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High Tea at the Kennex Kay.

Catalana invites the ladies of the city to join her for a tea party.

Date

Oct. 4, 2019, 8:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Catalana

Participants

Miranda Niklas Victus Thea Sabella Ember Alarissa Zoey Aethan Porter Evonleigh

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Kennex Kay - Main Hall

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Catalana is set by the door. Dressed in a delicate demure blue gown and with her hair pulled back in an elegant knot she is the epitome of a Thrax lady. She smiles warmly as her guests arrive, ushering them in to find comfortable seats and a wide variety of food and drinks. After a brief hand wave, a lute player begins to play quietly in the corner.

William, a taciturn quartermaster arrives, following Aethan.

Miranda enters with Thea, the two second-cousins can't possibly be here together, can they? Why yes, yes they can! Miranda is commenting to Thea, "The gown is lovely on you. Do I look okay? Aahana gave me this and I barely wear it. I'm afraid to ruin it!" She chuckles and smooths her gown a bit, then stages whispers, "I'm also terrible at these things. Do not bail on me, Cousin." She winks at her. Surely the Sword-Voice of Gemecitta can manage on her own... right?? As they enter, she nods to Catalana, "My Lady, thank you for the invitation."

Niklas leads Sabella into the Kay, followed by their usual retinue. "...certain that Cat has something entirely wonderful planned, my love. The Isles are known for good tea. For most people it's the only way to keep warm." He tugs on his jacket, offering smiles all around. Though he's wearing a completely new outfit (but of course) he remains a vision in pumpkin spice and the colors of fall. "Come, let's mingle. And look to see if she made trifle. Her mother used to have a servant, ah, er, well, thrall who made the best trifle."

Victus and Alarissa are trailing along slow and steadily. With the Prince's arm interlocked with his wife's, half of his coat thrown over her shoulder to shield from the autumn chill. "Social and proper." The High Lord rumbles. "With /tea/. Social and proper. With /tea/. A good opportunity to get out and talk about things in a quiet setting. Without anyone's fingers attempting to shovel food into your mouth." It's unclear whether he's speaking directly to Alarissa or saying this for his own benefit. The breastplate he wears creaks as he steps into the Kay. "And the house is only down the road should a disaster occur and we need to imminently flee. We've all ends covered." His near black eyes turn toward Catalana as they step alongside her. He's not smiling, but his face isn't a stonewall either. "Good eve, Lady Catalana."

Thea steps in beside Miranda,"I would never,"her gold-flecked green eyes shifting as she smiles a little and nods,"you look just fine." Then again, clothes are not her strong suit. When they reach the room, Thea bows her head to Catalana,"Thank you for the invite, Lady Catalana" Did she flinch? no? We're good!

"Oh, I have no doubt. Cat!" Sabella greets their hostess enthusiastically, "Thank you so much for throwing this and inviting us! A wonderful break from everything that's been going on! Niklas told me to be on the look out for a trifle I shan't want to miss," She beams a brilliant smile at those arriving, "Price Victus! Princess Alarissa! Lady Thea it's like I only just saw you at breakfast, we shall have to form a new tea club I think. Lady Miranda, I feel it has been too long since we last spoke. Nik, pick me out a pretty cup please."



Baroness Ember Redreef isn't early to arrive, but she IS exactly on time. It's a kind of punctuality that might register as unsettling to some. Perhaps that's why the Bloody Baroness has her retinue: a pack of teenage girls in matching gowns, who give the impression that they could easily be more fashionable than their boss but are intentionally keeping one pace behind her, style-wise, so as not to show her up too badly.



Ember herself is in an off-the-shoulder gown which showcases insane traps and old sword wounds. "Lady Catalana," she says, upon greeting the hostess. Ember curtsies, and in a choreographed display, her handmaidens curtsy with her -- one can only imagine how much drilling those poor girls have lived through to be able to have their timing and motion down so flawlessly. "Thank you for your invitation."

The coat -is- big en ought to shield the woman a solid foot and some smaller than Victus. In striking umbra and carmine seasilk, There's a glance to the man then to the hostess as they arrive. No indication if what's said by him is indeed directed at her or not. "Lady Catalana." It's steady and quietly offered with a smile, a dip of her head to her then a glance to Sabella as their names are called out.

