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Poetry Reading: Festival of Death Edition

In celebration of the upcoming Festival of Death, the next poetry reading's theme will be of course Death herself -- the Queen of Endings and Beginnings. For this special occasion, the poetry reading will take place at the Shrine of the Queen. Those who would like to read works inspired by or devoted to the Queen are requested to send Princess Helena Redrain a message in advance, so that she can create the agenda, but time permitting, all poets are welcome to share.

In addition, books of the poems read at the event will be created and sold at a later date, with all proceeds going to the Harlequins for their work as the Queen's disciples.

If you have any questions, please message Princess Helena!

Date

July 8, 2019, 2 p.m.

Hosted By

Helena

Participants

Elgana Rook Gaspar Amantha Quintin Alessandro Flynt Evaristo Elisha Ras Harlex

Organizations

Harlequins Scholars

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the Queen of Endings

Largesse Level

Refined

Comments and Log


Helena drops a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Rodrigo, 1 Greenmarch Guard, 2 Greenmarch trained guards arrive, following Alessandro.

2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan leave, following Sanya.

Elgana enters the Shrine of the Queen of Endings, pausing only to look carefully up and then down, mindful of something or another before she takes measured steps deeper into the shrine. As she nears others, especially those she knows, she offers polite murmured greetings and smiles. Otherwise, the middle sister of this particular branch of Redrain's finds a pew and quickly deposits her bottom upon it. Once settled, she gives a wriggle of fingers as a wave to Helena and a quick wink but doesn't seek to disturb the hostess with the mostess.

Elgana has joined the pews nearest the front.

As people trickle in, Helena greets them; she looks a little paler than usual due to the black spider-motif gown she wears that contrasts with her fair skin. As people trickle in, she greets them each with a smile and a "So nice to see you!" or a quick introduction of herself and inquiry of their name. Eventually everyone is seated and she goes to a little lectern set at the front of the shrine.



"Thank you all for coming today to our very special poetry reading dedicated to the Queen of Endings, and one of our first events of many for the Festival of Death sponsored by the Harlequins. Please be sure to take one of the inkwell and quill sets in the red chest before you go," she says, a bright smile for all in attendance. "All of the readings today will be included in a book we will sell as well, with proceeds going to the Harlequins for the amazing work they do, helping us understand Death and her place in her lives." She looks down at a notepad. "I have a couple of poems of my own, a couple from another poet among us, and a couple of other readers slated to read." She turns to look at Evaristo, her blue eyes sparkling. "But I think the Mockingbird and Harlequin Evaristo Arterius will favor us with a poem set to music -- I believe we call that a song."

A finely dressed, umbra and aeterna tailored Minister Rook Champagne steps with utter grace into the Shrine. His right hand rests upon his heart as he bows with solemn respect to the Shrine, to the Princess Helena, and sounds his feet across to join up by the front pew. Rook's right hand indicating the seat beside Elgana before placing himself down.

Rook has joined the pews nearest the front.

Gaspar strode into the shrine easily and without any pomp. Dressed in fashionable finery, the prince found a seat as well, settling down and staying respectfully quiet. He laid his arm over the back of the pew and crossed one leg over the other in casual pose.

Gaspar has joined the pews nearest the front.

Amantha walks over to a pew, neither in front nor in the back although perhaps slightly towards the latter where she sits down, taking a last glance around before putting her attention to what's in front of her.

Elgana gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Flynt gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Amantha gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Quintin arrived early to help set up, whatever setting up was required. It might be he's just warning people away from the smelly bench. Anyway, he's here and present and looking incredibly solemn, which is just how his face is.

Quintin gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Gaspar gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

The trickle today includes Alessandro! Slightly late, perhaps, but better so than never, as they say. He looks around just as Helena begins to speak, lifting a hand to wave at her super low-key because he's cool like that, before starting toward the pews containing Elgana -- as well as Rook and Gaspar, but it is Elgana he greets first, probably because he knows her. "It is good to see you," he says as he leans down to kiss her cheek, before nodding to the latter two seated there in polite greeting.

Alessandro has joined the pews nearest the front.

Rook takes a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Alessandro gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Flynt grabs a keepsake from the chest and walks towards the pew closer to the back of the shrine.

Flynt has joined the pews nearest the back.

Amantha has joined the pews nearest the back.

Quintin has joined the pews nearest the back.

