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A night with the Rivenshari.

Lamps light the river stone path from the gate to the center of the Expanse, the air flavored with the scents of wild flowers and sun baked earth. Insects and bells add their own melody to the sound of music and laughter. Ahead the bright orange of a bonfire beacons, the scents of outdoor kitchens with their roasted meats and fresh baked breads adds it own allure.

Before guests reach the fires, and smiling faces, they are met by clans men and women, each guest is given bells.. woven into hair, tied on belts because tonight, all are welcome and for this evening, all are Rivenshari.

Tables around the kitchens have been laden with food, roasted pork and fowls, cold poached fish and thick stews. Crisp herb scented crackers and homemade soft cheese along with fruits and honey. And breads of all sorts. Off to one side barrels of wine, rum and ale have been tapped, along with large pitchers of clear water afloat with mint and berries.

Date

July 21, 2019, 8:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Eshra

Participants

Athaur Arcadia Cristoph Zara Merek Sophie Willow Tatienne Vano Mikani Thea Acantha Maru Calandra Ember Pharamond Tescelina Rysen

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Rivenshari Expanse

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


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

Serenade, a lovely nightingale arrives, following Calandra.

Thea takes a strand of brass hair bells from Rivenshari Party Favors Chest.

It is almost full dark, not quiet but within minutes there last of the day's light will fade away. Which is okay, because the fire is large and bright, there are lanterns hanging around the outdoor kitchen and along the various paths. It is not only the nobles of the Rivenshari that welcome those that come, but the clan it's self is there.



There are those that greet the visitors at the small bridge that crosses into the center compound, helping each guest by stringing bells to their belts or weaving them into their hair. For tonight, all are Rivenshari. Children play some sort of game of tag back by the streams, their laughter mingling with the night. Little knot of people can be found around the fire and kitchens, welcoming any that step into their circles with smiles and often an offer of food. Deep benches flank the fire between them, are piles of blankets and pillows that have been set out for those that prefer. Drummers sit off on one side of the fire, a steady deep heartbeat rising from their ranks. Dancers young and not so young are entertaining as people start to find places to sit and food and drink to consume.



The nobles of the house are not poised to greet guests. There is no queue of a welcoming line, instead they can be scattered around the Expanse as everyone else. Greeting those that come close to them, calling out to others they might notice across the way.

Zara gets a strand of brass hair bells from Rivenshari Party Favors Chest.

Calandra takes a strand of brass hair bells from Rivenshari Party Favors Chest.

Athaur weaves past the cooking fires, snatching one of the cookies off the cooling rack. It didn't matter that there were some set out and free to take. It was well known amongst the Rivenshari that stolen cookies taste the best. The count moves through his people, smiling and laughing as he takes small bites of his pilfered treat. He pauses in his movements, sharing a few words with members of his clan as they approach to speak with him.

Arcadia has come to the party arm-in-arm with Mikani. Being ushered in, she's handed some bells and immediately threads them into her hair, as she stares in amazement at the gardens.Grinning at Mikani, she remarks 'Hey. They match" Gesturing briefly to her pants and scarf and their little bells. The bells jingle and jangle as she moves inward to greet the hosts, when she finds them. There's no such thing as stealth for the little countess tonight.

Celebration! Cristoph enters the party, accepting a string of bells from one of the helpful greeters. He looks pretty dubious when the person suggests it can be put into his hair, he tugs at the short cut of it before shrugging his shoulders and stooping down. It's going to look a little silly, but the duke is game for the night. Once that's done, he goes jingling along into the party.

As Zara enters, she bows her head ever so slightly to allow one of the greeters to thread the strand of bells into the dark of her hair. "Thank you," she says in a quiet murmur. The bells are instantly lost in the waves, but the chime paired with her step across the bridge suggests they haven't slipped loose. As the last of the day's light fades, she finds the brightness of the central fire, searching faces both new and familiar.

Merek makes his way into the place, his cloak shifted about his frame while he looks about also.

Sophie enters quietly, stopping to attach one of the bells to her hair, which hangs loose down her back tonight. She's wearing the white robes of Mercy, and she's carrying a lantern in front of her, both hands clasping the handle. She smiles warmly as she approaches, nodding to any who look her way, and then moving to the central fire, until the orange light casts a glow on her face. After basking in the fire for a moment she turns to look at the others present as she does.

Once well enough into the expanse to hear the drummers, to smell the honeysuckle in the gathering shadows of dusk, Willow slips off out of sight long enough to be rid of her stockings, with little doubt the slippers will come off if she rises to the call of the drums. The bells sewn to the fluttering tail of her cloak are silver, and she stops to add brass bells to her hair near others on her way in, waving toward Mikani and Arcadia and Athaur as she spots them. It would appear the big fuzzy cat of hers has followed hot on her heels but it is drawn instead to the promise of harassing fish in the creek and so bounds off, leaving her side.

Tatienne is helping organize the party, just finishing one last task and then she's done. Next up, look around to see who all else are there, but unusual for her, keeping somewhat of a distance to the crowd, fine to watch the goings on from atop the bridge. She has food, she has a fishing pole.

Tatienne has joined the Wooden Bridge.

Cristoph has joined the South-side firepit benchs.

Vano isnt the first to arrive, having retrieved a large mug to settle down somewhere out of the way while the Rivenshari Lord takes up a place in the welcoming group, greeting new arrivals and giving them an idea where they can park themselves or where to find some good food and enjoy the evening that is about to unfold.

Willow has joined the a walnut wooden swing with a steel chain.

Sophie has joined the South-side firepit benchs.

Zara has joined the South-side firepit benchs.

Mikani smiles as she 'escorts', Cady to the party. She grins and waves to Willow, Arthur and others as she sees them. She like Willow slips off her boots to dance. "Cady would you like to dance with me?"

