makes his way over to Peri, and inclines his head. "How are you, My Lady," he asks, laughing softly as he watches the children of various peers enjoy themselves in the Great Hall, and adding, "they seem to be having fun." When Arcadia approaches, Rysen squints at her. "Countess Arcadia, how nice to see you," he says flatly. He take a long drink of wine, and says, "My 'friend' helped with my look today - most appropriate for the party, is it not?"

Lark's dark gaze catches on Gianna, lifting her fingers in a gesture of invitation for the Whisper, if she wants it.

Lisebet has joined the Gray Table.

Mikani enters and looks around. The amount of people at the party. She smiles at the children present. Softly and discreetly she slips her arm into Rysen's before grinning at Arcadia and Peri. "Countess. Lady. Wonderful to see you both."

"Fortunately, indeed. You're certainly correct about that," Alaric notes to Felicia dryly before nodding affably to Lisebet. "Of course, thank you!" He turns to regard Wash's arrival with a bright smile as they proceed off. "Ah, Washburn! Good to see you again, thank you for coming. I do hope Cerilla and everyone enjoy playtime with their cousins." He points out a particular steward. "Try his bottle first," he advises with a wink before smiling back to Rook. "Minister Rook, we couldn't have held this function nearly as affordably without you! Welcome." And then he's presented with a trophy, even though it's not his birthday. "Thank you, Archduchess! I think," he quips, glancing at the trophy. "With a presentation speech like that, I suppose I should be thankful that you didn't just punch me with this."

Gianna collects her drink and strides toward Lark and Liara's couches, the fluttery sleeves of her gown ruffling as she goes. It's an animated walk. A nod to Rysen and Arcadia - and an arched brow for Rysen's... sparkle? as she passes.

Gianna has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Bethany moves through the party with ease, a glass of wine in hand but not something she seems to really be drinking. She watches the children with a distant smile.

Felicia has joined the Gray Table.

Felicia snags some whiskey and finds herself a seat, the prim original way she settles herself ruined after a brief smirk to herself and a deliberate kind of slouching as she raises her glass Lisebet's way.

Washconcludes the exchange by taking a glass of the nearest unclaimed wine to sip. "I try to be out and about when I'm in town. This counts."

Arcadia comes to sit and gives Rysen a grin, a giant mischevious grin. "It's so lucky you have such a wonderful and talented and amazing and beautiful friend." She flicks her hair over her shoulder and waves to Mikani as she joins them, "Good evening Lady Mikani."

With a drink in hand, Lisebet makes her way to a mostly empty table, settling down with a very small thump. She sets her drink on the table, and smoothes her skirts, looking up at the incoming and growing crowd with a smile. She grins as it seems Felicia found her drink more quickly, and raises her own glass in a toast to the Knight. "How good to see you, Dame Felicia." And her voice then is lowered to chat amiably.

Alessa dramatically raises her hands, and the mild babbling roar from the PARTY ZONE goes quiet as several children grip their musical stuff. The Crown Princess does a passable imitation of directing, in that she sort sort of swoops her hands and points at people, who either play on schedule or don't. The Great Hall is subsequently graced with a cacophonous SQUEEEEK donk donk donk BING BONG CRASH pok pok TWEEEET EET EEET whack SQUEEEK BONG (somebody wailing because he dropped his stuffed doggy) TWEET TWEEET TWEEET rattle rattle CRASH (glass breaking) BING BONG ZWIP! (zwip! is the sound of Symonesse swiftly gathering up all the glass bits with a sticky blob of blood magic) pok pok pok SQUEEEEK!

"Now, now, Your Majesty" Jaenelle says, clicking her tongue in a chastising way after for good measure, "that would be unbecoming and I am far from a sore loser. 2.6 out of 3 is certainly not that bad, and I am sure in due time it will find its way back to me." The spider on her head, probably the one who created the presents Jae gave in the first place makes a little shuffle, "oh, this is Ellani, Ellani, His Majesty Alaric." She feels better once introductions have been made.

Carita's entry to the party is uncommonly boisterous as she arrives with her young daughter Nerissa (of about seven), who is at present trying to wiggle her hand free of her mother's. The pair are -nearly- duplicates, with Nerissa having a little darker blonde hair (and, you know, being smaller, younger, and more child-like). Matching gown and party dress, there's a word from the Countess to little Lady, as Carita releases her daughter's hand. The pair dip a low curtsy for the judging Prince and Princess before Nerissa is ushered into the child's section of the party to rabble-rouse with the other boisterous smaller people.

Gianna's expression at the children's musical mayhem is a bit difficult to read. She sits very straight and tilts her head to the side, one eyebrow arched.

Peri answers Rysen's 'how are you' with an inspection of his sparkling hair. She tilts her head and admits, "I feel so underdressed now." She fingers a braided strand of her own hair. She looks at the interplay between Rysen and Arcadia and grins sheepishly. Mikani is easier to great, there is no game afoot there. But before she can speak there is an amazing din from the children's demesne.

Tescelina checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Lark was in the middle of speaking to Gianna and Liara, the words drowned in the cacophony. There is a hint of a frown as the former Crown Princess glances to the current Crown Princess.

Brianna cackles in unrestrained delight at the cacophony, setting her glass down to give it a standing ovation.

Gabriel The Bislands step in, fashionably late.

Felicia can't help but wince at the sudden cacophony of sound, the glance cast in the direction of the children striving for neutral and falling short on the vaguely appalled side.

Mikani grins at Peri. "I always feel underdressed." She states to Peri and leans to hug and kiss her friend's cheeks. "Yet you look amazing as usual. Very much like the amazing Peri I expect to see." She says warmly to the woman. Seeing Peri's look between Rysen and Arcadia she shakes her head. "The two of them are trying to one up each other. Stink bombs and thrown drinks have become the norm."

Rysen smiles as Mikani puts arm in his, and says, "My Lady, glad you could make it." He softly sighs to Gianna, "It's a long story," as she passes, and his expression darkens when Arcadia begins speaking of his 'friend.' "No, Countess, I assure you she is a threat to the Compact," he says bitterly, and takes another sip of his drink. He laughs warmly at the sound of the children's music, and shoots Peri a exasperated look when she quips about being under dressed.

The cacophonic 'music' from the children's area brings a very amused and musical laughter to Lisebet, where she is sitting. Seems she's in favour of such practice.

Arcadia glances at the children and seeing her niece and nephew's bright smiles, she also stands and applauds. You have to start somewhere right? Her attention returned to Rysen, "A threat to the compact? I hardly doubt that." She shares with Mikani and Peri most certainly, "He started it."

Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Sirra, a very quiet maid arrive, following Alessia.

Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes have been dismissed.

"IT IS A PLEASURE TO MAKE YOUR ACQUAINTANCE, SPIDER ELLANI," Alaric projects with a little extra oomph to be heard over the impromptu ambient orchestration before regarding Wash with an approving nod. "OH, IT DEFINITELY COUNTS. I MIGHT NEED TO HAVE ONE MORE VERY SOON, MYSELF." He turns back to regard Jaenelle. "I WISH YOU GOOD LUCK IN--" At this point, Alessa seems to have declared Song #1 over and the band is on a break, inasmuch as navigating the process of trading instruments goes. Everybody wants a turn. Everybody REALLY wants a turn with the bell. "--winning it back," Alaric continues in relief as he can also dial down the volume a bit. "At any rate, it's wonderful to see you and the children here tonight, Archduchess. I assure you everyone will be quite safe. Except for our ears, possibly."

Mikani gives Arcadia a look. "Seriously if I have to say ... and I'm ending it ... we should all be worried for the state of the compact."

Leila, the frowny girl with an attitude problem arrives, delivering a message to Tescelina before departing.

Gabriel quietly meanders through the crowd to join the King, wordlessly apologizing for his belated arrival.

Lark stands from the couch she occupies with Gianna and Liara, and gestures over a servant. What she is doing isn't clear right away, getting a sheet of paper and ink and quill as the servant fetches-- rope? Rope starts getting placed around the couch. Lark finishes her sign and puts it on the floor in front of the rope before returning to the new cordoned area in addition. The sign reads as follows:



Delegation of Childless

(people at a children's party)



Willing to Treat and Sign Negotiations with both Parents and Children

(we have purple sapphires, come ask about them.)

Gianna looks over at the sign and laughs, delighted.

Tescelina has left the Green Table.

"I think I first started plucking at the strings of the harp around that age," says Rysen smiling as he watches Alessa and her band swapping instruments. "I remember being deprived of a few meals for breaking the strings. I'll bet Gianna was already singing arias at age three," he muses, and takes another sip of wine.

"Ah, Duke Gabriel, Lord Michael, welcome to the concert," Alaric quips with a smile as they both approach. "It's most excellent to see you both here at the palace. I believe we're debuting several original compositions tonight, if you'd like to prepare for more feel free to flag down any steward for a glass of liquid fortification."

Lark has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Crom, an expressive bull-mastiff have been dismissed.

Songbird, a dignified war-mastiff have been dismissed.

Gabriel chuckles easily at his King's words. "I recall another young man having birthday celebrations not dissimilar to this one," Gabriel says aside to the King. "Lets hope that swords are not involved in this one, as well."

Arcadia glances back to the children after Rysen's comment and admits with a slight jealousy. "We had books. I am pretty sure I was a disappointment since I refused to read to myself."

Liara peeks curiously up towards the sign as it is raised - being definitely-not-a-parent at a children's party, herself - and, catching a glimpse of what's written on it, she breaks into an easy laugh.

The bossy Cerilla, is first among those that wants a chance to play with the bell. She agrees whole-heartedly with all ov Alessa's judgments in the hopes of playing the instrument.

Mikani watches the children fondly. Something flashes in her eyes too quick for anyone to catch. Her attention gets pulled away from the children before she looks around her group. "Books?" She says as she has only been paying half attention. She leans and murmurs something to Cady.

Lark has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

With the latest round of pseudo-organization completed and the have-nots ordered to stop being babies about not getting their turn this time, Song #2 arises much like the first, with the twist that the recorder players this round have a better idea of how to finger notes (evidently motivated that the first ones were doing it WRONG) and this time one of the bells is played by a girl who is engaged in a personal competition to see how long and consistently she can ring the bell heedless of any direction whatsoever. So basically the first one all over again, swapping some SQUEEEK! for TOOODALOODALOODALOO and BONG! for BONGABONGABONGABONGABONGAetc. Crown Princess Alessa seems extraordinarily delighted with how well this is going.

Crazy. Hectic and just plain loud! Michael Bisland is around, in a very large great coat hung over his shoulder. Even for a man who doesn't shy from a party, this is a bit large and much.

Michael has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Arcadia murmurs briefly to Mikani and then answers her aloud. "Books. Leaholdt has a huge library and some of the best scholars and tutors. You should visit some time. I personally loves the forest and keep, but most just marvel at the library."

Rook checked composure + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Rysen laughs softly and nods to Arcadia and Mikani. "I used to get in a great deal of trouble for reading past bed time. My father was adamant that I would be a knight and not a scholar. Sometimes though, I'd find a Dame Judyth had slipped a volume of Sanctum's finest poets under my pillow, and if the moon was up, I would stay up reading the verse for hours."

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the room, the music playing, crazy children playing, and guests all talking, it's not easy for Carita to wiggle her way through the crowd. But! She does to pay her respects to her patron and King. There's a bright smile for Alaric and the group, no doubt, surrounding him as she dips a low curtsy to for him, and another for Jaenelle. "It's a lovely party, your Majesty." She lowers her head Wash's way, and while she might have said something to him, the music starts up again, dragging her attention that way. She laughs, but it's lost in the noise.

Rook pauses, genteelly setting aside his glass of wine in order to applaud the symphonic efforts of the Crown Princess' band, "Brava."

Arriving a little later than most, Alessia Mazetti enters the hall, curtsying for the king. "Your Majesty. Happy birthday to the princess and prince." She smiles kindly, before taking a seat beside Gianna Whisper.

Alessia has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

At the yelling, Ellani burrows into Jaenelle's hair, apparently not a fan of loud noises. Collecting a glass of whatever, it doesnt appear the Archduchess Regent is picky this evening, Jaenelle takes a much needed sip of the liquid as the first song ends. With a sigh as the song ends, despite being used to such things with a house full of Talen spawn, Jaenelle lifts her glass in toast to the musicians for the evening even as the next song begins. "LUCK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT" her voice raises in response. "Carita" she greets the woman, not screaming but just getting rather awkwardly close as she draws her head closer to the other woman's. Then she hands her a glass of wine.

Peri attempts to clap along with the binglebangclompbrrap but she has no rhythm. She settles for applause after.

Felicia has left the Gray Table.

Arcadia rolls her eyes unsurprised at Rysen but explains, "I was constantly an exasperation for my parents. I was always sneaking off to explore. One time I used my bed sheets and shimmied out my window."

Mikani applauds for the child concert. For Mika everyone needs their bit of creativity and it needs to be fostered. She grows quiet at the childhood memories before shaking her head. "Sounds like you both had many interesting adventures."