Evaristo gives his pet spider a little pet on top of his head, leaning up against the back of a pew. (One of the pews has been cluttered with items so nobody can sit on it, for some reason. Probably cause of the faint bad odor that comes off of it.) "Well," he says and grins mischievously. "I'm just really bad at doing what I'm told," he jokes with Helena. "Thank you, your highness - this is a great event. I'm no poet, not really - but I can throw together a decent song, just easier for me that way." He rubs his hands together and looks at everyone, making gestures of invitation to sit wherever.

Standing in the back, near the entrance, Elisha wipes his palms nervously on his dress as Helena speaks. He peers at the crowd, then looks longingly toward the chest, but he just ducks his head instead of approaching. While Evaristo prepares to perform, Elisha dabs the beads of sweat from his forehead with a rag, then he finally seems to calm down as he packs his pipe with dust.

Amantha as she notices that flynt want to say something to her she turns towards him leaning in slightly as well.

Helena gets a Festival of Death skull inkwell and quill set from a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Giving his greetings to the front pew, the Crown Minister Rook produces the perfectly trained smile to the Prince, Princess and Lord sat among his presence. Right hand, still resting upon his heart, he lifts his chin to utterly lavish Helena with his attention.

As Evaristo speaks and Helena notes Elisha's shy and nervous glances to the chest, she reaches in to grab one of the little skull inkwells and then moves toward the poet, handing him the little item and leaning to murmur something to him, quietly so as not to interrupt Evaristo's introduction or song.

Evaristo wields Evaristo's Lute.

Amantha smiles slightly towards flynt

Evaristo checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Elisha flushes when Helena speaks to him. He tucks the inkwell away--and his freshly-packed pipe, too--and bobs his head in gratitude before whispering a reply.

Clearing his voice, Evaristo moves up so he's more visibly by everyone, chosing a spot in the shrine where his voice will carry the best way. He gently sets the tarantula down on top of the altar for now, then gives a wink at the skull painting as if flirting with Death herself, before he turns to the audience. "A simple song, really. Threw it together just the other day. Afraid there's no puns. I'm REALLY bad at puns, but Death likes me anyway, thankfully. I guess I should practice with it? Anyway! Here's a song I've named 'A Lady in Black'. He begins playing, fingers moving expertly over the strings. His voice has a faint raspy quality to it, but he carries his tones perfectly and he has a strong, vibrant voice. The song itself is joyful and sweet, and quite catchy.



Chorus:

Bats and spiders, spinning wheel

The Ending is not to be feared

The lady in black has a gift for us all

Beloved human souls Begin anew



Verses



I had a strange dream of a lady in black

who was singing a song to spiders and bats

Her voice was so sweet and the lyrics so good

though as hard as I try they're lost to me now



She walked amongst headstones in the graveyard of Arx

I was there too and I do not know why

but I was not afraid to walk with the dead

I felt happy and joyful, no worries at all



So I found her with spiders and bats in a row

and I listened and watched, all baffled and awed

And then she looked up, and she saw me there

and her eyebrows went up and she had a surprise



She said 'You?' so sweetly and blinked at me twice

And I blinked right back and was totally stunned

So we looked at each other in total surprise

Till I woke from the dream with a fast beating heart



And I knew in my soul, this was special and rare

that I had met someone wondrous, amazing and strong

And this Lady is Death, my beloved sweet Queen

I worship her now with my heart and my soul

Helena is overheard praising Evaristo.

Rook is overheard praising Evaristo: Beautiful, he always plays with such beauty

Rook mutters, "I assure you Prince. Everything wonderful you have heard ... me ... true."

"Mm how... beautiful." Rook utters these words hushed, his eyes draw closed as he reflects upon the lyrics delivered by the strong voice of Evaristo. A faint smile upon the end, reflecting upon his own life and journey. A slow nod before eyes part once more.

After stepping away from Elisha, Helena leans against one of the pews, not sitting. When Evaristo begins to play and sing, her attention is rapt, and she sighs softly at the story the lyrics tell, wrapped in the beautiful musical accompaniment like ribbons and gilt. She nods along with the rhythm and when the song comes to its final chord, resonating through the little shrine, she applauds -- lightly, with reverence for the sacred spot they sit in. "Lovely as ever, Captain Mockingbird," she says with a smile for Evaristo. "Next we have Lord Quintin Ashford, also a Harlequin -- so you may affectionately call him Harlequintin. He doesn't mind." Her eyes sparkle a bit as she looks to the Ashford lord.

