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The Midnight Ball of Death

The culmination of the Festival of Death, a legendary ball to be held at the temple at the Memorial Park right outside of Arx. Hosted by legendary socialite Princess Berenice Velenosa and Second First Harlequin Evaristo Arterius, sponsored by House Velenosa and the Harlequins, this promises to be one special event at a special place. Come pay honor to the Queen of Endings and Mother of Beginnings, dance, drink, be merry, play games, win prizes, get gifts! Death related attire is encouraged but not necessary.

Date

Nov. 23, 2019, 4 p.m.

Hosted By

Evaristo Berenice

Participants

Calithex Tyrval Leona Merimange Alaric Symonesse Rinel Merek Gwenna Skye Alessia Felicia Lethe Preston Gaston Dianna Talia Jules Jennyva Rosalind Rysen Raymesin Giulio Malcolm Jeffeth Fortunato

Organizations

Harlequins Velenosa

Location

Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Path Outside the Walls - Memorial Park of Arx - Temple

Largesse Level

Legendary

Comments and Log

Gwenna

Words surely can not do this extraordinary event justice, nor properly convey what an absolutely /wonderful/ time I had. Princess Berenice is truly a legend and I can hardly keep a smile from my face when I get to see the Second First Harlequin, Evaristo. I managed to win one of the games even! And surely am the envy of no few for being awarded a voucher for a cloak from Elegant Impression. The King and Queen attended, which is just another delight and fond memory I will have of the event. It was also fantastic to catch up with dear friends, some who I have not seen in entirely too long.


Rinel enters the temple and pauses for a moment in awe at the preparations. Then she bows, politely, and murmurs a prayer to the Goddess of Death. Her cane clicks on tile as she limps off to the side, where the seating has been moved.

Evaristo drops a cheerful red chest engraved with grinning skulls.

Khaavren, a dutiful assistant, 2 Redrain Guards arrive, following Gwenna.

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

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

Zelda, the royal messenger, 13 King's Own Guardsmen arrive, following Alaric.

The Memorial Park is still relatively new, and its temple has yet to host many events. Tonight, here in the darkest hour of night, it has been transformed to something truly legendary. Every inch of the interior seems to house candles, chandeliers, and decorations; servants mingle throughout with various refreshments, and musicians from the Bard's College offer music to fill the background of everyone's arrival.



And there near the entrance is one of the hosts of the evening, Princess Berenice Velenosa. She is dressed in a gown of deepest blood-red, the rose-gold brocade a design of spiderwebs, with the spiders themselves dotted with pink diamonds that gleam in the light. Star iron, epiphanite, and dragonweep gleam on her chest, a centerpiece to complement her strapless gown. She is there to greet their guests in full, Velenosa socialite style. "Welcome! Please, enter and /enjoy/ yourselves."

Merek has taken his time to put on his dark attire, as well as the cloak which he wears wrapped about him, the regal shift of the material flowing about in a wave to the ankles. He looks around a bit, then inclines to Berenice at the entry way, then he's finding a nice place to settle in and relax also.

While not a well-known or fervent follower of the Queen of Endings and Beginnings, Gwenna perhaps picked up more than a passing interest thanks to recent festivals. The Redrain has even dressed the part! Mostly. Making her way just inside the entrance, she takes a few steps to the left so as not to block traffic. It appears she has been immediately taken with the decor and is stealing a few minutes to really take it all in before she'll move to congratulate the hosts.

Skye is a vision of bone white as she enters the temple. Her wide blue eyes take in the candles, the decorations as she delights in the beauty of Death. She gives a soft murmur of greeting, curtesying to Berenice as she is greeted. Then she takes a few more steps in, heading over to see what these games are all about.

Evaristo looks tidier than he ever has, nearly - even his hair is almost tamed, just a few locks standing up in rebellion, refusing to conform to standards, the rest held mostly in place with a circlet with a bat on. He's dressed for the occasion with spiders and skulls all over. He stands near Berenice and has a smile so broad it threatens to reach his ears, eyes glittering with excitement as he too greets - there's a lot of bowing, he is a commoner after all.

