House Thrax Family Dinner III
*Properly hosted in the dining room this time!
July 28, 2019, 6 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Thrax Estate - Dining Room
Comments and Log
Vega has joined the Dinner Table.
Flavien has joined the Dinner Table.
4 Redoubt Buccaneers have been dismissed.
Luna, the sweet, studious assistant have been dismissed.
Raimon has joined the Dinner Table.
Carys, a slight woman with ink-stained fingers, 3 Thrax Guards arrive, following Caith.
Tonight the Thrax Estate is as usual, quite grim. Although the regularity of these dinners has made the guards a little less tense. Nonetheless, family and guests alike are treated to the cold stare of the reavers on duty as they enter the home. The dining room is host to a magnanimous platter of seafood. Smoking fish and shrimp are fresh from the kitchen, leaving a thin trail of steam as the plates are set about. Lanterns are hung just above the table to give it a warm, if foreboding glow. None of it compares to the center of it all, where a slain monster stares toward the entrance. An angler fish, at least triple the size of its other kin was laid out mostly intact. Full rows of teeth on display as its jaws were kept open. Carving knives dot the area all around it for anyone wanting a taste of something... different.
Prince Victus is in his place at the head of the table. Directing traffic while servants set out various bottles of Maelstrom Rum, Grimhall Mead, Kennex Vodka, Lyceum Wine and water.
Ian comes in with Aethan. He is, for once, engrossed enough in what his brother is saying that he's not paying the usual kind of attention to his own footsteps. "Driving them onto the rocks once the wind picked up was quick thinking. How did you signal for another captain to be the other part of that pincer maneuver, anyway?"
Victus has joined the Dinner Table.
It's okay to be a smidge late, right? Right! Caith comes strolling into the dining room on light, bouncy steps and armed with her widest grin. She is sans corgi today -- she was probably afraid that Lilybelle would kick Stumphrey's ass and that fear is VALID.
She allows a servant to pull out her chair and she gets herself settled, petting her hands over the skirts of her gown in order to ward off any wrinkle that might think of taking hold. Turning to another attendant, she puts in a quiet order for some wine -- 'oh, a nice red would be delightful, thank you!' -- before looking to her grim-face family members. The perky blonde gives Victus a respectful nod and then wiggles fingers at Alarissa -- are we sure that Caith is a Thrax? She is just way too .. smiley.
Caith has joined the Dinner Table.
Catalana steps in behind the Kennex brothers, arm in arm with Wash. She laughs as Wash whispers something in her ear, before nodding in agreance. Regardless of the grim atmosphere, she gives a warm smile to Victus as she comes in. "Your Highness. This all looks wonderful. Thank you for hosting." Then she is swiftly led to a seat beside Wash.
These dinners are becoming regular, but it has not changed Jasher's patiently resigned demeanour any as he sits around the table at an angle just so to face the door. He's giving the anglerfish a long regard, as if considering whether to eat it or not, and he offers the people who arrive a polite nod, but little else.
We almost didn't need to do any driving," Aethan admits to his brother as they come further into the hall. "That wind was a lucky break." The question, though, has a little smile touching his face as he replies, "Flags, but it was a lucky thing we'd practiced something similar beforehand with the Redrain captain. He saw what he needed to do right away." He quiets then, though, inclining his head first to Victus, and then to the rest of those at the table as he takes a seat.
2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan arrive, following Sanya.
The Laurent had made his way inside without much fanfare. He kept to the sides, quiet, but when it came time to seat, he didn't seem to hesitate when settling down. He, too, seemed to be considering the anglerfish - though perhaps as one who might be considering an opponent to overcome. He leans just a bit towards Jasher and murmured something.
Ian takes a cue from Aethan and turns his attention to their hosts long enough to incline his upper body over his cane in a respectful bow-ish thing (it's not quite a bow, but the intent is clearly there), before his attention returns to his older brother, following him to the table. "The way the sea would have been running, you would have had to at least cut off their ability to slip past them. Rumor is that Johnson brought his bagpipes again. That's the only thing I don't regret missing."
Alarissa has left the Dinner Table.
Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid have been dismissed.
Pellinor have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat have been dismissed.
Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound have been dismissed.
2 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
Entering the dining room, unaccompanied, Sanya Grimhall dips into a curtsy to greet the High Lord. "Your Grace. Your highness." She smiles warmly at the couple. Inclining her head to the Kennexes, she seats herself at the table, beside Jasher and Flavien. "So you eventually made your way home, your highness?" Her tone is teasing. "Lady Sanya Grimhall, well met." She offers the Laurent.
"Lady Sanya," Jasher offers by way of greeting. He eventually readies his utensils to examine the anglerfish, and reaches to carve himself a section. "It seems you have found your way home, as well,"
Alarissa is in her usual spot, to the right and seat closest to Victus. Her own mood seeming to fall under reserved and pointedly avoiding looking at the monstrosity at the center of the table as she pushes around what little food is on hwr plate. A lift of her hand for Caith in hello.
Vega arrives with Raimon, the newborn prince left sleeping peacefully (for the moment) while his parents enjoy a nice dinner with the family. Keeping her hands resting lightly on Raimon's arm, she offers a careful curtsy to both Victus and Alarissa before letting husband lead them to their seats. Once she's settled, she glances around the table at the spread, pausing perhaps a moment or two longer on the angler fish. Staring into a hazed eyeball, then staring at the sharp teeth. Leaning in, Jasher is given a brief swipe of a kiss to his cheek and a smiel of greeting from his siter before she straightens to address Victus directly. "Your Grace.. the joint venture with Ashford was a success. We have begun a rotating crop of the gourds furnished by Lady Olivia. The crops have become quite popular amongst the newly freed and knee-bent." Delivering her report succinctly before turning to start building a plate for herself.