Thea steps quietly but gracefully in, stopping to collect the bells handed to her. She puts them in her hair and bows her head to people she knows and those she doesn't as she makes her way over somewhere to sit.

Acantha arrives with just her usual companion, Benny. She generally doesn't make a big fuss about going places. The Baroness is dressed in black seasilk and a stygian this evening. Maybe 'Nighttime' was a theme for her. The wealth of dark brown hair is worn mostly down, with a bit of it braided back and held with a set of hair pins. She gives a bow of her head to those that greet her and a smile as she is given the bells. "Now you won't have to mess with Lord Vano's anymore." she muses quietly to Benny. She looks about and there's a smile when she catches sight of someone. She holds the bells as she approaches Vano, giving a bow to him, "Lord Vano." she greets him.

Maru didn't need to _steal_ any cookies. When he and Eshra walked past the cooking fires, Amelia saw fit to reach out and hand him a small stack of cookies just freshly taken out. The Rivenshari Lord's eyes crinkle at the corners and he grins, handing a couple over to Eshra before poping one in his mouth in its entirety as he walks over toward the fires.

Calandra has had yet to return home since partaking in the fete the other day, deciding to stay in Valardin territory another day or two so she could attend the Rivenshari event. That said, a new party requires a new outfit, the Whisper replacing her more formal gown from before with light, moonlight colored silks to compliment the nighttime atmosphere. The brass bells may not match, but she gladly accepts them to be woven into her dark hair upon arrival. Each step has them give off a small chime while weaving through the crowd on her way to grab a drink, greeting those in passing with proper dips of her head and small hellos.

Eshra, her dark curls heavy with bells, dressed in greens and golds, the skirts swirling around her ankles and the beginning of a baby bump starting to make it's self known, takes the cookie offered to her from her husband, as she nods to faces she knows and those she does not. Letting go of Manu and breaking away from him for a moment, the Rivenshari Voice steps up onto a stump (with a little help) so she can get people's attention. Her dark eyes glittering with enjoyment, once people start to settle, she speaks up. "Good evening and welcome. We the Rivenshari, welcome you all to our home." hands folding in front of her smiles.



"In this time when fears and uncertainty seem to underlie so much of what is happening, we being a new house, a prodigal house at first thought to close our gates from the fear that can accompany. But that isn't our way nor is it the way to help combat suspicion and uncertainty. Instead we decided we would rather welcome you all in, to find out who we are for yourselves. And I thank every one of you that has shown up."



Pausing then for a moment then waves around the area. "What can you expect tonight? Well later I will explain a game of sorts, that all Rivenshari learn to do but first.. welcome to our fire. Where we come together for stories and dancing, for music and whatever else one might wish to do to entertain. We welcome you to share as either entertainers yourselves or simply as company to enjoy. In a little while we will start things off with a story, until then please be welcome."

Arcadia kicks off her flimsy sandals and easily agrees with Mikani, "I would love to. Just don't stand on my toes. Baron Norwood got them a few times last night when we tried to dance."

Athaur waves his fingers in greeting to Mikani, Willow and Cady as they arrive, smiling warmly towards them. To Cristoph and Zara he offers a bow of greeting. To the others he is not so familiar with, there are smiles and waves. Athaur makes his way towards the drummers, pulling up a seat while a boy carries his guitar over towards him. He starts to hum along before his fingers begin dancing across the guitar strings to add to the music that fills the air.

Mikani laughs at Cady and nods to Eshra's welcome. Her dark eyes look back at Cady. "Have you not seen me dance before?" She asks with mock pain. "I will sweep you off your toes more than I likely to step on them." She leads Cady to the dance area and starts to move to the beat of the drum.

Mikani checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Arcadia laughs as she moves with Mikani. Definitely not the better of the two. She swivels her hips and wiggles away while Mikani does the real dancing.

Returning Athaur's bow with a grave nod of her head, Zara lifts her hand -- and her voice, from where she was speaking quietly with Sophie and Cristoph. "Thank you for the hospitality, Count Athaur -- and the bells. I'm quite charmed." She totally is. She keeps fiddling with her hair, for the sound the strand of bells makes.

Guitar /and/ drums? It is only moments before Willow is back up off her feet and gravitating toward Mikani and Arcadia, kicking off her slippers along the way and using the voluminous draped silk of what might generously be called a cloak as a dancing scarf, hips swaying to the drums, shoulders incorporating the guitar.

Willow checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 15 higher.



Baroness Ember Redreef -- sorry, no, tonight it's Baroness Ember RIVENSHARI -- enters the party without flourish. (Three guards are hardly a 'flourish' even by the standards of the day.) Though her steps are drowned out by the drummers' beat, she's nonetheless given away by the distinct jingling of bells threaded in her long hair... or at least, she would be, if all present were not also properly belled up. Ember's posture is perfect and her hands are folded behind her back as she makes her initial rounds, watching the children play and the adults socialize behind the veil of her stern expression. She does stop to listen to the Rivenshari Voice, which at least gives those nearby a chance to see whether the Baroness of Redreef Shores has dressed well for the occasion.

Maru stands just a few steps away from the stump Eshra climbed up on, watching her as she speaks to the crowd gathered. There's something different about him tonight: a strand of silver bells clipped into his hair. They jingle as he moves over to hold a hand up and help Eshra get back down from the stump.

When Athaur bows in the direction of himself and Zara, Cristoph inclines his head and gives the bells a little cheerful jingle while he continues speaking quietly around the firepit.