Entering the Temple with a look of awe as she glances about her, at the way the room's been transformed, Alessia stops to offer the hostess a curtsy in greeting matched with a warm smile. "Your highness, Messere. Thank you for holding this event." She extends the greeting to Evaristo.

Felicia's among those that prowl into the temple. As is her usual wont for these sort of things the armor has stayed at home, but Wheelspinner remains the odd 'adornment' to her gown. The hosts greeted with a broad grin and polite half-bow before she moves off in search of liquor and the opportunity to check out the decorations.

The King and Queen arrive with their retinue just before the event begins. Symonesse is dressed in a gown of gossamer spidersilk and seems to glow with infused light despite the connotations of darkness that perhaps those that worship the Queen of Endings should possess. Instead, the Queen is as radiant as sunlight. She smiles as she spots Evaristo and Berenice, giving them each a tilt of her head as she murmurs, "This looks lovely. Thank you so much for the invitation."

Lethe arrives wearing a festive outfit. She looks toward the hosts with a polite smile and a nod before going to grab a glass of wine. She then quietly takes in the party as she observes the nearby guests.

Alaric is, at first entry, a little subdued for a moment as he looks about, a hint of amusement as he gives the area a look over, the decoration and such. Leaning over to whisper something to Symonesse, it's quiet, even playful, as he says it, the look on his face enough to say that before he spies who the Queen speaks to. "Indeed. And you have games I saw so that will always win points with me. I enjoy playing little games of chance and the like," the King says. He's dressed in muted colors but nothing nearly so extraordinary as the Queen.

Whether it is because he has yet to sort out his new fancy clothing or because he is generally in charge of security, or because frankly you can literally not go wrong with it, Preston enters wearing the dapper outfit of....plate armour. Yes. He is resplendent in hardened rubicund steel, largely covered in white and gold, with large grizzly wolf pelt cloak. You show them your animal side. Rawr you. But wait, there is more. Oh yes. Preston is not just beautifully wearing the totally glam diamondplate Banisher obut also the rather plain alaricite blade too. It's a twofer on the blade display. For all this very metal fashion statement though, he has been sure to keep his helmet off so people can see him and aren't scared, held by one of the Templars, and he immediately checks with the Templars on duty to make sure everything is OK. Everyone is well. No-one has tried to brutally murder anyone or steal precious crowns and the like.

Gaston paces into the temple grounds with his usual restless energy, pausing in his stride only to gruffly admire the decorations with an impressed quirk of one scarred brow. As for dressing for the occasion, he's managed to find an outfit in black at least, though as always he seems somehow uncomfortable in the finery despite the pleasing cut of the umbra. He pauses before the hosts and dips into a rigid bow, eyes moving from Evaristo to Berenice, where they linger long enough for a rough smile to stretch over his face. "Highness...it's been a while. Glad to see you." Brisk, as always. He also has a bow for the King and Queen, unpolished despite his best attempt but still deep and respectful. before he moves aside to make way for the other guests and wanders over to start sniffing around the refreshments.

Felicia offers the King and Queen a deep and respectful bow, their respective retinues of guards meriting their own crisp nod and lopsided grin of acknowledgment. A whiskey is collected before she heads in the directions of the game to check them out with delight.

Skye stops looking over the games to curtesy deeply to the King and Queen that has arrived. She flushes with excitement and brigthen twofold as the queen's elegant form moves through the temple. She then greets the retinue of guards, her smile lighting up at the sight of Preston. She nods in his direction, a questioning look as she notices he's not in finery this evening.

"Princess Gwenna, what a delight to have you! Baroness Skye, it's been ages. Lady Alessia, Dame Felicia, welcome." Berenice is quick with names, that particularly socialite skill at work. And then Symonesse and Alaric are before her, and she dips into a low, effortlessly graceful curtsy. "Your Majesty, Your Highness. We are /beyond/ honored to have you in attendance." Her eyes lift to the Queen, and there's a beat before she adds, "I hope you find it suitable, Queen Symonesse." Her gaze flits past to Gaston, and there's more familiarity to the curve of her smile there at his briskness. "Marquis Gaston, it /has/ been quite a while. What an absolute /pleasure/ to see you in the city again." And her gaze tracks him slipping off just briefly before returning to the guest arrivals.

