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Oct Grayson Family Dinner

The next installment of the Grayson Family Dinner is scheduled for October 15th! Grayson family members are of course welcome, as are any vassals or anyone somehow connected to the family. It's just a way for everyone to all get in the same room and catch each other up on what's going on. Attendance is not required, but strongly encouraged and light guilt trips may be arranged for those who can't make it because family comes first, right? None Greater Than Grayson At Attending Family Gatherings!

Date

Oct. 15, 2019, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Sabella

Participants

Peri Catalana Corban Ailys Zoey Niklas Symonesse Thesarin Evonleigh Aethan Roxana Kaia

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


2 Grayson House Guards, Max, an emperor tamarin, Rosalee, The Champion arrive, following Ailys.

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

Octavian, a silken spaniel arrives, following Zoey.

Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise arrives, following Niklas.

Reedy, a King's Own aide arrives, following Corban.

2 Grayson House Guards, Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, Clark, an exasperated guard arrive, following Sabella.

The dining room is all abustle with servants putting the finishing touches on everything while Sabella unhelpfully moves things a little bit here and there, before turning to stand by the door, beaming a brilliant smile at people as they arrive, "If anyone was expecting turkey we have held off in honor of the Bisland dinner tomorrow!"

The Seliki can be heard out in the hall. "...by the boom AND THEN we had to fish him out." Peri is waving her arms around. Her hair is extra tangled today and sparkles from the melting flecks of ice. Eina is very tidy and ship shape. She's trying to hand Peri a hat. "Here we are!" Peri exclaims.

Catalana arrives a little early, she needs to find that trifle dish Niklas stole from the Kay, plus. She has that nightmare horse teacup to slide onto the table. Finding Sabella already here, she quickly finds Nik's name card and puts the cup in place before greeting her second favorite Grayson. "Princess Sabella. It all smells so delicious in here."

Clinking and clanking in his rubicund armor, Sir Corban Telmar is most decidedly not a Grayson or related to a Grayson or really anything that would otherwise have an invitation to this dinner. Nonetheless, the person who follows after him, the Queen Herself, Symonesse, might explain his presence. As might explain the five other rubicund clad silver swords with them.

Ailys gives a smile to Sabella as she arrives, nodding slightly to her. "Turkey tomorrow, which leaves... a surprise for today?" she asks, brows rising curiously. She glances briefly towards the table, sniffing the air a bit to see if she can catch a whiff of SOMETHING. But there are undoubtedly many smells for the evening's affair.

Octavian, a silken spaniel have been dismissed.

Zoey puts Lord Uriel Kennex in a monogrammed black calfskin satchel with silk lining.

Zoey arrives alone, and gets in line to greet Sabella. She looks around to see if any of her Bisland family made it.

Appearing a few minutes after his wife, Niklas pushes through while waving off someone who is giving him a stern lecture about something relating to babies. "...understand, it won't happen again! I am very sorry! Okay? Thank you, Mean Nanny. You have a good evening, Mean Nanny." He turns and faces the room, has a fraction of a second of, oh, hey, did they hear that? Then he puts both of his arms out, blinding in a winter-themed aeterna outfit, and calls out, "Graysons! And Grayson friends and associates! Welcome, each and every one!" He turns and points at Ailys, "Princess Ailys! I saw what you were doing the other day and I'm quite shocked. I hope you can tell us all the story later." Then he wheels about just as Sir Corban enters and finds whatever wit he was about to say next dies on his lips. "Ah. Your Majesty. It is so good to see you."

Oura, a white-tailed eagle, Valor, a juvenile male Oakhaven Bloodhound, 2 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors arrive, following Thesarin.

Symonesse arrives just a few steps behind Corban, all cheerful smiles as she looks at those around her. She turns that bright grin on Niklas as he greets her and says cheerily, "Prince Niklas, it is wonderful to see you as well. Alaric sends me with his apologies that duty keeps him away this evening, but has sent me in his place and instructed me to bring a hand bag big enough to hide some dessert in." She beams and then falters a minute as she glances at Corban, murmuring, "I wasn't supposed to say the last bit out loud, was I?"

Corban considers this for a moment, then shakes his head quickly. "It's quite alright, Your Majesty," he says. "When you are the Queen, you are allowed to say such things. I rather suspect you need not hide it in your handbag, anyway. In all events, I can have one of the knights carry it back. You need not trouble."

Ailys jumps a bit when she hears her name, blinking and turning to stare at Niklas. Utterly blankly, and much like the proverbial deer caught in headlights. She blinks again and squints a little, trying to figure out what she may have done to draw attention. Nope. Nothing. "...what did I do?" she finally asks, the blank look remaining on her face. "I'm not generally the most shocking person, so I think maybe you saw someone else."

Catalana can't help but laugh a little at the Queen's comment. "It must be a family saying. Lord Wash sent me with the same instruction." Coming to stand beside her cousin, she greets Symonesse, "Your Majesty. It is good to see you again." She then greets Niklas after, "Prince Niklas. I love the outfit. Much more than the pumpkin one."

Thesarin makes his way into the dining room, apparently running late, walking at his usual slow stroll. His prodigal guards (they must be prodigals; no shavs, of course, would be allowed in the heart of the city) have hung back, and the newly-minted Marquis gives a low dip of his head to the Queen and the assembled worthies of Grayson.

William, a taciturn quartermaster arrives, following Aethan.