Catalana smiles warmly at each and every guest. To Niklas, she shares. "Rebecca was the first Thrall father freed, and her daughter works in the kitchen. The trifle is over there." Then an even brighter smile specifically for Alarissa. "Your highness. I am so glad to see you. I have been meaning to come visit. Please come in."

Octavian, a silken spaniel, Porter arrive, following Zoey.

Miranda smiles to Sabella and curtsies and.. oh my, so many royals afoot! She curtsies to the room then and offers, "Your Highnesses, Ladies.." She does regard the Baroness's entourage with some scrutiny. That is pretty impressive, the way they all just... curtsied... together. Miranda leans to Thea, "Did they all just do that in unison or was I the only one who saw that?" She then smiles to everyone, "Hello! I'm here to represent!" Yes. Yes, she is. She chuckles and moves further into the room, no need to block Catalana and all that. To Sabella, Miranda says, "I've been hiding."

Zoey emerges from the library, her brother-in-law following. "Oh my," she gasps. She hadn't expected so many people in the hall upon her return.

Octavian, a silken spaniel have been dismissed.

Aethan arrives, perhaps slightly late, which really doesn't have an excuse because he lives here, but still. He takes a moment on the threshold, looking around at those assembled. He starts inside then, nodding first to Catalana. "Cat," he says, "everything looks very nice." There's a deeper nod to Victus and Alarissa then, deep enough that it's more or less a bow, before he lifts his hand to Niklas and Sabella in greeting. It's then he sees Zoey and Porter, and there's another wave to them both.

Already so many people, Thea is a bit well--Thea. She curties however, yep--she did that--the royals, and gives a smile to Sabella,"An official one perhaps." She turns and sees Niklas still looks like a life sized drink. Thea bows her head and and greets people as they enter, keeping up best she can. She lowly murmurs to Miranda.

Niklas brightens when he's directed to the trifle, but he stops along the way to sort through the available teacups before picking one painted to resemble an Isles sunset, all blues and pinks. That done, it's trifle time. Oh, the things he does to that trifle. Then he's heading back over to pass the cup off to his wife before turning to greet pretty much everyone. "Zoey! Porter!" He's just thrilled to see family. "I've been by the Kay more times in the past couple of weeks than I have since I got married." And then to the others, "Lady Miranda and Lady Thea! Baroness Ember, so good to see you again. Aethan!" Aethen, well, though the admiral may not expect or even want it, Aethen gets a big ol' hug. Before his sailor second-cousin can protest he's rounding on their fellow royals. "Princess Alarissa, radiant as ever. And Prince Victus. Equally radiant!"

Porter follows after Zoey, pausing once he emerges into this shindig of well dressed people, lace and finger foods. With a wry tone he comments to his sister in law "What have you lead me into here? I don't even have my frilly man blouse to fit in with." Catching his brother's wave he casually offers one in return, and easily purloins a bottle of rum from a nearby table as naturally as if it had been put there just for him. "Niklas, if I didn't know better I'd say you were just hoping to find me again because you missed me."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Ember before departing.

"you are always welcome to stop in. Visitors are being... permitted again. Send word when you want to visit. His Grace thought I might enjoy some time out." Alarissa offers to Catalana, a bow of her head to Ethan and then to Niklas. "You look the same yourself. Very autumnal." She remains beside Victus, most of her tucked under that great coat for now.

Victus dips his head toward Sabella and Niklas each. "Prince Niklas, Princess Sabella. Good to see you both. Can't say I feel particularly shiny, however." So many more guests has Victus dashing his attention left and right. He's already out of his element and moves like a giant trying desperately not to step on anything underfoot. Namely, the ends of any extravagent dresses. "Arrival has been a success. And now we... drink tea, I presume?" This posed to Alarissa. "That is the logical next step, aye?"



"Prince Niklas," Ember replies. Her face is its usual stony mask but her tone carries no PARTICULAR coldness, and in some cases 'an absence of coldness' is as good as 'warmth.' "A pleasure to see you again, as well as Princess Sabella." Ember's handmaidens hang back, but are already up to their usual tricks, whispering amongst themselves. Sam, the boy who is definitely not a princess in disguise, seems to have caught their collective eye, as the Redreef ladies seem to be gazing at him quite a bit in the course of their murmuring and suppressed giggling.

"It's good to see you out and about," says Zoey to Alarissa. "Your color is coming back. I hope this means you are feeling relatively well?"

