Strongmast Birthday Bash
Countess Rifella Strongmast is turning 60! Join House Melaeris in celebrating the life of its most steadfast vassal. Food, drink, and entertainment will be provided and Countess Rifella requests that any gifts come in the form of a donation towards ending Thralldom.
OOC: Not just a party, but the kick off to a plot. Everyone's invited to attend. You can bring a gift in the form of silver, resources, +donate, or just totally slide in without one if that's your thing.
Oct. 9, 2019, 10 a.m.
Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Melaeris Fasthold - Great Hall
Comments and Log
A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens arrives, following Ember.
2 Melaeris Justicar Recruit have been dismissed.
2 Melaeris Justicar Recruit have been dismissed.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes arrives, following Thea.
As guests file in through the front door, Llewella is there to greet them with a smile, a shake of hand, a curtsy, whatever is dictated by prootocol as an acceptable greeting. She keeps the line moving, sending people inside with an escort to lead them to the great hall. After all, it's not Llewella that's the guest of honor.
Inside the Great Hall, amid the festivities, *is* the guest of honor. Countess Rifella Strongmast. Her hair is more silver than black these days, and even at her birthday party she's wearing it in a severe bun (it just happens to be held in place with a fantastic piece of iridescite and duskstone today instead of something plain). She's a fine example of a strong, Thraxian woman with a no-nonsense look that the severe, high-necked gown of fine seatouched wool only highlights.
"I don't see why all the fuss. People live to sixty all the time, Amir," Rifella is grousing at the party's co-host. "But the effort..." She sighs. "It's appreciated, lad. Don't think it's not."
Root, a ferocious badger, 2 Ashford Archer arrive, following Archeron.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes have been dismissed.
"It's about giving people a chance to come together," Amir's telling the older Countess. "About giving them a chance to celebrate what you've done and will do. And to get some social time while also drinking," he adds even quieter to Rifella, right before plucking drinks from a passing server and offering one up to her.
While Rifella is the guest of honor, Amir greets anyone that comes up - after the Countess has had a chance too. All bright smiles, easy confidence.
Whether her entourage is simply unseen, or has been left at home is hard to say.
... Then again, why she's here is hard to say.
Jacali has arrived in her typical outfit of brazen reds and ahead-of-her-time style, nodding and doffing her cap to those that try to engage her most uncommon commoner self, a vacant smile resting on lips paler than they've any right to be in some sort of idle placation of those around her. She acts as though she belongs there, however, and it goes a long way. It isn't until she gets inside properly that her purpose is clear:
The small, strange woman makes her way toward those servants that are providing tasty treat, "Don't mind if I do, diddums, don't mind if I do." Comes her voice, gloved fingers rubbing together briefly before she goes about plucking some choice morsels from the platters, rather unceremoniously stuffing them into her gob. At least, the ones that don't find their way into her deep pockets. "These fresh?" She pauses, squinting venomous queen eyes toward one of the servers, speaking around a mouthful. "... 'course they are, just bloody look at ya, do. Carry on, my tart, carr--ooohh," She had started with a wiggly-fingered dismissal, but apparently has spied another piece that she'd like, and so plucks tenderly from its place. Into the pocket it goes. "Right, off you pop."
Archeron steps into the room, the Tyde no doubt here to celebrate the vassal vassal (grand vassal?) birthday. Or possibly because the Assembly of Peers was not enough exciting opportunity for him to prod others. Archeron folds his hands behind his back as he stays near the doors for a moment to observe the people present.
1 Inverno Ensign, 1 Inverno Captain, Cornelius, a studious looking attendant, Floofkins, a blue colorpoint kitten arrive, following Tyche.
It's a matter of duty for the Princess of Parties to attend the celebration of sixty years. Baroness Ember Redreef may reject the title in conversation -- especially since, as titles go, it's especially informal and mostly just a weird joke -- but the empirical data proves that since obtaining it, she HAS become more social. 'More social' is of course relative.
The Bloody Baroness -- her hair pulled back into a chignon to better show off the tiara she's wearing -- moves through the party like a ship breaking through thin ice. Her hands are clasped behind her back, and her maidens move with her in sleek formation. She's headed toward the birthday girl herself, to pay proper respects. Drinking can come after.
Thea steps into the room, really not sure whose birthday it but hey, birthdays are birthdays. She looks about, her gold-flecked green eyes taking everything, a brief smile on her lips as she nods and greets everyone present.
"It must be a special occasion if you squeezed into those pants," Countess Rifella remarks with a side-glance to Amir. Her mouth draws down in a stern look of disapproval. "I do hope the effort was not on my behalf."
But then the Countess catches sight of more familiar people and lifts an obligatory hand to Archeron at the door and a more personable, "Baroness," (more personable for having been spoken anyway) in Ember's direction.
