A Harlequins' Midnight Picnic
A terrible question game!
Spoopy ghost stories!
I don't know maybe we can get Peanut to come.
July 7, 2019, 2 p.m.
Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Path Outside the Walls - Memorial Park of Arx
Comments and Log
Brother Chester arrives, following Jeffeth.
Raymesin is in the Memorial Gardens, helping sort out the finishing touches for the picnic. That is, he's been given things to hang up, since he's tall enough to reach places shorter men can't get to. Clad all in black in the dark night, he doesn't really blend in all that well, but apparently no-one's told him that.
Brother Chester leaves, following Jeffeth.
Evaristo is helping Raymesin - or well, he's walking alongside and telling his fellow Harlequin a story. "So, that woman was SOAKING WET and kept yelling at ME like it was MY fault she fell into the river. She apparently flew at me and I didn't even realise she was and bent down to pick up a silver on the pier right THEN and she just flew right over me. Apparently, she was angry because she thought I'd not paid for some wares but I totally HAD - her husband lied about it, and used it all to buy drinks at the Murder, haha." He holds up some decorations as he remembers to.
Clank clank clank. Sir Brannen is making his way through the memorial park. He has a bottle of ale, already uncorked. When he nears a particular grave, he steps up closer to it, and pours out some of the ale onto the ground. However, from the wrong angle, it absolutely looks like he just pissed on a grave.
Quintin has, in fact, climbed a tree to hang some decorations. Spooky dangling spiders, it seems. A Disciple's work is never done, but he seems happy enough to be up there. "I've heard of the Murder," he calls down to Evaristo and Raymesin. "Apparently, I'm not welcome there?"
Raymesin doesn't seem to be paying too much attention to Evaristo, as long as there are things there for him to hang up when he's ready for them. He looks up Quintin's tree and grins, his teeth white in the darkness. "There's welcome an' there's welcome," he says, his Lowers accent almost thick enough to be cut with a knife. And then he's glancing over towards the sound of liquid hitting the ground, his eyes going wide. "Ev, did that guy over there just do what I think 'e did?" The words are more of a growl than anything conversational.
"Eh. It's not that you'r not WELCOME," Evaristo suggests to QUintin, squinting up at him there in the tree. "In fact, people there LOVE when nobles wander in there. They get treated to the Lowers special. It usually involves leaving with very little else but your trousers. If you're lucky." He glances quickly at Brannen, then does a double-take, his eyes also widening. "HE IS!" he hiss-whispers. "Go get him, Ray! I'll help." He punches his own palm with his fist, and then mouths a silent 'ow'. Not much of a brawler.
4 Redoubt Buccaneers, Luna, the sweet, studious assistant leave, following Carita.
Quintin's eyebrows go up; he starts to climb down the tree, eyeing Brannen as well.
Sanya Grimhall enters the memorial park, her demeanour placid as she walks along the path, her eyes taking in the gravesites. Coming across the men speaking, she smiles warmly. "Good day." She greets, her tone soft.
Brannen turns away from the grave after a moment and keeps walking, taking note of the folks talking here, and the Asford in a tree. He arches his brows and parts his thick lips at the trio of...folks that seem angry with him. Suspicion crosses his features then, just certain that these fellows are up to no good at all!
Raymesin, tall and thin and clad all in black in the night, nods politely to Sanya, but it's Brannen that most of his focus is on. "'Scuse me," he says to Brannen, his Lowers accent prominent as he takes a step forward, "I was wonderin' just what you was doin' there." Somehow, despite the words and even the nod to politeness, the tone makes it not really a question.
Quintin inclines his head to Sanya, offering a quick smile that lights up his otherwise stern features. "Good day to you as well. Uh. One moment." He strides after Raymesin, looking solemn again and flanking the man, folding his arms over his chest as he regards Branna. So stern.
Sanya, noticing the men are heading for Sir Brannen, beckons her guards to follow after her. On approaching the knight she nods warily. "Is all well?" She asks, turning a curious look the men who confront him.
Samithel checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.
Raymesin checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher. Raymesin rolled a critical!