2 Rivenshari Clansman, Timbo, agile and cheeky rivenshari youth leave, following Eshra.

2 Rivenshari Clansman, Timbo, agile and cheeky rivenshari youth arrive, following Eshra.

Pharamond makes his way in, later than he'd like but it's fun to have made it, curious to see what a Rivenshari party is going to entail. His hands clasped behind his back, he looks around at those assembled, a smile for those he knows, and his gaze flicking about to see what activities may have started for the day.

Vano offers a warm smile at Acantha's greeting, lowering his voice to murmur to her, "I am happy to see you made it. We should begin the storytelling shortly, but there is food and drink around to make yourself and Benny comfortable with..." With that said, he shoots a curious look over at Eshra, waiting for her cue on things.

Sophie looks up from the coversation she's having with Zara and Cristoph when Athaur looks in their direciton, and she holds up her lantern in a silent little greeting, accompanying it with a warm smile and a nod of her head.

Eshra standing beside Maru, a glass in hand and she watches the dancers smiles, but catches Vano's look and nods, handing her glass to someone near and moving towards the fire, husband in tow.

By the time Calandra arrives back from the outdoor kitchen her hands are well occupied, one managing two glasses of wine while the other carries a plate with a nice assortment of the various foods set out. A light sway to her step due to the lovely tune Athaur spins from his guitar, the Whisper makes her way to the bonfire to join Zara and the others, offering her patron the other glass of wine. "Quite the party, yes, Your Highness?" She hums lightly while settling in, attention shifting to Cristoph and Sophie when she does and offering them a polite bow of the head. "My Lord, Mother Mercy. Care for a bite?" Next offered is her plate of goodies to the trio, certainly not going to eat it all herself.

Acantha gives a smile when Eshra talks and listens to what she has to say. She gives a look back to Vano and there's a warm smile to the man, "I wouldn't have missed it. Benny and I wanted to come and show our support and to see everyone." she tells him quietly. Benny pats Vano's leg and then gives a tiny swat to the mans bells before he waddles off. "I would love to hear a story. Are you in need of a drink or anything before that my Lord?" she asks him.

Calandra has joined the South-side firepit benchs.

Arcadia laughs happily as she makes easy conversation with Willow and Mikani as she dances, which is more shimmying and shaking and bouncing. "Lady Willow. I don't think I've seen /any/ of those. I am standing by my original statement." She also reassures Mikani, "You always look beautiful."

Athaur laughs softly as the ladies begin to dance, nodding his head slightly as he plays an upbeat sort of happy tune to accompany the drummers and the dancers. His many bells jingle merrily with each movement of his body as he plays. Sophie is given a bow of greeting, a small smile accompaning it before turning back to watch the dancing.

Athaur checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Mikani continues to dance as she closes her eyes and moves away from the others. With her day, it felt good to just dance and give herself over to the music. Get back to her roots. Dance. Feel the wind on her face. She just moves to the drums and the singers as she just continues to move to the music letting it flow through her.

Maru dutifully follows Eshra toward the fire. He spies Mikani dancing and raises a hand to wave.

Pharamond has joined the South-side firepit benchs.

Tescelina arrives finishing the last touches upon her hair as it falls over the front of her shoulder in a ribbon-wound Oathlands braid. She smooths her skirts as well, the most she's ever seemed hasty. Which isn't much. But clearly she was caught up before her arrival. Weapons peacebound at her slender waists, she moves through the gates with a curious eye.

Eshra steps from the shadows and into the circle of light, for a moment the Rivenshari is quiet, her dark eyes reflecting the flames as she lets her eyes slowly travel around the circle. Those of the clan fall silent so only the sounds of the fire crackling, the soft shifting of those around getting comfortable and with those movements come the silver chime of bells. With the air thick with expectation, Eshra draws in a breath, then when she releases her voice, dark and rich fills in the spaces between the sounds of those gathered. "We are going to tell you the story of The Pact and the three choices of the world." she begins. "The First Choice" pausing her gaze sweeping into the shadows around the fire. "...was made when the Dream wept to see the Children of the Dream forced onto the Path of Chains by Destiny, the caretaker of the world. And the First Choice cast Destiny down, destroying him." another pause coming, as she leans forward slightly, as if to tell them a secret. "But a dark twin was born, too, and he saw the Path of Chains which Destiny had left behind and took it for his own, calling himself the Lord of Chains" Her dark voice fading then and for a moment there is nothing before Eshra turns her eyes to look at her husband standing beside her, then takes a step back out of the light.



Ember glances toward the dancefloor, and spies Mikani. Her old friend is dancing, though, and it's not as if the Bloody Baroness is going to jump into that fray herself. Instead, should she catch Mika's eye, Ember gives the other woman a nod and then turns toward more stationary companionship. She's giving the party roughly the same gaze as Pharamond, so it does result in her making eye contact for a moment before nodding.

Thea has joined the North-side firepit benchs.

Tescelina takes a strand of brass hair bells from Rivenshari Party Favors Chest.

Vano shakes his head lightly at Acantha's question and discretely points to the mug he's set aside. Shaman is pre-lubricated for the evening, it would seem....or he just got an early start on the libations before his turn at the storyteller came up. Either way, he takes a step back and falls quiet to listen to Eshra as she begins, taking in a deep breath and letting his gaze focus on her.

Tescelina has joined the South-side firepit benchs.

Willow laughs and shakes her head at Arcadia as she and Arcadia dance with Mikani to Athaur and the drummers' playing. Humming a few beats in time with the shimmy of silk clad hips to the percussive heartbeat of the drums, she opens her eyes again to wink at Arcadia as she says, "I could invite you home with me to prove you wrong but... Odile still has the one dress, so it would only be the other you would find."