But it's Jacali that makes the elder noble laugh. "Oh, now she knows how to work these things."
Archeron bows his head across to the birthday girl at the greeting "Countess Rifella - I hope that you have many happy returns. A rather dull present, I'm afraid, but I've arranged for the debts to be paid for 20 thralls, in addition to those agreed to be released under the abolition scheme." Archeron hands a small ticket across to one of the servants for the records "Thankfully there are not huge numbers to begin with in Tyde and her vassals." Archeron's lips curl into a warm smile as he looks around, a nod to Amir "And always good to see our vassals and their people happy and flourishing."
With a roll of his eyes hidden by looking away, Amir takes the fashion berating from the Countess in good cheer. "Ah, your guests are arriving," he says to the dowager. "Time to let you meet them." Sure to get daggers stared back at him, but ...
Amir takes a drink from the glass of rum he'd picked up and starts allowing some distance to come between he and the Countess. A private offering of gifts and well-wishes came earlier, so he need not hog her presence. Besides, taking a step away allows a murmured, "Try the roe on the buttered toast," in passing to Jacali before he makes his way towards Archeron.
Without much ceremony, the Countess of Caina joins the party. She was invited, and even holds in her delicate hands a bottle of wine - a perfectly Lycene gift. She looks more dressed for winter than fall, but for one used to the warmer climes of the south, that may not be surprising.
Dark eyes scan the gathered faces, searching for someone... ah! There he is. When her gaze rests on Amir, the smile she wears immediately deepens, from the generally friendly to the familiar. She cuts a slow path to him, offering a greeting to those she knows, "Lady Thea. I am glad I am not the only one from the Lyceum here." But then she's nears Amir as he cuts his way toward Acheron. She extends the bottle, "For the Countess on her birthday. A /proper/ gift."
Ember presents herself and her ladies with a curtsy. First the Baroness herself curtsies, and then her ladies follow like a troupe of backup dancers, hitting the motion with such synchronized timing that it's clearly the result of practice rather than some innate knack. "Countess," Ember says to Rifella. "House Redreef extends its congratulations and fondest wishes on this landmark. Your request for donations to end thralldom in lieu of gifts speaks well to your character -- I will strive to be as admirable as my life progresses." Ember speaks in a clear tone, with a singular sternness in her eye contact. On the other hand, there's not anything actively aggressive about it, so much as just intense and kind of weird.
"Most gracious of you, Lord Archeron. A woman my age needs only so much money," she adds with Ember's approach. "Might as well do some good with it for someone that needs it, eh? Can't take it with me. Even if they do want to load up a longboat with heavy metal before setting it on fire to sink me to the bottom!" The laugh that follows is sharp, amused, and also a bit dismissive. "Glad to see Tyde finally taking the initiative though," is said from the sid e of her mouth to Archeron. "Now, Baroness," the old woman steps closer to Ember, an arm starting to take the Baroness's, "I have a half dozen grandsons about your age..."
The smile Amir wears goes from polite to delighted as soon as the Countess of Caina is spotted. "Tyche! So glad you could make it." The redhead's arrival arrests his movement towards Archeron. A kiss to cheek and then he accepts the gift on Rifella's behalf. "You look amazing enough that I am glad I did not fall into your trap asking if you should wear The Dress." One of the passing servants is halted so Amir can pass off the bottle of wine and gesture towards the countess with it. "And Lady Thea, is it?"
It's unlikely that Jacali has heard the Baroness' words about her knowing how to work the events, not over the gnashing of teeth and din of the gathering crowd. When Amir nears, her muscles grow ever so slightly rigid, as though the gig was up, her shoulders slowly raising in apprehension. Even her chewing has stopped. That, in itself, is truly an act of witchcraft. One of her brows quirks, her head turning to the side so that she might view him by way of a sidelong glance that lingers longer than it should. There's a slow working of her jaw finally as she begins chewing again, "...s'a good suggestion, that is, and I'll thank you for it. 'Course, should anyone ask..." Her eyes turn back to the table, her greedy little hands moving for the roe on buttered toast, the wear on them perhaps betraying her common status, "Were my idea, that one, 'course it was." She nods vaguely toward him as he makes his way onward to Archeron.
When people start talking about gifts, her teeth clench and she begins patting down her pockets. Finding nothing, they move to her satchel, prying it open and digging about inside, muttering a string of profanity best left to the outer reaches of the imagination, "Eh..." She lets out a noise as though she were going to follow up with something, but really all that follows is the awkward shuffling and tinking noises of glass on glass for what seems an age. A sheepish smile curls her lips as she glances between those that are doing their gifting, their donations, their prime socialising. Finally her brows lift, and she approaches not far behind Ember, peering over her shoulder toward the guest of honour. "Got some..." She pulls a bottle from the satchel, "Stuff." She thrusts it forward, "... that's fer you, that is."