"Lord Flavien Laurent," he says with a dip of his head to Sanya. He reaches forward as Jasher does, gesturing to Sanya - now his dinner BFF. "Would you like me to cut you a slice?"
Sanya has joined the Dinner Table.
Raimon marches into the dining room, escorting Vega on his arm. He offers a bow of greeting to Victus and Alarissa before seeing his wife to her seat. He pulls out the chair for her, leaning down to mutter something into her ear before gently pushing the chair in for her. Once he has seen her seated, he takes the chair next to her, nodding to a server for a glass of wine.
Raimon mutters, "... think ... ... eager to try some of ... creature"
Seryna, a charming Lycene handmaiden, 6 Grimhall House Guards arrive, following Vanora.
5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor, Vanora arrive, following Valdemar.
"Eventually. I figured my kin would start to wonder." Sanya chuckles lightly, before turning to Flavien. "Oh that's kind of you to offer. Thank you, my lord." She does not seem perturbed by the sight of the creature on the table.
"He did," Aethan confirms, his mouth twisting a little wryly at the mention of the bagpipes. He settles into his chair, though, and turns his gaze toward the rest of those entering the room, each getting a nod of greeting in turn. His attention then turns to the display in the middle of the table, but his expression doesn't change enough to reveal what he thinks about it.
With the food set out, liquor served and servants fading into the background, Victus finally settles down. The Highlord was fresh from his journey to Helianthus. The scent of saltwater hangs around him. "Welcome. Family, friends, guests. Make yourselves comfortable." The words are delivered authoritatively despite their contents being light. Victus dips his chin for those who enter one by one. Caith and her bubbly exterior, the many Kennex brothers and Catalana, Jasher and his stoicism, the Laurent Lord and Sanya. Vega's arrival with Raimon is the first to draw his attention entirely, as he gazes to Vega. Her words manage to bring just a little bit of warmth to his cold expression. "Excellent. Exactly what I needed to hear today, in fact. Congratulations on your success, the House will owe you for your service if this lightens the burden on our people. Please, try a piece of the monster." Victus points toward the deceased angler fish with a freshly used dinner knife. "We caught that about thirty leagues from Stormward. Luckily, I don't think it had any Kennex in its teeth at the time."
Ian snorts at something Catalana says, as he takes a seat. He doesn't hesitate to eat from the more edible parts of the centerpiece. "Naturally," he says to Victus in a dry tone. "I only punch sharks."
The Duke and Duchess Grimhall are escorted into the dining room and Vanora speaks first, "Good evening to all of you, I do sincerely apologize for the tardiness." With this she approaches Victus and dips a properly respectful curtsy, seasilk skirts sweeping with the gesture. Versions are offered to the other royalty in company, Prince Raimon and Princess Vega, Prince Jasher and Princess Caith. There is another deeper curtsy for the Princess Consort, and after that Vanora is more than ready to be led to her seat, taking it when Valdemar holds it out for her. She smiles at Sanya brightly, and seeks out a glass of wine.
Catalana then slants her gaze over to the Laurent lord. A flash of hope in her eyes before she settles on some shellfish instead.
Jasher has cut a sizeable portion of the angler's tail out. He sets the meat on the plate and studies it for a moment before bringing his utensils to bear, carving slices to lift on a fork to eat.
Flavien moves to put some anglerfish on plates for Sanya and himself. He dipped his head towards her before letting his silence pick back up and settle in on listening in to the triumphs around the reavers. The Laurent lord is content to take his small cuts to slowly digest with a different sort of thoughtful expression.
Hello, hello, hello. Nod, nod, nod. Caith, after nodding to Victus and waving to Alarissa, looks from face to face to face and offers salutations. Her attention, though, eventually falls upon the grotesquerie that is the centerpiece of the food buffet. "Well, what an interesting creature," she says to none one in particular. The young woman reaches forward, perhaps to flick at the angler part of the fish, but restrains herself at the last moment. "It never fails to amazing me the things that live in the deep."
Ah-ha! Her wine arrives! She thanks the servant and then takes a sip -- wait, were they going to toast first? She quickly looks around and then slllllyly places her glass back down. No one saw nothing.
Washwill excuse himself to try the beast. He slices some of the tail for himself and Catalana (if she'll share it with him), and then after some thoughtfulness, pries loose one of the great fish's eyes.
With his wife on his arm, Valdemar enters the dining room with a stony expression on his face as she makes apologies for their lateness, the sort many might believe to be part of the Grimhall inheritance. Bowing to the High Lord as he approaches the table, he then pulls out a chair for Vanora before easing into the one beside her. "Good evening everyone," he greets once he has settled, looking around at everyone else present rather than choosing a drink right away.
"That is incredibly impressive." Vanora comments. "An...anglerfish you said it was? I've heard of them but don't recall then looking quite like that." Nothing like the real thing in person hmm? She notices Catalana locating shellfish and attempts to do the same, though only a tiny serving of something simple. "Are they very difficult to catch?"
Seeing her cousins arrive, Sanya's visage brightens, a finger is waggled in greeting. Ian's words bring forth a wry smile. "Plenty of underwater beasts to fight, I'm sure you'll have the opportunity." She inclines her head in thanks as the fish is piled on her plate. "Thank you." She begins to cut a piece.
"Tender," was Jasher's verdict of the fish he's eaten, reaching to take a glass of rum to clear his palate. "I can see this becoming a delicacy."
Ian is drinking wine tonight, probably in deference to the heat. "Hopefully not until the scars from last time have a chance to fade," he remarks to Sanya.