"I DO think the toy swords were CONFISCATED at INSPECTION," Alaric observes to Gabriel, trying to find a middle ground between PROJECTING and inaudibility. "I DID see a few HOBBY horses PASS, though, so I'm CONFIDENT they'll MOVE on from music to JOUSTING SOON." There's a bit of a squint as if daddy might pull rank and have the Crown Princess put an end to band practice soon if this keeps up. Alessia's greeting earns her a smile an a "THANK you," and Carita's approach is welcomed with a raise of his glass. "Very FESTIVE, no? WONDERFUL to see you, COUNTESS. I'm sure we're doing WONDERS to make sure DRUMS are never a PRESENT again in the CAPITAL tonight." Jaenelle gets a confident smirk but no other reply as of yet.

Rysen glances at Mikani and touches her hand. Turning back to Arcadia, he says laughingly, "You're still constantly an exasperation for your parents."

Washreturns Carita's nod, and then fetches a glass of wine for her, wordlessly placing it in her hand.

Brianna looks up from her conversation, hearing Alaric shouting about drums. "DRUMS FOR EVERY BIRTHDAY!" she calls out.

Mikani smiles at Rysen and holds his hand softly.

Lisebet has left the Gray Table.

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing leave, following Lisebet.

Gianna has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Arcadia scoffs at Rysen, "No I'm not. I'm all respectable now. Calm and such." Of course they have no clue about the stink balls, or exploding glitter packages.

Gianna murmurs something quietly to those at the childless couches and rises from her seat. She sets her sights on King Alaric and strides his way.

Felicia meanders her way around before electing to step into the rope of the childess couches with a raise of her whiskey for those present in silent salute.

Felicia has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Reedy, a King's Own aide arrives, following Corban.

"NO DRUMS!" Cristoph calls out to Brianna from his table over that way.

"Drums," Rook returns to the defense, offering Brianna a sly grin.

Peri admits to Arcadia, "I was young, but older than our rulers there," She nods towards towards the band, "my father hired a guard to be my friend to keep me from getting myself or any of my expeditionary forces into dire trouble." She then shouts with her pearl divers longs,

Peri shouts from nearby, ""DRUMS ARE GOOD FOR SIGNALING! START THEM YOUNG!""

Carita accepts her glass of wine, leaning in to speak more 'quietly' (but probably just regularly) to Jaenelle, her words lost in the din of the room. Then, as Jaenelle's spider hides in her hair, there's a little quirk of her brow and a tilt of her head. The wine given by the Archduchess Regent has already been consumed by the time Wash returns with a glass for her, so she sets her empty glass on a passing tray and picks up his with a beaming smile offered his way. "Lord Wash, when are we going to throw stones off the terrace again?" Then to Alaric she says, "If they don't get their fill, maybe they can take up their drums in the Queen of Endings festival?"

Song #2 comes to a sort of haphazard close as not everybody interprets what was evidently supposed to be the 'loud last note' gesture from the Crown Princess as either loud or the last, let alone both. Perhaps dispossessed of her musical muse by this, she declares that the music time is on a break and that everyone is going to have some cake and then there is going to be something she dubs the 'BIG HUGE JOUST'. This seems to meet with a general amount of approval save for one girl who still wants to ring the bell and somebody still upset because he can't find his stuffed doggy. Elisian, having already had his cake, wordlessly starts a search party. In the meantime, the hearing of the Peerage is safe. For now.

Lark is overheard praising Gianna: I am sure she has the best birthday songs.

Desiree has left the Green Table.

Mikani is overheard praising The crown.

Rook has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Alaric is overheard praising The crown: Wonderfully conducted, Alessa!

"How do you know I haven't dragged Catalana up there while you were away? I could have bribed the guard to let us in." Wash answers Carita. "She's thrown a pebble or two in her day." He rubs his temple.

Rysen almost chokes on his wine, he laughs so hard. "I'm sorry, Countess," he says to Arcadia, "I must have misheard you, but Lady Peri was so loud my ears are still ringing." Rysen hands his wine glass to Lygeia and claps warmly for the Crown Princess as the song ends. When the 'BIG HUGE JOUST' is announced, Rysen watches with interest, as Lygeia wanders off to gather more wine.

Peri is overheard praising The crown: nonpariel noise making

"You throw things off of things?" Jaenelle says, giving Carita what can only be considered suspicious and hopeful look at the same time. "I wish to hear more" is then stated as she also includes Wash into this now. There are further quiet words said as she notes the look towards the spider which has moved behind her hair and is peeking from her spot on her shoulder.

Coming to a halt by Alaric, Gianna sketches a bow, holding her glass carefully so she doesn't spill. When she straightens, she says, "You missed the party for the final performance of A Wager of Hearts, Your Majesty. I was very disappointed."

Corban finishes his shift at the Customs House, looking down into the basket that the little girl brings him and poking through it with a little stick. "Another stuffed dragon?" says the First Captain, one of the bravest and most fearsome knights in all of the Compact, the right hand to the Sword of the Crown? "Well. I don't see anything //wrong// with it, I suppose." It is just very last season. "Let it through, please."

Mikani gets a glass of chilled wine from Damien and she takes a draw. "Oh this should be interesting." She murmurs as she hears joust.

Cahal is overheard praising The crown.

Willen arrives, following Lou.

"I had no idea there was this much pent-up desire for drumming in my city," Alaric observes to no one in particular a trace dubiously despite his regal grin. "I'm sure the twins will be attending the Queen's festival, though. They're certainly old enough to participate now! It should be quite fun, I would imagine," he notes to Carita before grimacing faintly at Jaenelle's remarks. "Don't encourage her!" he protests mildly. At Gianna's approach, he smiles apolgetically. "Well now, Mistress Gianna, delighted to see you here. Alas, you're quite correct! So much ruling to do, so little time. I've been remiss on my artistic pursuits all across the board, distressingly enough. I can only try to do better in the future."

Arcadia innocently eyes Rysen and grins, "Not all of us wanted a childhood full of poetry and books. I suppose we always crave what we don't have." The mention of a joust gets a look over. Seeing the Stormbreak twins already hitting each other with toy horses. She gives a slight cringe "This won't end well."

"Well, I hope you'll attend the next College performance," Gianna tells Alaric. "Lovely party, Your Majesty." A nod, and then the Whisper turns back toward the couches.

Washshrugs and replies to Jaenelle belatedly, patiently waiting for the moment of less noise, to explain: "Carita has quite the prospect from her tower. And a ready supply of ammunition."

It is very likely that Lou sent her children ahead of her, both Safiyyah and Melina well and present during the birthday celebrations. Lou, for her part, took her time in getting to the palace; she is not fond of crowds. No sooner does she get into the door, however, before a messenger is chasing her day, calling after her. "Princess Loucia, Princess Loucia! A message for you." The princess who hates to be called a princess turns several shades of red at the full use of her name, and counts to ten before turning around to address the messenger.

Carita's laughter is richly feminine, "I doubt you'd need to bribe anyone for entry. I'm sure your face is familiar enough, Lord Wash, being a neighbor and all." Then to Jaenelle, she looks about to deny her rock-throwing hobby when the fellow blonde looks to be more intrigued than put off, she nods. "Occasionally, when I'm miffed, I go out on the terrace of the tower in Darkwater Reach here in the city, and I wing a rock out towards the ocean." She clears her throat, "It's really, probably, a terrible idea. I could accidentally hit someone below. As a rule, no one should really linger around the house." A pause. "Or look up."

Corban moves on from the Customs House to His Majesty himself, moving to stand just behind and to the right, as he traditionally does, and will always do. The rubicund-clad First Knight nods to those gathered, but is, as is typical here to loom rather than be heard from.

Khanne has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Peri overhears Carita discussing rocks and asks the countess, "Have you tried skipping them? I don't know if it would work from up high. I do it from ground level."

Gabriel inclines his head to the Captain as he takes his post.

Arcadia peeks then to Peri, "Wouldn't they just go Ker-plunk into the water?"

Preparations for the BIG HUGE JOUST are underway while the youthful VIPs of the Peerage gobble cake. Obviously this entails a BIG HUGE JOUSTING run, but the PARTY ZONE as currently configured isn't really set up with an unobstructed for that, so under the direction of the Crown Princess the King's Own are extending a long projection of the zone in a line up to the Grayson Royal couches. The Crown Princess is quite firm and unshakable in her belief that the jousting run needs to end at this couch, because running at each other is dangerous, and this couch has the best color, and all the non-party guests can just deal with it. Also, she needs to keep score, so she has Lark's sign impounded. This is probably all just a wild conicidence, of course.

Lark's sign is lost, alas. Lark stays and mingles for a while after, not upset over the loss, and eventually leaves herself as the party continues.

Lark has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

At those couches, Liara might just have been overheard to say something about largely steering clear of children. She's going to have to get the couch she's at really rather more mobile than it is intended to be to keep that up, however.

Bethany steps out of the way as the run is extended through an area where she was standing.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist leaves, following Rysen.

Gianna is about to return to the couch with the sign when it becomes involved in the jousting run. The Nightingale of the Bard's College eyes the hubbub, downs the rest of her drink, and slips away into the crowd. She is very yellow!

Mikani looks thoughtful. "Even if you get the right angle on it? Though if you get the right angle on it ... will you know if it skips?"

"Are you attempting to ruin my enthusiasm for infrastructure?" Jaenelle accuses Alaric with a look of sorrow. She sighs deeply, allowing her eyes to turn downward to the floor, and she is quiet for a moment. Then finally she breaks her silence, "The Queens rest has a balcony leading from one of the rooms and I have it under good authority that you can convince someone to drag boulders onto it to" and she mimics lifting and tossing them over the railing. "I have not thrown anything off of anything in a very long time though, I have now started burning things in my office."

Wash is noticeably distracted by the upcoming joust. "I should have brought a pig." He says, appropos of nothing. "A little one."

Peri shows her palm and explains, "Get a rock or shell that is smoothed mostly flat and that fits in your palm." She makes a side whipping motion at her waist. "Flink it like that. You can get a lot of skips with practice. It will bounce off hte water!" She's interrupted by a perigrine falcon at this point. It delivers a message. She reads it with a frown of concentration and bids fairwell to the people around her. On the way out she, she stops and bows to the children, her rulers for the night.

Corban seems quite interested in the knights setting up the jousting lane, but, thankfully, he has his best people on the job, consummate professionals. So he nods to Gabriel. "My Lord. It is good to see you."

Mikani nods as Damien nods that it is time for her to go as well. She thanks the children for the amazing concert before she slips out.

Carita laughs Peri's way, "I have, but it's far more noisey than at the water's edge. There's a lot of metalic pings and stony pangs before, evenutally a speelunk to ground. Or, someone shouting, 'Hey! Who threw that?!'"

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari - Cinder Kitten, 1 Order of the Firebird, 4 Byrne Mountain Men leave, following Mikani.

Mikani leaves, following Peri.

The BIG HUGE JOUST is nigh, and from the looks of it the rules seem mostly to be that participants must have some sort of jousting steed be it hobby horse or wooden duck or dragon or the stuffed doggy that one boy is very grateful to Elisian for finding. As far as what is being jousted, it seems to be the couch itself, as it is certainly massive yet soft enough to handle a bunch of kids taking turns accelerating to full speed and flopping on to it. The fact that the couch still has a few occupants is not deemed to be a major concern since there are plenty of opens spots between them. Needless to say, once explained this plan seems to be wildly popular and the desire to become a BIG HUGE JOUSTING CHAMPION burns brightly in the oversugared PARTY ZONE.

Lou finishes with the messenger, having some quiet /words/ with him over using her full name, then turns to the crowds. She sighs a bit, then walks into the room, making a show of coming at least. It is Wash that she sees first, and so she sidles up next to him as he is talking about pigs. "Whyever for would you bring a pig, dear cousin?" she asks.

Liara checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.

Liara /could/ draw her legs up onto the couch and be 'safe' from the impending joust. But no. She's going to sit there properly and take it, though she does take a couple of quick sips of her wine to get it down to a not unduly likely to spill level.

Gabriel seems to genuinely appreciate the simplicity and joyful voices of the "joust".

Felicia is also determined that she's not going to move from the potential strike zone. In fact given that she hands off her whiskey glass to one of the servants, maybe she's preparing to play 'catch' for wayward jousters.

Arcadia while busy seeing her friends leave, she neglects to watch her wards for the night. BANG! Then a wail goes up as little Kestrel comes flying out to Arcadia. Angry tears streaming down her face and an inconsolable babble about being hit. Not long after, the other twin comes rushing out, shouting and stomping some sort of explaination. Obviously over sugared and out of polite behavior, she excuses herself and the small children, taking them home to tantrum in private.

Carita lifts a hand as she watches her daughter take her turn, the peel of child-like laughter as she flops like the children before her, and then scampers back in line along with the others to do it again. The hand at her mouth lowers to her chest to quiet her beating heart as her attention returns to Jaenelle and Wash. "A pig? What would a pig be for?"