Mikani finishes dancing as the story starts. She grins almost breathless as she waves to Maru. She moves to take a seat by Ember, bringing Cady along with her if the woman allows ... well and Willow too. "Baroness. Good to see you here." Mika murmurs quietly and gives the woman a hug knowing it won't be met with one but maybe a stern look. PUlling back she winks at her old friend before taking a seat. It was story time!

Maru watches Eshra as she begins to tell their tale. The firelight cast shadows across his face that make his typically severe expression seem even more harsh and grim. When she finishes he waits a moment before stepping forward into the light. His voice a deep, and booming baritone, it rises above the crackle of the fire and the jingle of bells. "The Second Choice was made when the First Choice saw that the Children of the Gods had heard the whispers of his dark brother, and had bound all the Children of the First Choice to the Path of Chains once again." He pauses, looking from face to face, his deep-set eyes seeming to peer right into each person he looks at. "He knew that to break the chains across all the world would leave him so spent he might never rise again, but he made a Choice, and before he fell into slumber he told his Children to run free. But with the Great Liberator asleep, his dark brother could creep out of the shadows unopposed, beginning to spread new chains once more." Then he he falls silent, looking around the fire once more, before nodding toward Vano and stepping back out of the light to stand next to his wife.

Acantha gives a soft nod to Vano and then she touches his arm gently before she then turns to listen to things. There's a soft smile when Benny returns and he settles in front of her to watch the storytellers.

Athaur lets fingers trail off, ending the song. He sets the guitar next to him, accepting a glass of rum from someone as he leans back to listen to the story. A small smile crosses his face as he listens, still enthralled by the story as much as he was when he first heard it as a young boy.

Storytime, Mikani, and the allure of the haze pulled from her cloak to smoke as she listens, sees Willow sitting on the bridge to dangle feet over the water, listening intently.

Willow has left the a walnut wooden swing with a steel chain.

Willow has joined the Wooden Bridge.

Arcadia moves and sits with Mikani. She smiles curiously at Ember as she settles to listen to the story. This is the type of learning she likes.Stories around the fire.

Mikani has joined the Wooden Bridge.

Arcadia has joined the Wooden Bridge.

Thea stretches her long legs, drink in hand. She listens, the story catching her interest.



Ember gives Mikani a look that involves the corners of her mouth gently moving a tiny bit, in what might in some circles be considered something approximating a 'smile' (as the young people know it). Mika receives a nod, and Arcadia as well, but then Ember's eyes drift back to the story being told.

Ember has joined the Wooden Bridge.



When Maru draws his portion of the story to a close, Vano straightens up, the bells clinging to his hip and side jingling lightly with his movement. He gives Maru's finish a few moments of dramatic pause before he addresses the assembled in a deep voice and upturned hands, "It was the Third Choice where the Pact was born. The Lord of Chains had crept out of his lair, and those who were gathered where he crawled out felt the chains shifting within their minds. The Children of the Gods fell, but the Children of the First Choice had their father's freedom in their nature and so they fought back. As the chains grew tighter, and choice after choice was denied them, still they chose to fight. But their struggles to choose despite the chains lent the First Choice the strength to rise once again, renewed. He came as the Great Liberator and broke the chains on his children, freeing them to fight at his side." He trails off for a moment, maybe to make sure he hasn't lost anyone, or maybe just to get his breath.

As the story starts Sophie's attention moves to the the storytellers. She's intently watching them, giving a brief smile to Tescelina as she aproaches, and she squeezes Zara's waist in the last of the sideways hug, before removing her arm and once again clasping the lantern in front of her. Sophie follows the story with a furrowed brow.

Eshra stands where she had stepped back out of the light, her hand slipping into Maru's. As Vano continues she doesn't watch the tall shaman, instead her dark eyes move from face to face of those listening.

Acantha had found a seat and she was watching the Rivenshari lord as Benny crawled into her lap and watched with her. She looks completely invested in the story and learning about things.

Dandy, the red fox arrives, delivering a message to Arcadia before departing.

Willow gets a box of twelve Chocolate Truffles from a draped, off the shoulder cloak of antique white to moss green silk with lapis lining.

Mikani takes a mysterious oyster shell from Black Leather Holster Hip Bag with Crimson Accents.

Maru's fingers lace through Eshra's and he listens. The deep shadows make his face look even more severe than usual. So even though there's a smile on it, he looks a bit grim.



With that pause savored, Vano continues, "The Great Liberator knew that he could not kill his twin, for they shared a heart; if he were to kill the Lord of Chains, so too would he die, and choice would be gone from the world. But he could take part of his half of the heart, and give it to his children. If he did, he would be weakened, no longer able to break chains without cost. To free people from the Path of Chains if they stepped onto it. And if his brother were to rise again, he would be too weak to oppose him. But if he did not give his heart, his brother would soon wake and begin to enchain the world again." He pauses there for a moment to rub his hands together and cast his gaze around at the faces turned his way, before continuing, "And so the Great Liberator made the Third Choice, and he took his heart and gave it to those who lived where his brother had emerged, placing a bit inside each of them. And he told them, "Those pieces of my heart will grow inside you, and all those who come from you. And if you remain here, my brother will be trapped in sleep. But I cannot demand it of you, you must be free to choose for yourself." And the ones who'd taken his heart agreed to stay, to keep the Lord of Chains slumbering.

"And then he turned to the others who had fought at his side, and said that they could strengthen those bits of the heart if they chose the path of freedom. If they always held choice in their own heart, then his heart would be strengthened. And though they were from many different lands, those who had fought beside him declared themselves kin now, and made a Pact of the Unchained to embody freedom in all things. They would choose to be different clans, who might still each honor and remember what they were before the Pact, but they would be one people under the Pact." Again, here Vano pauses again, this time to bend down and scoop up his mug. Storyteller needs a drink, yes, he does.

