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A taste of the Everwinter.

House Stahlben have always told people about the weird and wonderful treasures at Bonespire. Countess Arcadia and Lady Volcica wish to open their home to everyone so they can come sample some of the delicacies the Everwinter presents.


Nov. 14, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Arcadia(RIP) Volcica


Niklas Merek Erik Dio Braith Ryhalt Imogene Vicente Sabella Esme Rosalind Theron Antea Jennyva Strozza Hadrian Dianna Alessia Iliana Thea Magnus Brigida




Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Stahl Hall - Great Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Kuhlai D'Mahn an aide arrive, following Strozza.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Kuhlai D'Mahn an aide leave, following Strozza.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Kuhlai D'Mahn an aide arrive, following Strozza.

A gaunt young man with oily black hair and ice blue eyes, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants arrive, following Braith.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Aurelio, a handsome, fresh-faced manservant arrive, following Dianna.

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

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Sam, who is a boy and definitely not a princess in disguise, Roland, the worst bard in Arvum, Sabella arrive, following Niklas.

Garibaldi, the Lycene swordbearer, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants arrive, following Theron.

Stahl hall always has an air of gloom and darkness to it due to the high roofs and relics carved into it, but tonight it's especially eerie. Lanterns have been hung strategiccally around to illuminate more of the great beasts and to cast long horrorific shadows along the walls. Images of battles with mammoths and white bears are the most prominent. Below them, the room is decorated in dark woods and many animal pelts. The furniture is lined with bits of what may be bones or perhaps ivory. A large fire crackles and pops, which does little to lessen the shadow. However, the table in the center of the room is laden with food. None that look out of place, but who knows what those plates of meat may be holding.

The young countess of Bonespire is by the door, dressed in a gown of artic scales and seraphinite, very much looking the countess of the far north. She smiles and directs people in as they arrive. "Welcome! Please come in. There's whiskey and gin on the bar to try. Plus the usual wines and ales if so inclined."

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound arrives, following Rosalind.

"...sounds good to me," says Prince Niklas Grayson to his wife, Princess Sabella Grayson, who walks in at his side, the pair followed by a convoluted retinue of assistants, guards and ladies in waiting. "I like tastes and I've got no issues with the Everwinter, so it's pretty ideal. Any event based around food is a good one for me, so I don't have to pretend I'm there for any reason other than piling a plate as high as possible." He offers the countess a sketch of a bow as he passes. "Countess Arcadia. Thank you so much for opening your home to us." Then he's off for the bar, where he gets both himself and his wife each a shot of whiskey.

Merek makes his way into the hall, with his dark attire on and a cape which is adjusted about him, the material made to keep him nice and comfortable in the winter, while he finds a place to settle in.

Erik enters the Hall with Esme at his side, an arm extended at the elbow to link in contact with hers and his head angled close in low conversation. It might be a debate. Maybe an argument, or they just have very strange conversations. Maybe all of the above? There's a young fellow in a robe trailing a few steps behind in their wake, carrying some sort of bag and looking terribly uncomfortable to be present here. The pair make their way in Arcadia's direction, and Erik offers a bright smile and a loose wave of his free hand. "Countess, thank you for hosting this! I admit I've been looking forward to mammoth meat ever since reading that entry in the Whites."

2 House Mazetti Aspirants arrives, following Antea.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants leaves, following Antea.

Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Sirra, a very quiet maid arrive, following Alessia.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants arrives, following Antea.

Antea arrives, following Vicente.

Dio arrives with Imogene's hand on his arm, a slight bit of snow melting in his black hair. Behind them swaggers in Anne, apparently arriving to Stahl Hall with her own bottle of wine. Dio smiles as he glances over the images of bears and mammoths, and makes his way with Imogene to stand before Arcadia. He bows gracefully to the countess. "We are honored to be here, Countess Arcadia. I am Marquis Dio Seraceni and this is my wife, Marquessa Imogene." Anne removes her tricornered hat and bows as well, immediately making her way to the food.

Braith is through the door first but still tethered to her other half with her fingers laced with his. Theron gets a pull towards her and she grins brightly at seeing Arcadia. "Countess," she greets her warmly, giving an inclination of her head. The Northerner gone Southern sports a a more Lycene fashion to match the figure at her side as she pulls him up close. "Countess this is my husband, Lord Theron Mazetti, Sword of Ostria. See, all proper parties have whiskey!" She declares to her husband loud enough for them all to hear.

Entering the hall alone except for one of his guards, Ryhalt smiles as their hostess, Arcadia, greets them. "Thank you for inviting us to you house, Countess Arcadia." Not to clog the door, he moves along to the bar as she had indicated. Once there, he asks the bartender for the gin to give it a taste.

As Imogene sweeps in with Dio, she lifts her free hand to delicately slide her fine wool mantle down from her head, where it's been doing its best to protect her hair from the driving snow. Despite the fierce weather's best efforts, the cold seems to have done no more harm than to leave a bright flush on her cheeks, and her eyes sparkle with a lively curiosity as she peers around the eerie hall, first at the other attendees, then at the reliefs along the walls, then back at the vibrant flock of people again. She dips into a gentle curtsy as she comes near Arcadia. "Countess," she says with a smile. "It's so lovely for you to invite people into your home like this. It truly is the greatest pleasure to be here."

Entering into the Great Hall, Vicente has his cloak on but not covering him very much. He's escorting Antea into the house and he has a general stern expression on his face. The arm that does not link with Antea's is behind his back and under his cloak. Inside, he makes a brief pause and looks about then turns to lean over towards Antea and whispers something to her before he continues further inside.

Sabella also stops to greet their hoses, smiling brightly, "I should thank you, Countess Arcadia, for holding this event as it's reminded me that I meant to make a Taste of Arx a yearly event and I greatly look forward to what you've got planned." She steps to the side as Dio and Imogene step up, "Marquis, Marquessa. I am Princess Sabella Grayson, this is my husband, Prince Niklas Grayson! If you need any introductions tonight please let me know," she tells them as she accepts the whiskey from her husband, "I happen to adore making them!"

They are probably arguing /again/ about why Esme has to come out in the winter and why every party can't just be brought to her. There is a look at Erik as she moves in. They won't talk about /all the layers/ that Esme had to shed just to get in the front door. She was walking clothing with green eyes half a moment ago. "I'm pretty sure I could come up with another layer." A soft sigh to that. "I keep hoping someone will take the deepest of sympathy with me and gift me steelsilk outfit or fireweave." A hand comes up as she offers. "I know, I know.. I'm not /supposed/ to want it but.." A long sigh of long-suffering. Then she brightens as she sees Cady. Esme will attempt to fling her arms around the woman. "Cady! Oh you look beautiful. I swear every time I see you there is a larger beauty to you. Erik brought a gift for your most glorious child. How is my .. can she be mine? I mean like a niece, you can never have too many aunts, really. Unless they are all offering differing advice."

"You honor us, Your Highness. Thank you," replies Dio to Sabella. "We have only recently arrived in the city, and it certainly lives up to its reputation."

Arcadia almost bubbles with happiness to see so many in her home. She tries her hardest to greet them all as they come in. "Marquessa and Marquis. It is such a pleasure to have you come. I truly love how the mysteries of the north seem to pull in the most southern of guests." Then to Esme, she laughs and nods. "I can't see how it could hurt? A devotee to Limerance is a good thing to have in your life, correct?" And then she indicates the table to Niklas and Erik together. "Please eat. Shall I tell you now what is in each plate or would you prefer to wait until you've eaten." She gives an impish smile, "I have made a few of the Kennex family believe we eat our elderly."

Rosalind has made her way inside in typical Rosa fashion. A blur of bright red hair currently covered in snow and her blacked feathered cloak,"Am I late? I'm so sorry! I was...negotiating!"she hedges with a grin, her freckled cheeks flushed from the cold. Bowing her head and doing the proper pleasantries, Rosalind makes a beeline to the table, stopping to take a breath before she introduces herself with a friendly demeanor,"Oh hi! I'm Lady Rosalind Ravenseye. Nice meeting you!,"to those she doesn't know.

"You pronounced Brandy incorrectly, darling wife." Theron counters after being tugged along. He sounds amused in the response, and then bows politely towards Arcadia. "Countess, thank you for the open invitation. A pleasure. Braith tells me I need to keep trying more things from her world. I must admit a bit of curiosity. Especially where food is considered." The Sword inclines his head once more. "Again, thank you for hosting." He looks towards Braith and gestures. "All right, I know that look. Lead on so you can show me the things." His grin is an unrepentant one.

Antea is not dressed up, at least not anymore than she normally is, arriving in the company of one Vicente Fidante. She tilts her head to catch his whisper before offering an equally quiet response. Her own grave expression doesn't budge a single iota. GLancing out around the hall, she offers nods of greeting to her family members before looking to Vicente, "Shall we find an out of the way space to post up at?"

Luigi, 2 House Mazetti Guardians arrive, following Hadrian.

She has managed to shake most of the snow off, though there's still little droplets of water clinging to her hair. Jennyva trails in along after another pair of individuals, pace slowing from a crawl to--something slower. There is a warm smile and a curtsey dipped in Arcadia's direction before she sets about finding herself some of the indicated whiskey, taking it with her to inspect of battles. Yes.

Imogene sinks into a more pronounced curtsy for Sabella, with all the elegant grace which a born Oathlander can manage, which seems to be quite a lot. Rising, she gives the princess a smile that at least tries to be suitably solemn, though she really does look perfectly tickled to be here in this exotically gloomy hall, in the company of so many evidently exalted personages. "Your Highnesses. We would be so delighted for any introductions it would please you to make. You're too kind."

Erik's eyes roll and head shakes at Esme's words, countering, "Of course you could come up with another layer, but at some point you're not going to be able to move and then you'll just be getting carted around, and if you're being wheeled you may as well just dispense with them being layers and line the cart instead. Maybe it can be a steelsilk-lined cart with fireweave trappings somewhere, and then you'll hit all the highlights." When they come into range of Arcadia and Esme offers a hug, Erik extends a gift a moment later. "The least that could be done in appreciation and commemoration for the food and libation.", he grins, dipping his head to Arcadia as he passes over a stuffed animal.

A chuckle leaves her lips as she winks at Arcadia, now drowning in greetings. This gives Braith the time to tug and pull Theron with her, turning about so he's forced to run right into her. "Whiskey," she says pointedly right near his face before the quirky bard winks at him and turns about, guiding him deftly with movements that will bring them towards the food that was the focus of this display. The eerie decor does not seem to truly bother her though she does admire the animals with a brief look up. She smirks a bit more and begins to reach out to pour them both a glass of the BEST alcohol ever. WHISKEY.