"And, er... some money for thralls, 'course. Aren't quite got the coin to spare for twenty, mind, but I do as I can, that's what I do, that's all what can be asked, innit?"
Jacali gets Limited Warm Woods Whisky - 'The Embers Yet Breathe' from A small rosewood chest with a Black Cauldron emblem.
Johannes, A tall and red cloaked gentleman, A slightly embarrassed courier called Guido arrive, following Martino.
Thea smiles at Tyche a bit,"I try and bring Malvici spirit when I can,"the young says with a nod. She gives a smile to Amir as well,"It is. Lady Thea Malvici. And you are..."
Amir drops Black Cherry and Black Currant Wine.
Ember's ladies exchange bright-eyed looks and discreet smiles as Rifella brings up her half-dozen grandsons. Ember holds her arm out so that Rifella can grab hold properly -- her strength can be plainly felt through the material of her gown's sleeve, as can the raised lines of a scar or two atop hard muscle. "Do you, Countess?" Ember asks. She still doesn't smile, but her tone seems to lighten on a microscopic level. "How do you propose it be settled, then -- last one standing?" It's almost certainly a joke, but a joke without a wink, deadpan beyond deadpan.
"Not the adventure I expected, but certainly a worthwhile one," Tyche replies to Amir as she leans in to the cheek kiss, her hand lifting to rest lightly at his arm for a moment before she turns to scan the room. "No new paintings since last time?" she asks of him, almost disappointed. She doesn't arrest his movement as he plays the proper host, stepping aside so that he might greet Thea. But she does take the initiative to chime in, "Lord Amir Melaeris, Sword of Astarrea, and quite the fashionista," she adds, an amused glance down to his pants.
Jacali checked dexterity + sewing at difficulty -1, rolling 71 higher.
Lead in my attentive House guards, the red cloaked Lord Martino Malvici brings his hands to the furred hood and lowers it down to shoulders. With a slight crease of dark green eyes, the Malvici Lord tucks his left arm beneath his torso and bows smooth over it to the hosts. "A fine day, good Lady Llewella Melaeris. Birthday guests."
Jacali drops Limited Warm Woods Whisky - 'The Embers Yet Breathe'.
"Jacali's offering of a bottle and one or more additional freed thralls earns the guest a smile of her own. "If we all get off our asses and do what we can, we don't all have to buy twenty, right? Thank you, Mistress...?" She downs some of her drink and then smirks at Ember. "Back in my day that's exactly what they would have done. But now you've all gone and become progressive and I can't just have them fight and tell your Daddy which one it'll be, eh?"
The elderly countess begins to cough, turning her head to the side and covering her mouth for a moment.
Llewella has stayed by the door to continue to greet guests and show them into the Great Hall. Music is playing, the song coming to an end and the next one starting ins ofter tones.
"The pleasure is mine, Lady Thea," Amir says with a small bow to the newly introduced. "Countess Tyche is doing her best to teach me not to embarass myself in public these days. It is a trial, and I only hope I do not add grays to her hairs." This comes with a wink for Tyche. "No, no new paintings. I've seen Llewella work on a few, but I believe they have been sent as gifts."
"Tradition is important, Countess - but tradition only that serves us. Tradition exists to make us stronger, if it weakens us, as Thralldom does, then I see no virtue in it." Archeron offers with a bow of his head to the birthday Countess "But, it is a pleasant gift you ask for and we are happy to oblige and provide." Archeron lifts an ear as music comes through, and he smiles "Ah. Good to have life and art in the halls again."
"I have never once seen you embarrass yourself in public," Tyche protests the characterization of her as his shame guardian. "Only in private," she adds, more quietly and with a wicked glint to her dark eyes. She steps forward when he mentions Llewella, her gaze darting over the guests as she asks, a hand moving to his forearm, "And which is your cousin? I have not yet met her, and I imagine if she is anything like you, we will get along splendidly." A beat. "And if she isn't, we'll still get along splendidly."
Primus, First of Monique's Assistants arrives, delivering a message to Amir before departing.
"I'm as progressive as any Baroness, if not moreso," says Ember, who just happens to be one of the first female domain rulers in the Mourning Isles -- so when she says it, she's not really blowing smoke. "That said, making them fight it out would at least give me an indication of which of them could possibly keep up with me." Again, a joke, but a bit warmer in tone. When Rifella coughs, Ember pauses, moving her free hand to rest on the arm that's entwined with hers. "Are you feeling well, Countess? Shall we find somewhere to sit?"