Wash lowers his voice. "Well, to ride on obviously." He says. "Or to catch. Ever seen a passel of children trying to catch a greased hog? Me neither, but it sounds entertaining. Ask Count Mazetti if you want a first hand account."

"I would never," Alaric tells Jaenelle confidently. "I'm just looking out for public safety in my city, as any responsible king should." He regards the rest of the group milling around. "On a related note, please don't throw anything into the Gray Canyon. Not everyone uses the portage." He smiles and waves over. "Ah, Lou, welcome to the palace, fantastic to see you tonight. Come have a drink, and mind the racers!" He eyes Wash with a smirk. "I would certainly believe he had a first hand account."

Cristoph is overheard praising The crown: What a fantastic show of hosting, well done Crown Princess Alessa! And your parents too, they're pretty decent.

Lou grins over at Alaric, then glances at a passing server. She grabs a glass of wine, not her usual fare, and takes a sip. "Don't mind if I do," she tells the king. "I'll even be on good behavior and not tell tales of my latest adventures. Things that, most assuredly, would distract the children from their very important joust." She looks back to Wash, giving him an amused look. "I think I've seen something of the sort before, but if I want to get dirty and such, I'll just go back to Whitepeak and explore her hallowed streets."

Duke Cristoph disengages from conversation with Princess Zara and Lord Cahal so that he can handle his child, who needs a bit of firm parenting right about now. This seems to consume him for quite awhile.

Cristoph has left the Green Table.

The BIG HUGE JOUSTERS rather giddily flop into the couch again and again, though their relatively minor mass doesn't really do much to push the couch backwards at all. Said JOUSTERS are also very good about not running into the adults sitting on the couch and in fact mostly ignore them save for the occasional delighted cackle at them that they are TOTALLY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS. Well, there is one exception. The kid with the stuffed doggy climbs into Liara's lap after his joust and asks her what her name is.

Without waiting for an answer, he also introduces Liara to 'Woofy' and tells her that Woofy likes pets.

Shard's attention has gradually drifted from the various adults milling around to the children, and there it has stayed throughout the BIG HUGE JOUST. She's just leaning against the wall now, arms loosely crossed over her chest. Her expression isn't anything friendly, but it's not anything /unfriendly/ either, which is about the best one can expect from her.

Cahal has left the Green Table.

Hickory, a young sighthound, Russel, a discreet assistant leave, following Cahal.

Gabriel turns his attention from the children to belatedly greet the Grayson princess. "Your Highness," he says with a bowed head toward Lou.

"It was only that one time," Jaenelle reminds Alaric, promising "I havent thrown anything from there since. I have a dock and wall to fix and can't very well damage anything else further. I am not dealing with the paper work." Something Carita says causes her to laugh brightly, her own answer as softly as what was spoken previously.

Though she totally dodges being run into (by sitting calm and still - it works!), Kid with a Stuffed Doggy still happens to Liara, who turns her attention from Alessia and Felicia. All the same, she doesn't miss a beat in replying, "I'm Liara," and gets on with ruffling Woofy behind its stuffed ears, inasmuch as one can ruffle a stuffed dog's ears.

Zara has left the Green Table.

Wash's ears perk up. "A dock to fix?" He inquires. "Where? What is the depth? How many moorings? Do you think you'll have replace the pilings?" Mention anything related to sailing around him and Wash is suddenly all attention.

Brianna turns to watch the wild jousting with a wistful delight. She applauds each 'knight' for their valiant efforts.

"Woofy thinks Larry is a nice name and you're a nice lady," the stuffed doggy kid informs Liara solemnly, and promptly scoots off the couch and runs off to get in line to joust again.

Lou glances over at Gabriel, looking strained between amusement and annoyance. "Just Lou is fine, Duke Gabriel." At least she didn't wince at the dreaded title. "How have you been?" she queries. "Anything exciting happening with Bisland of late?" The quasi annoyance switches to amusement as she's lost Wash as a conversationalist to Jaenelle's docks.

Gabriel fold his hands comfortably and gives Lou a brief smile, "There's always something happening with Bisland." His expression fades somewhat as the concerns find purchase again in his mind.

Rising from her seat in a sweep of silk and silver, Zara moves toward Alarissa with a nod to Brianna and a deeper bow of her head for Victus. "Your grace," is for Victus, and "How are you, your highness? May I join you?" is for Alarissa, while Brianna gets a, "My lady," so that she's ticked every box.

"A very tasteful stuffed dog," opines Liara, with a flash of a grin. Then her attention's back to the others at the couches.

"The Arx docks after a ship had an unfortunately accident and didnt stop in time" Jaenelle shares with Wash. "Though thankfully it has not stopped trade and we're able to continue smoothly with one of the docks damaged, it still needs to be completely replaced. I am not sure if" she wiggles a finger, "all of that needs to be fixed, though I now know who I am going to ask to come with me when I visit the docks next" a pause, "you. Ive just enlisted your help, you're welcome."

Alarissa looks away from the jousting to Zara, a gesture to an empty spot. "By all means cousin."

Zara has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

"I'm not entirely sure anything can distract the children from jousting the couches at the moment," Alaric observes wryly. "Unless it's an even bigger couch." He snags a fresh goblet of wine and settles back just to take it all in for a moment with a bit of a faraway smile.

Gabriel A Bisland page lingering on the periphery seems intent on the Duke's attention. Noting this, Gabriel turns toward the King and begs his leave with a bow. "Majesty, thank you for the invitation. I'm afraid I need to depart."

"It's my pleasure. I was on a stabberd tack to Wendover Isle when that went down. But Ian consulted me on raising that poor ship from the muck. It'll need a proper dredging." Wash muses. "In fact, if our overseas relations truly have such large vessels to lose, the Arx docks could do with some significant changes."

Lou glances between Wash and Jaenelle. "With the Carlotta class ships, shouldn't they be modified to hold more anyway? It seems more people are working on building such ships."

Gabriel With unobtrusive salutations to the assembled peers and family, and a very reverent bow to the distant Queen as she gracefully wrangles a sea of children, the Duke weaves his way back through the room and departs.

"Gods light your path, Duke Gabriel," Alaric proclaims regally with a lift of his glass.

"Yes" Jaenelle admits with a nod of her head in Lou's direction. "It is one of the projects I am working on, though with so few constructed it has not been something that I had felt was an immediate issue. Sometimes those nonissues have a way of becoming an issue when a ship rams into it. I hope that by me saying that it is not going to convince everyone who wishes to bring an issue to the Crown or to Velenosa to just ram something into it."

Micana, 1 Saik Guard arrive, following Lucita.

"We actually redesigned the Stormward docks for larger ships." Wash answers Lou. "Might even hold that..." He coughs. "...flagship that came in. You know, from the West?" He isn't sure whether that's a touchy issue or not, or maybe he's just out of touch. "Better to dredge deeper than necessary once, than to do it twice. What would you call a ship larger than a caravel? A merchanter?"

Lou seems to demure on the topic of ships. "Of that, I would not know. I'm still giddy that Grayson has a caravel that I can commandeer.... er... borrow.... er use with permission.... to go explore places." One of those anyway. She flashes a big smile in Alaric's direction. It's probably a miracle she hasn't taken it out yet.

Inevitably the BIG HUGE JOUSTING slowly but surely reduces the communal PARTY ZONE appetite for collective sprinting, and so a drinks break is called and Alessa holds up Lark's sign. It is a list of THE WINNERS, apparently, and it is given to Elisian for the pronouncement. There is a bit of a silent look at his sister given there is just the side Lark wrote on and the blank side and that is all plus he can't read yet anyway, and a look back from his sister that seems to be summarizable as just 'go with it', and so the winners are duly announced: gold place goes to Donato Velenosa and his hobbyhorse Fastrunner. spider place goes to Astrid Thrax and the dragon plushie named 'Lillybelle 2', and silver place goes to the kid with 'Woofy'. Why spider place is ordered above gold place and below silver place is not explained, and Alessa immediately raises a wooden duck and tells everyone to sit in a circle to play 'duck duck griffon'. To say that the PARTY ZONE is ready to play a game that involves mostly sitting is quite underselling it.

Lucita slips into the gathering quietly, hands held folded in front of her, a small book held in them. She glances around the room, gives a curtsy when near enough to any royalty for that to be appropriate and distributes smiles toward others that she knows as she waits to pick up what is happening around the room.

Alarissa is overheard praising Alaric: Long live the king.

Rinel is overheard praising Alaric: LONG LIVE THE KING!

Carita is overheard praising Alaric: Long may he reign!

Jaenelle points in Victus' direction, "perhaps you should ask him. I am certain he knows all about ships, big and small." And so he cant run away she lifts her voice, "Victus! Ship information needed!" Trapped. When Donato is announced the winner, Jae's eyes narrow towards the direction of the children. "I am certain he cheated. I dont know how, but..." his father never fought fair, why should he. Turning back towards the adults, she notes to Alaric, "is this what you wish to do for your birthday too?"

"Well, it could use a good launch adventure to establish itself. Just don't sink the Rising Dawn before my sister returns. Be a bit awkward to explain to her that I named a ship after her but it sank," Alaric quips to Lou before regarding Jaenelle curiously. "Which this? The jumping on couches 'this', the untrained musical 'this', the.." He squints over at the latest endeavor afoot in the PARTY ZONE curiously. "Oh, someone taught them the duck duck griffon game!" he observes brightly.

Carita's head tilts as she comments idly, "I wouldn't mind flipping on to a couch, it's likely the only joust I'd ever have a chance in." and takes another sip of her wine to hide the smile that's curling.

Lou beams ever so brightly at Alaric. "I'll have to think of just the thing to take it out on the open seas." It's like gift giving day all over again! "And now, I must be off to plan, but not before I gather up Safi and Melina." And so, she goes to collect her two kids - and then starts on her way out. That's likely the real reason she came. Bed time is nigh!

Victus very, very, /very/ slowly starts raising out of his seat by the couches when he's called upon. "Yeah, I'm coming." He takes the time to stretch, crack his neck, and whatever else. Seems he'd gotten plenty comfortable in no shortage of time. The Prince starts bounding toward his Archduchess cousin. "Ships. Yeah, I know ships. What about 'em?"

Willen leaves, following Lou.

Alessia has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Sirra, a very quiet maid leave, following Alessia.

"I think flipping onto a couch is much more enjoyable sounding than falling onto a couch" Jaenelle tells Carita, "at least if you're flipped onto it, you have control whereas if you fall onto a surface, even a soft couch or bed, you flail wildly and it can be terrible." As Victus approaches, he is granted a serious look, "Lord Wash was wondering what one would call a ship bigger than a caravel? Ridiculous is the only thing that came to mind, and I am certain I am for the first time today, wrong." She then motions towards the whole thing, "if you'd like Your Majesty, I could have the pool emptied and filled with balls for you to play in."

Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.

Wash inquires of Victus. "Did you get a close look at the enormous flagship? What was her draft? I heard rumors of thirty feet, but I can't imagine a dock in Arx suitable for such a berth. How does one get a closer look at it do you think?"

Brianna looks up from her conversation when Jaenelle mentions draining the pool and filling it with balls. "His Majesty could never countenance doing such a thing to a perfectly good pool," she opines.

Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes, Triage, The white dove of Mercy, 3 Valardin Knights, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sophie.

Jared, an overworked-looking, nervous Apprentice Whisper, Flopsy, an innocuous white rabbit, Sophie arrive, following Bliss.

Micana have been dismissed.

1 Saik Guard have been dismissed.

Updates from the PARTY ZONE are rather sedate by previous standards; apart from the chaser and the chasee in the ongoing duck duck griffon match, a lot of small group conversations are going on (with the occasional participant somewhat huffy about having to get up and chase someone). It's never too early to start networking!

'Make friends with a dragon Washburn." Alarissa calls over.

Better late than never? Quite a while after the party has started, one (1) Radiant Whisper comes in with a godsworn on her arm, a white rabbit trailing behind her that hops well away from the children and soon vanishes into the crowd, and poor Jared carrying a number of presents for the honorees (which quickly get distributed). Bliss Whisper is dressed in an outfit of brocade, and rather than simply barge into anything, she smiles and makes some idle conversation with Sophie while moving in a vaguely Alaric-ish direction.

"Oh no, someone said griffon?" Carita says to Alaric as her eyes widen, and she leans to look at the children. Her daughter is likely endlessly rattling on and on about the creature, but who can tell from so far away? "It's a hot word in our house, the -moment- someone mentions it, my daughter will go on endlessly about the facts she's learned from a book she has. Perhaps I should have her nanny cart her out before the other children get tired of her.." but she trails off at Victus' arrival to the group receives a curtsy and a smile, her glass lifted in his direction as she rejoins the conversation, nodding in Jaenelle's direction now. "Oh, for sure. I mean, depending on the situation, I suppose?" she remarks on flipping vs. flopping on a surface.