"Anything I can get you to drink m'Lord, Marquessa?" Anne asks of Dio and Imogene. "I suppose it should be whiskey," replies the Marquis. His own smile broadens to see his wife's in the presence of the Grayson princess.

Esme seems to consider the idea. "I mean... I would not be /opposed/ to a litter carrying me around everywhere as long as it was warm. But can you convince Prince Niklas to help carry it for me?" She looks at Erik for a moment and then just laughs warmly to this. Her laugh is just as she is, bright and without apology. Her green eyes slide over those present but she steps out of the way to allow the receiving line to finish. "OH! I am so excited to try this. I am sure it will be amazing." Her voice drops a bit lower to Cady's, but in a mock whisper. "I mean, who wouldn't want a Devotion as a friend? I take me everywhere I go." She winks in an over dramatic manner.

Vicente leans in towards Antea briefly to whisper something else and then begins to make his way towards Arcadia at an easy pace in the midst of the crowd, careful not to jostle anyone too much. As the close in towards the hostess, Vicente does not push through the to actually talk to her but at some point when he believes he has a side bit of her attention - gives her a half bow and mouths something to her but does not immediately move to leave in case there is a passing reply. He eyes Esme and Erik but does not interrupt their conversation and then turns to lean back in to whisper something to Antea again...

The rotund and brightly dressed form of Kuhlai D'Mahn walks at the head of a... well they're a trio. Draped in his cloak and walking between the twins, Strozza Mazetti walks, hair braided and tied back, immaculately in black with the house colours muted in his cloak as he escorts his cousins. Sort of.

One of his hands is held by the fingers by Dianna who is perched on the shoulder of one of her massive guards, riding 'side saddle' for lack of better terms, kept above the snow and muck on the ground and of course given an expansive viewpoint, being now taller than all the others in the party she travels with.

Alessia, like Strozza, preferring the more 'mundane' approach to entry, at her cousins side. Having some of Strozza's attention for something or another while they chat on approach.

Strozza's aide moves to one side as the trio approaches and waits to step to Arcadia, tall dark and grim bowing low at the waist, and giving a half-way genuflect to boot. "My Lady Countess... I bring with me today my favorite cousins, Alessia and Dianna - whom I am sure you already know?" motioning to the ladies with him.

Yet another group, arms linked, meanders into the hall. Hadrian Mazetti, along with his retinue of a couple faceless guardians and Luigi, stroll in with their arms clutched together and Hadrian leading the way with a nod of his head toward the gathering, "Yes, quite lovely, Luigi. Very nice of you to say so. We'll make sure to compliment them later, when things are less busy". They make it a few yards in before coming to a halt, at which point Hadrian's chin inclines and he takes in a long, deep breath, "We won't be staying for too long, though. You've got some work to do this evening, Luigi. We don't want you to be late to your appointment". Then Hadrian begins to drift off, which in turn pulls Luigi and Guardians along as they fail to release arms. Thus the chain of people continues onward.

Vicente has joined the Map Table of House Stahlben.

"If you could fetch some good cider, Anne, that would be quite nice." Imogene's forehead crinkles a bit in thought. "At least, if they have cider in the far north. If not.. oh, you can simply pick something out for me." She gives a permissive wave of her hand to the piratical looking woman.

Antea has joined the Map Table of House Stahlben.

Braith has joined the A bear claw hearth.

There is a slight startled sound from Theron as he collides with Braith. "I mean, if you insist we have something so weak, who am I to judge?" Once more Theron's smile is on full display, it is currently set to smartass. He does manage to keep up with Braith as she drags him along. He actually does not protest, though in passing he waves a greeting towards Antea and comments towards Braith quietly. He eyes the glasses being poured warily and makes a show of sighing. "If I must." His tone suggests this is a running joke between the two. He does a triple take towards three of his cousins. "Well. That's... one way of doing it. Come to think of it, if you were pulling Dianna's trick that snow drift would not have nearly eaten you." Two fingers sketch a rather careless salute towards Hadrian's way as he too enters the fray. Eyes flick about looking for other recognized faces.

Theron mutters, "... ... ... really ... not used ... ... ... ... she ... ... ... her armor."

Slipping her fingers from her beloved cousin, Strozza's hand when they enter, Dianna Mazetti scans the event from her ever-so-perfect perch, beaming with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes as she catches sight of cousins, cousin-in-law, friends - and Hadrian, following below. "Oh, /hello/, Marquis," Dianna smiles downward to the Voice of the Mazetti. She taps her hulking guard's shoulder, who stoops and sets her down upon her burgundy high-heeled slippers and helps to remove the woman's golden, furry coat. Dianna curtsies first to Hadrian, then turns to Arcadia, gracing the woman with her twinkling amber gaze. "We have /not/ yet met, Countess; I am Lady Dianna Mazetti - indeed, cousin to Lord Strozza Mazetti and only twin to Alessia, here. Such a well-attended event; thank you for hosting."

She turns to Strozza next, gathering his arm again and awaiting her sister to join them. "Shall we find some whisky?"

Theron has joined the A bear claw hearth.

Nestled within her marmot fur coat, Alessia looks longingly towards the hearth on entering the hall, though sticks to her cousin's side as they make their approach to the hostess.

"For the time being." She says with a wry smile before her attention shifts to Arcadia. "Yes, we're pretty well acquainted now what with our numerous mutal friends." She smiles warmly. "Thank you for holding this event. I look forward to seeing what the evening holds."

"I could think of a few people.", Erik teases aside to Esme before adding "Though I'm not certain how much fun they would be as company in the longrun anyway." A pause and a cant of his head, adding to no one in particular, "Or they'd be /too/ much fun. I suppoose that's all a matter of perspective." He follows away from the churn of the entering crowds, offering a variation of smile, wave, to the entering coven of Mazetti, then a nod in the direction of Vicente, head angling toward Esme's as they walk along.

Sabella beams at Imogene when she says introductions would be welcome, leaning in so she can be heard above the din of the party and taking a deep breath, "You've already met our lovely hostess the Countess, but did you know she most recently had a darling baby girl? And that," she points to each person in turn as she speaks of them, "Is Marquis Hadrian Mazetti who will talk your ear off and give you a dazzling turn on the dance floor if you let him and there are two other Mazetti's here, Lord Theron and his new wife Lady Braith--he is an accomplished warrior and she an utterly amazing Bard and member of the Bard's College, of which I am a founding member so if you have any interest at all in it I can introduce you to the Nightingale who runs it--oh and I believe that's Lord Strozza, I may be mispronouncing that as we have only met in passing, he's also a Mazetti as is Lady Antea, Lady Alessia, and Lady Dianna, goodness it seems the whole family has turned out, how lovely! They're both glaivedancers I believe, which I first thought was just a Lycene dance but it turns out it's actually a fighting technique--it looks like there are some Fidante's here as well, that's Lady Esme who is a devotion of Limerance and just utterly lovely, and Lord Vicente who I find to be quite jovial," she says of the rarely smiling man, but continues without breathing, "Duke Rhyalt of course owns the coffee house and is brother to Lady Lisebet Ashford who isn't here but is a vassal of Grayson and quite lovely, Lord Erik Grimhall is quite learned and an amazing conversationalist--and let's see who am I forgetting? That's Sir Merek Black, he's quiet but very kind, Lady Rosalind whom I do not know very well but have found her to be quite lovely when we have passed at parties and Lady Jennyva Shepherd, whose family I utterly adore!" She finally, FINALLY, take a breath and looks around, "Have I left anyone out? If so just point to them and I shall tell you some tidbit about how fantastic they are!"

Merek offers a light wave and incline to Alessia, while he finds a place to settle in and listen and watch people.

Arcadia gives a bright laugh to Braith, "Brandy? Ugh that's so southern. Yes please help yourself to the whiskey. I believe Prince Keiran was able to sneak some of Lord Darren's best for the evening."She nods to Vicente's words and it's back to greeting more and more people. "Welcome Mazetti's." She teases Dianna when she is brought down, "My. You're almost as tall as a Stahlben. I still swear my new family are part giant. I thought Count Magnus was tall until I visited Bonespire the other week." She gestures to the table, "Please eat. There is mammoth, Caribou, stews made entirely from plants and lots of salted meats."

Niklas leans in after Sabella has done her tremendous one-breath introduction of everyone to everyone and says to Imogene, "Now, quickly, name everyone in reverse order!"

Dio glances at Imogene as Sabella amazingly introduces most everyone in the hall. "The Bard's College," he says to the Grayson princess. "Do you favor any instruments, Your Highness?" he asks, glancing towards Braith who was also introduced as a bard. When Niklas speaks to Imogene, he grins, as Anne returns with whiskey and cider.

Rosalind waves to Sabella, a huge smile for her,"Princess, hello! How are you?!" The tall redhead grins at Imogene ,"Hi! Nice to meet you! You can can call me Ros or Rosa if youd like!"sipping her whisky.

Esme cants her head to listen to Erik's words to her and then she grins fully at Sabella as she lists people off. "OH, I love her. Really she reminds me of.. me." She winks to the Princess before she turns her attention to the table her uncle sits at and then looks towards the hearth. She might be angling Erik towards the heat source. "We should get a drink first." She moves towards that direction, but she gives a smile for Dianna, this includes the others with her.

Raising a hand to wave to Merek, a warm smile on her lips, Alessia's expression lights up on spotting Sabella. She heads on over to the princess. "It's so lovely to see you, your highness. Gods it's been -far- too long." She chuckles lightly. "I still believe Prince Niklas described glaivedancing in the most eloquent way imaginable." She grins.

"Sounds like Kieran," Braith remarks to Arcadia, giving her a knowing look in regards to the Redrain prince. "Weak?! Weak?!" She asks it twice because its so not nice of him to say such a thing. "I think you are just worried you are going to end up on your arse," she says and then clears her throat, quickly looking around. "Back end," she quickly says and hearing her name catches her attention. Sabella gets a grin from and then glances back behind them. "Oh wow..look at our Mazetti parade. I like it," she says and then lets her gaze linger a moment before she is turning about to do all but force feed Theron whiskey. "Here we go, be cultured."

Vicente has taken his seat with Antea at the map table and makes the occasional small gesture and seems to be talking but does make a pause and weak smile at the introduction and allows the others to be finished before he turns back to the conversation at the table...

With a smile as Sabella introduces him, Ryhalt inclines his head and lifts his glass of gin to her, appreciation for the advertisement! He drifts from the bar to look upon the selection of meats available to eat, perhaps curious if one could tell mammoth meat from other since he squints at it extra long.