Catalana chuckles at Niklas, "We love having you visit. Is this why I am your favorite? Because I supply trifle and make you come visit?" Another smile is flashed at Aethan, "I'm glad you could make it. No Lady Whitehawk tonight? A shame. I truly love her company. I hear she has another play in the works." Then to Alarissa, "I will certainly come to visit." She tries for a soft joke with the princess-consort, "I shall leave Wash at home. So far, I have only heard that playing Galen's balls led him to fall asleep in your cat's bed."

Sabella turns the cup over in her hands, definitely pleased with the choice Niklas made, "Even though it's autumn it can be so hard to shake the chill of the evening," she says to Alarissa with a smile, "I ought to break out the extra cloaks too. I'll be grateful for the tea." She looks back to the giggling handmaidens, seeming amused, before Zoey's comment has her looking to Alarissa again, "Have you been ill? There are so many strains of sickness going about it seems and having small children I feel like they collect them more often than they do bugs to sprinkle around to those that are taken in by their adorableness for cuddles." She then turns her head towards Catalana, "Wash is playing Galen's balls?" She repeats as if she must have misheard.

Thea clears here throat at this comment, trying hard not to grin. Instead she folds her hands in front of her. Balls and cats. Be a proper lady Thea!

There's a few people talking to her but it's Zoey, followed by Sabella that has Alarissa's jaw tightening. Her arm tightens around Victus's. It's a breath, then two then three before there's a polite but tight smile. "I have suffered a grievous that I am still recovering from and will be some time adjusting to and recovering. But thank you for asking. "The children are well." There's a glance to Zoey. "And will Lord Ian be visiting and if so, might you ask he refrain from making comments about hands?"

The hug from Niklas doesn't exactly catch Aethan by surprise, but it does take him a second to reciprocate. Not because he doesn't want to, but he's probably just not the world's best hugger. A smile does flash across his face as he pats his cousin on the back. "Good to see you both," he says as he pulls back, clearly including Sabella in that as he looks from Niklas to her. His gaze moves back to Catalana then, and the mention of Evonleigh has his expression softening a little bit, though he shakes his head. "Not tonight," he continues. "I'll tell her you said that, though. I'm sure she'd appreciate it."

"He's out," Zoey assures her. She adds something too softly for anyone but Alarissa to hear.

Miranda just.. has stopped talking, looking between those here as they talk of someone's.. balls. Her brows furrow over her honey-brown eyes as she tries to follow the conversation. She smirks and leans to whisper to her cousin, no doubt conspiratorially for these Lycene Ladies!

"There are any number of reasons why I like you the most, Cat. But the trifle is a new one!" Niklas glances around at the mention of Galen's balls, just in case there's going to be some sort of wardlord dance. But when that doesn't seem likely he looks to Porter. "I hardly need an excuse to come around and see my family. Though I need even less of an excuse to not do that, so maybe an excuse doesn't hurt." He leans back against a display case full of the few of Ford's model ships that he and Luca had never gotten around to stealing and looks back to Victus, giving the Prince an appraising look, before he turns back to Aethan. "No Lady Evonleigh? Psh. A pity."



The Bloody Baroness is currently busying herself with the warlike business of hors d'oeuvres. Nonetheless, when positioning allows, Ember spares a glance to Alarissa. She doesn't direct her eyes downward and to the left, as so many people have done and will do, but she does meet the Princess's eyes for a moment. Then, and only then, does Ember give a single nod. The thick pink scar running across her cheek is probably as much an indicator as any as to what she's trying to convey. Ember's ladies continue their rampage of gossip, some of them still fawning over Sam from a distance, two of them casting eyes over at Miranda and quite possibly talking about her seasilk gown.

Porter gestures with the rum bottle towards Niklas "An excuse never hurt, it just legitimizes whatever you're setting out on." with a chuckle he adds "I should be setting out though, bad form to crash a tea party. Especially when the hostess knows where I bed and has no qualms about ear pulling."

Victus keeps close to his wife's side. She was his guiding force through a fancy part, although he does tilt his head this way and that to listen to any ongoing conversation. One or two words cause a furrow of his brow, his scarred face lending itself to just enough emotion to show confusion. "Are the Warlord's balls up for discussion? I wasn't told beforehand." He blinks. "There must be booze in this party after all. I'll find it. Only a matter of time."

Zoey says something softly to Alarissa, a contrite expression on her face.