"Good day!" Evaristo says and smiles charmingly at Sanya. "Welcome to.. ah we're not doing much at the moment, we're just decorating," he says and makes a lofty gesture. "But if you want to help, grab a lantern or a spider and put it up wherever you like, my lady." He bows, then hurries after Raymesin, straightening up to his own full height and tries to look as intimidating as his much taller 'partner'. His eyes are glittering with excitement here, likely hoping for trouble.
It is difficult to say how long Samithel has been sitting there at the benches, watching the events unfold near the trees some ways away. But she continues to do so, a muted sort of interest in her eyes.
Evaristo checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.
Brannen checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 11 lower.
APPARENTLY, when he's mourning dead fellows he's fought with, that's the exact wrong time to demand/ask him what he's doing. Sir Brannen settles his shoulders back and looks Reymesin over from foot to head, "None of your business. What are /you/ doing here...looking for a mark?"
Sanya checked charm + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 56 higher.
Raymesin checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
Brannen checked command at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
Quintin checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.
"Oh Sir Brannen, I am certain there's been a misunderstanding." Sanya says to the man gently, glancing between the men involved. "We can resolve this amicably, I'm sure." She turns to Raymesin, with a concerned look. "Goodman, what do believe the good sir did?"
Raymesin's teeth grit at Brannen's response, one of his hands going to his back. "I'm an 'Arlequin," the Lowers man who doesn't have any skulls visible says, his voice dropping even lower. "Preparin' for a event as we're supposed to be 'avin' soon." And then to Sanya, "When I see someone standin' over a grave an' 'ear liquid 'ittin' the ground, I get kinda curious."
Quintin considers Brannen carefully, taking in his sobriety, the bottle in hand, and the man's general demeanour. He holds up his hand. "Our apologies, good sir," he says. "We didn't quite see what you were doing to honour the dead and jumped to an unfortunate conclusion. Sorry to bother you."
Oddly, Evaristo is taking out some cake from his satchel and is eating a large slice of it, munching contently. He looks back and forth between Brannen and Raymesin. "Cake?" he offers helpfully and takes out the little wooden box he's keeping it in, offering it around. Another charming, disarming smile there at just about everyone and the world. "Don't think he was pissing on the grave," he says quietly to Ray, leaning in towards him.
"The event is tonight, is it not?" Samithel asks, stopping at the fringe of the group to offer a bow. "Has something occurred--is there any way I might help, brothers, sir, my lady?"
With dawning in his eyes, Sir Brannen calms down and nods to Quintin first, then the others. "Lady Sanya. Yes...it seems a misunderstanding. I was honoring, not pissing. I was intending on coming to this event...mostly to just guard the graves from drunkards."
Raymesin's hands move back into plain sight, the tall man exhaling. "Then I'm sorry to 'ave misjudged," he says to Brannen, before taking a piece of the cake Evaristo's offering. "Thanks, Ev." He nods to Samithel, then. "Hey. Looks like nothin', just leapin' to conclusions an' flyin' off the 'andle. Least we didn't get to the jumpin' up an' down stage."
"Ah. How gallant of you, sir." Sanya nods, an approving smile on her lips. She turns to Samithel with a grin. "Mistress Samithel, it's good to see you again. And it's of no concern, we're simply getting to know one another." She replies warmly, beckoning the woman to join.
Evaristo drops Cloudberry Whiskey Torte.
Quintin offers a quick smile to Brannen. "Again, sorry about that. I appreciate your dedication as well." A glance to Sanya, and then back to Brannen. "She's right. Quite gallant indeed. Lord Quintin Ashford, at your service, by the way. Disciple of the Queen. We're just setting up for a party." He gives Samithel a smile, too. "If you'd like to help set up, please do join us." He gives Evaristo some side-eye. There's a hesitation, and then he asks, very quietly, "Where did you get -cake-?" He definitely seems less lordly when he asks that, because he is clearly enthusiastic and envious of said cake.