Quintin applauds heartily for Evaristo once the bard's song is over. Then it's his turn, and he stands up and proceeds to the front, removing a paper from a pouch at his belt. The paper's been folded many times. He unfolds it, his brow furrowed. He looks up at those gathered and clears his throat. He does not look terrifically confident, and clears his throat again before looking down at his paper and reciting:



Wheel of life, turn, turn, turn

Through our lives, our souls burn

Bright as flames, warm and true

Where before, only the Queen knew



It's bad. It's a bad reading and he's rushing it out without and it's... it's bad. He continues right on until the end without looking up even once:



Before my next life

Be it good, or be it strife

I know that I would like to meet

The Queen of Endings; she must be sweet.



Oh good, it's over. Quintin looks up at the audience, horribly solemn and earnest. So earnest.

Quintin checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 12 lower.

Alessandro says something lower to those with him at the benches, but it's very quiet, and not long before he's stopped and is looking up again at Evaristo when the man begins to sing. He smiles as the tune goes on, leaning a little bit forward while he listens. Only when it's finished does he sit back again, beginning to clap as well, though in a similar vein of Helena's -- that is, not too loud, though no less appreciative. "Lovely, Captain Arterius," he says, before he turns to look when Helena announces Quintin's turn. His eyebrows raise when the man begins, but there's still a smile on his face as he listens, and once the man is through he begins to clap as well.

Rook is overheard praising Quintin: He got up and he recited. I mean it wasn't great but he did it. Fair play.

Elisha giggles faintly, then blushes.

Helena is overheard praising Quintin.

Amantha bites her lips slightly as she listens before forcing a slight smile.

Helena is overheard praising Harlequins.

Helena is overheard praising Scholars.

Alessandro is overheard praising Evaristo.

Alessandro is overheard praising Quintin.

Alessandro is overheard praising Helena.

Flynt winces a little as he suffers through the reading. At the end offers a few polite, yet stiff claps.

Evaristo takes a bow, but doesn't linger on there, instead finding a seat with the others. He gives Quinting an encouraging grin before he does - and when the Harlequintin has finished he stands up and applauds very vividly. "That was GREAT!" he says, smile reaching his ears. "You and I should sit down and work out a song on that one..." he murmurs to Quintin in passing. Ever the opportunist.

There is some hushed conversation being shared at that first and foremost pew, but it seems to settle as Evaristo starts to speak and it dies completely, at least from Elgana's side, once the singing begins. She watches the man just as much as she listens to the words that he sings and she smiles. When he is finished, there is more than just merely politely applause. "Oh, gods and spirits, that was lovely!" she exclaims, that smile turning brighter. "I'd almost ask for an encore." As Quintin takes his turn, Elgana falls quiet once more to listen closely. And listen she does. When it is over, her expression is thoughtful. "Truthful but lovely in its truth."

Evaristo is overheard praising Helena: For being the best host!

Quintin looks up and smiles, a touch shyly. "Thank you," he says, and then he's heading back to his seat to reclaim it. Great, he's been encouraged. This cannot end well.

The nervousness of Quintin might just remind Helena of her own first public reading, and she looks very sympathetically and -- should he look up -- encouragingly at the lord. But no, he never looks up. She adds her applause as well, just as sincere as her applause for Evaristo's song, truly. "I am sure she appreciates the courage it takes to read publicly, and is smiling sweetly on you, Lord Quintin. Thank you for sharing with us today," she says warmly, before her gaze alights on Alessandro. "Lord Alessandro Greenmarch also has something to share, I believe," she says, with a nod in his direction.

Evaristo is overheard praising Quintin: I loved that poem! Especially the first part, but all of it was nice.

Gaspar gave ample applause to both performers. He appeared reserved but smiled warmly throughout. Perhaps it was only the depth with which he listened that kept him restrained.

An applause is heard beside the Princess Elgana from Rook's own hands as he repectfully sounds for Quintin, "Mm well spoken..." His chin, turning now to watch Alessandro rise and produce forth.