A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens have been dismissed.
Root, a ferocious badger have been dismissed.
2 Ashford Archer have been dismissed.
Floofkins, a blue colorpoint kitten have been dismissed.
1 Inverno Ensign have been dismissed.
1 Inverno Captain have been dismissed.
Cornelius, a studious looking attendant have been dismissed.
2 Melaeris Justicar Recruit have been dismissed.
Johannes, A tall and red cloaked gentleman have been dismissed.
A slightly embarrassed courier called Guido have been dismissed.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes have been dismissed.
1 Melaeris Justicar have been dismissed.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes have been dismissed.
"Pff, Mistress, chickadee, -Mistress-," Jacali rolls her shoulders as that uncomfortable tension resurfaces, "Such good friends as we've become, treacle, such fine and close companions, you and me, I and us, we and all," Her brows raise, her hand gesturing between herself and the birthday girl, "Aren't no need for that, is there? 'Course there isn't, not at all, no, s'just Jac, that's me." She lifts a gloved hand to touch fingertips to the brim of her fabulous tophat before bowing forward and sweeping her arm out to the side with some playwright's flourish before she stands again, a grin on her lips so wide and bright that it causes a dimpling of her cheeks, there and gone in a moment. "Jacali Savantis, if'n you're in need of sommit more proper, I do suppose, Mother of Moonshines, Curator of Curious Cocktails," A beat of pause for breath, "And Colognes."
She then gives a soft sniff, nodding shallowly, "Aye, aren't how much you can give, it isn't. S'just about givin' what you can. If'n a man's got twenty million silver to his name, a hundred thousand aren't much more'n the dust in his pockets, is it? It isn't, I'll tell you, don't need you guessin', but it's everythin' to someone, aye." She glances to Ember, then to some of the others with their conversations, before returning to the matter at hand, squinting as mention of the cough is made.
"Feelin' sick, chickadee? Won't do, not on your birthday, sure I've got... sommit..." And once again she goes digging in her bag.
A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens have been dismissed.
Archeron checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
Jacali checked perception + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
Ember checked perception + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.
Martino checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.
Thea checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
Tyche checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.
Amir checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
It's easy to miss the sound coming from the other room, with the low hum of stringed music in the hall and the sussurus of conversation. For those near the door to the great hall, there's the sounds like thudding, a dropped tray, a crash of glass that shatters.
Inside the great hall has its own distraction. "Well, we can arrange a tourney then," Rifella answers Ember. She lowers her hand. "I'm fine. Just why I came to Arx. So cold at home." Fine, for Rifella, seems to involve a palm with a few flecks of crimson now glistening on it. Something she doesn't notice or tries to hide. But Jacali, at least, catches it. "Jac. Ah, that's wonderful. I do love a good cocktail. Hot toddy season now." She starts coughing again.
"Yes, I do try to keep my embarrassments to private displays. Though... perhaps we can speak of battle skirts to be worn later. I have a mind to try something," Amir is saying. The words fade away though when he hears something in the other room. "Clumsy servant?" he asks Tyche and Thea, seeing their thoughts on the matter while drifting towards the doorway like he might take a peek.
Jacali gets Panacea of Paradise - Scurvy Support from A Pack of Spare Brews.
Having just entered, Lord Martino Malvici pauses by the doorway to turn his chin and torso back. "I... did not knock anything." His forehead furrows afterwards as he hears the sounds crash, "Certainly something though."
Thea turns toward the door, eyebrow lifted. "Martino, did you make Guido nervous? Was that maybe him?"
Tyche cannot help but hear the clatter in the other room, as if her finely honed senses were made to find flaws in party preparation. Must be the Lycene in her. She arches a brow first at the mention of a battle skirt, but then that expression morphs to the door. She doesn't go and peek, however, allowing Amir that right - since it is his home. "Probably," she remarks, turning then to spy Martino, who much have creeped in while she was busy looking at Amir's pants! "Lord Martino," she greets him with an open grin. "I swear, there was an entire two weeks we were friends, but since then? Nothing."
"Clumsy servant or overeager guest, I am sure. But the Sword of Astarrea is here, so I am confident we will all be quite safe from anything from spilt drinks to over amorous party goers through to assault by a black bear." Archeron says in response as he too hears the clattering of glass and tray, giving a nod across to Amir as he references the man "But, knowing the Melaeris, I am confident there is no lack of drinks to replace those spilt. They are most kind in their hospitality."
The Bloody Baroness fails to notice the blood. Perhaps Ember might have, but she was distracted for a moment, looking over to one of her handmaidens and inclining her head in a subtle command. Said handmaiden silently scurries off to ready chairs -- though Ember doesn't direct Rifella in that direction just yet. Better to have it all set up in advance. "Give it a month or two, Countess. If this coming winter is anything like the last, Arx will feel positively arctic, and I'll spend the whole season debating whether or not to invent some important matter to keep me on Redreef Shores until spring."