2 Whitehawk Guards, Aethan arrive, following Evonleigh.

"A little bit of everything else," Sabella replies to Ailys with a laugh, gesturing to the spread, "No fish stews though, I leave those to Thrax," when the Queen enters she lights up like the sun, "Oh, we'll send you home with the best of the desserts, don't worry! It has not escaped me that his majesty usually sits next to the cakes! But please do sit and don't be shy to start with whatever you like--drinks, desert, vegetables!" she pauses like she thinks maybe that last thing won't be anyone's choice, but then there's Thesarin! "Marquis Riven!" she greets him, "How does the new title feel?"

Niklas tilts his head toward Ailys and taps the side of his nose. Back to Symonesse he says, "Had you not said so, Your Majesty, I do believe we would have assumed it." With another quick bow to the Queen he moves on to blood relatives, giving Catalana a hug when she approaches. "I defined autumn in that outfit, Cat. Fashionable people from Westrock Reach to Stormwall were wearing orange." He tugs on his aeterna jacket with its pale blue cut outs. "Of course that was so a month ago. Now it's time for a new look."

Symonesse laughs lightly and nods at Catalana, "I imagine. These Grayson men love their sweets. Sir Corban, will you see to it that a plate of dessert is carried home for Lord Wash as well? Hopefully, that will make for one less ruined hand bag tonight." The Queen glances at the table and then takes a seat herself, glancing over what is offered with curiosity.

Hand tucked in the crook of Aethan's arm, Evonleigh beams as the pair enter the room. "I knew it was a bring your own Kennex party," she tells the Admiral, when she spies quite a few of his kin among the dinner guests. Before she makes too many more jokes, though, she drops into a graceful curtsy for the queen and the prince and princesses present. "Good evening. I hope we're not too late." Of course, she knows how Grayson dinners go -- a veritable open house and feast for all with good company, so the Whitehawk lady doesn't seem too worried about the faux pas of being a little later than usual.

Catalana smiles fondly at Evonleigh, "Lady Evonleigh. Did you not know it's not a party until the Kennexes turn up? It is good to see you again. I keep meaning to have you come for dinner." She smiles too to Aethan, glad to see him out of his office. Finally, she laughs at Niklas, "Could you champion purples next? I love purples."

"Some twenty years I had the last one. Always fit me odd, being honest," Thesarin rumbles out toward Sabella as he moves to take a seat. It's probably true that the tattooed Prodigal is very few people's idea of a Count. He raises his chin toward Evonleigh with a vague grunt of greeting. "Had a set of titles in my time. But it's a fine thing Riven's gained, to give to my daughter one day. How now?"

Aethan enters with Evonleigh, his own smile a little less wide than his companion's, but it is, in fact, in existence! So that's something! When she curtseys to the queen, he accompanies it with a bow, and there's a little less formality in his greeting of Niklas and Sabella, which might be expected. "Nik," he says, "good to see you. Sabella. How are my niece and nephew?" There's a lifted hand of greeting to Catalana and Zoey as well, and then to the others present before he defers to Evonleigh for where they should sit.

"It would be my pleasure, Your Majesty," says Sir Corban, bowing his head and having his trusty aide Reedy arrange for it. He is the heavy here. But when the Queen sits, Corban moves to the right and behind her chair, taking up guard and listening to the conversation.

Ailys still looks thoroughly puzzled, squinting slightly and then turning to simply find her place at the table. She settles down in one of the seats, and smoothing her hands over the front of her skirts. Her eyes shift from one person to the next, studying faces and conversation.

There's a large platter of roast beef that one of the cooks is slicing into manageable pieces, along with a platter that appears to be half pork and half lamb. For those more veggie inclined there is a layered eggplant dish and plenty of sides and sauces to go with everything. Sabella proves the Queen's words true by heaping her plate with a slice of chocolate cake frosted with vanilla and then a slice of vanilla topped with chocolate, "Don't encourage him," she admonishes Catalana with a grin as she sits to tuck in, putting a cherry tomato on her plate to make sure it's a balanced meal, "So I believe everyone here has been to a Grayson family dinner at one point or another, but we always play a game where we each share an interesting thing that's happened to us recently or something we're planning on doing. And once you have shared, you pick the next person! As usual, I shall start, so while you eat do start thinking about what you'll share! Now let's see," she taps her fingers on the table, "Have I don't anything interesting or controversial lately? I did attend a lovely party on Wash and Catalana's ship! And also brought forth a proposal at the assembly of peers that's been a rather hotly debated topic around town. Oh! And I bought one of those bead bracelets!" she holds up her hand so everyone can see it, "Isn't it, well, charming? And since I have so many wonderfully charitable people here tonight I will also mention I'm putting together another basket raffle that will benefit the Tragedy and the Knights of Solace, so start working on ideas for things you could put into a basket to donate! I'm sure I'll be pestering everyone soon. Now..." she looks around the room and since he just came in, "Lord Aethan! What have you been up to?"

"Lady Catalana! That would be lovely," says Evonleigh warmly, moving that way to offer a quick hug to the Kennex woman and choosing to sit near her. Thesarin's stoic greeting earns him the same, a perfect parody of his up-nod, except hers ends in a broad grin as she sits down, smoothing her skirt. She raises a brow as Aethan is called on first, so she turns to a server to softly request coffee for Aethan as he speaks, and a glass of wine for herself.

Niklas points at Catalana. "I'm forecasting a nice purple for the latter half of spring. These things may change, of course. I used to have a lovely pastel pink suit that I was thinking could form the basis of something, but, you know, it's never good to think too hard about these things too soon." When Aethan comes in Niklas does what so very few do with Aethan and gives his cousin a big hug. "Aethan!" Then he turns on Evonleigh and gives her a proper cheek-adjacent air kiss. "Lady Evonleigh, it is so good you could make it. Have you met everyone? Honestly, it's usually Sabella's thing to take a deep breath and name dozens of people in one go, but that's Sir Corban of the King's Own. There's Princess Ailys, our resident physician and quite a troublemaker. And that's... gods, this is exhausting. Everyone will eventually introduce themselves."