When his name is called, Alessandro stands up, removing a paper from his pocket and smoothing out. "I wrote this for my children," he says as he looks around, "as a sort of...poetic explanation of the Queen, at least a rudimentary one. My daughter has recently taken to rhyming, so I thought it would be a fitting exercise. I do not claim to be any sort of poet, especially not in the present company, so I apologize in advance." It sounds like at least half a joke, though not completely one. He takes a slight pause before he begins to read, and while his delivery is not anywhere near to the level of Evaristo's, it benefits from him not being nervous, which for a lawyer who talks a lot probably makes sense.



"The wheel turns us round and round again,

Our souls first held aloft, then spun back down,

The sum of life's events, its hope and pain

From meekest child to those of great renown.

A man alone, who treads a winding road,

Whose footprints stretch behind to mark his way,

Arrives in shining lands, his new abode

Until the time is right for his new day.

When you were born, your life began once more,

Your soul's next run entrusted to our care

To breathe, and laugh, and choose what to explore,

Your past forgotten, yet still ever there.

The Queen of Endings takes us, soon or late,

The Mother of Beginnings picks our fate."

Evaristo is overheard praising Alessandro: That's some proper poetry that!

Helena is overheard praising Alessandro.

Flynt is overheard praising Alessandro: For writing a great poem.

Ras skulks over to Elisha's side, offering a grin and an elbow nudge.

Evaristo has joined the pews nearest the front.

Elisha returns Ras's grin with a twitchy one of his own and whispers a few words.

Rook is overheard praising Alessandro: The wheel turns and his poetry turned my heart

Evaristo has stretches his legs out and is lounging quite lazily, but the poem by Alessandro has him slowly sitting up more and more straight. When the reading is over, he stands up once more and applauds just as vigorously. "Lord Alessandro, if you're not a poet, I'm not a bard. And I'm definitely a bard - says so on my contract with the Bard's college and everything," he jokes, but he's clearly amazed. "VERY nice!"

Alessandro's explanation of the poem draws one of those looks young women give when someone does something sweet or cute -- brows draw together, mouth purses in a moue and she touches her chest lightly. As he reads, she tips her head to listen. Her lips curve into a smile, and at the end, she applauds with the others, sincere and heartfelt but none too loud, in reverence of the shrine. "Lovely, and hardly rudimentary, my friend," she says, before she moves forward to the lectern and pulling out a notebook marked by a ribbon.

Ooh, is it Alessandro's turn?! The husband of the best friend deserves all proper dues and respects, so Elgana turns her attention toward the Greenmarcher lord, all smiles as she listens to his explanation and then the poem itself. As Alessandro speaks, Elgana's expression softens, and her smile turns wistful. And there at the end comes her applause, loud and ringing as she exclaims, "Al, you are wonderful! That poem is beautiful. I expect a copy of it for my collection."

Ras crinkles his nose in amused confusion, and folds his arms to lean back against the wall near the door where Elisha lurks.

Quintin raises his hands and applauds again, this time for Alessandro. "...and he says he's not a poet," he says, amused.

Dolmen, a Crimson Agent arrives, following Harlex.

Gaspar applauded once more, but no louder than he did for the others. A smile though, for his kin.

Alessandro obviously can't deny he's pleased with the reception to his poem -- and after all, why should he? His smile widens as he inclines his head, looking toward Evaristo as he says, "High praise from a master such as yourself, so I will take it willingly. Perhaps all these weeks of the constant refrain of 'bears and chairs' and 'socks and box' have made their mark." //That// is a joke, though, even as he gives Helena a grateful smile for the praise, sitting back down next to Elgana. "Of course," he continues. "I will ask Valarienne to draw a picture on it for you as well, and I am sure she will be happy to oblige." He turns to Quintin then, adding, "Perhaps I was one, and just did not know it."

At the front, Helena clears her through. She isn't a performer herself, by any means, but she can usually get through readings without flushing too red a hue. These days it's more of a carnation sort of pink. "Next, I have two poems written by another, who would prefer not to read, so I do it on their behalf."



She smiles, before reading, her voice sweet but unaffected.



"My sigil is not an unburied skull, laughing,

but a newborn's head,

crowning.

I am the queen of furrows.



The ditch that

embraces

a body

exhausted from life

and

the channel from which life,

refreshed,

gasps to breath



again.

I am a mother first."



She pauses, to allow that one a moment to sink in, before she reads the next. "Come into the candlelight.

We are not afraid to look the dead in the face.