She continues to rifle through her satchel in search of something, producing several small vials, looking them over one by one as Rifella continues speaking, turning them this way and that as she mutters under her breath, putting them back and producing another. She takes in a deep breath and sighs, before triumphantly producing ... whatever she's so happy about finding. "Ah! Sea folk, y'see, oft ..." She pauses then, her head tilting to one side, eyes darting up filled with suspicion as they settle on her newest friend. "... whassat, love? Ey?" She gestures toward the cloth, "... S'my professional medical opinion, it is, that 'fine' folk don't leave blood when they cough, them don't... but," She coils her gloved fingers around the vial in her hand. "... You sure do, chickadee, you do..." Her breath has shallowed as she stands there, lips pressing into a tight, thin line as she considers what she's seen.
"... Sit you down, treacle... I'd fair like to have a look at you, if you'd permit."
"Guido, the poor fellow, is on double pay and time at the moment." Martino's lips curl wry across to Thea as he unsurely steps further from the door. Dark green eyes glancing back over shoulder once more. "Now, now. Countess Tyche I was the one writing to you to see how you were. Don't tell me my dear courier kept them for themselves?!" A laughed gasp touches Martino's voice as fingertips rest upon his cloak.
Whatever Ember might be saying, there's a growing vacancy on Rifella's expression. The hand on the Baroness's arm tightens and more of the older noble's weight is leaned against the spunky and spry Princess of Parties. There's a gesture made, as if to ask for help in doing whatever the strange seems-like-a-doctor lady is saying, but Rifella can't get out the verbal request. Another cough, this one deep and wet and sends Rifella to start doubling over.
The music stops.
Which makes it easier to hear a final soft thud outside and the slamming of a door.
"A, Lord Martino. That is a stunning jacket. But would you mind entertaining the Countess? It sounds as if you have much to catch up on." Amir separates from those he was speaking with and ducks out to see what's going on in the other room. "If it's Guido I'll get him a drink," he promises over his shoulder, steps getting faster to see what this whole mess is about. And he hasn't noticed the Countess, surrounded by guests as she is, in distress.
Jacali checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 45, rolling 17 higher.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Thea before departing.
"I imagine the courier got quite tied up, Lord Martino. Especially when I..." Tyche's voice trails, however, as Amir's pace quickens, and a look toward Rifella shows the woman doubling over, unresponsive. Slamming doors. Thuds. A clearly ill countess. "Amir, wait!" she calls to him, offering a quick, "Excuse me," to Martino before she's moving to follow. "Your Countess...!" she means to tell him. Or, maybe, she just means to get as far from sickness as she can.
Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Pellinor, 3 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, 2 Thrax Elite Guards arrive, following Alarissa.
Jacali checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 60, rolling 7 higher.
Thea twitches at her message and excuses herself. Still not having seen seen from the door what exactly has been going on, she slips out, excusing herself quietly.
Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes leaves, following Thea.
With a hushed exhale, Lord Martino turns on his toes with the Lady Thea. Fortunately distance from the door never really got further than an arm's length. "Another time, Countess Tyche." Back out he goes go.
Johannes, A tall and red cloaked gentleman, A slightly embarrassed courier called Guido leave, following Martino.
It's fortunate for Rifella, at bare minimum, that she's leaning against a warrior such as Ember. Ember reacts swiftly to the Countess's collapse, turning to move an arm and brace the woman's middle. Her other arm is under Rifella's armpit -- it's not the most comfortable way to be held, but it's better than bouncing off of the floor. Ember's expression is one of unfiltered shock, and she looks to Jacali with even more intensity than usual in her gaze. "You're a doctor--?" Ember doesn't add on a 'so help her,' verbally, but chances are it'd be understood from her tone. Ember's girls, meanwhile, are rushing a chair over to put the Countess in.
With Amir pushing the doors open to get to the main hall, anyone looking in that direction can see some of the hub-ub. It's not just a nervous Guido. No, Llewella and a guard are both seeing lying on the floor near the door. There's blood gurgling out of the guard's throat and a piece of broken stemware left in his throat.
"Well. This is geting to be quite worrying." Archeron adds as the mild chaos continues. He reaches around to gently tug at the peace bonding which holds his axe in its place "Amir? Call your house guards would you?" And then as the doors open he spots what has happened and Archeron nods his head "Yes. House guards. And send a runner to the Tower, ours will come as well." Archeron's head turns "If there is a mercy in the building, I suspect you will be needed."