Alaric's sunny observation of the PARTY ZONE is rather abruptly halted when people start talking about draining his pool, but he seems quite pleased to have somebody leap to an innocent pool's defense before he is forced to wade in. So to speak. "Indeed! Pools are for water, full stop. Besides, that's a slightly alarming number of balls to consider. Where would you even get that many?" He smiles to Victus as he's summoned in. "Ah, Prince Victus, delighted you could make it today. I hope you and yours have been enjoying yourself. I think I heard Elisian say that Astrid's won something in that couch race." He regards Carita's wide-eyed look and glances back to the circle. One of those small group conversations might indeed be an impromptu lecture on all things griffon. "I don't know, I think she's found a somewhat receptive audience there, actually," he observes.

Zara has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Elena, a solemn knight attache have been dismissed.

Alette, a discreet lady's maid have been dismissed.

Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide have been dismissed.

Zara has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Sophie seems to be in good spirits as she enters the party with Radiant Bliss Whisper, talking as she enters. "I think on the day of the challenge we should switch all of their coffee for tea." Sophie grins as she looks up at the children playing when they enters, meandering toward Alaric with Bliss as she does.

Victus spares a look toward Wash and Jaenelle each as the gears in his head start turning. "I actually inquired with Emissary Zulana about the make of her ship. The odd sails, the massive size, so and so. She told me that if I wanted to know more, I was welcome to pledge my allegiance to Jadariel and their Emperor's mantra. Then we could all share in the gifts." The High Lord rolls his eyes. "I'm afraid I didn't get a good look beyond that. If I had to guess though, I'd say it's something of the /weird/. Strong ship like that should probably have its own, frighteningly named class I say. Perhaps an 'Platinum Class Imperator'. Or 'Double Decker Destroyer'. Or maybe... Just 'Destroyer'. Something to think about, so long as it's sufficiently dramatic. I imagine they might have t heir own word for it." With a roll of his shoulders, Victus returns Alaric's look and offers the King a stiff bow. "Wouldn't have missed it, your Majesty. I'm told my daughter has won a spider title. Or an actual spider? I'm not sure. I've mostly been keeping an eye on her so she doesn't attempt to reave the party zone."

Wash snaps his fingers. "A seadragon. It's the only thing to call a ship that dwarfs a caravel. Now, the trick is figuring out how to build it without bankrupting House Kennex a second time." He waves at Alarissa. "Thank you cousin! You're a gift and an inspiration."

Jaenelle holds up her hands in defeat upon the strongly held stance on water/ball exchange rates. "I dont believe you of all people would even ask such a question, Your Majesty. When have I ever faced a challenge and not accepted it with grace and completed it without question. The fact that I have never gotten that many balls before is not a question of my ability to be able to, but the lack of need for that many before hand. Perhaps one day we shall find out, but today is not that day." Upon Victus' mention of spider, the one that has hidden herself away beneath the Regent's hair has come out for air now that the children are more on the quiet side and retaken her position on top of Jaenelle's head. "She would reave, and I am worried that Donato has a dagger strapped to his ankle that was missed. Ah children."

"That would be one approach to take to it, but I suspect I am going to have to come up with something far more creative than that. There have to be a list of puns about hot drinks around somewhere that are actually decent, yes?" Bliss wonders to Sophie as she glances toward the children, and there is a slight bit of discomfort as Sophie whispers something to her and Bliss just shakes her head rapidly. She makes her way to the group, and seeing the spider on Jaenelle's head breaks into a bright smile, saying, "Well, isn't he a handsome one?" before dipping her head in greeting. "Your Majesty, congratulations on your children," she says to Alaric. "They seem to be thriving."

Sophie seems to enjoy the uncomfortable look her whisper gives Bliss, and she just grins teasingly before they approach the king and Jaenelle. She smiles warmly to both of them, "Your Majesty, it's heartening to see the next generation of Arx all playing so well together, isn't it? It gives one hope for the future and peace between the families." Then she moves closer to Jaenelle and she says, "Archduchess, I was just thinking that I should come for a visit soon.. when you have time. I do hope you're well."

Victus looks to the spider and rolls out one finger to point at it. "Why?" He queries Jaenelle.

After offering her farewells to those seated nearer to her, Liara eases to her feet and makes to depart the palace, following a look back towards the sundry kids to check what sort of antics might be going on (tamer than earlier, for sure). She gives a flutter of a wave to sundry people as she goes.

Wine in hand, Brianna gets up from her comfortable couch seat and ambles over to Bliss, Sophie and Alaric. "Radiant, you look simply radiant," she coos, as if that wasn't something Bliss has heard a million times. The gems dangling from the Halfshav's absurd, ornate headpiece jingle merrily. There's a glance over to the children, then to Alaric. "They are beautiful, Your Majesty," she says simply, her voice softer, more earnest than usual. "Though I will not apologize for the drums," she adds, her usual swagger returning.

"I think that possibly Elisian was just naming honours after things he likes. He's rather taken with spiders and shiny metals," Alaric muses to Victus. "He wouldn't give away one of his mother's spiders though, I'm fairly certain of that at least." He smirks cheerfully at Jaenelle. "Well, I certainly don't doubt your ability to source construction material of any fashion. I would never presume to place an upper bound on the number of balls you were able to handle," he proclaims low-key impishly before regarding Bliss and Sophie's arrival. "Radiant Bliss, Sister Sophie, delighted to see you both. And thank you! The twins are rather precocious, I'm happy to say. Every week I'm more and more amazed by how much they seem to be soaking up. And indeed as you say, Sister Sophie, it's quite the wonderful sight," he declares welcomingly. "Yes, the drums. You both missed the concert, fortunately," he adds with an amused side-eye at Brianna.

Alarissa eases away from the couch, a glance to Victus to locate him, locate Astrid before moving away to mingle with familiar people.

Liara has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Shard finally eases up off of the wall and lets her arms drop loosely to her sides. After a moment standing like that, in which she may or may not be considering something, she turns and makes her way toward the gathering around Alaric. Mostly. She doesn't quite mingle, but she's close enough.

Zara has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Elena, a solemn knight attache, Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide leave, following Zara.

Michael has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Pharamond makes his way in, later than he would have liked but with a joyful smile on his features, glancing about. A wave for the King on his special day, though he makes sure to bow to the Crown Princess and her Princess-Twin as he shoudl to the party organizers. The fact that the Queen is here, his first time in who knows how long, does make Pharamond actually pause in his step a moment, before he tries to settle on where to settle.

"Her name is Ellani. Ellani, this is Radiant Bliss Whisper, and beside her is Mother Sophie" Jaenelle makes the introductions as if it is the most natural thing in the world to speak to a palm sized spider sitting on your head. "I will make as much time as you need, Mother Sophie. Perhaps this week if you are free?" At Victus' question, she utters, "Leona" as if this should be explination enough. "I do need to find something a bit more easier than juggling to get over 3 points" she tells Alaric. "Perhaps that is how this should go from now on, hm? Each task completed gets you another point and therefore you now have The Upper Hand?"

Brianna's eyebrows shoot up. "Did I hear something about juggling?" she asks, a little too enthusiastically.

Felicia rises from her spot on the couches to meander towards the group lingering around Alaric once more. A whiskey she's nursing held lightly in her hand.

"Suppose he takes after the Nox'alfar side of things then, eh?" Victus poses to Alaric while his eyes wander back to the lands of no grown-ups. Astrid has taken to hoisting Lilybelle 2 on one shoulder and the mermaid on the other. And she's spinning around. Around, around, around and around. She inevitably falls down. Victus has little reaction to any of this, though his mouth is noticably tight. Bliss and Sophie are both regarded with nods of acknowledgement, as is the one called Ellani. "Hello child." Victus waves back and forth rigidly. Then finally settling back on Jaenelle. "Yes. Of course. Part of me wishes that our allies weren't so fond of things with eight legs. But that's not quite a big of a concern as the blood furniture."

"Well then, it is wonderful to meet you, Ellani, and I apologize for getting your gender wrong," Bliss says to the spider, and not to Jaenelle, with the same easy smile as she lifts a hand up and wiggles her fingers at her, quite pleased. She lets that conversation continue without her, then, and instead looks toward Alaraic and nods at him. "They have good parentage," she says of the twins, "I certainly am expecting wonderful things from them in the future, it will be an exciting time when it is theirs."

"Blood furniture?" Carita's eyes squint at Victus, "Do I even want to know?" and shift then from Victus to Alaric, and then Jaenelle. She seems relieved to hear that her daughter isn't driving the other children mad with griffon fact, but is still keeping an eye on her from time to time. At the arrival of Bliss and Sophie, she dips her head, turning the warmth of her smile on the pair and pauses a passing attendant carrying wine glasses as if in ofference to the pair.

Bethany slips out.

Wash is distracted by Cerilla who brings him paper and chalk to draw 'something pretty'.

Brianna looks relieved when Carita asks what she was hesitant to ask. She drinks her wine, as if trying to wash away that mental image.

Alaric surely had some clever reply to Jaenelle queued up but is distracted by Brianna's enthusiasm for juggling. "I'm not sure I want to know what -this- is leading to," he observes dubiously. He clears his throat and regards Jaenelle. "I think it's better to have one-off competitions. Should somebody run up a score in one matchup, you'd stagnate the next several contests, I'd imagine." He smiles to Bliss. "Why, thank you. We shall surely do our best to raise them well. I've been very impressed with how Symonesse's thousand years of childrearing research has been progressing! They're notably advanced for their age. Hopefully it doesn't mean they start acting like teenagers by the time they hit seven, though." He grimaces faintly as if that was a sudden thought he has only just now extemporaneously considered.

Sophie pipes up next to Bliss with, "Which we hope doesn't happen for a very very long time, Your Majesty." She's smiling brightly as she says that, and she nods her head to Victus in greeting before saying, "High Lord, it's lovely to see you agin." Then a warm smile to Carita and she says cheerfully to Brianna, "I hear that you're going to be the champion that Aleksei has hired."

Felicia can't help the wry smile she gives at the discussion about blood furniture. The red-headed Harrow doesn't seem inclined to interject herself into it in favor of lingering somewhere near Shard by pure coincidence.

Shard is doing a very good job of lingering, though she does certainly seem to notice Felicia as the other draws near, and she spares a long, studying look toward the other woman before glancing back to the conversationalists.

"Hired? I /volunteered/. Tea /is/ dumb leaf water," Brianna says firmly to Sophie, though there's a grin behind it. "It can be made tolerable with the addition of copious amounts of whiskey and honey, but as that point, I would much rather eat a honeycake or drink whiskey.

"To be fair, that was Alaric's fault" Jaenelle informs Victus with a look to the King before fixing back on her cousin. "He had the furniture commissioned, we just did not anticipate the amount of people that were going to show up and those blood couches were a savior. They are still in the embassy."

Felicia turns her attention towards Shard at the long regard, offering an upnod and then with a cheeky kind of smile, a sketch of a bow before her attention flits back to the conversation at large with a quiet chuckle,"They were certainly... something." she offers drily.

"I find I am always disappointed coffee is not stronger. It claims to be this drink that will keep you going, but it has its limits," Bliss tells Brianna, a wry smile creeping up her face. "But it looks like I will likely be the one fighting against you to represent that cause." She leans in then, and, in true Lycene fashion, says lowly, "But of course, wine is the superior beverage, and we all know this to be true." She then looks back to Alaric, and there is an edge of teasing to her voice as she says, "Oh, don't worry, your Majesty. If they do begin to act like teenagers at a very young age, I will be quite certain that they know how to use my own life as a role model." When Carita stops the wine glasses, she does reach for one, before smiling at the woman. "Countess Carita. I hear wonderful things coming out of Darkwater lately, your household is buzzing on everyone's lips. I must say I am quite impressed."

Pharamond joins the linger club. He's not one to intrude, often, and so he makes his way over amidst the conversations and those about the King, but needn't try to be the center (or even like three rings in of the center) as he picks up a glass of wine as well, though hearing the talk of the tea challenge he just smiles a bit to himself,

The PARTY ZONE is beginning to transition into the NAPPING ZONE as the sugar and youthful enthusiasm gradually wears off. Elisian steps up for the somewhat flagging Alessa to announce that it was a good birthday and everybody is good and they can all come next year, and there is still a bit of cake left (this perks a lot of people up and there is a small rush to get one of the last pieces). Beyond that, the prince and princess seems to be more abdicating their control of the proceedings and Symonesse begins gently directing kids with questions or otherwise in search of direction about, passing them off to King's Own for escorts back to their families and such.

Shard's expression might take on the faint shadow of a grimace, but it is very faint, and very brief, and she returns the upnod with one of her own.

Sophie's arm is folded into Bliss' and when she leans in and says that wine is superior to tea she grins and elbows Bliss playfully. "Well, I will bring the Mercies to see to either of you if you are injured. You should know... they'll be well stocked in healing teas." Sophie winks at Bliss and Brianna both before reaching for a glass of wine herself. She takes a sip, her eyes moving to those milling about near them. She nods politely to Shard as she catcher her eye and then her gaze moves further through the crowd.