When they return, they have a right,

as much as other things do,



to pause and refresh themselves

in our vision."

After another moment of pause, Helena smiles, only waiting until after reading the poems to announce their author -- perhaps to ensure that he remained in the shrine while they were read. "Those are both by Master Elisha."

Helena is overheard praising Elisha.

Amantha chuckles slightly as she hears "Queen of furrows" being mentioned but she tries to stiffle it quickly as she steals a glance sideways towards the door.

Quintin applauds again, smiling. It seems he liked those poems, too. By now he's folded his paper up again and stuffed it back into whatever pocket it came from.

Ras unfolds his arms in order to whistle and clap boisterously. "Yeah, Eli!"

Rook is overheard praising Elisha: Poetry by Elisha. Continues to surprise and impress me

Alessandro is overheard praising Elisha.

Amantha smiles towards Elisha and applauds towards him.

"That's actually a WONDERFUl idea, Lord ALessandro. Perhaps we can have a bunch of children drawing pictures in the books? Different ones in each book..." Evaristo says. But he quiets and turns his full focus on Helena, violet eyes softening considerably. The poems? It has him looking thoughtful. But once more, he stands up and applauds, turning to Elisha there in the back. "Thank you, Elisha! I love them. It is good we are reminded of her being a mother," he says, sounding a little touches even. He clears his voice and tugs at his collar, then sits back down before someone sees him getting all emotional.

Elisha flushes brightly and ducks his head and attempts to hide behind Ras.

Ras is overheard praising Elisha.

Amantha is overheard praising Elisha.

Evaristo is overheard praising Elisha: I believe you understand Death, friend. Those poems are amazing.

Rook turns his head for a moment over his shoulder to smile distantly at the back, having spied Elgana on the way. The Crown Minister offers him a firm nod to recognition.

Ras is still leaning against the wall, so the attempt to hide behind him probably just looks super endearing.

When Harlex walks in, he isn't quiet about it, chains rattle on his bootstraps and the swords worn on the left hip dance excitedly as though sensing the lifeblood of others in the room. He's noted them, those /others/, and though he doesn't scowl his eyes are possessed of something immediately predatory, sharpened, with an intensity to the green brightness that could suck the air out of the room. Like a hole opening up on a strange lake of ice. But he lowers his head, moving off to the side. Deciding to watch from one of the back pews.

Intrigue, a sleek, diminutive raven with blue-black plumage arrives, following Willow.

Deliverance, an albino falcon arrives, delivering a message to Willow before departing.

Intrigue, a sleek, diminutive raven with blue-black plumage leaves, following Willow.

Helena smiles and lifts a finger to wave at Ras when he calls out for Elisha, before she turns to another page in the journal. "I have two of my own, one of them a repeat I'm afraid, but still fitting to today's theme." She lowers her blue eyes, turning just a little rosier than she had while reading Elisha's poetry.



"A Moment of Thanks," she says, softly, before she reads.



"When the night's dark silks ensconce the sky,

I wonder that we were strangers once, you and I.



We spoke different tongues, walked different lands,

And now you sit beside me, my heart in your hands.



Somewhere above our heads, a spider weaves

its web like silver, between the golden leaves.



I close my eyes and whisper a thankful prayer

to the Queen of Endings for this time we share."

Alessandro nods at Evaristo's words, but he's quiet when Helena begins to read. His expression shifts from slight amusement into something more resembling awe, and there's barely a breath before she finishes. When she does, he takes a few moments to sit with the words, before he begins to clap -- but he does not seem to think the clapping adequate to express his feelings on the matter, turning around to look for Elisha. When he sees the man, there's a few moments' study, before he says, "Very affecting, Messere. And beautiful." He might have said more, but Harlex's arrival has him looking that way, and one eyebrow lofts, but he does not say anything for the moment, there is a lifted hand of greeting, before he turns back to listen to Helena's poems.

"I love that idea," Elgana says warmly to Alessandro. "I would treasure it all the more if she would draw me a picture on your poem. Perhaps I'll frame it and put it on my curio next to all of my other treasures." There's some mild teasing from the Redrain, but her smile is still warm and genuine. As Helena starts up the next round of poems, she falls quiet again save for a little murmuring at the pew but not much as Helena's voice draws Elgana's attention once more.