Mikani takes Count Claudio's Cupcake Craze from a mysterious oyster shell.

Mikani puts a mysterious oyster shell in Black Leather Holster Hip Bag with Crimson Accents.

As Vano's part of the story unfolds, Eshra's gaze stops sweeping those listening, instead those dark glittering eyes settle on the benches and the Duke that sits there, watching him as the story is unfolded.

Arcadia has left the Wooden Bridge.

Athaur lifts his glass into the air as the story is finished reciting before taking a drink from it. He drains the rum in one go before he stands and sets his guitar to one side.

Cristoph is listening attentively at his seat, taking the occasional bite of his food and looking very interested as the story unfolds.

In rapt silence, Willow listens to the story, the flickering flames occasionally penetrating the heavy gloaming of firelit night to catch the gold dusted across her skin and make her glitter like a gilded figurine.

Thumping his chest once and stifling a belch Vano finally continues, "There were some there who would not agree to follow the Pact; they felt even making that much of a promise was too restricting of choice. They said their only law would be that there were no laws, for even laws could be a form of chains. And they turned their back on the others, and went out into the mountains at the edge of the world. But those who made the Pact became the Ravashari, the Unchained. And they wandered the world, never allowing themselves to be bound in one place for long; they might choose to remain for a time, but only so long as they were free to choose to leave again as well. And so long as they lived by the Pact, they knew that the Lord of Chains would be held in slumber."



Here, Vano pauses for a moment and glances over at Maru and Eshra, waiting for both of them to rejoin him on what was clearly planned as a last bit, "Three Choices have been made in the dream; the Ravashari live to see that there never needs to be a Fourth."

Acantha listens and she takes Benny's paw when he offers one for her to look at, but he's just being an attention mooch. The Baroness then looks back up to where Vano speaks and there's a mental note made on the story. It was definitely something she'd not heard before.

Once the story is over, Eshra again stands forward to raise her hands and smile. "So I promised a game while we listened to those that which to entertain." brows lifting a little. "First I would like to introduce you to someone.. this is Amelia." she waves to an tall darkhaired woman in her mid 50's standing over by the kitchen. "Amelia is in charge of the kitchens and making sure that all of the clan is fed. She also happens to make the most wonderful dark ginger cookies. Which she makes almost daily and no one is allowed until the evening fire, which is when they are passed out. Except for tonight." Eshra looks back. "See, every one knows that a table of cookies is not something any child can resist. Rivenshari children are no different. So it started as a game, a test.. can you manage to get a cookie, sometime during the day without getting caught?" there Eshra grins. "I can tell you, that many of us have had hands and other parts of our body smacked with trying. And everyone comes up with their own methods. So tonight we invite you to try. Don't expect her to be easy on you, just because you might be titled. But if you can manage.. well, I promise you, the cookies are worth the effort."

Thea lifts her eyebrow, a bit curious. She eyes Amelia over her drink as she takes a sip, thoughtful.

Arcadia for the first time in days perks at the idea of food. Dark ginger cookies. Yum! She immediately begins to plot ways to get to the cookies.

As the story finishes, Zara lifts her glass to the storytellers -- and to the Rivenshari -- from her seat by the fire. She doesn't seem to be leaping up to get a cookie, but maybe she's just playing the long con.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist, Deor, a young swordsman, 2 House Crovane Guards arrive, following Rysen.

Tatienne knows this game all too well, she approaches the cook and goes to talking about something to do with household business, acquiring ingredients and the like, and while distracting the woman with that talk, she swipes some cookies.

Athaur laughs softly and nods his head. "Titled or not, she will not allow you to escape. Even I am not spared her wrath."

When the story comes to its conclusions, Cristoph roundly claps his hands in appreciation of all the work put into it. "Very lovely!"

Tescelina sits quietly from her bench at the southern firepit. There is a respect nod to the conclusion of the tale and then, focus shifting as the game presents itself. She looks thoughtful.

Acantha applauds quietly for the storytellers and Benny thumps his tail in approval as the Baroness gives a smile. Then she hears the talk of cookies and how it's a game to get one. She makes a soft hmm sound and gives Benny a look before looking into her map case for something.

Applauding for the story, Willow tries to hook Arcadia with an arm suggesting, "We should go stand a little nearer the fire before you wind up with a chill..." She's totally not looking at the cookie lady out the corner of her eye. Nope. Whistle whistle.

Pharamond listens to the game and he chuckles, a bit. "Who doesn't like cookies," he offers, though he raises his glass as well to the storytellers, stomping his feet politely as he has a drink in one hand then and he looks up, then over to Amelia, already eyeballing what may be the most charming or possible way to win one.

Acantha gets researcher kit with quill, ink and notebook from Waterproof Leatherbound Map Case.

Mikani laughs as she follows Willow and Arcadia. She wipes her feet off before slipping her boots back on. The Rivenshari weren't the only ones that had to steal cookies as children. They hadn't seen a Thrall charmed into it by her friend to get food.

Vano chuckles softly as Eshra describes the game and sidesteps a little to eye the crowd. He takes a moment to take a long drink from his mug while making his way over to a seat, the tall Lord kneeling down to watch the potential comedy begin. Seems like he's going to wait for a bit and see how good people are in getting their cookies.

Arcadia doesn't take long to work out how to get that cookie. She begins to slip between the crowds, slipping further into the background until she finds a tree. Immediately scurrying up the tree, she travels along a branch until she's over the top of the pile of cookies. A hand sloooooowly sneaks out of the branches and stretches down until a cookie is grasped into those outstretched fingers. Being victorious, she jumps down from the branch, cookie held high with a laughing Ha!.