Brianna looks absolutely delighted when Bliss proclaims that she will be fighting in the duel. "Oh, excellent! It should be a good show, we'll make sure of that." Her gaze drifts over to the dispersing children for a moment, before turning back to the conversation. "I tried to talk Aleksei into making it a proper drinking contest, but he wouldn't have any of that."

"Never been in the Nox'alfar embassy, Countess Carita? Should give it a visit sometime. Without sitting on anything, mind. You'll find all kinds of... interesting... things..." Victus strokes at his beard while his eyes are cast toward the floor. "Yeah. So long as the Elves are fine with sitting on gory couches, I'll leave all the specifics up to you, cousin." The Prince reaches out toward Jaenelle's hair. Though he stops halfway there, aborting this attempt at ruffling. Perhaps it's the social setting. Or the spider. Much more likely to be the spider. When Sophie addresses him, he regards her with a thin grin. "And you, Mother Mercy. I hope there haven't been many bloody hands in your day to day."

Harlen arrives, following Duarte.

"I suppose we could have been more proactive about the temporary seating for the Embassy opening," Alaric admits philosophically. "But, as you said, everything worked out. And we got to see Tyrval being helpful! That's a rare sight to be treasured, really," he quips before regarding Pharamond with a sunny grin. "Ah, Lord Pharamond, welcome to the adult refuge. Though the children are winding down, it seems. Still plenty of wine on offer, though. It's the best drink, I'm hearing." He regards Shard and Felicia next. "And speaking of embassies, I see Prima Shard has come as well! Delighted to see you as well. Dare I ask what sort of birthday present you arrived with?"

Shard nods in turn to Sophie, and then her full attention shifts toward Alaric as he addresses her. She doesn't really bow, though she does make a gesture of a closed fist over her heart before gesturing with the same hand, vaguely, toward the much depleted present pile. "Ravens," she says, by which she apparently means the two wooden toys, and not actual birds.

"I don't know your majesty, on the rare occasion I've spoken with him he's been helpful." Felicia pipes up to Alaric, seemingly amused by the grimace Shard had.

Pharamond grins quietly as he listens to the old stories and nods, dipping into a polite bow but not one overly formal. "Your Majesty," he says with a returned smile as he looks about. "Indeed, it is too bad I missed all of the kid events. I'm still not so tall that if I knee down I can't fit in," he teases merrily, looking over to Shard, "I just brought you a bottle of something sufficiently potent to help you later if the noise of tonight and the lack of sleep for the children ends up getting to you," he says with a smile, though he politely steps up nearer to Carita as well, bowing his head. "Countess," he offers fondly, as well.

"I'm not sure if I would call my interactions with him /helpful/ exactly," Brianna remarks to Felicia, "But fascinating? Yes. Terrifying? Absolutely." She grins at Pharamond. "If you need to find more potent drink, I can help."

"I didnt even ask if I was short enough to enter, though they seemed far too excited for me. I am certain I would have hurt myself if I tried to keep up" Jaenelle says as she looks towards the now sleepy children with a soft laugh. "Perhaps the next one" she mentions to Alaric, "I am certainly getting better with each one" speaking of, she dips her head towards Shard. The lack of hair ruffle from Victus might certainly have been the best considering the spider, though she does smile warmly at the man for his effort. "Lord Pharamond, I seem to owe you money to make something out of the cloth you were given."

Duarte sweeps in with a brisk effortless gait seeming to float in and across the hall. Struggling to keep up is his orphan assistant who carries two very large unmarked jars filled with olives. They are undoubtedly heavy.



"I love birthday parties and where better a place to celebrate the miracle of uterine exodus than here?" the Count of Bravura beams before laying eyes on the cordoned off area. "Oh how clever, the little scamps."



Duarte looks to Harlen while crossing one arm over his chest and tapping his mustache with the index finger on his other hand. "Hmm..One of the jars is extremely spicy but I seem to have not labeled which..." He ultimately shrugs and levels a finger at one of them, "I think /that/ one is meant for the children and the other for the King's pantry."

"I think we will both be able to put on something splendid. I will contact you with some ideas about how to step it up once everything is formalized," Bliss tells Brianna, before the conversation drifts on a little, and she smiles and says, "So many people were horrified by the blood couches, but they were delightful, really. So practical, and I could not stop laughing that day."

"The Nox'alfar Embassy? No, I'm afraid I've never been inside it, your Grace." Carita says to Victus with the lift of one shoulder, but she's clearly trying to puzzle out the blood couches still. "So, there's just blood on all the couches?" Her eyes widen as Victus' hand looks as if it'll be ruffling Jaenelle's hair, and she visibly relaxes when it doesn't. As Sophie nears, she leans to murmur something low to her, the smile on her lips a little wry. As Pharamond makes his way over, she shines her smile his way next, "Lord Pharamond, how good to see the winner of the sword at the Archduchess' auction, did it find a home afterward?"

"Admittedly it's been a while, and we mostly just speak about my ancestors, so." there's a slight shrug of Felicia's shoulders. There's a small grin for Bliss' words,"It was certainly... unexpected. But they were quite comfortable as I recall."

"Well, Tyrval isn't -all- bad," Alaric admits to Felicia. "Or really even significantly bad. He -is- my ancestor, after all. If you can get past all the sarcasm, insecurity, and high-handedness he's not a bad chap at all, really," he summarizes breezily. "Ah yes, the ravens! I believe I saw some of them jousting. The children defintely seemed to enjoy them, so thank you for that," he tells Shard appreciatively before he looks to Pharamond. "You know, it shouldn't be so long before you're contributing a party attendant or two to one of these now, hmm?" he teases. With uncanny precision, his attention is drawn to Duarte and more specifically the jars of olives. "Ah, Count Duarte! I'll take care of those presents, if you don't mind," he calls out clearly.

Its no longer adults only. Cerilla supervises Wash's drawing with an uncharacteristically subdued voice.

As Carita leans in to speak to her quietly she takes a step toward her, listening to her. Sophie answers just as quietly, letting her arm slip from Bliss' and stepping closer to Carita.

Pharamond smiles as he looks to Brianna. "You are my new bestest friend..." he intones, a smile on his features. "Though I suppose that implies I can be bribed." Nodding to Jaenelle, however, he pauses. "Oh, I suppose that's possible. I had thought you were helping with the design, not the funding of the outfit. Whatever you think is fine," he offers. "Mistress Josephine was more than generous in the gifting of the item. I'm sure we can have something made without having to worry about anything." He actually looks a little flushed at having misunderstood the gift but he is rescued perhaps by Carita's words. "The sword? It will have a home shortly if I can find time to meet with her. It seems that in the spring when everyone wants to be outside and enjoying the weather, that they are harder to pin down for events." He grins though and looks at Alaric, "The Duke and Duchess first. Theirs is on the way and I have a feeling that with how tiny the Duchess is, she may set a record for exactly how expectant one expecting can look."

Something in Shard's expression seems to lighten for a moment or two. Maybe even soften. It is, however, extremely brief, just long enough to glance over the much quieter remains of the children's party, and then back. "Tyrval's an ass," she notes, as if anyone asked her opinion, though the way she says it doesn't exactly seem to be terribly negative.

Brianna pretends to swoon at Pharamond's proclamation, blowing him a kiss. She slides a looks over to Shard. "It's okay. I'm an ass, too. He's in good company."

Duarte jumps at the direct address from the King himself ringing through the hall! He spins on a heel and performs a deft bow. A grandiose bow! The back of his hand nearly sweeps the floor, "Your majesty!"



Rising back to his fill height he motions for Harlen to follow. "If you insist! I assume you are customs?" As he approaches he explains, "These are olives from Granato. One of them flavored with 'extreme spice' - whatever it means!"

Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant arrives, following Tabitha.

Felicia chuckles,"True." she concedes to Alaric,"And I'm grateful not to have to untangle that particular knot." she offers wryly as her flits a glance Shard's way,"I was thinking of taking another look at the Hall in the near future, if you were interested in accompanying? It didn't seem to like your presence, and to me that's a positive." she explains.

Tabitha arrives, very quiet. She makes a beeline straight for Pharamond, where she stays close.

"An entertaining ass, at least," Bliss says, a slight smile on her own face as Sophie moves over to Carita, a hand wrapping around her waist as she simply observes the conversation for now.

"If you wish me to come up with a design, I have been told that I have a flare for such things" Jaenelle tells Pharamond, "so just let me know whichever you decide if you wish to seek someone out or if you'd like my help." She really doesnt seem to mind either way and attempts to soothe any sort of misunderstanding.

"Ah. Well." Victus scratches at the back of his neck as he ponders Carita's question. "It's more like that their entire composition is blood. The kind of blood weaving that Nox'alfar are prone to do. Which as I understand it, makes it perfectly solid to sit in. But I will still pass. Politely." His eyes move about the room. "Speaking of, I'm a little surprised there's only one Nox'alfar here. We have royal children, the King, Radiant Bliss... This would be their kind of party, aye?"

"It depends on how near in the future," Shard says, a little apologetically. "I've been f--" a beat. "Swamped recently. It's a little mad. But if there's time, I'm willing. And I'm not entirely surprised it didn't like me." This time, the pause is more deliberate, "--I dont particularly like /it/."

Tabitha also offers a curtsy to the King and various other persons around him, with a gentle murmur of greeting and all the required pleasantries. Then she quietly excuses herself and makes her way to the alcove by the stairs.

Tabitha has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

Wash looks up from his drawing to inquire, "Do the other Nox'Alfar look fondly upon the royal Prince and Princess?"

Sophie sighs in relief as she hears Carita's words, and nods her head. She smiles warmly and says, "I'm sure he was grateful for your attempts. If you ever do wish to learn healing please don't hesitate to come see me or the other Mercies. We'll be happy to teach you." Sophie leans back into Bliss and she says, "I'll check in with him though, just to make sure he's recovering as expected." She grins at Victus words and she says, "Perhaps nobody informed them that Radiant Bliss would be here. Surely her fan club would have been gathering at the door to await her arrival." She nudges Bliss teasingly.

Pharamond nods to the Archduchess, then, nodding to Jaenelle just as Tabitha steps up and he smiles, "We were just talking about you...in a round about way," he says with a grin to the King and then back to Jaenessa. "I think having your personal touch in the design would be splendid. We can find someone to make the item I am sure," he offers simply, also seeming relieved not to have to take coin from the Princess. As Sophie mentions healing however, he says, "I was fortunate enough to help on one of the recent trips of the Mercies...well I guess it's not so recent now. Still...as a person who ends up injured more oft than a person who's supposed to know how to fight would like, I have the utmost appreciation for those who know the healing arts."

"Still quite a ways off yet. There's some logistics to handle still." There's a glance from Felicia in Alaric's direction before she refocuses on Shard,"But I know what you mean. And yeh, me either. With everything that's been happening in those parts, though, I just want to make sure that it's still... closed. Until we work out how to fix it."

Shard's mouth twitches into a somewhat more defined frown. "Are recent events happening near there? I hadn't thought of that, but then, I haven't heard a lot of location specifics about most of those things. Just the public rumors."

"I do not think many people expected me to attend a children's birthday party, to be quite fair," Bliss points out to Victus as she takes a sip of the wine in her hand, lowering it after a moment to say, "But -" and then there's the nudge from Sophie, and she turns her head to give her a /look/, before smirking and looking back at Victus, "The Nox'alfar are likely dealing with many things of their own, as well. I imagine there is some kind of folly going on at the moment, after all." She looks toward Shard, then. "Near the Twilight Court?"

"Come by some time for a whiskey and we can talk about it. 'Close' is relative, but... well." Felicia offers with her own tight-lipped grimace,"Not a thing I want to be wrong about." she looks towards Bliss at the inquiry and shakes her head,"Not that I'm aware of, at least."

In any event that nobody knew that Alaric really likes olives, the subtle but definitely present grabby-hands gesture he makes towards Duarte's olive containers makes it quite clear. "I'm the olive customs officer here, as it so happens," he declares confidently. "Extreme spice! Sounds intriguing. I don't think I've ever had spiced olives before." Clearly this needs to happen. In the meantime, he glances at Victus and Wash. "Like Bliss says, they might have a prior arrangement. Nox'alfar aren't generally good at punctuality anyway owing to the way they experience time. If you were a minute late to a party, you wouldn't think anything of it. Well, a week to us is like a minute to Tyrval. They often hold single events for what we would consider the better part of a month. I expect he'll show up some random night between five to eight days from now with his presents."

"I generally leave the healing to Lady Azova, as one of your own," Carita tells Sophie, squeezing the woman's forearm fondly. "Thank you though, it's been weighing on my mind but always at times when it's far too inconvienent to write. Generally just before sleep." There's a little helpless shrug to go along with her smile as it widens and is then turned on Bliss and then Victus. "You know, that makes sense. I read about blood pooling a lot but really it more... piles?" Her eyes squint. "Coagulates," she clarifies in a morbid humored sort of way. Then clears her throat, "Maybe I'll see them one day and write to tell you about it, your Grace." She quiets as the topic turns to the Nox'alfar at the party, turning her attention on Pharamond next. "What sort of outfit did you win again?" though this question seems aimed at both he and Jaenelle. "Though, I'm still grateful for your buying it, wherever it goes." Lastly, she leans to mention to Brianna, "I'm rather fond of coffee as well, I'll have to send you some of Darkwater's if you like it?"