Well. This is an awkward thing to come in to. The Princess Consort of Thrax looks around as she steps in with a small box in hand and a raised brow. “I have ... some small skill if someone can assist and listen to directions...” she came for a party....
"Does as he says," Amir catches one of the servants. "If there's not a mercy around go find one!" By then Amir's in a sprint, heading towards the fallen Melaeris woman and escort. He bends down to check on Llewella - feels some breathing - and then the guard - no breathing. "Your Highness, forgive the lack of courtesy for a moment."
"... sommit's fucky." Jac affords after examining the Countess more closely, and once Ember has caught the falling lady, she moves in to cup Rifella's chin with her gloved hand, lifting it upward so that her other hand can come up to rather unceremoniously and with no concern for rebuke open her mouth, then eyelid to peer down at her. Her brows knit in concentration as her crafty mind meanders its way around various diagnosis and possibilities, treatments and more. She's pure beautiful minding it right now, for sure.
"Right, get her on a chai--" Ember's gals have it under way, "Oh, you're... alright!" With a measured sort of frantic activity, Jac is once again going into her satchel. "Seen this before, me, I have... or sommit quite similar," She speaks with Ember even as she's doing her level best to very quickly put together something, putting her satchel on the floor and prying it wide. Reagents begin to be produced from within, many of which would be completely alien to the people present. Some ground up dry weird yellow ... leaves? Maybe? Are popped into Jac's mouth and she begins to chew. She's mighty at that. Chewing. It's been proven many times today already. She speaks around it even as she's pouring viscous liquids from some vials into one vial, corking it and shaking it. "Our gal's been poisoned, she has, and we aren't gunna have so much time," She spits the chewed up stuff out into her hand, then scraps it into the vial.
Advanced medicining, that's what this is.
Giving the entire concoction another violent shaking, Jac uncorks it and begins feeding this horrid remedy into the Countess' mouth, whether she struggles or not, "Ho! Get it into ya!" She barks at the much older woman, "Temproary at best, this, but it'll do the trick!"
When the doors open, Tyche's guards are more quick to react than she is. They had been hanging with the other guards of the nobles partying it up for the old noblewoman's birthday, but now they are alert, flanking the petite Countess as the woman's hurrying after Amir comes to a drastic halt, a hand lifting to her mouth in shock at the sight. "I will... I will send for a Mercy," she decides, nodding to herself. Right. Something to do. Some way to help. She turns to Cornelius, sending him off to the House of Solace with a general cry for help.
As Jacali prepares her mixture, Ember's eyes flash with barely-contained amber rage: "Poisoned--?" Her stern, inscrutable expression curdles into a harsh frown as she sets Rifella into the hair and holds her steady. If need be, she'll also manually position the Countess to receive the medicine -- Ember isn't afraid of having her thumb bitten or any of that.
Amir's apology is waved off with a shake of her head and her box holding hand. It's okay, it seems to say. This is more important. There's dead guards, a poisoned countess, and Llewella is down. She moves though, putting that small box down to the side and tilting her head as Pellinor murmurs in her ear, Alarissa's nodding. Agreement to something and there's an about face, Thrax's own guards swarming in about her and just like that the Princess consort is just totally slipping back out with a concerned and confused look over her shoulder.
Rifella may need some manual help with the swallowing of the concoction that Jacali has wipped up. The Countess is going pale, all save for some blotchy blue spots around her neck. Blood churned to a front in her lungs gets hacked with less care for where it goes now.
The acrobats that were just coming out of one of the balcony doors are now looking confused. Someone's ushering them back inside and shaking a head emphatically. "No, no aerials today!"
And down goes the baby-bird style medicine. With some effort, some difficulty. Sweat beads on Rifella's temple as she tries to get a breath. Just a normal breath. Time might make that easier, if Jacali's craft is good.
And ain't no one stopping the Princess-Regent from coming or going as she pleases.
"If I might suggest, my noble ladies and lords, and other guest, moving away from doors and any windows, just on the off chance." Archeron cranes his neck to look back into the entry hall "Alive?" he asks of Amir, clearly referring to Llewella as he unslings his large woodsman's axe, beginning to remove the leather cover over the blade "Poisoning, or a bungled robbery well timed, or a bungled or start of an attack. You know how our people can be..." Archeron offers a bow of his head to Alarissa, giving them all space to do their medical stuff while Archeron goes checking behind curtains or such for sneaky people.
"Llewella lives. Godfrey...does not." Amir stands from where he'd knelt near them. By the time a minute or two has passed guards are coming. Not that there are many, by tradition, but there are some. Enough to close up entrances and looking for suspicious and shady people.