Miranda giggles at Thea's whisper and nods. She tugs Thea gently to her as if the Malvici Lady were a shield! A look to Ember and Miranda bows her head in greeting, "Lady Miranda Rubino, my Lady." By way of introduction. "And my Cousin, Lady Thea Malvici." In case they've not met. "We're ... keeping each other out of trouble tonight." A look to Thea, "Or IN trouble. I can't ever keep that straight." A look back to Ember, "You seem to know what you're doing there with the appetizers. Suggestions?"

"Porter! I had heard you were back! I was just telling someone the other day about you and windows," Sabella pauses, then quickly adds, "All good things!" As if there are good things that can be associated with someone and windows. She helps herself to something to eat and replies to Victus with a shrug, "I've heard Galen's balls are immense spectacles that have caused more than one noblewoman to swoon. Probably nobleman too. Because of the heat that they produce." She has a bite of something then continues, "Because they're so well attended!"

Porter's eyes dance with a boyish mischief as Sabella tells him what she's been saying "You really shouldn't lie to them if you're telling them all good things." the man laughing easily, his words wholly teasing, "I made it back a few days ago, but it seems that word of my arrival has begun to spread. I probably should get out and make the rounds."



"I've seen Prince Galen in his inordinately tight swimwear," Ember notes after Sabella's comment. She waits half a beat, then adds, "But -- it's possible the water was cold that day." Is she joking? She doesn't say it like she's joking. She's exploring new Lemarchand Configurations of deadpan. Ember turns towards Marina then: "Hm? I'm afraid I don't have much advice to give -- I'm going by how they look. I don't believe we've been introduced...?"

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

Alarissa murmurs quietly to Zoey before looking up to Victus. "Go find alcohol. I'm sure there's some somewhere. I'll be fine. It has to happen sometime." Alarissa notes before carefully extracting herself from under the great coat. 'Where is the best pot?" Alarissa inquires to the room, what she's wearing obscuring the left side of her. "Baroness Ember. What do you suggest?"

Catalana tells Sabella, "I wish. Apparently it is a new drinking game. Why it's called Galen's balls I don't know. All I know is my husband got drunk playing and ended in a pets bed for the night."

2 Whitehawk Guards arrives, following Evonleigh.

Thea discreetly eyes Porter's rum bottle, a bit envious since you know--booze, then back to Miranda,"I think Martino would be in his glory, to be fair. All the tea." Then she hears Miranda and lifts her eyebrow and smiles a bit at Ember,"I believe we met, but it has been awhile. Pleasure to see you again." More mentions of balls. This time hot. "Well I can't think of any any balls that wouldn't enjoy attention,"these words directed to Sabella. Her face deadpan

Zoey gets a cup of tea for herself and approaches Sabella. "Shall we count this as that tea we intended to have together?"

Miranda did just introduce herself, so looks to Ember, "No, I think not. Lady Miranda Rubino," she repeats cheerfully, hand to her chest. "And Lady Thea Malvici." Miranda gestures to Thea. A glance to Alarissa who refers to Ember as Baroness and she oohs, nodding her head lightly to Ember in a bit of a more respectful, not that her greeting wasn't respectful before, nod. "Baroness, then."

Did someone ask for introductions? Suddenly Sabella is at Ember's elbow, "Oh, please allow me! That's Lady Catalana, our fantastic hostess and one of the best diplomatic minds in the city, Lord Porter who is quite charming and brother to Lord Aethan there who smiles altogether too much, you'll see, and Lady Evonleigh is with him although we don't say that too loudly or Octavia might appear and start drafting up paperwork right now. Lady Miranda has just introduced herself and Lady Thea, but neglected to point out that should you find yourself in need of a sturdy breakfast with great company you can find her at Bold Espressions nearly every morning, that's Prince Victus who shall one day be remembered in the hall of heroes for what he's doing to end thralldom within his lands, and his wife Princess Alarissa who used to be a Grayson can you tell because she's just all around completely lovely and a sharper mind you'll never come across, and my husband, Prince Niklas whom you might know better as the Playwright I will go on and on about him if you let me so you really shouldn't, and Lady Zoey of course who should not count this as tea because I'm selfish and want her all to myself one of these days!" She takes a breath finally and looks around, eyes bright, "Is that everyone? Did I miss anyone?"