Catalana has a plate of food organized for herself, and immediately laments, "No fish?" Looking to Niklas, "No fish? And pastel pink? I'm not sure I could imagine that. Perhaps a purple and silver? Perhaps even a mint green?" Then back to Evonleigh. "Good. Next week?" Her attention then on Aethan, curious to what he may say.

Symonesse watches Sabella make her plate and then follows suit, though perhaps with a few more vegetables. She avoids the meat entirely. She begins to tuck into the plate as she listens to the others speak. Even the way that Symonesse eats seems effortlessly graceful. She tries a bit of some sort of fruity tart and hums softly to herself in delight. She then takes another, places it on a little bread plate, and turns to offer it to Corban, brows lifting in silent offer.

Zoey quietly gets herself a plate of food and listens to the table chatter.

First Sabella is calling on him, and then Niklas is coming to give him a hug, and for a moment it's a little bit more than Aethan is able to process. He does, however, have the presence of mind to return Niklas' hug, and it's done warmly for him, which is probably not as warm as some people but is definitely genuine. "What have I been up to," he replies as he turns to Sabella. "Well, I suppose the most obvious thing would be that after several years' work, House Kennex was elevated to a duchy. I only played a small part, as it was the culmination of many people's efforts. But I'm proud of our family, many of whom are here tonight. So, thank you all." He looks around then for the next person to call on, before his eyes fall on Ailys. "Princess Ailys," he says with another nod to her, "your turn." A bit unceremonious, but still.

Evonleigh laughs at Niklas' antics, giving him a pat on the arm as he air kisses her cheek. She nods at the question of if she knows everyone. "If not properly introduced, by name and face and of course reputation," she says, then adds, "all good things, of course." Catalana's invitation gets a nod, before she turns as Aethan speaks. There's a soft smile of pride at his words and his modesty. "Well deserved, truly, and I think it was no small part you played. Any of you." Zoey and Catalana each get a nod of congratulations as well, before she turns her gray-blue gaze on Ailys.

1 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Roxana.

Corban takes the tart from Symonesse and bows his head gratefully. It would, after all, be rude to refuse. When Niklas introduces him, however, he nods his head to the group, taking them in politely. "Marquis Thesarin. Congratulations. I sent a note to your wife, but you are to be commended as well, on your work towards that great goal."

Catalana agrees with Evonleigh, a fond smile to Aethan. "I do not think we would of been elevated without all the work Lord Aethan has done. He is truly amazing."

Ailys peers at Niklas when she hears her name again, giving him an odd look. Her plate is carefully filled with food, and she begins to eat slowly. Her eyes move to focus on the Aethan as he shares his tales of events. When she is targeted for the next bout of sharing, her nose wrinkles just a bit, and only briefly, before she lifts a napkin to wipe her lips. "Well. Despite my apparent reputation as a troublemaker..." A sideways look is given to Niklas. She heard that. "...I actually haven't been up to much at all. I responded to a call at the hospital by someone in a bit of a panic, but the patient was healed well enough. I received an invitation to help establish a convent dedicated to housing in Pridehall, but I believe the plans for that are still rough, so I don't have a timeline." A small shrug, the lack of timeline not seeming a problem for her. And then she's gesturing to Niklas. His turn. "Prince Niklas. You're up."

Roxana is definitely not arriving to dinner late, especially when expected to play lady-in-waiting to Her Majesty. Her sleep schedule has just been a little off, but surely it's been Roxy keeping Symonesse's skirts strait, whispering with her when the Queen wants (or wants to decline) another drink or course of food. She says nothing at all just yet, hoping that her panting arrival isn't noticed at all.

Duchess Cottontail, a gorgeous fluffy white angora kitten with odd eyes and a pretty pink ribbon, 2 Bisland pride guards, Luella Sedna, an influent and renowned pearl trader, Colin Laurent, a quiet and serene companion arrive, following Kaia.

"I'm so proud of the work all of you did. It was a wonderfully assembly to see both Kennex and Riven be rewarded for all the planning and long hours," Sabella tells Aethan with a bright smile. When Ailys tells her tale she says, "Have you thought about asking Sister Juniper if she needs any help establishing the hospice in Grayson lands? If that's something you'd be interested in, I'm sure she'd welcome another healer's insight."

Peri shouts from nearby, "Kaia!"

Thesarin looks up toward Corban with a short nod, away from where he'd been rather intently focusing on his ham slice. He's holding his fork in an awkward, almost childlike grip; he seems more comfortable with the knife in his off-hand. He gives a nod, and a low grunt. "My thanks. Reckon you had it right, though; my wife's the one earns best share o' the credit. I just happen to whoever thinks to stop her." He's quiet a moment, before he adds, "...ain't sure I gave my sorries. For your father."

Niklas wrinkles his nose at Aethan's words. "Pish posh, Admiral. Between the work put in by you, Ian, Zoey, Cat and Constantine you could have raised any three marches to duchies. Do not sell yourself short. It doesn't become any Islander." He gives a sniff and adds, "Except Navegants, of course. They can sell themselves as short as they'd like." He then turns to see what excitement Ailys has to share, nodding when she speaks. "Mm. Going to keep the good stuff to yourself. Understandable." Then to the room at large, "Well! Out of the six or so half-finished works I have I've finally decided what play I will be doing next, so now I'm hard at work on that. Then there's a special project a few of you know about, and which will be going public fairly soon here, I believe. And," he glances toward Sabella like is there anything else? "I was just scalded by our best, but meanest, nanny for trying to feed the kids clams. I don't know what the issue is. I was eating clams when I was two weeks old." He looks around, then points at Thesarin. "Marquis, let's hear what's new with you. Though mentioning becoming a marquis is a bit of a cheat, I won't call you on it."