"Lady Dianna," Hadrian offers back toward her with a bright smile and a lift of his chin in greeting, "you see, when I have a half dozen people carrying me around on a litter, they call it 'lazy' and 'too privileged'. But when you do it, they'll call it 'fashionable' and 'stylish'. So long as you make it work though? Have at it". He winks before he and the rest of his chain begin to wheel about. It seems that they've made it a few yards in and now it is time for the line to begin shifting around to make their way out again, "Well, it was lovely getting away from business matters for a little bit, Luigi. I fear it's time to go, unfortunately". Theron's acknowledgment though results in Hadrian's hand lifting, as much as it can while linked at the elbow with two other arms. He attempts to waggle his gloved fingers back at Theron, before he and his little retinue begin making their way back out.

Sabella shakes her head to Dio, having a sip of whiskey and still smiling. She doesn't even appear to be winded, "I sing, but that's about it. I have never really been gifted with instruments, although my husband plays a few. And how did he describe it?" She asks Alessia with a laugh, "He does have a way with words. It's how he initially won me over, really. And Lady Rosalind it has been far too long! I'm hoping as the winter ball season picks up I see more and more of everyone."

Imogene can't keep from laughing a little delightedly at the conclusion of Sabella's comprehensive introductions, which she's been following with bright glances around the room at each person in turn. "You truly do know everybody, Your Highness. Not that I would expect anything less. What an extraordinary collection of guests!" She claps her hands together in pleasure. Then at Niklas's command, she opens her mouth, glancing around again, evidently ready to take up this challenge. Sort of. "Oh, my.. There was Lady Jennyva Shepherd, and Lady Rosalind, and Sir Merek the quiet but kind, and-- oh, someone who's a grand conversationalist, and-- there was a whole family of glaivedancers, and a man with a coffee shop, and--" Finally she gives it up with a helpless laugh, shaking her head. "This is simply too much for someone who's spent years upon years in one simple country manor or another. You can forgive me, I hope."

"If anyone here's an amazing conversationalist it's you, Your Highness!", Erik calls over to Sabella with a laugh and a bow of his head, then nods aside to Esme and offers a lower, dreadfully serious statement as if about to go into a melee. "You get the drinks, I'll get the meats. Sound tactical approach for optimum efficiency." And then he's off, trying to get out ahead of the bulk of the crowds, stacking a plate with myriad meats, mostly one or two of everything that at least looks cooked. He's at least maintaining priorities: what's a tasting event without a taste of everything?

There is food. Meat, even. It might be of a sort she's never tried before, but that doesn't seem to give Jennyva even the slightest pause. She finds a plate, she finds a hunk of something well cooked, and both are taken to a seat so she can start to nibble. She does ultimately end up finding somewhere near some other cluster of people to stand not-quite-awkwardly like maybe they won't notice her and nobody else will notice she's not ACTUALLY standing with them and -- oh, she hears her name a second time, and so there's a smile sent towards Imogene, too. And sips whiskey.

Gunner, the Leary Military Adjutant, Emilie, a plump lady's assistant arrive, following Iliana.

"It's all in the smile, my dear Marquis," Dianna purrs happily to Hadrian. before wandering off for whisky on Strozza's arm. She spots Merek and smiles warmly, nodding to him, flicks her gaze and sees Esme with Erik - another smile. Then, thank goodness, whisky. Heavy pours for herself and cousin Strozza, Dianna handing a glass over to him and leaning in to speak in quiet tones again.

Hadrian is overheard praising Sabella: Fairly accurate descriptions.

Hadrian is overheard praising Arcadia: Pleasant, warm gathering. No live mammoths though. Need to see one. Heard they're like a large furry pig of some sort. Very interesting.

"Even the manner of your introductions is not without music, Your Highness," replies Dio to Sabella. He takes a substantial gulp of whiskey in an effortless manner, and laughs with amusement at Imogene's recital. "Much better than I'd have done, Imi."

"I said what I said, and stand by it." Theron nods firmly at Braith, he is unsuccessfully trying to hide his smile in the process. "It is not as if I have not had it before." Then a snort in amusement as her verbal slip up process. "I can make so many jokes, but seeing as you know where I sleep..." He raises the glass the wife has fobbed upon him and raises it towards Sabella's way at her complete summary introduction. "Yes, we do sometimes travel in packs, I think." He sips at the glass and murmurs something towards Braith after taking another quick look around.

Esme lowers her auburn brows to look super serious! This is SERIOUS business. She listens very intently to the battle plans and nods her head. There may even be a salute. There was a salute. Her emerald eyes are reflecting humor though as she saunters over to get a drink. Her eyes move over towards Hadrian with a slight pout. She will meet him one of these days. Then she is off for drinks. It appears the drink of the evening is whiskey.

"Did I?" says Niklas to Alessia when he hears his name. "'The most eloquent way imaginable' certainly does sound like me." Niklas knocks back his whiskey, then gives a contented sigh. "I really am quite fantastic." When Imogene gives it the old (bard's) college try, Niklas gives her an approving nod. "That was a good start! You'll get there. I find it's easier if you take a person's name and then come up with something about them that starts with the same first letter. For instance, Prince Laric is 'likely' to know what your darkest secrets are. It's all good fun." Niklas looks around, then finally takes up Arcadia on her offer and starts piling on whatever's on offer, not really bothering to take stock of what is what. It's all food, baby!

Strozza is overheard praising Arcadia: Interesting first soiree in Arx. Willing to greet at the door. Most respectable

Arcadia gets two glasses of gin after the introductions and welcomes finally seem to be finished. Phew! She remarks to Braith after getting the drinks, "You could always challenge him to drink like a northerner. Drinking contests in the north are never dull." She gives the northerner turned southern a wink and takes the drink to Strozza. "Lord Strozza. I feel after our recent conversation you should try this. It's called Gin and made from trees on the edge of the everwinter. I am pretty sure you can taste the snow in it."

Imogene laughs again at Niklas's suggestion. "I will certainly take that under advisement, Your Highness. I think I may need every bit of help I can find in remembering all the new faces here in Arx." She takes the cider from Anne and turns a smile upon Rosalind now that she's finish naming everyone -- or not naming, as the case may be -- and makes graceful tilt of her head. "Rosa, then. I'm so pleased to meet you, and everyone else here. Have you been in Arx very long? It's all so new to me."

Vicente is overheard praising Arcadia.

Luigi, 2 House Mazetti Guardians leave, following Hadrian.

"I think you did very well, especially for a room this full," Sabella tells Imogene with an encouraging smile, "But now you have a little bit about everyone you might want to have a chat with tonight! Are you at all gifted in the arts, Marquis Dio?" she asks curiously, waiting until Niklas is nearby again to pick off of his plate.

"I came back a little while ago, from Stormheart,"Rosalind tells Imogene with a friendly voice. "I came to help my sister, Countess Aella. You haven't been here long, right? Do you like it? Where are you from?"Rosa chatters energetically.

Whatever Theron whispers to Braith causes her to narrows her gaze and there comes a tug on his oh so precious hair. She rumbles out something in return before quickly pecking his cheek and then downing her whiskey all in one go. She turns back around to refill her glass like the pro she is. The glossy dark curls of the northerner are tossed over her shoulder as she looks about. "Am I the only real northerner here?" She murmurs and hip checks her husband. The banter is real both verbal and phyiscal between the pair as sher gaze slips over the other Mazettis. "Let it not be said that House Mazetti hides away." She turns to look back up at THeron and then moves to settle in at the hearth and enjoy the flames offer the rest of the hall warmth.

"Oh, I couldn't do his words justice but he certainly had a good grasp of the importance of the performance aspect in conjunction with the 'danger', I suppose we could say." Alessia says to Sabella with a beaming smile. "Well you're called the Playwright, so I'm certain my praises are simply extra noise at this point." She says to Niklas with a chuckle. She turns to the princess again. "I was actually at your wedding. I remember you mentioning what brought you together in your vows. I'd say you're both blessed." Then she sees her cousins by the hearth, and inclines her head to them. "Breron." She greets.

It can't be all that surprising that there's a Leary come a'calling to the great Stahl Hall. In this case it is Iliana Leary, plus or minus a very smallish entourage following her like goslings, stopping when her easy stride comes to a halt inside so that she can have a look-see, like she's looking for someone maybe specific. Maybe not. It is a long slow look that she gives the gathering, complete toward the end of it with a slight loft of both eyebrows, followed by a slowish shake of her head. Entirely undaunted, she sails on to secure a drink.

Strozza chuckles to something said by Dianna, eyeing the whiskey and throwing it back with a look of 'This is great' but it's not... Nope. But he has now appeased his cousin in giving him a drink... setting the empty glass down to accept Arcadia's, "My Lady Countess - you invite me to your gala and then bring me a drink with your own hand. I am rendered fully humbled at your feet." taikng the glass and actually dropping to a kneel that hovers his knee a scant inch above the ground, while he cups the gin in his fingers.

"I detect juniper - a lovely evergreen" sipping even as he stands, one brow trying to reach his hairline, nodding slightly, "So perhaps you have convinced me that something good can come from the snowy wastes of the north... I have been bested this night, and am at your service Countess." bowing his head low now.

"Keep at it, you can fake it until you make it!", Erik offers in a distant drive-by encouragement to Imogene on his withdrawal from the buffet table, mission accomplished and a plate of sundry, savory snacks stacked. He makes a circuitous course toward the heat of the great hall's hearth, plucking up a cut of some dark roast and popping it in his mouth as he goes. He at least seems in a chipper mood, though whether that's from the bustle of the nearby conversations or the mystery meat he's munching, who knows?

"Not gifted, no, but I can play the odd sea shanty on the lute," replies Dio to Sabella. "I'm sure it'd be comically rustic here, but served to pass many a lonely hour in the doldrums." His eyes follow those of Sabella, curious what odd cuisine Niklas may end up with. "I am, however, a great admirer of art and have been known to sail countless leagues in search of it. One day, perhaps when the Piazza has been redecorated to my wife's content, you might honor us with a visit, and I might show you and your husband some of our most treasured pieces."

"My husband hails from the Mourning Isles so sea shanty's are beloved in our household, Marquis Dio! And I would absolutely love to visit the home of a fellow art-lover! On top of being an accomplished playwright, my husband is also an artist. Oh! Do you have any dogs here yet? Lady Jennyva!" Sabella calls out, gesturing her over towards the newly arrived Marquis and Marquessa, "Remind me again what sorts of dogs your Duke is usually offering people? If you're dog people I hear there's no better place to get a well trained puppy than the Shepherds! I want to say they come from Dog mountain, but that can't be quite right," she pauses, clearly trying to remember and grins at Strozza as he speaks to Arcadia, "Now, those sound like the words of a poet. Are you a member of the Bard's College yet? Someone will surely come calling to ask you about it, Lord Strozza." Finally, she nods to Alessia, beaming at Niklas, "We are very lucky."

"You really /are/ too kind, Your Highness," Imogene demurs to Sabella, though with a smile and a twinkle in her deep blue eyes. "But your kind words of encouragement give me hope that one day I may improve from naming one-tenth to perhaps a whole sixth of any room I happen to find myself in."