Evaristo turns to Samithel, surprised to see her - he didn't notice her, not really. Or she just blended in too well. "Hello there, and welcome to the BEFORE party of the party. I got drinks too," he promises and digs out a bottle of brandy, waving it about if someone wants some. He bows again, then offers; "I'm Second First Harlequin Evaristo Arterius, Captain of the Webbed Wheel and Mockingbird of the Bard's College." All titles there in a row, said with a certain panache and flair. "But you can all just call me Ev," he adds and grins. "The cake? I won it in a duck racing contest," he explains merrily, setting the wooden box down on a bench nearby. "It's practically fresh! Just got it last night."
The servant smiles politely, eyes straying to the box of cake only once as she formulates a reply. "A pleasure to meet or see all of you-I am Samithel, sworn vassal to house Keaton. A pre-party party? Where-how might I be of service?"
Brannen seems a bit apprehensive in being part of a before-party. "Lord Ashford." He greets respectfully, then stands there uncertainly. "I usually just..." he holds up both hands, one still grasping the neck of the ale, then pats the air in front of him and squints his eyes, "/watch/." But there IS cake. And drinks. Hmmmmm.
Raymesin watches the bottle Evaristo is waving for a few moments, before his hand snaps out to grab Evaristo's wrist. He retrieves the bottle and uncorks it one-handed, then takes a - rather small - swig. The cork goes back in, the bottle is returned to the hand it was taken from, and Evaristo's wrist is released once more. "Thanks, Ev." And then to the assembled, "We're hangin' decorations, sortin' out places to sit, prettyin' things up, that kinda stuff. Anyone's welcome ter lend an 'and."
"The Webbed Wheel." Sanya smiles at the name. "I like that." To his suggestion, she nods. "I'd like a glass of brandy." Glancing around, her warm smile returns. "Lady Sanya Grimhall, to those who have not yet met me. A pleasure to meet all of you."
Quintin looks longingly at the cake. "Do you mind if I...?" he asks Evaristo. "Before I climb into another tree to hang a dangly spider, I mean. Which someone is welcome to help me with."
Wrist kept in an iron hold, Evaristo watches Raymesin drink and tugs a bit on his arm - but it's useless. So he waits patiently, then gets both his bottle AND his hand back. "Anytime," he replies a bit weakly to Raymesin. "He's very hard to say no to, our Ray-ray. Literal RAY of sunshine," he tells the others. There's a weeping, inviting gesture at the cake. "Eat! If there's anything left when we leave, I'll be disappointed and have to eat it all myself and I likely with get a belly ache." He grins charmingly again to Brannen. "Let lose a little. Remember the GOOD times with your friend," he suggests, surprisingly... soft spoken for a moment.
"Raymesin," the man himself says. It is presumably an introduction, given that it starts with the syllable Evaristo keeps throwing around. "No fancy titles, no fancy names, just a guy from the Lowers as 'as lost a few folks over time if anyone wants ter talk about it."
"Thank you for your generosity, Second First Harlequin Evaristo Arterius, Captain of the Webbed Wheel and Mockingbird of the Bard's College," Samithel says after a brief moment of silence, her voice and expression perfectly neutral as she rattles off the titles. "We are hanging spiders?"
"Unfortunately I won't be able to stay for the party." Sanya smiles apologetically, taking a drink from her glass. She gives the yotyr a curious glance, taking a piece. "This is divine." She comments as she eats, careful to keep her garb stainless.
"I am Sir Brannen Harthall, Godsworn Knight of Solace." Which...explains a lot. He still seems suspicious of Ray, but Ev's seemingly honest respect for dead compatriots softens his expression. "You should have him," gesturing to Ray, "Hang the spiders, Lord Ashform. I don't think he'd even need to climb with his height." He starts with having a swig of the ale he'd brought to share with the dead and remains in the odd company.
Quintin helps himself to a bit of cake. "Thank you!" he tells Evaristo. "Spiders are a symbol of the Queen of Endings," he tells Samithel. "Also bats, which were flying mice, apparently. I ought to get back to it." He gestures toward the tree again and lopes off thataway.