Rysen drifts into the expanse with Deor and Lygeia by his side. He makes his way toward the fire, and hearing the applause, he frowns slightly with disappointment, as he comes to the understanding that he's just missed an amusing story.

Mikani grins as she sees Rysen and softly pulls him over to stand by her. She whispers into his ear as she softly presses herself into his side.

Rather than try to steal cookies--he's never had to, Amelia just gives them to him--Maru opts to wander off for a moment to fetch a drink for him and another for Eshra. He has an amused look on his face as he weaves through those gathered, returning to his wife's side with a couple of mugs full to the top.



Ember follows the crowd. She raises one eyebrow very gently. The look on her face is stoic and studious, like she's gazing at a battlefield objective rather than a table with cookies on it. The Bloody Baroness's plan to sneak a cookie is hatched, and she approaches as part of the group, intent on executing it skillfully and dextrously... and right as her hand is about to make that swipe, she has to pull it back to avoid accidentally slapping the head of a child that runs directly between her and the table. So much for the cookie.

Willow wouldn't use Arcadia. She so wouldn't. But then, once Arcadia is on the ground again, she is rummaging through to try and find the ginger drops she'd seen the Countess use earlier, and gesticulating at her scarf before holding her throat, words coming in a murmured rush just quiet enough for it to require leaning in. The look from the woman when she eats one suggests maybe Willow got thw cookies under the promise they were for someone else.

Athaur laughs softly and takes his seat again. He leans back, picking up his guitar and strumming away as he watches the attempted cookie theft.

Sophie is fairly well known for her sweet tooth, and when the mention of cookies is made Sophie rises rather intently and makes her way toward the table with the cookies. It's not the cook herself she approaches though, it's one of the Rivenshari children running around. She smiles luminously and squats in front of the little girl, whispering to her as she waves her closer. Sophie tilts her head, dipping closer to whisper something in the child's ear. What she says exactly, can't be heard, but when the little girl pulls away she smiles brightly and rushes off. Sophie herself rises, and makes her way back to the seat the fire, slipping into it without the cookie. She smiles sweetly and waits... and sure enough the little girl comes running up to her, passing her a cookie." Sophie smiles at the little girl, then ruffles her hair, murmuring, "That was amazing... I was hoping you could show me how you did it. I'll have to remember that for next time. Thank you." Ah hah! Sophie has a cookie!

Acantha gives a little whisper to Benny and then they stand, the Baroness straightening her dress before she gives a smile to Vano, "I'll be back." she tells him. Then there's a whisper to him before she heads off in the direction of Amelia with a bow of her head to her, there is a niggling thought in the back of her mind that the woman might just hit her for fun, but after a brief exchange of soft words and something handed over (there was no silver or money exchanged!) the Baroness then scoops Benny up and there's some words exchanged about him. Then she settles him down. Once the cookie is in hand she breaks a piece off for Benny and then heads back to where Vano is and breaks him off a piece as well and offers it to him quietly.

Rysen laughs softly when Mikani speaks to him. "I wish you the best of luck," he says warmly. "The bells suit you," he adds, gazing at the brass bells in Mikani's brown hair.

Arcadia immediately takes a bite of her cookie.Oh heaven! This is better than described. Cady gobbles it all up without any thought of sharing or savoring it longer. Once it's gone, she eyes the pile of cookies again. Wondering if she's able to sneak a dozen or so more home tonight.

Eshra leans against a tree, the cookies that Maru had handed his pregnant wife a while ago now being nibbled on as she watches the plots hatch and the mayhem break out as cookies are stolen left and right! Amelia shoots the woman a look as she attemps to guard her quickly dwindling pile of cookies.

Pharamond takes a strand of brass hair bells from Rivenshari Party Favors Chest.

Thea watches the people sneak cookies and Amelia. That poor woman. She thinks. Rather than sneak a cookies, Thea wonders if she should sneak the woman a dagger....Hmmmm.

Calandra straightens up from her intrigued little lean when the story concludes, joining the applause with a light clap of her own. "A riveting tale." She compliments in appreciation for the well spun story until they're all presented with a game. Oh, now this is a fun one! With a gentle nod she stands from the small group around the fire. "Excuse me a moment. I believe our snacks need refreshing."



She leaves her drink behind and takes the plate she'd originally brought, though instead of going straight for the kitchen she sidetracks to chat with a young Rivenshari man. A few quiet words and secretive smiles later and he's off with the plate, returning not long after with both a filled plate and a few cookies in hand. She's kind enough to leave him with one, but the rest are carried victoriously back to the bonfire, the Whisper's head held proudly at her spoils.

Arcadia absolutely cringes as Rysen practically shouts and then hugs her. She hugs him back with a little pat pat. She rolls her eyes amusedly at Willow.



Ember is empty-handed, but the way she folds her hands behind her back as she walks, it's not as obvious as it could be. She approaches Mikani, Rysen, and the rest, to greet Mikani's betrothed: "Lord Rysen. A pleasure to see you tonight." Ember's posture is so military-perfect that the bells in her hair rarely even jingle except for when she's walking.

Mikani uses the people doing frontal 'assault' for cookies as a diversion to use her fingers to quickly grab two cookies. Her fingers were trained for small movements and she uses her weapon skills with a dagger to twirl the cookies behind her and she backs away from the table to head back to the group. Grinning as she shows Rysen a ginger cookie and gives it to him. Her dark eyes look over at Ember. "Reminds me of when you convinced me that I had to take those cookies from the cook because they would make you feel better from your spring cold ...." Mikani winks at Ember before munching on her own cookie.

Athaur is overheard praising Eshra: Great party, best voice

Maru is overheard praising Eshra.