Symonesse practically -beams- when Corban takes the tart from her. Now, she sets herself to the task of feeding the King's Own other delectable things that she finds declious. As Roxana comes in, Symonesse hands -her- a tart, makes a little happy expression to indicate that it is tasty and that Roxana should eat it -right now- and then passes Corban some carrots that she has drizzled with sauce that was probably meant for the lamb. Minty carrots, it is!

"I have not," Ailys tells Sabella, shaking her head a bit. "I can reach out to her, though." She takes a couple more bites of food, then pauses and gives Niklas that blankly confused look again. "What good stuff? I clearly missed it, or I'd be happy to share."

There's a little wider smile at Evonleigh's words, and then he looks from Catalana to Sabella as he says, "Thank you. At least that part's done with now." His gaze moves to Niklas then, and there's a little huff of a laugh at his first words about it not becoming Islanders, he continues, "I did have a productive conversation with Count Turo the other day. Soon to be Marquis Turo, I believe, if all goes well. It's nice to see our vassals rise." He quiets then, letting the others share.

"Majesty, there aren't any...." Roxy makes a gesture that clearly between the two of them means 'spiders'. "In this tart are there? I think they don't agree with my delicate human constitution." Just in case. She listens to the conversation and adds, "Yes, Prince Niklas please send congratulations to your family once again, from me and the Queen. It was impressive work on the Compact's behalf and I know the Crown and all of Arvum are surely grateful."

Catalana also twitches her lips at Niklas's words but lets Aethan speak instead.

Thesarin looks toward Merek, raising an eyebrow slightly, and slowly sets down the fork--still with a bit of ham skewered on the end. He takes a deep breath in, and gives a faint, entirely humorless smile. "...seeing Riven raised to a March is the greatest news. But I reckon most all of us were there for it." He sits quiet for a moment, before he starts again. "...worked with Bisland and Deepwood, few months back. And the Valorous Few. Put down some sellswords raised 'gainst Riven by Greyreeve and his." The prodigal gives a slow shake of his head, and makes another low grumble at the back of his throat. "The new Count Greyreeve's ended his rebellion, but Baron Shavsbane's yet trouble at my border." He's quiet a moment, and then looks toward Peri, and nods toward her. "Reckon I'll hear from you, Lady Seliki."

Niklas' added words draws another bright beam of a smile from Evonleigh, and she looks to Aethan as if to say 'I told you so!' but in a very sweet and not-at-all annoying way, because nobody likes hearing I told you so. And it was just a look, so no one has to hear it. All is well. Niklas' talk of plays of course draws her curious eyes next, before she turns to smile at Thesarin as he speaks. The smile fades to something less cheerful at the mention of Grayreeve and Shavsbane, but she nods in acknowledgement of the news.

Peri dips her head Thesarin, "Thank you." She taps her chin. "Let's see, where to begin..." Her face clouds. "Highlord Victus asked for help with the uptic in piracy. We have fared better than others because of the fortress project last year. My house is aiding House Crovane on a fort at Stormwall and together we'll keep the Northeast coast more secure." She gives a firm nod, earnest. "We can push out from there to assist our allies in the Mourning Sea and beyond." And then there's a mischevious quirk to her mouth and she says, "We've a ship in the works. I'm hoping to go exploring when she's ready." She looks at Sabella, "Princess Sabella, I'm curious what you were thinking of in the way of an embassies. Did you have anything specific in mind? Sifting through the archives for a history of diplomacy in those two kingdoms has taken up the rest of my time." She looks around the table until her eyes meet Zoey. "Lady Zoey, I enjoyed the visit yesterday. What news from your quarter?"

Peri grumbles something about Count Grayreeve

"Oh, probably a townhouse. Maybe two that share walls," Sabella replies with a smile to Peri, perhaps misunderstanding the aim of her question, "Tastefully decorated of course."

Niklas nods gratefully to Roxana. "Of course, Lady Roxana." He glances sidelong at Aethan, "You heard all that? Good man." While serving himself up a third serving of lamb he says to whoever had the good fortune to sit next to him, "Lady Amari held a fun debate night recently. She decided an enjoyable subject would be the embassies. Scholar Rinel and I had a spirited debate on the subject. I believe Lady Amari will never host one of those again."

There is a pause when the new creation of Minty Carrots is presented to him. But then again, he simply cannot be rude before the Queen. And so he digs in with gusto, the minty sauce intended for the lamb be damned. "I am sorry, Marquis Thesarin, that there is still trouble at the Border. I was hoping that the matter would be resolved."

A while later, and quite late, arrives the Lady Kaia. Quietly making her way over to an available chair. A sweet smile along with polite nods given to all familiar and unfamiliar faces. "Pardon the lateness." she says, and then listens in to the conversation going about.

"Princess Sabella, I should invite you to my townhouse one day. We can have tea. Or wine, the hour doesn't matter to me. In the Lyceum it was served with breakfast and with the schedule I keep for Her Majesty I never know what meal is what after a while. If breakfast is your first meal of the day, then this is mine. Isn't it so your Majesty?" She asks Symonesse with a teasing tone in her voice. "Oh did she?" Roxana's attention turns to Niklas. "I wish I'd known, I would have attended. I'd been planning on holding a salon on the very same thing!" Roxy sounds disappointed, almost cranky, but then asks, "What was your debate? I don't mean to make you rehash the entire thing, just a summary, if you'd indulge me?"