Evaristo looks quite impressed as Samithel gets all his titles correct, nodding at her. "Hanging spiders. Well, not REAL spiders." Another digging around in his satchel and he finds a small cup that he pours up brandy in for the lady Sanya, handing it over. "There you go. Brandy goes GREAT with that cake." He nods to Quintin and adds; "Flying mice. Or birds with mice bodies. We're not sure if they laid eggs or not," he notes wistfully. "Either or, VERY nice to meet you all. Nothing like an impromptu party at a graveyard, right?" he says cheerfully. "Hmm. Don't think I ever had a party in a graveyard before, this is definitely new. Well unless counting that time I was really drunk and fell into a dug grave that was going to have a burial day after, and then woke up when all the mourners were carrying the body to be buried and climbed out of the grave. haha, should've seen their faces. I think a few fainted."
"Flying creatures who give birth as mice do would be more horrifying, no?" Sanya suggests with a faint smile on her lips before finishing the cake eagerly, matching it with the brandy as advised.
"S'what I was doin' before all the distractions," Raymesin shrugs to Brannen. "I was just at the fence rather'n up a tree." He inclines his head to Sanya, then. "Another time then, I 'ope." And then he's giving Samithel a faint smile before turning to look at Evaristo, eyebrows lifting.
"It's true. To this day there's a rumor about the dead rising, on that island. I... am not sure where it was now, I've been to so MANY islands," Evaristo notes.
"I am mostly certain they do not lay eggs--Bats," Samithel answers faintly, staring at Evaristo with equal parts shock and amazement. "My condolences?"
Sanya's eyes widen at the story. "Well I'm relieved you didn't have to suffer through being buried alive."
"I don't know," Evaristo tells Sanya. "Hmm. I can't ever get a straight answer from anyone who might actually KNOW about it, considering they've been gone since.... well, for centuries." He makes a vague gesture. "But maybe if they're like mice with wings, they actually give birth to live babies, indeed." He blinks at Samithel in bafflement. "Err... I'm not sure for what, but thank you? I mean, I was FINE, I was just very dirty and I was actually stabbed a little so I was also quite bloody, so I GUESS I looked a bit scary climbing out of that grave and I could only really groan cause I had a terrible hangover and people were screaming and shouting. I just ran off back to the ship and we left moments after. Didn't think much of it. Happens all the time, that sort of thing," he notes cheerfully. The fact he might've been buried ALIVE clearly never struck him cause he just stares at Sanya there, with wide eyes. "Wow. I guess I was lucky."
Brannen looks at Evaristo as the man describes how he fell into a grave. At the end of the tale he cocks his head and drawls out, "That sounds about right." Though its a little snarky, it also seems in good spirit. He takes another swig.
Hickory, a young sighthound, Russel, a discreet assistant arrive, following Cahal.
It looks as though people are partway through setting up a party, although they mostly appear to be taking a break. Raymesin seems to be staring at Evaristo, but that ends a few moments later with the taller man shaking his head and applying his attention to a peace of cake instead.
Hickory, a young sighthound, Russel, a discreet assistant leave, following Cahal.
Sanya drinks from her glass, tilting her head curiously at the conversation on bats. "Extinction tied to the Nox'alfar." She repeats, somewhat quietly. "Now that's interesting."
Raymesin hmms. "That ain't all the tale," he says, then shares another few nuggets of information - with quoted source - about the little winged mice.
There's a thankful look at Raymesin as he adds on to the story of the bats. "Isn't it?" Evaristo nods at Sanya. "BUT DO THEY LAY EGGS? It keeps me up at night, this important very SERIOUS question," he notes with intent scrutiny of everyone. "IF you ever learn it, please tell me." He grabs a piece of that cake as well, and washes it down with brandy. "Anyway, enough about me and bats. Tell me more about yourselves! New in town? Old in town?" he asks of them in general and leans up lazily against the fence, not lifting a finger to work.
"I've been in Arx for a couple of years." Sanya says in response. "I'd love to talk a little more but this was a brief detour on my way home from the beach. It was lovely meeting all of you." She grins at those gathered, before taking her leave.
2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan leave, following Sanya.