Duarte checked willpower at difficulty 20, rolling 5 lower.

Brianna turns to Carita. "I've never had coffee! I assumed it would just make me more insufferable than I already am. If you can assure me that would not be the case, I would gladly try some." She watches Alaric with just a touch of schadenfreude, seeing what colors the extreme spice will make him turn.

Shard responds to Bliss with a faint shake of her head, and then a gesture toward Felicia as she answers first. "Somewhere else." Which is terribly specific. "Somewhere very old and very cranky."

"Yes. Extreme spice. I think it's these ones." Duarte says, standing near by as Harlen settles the very large jars on a table.



The Count takes off the top of on jar and selects a single olive. It is green and plump and perfect. Succulent, even (if you like olives. Which we do.) Duarte shakes the olive a bit over the jar so as not to risk any drops of olive juice to be wasted, or stain any table coverings.



Duarte pops the olive in his mouth and after a couple bites and a swallow heaves a dry cough. 'Ecuh!' he fans at his throat and turns to a random attendee, steals their glass of wine, and drinks it in one go. "Those are the ones," he says in raspy dry breath.

"All yours" Jaenelle tells Alaric when he prepares to chug olives. "But maybe you should wait till after?" she suggests. "Nevermind, eat a;; the olives now" is suddenly decided, she is a smart competitor. To Carita, "I believe Mistress Josephine gifted him the brocade, and as per the agreement with the cloth was auctioned off, I would see to the creating of a full outfit from the cloth."

The nanny comes along with two sleeping babes and one drowsy. She collects Wash and Cerilla who both make polite if inexpert farewells.

"Stranger things have happened." Victus replied to Bliss. "Folly is... the game that's deadly for everyone involved? Or was that the prank? Or were they both deadly? I can't quite recall. Leona tried to explain it to me once but frankly, I may have been drunk. That night is a blur." He shrugs. "I mostly understand that when Nox'alfar hold 'fun' events for themselves, something bad will probably happen. Hence the reason I don't visit the Twilight Court often."

"A folly is any form of entertainment in which there is a chance of death - which, for the Nox'alfar, is pretty much all forms of entertainment," Bliss explains to Victus. "So it has become kind of a broadened term to capture a lot of what they do to keep themselves entertained in their long, long lives." She then looks to Shard and nods once, not pushing the matter any further once the clarification is offered, though she does say to Felicia, "Quite." Another sip of the wine, then, before she tells Carita, "The couches ... it is like the blood is held in stasis, and made into the furniture. It is not liquid or damp at all. It is simply furniture made out of blood. He managed to get multiple couches from just one cut."

Sophie smiles brightly to Pharamond, "The Mercies are always grateful for your assistance and support. We couldn't do what we do without the support of the people of Arx." Sophie tilts her head as she considers the couches Bliss speaks of and she says, "That's quite interesting... I might have to visit the Nox'alfar embassy to see them." She grins to Victus then and says, "After all, as you say... my hands are bloody far too often for my tastes. I certainly wish my skills in healing were never needed again." She then says to Bliss teasingly, "I also hear there's an interesting painting there."

Alaric observes Duarte's struggle with the olives with a mildly perplexed expression. "Why would you do that to an olive? Seems to have taken all the enjoyment out of having one," he observes before eyeing the jar anyway, his grabby-hand fingers twitching. He really knows he shouldn't, but he really likes olives, he's already had a bit of wine, and Graysons always think they're going to win, and he sees several glances in his direction. With a confident smirk, he deliberately grabs one, shakes off the juice, and has a bite.

Alaric checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 3 higher.

Brianna wrinkles her nose at Bliss's description of the blood furniture. "Did you sit on said furniture? What did it feel like?" She looks at Sophie when she mentions the painting, intrigued. "Go on, one more for good measure," she eggs Alaric on.

"A question not for me, your Majesty, but for the Granataoians!" Duarte says as he watches Alaric choose an olive with anticipation... "Twas not I who spiced the olives, but I shall be the beneficiary of their spicing!" A beat, "As they are quite delicious....As you will see!"

Pharamond nods to what Jaenelle says and smiles to Carita. "I'd rather have her personal touch, in truth, for the outfit. I think that will make it a longer lasting special item between the gift of Mistress Acuri and then the personal touch to the design. It should be an item to envy, as it were," he says with a smile before looking to Sophie. He nods his head but as the topic turns to the NOx'Alfar embassy again he listens, having not been there as of yet. "I think I've had two...three conversations at most with our elven...counterparts? Though the more I hear the more I think I'm lucky to have lived to tell the tale."

"They apparently like it when you're interesting," Shard says sidelong toward Pharamond. "The more interesting the better. I don't think I'm really their sort of interesting. But they're not supposed to kill people in the city."

Maple, a brown golden retriever, Toffee, a fluffy pomeranian, 2 Laurent trained guards, Cupcake, a cookie girl arrive, following Mabelle.

Alaric's mouth moves in an exaggerated chew and there's a definite flush to his face, but he barely bats an eye regardless. He lets out a long, drawn-out hmmmmmm before beckoning a steward over for a new glass of wine and deliberately swalowing the olive, then about half the wine. "That was... bracing," he proclaims and then clears his throat. "Definitely an acquired taste, but strangely.... captivating," he decides is the right word to use before brightening. "Anyone else want to try?" He gestures Brianna, then Jaenelle, Pharamond, and Victus towards the jar of olives encouragingly.

Taking another sip of the wine as Bliss listens, she gives Sophie a small look at the mention of the painting, before she lowers it and nods to Shard. "They do," she says after a moment. "But catching their interest is, in fact, dangerous for your health. The follies are the most exhilarated, most enlivened you will ever feel, but they are very much not for everyone." She might be about to say more, but then looks toward the children, smiles, and says, "Maybe a conversation to be fully had another day." She shakes her head at Brianna and says, "I haven't sat on them yet, I might next time I go to the Embassy, though. They do look comfortable. I was sitting on a sofa made out of bricks that night." Said honestly, simply, like there's nothing weird about that.

"I will." Alarissa's come to stand beside Victus, slipping to the left of him. "I'll try one. Can't be worse than the octopus."

Mabelle is truly only fashionably late. She steps in with a grand curtsy to Alaric and birthday wishes all around the Royal family and peeks around to find her friends.

Shard's nose suddenly wrinkles. "/Octopus/?" she repeats, incredulously.

Duarte looks pleased and he leans over and stage whispers to Harlen something about letting the Granataoian marchents know the king said 'bracing and captivating' - and so they shall be marketed, no doubt!



"I am so pleased you enjoy them," Duarte says with only a thin layer of Setarcan suave once his attentation are back to the sovereign.

Brianna checked stamina + performance at difficulty 75, rolling 37 lower.

Brianna takes the bait as it's batter back to her, taking two... no, /three/ olives and popping them into her mouth. Her face goes bright red. Her eyes water. She shotguns the rest of her glass of wine. "Delicious," she wheezes.

Alarissa checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 4 lower.

Pharamond checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 9 lower.

"The entire Embassy is full of exciting and interesting places, and I do encourage anyone who wishes to peek at the rooms to do so" Jaenelle says regarding the building not to far from where they are. "Is this a thing?" she then asks Alaric, sighing. "Is this for points because let me tell you, I am not sure if you should be in charge of any sort of decisions."

"Ah, spot on, Alarissa! That's the spirit," Alaric declares buoyantly. "Lovely to see you here tonight as well! So glad you could join us." There's a bit of a pause as Brianna really -goes for it-. "Maybe just start with one, however," he suggests smoothly in the immediate aftermath.

Felicia eyes the olive's, and then Alaric, and then back to the olives with a laugh for Brianna's reaction,"May I?" she asks of Alaric curiously.

Victus checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 8 lower.

"Well this...has sucker written all over it," he says with a chuckle and he pops one of the olives into his mouth and it manages to get caught int he back of his throat, or at least some of the juice does, for almost as soon as he starts to chew his face turns red and he has to turn to the side as he starts coughing. A LOT. Are there any bulls here? No? Good, they will not charge at him. An artist however might capture his unique shade of red as inspiration for a painting some day. He starts to say something only to enhale and start to cough again as he reaches for pretty much ANYTHING available to drink.

"Alaric was right," Brianna mutters under her breath as servants rush to bring her another drink.

Carita checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

Alaric turns to Felicia just as much to sort of politely ignore that he's touched off a bunch of red-faced coughing amonst the Peerage of Arvum, offering her the jar. "Gods light your path," he declares hopefully almost as a sort of pre-eulogy.

Just watching for now as the others partake, Bliss looks toward Alaric with a knowing glance and just waits a moment before she holds out her hand, a smile curling up her lips as she does so. "I suppose I will have one, but then I think I might need to go for the evening."

Felicia checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

"I would have been bereft if I had not come this night." She's daintily getting an olive, shaking it to get the oil off. "Octopus. It woudl seem those in Thrax enjoy a good live octopi. It grabs at you as it goes down. It's very small, no bigger than your palm usually. Not at all enjoyable or so I think. Only had to do it the once and that was enough for me. It fights back." Do olives ight back? Alarissa pops it in her mouth, a glance to Duarte with a raised brow and a few chews before there's a red creeping up like some storm from her neck and across her face, pallid skin giving way to flushed as she tries to keep it together. "Oh dear." She swallows it, eyes tearing up. "Oh gods. Victus. A drink." Opening her mouth to suck in air and fan her tongue.

Upon seeing her husband go a vivid shade of choking red, Tabitha scurries from the place she'd been hiding and scurries up to Pharamond. With a frown on her face she chides, "Did you even chew that? I've told you before, don't eat so quickly. By the Gods, Pharamond."

Victus looks a bit perplexed as the offer of olive was extended. "Olives? Eh. Never had one. Couldn't hurt." Apparently he had ignored the bit about 'spice' as he reached forward with no fear. Something that would be a terrible mistake. With the olive popped in his mouth, the effect is instant. His eyes widen. "Thats-" Then with a blink, they open up even further. "Oh wow, that is, that is hot. That's-" The Prince coughs. "Ow. Is this supposed to-" He sputters. "What the FUCK." Victus keels over and lets out a hacking, hoarse cough. All pretense of formality being literally burned away. "Why do you eat this?!" He coughs again, this time into his sleeve. "This isn't food this is pain! OH SHIT." He took a step away from the gathering, stumbling a bit as he leaned over to choke further on all of that spice. Alarissa is requesting a drink, but Victus is already crouching on the floor.



It's not long before the Prince of Maelstrom is red in the face. "Where's my daughter?" He asks suddenly, amid the sweat starting to drip from his forehead. "WHERE IS MY CHILD? WE NEED TO LEAVE."

A late arrival, Sparte finds himself stuck at the child-led embargo at the entrance. It is taking him a while to move on from that, he seems to have gotten caught up in the dramatics of playing out the interaction with the royal bouncer. Bows, flowery words, big grins.

Alaric is offering olives to anyone who wants them! He's a terrible influence like that.

Jaenelle checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 1 higher.

Tabitha checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 22 lower.

Carita sips from her wine glass as she listens, "I'll try?" She watches as Alarissa, Felicia, and others give it a go, her eyes squinting warily. "If you go, Mother Mercy, I'll tag along if you're willing to have me. I wouldn't mind seeing them." Her brows lift at Pharamond's comment, her laughter lifting. "Maybe you were?" Lucky to live to tell the tale. "I'm sure whatever outfit she designs for you will be beautiful." She plucks up an olive and pops it in her mouth.

Brianna gives a lopsided grin when Alarissa mentions live octopus. "Prince Alecstazi has managed to convince me that raw fish can be a delicious treat, but he's yet to convince me to try anything that could feasibly bite me back," she says, wiping beads of sweat from her forehead, her face still quite read. Her eyes widen at Victus' shouting, averting her gaze. "We should play some sort of drinking game with these. A truth or dare, but you can decline and eat an olive instead," she suggests.

"Live octopus," Shard echoes. Her nose wrinkle is mixed with a severe half squint. She might have said something else, but then Victus is suddenly falling right over thanks to an olive, and her eyebrows make a jump toward her hairline. She watches for a moment or two, but then, with a non-verbal look that might as well say 'fuck it', she reaches for an olive herself. "I've eaten rat and squirrel and frostbitten wolf. --The wolf was the worst."

Bliss checked stamina at difficulty 25, rolling 8 lower.

Shard checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 14 lower.

Felicia snags one with a laugh and pops it in her mouth. There's a start at the initial surprise then the Dame sucks on the olive. There's definitely color to her cheeks, it's spicy, but aside from the squinting and array of faces she's making it's definitely more of the 'this is interesting' rather than 'oh gods kill me please' variety. She waits until she swallows before chasing it with her whiskey,"Dangerous." she offers,"But delicious. I mean... if you're concerned they might be too dangerous I'm sure I can find a home for them..." she suggests with a twinkle in her eyes.