Vano chuckles softly as Acantha heads off in questing for her own cookie, sitting back to relax and enjoy the show of folks conspiring and plotting for their treats. Taking another drink from his much while he waits, he scrunches his nose in a little sympathy for the cook getting practically bum rushed for cookies, while murmuring in Eshra's direction, "Well, I suppose this isn't TOO far from how it felt at home, yes?"

Pharamond smiles, "Excuse me a moment," he says a smile on his features as he hops up and he makes his way over to a group of kids playing. One can hear him asking who's the fastest, or sneakiest, or most clever. Of course each one of them must agree that they are to all three, and so he picks three of the children and hands them each five silver. Taking a stick, and tracing a bit as he also lays out some rocks, Pharamond sets into a bit of explanation about Operation 'Go Get Some' and the need for cookies to be had by the kindly older House Sword. And so they discuss tactics, and Pharamond gives an important lesson in strength in numbers. After all, there is only one stick for hand slapping and they have...six hands!



And so the kids run off, the payment in advance for their noble sacrifice as they assault 'cookie mountain' for the betterment of Pharaomnd's stomach. It's a rough challenge, and one shoudl learn likely never to underestimate Amelia's cat-like reflexes. And yet, a bag of cookies is brought to Pharamond, and payment is made for their services, as the winner gets 10 more silver. He grins to them all and thanks them, a gentle bow given to each willing victi--er, participant in his plot, and he returns once more to the fire pits.



"I believe that was Marina," Ember replies to Mikani off-handedly. "I made you take the cookies that were utterly necessary to feed my stuffed bears at their picnic." The corners of her mouth turn up a bit, but only gently.

Mikani is overheard praising Eshra: Amazing event. Great story and amazing game.

Pharamond is overheard praising Eshra: C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me.

Eshra chuckles at Vano, leaning in as she nods towards Amelia and the table of treats. "She has started making a whole extra batch during the day just for sneak theives." confids with a chuckle.

Rysen is beaming at Arcadia, as he steps back from her. When Ember greets him, Rysen inclines his head respectfully. "The pleasure is mine, Baroness." He chuckles softly to hear Mikani's recollection of bygone days, and takes a bit of the cookie she'd offered him. Lygeia returns to Rysen's side with some whiskey, which he gratefully accepts.

Sophie is overheard praising Eshra.

Sophie is overheard praising Celeste.

Sophie is overheard praising Bliss.

Arcadia wastes no time and reaches for Rysen's cookie. She /needs/ it. She then beams at Deor, hoping he may be encouraged to get her another bag of those cookies.

Sophie is overheard praising Isabeau.

Sophie is overheard praising Ansel.

Sophie is overheard praising Alis.

Sophie is overheard praising Thena.

Sophie is overheard praising Bhandn.

Willow grins over as she listens to Eshra, distracted for a moment from the troop movement of the cookie commander Pharamond. She chuckles to herself at the exchange between Rysen and Arcadia. And shows no hint of remorse as she finishes her cookie.

Sophie is overheard praising Faye.

Sophie is overheard praising Estelle.

After a moment, Cristoph steps away and spends some time negotiating a cookie out of someone. Once he gets it, the duke makes a very slooow and steady retreat to the exit. It's very smooth. No one will ever notice!

Cristoph has left the South-side firepit benchs.

Vano grins at Acantha when she retakes her seat, accepting a bit of a cookie from her with an amused look on his face. Keeping his voice down, he offers, "The best kind of stolen cookie is one you got someone else to get for you. Then when you get accused of taking one, you can honestly say it wasn't you." He nods with a sagelike manner at her and reaches out to give Benny a scritch while he nibbles on the cookie bit.

Maru takes a drink from his mug and leans in to give Eshra a kiss on the cheek before stepping away from where they've been standing toward Mikani and the group gathered around her. "Mika! You made it out," he says with a grin. He looks down at the bag of cookies in her hand and then back up. "And I see you got yourself some cookies." Glancing then toward Rysen he dips his head. "Lord Rysen, it's good to see you," he says before turning toward Ember. "My Lady, I don't believe we've met before. I'm Lord Maru Rivenshari."

The drums start again, children who have been taken battle tactics to a whole other level since Pharamond recruited them are now trying out various battle plans, that finally gets Amelia to grab her broom and start swatting at the little cookie army. Dancers return to the sand around the fire, Eshra amoung them.. bare feet stamping to the beat as they swirl and turn.

Rysen grudgingly parts with his cookie when Arcadia reaches for it, and Deor moves over to the cook with Sampson, one of the new Crovane guards that Fianna has inflicted on her cousin. "'Scuse me, goodwoman," begins Sampson with his thick Northlands accent, carrying on a bit, asking about the details of baking such wonderful cookies. Deor deftly grabs a few cookies when the cook is engaged enough with Sampson and hands them to Arcadia with a wink.



When Maru comes by, Rysen raises his glass in toast. "It's an honor to be here, Lord Maru," he says warmly. "As much as I love the cookies," he says with a grin, "I can't help but miss those sausages you favor for breakfast."

Mikani grins at Maru. "Just like when I was a child." She motions to her half eaten cookie. She motions to Ember. "Baroness Ember Redreef ... this is my very good friend Lord Maru Rivenshari. One of the better drinking partners you will find around town." Mika moves and hugs Maru and kisses both his cheeks in a friendly greeting.

When Maru approaches, Willow departs, spying the barefoot dancing of Eshra. Her own feet still bare, now high on both sugar and haze, she offers Eshra an arm to allow them both to twirl before trying to mimick Eshra's dance.

Arcadia smiles to Maru as he joins their group. "Good evening Lord Maru." She continues to pilfer cookies as she can.