With a quick flash of a smile to the passing Erik, Imogen looks back to Rosalind and gives the woman a curious look. "Stormheart.. such a fierce and poetic name. I've always wondered what such lands might be like. I confess that Arx is very nearly as far north as I've ever been in my life. I grew up near Chevalle." She shakes her head regretfully. "But as for Arx itself, so far I like it very much. I've so much left of it to see, though! I hear there's a botanical garden somewhere, and even a menagerie. I should like to see those, along with everything else."

There is a grumbling rumbling protest from Theron at the abuse of his hair. Immediately he is indeed ensuring it is properly groomed back into place. "Now now, that is an unfair question, as your last name is now Mazetti." He too downs his glass much in the same fashion Braith had. He too has huddled up at the hearht a little bit, though he is less ok with the cold than his wife. A turn of his head towards Alessia. "Darling Cousin..." He points at the hearth itself. "Heat if you need it."

The bright laugh Dianna /attempts/ to stifle as she watches Strozza lower. Actually /lower/ to a knee when accepting the gin from Arcadia echoes through the noisy room. She grins at Strozza, petting his hair, "Oh, but you are so /very/, VERY sweet, cousin. Do that for me, one day, won't you?" Her eyes twinkle in sheer amusement at Strozza's performance before lifting to address Arcadia.

"Forgive me; it's just that... I've never seen my cousin quite so... completely... mmn." Dianna ponders, a smirk upon her lips. "/Beholden/ to someone for a drink; it's a lovely sight, Countess, and quite a feat. Bravo," she purrs, amusement dancing in her eyes. "I will leave my dearest cousin to you, and shall find myself /another/ drink." She bends to kiss Strozza's head and slips away to pour herself /two/ glasses, then meanders off to wander a bit about the hall - one glass tossed back and set aside already.

Swiveling around as Sabella addresses Strozza, Alessia chuckles. "You really /ought/ to join the Bard's College. I would love to see you as a song writer in training cousin. Reading your journals have practically convinced me." She grins, though her words are injected with a particular enthusiasm. Then she turns to Theron and Braith, excusing herself to head by the hearth.

Alessia has joined the A bear claw hearth.

Erik has joined the A bear claw hearth.

She is being gestured over and so Jennyva is summoned, abandoning her food (but not her whiskey) so she can meander that way. It's mostly gone, anyway. "Mountain dogs," she supplies, once she crosses over into conversational sort of range. "Graypeak mountain dogs. They are very large and very fluffy." She gestures with both hands, holding them a fair bit apart.

Rosalind grins at Erik when he talks about faking things, watching the others in the room. She waves to Alsssia,"Hi Lady Alessia!" Rosa explains to Imogene,"My family is from the north, but we sail. We have our own boats and such back home,"a grin forming.

Arcadia can't help but laugh as Strozza lowers himself to a knee. A faint blush crosses her cheeks. Who kneels for a simple drink? Regardless, in good spirits, she encourages the lord to his feet. "I am sure you will counter and win the next argument Lord Strozza. Soon it will be summer and I will be wilting while you are flourishing." She then catches sight of Iliana and gives an almost squeal of delight for her favorite cousin. "Iliana! You're home. Welcome back."

"Lady Rosalind!" Alessia greets the Ravenseye from the hearth, a newly filled glass of whiskey raised in greeting.

"If you fancy yourself a fan of the arts, Marquis, you could do worse than attending one of the concerts at the College. I designed the auditorium there myself. Admittedly, mostly for the performance of plays, but the acoustics play especially well to Mistress Gianna Whisper's tremendous talent." Niklas glances sidelong at Sabella as he says this.

"I do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said," Braith intones in her husband's direction as he starts to scoot closer to the flames and she finds a comfortable midway point while she sips the second glass of whiskey now that the first has rushed down her throat. Her gaze follows towards Alessia when she starts there way and earns a grin from Braith in turn. A soft laugh escapes her as she glances towards Theron. "Its nearly spring, are you REALLY that cold?" Finding herself a seat, Braith begins to hum softly.

Rosalind finishes her whisky with one gulp. Waving to everyone, the energetic Ravenseye departs,"I must be off!" Turning to Arcadia, she tells her best adopted northern friend,"Thank you for this! Next mammoth hunt, dont forget me!"

Angle of approach secure, Iliana circles around until she can catch Arcadia's eye and then raises the glass she's gotten in that direction. At the squealing, maybe, which draws out a twist of smile. "Quite the hostess you've become," she calls, making a show of looking around a second, unnecessary time."Fairen sends his... well, you know." There's a lift of her chin in Strozza's direction, brieflike, maybe apology for briefly distracting their hostess.

"Oh, that's lovely!" Imogene exclaims appreciatively at Rosalind. "I simply adore boats. I hardly know a thing about them," she allows, tapping her lips thoughtfully. "But then, perhaps it was love at first sight. Or first sail. Something of the sort." She laughs softly, waggling her fingers at Rosalind in farewell. Then she can't help but steal a look back towards Prince Niklas as he speaks of the Bard's College. "Do they perhaps have a clavichord there?" she asks, in a wistful voice.

When Sabella says, 'Dog Mountain,' Dio laughs. "My wife is fond of dogs, and so I may see if I can find one for her if Lady Jennyva has any that need a home. As for me, I kept a parrot - an exotic bird from the Saffron Chain - for a while, but it was bloody loud, and in the end, I gave it to a boy for a lead which proved most profitable." When Jennyva speaks of the soft fluffy dogs, Dio smiles and says, "Sounds like an animal well suited to this frigid climb, and a loving touch," glancing toward Imogene. "I will certainly visit, Your Highness," says Dio to Niklas, and noding to Imogene when she speaks of a clavichord. "I'd like to pick up a new lute, should the bard's have anyone skilled in the crafting of instruments. Cold evenings might make for a good excuse for playing old shanties - though a concert in the College is now something I long to experience."

Making her way to Esme - via the table of food, at which she pauses to sample a few of the meats - Dianna smiles warmly and graces the woman with an elegant curtsy. "Well, my lady Fidante: You wished to meet the family, and we are nearly all gathered here. Have you had occasion to meet Antea? She is with Vicente, over there; and Theron, Braith - his wife; but, surely you've already met my sister?" Dianna takes a drink of whisky again, then drops her forefinger and thumb into the whisky, irreverently licking the fingers clean. "Thanks to this event, alone, you should nearly fulfill your quest."

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound leaves, following Rosalind.

"Your highness, you are too kind to a sailor whose words are carried from him by the waves of the Countess's victory in our debate on the merit, or flaw, of snow." Bowing to Sabella as well as he speaks before he takes another sip, head turning the give a bit of a grin to Dianna and Alessia in turn, "The bard's college indeed - what trouble would be found there by a sort such as I mmm?" letting a hand trace across Dianna's shoulder before she leaves and actually gives a light laugh at Arcadia's squeal. Eyes on Iliana now, "We meet again it seems, my pleasure once more, M'lady." Strozza adds, but trying not to interfere with family.

Hearing Braith mentioning the spring and the cold, Arcadia turns her gaze to Theron and says with the straightest face possible, "It is lucky you didn't marry into the north Lord Theron. When I married, I was stripped to linens and made to spend hours in the snow. Acclimatise to it so I could be a real northerner."

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

Sabella snaps her fingers and points at Jennyva, "Graypeak Mountain, of course! It's mountain dogs, that's what I was thinking of. Honestly, I'm very good with names of people but less so with the names of places," It's then that she notes Iliana, waving at her excitedly, "Marquessa! Oh, this is Marquessa Iliana Leary, another Grayson vassal! The Countess here used to be a Leary, they're very well known for their scholarly pursuits. Although if Lady Elloise ever asked you to hold something, you should politely but firmly decline." She gives a knowing nod. She grins at Strozza, "You truly have to meet the Nightingale. She's going to adore you!"

Erik wonders in Arcadia's direction with a cant of his head and as similarly straight a face from his post near the hearth, "Does the acclimation process ever lead to frostbite? From the sound of it that is the most literal activity in opposition to a 'warm welcome' there could be."

Esme looks up at Dianna and beams. There is nothing but warmth in her eyes as she moves to offer a hug to the woman. "I am starting to think that all of you travel as a pack. I mean truly. It seems that you see one and you see them all. You seem to truly enjoy each other's company, it is amazing really. I hope that you can introduce me to all of them." Her eyes flick towards Erik. He has her food, that's an important person to track. However, her emerald eyes move back towards Dianna. "We should still host something small for your family. I mean to invite myself to it." There is a gasp as she turns and looks at Cady. "Stripped to the linens?" The horror registers on her face. "That would have happened to me? Oh by the Gods, I might need to thank my Bear for his release. Oh by all the nights, that just.. No. Just no." Her auburn tresses move slightly as she shakes her head.

"Mistress Gianna keeps a considerable collection of instruments, including a rare stringed instrument she was gifted some years ago by a tribe of Abandoned she sang into bending the knee." Niklas pauses, frowns. "I'm boasting on her behalf. Damn. It's kind of automatic. I forget that I'm actually quite annoyed with her. Ah well! Yes, I'm fairly certain she has a clavichord. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone play it, so do let me know if you plan to stop by." When Sabella introduces Iliana Niklas perks up. "I don't believe we've ever met. I've always wondered about the Marquessa that captured Marquis Fairen's heart." Sabella's comment to Strozza gets a grimace though, followed by a once over for the man. "Are you fabulously wealthy and prone to giving all of your money and jewelry to pretty singers? If so, Mistress Gianna really will adore you."

Arcadia continues with the facade for Erik. "Well. It's not so bad once you wrestle the bear. You can at least pull the fur off and wrap it around yourself. It's quite cosy." Her attention to Strozza then, "You sing? I wonder how they will transpose over paper?"

"You will want to speak to Duke Malcolm about a puppy," Jennyva admits with a smile as she finds somewhere within the conversation range to stand. "I've only recently come back to town, but -- well, he's usually got a few he's looking for homes for. They are wonderful in the cold though, yes. My feet probably would've frozen on my return trip to Arx if I did not have Roofus to lay on my feet."

A smirk plays at Braith's lips as Arcadia talks about being in only linens in the cold. A faint snort and she gives Theron a look. "I mean we could just make you an honorary northerner when next we go to Giant's Reach. I am sure the hunting party would assist." She teases her husband relentlessly. She watches the others though, a keen glint in her dark eyes as she sips from her whiskey and taps her foot to the floor. She starts to walk closer to Theron who hovers so near the fire.

Imogene beams at Niklas, looking overjoyed by this news of actual playable clavichords. "In that case, I'll simply have to go by the College one of these days. I haven't had the chance to play one in quite some time now. Perhaps I've lost my touch." She casts an interested look in Iliana's direction, making a small graceful curtsy towards the woman.