Jaenelle does not seem to be too thrilled with the olive eating, but she clearly can't allow those around her to do it and not. She has a problem. The olive is pushed through her lips and silently chewed, and chewed, and then there is a bit more until its basically paste. Swallowing, she takes a sip of the wine, finishing the last in her glass. "I did not like that."

Mabelle scans the faces of all those inflicted by the olives, "They are just olives wha.." and then she hears Victus, tilting her head with a long 'Ooooooo'. She flashes a grin to Alaric, "You sure know how to make your guests happy, Your Majesty", she quirks her lips until she is surrounded by demanding children. Overwhelmed by the attention she sends them off to her cookie girl.

Sophie checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Popping the olive into her mouth, it is almost immediately obvious that Bliss regrets the decision - that first bite down has her eyes watering, her cheeks flushing, and the Radiant blinking rather rapidly before she gasps out, "Oh, fu-" and it descends into a coughing fit, shaking her head quickly before taking a step back. "Well, Your Majesty, I think it is time for me to head out before anyone else sees me like this," she gasps out - but despite the obvious pain, she is grinning. "It has been wonderful to see you tonight."

Felicia is overheard praising Alaric: That's a spicy olive!

Duarte's eyes widen as this select 'Who's Who' begins going in on the olives. He mutters to Harlen to ensure the boy keeps record of their reactions so their quotes of approval can go on the label. "I would say the 'oh gods' was enunciated in an approving fashion." ...



.... "So spicy they make Thraxians cry. That's a good one..."r

Duarte then steps aside, slipping back into anonymity as spicy olive carnage begins to rain down on this child's birthday party.

Tabitha is so distracted by Pharamond's show of what must surely be dramatics, and so she's only half aware that she's taking the olive from Alaric -- with a little curtsy, of course -- by the time she pops it into her mouth. There's a tiny crunch of a bite before she realises just what a fool she has been, and then her porcelain skin turns even more crimson than that off her husband. Tears well up and stream down her cheeks, and then she's waving a frantic hand at Pharamond. She needs that wine! How she'll manage to sip it, though... well, that's a mystery. It's all she can do to gulp down the offending olive before she's squealing through pursed lips.

Victus shouts from nearby, "I'M DYING."

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing arrive, following Lisebet.

Felicia is overheard praising Duarte: Provider of spicy olives!

Sophie is standing back watching those who are eating the particularly spicy olives and she crosses her arms over her chest, with a raised brow. "I will assure the Mercies clear at least 3 beds tonight for those who may experience the pain of those olives later." Sophie's voice is playful, but even as Alarissa reaches for a drink Sophie leans in to kiss her on the cheek, "You look better than when I last saw you. I'm glad to see it." With everyone else reaching for olives she seems to be considering it, but when people around her start struggling with them she seems to have second thoughts, she puts her hand down, and then after seeing everyone else do it she quickly plucks one up and pops it in her mouth as well. She starts to chew, and then says, with her mouth quite full, as she tires to chew and swallow, "Oh gods..." Then she's washing it down half-chewed with her own glass of wine, and then she's grabbing the remainder of Bliss' wine too, to finish that. "Me too... going.. with... Bliss..." She's turning red in the face, and she is wheezing as she turns toward the door, her hand fanning her now open mouth.

Pharamond is overheard praising Duarte: Evil Olive Purveyor!

"I'm dying Sophie. What do you mean I look -better-" Alarissa is in tears, this said between gulps of wine, looking at her husband in horror as the man seems to have been felled by Olives. He who stood on the prow of his boat and told they Gyre you got anything else, is bellowing and in tears himself. "Gods. Duarte, I'm releasing you from patronage" She almost wails in cresendo. "How could you do this?"

Sparte spins at the sound of Victus calling out, distracted from what he had been doing. He glances around, not entirely sure what is going on as his footsteps take him in that direction. "Highlord Victus? Is - Is everything alright?" Sparte glances around, alarm growing as he sees the state others are in. "Did someone poison the food?"

Pharamond has no shame. Walking over to a table he picks up one of the wooden cups or such that the kids would have used and falling to his knees as he leans over one of the chairs, he just spits the olive right back out. Well what's left of it. And then he reaches up from said table and picks up another glass. Kid gersm? Probably. Backwash? Almost a guarantee. To be fair though, in his hey-day, Pharamond has probably drank worse. He picks up glass after glass as he crawls around the tables before he finally puts the fire out to a dull burn, and he sits there on the floor, looking in between the others. "I don't know who I hate more," he says, between Duarte and the King, and he looks to Sparte. "Oh no...no not at all. Try one. All the cool nobles are doing it."

Alaric regards the various deprivations and dismay wracking what was until quite recently a lovely gathering of contented important people and turns back to Felicia. "Dame Felicia, for the security and continuity of Arx and the Peerage of Arvum, I am strongly considering taking you up on that offer," he deadpans.

"The Granataoians!" Duarte insists with 'I'm innocent' hands raised: elbows bent, palms forward to Alarissa.



"But they said drinking water makes it worse. So I suggest bread or wine..."

No olives for Lisebet, not today. She watches curiously from her nice quiet seat.

Shard manages to swallow the olive, but that's about all. She doesn't have a drink either, but that might be for the best because it's hard to drink anything when you're suddenly caught in a coughing fit. She thumbs her chest several times, but that doesn't particularly help either. "Fuck's sake," she says through gritted teeth. "The things you," cough, "do to /food/."

Jaenelle is overheard praising The crown.

Maple, a brown golden retriever, Toffee, a fluffy pomeranian, 2 Laurent trained guards, Cupcake, a cookie girl leave, following Mabelle.

Lisebet checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Lisebet checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 6 higher.

"Pellinor!" Alarissa's calling for her champion, tears still streaming, moving to help Victus up. "Pellinor, we're going, oh gods, I'm going to die."

Bliss is overheard praising The crown: Providing a strong example for the rest of us on what leadership can be.

Felicia struggles to remain deadpan in her solemn,"For the security and continuity of Arx I shall cheerfully throw myself on these... ah... abominations. And chew them into submission." it's perhaps ruined by the avid look she's giving the jar, or the small wriggle of her fingers in delight.

Victus latches one of his big mitts right onto Sparte's shirt and uses the poor man for leverage while he stands himself back up. The other hand is placed in Alarissa's own as she does the same, albeit willingly. "EXISTENCE IS PAIN." He informs his protege. Although he may have also just been informing everyone of a general fact too. Either way, Victus' volume has been sufficiently damaged and he's making a hasty get-away from their little gathering circle. The huffing, puffing Highlord reaching into the party zone to grab his slumbering daughter and hoist her over his shoulder. He looks back toward Alaric. "I HOPE YOUR CHILDREN HAD A NICE TIME." Next he's putting a hand on Alarissa's shoulder. "WE LEAVE."

Flopsy, an innocuous white rabbit, Jared, an overworked-looking, nervous Apprentice Whisper leave, following Bliss.

Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes, Triage, The white dove of Mercy, 3 Valardin Knights, 1 Templar Knight guards leave, following Sophie.

Screw Pharamond for leaving her to her own choking devices while he runs off to drink from the plaque-cup. Tabitha knows what to do! She runs off towards a servant, hand over her mouth. A strangled squeal can be heard as she drifts away: "MILK!"

1 Malespero guard, Alberico, the Malespero aide arrive, following Pasquale.

The plush mermaid is grabbed, coughing into it, letting Victus guide her by the shoulder, a look of misery from Alarissa to Sparte. "Don't do it. It's not worth it. Don't do it." And they're departing with that ominous warning.

Carita watches as the room begins to melt from the heat of the olives, an owlish look on her face as she asides to Jaenelle, "I don't think I got a hot one?" She sips her wine, shrugging as her blue-eyed attention shifts from person to person.

The look Sparte gives Pharamond is dubious at best. "All the- People are doing this to themselves on purp-OH!" The intervention of a hand on his shirt and his newfound existance as a counter balance has Sparte shifting his focus. Attention goes to helping get Victus to a standing position, a confused salute to the departing Victus and Alarissa.

Brianna checked composure at difficulty 30, rolling 10 lower.

Shard checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Tabitha checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 16 lower.

Brianna watches the Thrax couple as they head out. She tries to keep from laughing. She really does. However, she fails, cracking up. She turns away, covering her face with her hand, trying to mask it as coughing. It is unsuccessful.

Pharamond checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 7 lower.

Shard makes a noise, in the midst of her coughing, that sounds a little like a laughing snort. A small noise. A quiet noise. She doesn't repeat it, but she does cover her mouth with one hand until she's finally stopped coughing, and the corners of her mouth twitch considerably by the time she's dropped the hand to her side again.

Duarte - hereinafter known as the Setarcan who felled the mighty Thrax Admiral Lord with a single snack food - clasps hands before him and smiles as the olives are enjoyed.



"Just another one of the multiple beauties that originate from Igniseri lands," the Count comments on the olives (or the reactions to the olives).

"Maybe you should drink the brine" Jaenelle challenges Carita, her tone casual in it's suggestion though the corners of her lips twitch upward in amusement.

Alaric straightens up and projects full-on regal dignity in the totally incongrous situation of coughing and wheezing and drink-chugging around him. "Dame Felicia, it is in times like these Arvum relies on its sworn knights to protect and guard us against the evils of this world. I entrust you with this charge, to keep it contained such that a disaster of this scale never again darkens the halls of the Palace of Arx," he intones as he hands over the jar. Then he glances over his shoulder at Duarte. "With all due respect to your advertisting concerns, I'm forbidding you to put that on the jars."

Victus has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Alarissa has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, Pellinor, 3 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat, 2 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Alarissa.

12 Thrax Elite Guards, Crow - Thraxian Steward, Lilybelle - The Claw of Arx, Alarissa leave, following Victus.

Felicia checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

"Not me. The Granataoians." Duarte says with innocent hands re-raised! "But I shall let them know, your majesty!"



But still, 'so hot the palace banned them' ALSO has marketing merits.

Pharamond has had enough. He starts to undo his breastplate, as he lays there on the floor, using the hem of a table cloth to fan himself. Get up? No, not yet. He makes his way across the floor, scooting, as it were, back towwards people, but it's not a party unless someone is getting undressed and right now it's him. "What did I do to deserve that," he says, looking up towards the heavens, as if invoking the Pantheon themselves. "Take this pain...my children are going to be born coughing on the heat..." he says, crying quietly, as he looks to Carita and Jaenelle. "Don't do it!" Reaching into his belt pouch he pulls out his flask and starts drinking...and by drinking I mean he tilts his head back and demonstrates that Pharamond still 'has it' when it comes to powering back the booze. "The King...I hate that damned guy..." he manages to whisper as he finishes drinking however much he's going to, his foot casually kicking Alaric's ankle to prove he means his comment in jest, even if he lays back again, starting to undo the laces of his shirt, and pulling on the neck to fan himself.

Sitting now on a couch, with a glass of milk hastily thrust into her hands, Tabitha sits with her head almost on her knees as she cough-cough-coughs herself even redder. One giant swig of her beverage is taken while her maidservant rubs her back and chastises the artist as quietly as possible. Several words might be heard coming from the older grey-haired woman, however. Main one being something along the lines of, 'you stupid girl, this is just like your 17th birthday all over again.' Apparently Tabitha has learned her nagging skills from a master of the art.

Jaenelle watches Pharamond, because really, who isnt. "Should we be concerned?" she asks mildly. "Maybe we should just drag him somewhere and pretend he never was here in the first place. Ellani can wrap him in a big web to make it easier for transportation." Look how helpful she is being.

Uncle Pharamond is stripping? And coughing and all this crying? Lisebet eyes the jar of destruction curiously but without any desire to try one. Now if it were raspberries, that would be a totally different thing.

Felicia at least /mostly/ manages to contain her delight. Mostly. A small squeak escapes before she can attempt to plaster some kind of dignity over it. A bow offered to Alaric with all solemnity as she accepts the jar like she was being handed a jar of gold,"I shall insure that they are soundly defeated for the safety of Arx and your majesty, of course." she offers. She doesn't quite raise the jar in olive-procured victory but for something that's causing so much pain to others she seems inordinately delighted in having 'inherited' their source. Not that she's going to withhold them from the brave (or foolhardy) but it might take prying the jar from her hands to get her to give it up.

"Would anyone like to try the regular ones?" Duarte asks as he motions to a suspiciously IDENTICAL LOOKING jar.

Tabitha at least manages to get enough composure back to grate out a little bark at Pharamond. "If you carry on like that you won't be having any children, Pharamond."

Brianna tilts her chin up, never one to back down from a challenge, real or perceived. She reaches out to try one of the suspiciously identical olives.