"Duke Valdemar and Duchess Vanora. Pleased that you could join us." Victus inclines his head for both bow and curtsey, a very thin smirk playing at his lips. Hardly there, but noticeable if one took the time to stare awkwardly for longer than was needed. Caith's juggling of her wine glass also earns a look from the corner of his eye. He clears his throat. "Supposedly they're meant to be smaller than this. But when I saw the thing itself rolling into the harbor, I knew there'd be no better place for it than here. Where /everything/ is equally as horrifying." Rather than go for the beast himself, he's sticking to a plate of scallops. Prodding with a fork in one hand and a goblet of wine in the other. "Just be mindful of the jaws. I'm not sure we secured them properly." Joke? Probably. Hopefully. Vanora's comment draws his attention next. "I'm told that the fisherman who caught this is now down a ring finger."
Raimon rises from his chair and marches his way over towards the great fish. He scowls up at the creature for a moment, before grabbing a carving knife from nearby. He slices off two pieces of it's belly before returning to his seat, offering one to Vega as he sits.
Nodding towards Victus, she offers, "This will, at the very least, help to feed those as they are re-entering society anew, while we get them settled into new positions and earning wages. As soon as the first crops are ready for harvest we will begin preserving and stockpiling them against future need. It should help to ease the demands for grain and give us time to come up with more innovations for providing for the people." Catching her husband's whisper, she chuckles softly and murmurs something in return, nodding him towards getting them some of the strange fish. She offers a respectful nod towards the Grimhalls as they settle in, then turns to the fish her husband has provided with a soft smile turned towards Raimon. "Thank you."
Aethan does not serve himself from the large fish, but he does take some of the other seafood on the platter, sticking to water for what he's drinking. He takes a sip, looking amongst those gathers from above the rim, but he does not say anything for the moment, content to listen for now.
"Of course, Prince Victus. Spending time with our family and friends in the Mourning Isles is a delight without competition." As she was being addressed, Vanora's pale gaze is settled on Victus when the smirk made its fleeting appearance. If she noticed it at all though, she does not draw any attention. "Oh is that true? Smaller seems...I'm sorry did you say you found it rolling into the harbor? Here or in Stormward?" Not that it matters, and not that giant creepy sea creatures cause many double takes anymore. "Poor fisherman, I hope he did not lose a ring along with it."
Taking a bite of the fish, Sanya seems thoughtful. "I'd say so." She nods at Jasher's words. "The cook did a wonderful job, your grace." She pauses, a curious smile on her lips. "Oh dear. I hope the silver he received made the loss worth it."
Catalana glances at Wash and immediately bites the inside of her cheek. She takes a bite of the fish and just waits.
Jasher continues to eat, occasionally supplementing the plate with other selections on the table. Shrimp with the heads on, scallops, glinting slices of salmon, some vegetables, and a bit of sauce and lemon for zing. And, of course, the rum on the side. He seems content to listen in between bites, occasionally taking hands to the shrimp to peel, eat, and suck out the heads.
"Oh, Lady Catalana. I have not seen you in such a very long time, it is a delight to do so again. You look absolutely radiant." Vanora smiles at the Kennex Lady, her expression soft and warm.
Flavien seemes to take his cue from Jasher first, then Sanya. What they eat, he eats. He remains relatively quiet, eyes now moving from Vanora towards Victus on the question of where to find the catch.
So far, all Valdemar has taken is a glass of mead, though he does look around at the dishes arrayed on the table for a moment. "I am glad that our presence here is able to make you smile, your Grace, if only a little," he responds to Victus after the smirk fades from his face. Taking a sip from his glass as he listens to the story of the fisherman, he then adds, "Hopefully the story he gained was worth the loss of digits. It certainly looks as if it was capable of putting up quite a fight before it was brought in."
Raimon remains quiet, focusing on the plate in front of him. He carefully cuts a piece of the fish off and slips it into his mouth. He chews thoughtfully before he shrugs and continues eating.
Catalana immediately brightens as she notices Vanora. "Duchess. A pleasure to see you too. Have you been well? I'm slowly catching up on all that I missed while away."
Caith has left the Dinner Table.
Carys, a slight woman with ink-stained fingers have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
Vanora smiles as Catalana brightens. "Some great sadnesses and losses, and I hope some signs of great triumphs to come to make them worth the grieving. It must be such a boon to the family to have you home and with them."
Washreturns to his wife's side and slices off just enough of the fish so that Catalana can decide if she likes it or not. Then he eats it with more gusto, saving the delicacy of its eye for last.
Ian picks at his food and listens to the conversation, breaking his silence only to ask Aethan a question in a low tone of voice.
Victus does a bit of a wind-up with his fork as he collects his thoughts. "Fishing vessel found it thirty leagues from Stormward or so. Rolled back here into the harbor of Arx. The Lady Thunderstruck was just drifting in after carrying me to Sungreet. Someone was yelling that they'd caught a sea-monster, a roving pair of sentient teeth. I said 'bullshit', but it was in fact, not bullshit at all. Paid a handful of silver and we brought it back here. Was a nuisance moving cargo from the Lowers into the city with that behemoth lugging the men down. I was afraid it would need to be seen to be really believed." His fork impales a lone piece of shrimp. "I'm hoping its presence doesn't become a regularity, for our sailor's sake. Hopefully they'll come to love Vega's gourd project in time."
Catalana nods a touch more somber at Vanora's words, "So I heard." Taking a sip of her own wine, she then listens to Victus talk.
Turning to Catalana as Vanora addresses her, Sanya smiles warmly, before turning to her cousin. "I had the pleasure of meeting Lady Catalana at the Ebb and Flow a few days past." She turns to the Kennex. "I hope you've been well, my lady."
Whatever Ian asks him has Aethan replying lowly as he reaches for his fork, spearing a scallop and popping it into his mouth once he's said whatever he's saying.
Catalana has left the Dinner Table.