Dianna's smile very nearly matches Esme's when she is embraced, and returns the hug. "Indeed, we do; we are a very close and compatible family." Dianna's gaze follows Esme's to Erik, smiling warmly if she catches his gaze. "Who else would you invite, lady Esme?" Attention pulled by the Countess, Dianna takes the opportunity to finish her whisky.

Vicente stands from the map table and offers his arm to Antea with something resembling a weak smile.

Dio bows his head to Iliana. "It's a pleasure, Marquessa. I am Marquis Dio Seraceni and this is my wife, Marquessa Imogene," he says, gesturing to the Countess of the March of Ischia. "Though I am far from a talented scholar, I am looking forward to exploring the Great Archive, as I've not been in a proper library since living in Setarco." Turning to Jennyva, he nods and says, "I shall write to the duke, in that case." He takes a sip of whiskey and says, "Roofus is your own companion?"

Vicente has left the Map Table of House Stahlben.

Niklas looks between Jennyva and Sabella, eyes narrows. "We can get a dog, but only if we get rid of one of the kids. You choose."

Antea has left the Map Table of House Stahlben.

Thea hurries inside, out from the cold. Her long brown is covered in white flecks of snow. She brushes her mantle off and looks at all the people gathered. Bowing her head to Arcadia, she smiles a bit,"Arcadia, quite the turnout,"before stepping further in. She gives proper greetings to those here, a smile of course."Good evening."

Esme shakes her head. "I mean, I could invite the other Fidantes, but it seems so many are busy with their own tasks." She narrows her eyes on Erik for a moment. There's a bit of silent go between with them before it almost looks like she mouths a threat to him. Her eyes are sparkling in humor though, which move towards Dianna. "If my brother were not already married, I would completely try to introduce you two. I do like my sister-in-law and she has birthed a child for me to adore. If I ever get another sibling, I shall let you know."

Antea takes Vicente's offered arm, rising up from the table. Nodding towards him, she murmurs something towards him before they start off.

Placing a piece of meat back on his stacked plate, Erik offers an amiable smile and a loose wave of his free hand in Dianna's direction after managing to catch the gesture, then turns his attention back toward Arcadia for a moment. "Did you have to pull the fur off with your teeth while you were at it? I imagine your hands must've been required to stay tied behind your back through that battle, no?"

"I don't know why you always complain about this." Alessia says, taking a drink from her glass, lifting it to Theron. She turns to Braith. "Right?"

Storm cloud eyes cast their shadow over Niklas when he was spoken to about money and jewlery. "If I give gem or jewel to anyone it is because they've earned my respect and I find them worthy to be remembered, thank you." Strozza notes in a polite, but clipped tone before he looks back to Arcadia, "A sea shanty or two, I've not made much attept to sing as part of public venue. I am better for the dance floor, My Lady Countess." he turns and looks again about the room, having caught sight of Esme, and so he looks to his aide, "Fetch to her my note that should she wish to speak I am available of course?"

The barrel chested, rotund, blinks and looks at Strozza, "Oh? Uh... OH! Yeah!" and so Kuhlai D'Mahn began moving through the crowd to speak to Esme.

Strozza meanwhile looks to Sabella and offers his smile once more, "Perhaps I should meet her, if she has your endorsement, your highness."

"A pleasure indeed, my lord. I won't keep her but a moment more," Iliana assures Strozza, gone to get herself a quick hug from Arcadia. There's something murmured there, though whether it's happenstance that she's close enough to do it, or whether the hug is but cover for this brief, quiet moment, scarce matters. Then she's distracted by other things. Like this introduction from Sabella, which has her turned in that direction in short enough order. "Yes," she agrees. "It's true. The Learys are rather notoriously scholarly. I was half afraid I would come back to Arx and find that they'd finally managed to set the whole house on fire, but it remains remarkably unsinged. Mostly." That glass though? She lifts it again, makes a show of swallowing about half of it back. "It is good to see you again, Your Highness. And Your Other Highness." That's for Niklas, but it's full up with amusement. She takes a step back, away, freeing Arcadia up for real to go mingle with her guests, attention turned a beat later to Dio, who she studies as if inspecting him. Him, and his wife, though she's got a smile for Imogene. "Welcome to the both of you. A pleasure. And a whirlwind, both."

Vicente makes his departure from the crowd with Antea on his arm, careful to not jostle anyone too much in the process. He attempts to get Arcadia's attention as he makes his departure to mouth something to her and then the couple depart from the gathering.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants leaves, following Antea.

Antea leaves, following Vicente.

"Dogs do tend to be easier than children," Jennyva is quick to supply for Niklas's comment, giving first him and then Sabella an innocent sort of look. Dio's words have her eyebrows lifting, and then she laughs and shakes her head. "No, no, don't write. You both can come and visit and I will introduce you, if he doesn't end up coming along tonight." There's a look towards the door as if she were now expecting Malcom to walk in because it's been mentioned.

Arcadia scoffs with laughter at Erik. "What do you think is northerners are? savages?" At Strozza's words, her fingertips briefly brush the emerald rose clipped to her gown. "I am very much looking forward to your dance moves Lord Strozza. Though, I am reinforcing my shoes just in case." She gives him a cheeky smile before sipping her drink.

Sabella laughs and shakes her head at Niklas, "I'm not talking about us! I think four children is enough of a crowd without adding a dog to it, no matter how snuggly and adorable and oh, maybe I can be talked into getting a dog!" She grins at Niklas, then looks to Strozza seeming amused, "She does, but Prince Niklas was only giving you friendly advice as the Nightingale, much like her namesake, enjoys shiny things."

Distracted somewhat, Dianna notices Vicente and Antea rising as if to go. Dianna murmurs to Esme and nods, stepping to intercept to the pair - but too late, it seems. Her lower lip juts into a small pout, and Dianna makes her way to pour another pair of drinks. Which she keeps, of course, and heads to the hearth. "Theron," she smiles impishly. "You look... almost put-together. Braith, you're a vision, as usual," Dianna bends to kiss her cousin's wife's cheeks. "I swear, I never see you - either of you," she scolds Theron. "You owe me a spar, I'm sure. Or four - I've had to find other partners."

"The pleasure is entirely mine, I'm sure," Imogene answers Iliana with a smile in return. "We've only just arrived here in Arx, and it's been so lovely to come to a gathering like this and meet so many new people. Everything here is so new to me; I've been simply exhausted by the endless novelty of it all!"

Esme offers a low comment towards Dianna and then seems to turn from her to move towards Erik. She is stopped by the most proper Kuhlai D'Mahn.. oh yeah. Her eyes move towards him as she listens and then they fill with a measure of annoyance before she curtly nods her head. "Perhaps not at a party, but it is good to know. Thank him for me." A look is /cut/ towards poor Strozza. For a moment. Oh look. Esme has THE LOOK down. Then she smiles vibrantly and drops to a seat at Erik's table. She's brought a couple glasses, but a whole bottle of whiskey. "Cady darling, I think you still owe me on this bear wrestling skill you promised. Although, I am not skinning a bear at all. I mean.. not in the way one might mean. If there is a Bear and he or she becomes bare, things happen." She winks lightly to the Countess.

Esme has joined the A bear claw hearth.

"Thank you, Marquessa," replies Dio to Iliana. He nods to Jennyva and says warmly, "Very well, My Lady, and thank you for the invitation." Glancing back at Arcadia when Imogene mentions novelty, Dio says, "Do you have Everwinter bear cooked on one of these trays, Countess? Or the meat of a mammoth? If so, I would like to try it."

Dianna has joined the A bear claw hearth.

"Oh, Lord Erik." Alessia says with a smile when she spies the Grimhall by the hearth. "It seems I run into you ever so often." She chuckles lightly. "It's good to see you."

Merek notices that Dianna is about, and offers an incline to the woman, a smile upon his features while he seems to content in watching folk, and settling in to think.

Arcadia encourages Esme, "My birthday is next week and we will be mud wrestling. You must come. I may even get a bear if you come. I am praying that the snow has melted for that. Makes the mud extra gooey."

Niklas gives Strozza a nod and looks back to Sabella. "Hear that? She won't like him at all. Though maybe he's good at convincing praise. She likes that almost as much as she likes jewelry." At Jennyva's comment Niklas nods. "I'm convinced, Lady Jennyva. We can do an even trade. We get a dog and you can pick one of our kids. Except Relara. She's my favorite. Don't tell the others."

"Yes. It's not exactly warm, you know. I'll remember this during the late fall, you know." Theron finally counters to his wife after warming up once again. Then he is staring at Arcadia. "No no that would not be necessary. Then again, I mean. We do recommend rather ah, revealing silks come summertime for getting used." He does look back to Braith interested once she mentions hunting. "I am more than happy to go hunting in the north, however anyone trying to strip me naked in such conditions. Well. This would be inadvisable." There is a solemn nod towards Dianna.

Thea makes her way to Alessia, not bothering to be sneaky. She nudges her friend a bit before giving Sabella a slight smile,"Princess Sabella, it's been awhile. You've been well?"

Frahke arrives, following Magnus.

Naturally Alessia responds to the nudge by rising and giving the Malvici a big old hug.

"Lord Grimhall, you seem to be enjoying the food," Dianna mentions as she sidles up to her sister at the hearth, smiling again to Esme as she also joins the warmth of this space. "Did you plan to spare any for the other guests?" Dianna teases Erik, lifting her fingers to beckon Merek closer before smiling to Erik's eyes. "You are quite lucky, you know, to have lady Esme as your friend; she seems to know your tendency to drink as well as I have learned - though, I suppose, that should be no surprise."

Dianna flicks her gaze to Theron, missing Thea briefly until she hears the woman's voice. "Oh, lady Malvici. How lovely ... to see you," she chuckles, noting Thea's obvious discomfort in her sister's hug.

"Your story, not mine!", Erik counters chipperly in Arcadia's direction, then slides his guarded mountain of meats on a plate in Esme's direction as booze - sweet, wonderful alcohol is provided. A split bounty. He teases back to Alessia with a grin and a dip of his head while filling up his cup, "Good to see you, but if you keep running into me sooner or later I'll be caught off balance."

Perhaps he can't help himself, but he's on a tangent about bared bears from Esme. "Who's to care to bare a bear, or share where their rare lair's fare? Perhaps in err, to have no hair, when the bear's square stare turns to scare, and one must 'ware their tears."

Vicente enters back into the hall without Antea at his side. There's a brief moment that he glances around and appears as if he is attempting to assess the situation afresh. In that time, his left hand begins to tap against his thigh and then is swift to fold both hand behind his back and eyes darting a bit more rapidly. He takes a few more slow breaths and steps back into the fray once again.