On the arm of her usual companion - a golden-haired young Lycene man with the grace of a dancer, and dressed in black silk - is the lovely and ever-elegant Lady Dianna Mazetti. She is dressed in a swath of midnight silk with blood-gold belt that dips dangerously past her navel, the crenelated silk swirling all around her body and long legs, which she wears paired with the most delicate of golden, high-heeled slippers.



Upon entering, Dianna drops into a deep and flourishing curtsy - daring her gown to fall from slender shoulders with the dip - and her companion, Aurelio, drops into a deep bow - in greeting to the princess. "Good evening, your highness; you look positively beautiful; good evening, Messeur. I am Lady Dianna Mazetti, of Ostria, and my companion is Messeur Aurelio Segreti. We are so pleased to be here and join in the festivities." With a gentle smile, Dianna steps in - only to spot the king and queen. Regardless of whether or not they notice her, Dianna drops her gaze and lowers with extreme care and grace to a curtsy that pools the wispy fabric of her skirts onto the floor, her head lowered humbly. "Your Majesties," Dianna gently and smoothly speaks, echoed by Aurelio, who has dropped to a bow on bended knee. The pair rise elegantly, Dianna's fingertips held gently within her young companion's hand. She smiles like sunrise at both king and queen, and with a gentle nod, politely excuses herself to wander to her sister's side - but spots Preston suddenly. Dianna murmurs to Aurelio, and the pair change direction.

Evaristo makes little quips or compliments to those that enter, cheerful greetings - and Gwenna is given a particularly broad smile seeing the circlet she wears. His jaw does drop when the King and Queen enter, and he just stares at them for a moment before he remembers proper etiquette and makes a sweeping, dashing bow at them as well. "Thank you, Your Majesties." He looks more than a little surprised to see Preston, but the templar is given a thankful nod and a smile. He starts to drift towards the stage now after a murmur to Berenice.

The King likes to have fun, and having caught Evaristo's jaw drop, so Alaric says, JUST above whisper conversation as he smiles to Skye, Felicia, Dianna, the many who bow or curtsy as he says quietly, "Do you think he could have bowed lower? I mean it was a -good- bow, certainly good enough but as host, I duno, I expected more." Which is enough probably to start a wildfire of rumors if the King didn't break into laughter nearly as soon as it was said. ""You're welcome. A chance to dance, some drinks, some games. I look forward to all of it."

The decor was only half of what took Gwenna's attention. Berenice's legendary outfit and the entrance of Alaric and Symonesse are enough to keep the Redrain looking a bit awe-struck at it all. She dips a respectful curtsy to the King and Queen and then she beams a smile at the Velenosa. "Princess Berenice, you and the Second First Harlequin have truly outdone yourselves. I am quite nearly speechless!" Evaristo's smile seems to lead her own to broaden and she dips her head toward him. "How could I have /not/ worn such an exquisite piece," is murmured, surely about the stunning circlet she wears. That done, she makes her way toward one of the servers passing out refreshments.

Talia Baseborn steps into the temple, clad all in white in an outfit of her own making with a veil that covers the shy seamstress's features and trails behind her. She comes alone, moving from the entrance to the perimeter of the party like second nature, avoiding the gathering crowd near the King and Queen and instead towards the benches.

Evaristo hops up on the small stage where the musicians are playing, and they pause the music. He clears his voice and calls out for attention. He looks out over the crowd, his expression quite serene and calm, and there's almost something humble about him - quite contradictory to his normal mien.