2 Kennex corsairs have been dismissed.
"We shall have to have it's dones fixed and mounted in an alcove in the crass hall with the recreation of the Cetellusc Alarissa offers up.
Directing her conversation towards Sanya in particular but not so softly that anyone can't overhear it, Duchess Vanora says to her cousin, "The final versions of the marriage contract have been approved, so it appears that House Grimhall is on its way to another wedding. With another bride who really isn't very much for the gowns and the spotlight, so we must think of a way to celebrate her quietly. I'm delighted truly, though I wish Harald were here to see it." She lifts her glass for another drink.
Catalana smiles to Sanya brightly, 'We did. It's so nice to be so warmly welcomed back." Leaning over, she takes another bit of the fish's tail and agrees with Wash, "It is a little like lobster."
Wash balances the fish's eye on the back of his fork and stares it down.
Jasher makes to peel another shrimp, leaving the head on. He raises it, pauses, then offers it towards Flavien. If refused, he'll just eat it, with the visceral head-sucking included, and either way, begin layering a bit of sauce on filets of raw seal meat.
Ian is briefly distracted from his conversation with Aethan by Harald's name being spoken. There is, just for a moment, an odd, slight wavering in his expression. Then it returns to its usual flat calm, and when he asks Aethan another question, that calm is once again tinged with the same understated eagerness as before. At his core, after all, Ian is still a kid who looks up to his older brother.
Flavien does take this shrimp head. He'd seen the thing before, of course, but he still had to eye it. Then he's putting it to his lips to slurp out all that goodness.
Engaged in soft conversation with the duchess as she eats, Sanya smiles at the words. "Anything to make her more comfortable. Although I'll admit to some disappointment it won't be a grand affair." She takes a drink from her glass, glancing around the room. "I miss him too." She adds, perhaps in response to noticing Ian's brief expression.
Vanora reaches to squeeze Sanya's hand softly, then returns it to her lap. "We all do. He is in our thoughts constantly just as he wished to be."
Catalana watches Wash out of the corner of her eye. It's entirely possible she's holding her breath in anticipation.
Washdoes indeed eat the fish eye, popping it between his teeth. He tilts his head to the side and shrugs. He does reach for his goblet though, the flavor can't be worth savoring.
"Sungreet, your Grace? So you've spoken with Duke Helianthus? How /is/ he? We've had no contact with him since...well, since Father passed, at the very least. All I've heard are the recent stories most of us have," Valdemar asks the High Lord after setting his mead back on the table, giving him a curious look.
Flavien manages to turn the snicker into a little cough as Wash ends up with eye in it. He reaches for his own goblet to drink.
Raimon sets his utensils down, taking a drink of wine before turning to look towards Victus as the topic of Sungreet comes up.
Jasher slows his eating as the discussion slips towards Harald, and then stops entirely at the mention of Helianthus. He pushes a bit of scallop on the plate with a fork, even as his lips move to murmur quietly in response to a softly spoken question.
Catalana gives Wash a look. One of disgust or adoration, you can't be sure. 'Tasty?'
Aethan looks up when Harald is mentioned, as well, before his eyes return to his brother. There's a little shift in his expression, as well, but when he replies to Ian's question it's with relatively the same expression and tone. He turns to Victus then, though, at Valdemar's question, with more of a curious expression.
Valdemar's query has Sanya straightening in her seat, turning her curious gaze onto Victus. "I was meaning to ask." Her smile is kind.
Victus' meal pauses as well when the late Duke Harald's name drifts through the conversation. His entire body for a moment going still, and then ending with a slow nod as he bites off another shrimp. When a question of the trip to Sungreet reaches him, he pauses again. This time the corners of his mouth pulling back into a thin line. Utensils are set aside so he might bring his hands together, his fingers intertwined. "Duke Ivan unfortunately couldn't attend a meeting in his own capital. A shame, I'd hoped giving notice far ahead of time would have allowed us more time to speak. But so it goes. The good Duke has much to do, assisting his Marchlands in massively increasing their navy for defense against Eurusi raids." Both of his hands tap the table once, his expression hardening into a stony wall. "I was greeted by a recently appointed Voice of his. A thrall who's freedom was made possible by my reforms, in fact. Duke Ivan thought it would be a kind gesture to be greeted by the fruits of my labor in person. And it was. The man put a Maelstrom village to the sword during the Tyde Rebellion, and now he serves as stern traditionalist's right hand." He taps the table again. "Very interesting, isn't it? It was a fine meeting all and all. Dozens of representatives, very polite, very formal. I appreciated their efforts to make me feel at home."
Raimon has left the Dinner Table.
3 Thrax Guards leaves, following Raimon.
Jasher nods slowly. His expression has hardened to an impassive mask.
Alarissa for her part when Victus speaks of his journey to Helianthus just dabs a napkin at the corner of her mouth and sips at some wine with the most serene expression she can muster.
Ian's only contribution to this line of conversation is a snort when Victus describes the task that kept Duke Helanthius away as being defense against Eurusi raids.
Flavien turns his attention to Victus now, food momentarily forgotten. The news seems to be giving him some small wrinkle right between his brows as they knit together.
Into the Dining Room strolls Dagon, who, while late, appears as cool as a sea cucumber. Just another day really, and what better way to celebrate it than to join friends and family at the dining table, claiming the leftover seat as his own -- the seat that most people avoid because it's got a slight wobble to it. And what timing, too! Dagon catches mention of the Tyde rebellion, nodding along as he gets settled.