Maxene, the steadfast ladies maid, Pellinor, 3 Thrax Guards, Honey Snuggle, a Velenosian Angora cat, Elegance, a Velenosian Greyhound, 2 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Alarissa.
"Mmf. Well, none of us are Godsworn, not much to be done for the dead, a lot to be done for the living. And /this/, by the by, is why I should always bring armour and a quiver to parties." And Archeron does still have his bow, but it is clearly worn for style and familiarity as he lacks a quiver at a party - people find it a bit odd to bring essentially several dozen tiny daggers on a stick to a party. For some reason. "A pity Lethe is not here. Her healing skills are second to few in the isles."
Cornelius rushes back in, handing a letter over to Tyche as she still stands, unmoving, between a poisoned Countess and the scene just outside. She reads the letter, "Mother Mercy is on her way," she calls to Amir, since Rifella is attended to by Jacali. There. She did something! Now she can go back to standing there.
Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes, Triage, The white dove of Mercy, 3 Valardin Knights, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sophie.
As events unfold around her, Ember remains stood behind the downed Countess's chair like a bodyguard. She had worn her scythe simply as a matter of decoration -- besides, scythes go well with tiaras -- but the look on her face certainly indicates a preparedness to use it.
In the main hall, where one would have to come in, Amir has just finished looking at the two bodies near the door. One in Melaeris livery has a shard of broken glass in his throat which was apparently used to kill him. Another is Llewella, who appears to have been hit over the head but if anything else was coming, that was interrupted. Guards are starting to take control of that situation.
In the Great Hall, Countess Rifella is finally getting some relief from the coughing spasms that have had her coughing up blood and foam. Thanks to Ember and Jacali for seeing her to a seat. Others mill around, looking restless, concerned, protesting their innocence, or muttering about the Malvici that left so suddenly.
Rifella wipes her hand across her mouth, smearing some blood. She trembles even now. Her head tips towards Ember and she mutters something to the baroness. "...broken keys...bleak house..." Before passing out, still breathing shallowly.
Tyche stands in the midst of this chaos, like a beacon of uselessness. No medical skill, no ability to defend anyone from anything. She does, however, have the power to summons a healer - and so when Sophie arrives, there's a look of relief at the Inverno's pale features. "Oh, thank the gods." She waves a hand toward the injured Llewella and the now blacking out Rifella, as if that's all the explanation needed.
The messenger that was sent to summon a Mercy returns only a few moments before Sophie herself does. She's carrying a knapsack with healing supplies veritably spilling out of it, and she's slightly out of breath. Sophie is, after all, not the most athletic person in Arx, and the sprint through the city has left her rattled. Her guards though, they look even more rattled, in their very rattly suits of armor. Sophie stops in her tracks as she sees the bodies near the door. She holds a hand up to her guards to stop them as well. Sophie moves more cautiously now, stepping into the Great Hall, her eyes sweeping those present. It's Llewella she recognizes, the majority of faces in the room people she's not very familiar with, and because of that she rushes to her first while asking loudly, "What happened?" She doesn't wait for an answer though, she's already starting to inspect the unconscious woman's injuries.
"Don't try to speak, Countess, let the medicine work--" Ember leans in as Rifella murmurs to her. "I don't..." Ember starts to say, and then she realizes Rifella has lost consciousness. With Jacali attending to the practical needs of the situation, preparing tinctures or somesuch thing beyond the Baroness's skill set, Ember is left making sure that the Countess doesn't fall out of her chair. Her steely gaze sets over at the scene around the prone Llewella, but her grave frown remains.
With Sophie seeing to Llewella, and the guards coming into their own, Amir looks apologetically to Tyche. He doesn't say anything, but there's definitely an apology there. "Lord Archeron, Baroness Ember, I suggest we get guards looking for the assassin. They must have stolen our livery or the like. If we can find them before they divest themselves of it..."
Tyche shakes her head at the look cast by Amir, as if to say no apology needed, and then she finally moves to join Sophie by Llewella's side, crouching down to ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?" The question seems doubtful in and of itself, as if she realizes her own limitations, but the offer has been made. In the meantime, her gaze darts over the still bleeding out guard, and the inert form of Amir's cousin.
Tyche checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 32 higher.
Llewella's injuries apparently don't concern Sophie all that much, apparently, because her head is wrapped with a bandage, with pressure applied to the area that's already starting to swell. She looks up at Tyche and says "Countess.. perhaps... see if you can wake her?" THen she's rising and moving to Rifella, who certainly looks much worse off. The satchel is dropped on the table nearby, and Sophie crouches to begin examining the woman. To Ember she says, "What happened? I don't see an obvious wound..."
Sophie checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 15, rolling 61 higher.
Once Sophie has sen to Llewella, two of the Melaeris staff scoop up the Voice and carry her off to some upstairs chamber to rest, clearing one of the bodies from the room at least.