"I welcome you all to the culmination of the Festival of Death, which house Velenosa and the Harlequins are hosting. The Festival has seen many amazing events throughout the year - has it been that long, what happened... Ahem, anyway. I approached Legate Aureth about this idea about a year ago, because with Death being returned to us just a few years prior, we didn't have traditions, we hadn't found much information of them from the past. And what is to say we can not make up our own? A new beginning? So, we did. So many enthusiastically embraced the idea and there is a long list of people to thank - it would take half the evening to name them all, but all of you who helped, whether by donating money, or hosting an event, or /coming/ to the events - thank you, from the bottom of my heart, that you helped see my dream of us lifting The Queen of Endings and Mother of Beginnings to such heights. It is my hope that many more has come to know her, and what she means to us and who she is in the Faith, her role amongst the Thirteen. The Shrine of the Queen of Endings remains always open for anyone with questions. I don't have all answers, but I - and any Harlequin - will always listen and offer what advice and knowledge we can. And before you leave tonight - or well it might be in the morning, really - take one of the Doctrine books from the chest, written by Legate Aureth. Outside, in the cemetary, there are candles lit tonight. There have been losses for many of you. Light a candle for them, and remember them. They are in your hearts and they Shall Not Wholly Die. After that, come inside and drink, dance, eat and be joyful, because life is the Queen's gift.



Welcome to the Midnight Ball of Death!"



And with that, he jumps off the stage and the musicians continue with a very upbeat tune, setting the tone of merriment.

"You look as lovely as ever, your highness." Alessia offers, appraising Berenice's garb. Turning as the king and queen arrive with their retinue, her smile brightens and she offers another graceful curtsy. "Your Majesties. It's good to see you both here." Just as visibly awed by the queen's gown, she continues. "Lady Alessia Mazetti." She introduces herself. "Princess Roxana Grayson is my patron." She says merrily. Then her atten shifts to the stage, lips curling with intrigue as the Harlequin speaks.

Preston bows his head towards Skye, a warm smile offered as he straightens and lingers a little towards the side of the gathering. The arrival of Dianna causes the knight to break into an amused chuckle "Lady Dianna - I fear this is not the training centre, I must apologise for misleading you on our next meeting." And that apology comes complete with a bow "I hope you will forgive." As everyone continues their pocessions, the arrival of Gaston gets a little raise of the brow, Preston's interest piqued but nothing is said and he simply moves to offer Berenica her dues "Your highness. Congratulations and thank you on behalf of the Faith. Devotion to the Gods is the most beautiful thing on Arvum to see, next to yourself of course, your highness." Well. Preston is in a good mood. Though mention of losses does cause a small sigh "Though I fear, not sufficient space for candles for all that has been lost. A heavy year gone, heavy indeed."

Gwenna is overheard praising Evaristo: A moving welcome!

Merek is overheard praising Evaristo.

Merek is overheard praising Berenice.

Skye is overheard praising Evaristo.

Jennyva is overheard praising Evaristo.

Skye is overheard praising Berenice.

Merek is overheard praising Harlequins.

Jennyva is overheard praising Berenice.

Merek is overheard praising Velenosa.

Gwenna is overheard praising Berenice: A stunning event and even more stunning hostess!

With a soft chuckle and a warm, sweet smile, Dianna gazes up at Preston. "How could you deceive me, Sir - and here, I was sure you were of the most honorable and honest of all," she feigns a pout and winks. "I shall forgive you, though - if you will promise me a dance." She waits, amused with the large knight.

Gaston is overheard praising Evaristo: A suitable beginning!

Lethe is overheard praising Evaristo.

Lethe is overheard praising Berenice.

Gaston is overheard praising Berenice.

Rinel looks somewhat crestfallen as the various well-to-dos of Arvani society show off their finely crafted attire. The scholar takes off her circlet and looks at it glumly. She polishes it with her dress before putting it back on with a soft sigh. But it's hard to stay self-pitying when Symonesse is in the room, and so Rinel hobbles over to where the King and Queen are standing. She bows deeply. "Your Royal Majesties," she says. "An honour to see the royal court at this event."

Gwenna has joined the a temporary red bench.

Dianna is overheard praising Berenice: What a lovely gala.

Dianna is overheard praising Evaristo: Blessings to you for your work.

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound arrives, following Rosalind.

Dianna is overheard praising Alaric: Long live the king!

Dianna is overheard praising Symonesse: And long live Her Majesty - the most radiant being I have ever seen.

Merek is overheard praising Symonesse.