Vanora noticed when Victus too grows pensive at the talk of Harald, and her expression is curious as she studies that stillness, but only very briefly, so quick one would have to look to catch. "Sungreet sounds a very cheerful name for an Isles Territory, is it bright and pretty there? That is how the name makes me imagine it. It seems you met plenty of people who mattered at their court even if the Duke himself was out. I'm pleased to know that Sungreet does make visitors feel at home, it would be a poor misnomer otherwise." She's seated next to her husband and across from Sanya, but the arrangement seems close enough to allow for the group to converse together or in smaller parcels.
Inclining his head at the answer that Victus gives, Valdemar takes another, longer sip of mead. "That was certainly unseemly of him, given the amount of notice, but Eurus /has/ been a concern for some time. As for his Voice, how did such a man end up a thrall, anyway? It sounds as if a more suitable punishment for him would have been a sea cross. Though admittedly, I am no magistrate," he adds thoughtfully in response to the High Lord's story of his trip to Sungreet. He then turns toward the new arrival, bowing his head just slightly before speaking, "Duke Dagon, a pleasure to see you again. His Grace was just letting us know how his trip to Sungreet turned out."
Victus' recounting of his venture to Sungreet has Sanya's full attention. She leaves the utensils on her plate for the nonce, and though her smile doesn't fade as he tells his tale, a certain tension in eyes grows. "Duke Helianthus made a former thrall his Voice." She repeats, making no further comment, as if the idea speaks for itself.
Washand Catalana are more observers than participants. They converse quietly with each other in order not to interrupt the discussions of heads of houses.
Ian nods a greeting to Dagon when he takes a seat at the table. "Duke Tyde."
"he made a former thrall that slaughtered Maelstrom and Thrax vassals, his voice." Alarissa clarifies for Sanya.
"We delivered our warning," Jasher finally says, spearing a bit of fish on his fork. "That is their warning."
Aethan is quiet -- shocking everyone, surely -- throughout Victus' reply to Valdemar. However, the mention of the former thrall turned Voice has his eyebrows raising, and he looks over to Ian again at the snort from his brother. "Interesting's one word for it, I suppose," he remarks, but he makes no other comment besides that.
"Pleasure's all mine," replies Dagon to Valdemar with a similar nod of his own, though not without an apologetic sorts smile for being late. "Evening, everyone." Given the nature of the conversation, and sensing the tense atmosphere regarding the thrall-turned voice, Dagon uses the opportunity to quietly load up his plate while he plays catchup.
Vanora considers the back and forth, lowering her wineglass when Alarissa clarifies. "You know upon deeper consideration that's really more than strange. How /would/ such a man not have been punished with execution? And even if he was not, lifting him to Voice seems stranger still." Vanora's last words leave her lips when Jasher speaks, and she nods her head, "Of course."
"I thought it was his parents," Ian speaks up. "He was about my age, I think. Too young to have done any killing, himself." He takes a drink of wine. "It's only really an insult if you actually believe that children should pay for what their parents do."
"It's not just a warning." Sanya takes a sip from her glass. "I believe he thinks he's making a point, your grace. About the changes. He's midguided, of course." She looks at her glass contemplatively.
Victus extends an arm toward Dagon when the man arrives, as if presenting the belle of the ball. "The Sword of Maelstrom." He announces loudly. "Reafian and the Duke of Tyde all joining us at the table at once. Excellent. Excellent!" The genuine excitement in the High Lord's voice is a bit on the muted side, but the thunder of his voice certainly rings true. It is a very nice sword after all! "Glad you could join us, cousin." Although that energy doesn't last long. It fades, and that more grim visage returns to his eyes. "Sungreet was very beautiful. Never have I seen a field so full of sunflowers. You would swear it was all that grew across the whole Isle. As for his Voice... I misspoke. His parents were the ones who put the village to the sword. Melar was freed by the inheritance of debt being banned. As for why the /parents/ were not executed, well, I suppose whatever domain where they had their capture was... lenient." The Prince idly grinds his teeth. "The fact that he's been named Voice is quite a feat. Perhaps it's a sign of Duke Ivan's enthusiasm for progress." Those words spoken with a tone drier than a desert.
Wash speaks up: "It speaks to the nature of what thralldom had become that the punishment for killing innocents was thralldom rather than execution." He has opinions, but that's as close as he comes to expressing them.
Catalana listens, not having much to add at this time since she's still so newly arrived. Instead, she spears another bit of the fish and sips on some more wine.
2 Kennex corsairs have been dismissed.
"Oh, Prince Raimon managed to slink away, I was going to ask him a pertinent question. I'll have forgotten when I see him next. Ah well." Vanora states lightly to no one in particular, arranging her knife and fork to indicate she's finished with her meal.
"I should like to meet the Duke's new Voice sometime. Perhaps we could invite him to Maelstrom, show him all the changes that have occurred since his parents' time there." Vega offers mildly before taking a bite of the anglerfish serving her husband so helpfully got her before he was called away. She glances towards Victus, watching him for just a brief moment with a faint smile, before turning back to her supper. "I still have some preparations to take care of before moving on to the next step of the plan for Thrax's agricultural growth. I would be more than happy to host the man for a few days and let him see for himself the places his parents must have visited." She glances towards Vanora and lifts a brow, "My husband does not 'slink', Duchess Grimhall. He is far too dignified for such things. But if you have a question for him, by all means, pose it. If I cannot answer it then I can see it gets to him quickest."
2 Kennex corsairs have been dismissed.
"Yes, misguided," Valdemar agrees with his cousin, nodding in her direction for a moment, before he goes on to add grimly, "Though he is still far from the only one in the Isles that it can be said of, in spite of our efforts." At this point, he does take a small bit of shellfish for himself, picking at it as the conversation goes on. "Ah, that would explain it, then, if it is the man's child who is now Voice, and not the man himself," he remarks between bites.