"Dianna, you are always so sweet and exaggerate," Braith teases her cousin. The kiss she leans in to from the other woman as she then tsks. "Don't spar with him. I swear he was trying to break his hand across my backend. Likely did too and is tubbornly ignoring the pain," she muses. She finishes her whiskey and then leans in to whisper something to Dianna, causing her to lean AWAY from Theron to do so. She glances back at her to smile brightly. "Yes, I figured you would wnat to go hunting."

Hearing Dio, she moves over to the Marquis and steals his arm to drag him to the table. "We do!" She points to a pile of barbequed meat still steaming, "This is white bear." Then pointing to a rich stew, "That is mammoth. It's a very tough meat, so best to eat in slow cooked stews." She points to a few other plates, "That is some sort of wild bird and this one here is a water elephant. And that is Caribou."

"Oh, don't tempt me." Alessia says to Erik, still hugging Thea, getting some natural glee from the woman's discomfort.

"Oh, oh, no," Jennyva is VERY quick to reply to Niklas, giving him a played up, melodramatic sort of horrified look. She even takes a step back, holding up her non-drink-holding hand in a sort of warding gesture. "No, no. My cousin. My _cousin_ can pick one of the children, and get a puppy in return. Unless you would simply like to give him the noisy one; I am quite certain he would enjoy the noisy one." The panic is already settling, replaced by a supremely smug sort of smile.

"His highness is kind to offer such word of advice of course, and it is much appreciated" Esme's look is noted and acknowledged with a polite raise of the brow and a half grin. A man who has survived the sea, piracy, and Lycene social 'niceties'. He looks when Arcadia mentions the mud wrestling, head canting to the side but making no attempt to question.

"My lady countess, I assure you that I will be of no danger to your toes, I would even extend my offer to Her Highness" looking to Sabella, "But I do not think one as gracious and giving as Her Highness the Princess Sabella would lower herself to to giving a dance to this Mazetti..."

Merek makes his way to where Dianna is when she beckons over to him. He finds a place to settle in, his dark attire mostly meant to keep comfortable in the weather while he pulls the cape about him fully, hood up also to shift into a full cloak. He nods, rubbing his stubble. "Hey you."

Merek has joined the A bear claw hearth.

"I have, Lady Thea! And yourself? Have you met the Marquis Dio and Marquessa Imogene?" Sabella gestures to each, "This is Lady Thea Malvici, the youngest of her family but perhaps the most formidable." When Strozza mentions dancing, Sabella's eyes all but sparkle, "I almost married a Mazetti once, so I hold your family in very high esteem, even if I would have not looked at good in blues as I do remaining in green." She grins, "But I would be happy to if dancing is offered!"

Niklas sighs at Jennyva, giving her a haunted stare. "They're all the noisy one."

Brightening as Braith whispers to her, she chuckles mirthfully and nods, "Indeed, loveliest one; indeed; although I never exaggerate."

"Oh, hello, Sir Merek," Dianna greets Merek as he arrives with a warm embrace and cheek kisses on that stubbled face. "Did you truly think you could attend a party and /disappear/ amidst the crowd?" She tisks and pouts. "We really ought to have brought a bottle over here, as well..."

It's when Vicente returns that Iliana spots him. She doesn't even move, but there's a brief removal all the same from the crowd to watch him for a moment, entirely without any expression other than the slight narrowing of her eyes. Whatever that is is sallowed down with the remainder of whatever's in her glass though, and she drifts back to the tail end of the conversation. "Trading children for puppies? Is that all the rage now in Arx?" She's very much not serious, given the way her expression melts into something wry rather than contemplative. "Trade the noisy one for the noisy one. Seems like a fair exchange."

There's a party in his house and the Count of the Bonespire should probably make an appearance. And so Magnus does- and he's even dressed on theme, wearing his bone and fur armor.

Dio grins as Arcadia explains the dishes. He sets about setting a bit of each on his plate, keeping them in order so as to remember which is which, and takes a bite, starting with white bear. "My compliments to your chefs for the preparation, and to you for providing such exotic fair, My Lady," he says, walking to Imogene's side and offer her a bit of mammoth. He nods to Sabella, and takes his whiskey back from Anne to take a long drink, before saying, "I have met Lady Thea of the House of War." He smiles at Thea and says in a lower voice, "There's something I was hoping to speak to you about, My Lady, if you are alive to adventure on board the Osprey."

"Yes, and I suspect that if you simply -- drop the children off, my cousin would be positively thrilled," Jennyva suggests quite cheerfully, bright smile on her lips. "And would get you the puppy as soon as he could."

Merek blinks a bit at the kisses to his cheeks, then he returns them with proper etiquette, while he nods. "Thank you, I usually keep to myself, so many people," he says. A smile to Dianna.

Esme laughs fully and with that genuine warmth that seems to be on her natural core. "I am of course going to come to that mud wrestling match, Cady. I shall be victorious in it. Please start placing bets on me." She gives a slight shake of her head to Erik, as if to say /not/ to bet on her. The little poem is just stared at as she shakes her head with a long-suffering sigh. "I am not sure how I put up with you. Such drama. Such cruelity. Such poetic mastery. I am just breathless with anticipation." She's obviously teasing him as she looks between the twins. "I think Dianna, my dearest, I have only seen your sister in passing but we have not had a chance to truly meet. It is a horrid thing." She offers towards Braith, Theron, and the mysterious Merek. "Lady Esme Fidante. It is good to meet each of you." Her eyes study Merek before she reaches out to pluck a piece of meat off of Erik's plate and offers a soft word to him.

Imogene had evidently forgotten all about food in the whirl of new faces around her, despite its being the reason for the occasion. She's hardly even touched her cider. But as Dio asks about it she finally does peer around at the dishes covering the tables, though she looks a little uncertain about it all as Arcadia names what each one is. She makes a tentative move in that direction, as if feeling some obligation towards culinary adventurousness, and then seems almost relieved to give it up as Thea comes over and Sabella makes this latest introduction. "Lady Thea," she says, making a light curtsy. "It's such a pleasure." Then Dio returns with food after all, which she regards with a downcast gaze of misgiving.

Why is the Mazetti always hugging? "Seriously, I swear you're Inigo with all the hugging,"Thea tells Alessia. The Malvici is obviously not used to the affection just yet, but...getting there. A slight grin is given to Dio,"Marquis, we meet again." Her gold-flecked green eyes turn curious and she too lowers her voice to him,"Of course. I don't plan on dying yet, so just say when." Turning to Imogene, she bows her head,"Marquessa, pleasure to meet you. I hope you've enjoyed the city so far."

Gesturing to each person in turn - but tugging her sister closer to Esme, Diann introduces the lot of her family gathered here. "Oh, but you've not met? Lessi, come meet Lady Esme Fidante, here. And Theron, Lady Esme; Braith is Theron's gloriously-beautiful-and-talented wife. Have you met Sir Merek Black, though? Stars, Lord Erik," Dianna teases, "You do take the lady's time."

Vicente begins to make his way towards Esme after he's managed to locate someone he sort of knows. He's trying to not be too much of a bull here but the slight ease he held earlier has dissipated to a degree. As he draws in closer to her, he gives a quick bow to Esme and whoever else may be around her, he doesn't seem to have focused on too much else at the moment, just any familiar port in a storm after all.

Arcadia notices Imogen's gaze at the food and gives her a reassuring smile. "I had the same look the first time it was presented to me. But I promise you it's very tasty. Mostly like lamb and goat." She beams towards Esme, "Perhaps I will challenge you Lady Esme. Though, I fear if Lady Brianna comes we will all be a pile of mud soaked aching bones." Spotting Magnus across the room, she gives a surprised lift of her eyebrow, but generally introduces him. "I'm not sure many of you have met my husband Count Magnus." She then looks to Sabella, ready for her to take on introductions again.

Finally releasing Thea, Alessia grins. "But it's so fun." Then her attention turns to Merek. "Messere. It's been a while. How've you been?" She greets him warmly, returning to her seat - and drink - as she gazes at him.

Dianna's extended introduction of her person to Esme draws Braith's needling of her husband to focus on the Fidante lady. "A pleasure, I am sure my husband's as well. I think he's trying to store enough heat for the walk home," she says and winks at him. She inclines her head then to Merek and Lord Erik as well. "Good to meet you all, really. But I am in need of more whiskey and since my husband can not exist outside of the glow of the fire, I shall have to get it myself. DO you need anything, Dianna?" She asks before she starts her stroll towards the libations.

"Lady Esme." Alessia adds with a grin, lifting her glass to the Fidante. "I've heard wonderful things from my sister. It's a pleasure to meet you at last."

"Unfortunate, your highness - I'm sure if you eschewed blue in place of focus on white and gold you would be as the mid-day sun over open sea." a hand pressed to Strozza's chest over his heart, "Would there be music now I would offer my hand and space upon the floor to see to perhaps building regret for not taking our hand to your in wed." head tilting to the side and a sudden bright smile as he offers a genteel bow to the princess as if to give a proper stance to deliver such word to her.

"You are likely breathless with exasperation.", Erik counters aside to Esme with a low chuckle and a wink. He beams toward Dianna then, bobbing a nod in affirmation over after a swig of drink and a crisp, contented exhale. "Oh, of course. Though I imagine these are delicacies I might not have a chance to partake in for quite some time, so I wanted to make certain the gauntlet of the selection was acquired and shared.", he adds with a tick of nod in Esme's direction. Then staring and squinting after the meat is snatched and something is shared, angling a bit nearer to counter with something at a similar volume and an expression of wry amusement etched across his features.

Oh wait, there's Thea! Erik flashes another easy smile in the Malvici's direction, offering a wave and a "Hail, Ally!" over before looking back to Dianna, and then Merek, where he dips his head. "Greetings, Sir Black. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, even in the passing bustle of this jovial event." Back to Dianna he wonders with a chuckle, "There is hardly ever enough time to take from anywhere. I can hardly keep up with it all myself."

Merek has attention upon him, his cloak is pulled to him, golden eyes peeking from the hood while he considers each in turn. "Busy, you know. I have cats and a fox to care for, a fleet, Archives," he says to Alessia. Then to Dianna, "Aye, it's a pleasure to meet your friends," he offers a charming little cheshire smile. To Esme, "It's a pleasure to meet you," he inclines, then he nods to Erik.

Merek checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Imogene looks back up to Thea with a warm smile. "Oh, you and Lord Dio have met, then? That's lovely. As for Arx, I've enjoyed it amazingly so far. It's been simply splendid, and I haven't seen a quarter of the things there are to see yet." Since the food hasn't gone away in the course of this brief reply, the marquessa picks up a fork to pick delicately at the proffered mammoth, eventually resigning herself to actually putting it in her mouth.