Jules enters into the temple and his eyes dash around while his smile remains plastered to his face. As he catches a sight of the decorations and the attendees and he says, "I say!" And then begins to make his way into the fray of people with an excitement that seems to radiate off of him. He does make a quick pause along the way to grab a glass of wine. He does not veer towards the king and queen but otherwise he makes no pause away from anyone.

Berenice's greetings only pause when Evaristo steps to stage center to address the crowd and welcome them into the party, and her red-painted lips curve into a warming, widening smile as she watches him. And then her eyes crinkle as she turns her gaze back to Preston. "Grandmaster Preston, I feel safer already having you here," she says, voice playful with tease. "You seem in /remarkably/ good spirits. House Velenosa is always prepared to show our support of the Faith, as is our duty and joy. I am simply cheating and making sure that we get to express it with a dazzling party."

Skye places a hand over her heart and tells Alaric, "Your Majesty, I am honored that you remember me." She gives pause as Evaristo jumps on the stage to kick off the event. She smiles brightly as he thanks those that helped with the event. At the mention of lighting a candle, Skye looks over at interest. The mention of books to collect also grab her attention. She silently debates what to do next as she takes another sip of her wine. After a moment of internal debate, she moves off to light a candle for everyone that she has lost in the destruction of Blackshore Isle all those years ago before she restored the seat in the house.

Dahlia, a confident red and white corgi puppy, Winter, a juvenile Oakhaven bloodhound, 2 watchful Blackshore guards leave, following Skye.

Symonesse chuckles at whatever Alaric whispers to her, giving him one of those gentle smiles in return than seems as if any moment it will shift from a grin into a giggle. She graciously acknowledges all those that greet her with that same warm, happy smile. As Evaristo launches into his speech, she listens with apparent rapt attention. She applauds when he is finished and says to Alessia, her voice warm, "It is a pleasure to meet you then, Lady Alessia. I adore Princess Roxana. She has such lovely taste, doesn't she?" Then there is Rinel and the Queen smiles again and murmurs, "I would not have missed it. I have been looking forward to her since I heard of it."

Drifting in by herself, Jennyva's got a thoroughly pleased smile in place as she takes everything in. The young woman mingles for now, offering smiles when she catches someone's eyes, but mostly focusing on circling around to get herself a glass of something to drink.

Rosalind comes comes not quite rushing in, but she's quick. A flash of bright red hair behind her. She makes proper greetings with a friendly wave and smile to everyone! Including those she doesn't know. Her hazel green eyes are friendly as she makes her way inside.

With the officialness of everything over with, so to speak, Evaristo is ready to mingle and he grabs a glass for himself and for Berenice as he whirls by a server, moving over with it to the Velenosan princess and and bringing the server along so everyone can get drinks around him. "Isn't this amazing?" he says cheerfully to anyone and everyone. "Have another drink! There you go," he says and shoves a glass into someone's hand in passing.

"When the Gods are honoured, your highness, it is quite impossible not to be in good spirits." Preston answers to Berenice happily "And yes. The Archduchess Regent has also been most supportive. It is a pleasurable thing, to find friends rather than enemies. But. I should not keep the hostess when there are so many here for your ball..." Preston bows his head and takes a step back so the Velenosan can escape. Which gives him time to give Dianna a most odd look "A dance, m'lady? I promise in armour it is not a good look nor a pleasant sensation for the toes - you can ask the Baroness Blackshore, she was the unfortunate recepient at the last event. Baroness Skye was here a moment ago.." What Preston isn't doing is drifting too close to the royal family. Lest he get one of those Orthodox headaches that he gets when the queen's ears are considered.

A mug of beer in his fist (/dark/ beer, of course!), Gaston begins moving among the guests -- as much looking for familiar faces as he is simply moving to keep moving -- easing his broad shoulders through the crowd with surprising grace, perhaps, given his height. As he spots Preston, he slowly shifts course and makes his way over to the Templar, offering him a bow with the spread of one arm to keep his mug level. "Grandmaster Preston," He says, with a wide grin that pulls the scars over his face tight. "I do not know if I ever made the proper time to thank you and the Faith for what was done in ridding the Cloudspine of a dire threat." A long beat. "...Thank you," He says earnestly, bobbing his head and looking gravely sincere. Then he takes a pull from the mug, apparently considering that eloquent enough.