Raymesin, for his part, appears to be mellowing somewhat with the more relaxed air - or possibly under the influence of brandy and cake, it's difficult to tell.
Samithel looks around for a moment, then volunteers, "It has been two weeks--before then I served in the keep at Oakheart. You seem accustomed to life here; do you enjoy it?"
Brannen takes instantly to his usual habit of just watching and listening, when Samithel volunteers to tell her tale and querries back to Ev. Now and then he can be seen to glance at Ray, just making sure he's still there, and he does visual perimeter sweeps. Big shiny boy does have a seat on a stone bench though, with a grate and a clank.
"I was born in Arx but left it when I was seventeen and only really returned for real about a year and a half ago," EVaristo volunteers. "I still travel, I own my own ship and go on trade runs or adventures, but I'm spending more and more time here and it's my home base now. I mean..." He gestures at the park. "I'm a Harlequin now. This city is the city of Death herself, in a manner. Where else should I call home? And Arx certainly gives you many chances if you dare to take them. So yes, I do enjoy it!" He pauses. "I still struggle a bit with the winters. We sailed mostly in the south during winters, you see." He gestures at Raymesin. "Ray here, he's lived here his whole life. Heck, we used to know each other when I was a kid. He, uh, sorta looked after us street kids."
His cake finished, Raymesin goes back to hanging spiders up on the fence, with the odd glance at Brannen between spiders. In response to Samithel's question, he shrugs before turning a glare on Evaristo. "I /was/ a street kid," he reminds the other man. "Just a few years older'n you, is all."
Samithel joins Raymesin in hanging the spiders--She almost seems more at ease, having something to occupy her hands with as she continues the conversation.
So it is between hanging a spider from a low branch and returning for another that she comments, "I suppose Arx is its own kind of forest. And most are very kind, even if it is easy to become lost in its streets sometimes."
"Right but you were bigger than us and more, you know," Evaristo says, making a vague gesture. "Just more. And bigger." He has turned a bit more serious, reminiscing as he watches Raymesin with a half-squint and a thoughtful expression. "Anyway, I was only a fake street kid," he jokes. "I had a house and everything. A mom and a step father. I just didn't stay there a lot." He nods at Samithel and his cheerfulness returns. "What about you, Sir Brannen?"
Raymesin pauses his spider-hanging to give Evaristo a rude gesture - but it comes with something that might even be a faint smile. For some reason, the tall man in the scuffed and scarred black leathers seems to put up with the bard - even all these years later.
Brannen is so caught up in just listening to people talk that there is no response from him for several moments before he realizes that he's been more specifically addressed. "What? Oh. Ah...Oh, history?" He wets his full lips and then scratches his trimmed, tidy scruff. "I have been here a while, but I was out on a mission dealing with the roads for some time. Now I'm back to protect the people of Arx in what ways I can. Everything...moves around that for me. I have a twin sister, Dame Bree Harthall. She's...the one of us that is fun at parties. A life at sea sounds interesting. Very....free."
Brannen checked wits at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
There's a bright smile at Raymesin from Evaristo at that rude gesture. "He and I, we're thick as thieves," he explains cheerfully. "He's only like, almost stabbed me once. That's practically making me his BEST friend," he jokes. "Aha, but travelling the roads - also freedom, isn't it? Though I suppose you're more into making others be free by fighting those that don't want people to live free. Or live at all, mostly. Lots of that too. Mind, there's a LOT of pirates out there, and slavers that steal people. Bloody well hate those. I suppose SOME pirates aren't THAT bad. I mean, you can't sail around the Saffron chain without running into some pirates here and there and some of them don't even really KILL people, they're just like... thieves. But on sea," he explains though nobody even asked him for that. "Might be the same wit highway robbers, right? Don't really know, I don't ride very well, well, not HORSES anyway. I bet I'd be GREAT at riding giant spiders," he says wistfully. "Right, Ray? I'd make a damn good spider rider, wouldn't I?" He stops and looks a little abashed. "Ah, the Nox. They got some really BIG spiders, but I've never SEEN one." Somehow, Evaristo has a tendency to make most topics about him. Or Death. Or spiders and bats, or all four combined. "Can't say I ever really met any Harthalls... Hmm. Marquis Orvyn Harthall, right? Valardins? You're both Valardins. I /do/ know Princess Sophie a little. Oh wait, she's SISTER Sophie now, haha. I keep forgetting. Great lady that."