Niklas' words draw a little huff of amusement from his cousin, and Aethan replies, "Thank you, Nik. And thank you, your Highness, for your kind words." This is directed at Roxana, with an inclination of his head. The smile fades just a touch as well when Evonleigh's does, but he says nothing, listening to those who are sharing.

Symonesse gasps a little and says, out loud and perhaps a touch louder than she should, "Goodness, Roxana. I wouldn't ever make you -eat a spider-. It's just fruit!" Luckily, Corban is there to eat minty carrots and return her delighted smile to her face. Her golden eyes return to the spread, as if deciding what she's going to feed to Corban next as she says, listening to the talk between the others rather more closely than one might expect for all that she -appears- distracted.

Niklas grimaces at Roxana. "I think perhaps the mood here is a bit light for the sort of screaming match that may engender. Though should you care to talk about it at a later date I would be happy to go on at length."

Thesarin gives a grunt toward Corban, and another slow shake of his head. A hint of amusement in the tone. "Baron Shavsbane ain't seems to laid down his arms. And he's got friends in the Peerage. Seems they reckon I might make repraisal." There's a rather humorless smile toward Corban, and a grunt and nod of greeting toward Kaia as she makes her way toward the dinner.

"Forgive me Majesty I did not mean to offend!" Roxana rises from her chair and dips into a low curtsy, clearly apologetic. "It was just this once, with Prince Tyrval, but I know /you/ would never of course! You are the light of our lives and the jewel in our crown." Her flattery is a bit over the top but she does seem to actually /like/ Alaric's Nox'alfar bride. Once gestured to rise she does so, and eats the entire tart in one bite to prove her loyalty.

Symonesse's gasp startles Evonleigh who looks that way, eyes wide for a moment, before smiling and laughing a little breathlessly at the exchange. She looks to Thesarin next. "I am sure I do not overspeak on the behalf of my house when I say to let us know at Whitehawk how we may assist you, Marquis," she says with a solemn nod.

Zoey had allowed herself to become either lost in thought or absorbed in eating, and it took a moment to realize Peri had called her to be next. "Well, other than the obvious," she grins and gestures to the other Kennexes at the table. "Lord Porter is back in Arx and causing only token amounts of trouble. I'm finding myself a number of little projects to get involved with that suit my skills, and I think I've settled on both a girl's name and a boy's name when this little one comes along." She puts her hand on her belly to indicate the child growing inside.

"I'm very much looking forward to the Salon coming up for its something I have often wondered about," Sabella admits, "Prince Mason is completely wonderful, so I know there must be more Eurusis like him," she gives Roxana and Symonesse's exchange an amused look and then maybe takes a bit more time examining her next bite of cake than she should.

Symonesse smiles happily when Roxana eats the tart and says as if she had never gasped at all, "Isn't that good? Now, sit back down again, dear." The Queen nods at the chair next to her. She is in the middle of artfully creating a concoction for Corban that involves minty sauce, spicy sauce, and chocolate cake, when she glances down the table at Zoey and says with a bright smile, "Congratulations, Lady Zoey! What wonderful news."

"Right, next person," Zoey reminds herself and looks around. "Your Majesty, would you like to share next?"

"This is really good!" Peri has finished off a dish of chocolate cake. She grabs another dish of chocolate cake and hands it to Kaia. "It goes well with the chicken." She nods sagely.

"My thanks to that, Lady Whitehawk." Thesarin gives a nod toward Evonleigh, and gives another low grunt toward the back of his throat. Another bite of ham and vegitables awkwardly with the fork, and washes it down with a mouthfull of wine. "But for now, ain't looking to draw a dozen Houses on Riven. Might've moved by now, in my younger days. But. No gain being rash."

Symonesse passes the plate to Corban and delicately folds her hands in her lap as she considers her own accomplishments. "Well, this past month I have taught the twins how properly move a spider web. The spiders in the palace are cross because they ruined like twenty before they understood the method. I tried to explain to them that they are just babies and don't just know how to move a spider web the first try. Then, after that, I composed a new song for the sapling in the garden. It seemed to like it, but thought I was a bit pitchy." She pauses a moment and then adds with a sunny grin, "Oh, and I rearranged all the figurines in Alaric's office based on their associated cardinal direction. Can you -believe- that he had them all just grouped together on a shelf with no semblance of organization!" She scoffs a little and then, the smile returns and she then points at Kaia and says, "I think I would like to know what you have been up to lately! Oh, this is a fun game. I like pointing at people."

Corban checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Catalana briefly murmurs something to Aethan before pushing some food around on her plate. Her attention then on Kaia.

Corban looks down at his plate, doing his best to maintain his neutral expression when it is passed to him. Is that chocolate sauce? Is that a carrot it has all been heaped upon? But steeling himself, he eats that, too, managing to not give way whatever his internal thoughts are on the matter. Yes, this is just fine.

After discreetly offering silent hello's to family and friends, Kaia's attention lands at last on Peri - offering a platter of cake. "Oh, does it? I do enjoy interesting flavors.~" she says. "Let's see..." and then she's having a taste of both a bit of chicken and some chocolate cake. "Mmm..." she makes a bit of a face. "Hmm..." She nods, and glances to Peri. "It's good." she agrees, with a small grin. Her attention for food completely halted when the queen was suddenly pointing at her. Eyes going wide for a moment, and cheeks going slightly red as she did her best to swallow whatever was left of the chicken and cake. "Oh...um, me? Oh, yes, your majesty..." she struggles a bit to reply, but at last seems to straighten her thoughts. "Well, I'm soon to be married." she announces, and then adds. "--and, I have been spending most of my time improving my archery skills, as well as studying, um...things." she doesn't specify more on that last bit. "How about you, Lady Catalana? What have you to tell?"