Talia perches herself upon a bench, waving away wine, to be an observer. Except that the seamstress murmurs to herself, nodding at something and gazing around beneath her veil at the party.

Applauding for Evaristo when she finishes, Alessia's eyes drift to the chest of Doctrine books before her gaze returns to Symmonesse. "Indeed she does. I assume you've probably been to her villa a few times. The rooms are decorated so beautifully and she so generously offered me one of the rooms for moments when I'm away from my family's residence." She grins. "I know how fond of you she is so I've been keen to finally make your acquaintance."

Peeking over at the games, Dianna murmurs to her companion, then smiles up to Preston again. "Sir Preston, how is your luck, do you think, this evening? Since you refuse a dance - in which, I am sure, you exaggerate your lack of skill. Do you not know that I can very likely guide /you/, should you so require it?" Dianna winks again to Preston, a playful smirk upon her lips. "Still, if you will not dance, then play a game of chance, with me. I'm inclined towards that second, there, with the spider's web."

Gwenna takes a seat on the red bench, because of /course/ - it's red! A glass of something in hand, she watches as people move around the temple and speak, while using the quiet moment to have a bit of something to snack on. The various games set around seem to tug her interest, but for the moment she seems content to sit for a few minutes.

Merek looks over to Dianna with an incline to the woman, then there's one for Alessia, then to Preston and to Alaric and to Symonesse. Back to the King he smiles, "Hey, we should have another snowball fight sometime, Your Majesty!" Simple pleasures. "Also, glad to see you doing well!"

Jules continues to move about through the room with his glass of wine in hand and a slow and rhythmic motion about his arms and legs, careful to not so much as bump into anyone except where the press is too great. Along his path he stops and his eyes seem to fix on something. At this point Jules walk flows through the crowd until he reaches to Rinel and upon reaching her, he gives a bow that is somewhat restrained given the crowd but as he comes up, he has his smile and lifted eyebrows on his face and says, "Madam, I saw your hair and I love your hair." He has a hint of emphasis on the word love, "The braid is such a delightful choice for a party!"

"Gods, but don't these look fun." Felicia murmurs, largely to herself as she makes her way over towards the grinning skulls. Approval given in the broadness of the redhead's grin and the absorbant delight with which she examines them.

Alaric is slightly distracted, between whispering with Symonesse briefly and then making sure to acknowledge the many greetings. Still, Evaristo's speech and the mention of working with the Faith is an impressive one, "I guess I can let him off the hook for the bow since he had to get up stage like that," he teases, not that the man was ever ON the hook for real. As people speak to the King and Queen, he's content for now to let Symonesse handle the pleasantries but then Merek mentions the snow ball fight and he points to the Queen. "She is a brutal monster when it comes to snowball fights. I recommend you come prepared, for when she fights in the ball of snows, she fights for keeps."

"Ah, my dear protege!" Talia is not so secret that she can escape Berenice's notice. "You look absolutely /splendid/. I am so pleased you could make it!" Soon enough, however, her hostly duties draw her away as she steps up to the center of the stage.



"We shall be beginning the first game of the evening in a moment!" Berenice announces from the stage, a glass of wine in hand that she has been supplied with. "The Ball of Death, since my co-host thinks he's so very funny. A fun little game of martial precision for those so inclined. The winner of this contest will win a voucher for work from The Leather Paean by Apollo Oakwood. If you are interested, please step up and we shall begin!"

Rosalind hurries over to Gwenna after finding a drink, while maybe two! Someone put one in her other hand in passing. Is it whisky? She sniffs it deciding no. It isnt! "Hi Princess Gwenna,"she starts but stops. Oh games!

Alessia has joined the line.

Merek has joined the line.

Felicia has joined the line.

Merek shifts his attention to the Queen, and beams, "Indeed! You both be well, and I'd really like that," he muses, then he's moving to the line of the games while he shifts towards where Dianna and company are with a nod offered also.

Gaston has joined the line.

Rosalind has joined the line.