Quintin peers over at Elisha, mostly because he's hiding, and offers a quick smile. He's still smiling when he turns his attention back to Helena. It makes him look less solemn. Harlex, he nods to.

Evaristo gives a grin and an upnod to Harlex over there, but he's shutting up once more to listen to Helena. THat poem? He blinks slowly at her and looks a little stunned, and it's not easy to shut him up. He stands up, applauds, and bows to her. He doesn't say anything, but his intent almost burning look at her speaks volumes.

Flynt is overheard praising Helena: Excellent poet and organizer.

Ras seems distracted by Harlex's entry, growing solemn-faced, but doesn't do or say anything to draw attention. He switches attention back to Helena, smiling at her poem, and then straightens and ducks out of the hall with a friendly pat on Elisha's shoulder.

"And the next is called Renascence," Helena says, offering a smile over to Elisha, before she reads the second of the two, a different style and less playful than the first.



"Silver-bright, his life stretched out behind him

like miles of a moonlit road, meandering

through mountains, woods, and valleys.



Before him, the horizon shines, its light

so blinding he cannot see beyond.

A silhouette emerges, arms outstretched



like a mother's, welcoming home

at last a wayward son. But after a kiss,

she whispers, 'Another ride on the wheel,



'for your journey is not yet done.' (Does it spin,

the world, or does it happen so fast

it merely seems to?) When he opens his eyes



he looks up at another who calls him son;

all she can see when she gazes down is

the life stretched out before him, silver-bright."

Gaspar gave yet another round of applause and smiled at the orator, still wholly subdued in his seat.

Helena closes her journal with a soft thud and steps, only too happily, from being at the center of attention. "I believe that is all of our readings for today. For those of you who are first timers at one of these readings, I heartily thank you for coming, whether to brave the audience or simply listen, for both honor us, the Queen, and Jayus, of course," she says with a smile. "Those of you who are unsure about the Queen and her part in our lives, I encourage you to reach out to the amazing Harlequins for they can answer your questions or direct you on a path that will help you answer them for yourselves." She gestures to the little chest. "Those who came in late, be sure you take one of the inkwells for a memento of the Festival as well."

Elisha's voice is probably lost in the applause, but he peeps at Helena and whispers, "Does it spin, the world?"

Quintin applauds for Helena, though he stills his hands when she speaks again to wrap up the event. He nods, and then calls out, "Thank you for organizing this, Princess Helena."

Evaristo is still standing when Helena reads the second poem. He smiles wide and warm and charming at her, and then bows deeply. "Princess, your poetry always stuns me. And not in a bad way, of course. Like... little glimpses of something great sparks in my brain, that's how they are." He applauds once more, then turns to face everyone as Helena speaks. He nods to them, and answers Elishe helpfully; "Depends on what you drink, really. But if the WORLD spun, wouldn't we be very woozy? HAha. I mean... wait." He frowns. "I need to think about this wheel thing," he murmurs and sits back down.

Fingertips curling into his heart, Rook is sat poised and exhales hushed at another poem. Once again moved by the words and a hushed exhale. Joining with the applause for Helena, a refined smile sits upon his lips. "Mine thanks, Princess Helena to you. Those who performed and to the Queen of Endings."

When Helena's second poem is through, Alessandro's smile widens and he lifts his hands toward her to applaud again. "You have the ability to evoke such clear pictures with your words, Your Highness," he says, before adding after Quintin, "Thank you. It was lovely to hear everyone's contributions." He looks to Elgana then, adding, "You will have it soon. I am sure she will want to begin right away."

Harlex retains his position in the back. After a time, he leans forward, his claws knit together as he watches from his position. There's no real change on his face, or his posture, until the end wherein he eases back against the pew.

Amantha stands up from the pew walking towards the door, she offers a smile towards Elisha "It was quite a nice poem" she says to him in passing as she leaves through the door.

Elisha giggles to Evaristo and says, "Some of us -are- woozy! We're elves who have been blessed with forgetting--or maybe they're elves cursed with memory, I don't know if there's any different--oh!" He twitches a smile to Amantha. "Thank you."

Amantha has left the pews nearest the back.

Gaspar rose slowly and glanced around to all in attendance, offering polite smiles to all. The prince left the pew, but he did move to leave just yet. Instead, he found a place out of the way and watched those milling about.