Niklas nods along with Symonesse's adventures in reorganizing. "I once rearranged all of Ford's model boats. Though I rearranged them to no longer be in Kennex Key and instead be in Luca's room. So I guess it's not really the same thing."

"It is kind of fun to see the brief look of panic people get," Sabella agrees cheerfully, "That's why I always go first!" She finishes up her cake and actually gets some roast beef and some rolls, "Can you truly understand trees and spiders?" she asks Symonesse with a bit of awe to her tone, "Are they just constantly having conversations we can't hear?" she is very clearly imagining what a tree/spider conversation might be like. When Kaia shares she smiles her way, "I can't wait for the ceremony, I feel like you two have had the longest courtship in the world!"

Niklas then realizes that everyone involved in his story is dead and gets a little bummed out for the seconds it takes to bottle up every negative emotion and shove them down deep inside.

Catalana pauses her fork midmouthful. "Oh. Me." Settling the fork back on the table, "Well. I have been hosting quite a few parties lately. Though, one did involve the theft of a trifle bowl." There is a very noticable look to Niklas. Smiling back to the group, "I have just started studying the history of the saffron chain. I can't wait to study it more in depth." Noticing Niklas's sudden slump, she encourages him, "I have one of those bottles in my office and another in the nursery."

"And her dress is going to be amazing!" Zoey adds to Sabella's comment about the coming wedding. "The veil and tiara are already done. I'm still working on a design for the shoes."

Kaia mutters, "Oh I had ... peek at it this morning. It ... completely ..."

Symonesse looks quite seriously at Sabella as she says, "Almost anything in the Dream can talk. Just sometimes, they don't feel like talking -back-. Trees can be rude, even the baby ones." She nods sagely and glances over at Corban, seeming incredibly pleased that he seems to love the food at the dinner as much as she does. She takes a cookie, tops it with a cherry tomato, and pops it into her mouth, very satisfied with herself.

Thesarin finishes a plate, and mutters something to Peri in his low rumble.

Kaia smiles at Zoey and Sabella, right after having replied to Peri about something else.

"Congratulations," Evonleigh says to Kaia with a smile. "You will be a beautiful bride." She turns to listen to Catalana, glancing over at Niklas with an arched brow suspiciously, one corner of her mouth turning up into a smirk. "I feel you might be a trifle mad about that. I'm sure you'll get your just desserts, though, Lady Catalana."

Ailys just sits quietly as people speak, nibbling slowly on dessert. Her lips purse briefly, no interruption given. Symonesse earns herself a curious look from Ailys at the mention of talking trees, though.

Catalana groans and laughs at Evonleigh, "That was truly terrible. What about you Lady Evonleigh? What are you up too?"

"Thank you for the kind wishes, your highness; Lady Evonleigh; I do hope I get to see you all there." she comments. A smile offered her sister's way when she speaks of the wedding garments. Then, Thesarin's words seem to pull her attention.

Roxana turns to Symonesse. "What about that tart. The one I just ate. Or this one that I am about to? Can they talk? Can you hear what they are saying?" She's fascinated.

Zoey cannot hide how intrigued she is by the Queen, watching her with wide-eyed interest for whatever she might say next, but not daring to ask any questions herself.

"That makes me feel a bit better about talking to my tiaras," Sabella smiles at the Queen. She's joking! Is she joking? "And I shall definitely try to be there. I love weddings! Everyone is just so happy. Usually. If only for bettered trade agreements sometimes. Or free drinks," she picks up a tart, or starts to when Roxana asks about it and then carefully sets it down, inching a bit away from the cream puffs lest they start saying how much they want her to eat them. "He'll return that dish," she promises Catalana, "...once he figures out your recipe."

Niklas considers the queen speculatively for a long moment when she references the Dream, then finally looks back to Catalana. "I keep hoping more trifle will appear, but it does not. I blame the dish, so I keep it so I can glare at it." He tilts his head toward Sabella when she makes her joke and mouths 'she totally does'.

"You're very welcome," Evonleigh says breezily as if she had just been complimented. She tosses her hair back and grins at Catalana but then she's passed the metaphorical purple pillow. "I too have been caught up with research, which is perhaps surprising for some. I've come upon tales of a diplomat from the time of the Reckoning whose story I find quite fascinating. Axia Laevina, of Caer'alfar, who was an actress and ambassador both," she says, a gleam in her eyes like she gets whenever she speaks of anything she's passionate about. "I hope to bring her story to the stage, perhaps with the help of some of those in this very room, and of course the Bard's College, in the near future." She looks around, eyes falling on Roxana. "I think that brings us to Princess Roxana, who I'm sure has fascinating tales she may not be allowed to tell us," she says with a grin and a dip of her head to Symonesse.

Symonesse just looks at Roxana and then shakes her head, whispering, "I don't hear anything. I think you're safe." She pats her arm reassuringly. Then, upon hearing the name of Axia Leavina, she just -glows- with happiness. "Oh, I knew her! Axia was so lovely and so brave. I am happy to know that her story might be told again."

Evonleigh's mention on Caer'alfar snap Kaia's attention back towards her - and she seems to listen in awe. "Oh how fascinating.~" she comments. "My research has also led me to some interesting findings on a figure from such a place." she notes, but leaves it at that. Her attention back on Thesarin and Peri.