Vanora glances up at Vega. "My apologies your Highness, of course he does not slink. I meant to convey that I had not noticed him take his leave, not to malign his means of moving about. Your offer is generous, but it was a question based on a jest, not shockingly funny even when timed well and much less so delivered hours later. If I have a genuine query I will know whom to seek out, Princess." She takes a half-sip of wine.
"I wonder how recently he was appointed," Jasher murmurs. "And the others to show themselves to His Grace. I counted at least forty. They are confident enough to show themselves." He trails off then, and nibbles absently on a piece of fish.
"Aye. Haven't had a proper dinner with you in some time now, hope you haven't missed me too much," Replies Dagon to Victus while stabbing his utensils into -- anglerfish, it seems. "Glad to be here." And to that, he celebrates with a morsel of food and generous amount of drink to wash it all down. Clearly, Dagon's missed a thing or two, so he's more content in just eating and letting the others talk politics.
Giving Vanora a small smile at her words to the princess, Sanya turns to Dagon. "Oh, my apologies, my lord. I'm glad you could join us." To Jasher, she tilts her head. "You were there too?"
"Makes me wonder what his endgame is," Ian comments, finishing the last of the fish on his plate.
"The Duke Helianthus'?" Vanora asks Ian. "It does paint a confusing picture. Likely not accidentally."
Flavien took a heady draught off his rum, still looking to the speakers as they worked through the political quandry at hand.
"I would have loved to ask him that myself. Especially if he would be willing to share his future plans for Sungreet and the abolition." Victus' words are punctuated by a loud 'crunch' as he crushes a shellfish between his teeth. "Perhaps in the future he might be more open to accepting an invitation to Maelstrom. A feast in the heart of Thrax would be hard to pass up, aye?" His eyes flicker between the dinner guests as he takes another stab at his food. "And if his schedule remains so busy, perhaps he would rather send a member of his family instead. I'm sure we'll meet each other in the middle soon enough. After all, seven years are ticking. It would be a shame for Helianthus to miss their deadline. A real shame."
The speech doesn't really seem to have answered Ian's question -- or at least, the quizzical tilt to his eyebrow doesn't really ease. But he pours another glass of wine and sets whatever it is aside.
"It would be easy enough for the High Prince to take insult at the Duke's actions." Wash says. "It would escalate tensions to do so however. That may be premature."
"I would not presume to know the duke's plans," Jasher says, offering Sanya a terse nod to her query, "though I have my guesses. Would that I have more than mere speculation."
Vanora leans in to murmur something to her husband but pauses when she hears Wash speak, and nods her head. "That's very true, Lord Kennex. It would seem the Duke is struggling somewhat with the changes that are coming, but that is not a reason to doubt his loyalty if he's never presented one before. If there are tensions it is possible to find a means to soothe, that may serve better than warnings and blood. Though I certainly defer to the opinions of those who know these lands and people better than I."
"Indeed." Sanya nods at Victus' words. To Jasher. "I do too. All speculation. Nothing good. Some theories worse than others." She resumes eating the fish.
"Perhaps we guide the conversation to something more worthwhile than a man building an army hmmm?" Alarissa offers.
Here Vanora leans towards Valdemar again and murmurs, "Now you see, the talk turned serious and you've spoiled dinner. We should make our apologizes and excuse ourselves while it is still salvageable. If it isn't too late." She waits for him to stand and pull back her chair and then offers a sweeping curtsy to the group. "Thank you so much for having us, and sharing the exquisite catch and the talk of the Isles. We do so appreciate being included, truly." Her smile is soft, and she holds out her hand for Valdemar to take to his forearm.
Ian speaks up after Alarissa makes the request for a new topic: "Aethan just got back from a mission with House Redrain. They took out..." He looks at Aethan. "How many raiders was it? The rumor mill puts their number in the hundreds."
"I believe the Duke meant to test my patience." Victus suddenly pipes up. "Common enough in politics. Poke and prod at the composure. Find the cracks. Politics in the Isles are much like a gathering of sharks, as I'm sure you all know. In fact-" His gaze turns toward the Kennex's. "His voice even made sure to tell us that he was deeply apologetic for any offense given about their words to Count Ford's passing. Though I do wonder why they decided to apologize to me and not say, Lord Ian, who was present as well." He glances toward Alarissa when she mentions a new topic. "Yes, perhaps that's best. I actually received word from Princess Marian just today of Lord Aethan's success. Good show, my lord. I believe we'll soon be working with Redrain to shore up patrols about the Crownlands." Then his eyes fall upon the Duke and Duchess of Grimhall. He makes to raise as they seem ready to depart. "Thank you again for joining us, Duke and Duchess. Your company was much appreciated."
2 Kennex corsairs have been dismissed.
"Me? I was just asking for news," Valdemar responds to his wife, looking mildly confused. But he stands up nonetheless, and bows to Victus before telling him, "Yes, thank you for the invitation. The food was delicious. I hope you enjoy the rest of the evening, your Grace." He then gives Vanora his forearm so that they can depart.
Seryna, a charming Lycene handmaiden, 6 Grimhall House Guards leave, following Vanora.
Washspeaks up again. "My Lord. I would be happy to coordinate maneuvers with the Redrain on behalf of House Thrax. I would like to improve relations with Seliki as well, who have the closest Grayson port to Thrax. The fact that House Grayson could deploy such an effective force to the Bay of Thrax is a sign that they are still committed to maintaining a naval force. If there are Eurusi threats in the future, we will want them to be comfortable aiding us."
5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor leave, following Valdemar.
Aethan looks over at his brother when he mentions the mission he's just returned from, as well, and he replies, "Something like that. Princess Marian's forces annihilated most of them." He does look to Victus then, though, and the compliment gets a deeper nod, as he continues, "Thank you, Your Highness. I'm glad it turned out for the best for us. I'm looking forward to assisting Redrain with their navy, too." He reaches for his glass, though doesn't take a drink from it yet, instead turning it around in his hands as he turns to Wash when the other man speaks.