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

Miranda just gapes at Sabella at the incredible introductions of EVERYONE. When she is introduced, she lifts a hand to everyone, then chuckles a bit at Thea's introduction. "You are getting predictable, Cousin. You should change your ritual just to throw folks off!" She smirks, "Pookie ought to do the same. Maybe.. like today, sitting at the fire, not the couch. Genius!"



Ember blinks once at Miranda repeating herself, like she's experiencing deja vu. It's a strange, uncomfortable half-second -- or at least, it could well be if allowed as such. "I-- yes, my apologies, Lady Miranda. Please do forgive me. And Lady Thea, I beseech you as well. It has been... an odd time lately. My girls keep catching me mixing up names, and it's getting incredibly embarrass--"



Ember can't even finish her statement before she's grabbed by Sabella and given a whirlwind tour of names and faces. Her handmaidens go from consternation at Ember's gaffe to absolutely biting back their incredible amusement at how clearly uncomfortable Ember is with Sabella parading her around. Sure, Ember keeps up that impassive mask, but some things simply cannot be hidden. While Ember is being led around, one of the older handmaidens says to Alarissa, "The Baroness quite enjoys the cucumber goat cheese bites there."

"I think she may be working on her play," Aethan replies to Niklas, though he doesn't sound //totally// sure about it. He //does// know she's working on a play, that much is certain. The very picture of Sabella's introduction, definitely. Oh, wait, though he is not smiling right now. But he is also not frowning, so that's something! He reaches for a cup of coffee that has been brought to him specifically, taking it with a nod of thanks before he takes a sip from it.

Catalana grins widely at Sabella's introduction, "And if you don't know, this is Princess Sabella. The kindest person I know and my wonderful patron."

Speak of the devil and she'll appear? A little late, but hopefully still fashionably so, Evonleigh enters the hall. She looks a little rosy-cheeked, as if perhaps she might have run here across town in the chilly wintry air. "Ladies, gentlemen, highnesses," she says with sparkling eyes and a bright smile. "Hopefully there's some tea left. I'm a Mercier by birth, so I need a regular replenishment to keep my body working properly, you see." She's not hiding that merchant-born thing, and shows no flush of cheeks at not having been born a noble. She dips a graceful curtsy for those royals among the tea party, before moving to Aethan's side.

Zoey smiles at Sabella before taking a seat at one of the couches to thoughtfully sip her tea.

Zoey has joined the Cream colored leather couch set.

"Are you sure?" Victus cocks a brow down to Alarissa. "I mean... Yes, you're sure. Understood." With that the Prince is making the bold move of breaking away, his coat slipping off her shoulders as he makes his move. Awkwardly shuffling through the rows of guests to make his way toward the refreshment table. Somewhere across that long field laid the promised land. But wait... There's a bottle of rum already in his hand? The High Lord is briefly flummoxed, up until he spies Zoey from the corner of his eye. With his confused expression, he gives her a quick thumbs up. "Thanks." Now it was just to find glasses. The table echoed much clinking as Victus searched for the perfect one with unsteady hands.



"Eh?" Victus whirls around at the sound of his name. "Hall of... Oh. Right. Thralldom abolition. Yes. Despite the unrest, the actual numbers look quite good. At least fifteen percent of all thralls have found their freedom... Wine glass? No, not a wine glass." His voice trails off while he refocuses on the task at hand.

Niklas smiles indulgently as Sabella goes off on a tear, though at one point his smile becomes rather brittle and he goes ahead and stuffs it with some trifle until it comes back at regular strength. He offers nods all around when she mentions him, despite his already knowing just about everyone present. "Yes. Tea." He takes a moment to find himself a teacup before picking up a truly hideous teacup. "Oh, it's the teacup I made when Seraph Willas had us all decorate our own cups!" He holds it up for Sabella to see. "This is a horsey." Painted by someone who can't paint and also may not know what a horsey looks like.

Thea scoffs at Miranda,"My mornings are spent with people I like -after- I spent time with soldiers, then the beach, and you know, the things--"the girl is busy! But she shifts a little because it was awkwardly true.

Goat cheese and cucumber bites. Some of those find their way to a small plate and placed in her hand as Alarissa dips her head in thanks to Ember's handmaid, a glance as introductions include her. Alarissa smiles, a frisson of that Grayson pride at the compliment before she's off to find a seat, some place to sit, watching Victus hunt for a teacup big enough.