It's like something snaps in Cat's mind suddenly. She lowers her head and murmurs quickly to Aethan.

When Evonleigh speaks of her impending project, Aethan looks over at her, and a little smile flashes across his face as he reaches to touch her arm briefly. Symonesse's words about Axia then have him looking in that direction, and his eyebrows raise just slightly, before he looks back to Evonleigh.

Sabella looks around as Evonleigh shares her news, "...is that everyone after Princess Roxana? I don't want to leave anyone out! And you know that I'm happy to help with whatever you need, Lady Evonleigh!" Then to Kaia she says with a smile that might be a little strained, "There appear to be a great many notable people from there."

Roxana smiles at Evonliegh when the torch, or point, is passed her way. "Your research sounds fascinating, and what a lyrical name for a subject. 'Axia Laevina' it couldn't be prettier if designed by a playwright herself. I can't wait for the actual performance, so you'd best be working hard." She smiles warmly. Symonesse earns a bright and genuine grin, nodding to Symonesse. "Thank you, Majesty. I couldn't bear to eat something whose last thoughts were criticism of my outfit or the like. That tart would suffer slowly." With a glance to the Queen Roxana adds, "One of the things I've done since we last met is heard some tales from your youth, Your Majesty. They were thrilling to say the least, but the one who told me wanted me to confirm or deny, and you've not spoken of that time very much with me. The other thing I've been doing is decorating and redecorating my townhouse, which sounds dreadfully boring to you adventuring cousins, but for me is quite delightful."

When Symonesse says she knew Axia, Evonleigh's eyes widen and she turns to look at the queen -- she's quite speechless, it seems, perhaps for the first time all night. Finally she takes a breath and smiles, eyes aglow. "Did you... I would love to know more about her, if you ever have the time. I have become quite fond of her through my research, and feel quite close to her, in a way." Kaia's words draw a smile and a nod from her. "We should compare notes, then, Lady Kaia. I think we spoke once on it, when we first were looking into such. It feels like such a long time ago... after my sister's courtship tour, yes?" She smiles at Sabella and looks a little apologetic for that strained look, before turning to listen to Roxana.

When the Queen reacts to the name of Axia - Kaia's eyes land on her for a moment. "Oh, did you know many figures from Caer'alfar your Majesty, perhaps a Lady Kalaeris?" she asks, with genuine curiosity. Then, her eyes are back on Evonleigh. "Oh, yes, we must! Absolutely.~" she agrees. All the while, she seems to also be keeping track of a more discreet conversation with the Marquis of Riven and the Lady of Seliki.

Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.

Peri mutters quietly to Kaia and Thesarin about something that perturbs her. The talk of Caer'alfar society grabs Peri's focus and she becomes entranced by the idea of a play about the diplomat and actress from Caer'alfar.

Symonesse it putting together another cookie-and-tomato bite when she hears Evonleigh and grins, "How about we meet up soon to talk about her. We can consider it research for your play." The Queen gives her a knowing look before glancing to Roxana. "Roxana, darling, schedule a meeting with Lady Evonleigh to talk about Axia please. Very important."

"Of Course, Majesty. And I will attend the meeting as well, to serve as your note-taker? It seems only logical." Roxy turns to Evonleigh, "I'll send a messenger by later, we can find the perfect time. Just be prepared to stay up late." Meetings with nocturnal creatures are a beast to schedule properly, no one appreciates the difficulties of Roxana's jon.

Thesarin mutters, "...if you ... learn a thing, I reckon ... be ... Another deep grunt ... ... back ... his ... "If we ... learn something 'fore ... ... ... bad."

Niklas sits back in his seat. "Well, now I want to write a play about a famous person from distant history. But I only know so many and writing a Caer'alfar-oriented companion to Princess Sorrel's Metallics operas seems like a good way to get excommunicated." He leans over to collect a plate of hyppocras-soaked pears. "I've always wanted to paint Donris Ashcrest's duel with Princess Val. Though that's rather beside the point."

"That would be lovely," says Evonleigh, trying to keep from bouncing in her seat. Really, she's cool and calm and collected and not at all veritably breaking Aethan's hand she holds in excitement. "Thank you so much, Your Majesty. And Your Highness," she says with a nod to Roxana. "I'll be sure to nap ahead of time," she says, bright grin blooming on her face, before turning to Niklas and smiling. "You are inventive enough to not need to lean on history for your productions, I think. I don't know if I have the energy to write another of my own, but I'll happily perform in any of yours, Prince Niklas."

Symonesse smiles at Evonleigh and says, "It would be a delight to talk about her. As for Lady Kalaeris, the name is not immediately familiar, I am afraid. If you give me a couple of days to think about it, I might remember though." Holding thousands of years of memories is difficult!

Peri checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

Kaia smiles at the Queen and nods. "Of course, your Majesty." she says, and then continues to enjoy the food. Her attention shifting back to Marquis Thesarin.

Thesarin is quiet in his seat, muttering some toward Kaia and Peri, but goes quiet a moment and looks toward Symonesse. He seems to roll something around in his thoughts a moment before he speaks up. "...did you know King Harren, in his day?"

Soot (a frenetic ferret) gambols into the room and leaps into Peri's lap before Eina can intercept. She jumps, and just catches her wine glass before it tips over. she unrolls a message tied around Soot's neck. "I need to see to this. Thank you for hosting Princess Sabella." She bows deeply to the queen, "Your Highness." She then chases Soot out of the room.

Eina leaves, following Peri.

Catalana briefly shakes her head at Zoey, before briefly murmuring to Roxanna.