It's very probable, given how quick he brought it up, that it's this battle that Ian has been asking Aethan about in a low voice through the entire dinner conversation. "The Grayson forces funneled them to you, didn't they?" He asks Aethan. "I remember something like that was discussed in the planning meeting, making sure there was only one easy target. I think Seliki led that part."
Turning to Aethan at Ian's pronouncement, Sanya smiles warmly. "I'm glad to hear it, my lord." She raises her glass to the Kennex. "I'm sure they'll be quick to seek out your assistance in the future." A hand is raised as her cousin and his wife prepare to depart. "I'll see you later." She smiles at them.
Jasher takes another bite of seafood. His piece said, he's fallen into his usual silence, content to watch the others as they converse.
Catalana gives a small nod to Wash before turning her attention to Aethan, 'Hundreds? Up in the Redrains?"
Victus looks toward Wash. "I'm certain something can be arranged. For my part, I intended to open up Maelstrom dockyards for Redrain vessels to build. For what better shipbuilders are there but in the Mourning Isles? That could win quite a lot of gratitude in the North I think. If you're volunteering to act as Thrax's liason however, then by all means. Having a personal touch would go even further." He leans back into his seat. "More than anything, I don't want there to be the belief that Thraxian vassals are intentionally raiding Compact lands. Too many reports of Grayson and Redrain ships going missing in skirmishes with Islander ships. Some proper oversight should bring that to heel, and not whatever these idiots are doing mistaking Great House's for pirates."
Ian takes a drink. "The fact that it was an islesman admiral who broke the raiders' fleet should go a long way, there," he opines.
"I'll spend some time in the North Ward to make sure they can bring any such incidents to my door and they will know that the High Prince is sympathetic to their losses." Wash says. He lifts his glass in salute to Prince Victus. "Death to pirates everywhere."
Jasher nods once. "Do inform me if you need my assistance," he says. "I have no outstanding projects of importance. Merely daily patrols, and I can adjust my schedule as needed."
"Mistaking us for foolish pirates, no less." Sanya comments with a wry smile, finishing the drink in her glass before refilling.
Catalana similarly takes a drink, saluting too. 'I can help too, though I doubt I am much use against a pirate."
Flavien looks up, but doesn't do the dumb thing and offer official assistance. "If there is need of outside support, I can speak to Cr-Duke Cristoph about assignment of some of our own."
"He did," Aethan confirms at Ian's words. "And did it perfectly. Everything went about as according to plan as it could have, and better than expected." He almost sounds suspicious at how well it went, but it's a very subtle thing, and mostly he's probably happy, right? He must be. Catalana's question has him nodding as he looks over at her, though, and he continues, "Probably a few hundred at least. They came prepared, that's for sure. Luckily we were, too."
Ian flashes a very quick grin. "Give it a few weeks, and the talk at the ebb and flow will say you beat a thousand."
It's not long before Dagon's finished up, his cutlery has been set aside, and he's more or less just drinking through the political discussions. Eventually he rises, preparing to depart. "I'm always within reach, should anyone need a hand." Proper. He even scoots his chair before heading off.
"Good." Victus replied to Wash. "I have confidence in your abilities and I'll let Princess Marian know ahead of time." He drinks deeply from a goblet of rum before setting it aside, his gaze landing back on Aethan. "Were these the Undrowned Sons, or just your average raiding parties? Rumors tell that the group is being more than a little fucky with their targets. Almost too coincidental, you could say."
Aethan snorts at Ian's supposition, though he does not argue with it -- it's likely to be true, with how sailors talk and embellish stories, including those they were not actually present for. Or maybe especially those. Any amusement there might have been, though, fades at Victus' question, and he nods. "They were," he says, "or at least, they claimed to be, hired anonymously out of Port Defiance. Princess Marian took a handful prisoner, but I don't know how much more information they have to tell."
Catalana listens to Aethan, clearly unsure 'Have you dealth with them before?"
Mention of the Undrowned Sons casts a dark pall over Jasher's features. He ventures no spoken word, though; instead, he continues to eat in silence.
"I don't believe I've heard of them. Not in any detail." Sanya looks thoughtful.
"Port Defiance..." Victus echoes as he sets his silverware aside. "The same port where the Tyde's long-lost cousin makes her base. Another suspicious coincidence." His hands thread together for a second time. "I do not like the implications of that. Still. Every rabid pirate like that gone is a little more stability and safety." He looks to Sanya then. "They are a group of brigands and criminals on the sea, the bulk of their gang made up of disowned family members from across every walk of the Isles. The 'Undrowned Sons' is a name that mocks an old Isles tradition of an embarrassed member of our peerage walking into the sea to drown themselves, to save their family's honor."
2 Kennex corsairs have been dismissed.
Catalana frowns faintly at the discussion, she glances towards her family, "That sounds like it makes them more dangerous."
Washwas quiet, eating rather than speaking for the moment. He breaks his silence to add: "It speaks to them having true leadership, not just a band of mutineers."
A certain dread passes across Sanya's mien as Victus explains, perhaps notable to any who know of her own disgraced brother. "I see." She manages with a steady tone before taking a drink.
"They're pirates," Ian remarks in a flat tone. "Leadership or not, at their core, that's what they are. We can deal with pirates."
Aethan nods at Victus' explanation, and he doesn't add much to it, except to say, "I don't, either. I'm glad Redrain isn't letting their guard down even after a rout like that. It would be a perfect moment to strike again, while we were all celebrating the win." He looks over at Wash then, and there's a gesture of agreement, though Ian's words have him glancing that way as well. "I hope you're right."