Sophie has been far too busy eating cookies to notice those around her for the past several minutes, so when she rises and makes her way toward Eshra she's still licking the stickiness from her fingers. She smiles warmly at Eshra, and nods her head politely as she approaches. "What a delightful evening. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us."



Ember faces Maru and gives him as formally precise a curtsy as one can possibly give when one hand is holding a cookie. Where did she get that? Must have been handed off by some luckier soul. "Lady Mikani speaks the truth," she says, "in that I am indeed Baroness Ember Redreef. Which bodes well for her speaking the truth about the latter part as well." She breaks a piece of the cookie with her hands to eat it bit by bit. "You and your family told your tale in the most marvelous fashion, Lord Maru. Once it got going you could barely hear even the faintest twinkle of a bell jingling -- high compliments from your crowd, I should say." Ember has a faintly upbeat tone to her voice, but otherwise comes off as... well. Not exactly the partying sort. Despite being right here, at a party.

Eshra spins with Willow, dragging the woman into the dance with the rest of the Rivenshari.. it doesnt' seem to matter skill, children to elderly are in the sands, if they want to dance, then the music will play. After a moment though Eshra laughing steps back out of the circle, her hand on her pregnant belly as she breaths hard and turns as Sophie draws near. Dark eyes flashing with laughter, nods wild curls tumbling around her. "You are very welcome. Thank you for coming. We were not actually sure how many would."

Tatienne inclines her head to Maru as she approaches, the commoner seeming to be in a decent mood. "I never tire of that story." She glances towards the others.

Once her thanks has been given Sophie slips quietly to the exit and slips out. It seems the Mother Mercy has been away from her charges for far too long, and she must get back to the House of Solace.

Sophie has left the South-side firepit benchs.

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.

Mikani grins and smiles at Tatienne. "I can see why. I would love to hear that story again. It is a very good one." Mika nods softly and smiles as she watches Willow dance again. She whispers to Rysen again.

Pharamond checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 18 higher.

Calandra checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 45 higher.

Rysen's grey eyes follow Willow as she moves off to dance with Eshra. Though he smiles to hear the manner in which Ember praises the Rivershari storytelling. When Mikani speaks to him, his smile broadens and he says, "Very much," and holds out a hand to her while taking a step towards the Rivershari dancers.

Eshra checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 16 higher.

Maru's eyes light up when Mikani introduces Ember. "Ah, Baroness Redreef," he says with a smile. "A pleasure to meet you, and thank you. I quite raptly listened the first time I heard it, too." He glances toward the cookie in her hand and then the bag in Mikani's hand and he smiles. A moment later his eyes are drawn toward the fire wher his wife is dancing up a storm. "Please, do, enjoy yourselves. I think I'm going to go have a seat and watch the dancing." Then he steps off, passing close to Ember as he heads back to the fire.

Pharamond bows to those at the firepit as well, "Thank you for the company," he says as he leads Whisper Calandra out towards the sands. It seems like it is time to get some dancing in. Pharamond pauses a moment, eyeing the rhythm and steps that the Rivenshari seem to take. He's not familiar with their style but seems to mmanage well enough, falling into rhythm and picking up some of the more authentic steps as it were, doing his best to keep in the style of the hosts and managing not to fail, and being a perfect implement to show off Calandra's own skill as they whirl each other about in time with the rhythm of the drum beats.

Thea finishes her drink and with a slight smile, silently sneaks out to the exit.

Thea has left the North-side firepit benchs.

Finn the youthful northern boy, with icy blue eyes leaves, following Thea.

"Count Athaur is one of my favorite people," Willow tells Eshra, coming to a stop around the time her dance partner does. "I am moved by the warmth and courage involved in opening rather than closing your home to outsiders in the light of what happened with Syd. It speaks an enormous credit to the character of your people. And it was an honor to be allowed to count myself among them this night, my Lady." She offers Athaur a friendly smile before weaving her way back toward the cluster of friends she was with just in time to keep Arcadia company when Rysen and Mikani depart to dance it seems.

Arcadia yawns into her hand briefly. It seems the activities of the evening has caught up with her. She gives Mika and Rysen a passing wave. "Thanks for being my date tonight Lady Mikani." She then saunters over to Willow, grabbing the bag of ginger drops off her. Murmuring to her before she departs, she warns Willow "You owe me a cookie for that." And then she heads towards the door, after thanking the hosts of course.

Athaur smiles at Willow, offering her a bow. "You are far to kind, Lady Willow. We are more then happy to welcome you tonight."

When several of the others, including Eshra, join in with the dancing...Vano cheers Eshra on and slowly rises back to his feet, listening to the introductions going around, then offers Acantha a hand and lowers his voice, "I think the rest of the evening is going to slowly melt into dancing and food and lots of laughing and drinking, if you would like to dance and wont hold it against me if the occassional toes are stepped on?"

Acantha looks as everyone moves off to dance and then there's a look given to Vano, "I'll have to remember that the next time I aim to steal cookies." she tells him with a smile. Then she offers something quietly to him.

Rysen checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 15 higher.



Ember finds herself entrusted with a mysterious bag as Maru passes. One eyebrow askance, she opens it, peers inside, and then looks around. "Were there not some children here, just now?" She glances to Rysen, Mikani, Willow, & co. "Where are some children? I have far too many cookies for an adult to responsibly eat, now. At least children can get away with it..."

"I would love to dance and I suspect that if you step on my toes that it will be something easily healed." Acantha adds to the man as she reaches out to take his offered hand easily with a smile up to him. Benny keeps himself seated on the trunk and watches the festivities.

Mikani checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 33 higher.

Arcadia looks longingly at Ember's cookies, 'I can take them, if you don't want them. I know a child who may love them."

All Willow can do is smile at the exchange between Arcadia and Ember.



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