Zoey returns Victus's thumbs up with a discrete wink over the top of her teacup.

Sabella has joined the Cream colored leather couch set.

Miranda nods to Thea, "I'm just saying. What if Dom were looking for you? He'd know exactly where to find you." She notes the handmaidens' horror and Miranda addresses them, "Don't worry, ladies. I promise not to put it in the Whites. That would be rude. Besides, I'm surprised I'm still following the conversations here. So many people, so much to listen to..." She winks at them, then to Thea again, "Dariel and you really ought to shake it up a bit. However, he might find that to be hard work, so... can't have that."

"Indeed, it's as though he's summoned her specifically! Aethan looks over when Evonleigh suddenly spreads by his side, and there's an almost imperceptible relaxing of his shoulders as he actually //does// smile. It's small, but it's there. "Lady Evonleigh," he says, "hello." He touches her arm briefly, a small gesture that nonetheless seems heartfelt.

Porter slowly backs from the whole tea party affair, and once he's past the doors his cheerful whistling can be heard as he departs

Alarissa has joined the Patterned plush couch set.

"How...original!" Sabella comes up with after a moment, giving her husband an encouraging smile, "And I'm so glad that you decided to keep up with your lessons for I can definitely see your improvement!" She has a seat and then says to Zoey, "I thought every couch in Kennex Kay was a napping couch, but I'm glad to hear I have chosen the best!"

Catalana glances to Niklas's cup and gives a horrorified laugh, "I swore I got rid of that one." She greets Evonleigh warmly, "Lady Evonleigh. I was just asking Aethan if you were coming. I am glad you made it." She then gestures to a table being set up, "I actually had teacup painting set up for anyone who wished to paint their own."



Ember's handmaiden gives Alarissa a respectful curtsy. Like Ember herseld, the handmaidens conspicuously avoid looking at or commenting on the Arm Issue. Perhaps they've been specifically warned.



A pair of other Redreef handmaidens exchange a look between themselves, then look to Miranda and Thea. They apparently both seem to be looking for what to say. "The Baroness has been under stress lately, my Lady," one of them says, and then the other shushes her mercilessly. The one who spoke very nearly stammers, but not quite. "It's not our place to discuss. Forgive me, my Lady." Both of them curtsy.



Finally, one more Redreef handmaiden receives a messenger. As Ember approaches the group, recovering from Sabella's Express Tour of the Mourning Isles -- she almost seems to feel like she needs to fix her hair afterwards -- that handmaiden cuts her off and silently passes her the message. Ember stops in her tracks and reads. Her expression doesn't change, but her brow furrows slightly. "Mm," she comments. Then she looks up: "Lady Miranda, Lady Thea. Some other time, perhaps, you will allow me a chance to make a better impression." She's gripping that messenger awfully tight. Then Ember moves, and her ladies move with her, to Catalana: "Lady Catalana, I am most regretfully being called away. I beg your forgiveness -- I had so hoped to stay longer, as your hosting is without peer. Besides, I thought we could have gotten in that duel that we owe one another. Perhaps next party?"

Miranda nods to Thea, quietly murmuring to her, but eyeing Victus' rum! A look to Ember, "Of course, Baroness, at your leisure, though I think no harm's been done." She's easy. Forgiving, that is. A light shrug is offered to the Baroness as she seems ready to depart.

Catalana disappointedly peeks at Ember, "I hope all is alright? But of course I understand you must leave." Her eyes immediately lift in joy at this terrible duel idea. "Yes. Next party we shall swish swords and parry.. thrust?" It's very clear that Cat has likely never held a sword in her life.

"My apologies for being late. I got caught up by some correspondence," Evonleigh says to Catalana, her fingers curling around Aethan's as she turns to look at the teacup painting station. "I am not the painting Whitehawk, so unless I paint something very simple, it would be a waste of a poor cup, I think!" she says lightly. "I have no talent with brushes. I can't even brush my own hair very well," she quips. That might explain why it's always in loose up-dos or messy touseled waves. She looks to Aethan with brows lifting. "Do you paint at all? If anyone could make a teacup out of knots, I'm sure you could."

Thea nods to Ember,"Oh it's quite alright. No harm at all, I assure you, the young Malvici tells the Baroness as she departs. Seeing Evonleigh, Thea bows her head in greeting to her, a slight smile on her lips.