After a long silence of simply listening while sipping her drink, Vega glances to Victus and murmurs, "Do we know if Fatima has begun her penance with the Faith, Your Grace?"
Jasher spears a bit of raw seal meat with his fork and takes a bite from it. He still has remained quiet, blue eyes drifting from person to person as they speak.
"Pirates with a potential Abyssal patron." Victus replied. "We've killed their ilk before. They're usually a much more suicidal kind of enemy. They fear what their leader will do more than drowning or a cross." His eyes flick to Vega and narrow a fraction. "I haven't heard from her since I gave her the sentencing. I pray she accepts it, for the other options she could take would be much more dangerous for all of us."
Catalana glances over to Victus and Vega, "May I ask what happened? I saw the proclamation, but there were little details."
Wash allows a servant to take his plate, indicating he is done eating.
Nodding to Victus, she sips from her drink again, then murmurs, "Perhaps I will send out a few discreet inquiries... it might be prudent to know of her whereabouts, everything said." Vega looks to Catalana and shakes her head, "I was not present nor have I inquired as to the details of her misdeeds."
Flavien has kept to just quietly eating. While he's tried a bit of everything, he seems to set everything to the side and focus on a light bit of drinking.
Ian has settled into an easy slouch in his chair, glass of wine in hand. He listens.
Victus' turns his head toward Catalana, a severe look on his face. "She attempted to make a deal with slavers. Taking shav lives back to Eurus in exchange for peaceful settlement of land they were raiding. They were not Compact citizens, it is true. But an attempt was made to bind more into slavery. That much I know. That is unacceptable." He turns back to look across the table. Empty plates, empty drinks, the evening seemed to be winding down. "It's close to the time I should retire, I think."
Clearly Wash wasn't apprised of Fatima's dealings either. His frown once again shares his unspoken opinion on the subject of slavery. He ducks his head to add something to Catalana.
Ian raises his eyebrows. "Huh," he says.
Aethan has fallen quiet as well, looking among the others as they speak, though eventually his gaze settles on Victus. When the other man takes his leave, he half-stands, nodding deeply. "Thank you for hosting us tonight, Your Highness," he says. "I'm looking forward to working with you to help build up Redrain's navy."
Taking a drink from her glass as she listens, Sanya smiles up at the High Lord. "Thank you for this wonderful meal, your highness." She places her cutlery on the table, rising too.
Ian nods respectfully to Victus when he rises to go, and then he himself stirs.
Catalana does stand for Victus, "Thank you for dinner, Your Highness."
Flavien rose as well, dipping his head. "Thank you for your generosity."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Ian before departing.
As Victus rises, comment made about it being time to retire, Alarissa stands as well, clearly meaning to depart with him.
Washfollows suit. "The same my Prince. And I am glad to see you also cousin." Wash says to Alarissa. "Lord Laurent. I'd be happy to talk more about the naval endeavor with you tonight, or another night."
Ian is just getting to his feet when a servant comes in with a message for him. He glances over it. "Is the messenger who brought this still here? Have him tell her I'll be there soon." Then he bows to everyone present and moves to follow said servant out, presumably to go to wherever "there" is.
Jasher likewise rises. "Rest as well as you can, Your Grace. These are interesting times." His lips twitch, briefly.
Rising up, Vega offers a careful curtsy towards Victus and murmurs, "Have a pleasant evening, Your Grace. And thank you for hosting these regular dinners, its been quite nice to be able to stay apprised of happenings in the Mourning Isles without having to call a dozen meetings."
2 Kennex corsairs leaves, following Catalana.
Catalana leaves, following Ian.
Flavien nods his head. "Of course, Lord Kennex." He glances to Jasher. "I'm happy to talk to you whenever you wish - if it has gotten too late, perhaps soon? Otherwise, I am happy to try to speak with you now."
"And thank you all for attending. Lord Wash, I'll be sure to stay in touch with Redrain about our efforts and keeping you at the front. Prince Jasher, I'll see if Princess Marian would squeeze you in as well. And Vega, thank you very much for some good news today." Victus says to each of them, and turning his eye toward Flavien too. "And you, stranger. My apologies for the tension in the air. The next time might be lighter."
2 Kennex corsairs arrives, following Catalana.
Flavien dips his head. "Lord Flavien Laurent. A pleasure to meet you and seek your hospitality for the evening."
Washgestures to the table. "Let us have drinks and discuss what House Laurent brings to the endeavor. I am in no hurry to leave while I am still digesting."
Catalana is still sitting beside Wash, a curious gaze is given to Flavien.
Flavien slides back to the table with Victus letting the meeting go. "Just to be clear - I'm not... able to speak /for/ Laurent. I can speak to Cristoph, see what he might be able to do to help. Allies are never a bad thing, and you make allies best when you're fighting alongside them. But... I can try my best at being persuasive if you're able to release any details of what you might need?"
Jasher looks towards Flavien as well. He lifts the glass of rum to take a sip.
Aethan stands then, nodding to those still at the table, and he says, "I wish everyone a good night. Wash, Catalana, I'll see you later, I'm sure. Your Highnesses." This to Victus and Alarissa, and then Jasher and Vega, before he says, "My lord, my lady." Flavien and Sanya, one presumes, before he turns to head out.
William, a taciturn quartermaster leaves, following Aethan.
Inclining her head to those around, Sanya smiles. "Good night, all." Before taking her leave.
Sanya has left the Dinner Table.
2 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan leave, following Sanya.
Victus makes to stand, nodding in gratitude to those who give thanks. "Of course." He pauses briefly to look toward Flavien, with a moment of ponder. "I'm open to any helping hands while we're in such a precarious position of abolition coupled with unrest and war. I could go into more detail at a later date and a more private setting. But yes, I would welcome Laurent's help. Thank you."
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