Brannen checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.
Taking another spider carving from the pile, Samithel studies its eight long legs while she processes Evaristo's speech. "There is--." She shakes her head, as if erasing the beginning of the sentence, then starts again. "I have never been on a sea boat, but there is something unsettling about horseback riding, canoes; moving without moving yourself."
The servant swings the arachnid by the length of fiber at its base as she speaks, eyes glued to its back-and-forth motion. There is not quite embarrassment on her face, and her tone remains neutral. Worry, or shame, at most, but even that is muted as she turns to hang the spider nearby.
Raymesin hangs up another spider, then nods to Brannen. "Yeah, I have Ev for talkin' ter people," he agrees. "Much easier that way." And there goes Evaristo, proving the point for him.
Its pretty impressive to just listen while Evaristo goes and goes. Its not like Sir Brannen is gonna stop him. Like Ray...that's the talkative counterpart they need! "You think its unsettling? Riding is fantastic. Its like...having four pounding, muscular legs." He holds out a hand and stretches his fingers out to give a sense of scale on the legs. "Wind running through your beard..." he nods a little, but lacks the story-telling skill, like Ev has. "Moving without moving yourself, sort of, but...your will is in sync with another creature's will. Its yours. Its the same. So...it /is/ like moving yourself. Just higher...and faster."
There's no more talk about giant spiders. Sometimes even Evaristo knows when to shut up and keep things more... reasonable. "Aha! Sir Brannen, that is a very good description! I should work on that phrasing for a song... I mean, that's basically how it is with a ship. Each ship is different, each ship you have to sync with, get to know, all its quirks and behaviours." He smiles wide and happy speaking of it. "Maybe one day, I'll learn how to ride a horse properly too. In fact, I think I might do so SOON. If ... never mind." There's a glance at Samithel there. Nope, no more giant spider talk. "ANYWAY! I need to head into town real quick and take care of some business, I'll get back here later. You got this, right Ray? Wow, this looks AMAZING, we've done a GREAT job," he notes and looks at the lanterns and all decorations. Nobody has seen him put up one single item yet - that doesn't stop him from claiming credit. "You all enjoy the cake and the brandy!" he offers generously, setting that bottle down next to the remainder of the cake. "Don't fall into any graves. Not while I'm gone anyway, I wouldn't want to MISS that," he says and laughs. "Look me up if you need a Harlequin, a bard or a captain. Or all three." He waves and saunters off, humming on some cheerful tune.
Raymesin exhales as Evaristo sets off into the distance. "Kinda annoyin'," he says of the man, then shakes his head. "An' kinda forgetful, too. I give it five minutes 'fore he remembers as I'm 'is ticket in. Either way, look after yerselves - an' miss," he says to Samithel, "You might want to avoid smellin' the flowers in the Lowers. Just a friendly 'int as some forests ain't so nice."
Alena Sparks, unamused first mate, Silk, the Seafaring Spider leave, following Evaristo.
Raymesin gets Cloudberry Whiskey Torte.
Brannen stands up and moves towards Samithel. "Let me see you safe home, Miss."
"I am glad you can find solace in that description," says the servant, diplomatically. Samithel is busy enough with hanging the last of the carvings that she is unable to bow to the departing Second First Harlequin. Instead, she offers him a polite smile and clambers down from the tree. "We can part ways at your destination; I am headed to Keaton Hall, and that is on the very opposite corner as the gates, Sir Brannen?" is the half-agreement, half-question.
"And it was a pleasure meeting you, Master Raymesin." Then Samithel does bow, straightening to take in the spookily decorated park one last time.
Raymesin waves a hand at Samithel. "I ain't no silk," he says. "Just Lowers scum." And with that, and a nod to the remaining few, he heads off back to Arx.
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