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

Dio nods to Arcadia when she tell Imogene of the food and its semblance in texture to lamb and goat. "That's exactly it, Countess." His eyes linger a moment on his wife's expression as she tries the mammoth. "What do you think?" Turning to Magnus when he enters, Dio bows his head. "Well met, Count Magnus. I am Marquis Dio Seraceni." At Thea's words, he smiles and nods. "There's treasure in it too, but the journey's not for the faint of heart. I'll write to you soon, and tell all there is to know."

Sabella gives Strozza a brilliant smile, "Oh, I think even without sparkling gifts, the Nightingale is definitely going to like you as I already do!" When Arcadia introduces Magnus she beams an even brighter smile, takes a breath and--and then Elizabetta comes over and hands her a note, whispering something, "Ah, it seems I am being called away back home. You'd think not being a Voice anymore would have given me a break from such things, but family is family." She leans over to give Niklas a kiss on the cheek, "You stay, my love, I shall be back when I am able. Countess, wonderful party!" And then she's sweeping towards the door, giving Elizabetta a hurried response to scurry off with.

Esme brightens most beautifully. "Oh. I do so love your gown, Alessia. OH!" There is a sparkle to her emerald eyes. "I have a some umbra that I am to make something out of it. Perhaps you could help me. I have spent my life in whites, so the darks are just.. I have not figured them out." There is a pause to that as she shakes her head. "That is so true in so many ways in life." Dianna is given her bright smile as well, "Perhaps the both of you and pleasae, Alessia, do not believe the rumors of your sister. I was not /that/ drunk." Her gaze moves towards Vicente. "Uncle, have you met everyone? I truly wished to meet the very young lady that you had on your arm. I swear, her eyes were compelling." Braith is given a bright smile as well. "I have been admiring your ring, is it your wedding ring? I'd love for you to show me when you return. There is so much about love that a Devotion, as myself, just cannot get enough of." Merek is given a surprised look. "Oh! You do talk. I had thought you just stood around at parties and left when I tried to approach." More of Erik's food is taken as she looks up to see Magnus and then looks back around.

Making her way gingerly through the first bite of mammoth, Imogene pauses, then takes another, giving a tilt of her head towards Arcadia after finishing that mouthful too. "You're quite right," she says gratefully to the Countess. "It's really not so unlike some of the dishes the cook prepared at home, though simpler. Which is not in the /least/ a bad thing, as Cook was so fond of the sauces that one practically had to go swimming through them to find whatever meat might be drowned at the bottom."

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

Dio bows to Sabella when she announces she will be leaving. "It's been a sincere pleasure, Your Highness."

Magnus looks.. well, the giant looks just a little uncomfortable for a momment, though the expression of unease quickly passes and he offers Arcadia a somewhat measured smile before returning Dio's greeting. "A pleasure then, my lord," he says, his voice suprisingly bright and warm, "I hope you are enjoying yourself."

"Oh, come now," Dianna pouts at Esme. "When were you ever drunk in front of me? Our friend here, though?" Dianna winks at Erik, another tease followed by a shrug. She turns to Vicente, "Oh, you are Lady Esme's uncle? Of course you are. How are you this evening?" Dianna slips from her sister's side to sidle Vicente, proffering a short curtsy. "Do you know Sir Merek Black? Merek, meet Lord Vicente Fidante, war hero from the Southport-Tor War."

Imogene curtsies deeply to Sabella in turn. "Your Highness. I'm so grateful to have had the pleasure of your acquaintance. It was truly very lovely."

Keski, a nervous disciple of Petrichor, Aletta, an even more nervous disciple of Petrichor, 1 Templar Knight guards, Oswald, the war pig, a lively Ostrian gelding arrive, following Brigida.

Thea glances at Alessia, briefly amused,"You and Miranda both seem to think so." Drifting her gaze to Dianna, Thea nods to her as well,"Other are you?"a smile for her as well. There is still a curiosity in her eyes as she hear Dio. Hmmm. "Yes, a couple nights ago in the Black Fox. I tend to do work there, as Julian is good at keeping people from bothering me." Seeing Erik's grin, Thea bows her head with a slight wave following,"Ah. My newest ally. How are you?"

"Oh my Marquessa and Marquis gifted each of us with a crate of materials not long ago, so I certainly understand the position you're in." Alessia says, beaming, a hand smoothing her gown with pride. "It certainly takes a while to conceive of something that is different to everything else in my wardrobe while also complementing me as well as it can." She grins. "But thank you. I'll surely be willing to help you any way I can in the future, just let me know."

Merek nods a bit to Vicente, "Nice to meet you, m'Lord," he offers, then he inclines, while he looks to Esme from beneath the hood, "I do talk, when I'm asked to talk." That isn't mysterious, is it?

Despite earlier implications that she might be hear to drink away the Leary, Iliana is good with a single drink, and a solid round of mingling. It's entirely possible that she really did just come to check on her cousin, but Arcadia has this wholly under control and she drifts to the edge of the hall to watch with something that borders dangerously on pride. For a bit. From the edge of the hall it's an easy drift toward the doors.

As introductions are made and the bemused Braith fills her whiskey once more and watches the crowd. As the Princess announces her departure, the newest Mazetti lifts her hand and flourishes a bow. Down move her dark curls about her dusky freckled face before she rises up once more and sips from her drink. Drinks are important. SHe crosses back over towards Dianna and whispers somethign to her before winking at Esme. WINK. She chuckles to herself before the sound is drowned in her drink.

"Very much, My Lord," replies Dio to Magnus. "There is a sense of both power and majesty in your hall. It is very different from the villas and piazzas in the Lycene Ward," he says, "but I do not find it uncomfortable." He takes a sip of whiskey leans over to Imogene, passing a few words to her, before handing his plate to Anne.

Brigida enters, clacking her staff on the floor as she does so and using it to clear a path in front of her if anyone is too slowly to get out of the way. The venerable Archlector shoos off her Disciples as she peers around the room, seeing both who she recognises as well as if anyone appears to be misbehaving.

"All the better tonight, Lady Thea. In good spirits with good spirts, fine food, and finer company.", Erik answers to Thea, then nudges the plate closer toward Esme with the rate she's plucking off of it. He fills his glass next, then knocks a quick swig back before looking to Dianna and offering a minutely indifferent shrug of his own at her question regarding him. His attention drifts briefly in Magnus's direction, a curiosity, but he doesn't interject himself into any other conversations going on at the moment.

Vicente keeps that blank-ish expression for a moment as he speaks to Esme, "Yes, Lady Antea and I needed to discuss some matters of importance and this seemed a good opportunity." He then turns to look at the assembled crowd that Esme had mentioned and his face seems to drain of some of its color at the sight of that company yet he does not miss much of a beat and gives a bow to each of the ladies present and says to Dianna, "Yes, for some time now and that ..." His voice trails off, ahh wonderful. He turns to Merek and gives a nod of his head to the man and says, "Pleasure to meet you Sir Merek." Here he allows the attention to divert with something of a relief but coloring still pale.

Gunner, the Leary Military Adjutant, Emilie, a plump lady's assistant leave, following Iliana.

"To good spirits." Alessia raises her glass to Erik, though from the way her eyes drift to the drink in hand, it's clear what exactly she's referring to.

Imogene gives a tiny toss of her head at whatever Dio's said to her, her eyes sparkling, and then she turns to the giant of a man who's come over. "/I/ think it's simply charming!" she states emphatically to Magnus, gesturing around at the skulls and strange murals and dimly lit nooks and crannies of the hall. Definitely all the characters of charm. "I've never seen a thing like it. Are all the beasts painted on the walls real, or did the painter simply make them up?" She peers very curiously at the Count.

Rounding her eyes at Thea, Dianna backsteps, startled. "'Other Mazetti'?? This is what I get? You break my heart, sincerely. I'll have you know I was the /first/ of the Mazetti twins, my dear lady. And that is how I am." She pouts, then turns her gaze quickly to Braith, a mirthful smirk on her full lips. "Mmmmn..." Dianna hums lowly, a sultry purring sound before she smoothly glances away. "I need more whisky, desperately. Do pardon me a bit." Dianna flicks her gaze at Braith's eyes before touching the arm of Merek, Thea, Vicente as she sidles narrowly by.

Across the room to gather a bottle of gin, this time - considering her favorite cousin's reaction to the clear liquid - along with two glasses. She rounds the circle to find her wayward cousin - Strozza, of course, the only Mazetti left who is not gathered around the fire. "Cousin," she smiles, a twinkle in her eye, "Have you won the hearts of every passing woman, yet, as you won mine?" To those gathered near Dianna and Strozza, she smiles warmly. "He is so very charming, isn't he? Such a joyful addition to have with us in the city."

Jennyva chats happily away with someone, even though it's leading her away from the cluster of conversation she's been having. At some point she finishes her whiskey, and ultimately the young woman collects her cloak and slips out.

"This is why you should hug her more!" Alessia calls after her sister as she walks off, before turning a wry smile to Thea. "You're welcome." She adds with a wink. "Blessed Brigida. It's good to see you." She says with a respectful incline of her head.

"Thank you, both of you," Magnus tells both Imogene and Dio, still offering that same welcoming smile. To the lady, he gives another nod of his head. "Oh yes. All of them really lived. At one time or another." \

"Alas." Strozza says at Sabella's exit, letting Arcadia to her amusements as he turns about again, allowing himself a moment to breathe in the quiet while sipping at his gin, nodding appreciatively at it. Bit by bit his expression slides towards a polite, if impassive, neutrality, blinking at Dianna's comment, "Oh sweet Dianna, you know I am to be a bachelor for all times, to spend my doddering years cold in a chair, and and then fade like the tide." pausing when he hears a voice close by, responding clandestinely

Merek settles up with a nod to Dianna, and makes his way to follow and pick up a whisky and make orders for Dianna. He sips from it, chugs really.

Dio's eyes linger on Imogene, and the Marquis smiles. Turning his attention then to Alessia and Dianna, he takes a step toward the latter and says, "Lady Dianna, Princess Sabella mentioned that you were a glaivedancer. My first mate there," he says, gesturing to Anne, who is sitting with her legs spread far apart by the fire, drinking whiskey and chatting up one of the Stahlben servants, "performs something called a 'knife dance.' It involves a lot of twirling and throwing sharp objects, along with a lot of seductive steps. Does that sound close to your glaivedancing?" He chuckles a little to hear Strozza describe himself.

Esme smiles beautifully at Thea. "OH, you are allies now with Erik? I do hope you teach him the pointy end of the sword and where to face it." She's obviously teasing. Her voice drops to the man with a dramatic flutter of lashes. Then she offers something to her uncle. When the Woman with the Plan (or the /cane/) enters, Esme brightens up. "Don't hug her, Vicente. She doesn't like it." As if the man was going to run over and do such a thing.