Miranda leans to Thea, murmuring to her before saying to others, "Well, it has been a delight, everyone, but I should also get going." She smiles to Catalana, "It was a delight, my Lady, thank you."



Ember stares at Catalana for a long moment after the swords comment. It's as though Catalana's lack of understanding of swordplay has give Ember's brain some kind of integer overflow error. "Er... yes. Perhaps. We'll decide the terms later. But... the responsibilities of my title beckon me away, something to which no one here is a stranger. Good evening to you all." Ember (and her maidens) curtsy one more time for the room, with particular nods towards Catalana and to the set of Victus and Alarissa. Then Ember leads them off into the night, for gods know what.

A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens leaves, following Ember.

Brenlin, Aide-de-Camp, 2 Rubino and Zaffria guards, Jewel, a Maelstrom Forest Cat leave, following Miranda.

Catalana assures Evonleigh as she steers the lady to the teacup painting, "Nonsense. Nothing can be as bad as Niklas's demon horse. As children, Ford use to hide it in my teaset just to try and give me nightmares. I suggest splashing yellows and oranges on it and say it's a sunset."

Alarissa is making the rounds, carefully, of others in attendance to the high tea, a glance to Victus now and then, noting his location then back to the people that she's conversing with. But there's teacup painting and she starts to make her way there, to regard others who may be painting.

Aethan has just finished a sip of his coffee when Evonleigh asks him if he paints. Luckily, he has swallowed, since the snort he lets out is not actually accompanied by expelling liquid. Awkward. "No," he says simply once he's recovered, and he shakes his head. "I don't have any sort of creative talent. Niklas got the lion's share of that, and didn't leave much for the rest of us. Even those of us born before him."

Thea blinks and then--well Miranda is leaving,"Of course...see you soon."

"This horse was the start of a brilliant career as an artist, I will have you know! In fact, Princess Alarissa has one of my early works in her private office," says Niklas rather primly to Catalana. He then fills his teacup and sets in a teaball to steep. "It is odd to think that we were once all a bunch of silly children running around Stormward and now here we are, a bunch of silly adults running around Arx. So much has changed!"

Thea's smile is returned by Evonleigh, and then she laughs at Aethan's snort. "As usual, you short yourself. Naval strategy may not be a fine art, but I am sure it does require creative thinking. A talent isn't always about making a beautiful object or performance," she says, though she looks over at the cup Catalana refers to and smiles. "All things in balance, I suppose. I hope you were not too traumatized by it, Lady Catalana, and that it does not keep Princess Sabella up this evening." She smiles at Niklas' talk of them as children. "I would have liked to have seen that."

Catalana gives Alarissa a pitying look, "From all the Kennexes, we're sorry for inflicting that on your office."

"Oh, Kennex didn't inflict it. Lady Katarina Valardin gifted it to me. It resides within the office of the voices in the sirens hall. It is an interesting piece." ALarissa's not painting, a teacup in her hand as she shifts to regard Niklas and Catalana. 'I have carefully been collecting some pieces to place in the estate, as I find them. There's some lovely pieces in the shackles."

"I should be off now, but thank you for having me,"Thea says to Catalana, her words sincere. She offers a slight smile and glances around the room. A nod of her head following.

Victus appears to have found a cup large enough to be comfortable but not unwieldy. With that extra bit in hand, he's quick to meander back toward Alarissa. For the time being standing on the sidelines, giving the occasional glance here or there. His stiff and rigid posture could not be more obvious. "I feel as though the squirrel couch is much worse."

'Oh the squirrel couch." Alarissa smiles at that, a true wide smile. "A hundred of those poor things, all staring at you. How they sit on it, I do not know, I cannot bring myself to do it. What was Magpie thinking." Alarissa shakes her head.

Catalana just has to question, "Squirrel couch? Like, made of squirrels?"

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes leaves, following Thea.

"You are a very good painter now, my love!" Sabella calls out from the couch where she sits with Zoey, giving Niklas an encouraging smile that might be seen as patronizing, "I still adore the portrait you made of me that hangs in the front hall at Grayson! But Princess Alarissa you must know that much like the joust with the king, he talks about how you have one of his paintings all the time. I think it might have been the highlight of his life to see that work on your walls," she grins, lifting her teacup in a mock toast.