The praise and applause draw a rosier blush from the princess hostess, and Helena dips lashes and bows her head a little. "Thank you," she says, and a nod to Rook. "And you're very welcome. Thank you for coming." She turns to Elisha and lifts a shoulder. "I envisioned the change from death to meeting the queen to being born again as a quick turn of a wheel -- or world -- I suppose. I don't know what it would really look like, for I don't remember of course." She chuckles at the mention of woozy elves. "Something like that," she says with a smirk.

Rook lifts himself from the front pew, hand upon his heart once more as he bows to Helena. He turns his chin across to Elgana, fingertips for a moment on her shoulder as he says, "Good to sit with you Princess. Until chance is with us again." Quietly he steps around the pew to lead up to the exit.

"Yes, thank you as always for hosting these," Elgana says to Helena and then she turns that smile on Evaristo. "And you as well for this Festival. I look forward to all of the events." She turns to Alessandro then and nods, leaning to press a kiss to her best friend's cheek. "I should come by and get it, give me an excuse to see the whole family. I'm sure Mags would be delighted to see me too." As Rook rises to depart she offers the Crown Minister a polite smile and nod, "A pleasure to see you, Master Rook."

"Ah! I think the wheel is SYMBOLIC, really. I mean, we're not REALLY spinning on a wheel... though, that'd be funny to try. Maybe a GIANT wheel at the festival and we put people on it and roll it down a hill?" he suggests to everyone present, lofting eyebrows and smiling brightly. "Sounds HILARIOUS. Anyway-" He stops short, staring at Elisha with intent scrutiny. "What did you say?"

Elisha toys with the tip of one pigtail as he listens to Helena, nodding along--then plucks at his dress at the sudden intense question. "Um. 'Woozy?' Sorry. I didn't mean anything by it!"

Rook has left the pews nearest the front.

5 Silvershields, Jeeves, a sophisticated valet leave, following Rook.

"We're defintely human," Evaristo says with some steel in his voice - rarely does he have an aura of command but there it is, eyes glittering sharply. "WE are given a very SPECIAL gift by Death herself - the chance for new beginnings." He takes a deep breath and suddenly smiles that radiant somewhat whimsical smile again. "I mean, elves have a special gift too. The gift of memory - but some memories even they want to forget, I bet." He looks around at everyone, looking quite happy.

Helena gets a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

"I am sure she will," Alessandro replies to Elgana. "She was just saying that we should have a family dinner soon. I shall make the arrangements." He starts to say something else, but his attention is caught by the exchange between Elisha and Evaristo, and he quiets, his head tipping a little bit to the side.

Gaspar eased himself from the wall now that a lull in the congratulations had fallen. He eased froward, reached for Evaristo's hand in a proper shake. "Masterfully done, truly. You have an incredible voice. I hope to hear more of it soon." The prince bowed and turned to Helena, dipping his head politely, "Your Highness, I don't believe we've met. I'm Prince Gaspar Velenosa. Thank you for the readings today. I look forward to being a part of the next one." He offered her a proper, noble smile with hands coming to clasp together behind his back.

Elisha squints nervously at Evaristo. "I'm sure you're right, but I dreamed that we're elves called eleu'Alfar. Not sea-elves or wood-elves or dark-elves, but free-elves. Elves released from the tyranny of memory, except then the dream gets hazy--woozy!--and I wake up, or at least I think I do, so maybe I'm not ..." He wipes his palms on his dress. "I'm probably not, um ... you know. Sorry! I should go. Thank you!"

Flynt has left the pews nearest the back.

There is a curious glance at Elisha and Evaristo from Helena as well, before Gaspar introduces himself. "Of course you are," she says when he says his name, and she smiles. "A pleasure to meet you in person. Do you write, or do you intend to be one of our dedicated audience members?" she asks. Elisha's response to Evaristo draws up her brows and she glances at the Harlequin-Bard to watch for his response, before glancing back to Gaspar.

Evaristo gets distracted by Gaspar. And his shirt. He stares quite jealously at that silk shirt, then bows deeply and accepts the hand to shake - firm and friendly. "An honor to meet you, your highness. Evaristo Arterius, Harlequin and Bard," he introduces himself, not going all out on the titles. "Thank you for your praise! There'll be some concerts here and there, just keep an ear out," he promises. He turns to Elisha again, lofting an eyebrow and just staring with the same intent scrutiny. "No... wait. I didn't mean anything with all that," he says and smiles wide and charming. "You should tell me ALL about that dream another time, Elisha."