Rinel turns and blinks in surprise at Jules. "I--er. My hair, Goodman?" she asks. She reaches up and touches the hair. Yep. Still normal Rinel hair. "I--that is very kind of you. I... did it myself. Braided, I mean. Not grown. Well, of course I grew it," she stammers, "but I didn't mean to make light of your compliment. It was a very kind compliment, and I already said that, so, er, thank you."



There's an extremely awkward pause. "Your teeth look very healthy," Rinel offers.

"Come on, then, Sir Preston - you cannot defend yourself from games so easily by claiming your armor is too heavy," Dianna muses playfully at the tall knight. And steps to Merek briefly to press soft kisses to his cheeks in the familiar Lycene greeting. "Sir Merek, we truly should have a drink soon and catch up. How are you?"

Gwenna sets down her small plate and smiles widely at her protege. "Lady Rosalind! It's so lovely to see you. Come si..." But then the games are mentioned and the Redrain laughs as the Ravenseyes noblewoman catches sight of the games. "They all look like so much fun, hmm? I surely will have to try my hand at at least one or two," she remarks cheerfully.

"I'm not allowed to play, right?" Evaristo calls out - jokingly. Or is it? He gives the Queen herself a playful wink for whatever reason, quite brazenly, and retorts to the King: "I shall be sure to practive my bowing, so that my bowing shall be the talk of the city and envied by people far and wide. There is something to be said for an exceptionally executed bow. It should contain a bit of humbleness, but also some pride... a good bow-er can even add some rebellious sass in there and still be absolutely following proper etiquette," he babbles cheerfully. He drinks some, and then focuses to see who will step up to play. "I /was/ going to make it a game of dunking, but..." He looks at Berenice. "There was some stern suggestions about not dunking our gests in red colored water. I didn't think it was that bad!"

The first game of the evening involves a set of grinning skulls and a collection of small balls. The object seems to be to toss the balls into the mouths of the skulls, but the target clearly gets smaller and more difficult with each one.

Symonesse laughs a little at the mention of her snowball fight prowess, murmuring to Merek, "Either I am exceptionally skilled or the King is exceptionally not so. We still have no determined which is the truth, I think." Her golden gaze shifts from Merek to Alessia and she nods, "I am glad to finally meet you. I have no had the pleasure of going to Princess Roxana's villa yet, but now that I hear it is so delightful, I shall be very eager to press her for an invitation.

"Marquis" Preston greets Gaston with a formal bow. A series of small agreeing nods go along with Gaston's words "Mm. Thank you, my lord, though I must admit that credit should go to all, your sister most of all and to yourself for knowing to come to the Faith, and to the brave people on all sides who destroyed her armies. She died alone, and free from her curse. And the blade that drank so thirstily of your people's blood sits now locked away from harm. I do hope your sister is well? She fought with skill and bravery. Alas she is dedicated to your people, or I would try to convince her of the virtues of oaths, for I could easily do with a few more knights like her." The offer from Dianna though does make the Templar chortle "I am happy to help however I can, m'lady. Though I was thinking entirely of your poor feet. I am quite well versed in dancing - the side effect of having to not embarass Legates when dragged to events as a child. A pity there is no game where one must argue eloquently on the deeper aspects of orthodox theology and sing canticles. But."

Felicia can't help but snag one of the balls for a weight test while sipping on her whiskey,"Your highness... I cannot imagine that yourself or the other hosts are likely to want to give up these decorations when the night is finished... but if you do I am certain I can find homes for them among the Deathspeakers." she offers even as she passes the ball over for those ahead of her in line to use.

Rinel turns, flushed at her own complete social inability, and calls out to Preston, "I shall play that game with you, Grandmaster, as soon as you invent it!"

Turn in line: Alessia

"That would be delightful." Alessia beams at the queen's words before she waggles her fingers in greeting Merek. Then she's heading to partake in the Ball of Death.

"Hmm," Merek muses to himself, then he grins to Symonesse and Alaric, before his attention is to Dianna and kisses. He offers them back to cheeks properly, while he nods a bit, "We should, I actually have something for you, next we do," he offers, mischievously. Then he taps his black-painted fingernails together, the fingerless gloves a bit laced in their material while he considers, "Alright, game time!"