Rifella does appear to be sleeping, with all the fitfullness of fever dreams. Jacali's efforts earlier have certainly made a difference and provided some ease, but the Countess doesn't appear to be out of the woods yet.
And then Tyche is left with Llewella! This is not what she expected. But she has a task now, and her warm hand goes to the noblewoman's cheek, gentle at first, "Lady Llewella? Can you hear me?" she asks, looking her over more fully. "You... you were attacked." She says, seeming to put some pieces together about the nature of such, the clues laid out before her so easily. "Look for one in servants livery," she suggests to anyone listening. She looks up to Sophie to see her progress, eyes narrowing as she spies... "Look at her neck! The blue splotches. Were they always there?" She blinks, and then her attention is back to the artist. "Llewella?" she scoops a hand under her head, trying to ease her up. "Wake up."
"Well, the ducal house guard will be at your service, Lord Amir. Though if it was an assasination I suspect they will be lost in the quarter for now - if not slipped out of the gates while they could." Archeron answers to Amir before looking back at where they are treating the countess "At least we know it is unlikely to be the Gyre. Though that leaves us plenty of potential suspects."
"We were speaking. She coughed, which I took to be from the changing seasons -- but then she doubled over, and was producing blood," Ember says. She backs up a pace or two as Sophie comes into examine Rifella, but no more than that. She's like a guard dog not wanting to abandon her post. Even her recitation of events comes out in a clipped, curt way. Her eyes track over toward Amir: "An excellent suggestion, Lord Amir." She nods to Archeron as he goes on at greater length, not lightening her frown in the least.
Sophie leans in to sniff at the blood that has foamed from the woman's mouth and instantly pulls her hands away from Rifella and moves to stand. She calls out loudly to everyone in the room. "Don't touch anything. Everybody, back away from .. this woman." Sophie clearly doesn't know her name, and she reaches into the satchel for a piece of gauze. "What was she doing just before this happened? What did she touch?" Sophie then glances at the table and sighs, since she's just dropped her satchel on the table right in front of the poisoned woman. She gives Rifella a pained look and she says to Ember, who is standing behind her. "We can't save her. I'm sorry."
Hearing her name, being moved around, it's all enough to have Llewella groggily stir and stare blankly at Tyche. But she's being taken off to her room so there's little time for greeting at this Worst Party Ever.
Ember checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.
A few dozen guests have stopped their gossiping after noticing looks from Ember and began to make the circle around her, Rifella, Jacali, and Sophie wider. More than a few try to just leave.
Ember is clearly straining to keep her face from displaying raw fury. Clearly, because all one has to do is look down at her neck, which is so tense that one could strike it with an iron bar and come away with the metal bent. "You're -- certain of this?" she asks Sophie. It's likely not intentional that Ember directs all of this barely contained rage in Sophie's direction, but at least it's contained, if only barely.
And Tyche is left there on the floor as Llewella wakes and is carted off, the dead body bleeds, Rifella slowly dies from poison, and Amir is off searching for some assassin. Standing slowly, she sweeps her hands over the skirts of her dress, looks to Sophie, then to her guards, and nods. "Time to go, I think." The guards seem to agree.
Sophie calls over the guards and she says, "Stop anyone from leaving. Look for someone wearing gloves perhaps, someone who might have touched something this woman touched. It's a shav poison, and it's absorbed through the skin. Something she touched did this." Sophie holds her hands up and backs away, saying to Ember. Her voice is comforting as she says, "I'm sorry, but I'm certain. No antidote exists, as far as I'm aware and quite frankly I'm surprised she lasted this long. Most die of this poison before any treatment can even be given." Sophie is wiping her hands with the flimsy material she's pulled from her knapsack and she says, "I can perhaps tell where the poison entered the skin with some research, if it helps your investigation."
"I think Amir, I will find myself useful heading to the docks and checking what boats have come in. More than likely Isles related given all that has been happening and is likely to happen. And I will let the Duchess know, she will want to help. And then she will want to stake whoever did this and whoever gave them their orders out on a cross and offer them to the sea. You know how we are about traditions." Archeron begins to settle his axe back in its sling
"Look to her neck," Tyche calls to Sophie once more. "The blue there," she mimes on her own perfectly unmarred, healthy, white skin at her neck to help.
"She was gripping my arm," Ember says, and it's as though the prospect of potentially having absorbed poison actually angers her more than it scares her. She takes a step backwards, and turns her glare away from Sophie, as if recognizing that it's not fair to the healer. "Tell us whatever you can," she says, to Sophie but not looking at her directly. "Anything helps."
Archeron leans in to Amir as he prepares to leave
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