Alaric having freed his hands of the jar rather immediately rubs at the corner of his eye (NOT with the hand that touched the olive) and drinks down the rest of his wine. "Very good then," he tells Felicia before leaning in a little confidentially. "Let me know if any of your siblings comes up with a good recipe with them," he requests on the quasi-down-low before winking and straightening back up. He also casually counter-kicks Pharamond's foot. "Oh, it's not all -that- bad," he scoffs before regarding a steward. "Would you fetch Lord Pharamond some birthday cake? That should perk him back up."

If Carita would have taken Jaenelle up on that challenge, she really can't now that the jar's been banished. She glances down as Pharamond begins to inch-worm slide his way closer, her expression growing more dubious by the minute. "We both already tried one," and here she nods to Jaenelle, "A big web that they can use to haul him away in? How fascinating!" She leans then to murmur something to Alaric, clearly puzzled.

Alaric smiles to Jaenelle and her spider. "I appreciate the offer. I'll let you know if we need it!" He also casually kicks Pharamond again.

Sparte meanders over to Duarte with as serious of an expression as he can manage. "So it looks like you're the harbinger of whatever is happening here." Sparte gives a semi-solemn nod before giving up pretense entirely, breaking into a grin. "I'm relieved and impressed, nice work. I'll try one, if that is alright."

Felicia chuckles,"If so, shall I have some of it sent over?" she asks with a loft of her brow,"Cufre's been experimenting lately.. but I figure even if she doesn't like them I'll enjoy the lot of them. Now if only there was some of the cinnamon whiskey the Murder did to go with it..." hearing Sparte's words she opens the jar and offers it his way.

Pharamond starts to relax it seems, his breath coming under control. "It got...in my nose..." he says simply. And then he looks up to those standing around and he whispers, though he's smiling a bit. "I have known deeeeath...." he says before he starts to get up...though his face is still REALLY red. He looks to those though still about and just shakes his head. "Nope..." he says. "I'm done. All the done." He looks to his breastplate as if he totally didn't remember taking it off but starts to put it back on slowly, grinning to those around one more. "That...I'd rather get shot again by a poisoned arrow than have one more of those."

"By all means!" Duarte invites Sparte to partake in the olives. "They are a gift to the Crown Children in honor of their birthday and the kind has fittingly invited us all to eat them."

"By all means!" Duarte invites Sparte to partake in the olives. "They are a gift to the Crown Children in honor of their birthday and the king has fittingly invited us all to eat them."

"Webs are extremely strong" Jaenelle informs Carita, nodding her head towards the man on the floor. "I am certain she could have him completely covered in a matter of moments without any hope of him breaking free. You should see what she has dont to my closet at the Velenosa estate, it is covered in webs, all beautiful, but the maids cant seem to clean them and if they do they are immediately replaced." If we're kicking people, Jaenelle takes this moment to tap Carita's foot with her own just because.

Lisebet rises, eyes the olives, Duarte, and everyone. She manages a somewhat wallowy curtsey to the king, and then says, "A lovely party, your majesty, thanks for inviting us all." Since there are still olives to be had, she curiously reaches for one from Felicia's jar, taking a small careful taste, before she ahhs, and then finishes the olive. "Delicious," she says cool as a cucumber, and then she indeed walks out, her attendants near falling over themselves to chase her, just in case.

Sparte checked willpower at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.

Pasquale skirts the group, careful not to risk getting drawn into some olive based challenge, in search of a pleasant space to sit. He pauses briefly to claim a glass of wine and then settles in to watch.

Baby Ashford must like spicy food; this could be trouble.

Duarte bows deeply once more, his hand brushing against the floor and the other tossed back behind him.



"Hail! Your majesty! Happy day of accouchement to the children. I bid you and your farewell!"



Duarte pops up and turns to leave, "Come, boy!" he calls to Harlen who must catch his footing to move in step with the Count's brisk gait.

Jasher walks in. He pauses just inside the doorway, looking around; his eyes finding Pasquale. A corner of his lip twitches up at the sight of the lord, then the departing Lisebet; he steps aside as she passes by, then turns to head for where the others are, offering a dip of his head: a slightly deeper one owing to the royalty present, before he finds a place to sit and watch quietly.

Sparte accepts an olive from Duarte with one hand, and then an olive from Felicia with another. He holds them up to look at one and then the other with a critical eye that fails to be critical enough to tell the difference. A shrug, and he tosses them both into his mouth to chew at the same time. The expression he has immediately shifts. Eyes blinking wide as he rolls his jaw in a slow chewing motion, then narrow as he flares his nostrils while continuing to chew. Then he swallows. One hand goes to his waist, tugging a stained handkerchief free from a pocket to rub at his nose before folding it over and replacing it. "Okay then."

Pasquale has joined the Gray Table.

Lisebet is waddling. sigh. She really is, and will be glad to see her toes again. Hopefully soon.

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing leave, following Lisebet.

Tabitha, after much swinging of milk, finally catches her breath and with the the help of her maid makes her way weakly over to the kingzone. Both women curtsy very carefully to Alaric (Laudine holding onto a rosy-cheeked and tear-stained Tabitha) before the younger of the two breathes out, "Thank you very much your... your majesty. Thank you." And then with a gasp she looks down at Pharamond and frowns. "Stop kicking the king. Gods." And then they're gone, leaving husbando alone to fare for himself. And possibly get webbed real good.

"Why dont you join me Prince Jasher?" Pasquale says when he sees Jasher repeating his own drifting progress towards a quieter corner.

Tabitha has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant leaves, following Tabitha.

"Oh, that would be delightful, thank you," Alaric agrees wholeheartedly with Felicia before regarding Sparte. "Commander Sparte, how nice to see you tonight! Ah, yes, those olives have something of a kick to them, do be careful," he advises before offering a smirking parting wave to Duarte. "A good evening to you, Count Duarte!" he calls out before exhaling. "Well, this has been quite the party! I'm almost a little jealous of the twins. Maybe I should stop eschewing my own birthday and throw a little gathering of my own next year," he muses aloud. "Maybe with an extra large couch for jousting, even. Or maybe I'll just open up the terrace pool. There are endless possibilities, really."

Jasher swivels his gaze towards Pasquale. He crooks an eyebrow. "Is there a reason why you linger over there?" He says, sounding more bemused than accusatory.

With a completely straight face, Pasquale tells Jasher. "I saw the olives."

"Only if the jousters are still required to use hobby horses or plush beasts." Felicia opines as she puts the lid back on the jar in her hands,"And for the sake of the court I'll abscond with this jar of evil before it has a chance to... ah.. 'poison' anyone else. Take care your majesty." she offers with a respectful bow and takes her leave.

Brianna gives a melodramatic, sullen huff. "Oh, but if /I/ kick the king it's all 'assault upon the person of the sovereign' this and 'Dame Paloma breaks your arm' that."

"The olives," Jasher echoes, clearly not in the loop of the current buffet (or olive-can-eat) going on. His brows furrow.

Felicia has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

"I look forward to your birthday next year then, and not my birthday, for I dont have one. Leona has one, then its yours" Jaenelle concludes with a shrug of her shoulders. "Though I am not if Leona should have one after this year, I am not certain I can top what I planned this year. It might be just better to cancel them forever."

"Well, it -hurts- when -you- kick me," Alaric protests to Brianna semi-indignantly.

Alaric scoffs at Jaenelle. "Of course you're having birthdays. You can't be older than me without a birthday," he conlcudes reasonably.

Pharamond sadly has to turn into a pumpkin as well. As he finishes the breastplate lacing, and hopefully before he is webbed up and offered to spiders as a meal for weeks to come, he inclines his head to all. "Always an adventure," he says fondly. "Happy birthday for the children, and I hope all of you have fun." Of course, he grins at the comments about kicking and considers making one but instead just smiles, grinning to all. "Be well."

Shard has gone quiet again, though she's clearly listening still, and her gaze shifts between each person as they speak.

Sparte turns to salute Alaric when addressed, like the soldier he is. "My king." He doesn't have small talk or banter to add, though, so leaves it at that. Instead he turns his attention to the departing Felicia and watches her exit with a lopsided grin. "Guess she liked them."

Pasquale moves back to his feet, glass in hand, and steps across to Jasher's side. "It appears that Count Amadeo brought a particularly spicy jar of olives to the event and felled half the court. Clever really."

Brianna socks Alaric gently in the arm. "Don't worry, Your Majesty. Me and my fancy hat will toughen you up," she declares with a broad, almost feral grin. She finishes her drink, handing her glass to a passing servant. She executes an absurdly formal curtsy. "But now me and my fancy hat must bid you all good night. Thank you for hosting this, and give my love to the little tyrants, hm?"

Jasher tilts his head to listen to Pasquale, then looks around the great hall, his expression utterly bland. "So this is the half that survived," he decides.

"You say that like I'm not tough," Alaric counters Brianna with a grin. "I've survived elven death curses! -And- I'm going to complete the Gauntlet on time someday. That's at least moderately tough." So declared, he smiles appreciatively. "Always a pleasure, Lady Brianna. Gods light your path." He nods to Sparte after seeing Brianna off. "Indeed! I suppose if you can't give your protege a jar of inadvisably spiced olives, what kind of patron are you, really," he opines philosophically.

"Oh! We're kicking people? Tell Nerissa, she -loves- kicking. Lord Pharamond won't have a chance." Carita's laughter lifts as Jaenelle kicks her foot, a delayed reaction so delayed it's comical, an 'injury' she feigns injury from with a wince just for the Archduchess' benefit. She smiles Felicia's way as she departs is then turned on Brianna as she laughs softly at the argument between the pair.

Brianna has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Ondine, a red-breasted sparrowhawk leaves, following Brianna.

Pasquale nods. "Seems so. Although I suspect the wine and cake might have been responsible for some of them." He looks around at the remaining individuals almost thoughtfully. "It looks as if the olive threat might have passed."

"I should see that the children has retired for the night" Jaenelle tells Carita, "but we should talk more. I might need to make it up to you for harming your foot as badly as I did!" Her guards are given a nod as they move to collect her tired brood while the Regent turns towards Alaric. A curtsey is given, "Your Majesty. You have been a lovely host, and I can not thank you enough for the hospitality you've shown this evening. I have taught you well" she flashes a grin at the last statement.

Alaric grins affably at Jaenelle. "Indeed you have. After all, the efficacy of my reign only started to rise after you were appointed a Crown Minister. Surely these two facts must be directly related," he observes low-key impishly before breaking out his own formal bow. "Gods light your path, Archduchess. Don't invoice Rook for too many cartloads of balls, now," he proclaims sincerely.

Sparte looks back as Alaric speaks, an eyebrow going up before he looks after the way Felicia went again, then back to Alaric. "I can only hope Highlord Victus doesn't start sending me similar, Thraxian themed gifts. You are an inspiration to many, I play to Jayus for an expection." Sparte turns, dipping his head deeply to Jaenelle before stepping back and ceding Alaric's company to her so that he might meander towards Shard.

"So it seems." Jasher's eyes wander, looking among the others. "I suppose you can rejoin the rest, now."

Shard says, completely deadpan, "Highlord Victus is currently dying." Nevermind her own rough throat. Or still slightly watery eyes. When Sparte gets nearer, she lifts one eyebrow, and half squints in his direction.

Sparte leans in to say something quietly to Shard, giving her a small nod of understanding as he straightens.

"I could." Pasquale says to Jasher. "But I think i'm going to head back out into the city in a moment." He gives a small smile to Jasher. "It was good to meet you again."

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider leave, following Jaenelle.

While it's subtle, Shard's demeanor shifts at whatever Sparte whispers to her. Her nearly ever-present frown deepens just a little, and any trace of humor, however dry, vanishes quite abruptly. She tips her head and whispers back.

Carita is nearly bowled over by a running, still slightly hyper Nerissa, who knocks her back a few steps as she hugs the Countess around her waist. There's laughter as she peels her daughter off to curtsy to the King, as she does herself, "It was a delight, as always." and with that, she takes her daughter by the hand and escorts her out. Though, nearly out the door, she pauses so her daughter can get on the back of a guard for a piggyback ride out.

Luna, the sweet, studious assistant leaves, following Carita.

Alaric is approached by Alessa, who looks up silently with lidded eyes and half-heartedly raises her arms in the universal time for 'I need a nap'. With a grin, the King stoops to haul her up and hoist her securely. "Well, it's been a delight hosting but I do believe our Crown Princess has run herself clear out of energy for the evening and needs to be put to bed. Feel free to stay and partake of the refreshments, and even whatever's left of the birthday cake if you'd like. Gods light your paths, everyone!" he proclaims regally, and with that, turns to take his daughter back into the Hall o Metal.

Sparte nods as he listens to Shard's response, glancing around as he replies. "Tomorrow would be better. Olive you to enjoy the evening." He gives a wink and a grin before turning to make his way off and exit the festivities.

Alaric lingers at the massive doorway to the Hall of Metal to look back and take in the Great Hall in its enormity for a moment, possibly remembering days gone by, events in this very space, friends won and lost. His reverie is cut short when Alessa stirs a little, and then the King soothingly kisses his daughter on the cheek with a smile and passes through to the door to retire within.



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