Flynt is walking out of the chapel but he stops for a moment on his way to say a few words at Elisha "I did not know you were a poet, but that was a great poem nevertheless." he rattles out quickly and leaves.

Elisha squeaks in terror at Evaristo's friendly smile, his eyes widening and his breath catching, then flees all in an ungainly rush.

Evaristo has never ever scared someone with that smile before. His jaw is quite open.

Gaspar did his best to give the side conversation its own privacy, keeping that gaze fixed on the princess. He was impeccably dressed and looked every bit like a prince should, aside from that mop of curly brown hair and unshaven stubble. "Likely a bit of both, depending on how the mood strikes. I have a long way to go before I'm in the realm of the rest of your presenters here, but perhaps one day soon." He shifted easily toward the singer. "Of course you are," he repeated in the same tone as Helena, giving her a playful smile. "I joined the Bard's College yesterday after speaking with Whisper Gianna. I very much look forward to--" And then the little poet scampered off and the prince looked just as confused as everyone else. "--speaking more with you..."

Elgana's gaze shifts from Evaristo to Elisha for a moment, curious but she doesn't interrupt. Instead, she smiles again at Alessandro. "That would be lovely. It's been so long since we've all been together in the same room." She makes to rise then from the pew, hands smoothing down those amethyst silks of her dress. "I should go say hello to my sister before I vanish. Write to me soon and let me know when dinner is." Alessandro gets another cheek kiss before Elgana is heading over toward Helena. "Sister, you always put on the best readings."

Oops. Helena's eyes dart over again as Elisha flees, and she looks torn between sympathy and humor, before she looks back up at Gaspar. "We look forward to hearing from you then," she says with a smile. "I'm sure your work is good enough to present, and it's not our place to judge -- which is why I don't have contests for poetry, only readings for love of words and camaraderie." She looks to the others who read today, Quintin and Alessandro, and nods to both men. "Thank you both for reading again. I hope it won't be the last time." That might be aimed at Quintin, who she smiles at. "I will bribe you with apples to do another?" she says teasingly. When Elgana joins her, she reaches to take both hands of the darker Redrain. "Your outfit is so lovely. Thank you for coming," she says, leaning to plant a quick kiss on her sister's cheek.

Quintin stands up, adjusting his swordbelt. He offers a quick smile to Helena. "I don't know. Mine was..." he trails off. "Well. Not as good as the others. I might be bribed with apples, either to speak again or not to speak at all." His tone is wry.

Evaristo blinks and closes his mouth, and looks at HElena with that 'What did I DO?!' sort of look. He rubs his jaw and wanders over to the conversation, refocusing. "As the Second First Harlequin and Voice of the Voice of the Queen of Endings and Mother of Beginnings," he says all dead pan, "I thank you for your lovely poems. I'm sure the Queen is very pleased."

"I will," Alessandro promises, smiling at the kiss, before he stands up as well, making his way toward the others as well, though he does look a moment or two after Elisha as he leaves. "Master Arterius," he says as he looks to Evaristo, "next time, please, be a little less welcoming." There's amusement in his tone, though, before he turns to Quintin. "Perhaps your delivery needs polish," he says, "but the words were lovely. For my part, I would contribute to the bribe to speak again."

Gaspar smiled and bowed his head to the princess, "I look forward to it, your highness." He turned to his relative and gave him a pat on the shoulder, before passing toward the exit. "Let's talk sometime soon, hmm? See if we can't round a few others up for a card game." He pulled his lips into a playful grin and gave each a polite smile as he left.

"See, that's two for. And if anyone should bribe that you should not speak again, I will kick them in the shins, for they are meanspirited," Helena asides to Quintin with a smile for Evaristo. "Sadly my shoes are silk so it probably wouldn't hurt. I can have the Second First Harlequin -- or is it the First Second? -- kick too and he has much harder shoes than I do."

Gaspar has left the pews nearest the front.

Evaristo's smile is once more just as wide and just as charming. Hopefully nobody else will run away in fear. "I'll work on that, Lord Alessandro," he promises and even laughs a little. He bows once more, looks down at his boots, and winks at Helena. "For you, princess, I will kick anyone. Even a fellow Harlequin - well, if they deserve it."



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