Evonleigh is overheard praising Sabella: Gracious Grayson Hostess

Zoey is overheard praising Sabella.

Just around the same time Peri gets her notice, Kaia stands. "I shall go with you my lady, I best return to the manor as well." she states, and after making the proper courtesies to the gathered and offering her farewells and gratitude she departs.

Duchess Cottontail, a gorgeous fluffy white angora kitten with odd eyes and a pretty pink ribbon, 2 Bisland pride guards, Luella Sedna, an influent and renowned pearl trader, Colin Laurent, a quiet and serene companion leave, following Kaia.

The light in Symonesse's lovely face never really goes out. She's like the sun that way, always shining and warm and full of brightness. Yet, when the name of Harren is mentioned, just the briefest flitter of a cloud passes over the sun. She's still smiling at Thesarin and she nods, murmuring, "I remember him and that time, yes."

Catalana gives Roxana a thankful smile and moves back over to her cousin and listens again to the conversation.

Thesarin's question pulls Evonleigh's gaze that way and she studies his face for a moment, before turning to look at the queen. Her expression grows sad as Symonesse's seem to darken for a moment and she glances down, brows drawn together.

Niklas leans forward, smile smile smiling to everyone. "Her Majesty has lived a long and undoubtedly interesting life, but perhaps we needn't push her for history lessons at dinner." He scoops up some custard and says, "The only ancient history I ever asked Alaric about were funny stories about Gareth, and he hardly had any. Disappointing, but I suppose not surprising."

Symonesse stands from her seat and glances to Roxana, "I should return to the palace. I have a whole list of things I wanted to get done before dawn. If you would like to stay with the family and chat, Roxana, feel free. Sir Corban and the guards can see me back." She glances over those that remain, smiling brightly, "Dinner was lovely. I think I shall come to this again. The pointing... really, that was the best part. Thank you so much." Symonesse bows her head toward Sabella and Niklas, then takes Corban's arm and lets him lead her away, giving little smiles to everyone else as she passes by and on her way out.

Thesarin keeps silent--he usually does, and we've seen what happens when he speaks. "My thanks, Majesty." He looks toward Niklas, gives another nod, and a vaguely amused grunt at the back of his throat. "My thanks to the lot o' you."

Roxana rises to her feet, prepared to leave when the Queen does. "Yes, dinner was lovely. I'll retire with you however, I'm suddenly quite tired." Because she's a human living up all night.

5 King's Own Guardsmen leaves, following Symonesse.

Catalana bows politely and softly asks those next to her. "Did she say she was staying up all night? I wonder if she sleeps at all?"

"Probably not enough," supposes Zoey.

"She does have two children," chirps Niklas while refilling his wine glass. "Her people don't care for the sun, so it's possible she sleeps during the day. I've never really asked."

"The Princess Roxana might know," Thesarin says with a slow shrug of his broad shoulders. He looks over toward Niklas with a nod, and another of his low grunts. "...the King Harren's come up a time or two, these last days."

"Perhaps she is so sunny because she absorbs the sun when she sleeps," suggests Evonleigh with a grin. She still looks a little flabbergasted, like she hasn't quite regained her composure after the surprise of Symonesse recognizing the name she has been so arduously researching for so long. "I think it's time to retire myself, for I've had all the excitement I can handle tonight. Graysons," she says, standing and curtseying, "as always, you are such lovely hosts. It was lovely to see all of you," she adds, including the non-Graysons in that sentiment, before offering a hand to Aethan. "Shall we?" If he wishes to stay, of course he can, but either way she will make her way to the exit after murmuring goodnights and farewells.

Catalana asks Niklas, returning to the subject of children, "Where did you find mean nanny and if I pay her double, will she come to Kennex Kay?"

Thesarin lifts his chin toward Evonleigh with another grunt. "Be well, Lady Whitehawk. And might be we'll need speak soon."

"You can't afford Mean Nanny, Cat. We pay her generously and she's allowed to wear my coronet any time she would like." Niklas raises a hand to Evonleigh and Aethan as they make to go. "Have a good evening, you two. So good to see you both. Lady Evonleigh, do let me know if you need anything for your project."

Aethan looks up when Evonleigh stands, and he takes her hand, rising as well and inclining his head to those still in attendance. "Sabella, thank you for hosting. Good to see you, too, Nik. Zoey, Cat, I'll see you both soon I'm sure." He bids farewells to Ailys and Thesarin as well, before he turns with his companion to start toward the exit.

William, a taciturn quartermaster leaves, following Aethan.

2 Whitehawk Guards, Aethan leave, following Evonleigh.

Catalana waves to Evonleigh, a twinkle of scheming in her eyes, "Dinner next week. I will look forward to it." Then to Niklas, she reminds him, "Wash still has a coronet somewhere."

Mean Nanny? Ailys smirks a little and shakes her head, pushing her chair back and rising up onto her feet. "Unless anyone has anything else that they might need me for, I may go for a walk outside in the snow." She gives Niklas a squinty-eyed look again. "And I DON'T have any sneaky things that I've been doing."

Niklas nods to Ailys. "That's just what someone getting up to sneaky things would say. But please, go and enjoy yourself skulking around in the darkness."

Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise leaves, following Niklas.

Catalana gives a few whispered words to Zoey, her face for once stony. The warmth well gone. She then stands and excuses herself. "I should go deliver these sweets to Wash. Thank you for your hospitality." She then collects her cloak and plate and moves away from the table, collecting her corsairs as she goes.

2 Kennex corsairs, Jane leave, following Catalana.

2 Grayson House Guards, Max, an emperor tamarin, Rosalee, The Champion leave, following Ailys.



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