"How extraordinary!" Imogene casts a radiant gaze over the scenes on the wall again, clearly appreciating them all over again for having confirmed their reality. "I wish more of them remained to be sought out and admired for their strange magnificence! What a sight they would be."

Brigida beams at Alessia's greeting and adjusts her walk towards the Glaivedancer and she waves a blessing at her, "Lady Alessia. I trust you are well," she peers around the group and adds to Alessia, "Are you going to introduce everyone to me? I see faces I do not know." Esme's voice catches her attention and she gives the younger woman a brief narrowed eyed stare at the comments to Vicente.

Walking away from her sister and the family joined at the fire, Dianna calls, without looking back, "If I give her hugs, she'll fall in love with me. We can't have that quite yet, can we?"

k"Nonsense, mio caro," Dianna replies to Strozza, now standing close beside him. "You will likely marry before me - shall we take a bet on that?"

A new face, though, and a handsome one by the look of Dianna's charming smile joins her; she turns to Dio attentively and listens. "I am indeed; and it is precisely - and the best description I have yet heard from any lips but my own family's, of the nature of a glaivedancer - with the exception that we do not use knives, but glaives - longer than a spear, and far more deadly blades. I beg your pardon, though; your name? I missed it in all of the conversations." Dianna's attention remains exclusively upon Dio, her voice a gentle melody.

Erik's head dips in Esme's direction, a low murmur of wry amusement, before he perks up and looks in the direction of Brigida. It seems like he might remember the staff clearing her path more than the woman, but offers a pleasant bob of a nod and a smile in her direction before turning his attention back between Esme and Thea. "She claims to be a trickster with her friends, so we've opted for alliance instead of friendship. It seems the more practical course of approach, I'm far too gullible when it comes to far too many things.", he admits with a brief hint of a frown.

Thea squints at Alessia, but her eyes..nope. Thea is plotting. "He would have to put a book down,"Thea teases Erik a little. Realizing the time, Thea apologizes,"I'm afraid I have business to catch up on and work to do, but it was a pleasure to see you all and nice to meet new faces,"the youngest Malvici says sincerely.

Vicente seems to dart his head from side to side in a moment of confusion for whatever reason why, perhaps over stimulation from the crowds. He closes his eyes for a moment then turns to look at Esme from her final statement and adds, "Yes, I don't think she'd especially care for that but I do appreciate the extra thought in case it escaped me." There does not seem to be any sarcasm in it. He gives a bow to Brigida and keeps his expression serious but not harsh. His face has been pale but the color seems to be slowly returning to it.

"Oh, of course, Blessed. Those I know at least." Alessia says with a grin, rising as the Archlechtor approaches. "My cousins, Lord Theron and Lady Braith. Lady Esme Fidante, Lady Thea Malvici and Lord Erik Grimhall." She gestures further ahead. "My sister, Lady Dianna with my cousin Lord Strozza and Sir Merek." She smiles faintly. "I'm probably missing quite a few. I don't quite share Princess Sabella's talents." She chuckles.

Merek looks to his whisky while he moves back to the seats the Mazzeti and others have taken, to nurse from the drink. He watches as the snow falls from the windows, his gaze distant like in a dream, perhaps seeking wonderful poetry. Or... Maybe he just really wants a snowball fight.

"Dianna if you purposefully wait to win this bet you will die a spinster and I a ragged old sailor, dried to jerky by..." Strozza trails off when Dio takes her attention, he does bow his head when introduced by Alessia, giving her a small smile before murmuring to Arcadia again.

Imogene finally seems to remember that her cider exists, and she takes a small sip of it as her gaze finally leaves the decor of the Hall and drifts across the crowd again. She glances over at Dianna on hearing her musical voice, studying her and Dio for a moment. Her eyelids lower briefly, the long dark lashes obscuring her gaze, and she turns to observe the mammoth skull thoughtfully instead.

Esme beams the most glorious smile at Brigida. Glorious. So innocent. Nothing bad over here. "Blessed, I have missed you so much from our last talk. Although, have you seen that Vicente has returned to the city? It was a glorious thing." Her eyes brighten in humor as she smiles warmly towards Alessia. "Ah, our Blessed, was once known as the Golden Rose in Fidante." There is a pause. "Should I worry that I don't have a rose name, truly I think I should have one. What do you think it should be?" Her Torean emerald eyes are dancing with amusement, but there is also love and respect in the looks to her family. Although, Vincente gets a frown for a moment. She offers him a comment and then laughs fully at whatever Erik said low to her and her voice drops as her fingers wrap around his upper arm. For a moment, it's a very intimate feel between them, but the moment it is there; it is gone.

Dio smiles at Dianna. "No need to beg pardon, My Lady. I am Marquis Dio Seraceni, and new to Arx. I hope that I might be able to witness your dance, should you ever wish to grant me the honor." In that a moment, a messenger arrives, and passes him a note. He glances towards Imogene, and then says to Dianna, "Though brief, it was a sincere pleasure to meet you, My Lady." He bows and makes his way to the side of Imogene to say a few words, before coming again to stand before Magnus and Arcadia, in what is likely a farewell.

Introduced again, Braith comes about from her brief conversation with Dianna to smile again. "I have not met Thea and I think Lord Erik was little focsed. THis has been, quite the gathering," she admits with a grin. She inclines her head once more but the whiskey is starting to warm her dusky skin and the northerner looks pleasantly comfortable. " I think I might wander over to the old stomping ground at Sanna. See if they cleaned out my chambers yet. Anyone else interested?" She glances around to her Mazetti family as she downs what is left in her glass.

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

Magnus has moved into more of an observational mode, but when Dio moves before him and Arcadia, he gives the other man a nod of his head.

Erik quips chipperly in Braith's direction with a wink and an easy laugh, "Oh, don't worry, Lord Erik is little focused even on his best days.", then he plucks up another cut of a dark piece of meat from the dwindling plate shared with Esme, munching contentedly.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Count Mangus, Countess Arcadia. I am being called back to our Piazza, but I enjoyed myself very much." Dio bows to the Stahlben rulers, and glances towards Anne, who sets her tricornered hat back upright on her head and sweeps to her feet.

Merek checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 11 lower.

With a waft of her hand to Strozza, Dianna's attention remains focused yet on Dio. "Of course, Marquis," Dianna lowers into a graceful and unhurried curtsy, dipping her head forward. "I should be glad to demonstrate at your leisure." Noting his exit, Dianna observes his direction to Imogene - clearly the Marquessa. A nod and gentle curtsy to her before Dianna turns again to address Strozza. "The bet, my sweet and charming cousin, you were saying? Do you think I shall /wile/ away my years /deliberately?" Dianna laughs - more precisely /scoffs/, her amber eyes flickering. "Why should I ever do that, especially when we have not established the terms of our little wager?"

Brigida bobs her head in greeting as Alessia points people out and wags a finger at those she knows, "Oh I know Thea and your sister. As well as this troublemaker Esme." She harumphs briefly before looking at Dianna and commenting, "Do as I did and don't marry. Men will only disappoint you eventually."

"Sorry, I was woolgathering." Theron comments to Braith and others about them. "I suppose I will tag along, darling wife. I am sure you plan to make me carry something or other. Likely you after you get into more spirits. Or a snowbank."

Merek looks to the window as snow falls, then he pulls his cloak to him, hood shifted over his features while he shivers a bit. Like it was a nightmare he swallows some of his whisky, then he sighs while he leans back and looks thoughtful, sighing.

A gentle curtsy is returned to Dianna, and then Imogene turns to make a deeper one to the host and hostess. "Thank you so much for a perfectly lovely evening," she tells them sincerely. "I look forward to becoming better acquainted with the people of the North in my time here."

Erik earns a grin from the vibrant bard. Braith winks at him and lifts her glass. "Well then Lord Erik," she cheers him and moves to set down her glass as Theron teases her. "One time a snowbank ate me and you are going to live off that for years to come. Besides, you will likely freeze if you try. Your thin southern blood." She syas and then slips nearer to her husband, sliding her arm around his. "You know the way." She tells him and then takes his arm as they begin to start picking their way out.

Dio offers his arm to his Marquessa, and offers a bow of his head to the guests, as Anne falls in behind them, winking at Merek, and tipping her hat.

Vicente seems to be distracted from the masses and his eyes shift about curiously but returning back predominately to Brigida. He ought to be more engaged in this conversation but he stands there silently. His hand begins to tap against his left thigh with a bit of a light intensity but he's certainly interested in what's going on but there's just a bit too much of it.

Alessia cannot hide her wry amusement at Brigida's words, gaze drifting toward her sister. "Yes, eventually." She echoes before knocking back her glass. "We ought to be going." She nods at Braith's offer. "Thank you Count and Countess, for this lovely event." She offers to the hosts.

Anne, a dangerously alluring Seraceni first mate, Imogene leave, following Dio.

Having been distracted since receiving a message earlier, Niklas finishes dictating a response to his assistant, then turns back just in time to hear Brigida. "Blessed Brigida! The problem with men disappointing you eventually is that not many people have as much eventually as you have had! Though I've heard tales of the Golden Rose of Tor. You sound like you were quite fun." Were! He makes his way over to Arcadia and gives the countess a bow. "Thank you so much for the party. It's honestly been too damned long since the city had something worth flocking to."

"Don't worry, Dear Dianna... There is no need for such a wager." a tightness to his smile and Strozza leans back, handing his glass to Kuhlai so that his aide can refill it. He looks to Dianna and incline his head, "Do not anchor to me, I beg you."

Erik's own glass raises and head dips in parting to Braith and Theron. "Fair weather and fare well. Do watch out for the hungry snows."

Braith has left the A bear claw hearth.

Alessia has left the A bear claw hearth.

Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Sirra, a very quiet maid leave, following Alessia.

Theron has left the A bear claw hearth.

Garibaldi, the Lycene swordbearer, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants leave, following Theron.

A gaunt young man with oily black hair and ice blue eyes, 2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Alessia, Theron leave, following Braith.

Esme downs her own drink but she seems to be giving all of her attention towards Erik though. There is something that has her moving very very close to him to whisper in his ear. Then she pulls back. "I should truly be going now though."

Arcadia has been mingling and moving around. She give kind farewells as those leave. A brief murmur to a few friends and gets another drink. "I'm so glad you all made it. Thank you all so much. It has warmed my heart."

"What a silly thought," Dianna cocks her head and considers Strozza. "In fact, Tato, I planned to bid you leave. And you, Countess; thank you for a lovely evening." Dianna curtsies deeply first to Arcadia, then to the others near. She fully embraces Strozza, kissing cheeks before bidding him a private farewell, their eyes locked for a moment while they quietly murmur. Dianna smiles softly, then waves in the direction of the hearth - likely to Esme, Erik, Vicente, Merek - before turning to go.

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