Evonleigh finds a bit of tea to put in a cup to drink, not paint, apparently not quite ready to commit to any art just yet. She's barely settled down with it and a plate of dainties when a messenger darts in with a message for her. Reading it, she sighs, and sets aside her cup. "I've a little thing to attend to, it seems. Work is never done, is it?" she says with a tone of lament. Aethan gets a quick kiss on the cheek. "Walk with me to the gate?" she asks, before she moves to Catalana next to give her a quick squeeze of the hand and a murmur of 'thanks' and 'sorry.'

2 Whitehawk Guards leaves, following Evonleigh.

Aethan shakes his head again, but he just says, "I'm not sure I would have wanted you to know me as a child." It does sound a little bit more joking than usual, though. The kiss on the cheek has him smiling a little bit more, and he nods once, lifting a hand in farewell to his cousins. There's a bow to Victus and Alarissa, before he, took exits the room.

William, a taciturn quartermaster leaves, following Aethan.

Zoey laughs at Something Sabella says at the couch.

"Yes, it's made of several squirrels." Victus replied in stoic fashion. "It's actually very comfortable, but you don't easily forget that it's made out of many, many squirrels." A beat. "We also have a nude portrait of Galen floating somewhere around the ward. I forgot where. And I hope I never remember." He sips from his fancy cup of rum. "Most of our art isn't so vulgar. There's a lot of teeth, jaws, claws and storms. Or the imminent threat of raising waters. It keeps you on your toes."

'The ebb and flow." Alarissa supplies for Victus. 'Princess Denica's works."

"I imagine Aethan was shorter," Sabella offers to the room only after he's gone, "But just as entertaining as he is these days!" As for the squirrel couch she doesn't offer her opinion, but will surely have nightmares about it later, "Princess Denica is an amazing artist. I've never seen her finalized works, but she showed me her sketchbook once! Did they ever figure out who the painter of the, ah, rear ends was? I remember that causing quite a stir. Did you end up with one of those?" She asks Victus.

Catalana scrubs her eyes at that memory. "I don't need to remember that painting." She smiles to Victus, "Perhaps it could be a Thraxian technique. Scare the guests with terrible artwork."

"Ah. Good. Now I can remember." Victus rattles off with an absolutely arid tone. "I don't think it eas that... butt-painter. I never heard what became of him, actually. My mind says that Prince Edain strung him up and proceeded to lecture him on every Oathland code of honor in the book. Unfortunately, it may just be lost to time..." Then onto Catalana. "I believe we do already. You do step through the jaws of a shark to enter the estate. Then there's the stone cross that we've traditionally used for executions standing up proud in the ballroom. The Shackles and Chattel Pen were both much less enjoyable to sit in before the renovations. You get a very strong sense of severity everywhere you go. I like it though. Reminds me of home."

Zoey has left the Cream colored leather couch set.

Catalana tries her hardest not to cringe and show sympathy for Victus's childhood. Oh she tries. It's more like an awkward spasm and a tight smile. "Home sounds...lovely." She glances at the airy Kay and Ford's toy ships. "Maybe that's why we don't strike fear into anyone's hearts."

Alarissa has drifted off to watch the painting again.

Zoey has joined the Cream colored leather couch set.

Sabella pipes up from the couch, "On the contrary, Cat, I can't say that I'm fond of the sea so anywhere in Thrax ward including the Kay due to all the ship seems downright hostile to me! The company excluded, of course! I don't know that I could have married a Kennex if I didn't find the family quite charming! Just...there are so many boats." She looks around and seems a little green around the edges just thinking about it.

Victus follows Catalana's eyes. "Maelstrom is very lovely. I don't recommend you visit the lower parts of the fortress. It smells of iron and every stone is stained a different shade of red. It's not paint." The rum is lifted up just underneath his beard as he observes t he small model ships. "I wouldn't say that. My last visit to Stormward ended with Lady Elara Kennex being crushed to death by a statue. My daughter was incredibly frightened." He sips. "But she did save my wife's life and for that I am still very grateful." Speaking of, Victus' eyes drift toward the distracted Alarissa. "Are you tired, 'Rissa? We can make for home if you wish. It is getting late."

Catalana notices the darkening sky outside, "It is getting late. I do thank you all for coming out tonight. It was a real pleasure to have you all here." She assures Victus after with a smile. "I have only ever seen the wonders of Maelstrom. It is always welcoming and I will stay in the upper parts after that warning. Thank you."



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