Alessia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 58 higher.

Alessia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 39 higher.

Alessia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 25 higher.

Alessia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Turn in line: Merek

Dianna cheers for her sister - which is rare for Lady Dianna. "Bravo, Lessi, bravo!"

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 10 higher.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.

Merek checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Rosalind checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.

Jules continues his broad smile to the woman and gives a nod of his head as she speaks, paying no attention to any verbal issues and just listens pleasantly. At the conclusion of the statement he laughs and says, "Yes, I too grew them but I think your hair took a bit more work to make look nice than my teeth did." But when she calls out to Preston he steps to the side and says, "Oh, my apologies, I did not mean to keep you from your companion."

Turn in line: Felicia

Symonesse has joined the a temporary blue bench.

Felicia checked dexterity at difficulty 20, rolling 3 higher.

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 24 higher.

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 9 higher.

Felicia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Turn in line: Gaston

Gaston checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 10 higher.

Gaston checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

Alaric has joined the a temporary blue bench.

Gaston checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 6 higher.

Gaston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Turn in line: Rosalind

Preston has joined the line.

Rosalind checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 28 higher.

Rinel says, "Oh. Oh, no, Goodman, it was not my intent to snub you. I simply heard the Grandmaster--he's not my companion. He's, erm, he's very important. I'm just here on my own. I didn't--er. Well. Teeth are very difficult to grow. Properly, I mean. Nutrition is necessary for them. And for... I mean, nutrition is necessary for all the humours..."

Rosalind checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 40, rolling 11 higher.

Rosalind checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

Turn in line: Preston

Dianna watches with intent interest as the games of strength progress, nodding gratefully to Aurelio as he brings a glass of wine and sips it before proffering it to her. "Sir Preston - don't you take down my sister's winning streak!" Dianna calls, clearly teasing again.

Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist arrives, following Rysen.

Preston checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 10 higher.

Evaristo has joined the a temporary blue bench.

Preston checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 4 higher.

Preston checked strength + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 7 higher.

Preston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Jules laughs at Rinel and adds, "I always wondered if nutrition was good for puns but I shall take your word." He gives her a dramatic wink at his own humor." He glances around at the grandmaster and says, "Some people are certainly more important than others but that doesn't make anyone unimportant. I'm sure you're important in your job." He holds his arm out in escort to Rinel on the side that she has the limp and adds, "I wonder if I could accompany you for a while if you're alone?"

Talia has joined the a temporary yellow bench.

Rysen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 38 higher.

Rysen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher.

Rysen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 4 higher.

Rysen checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher. Rysen rolled a critical!

Jennyva continues to butterfly around, though she does ultimately settle in to stand and watch people throwing balls at skulls, and while she can't really clap very well with a glass of wine in one hand, she sort of makes a passable attempt after particularly good throws. She even cheers on occasion, if not loudly.

After he mentions things to Dianna, then Merek shifts his attention to the game, performing alright, though not up to the standard of other people, all the same he looks like he's also having fun.

Beaming with delight, Dianna's eyes sparkle - and she /almost/ jumps for joy, "Ha-ha!!" (It was really just a little bounce, not more than enough to make the gossamer of her dress flutter a bit.) "Lessi!! Bravo, bravo!!" Dianna grins, tossing back the glass of wine in two swallows and handing it off to Aurelio with a private comment before practically skipping over to Alessia and kissing her cheek happily. She smiles aside to Merek then, with a curious, "Mmn?"

Rinel takes Jules' arm in hers. "I do not know if I am considered important in my job, Goodman, but it is very kind of you to say so." She glances at the man, then asks, more quietly, "I trust the lady is faring better? I did not like having to leave her when she was so pained."

Rysen arrives late with Lygeia, and finds the 'Ball of Death' game well under way. He quickly removes his longcoat and hands it Lygeia, before taking each of this and throwing them into the mouths of the grinning skulls. He glances towards Evaristo and says, "How'd I do?"

Raymesin makes his way into the temple, there to lean near the door. The tall man is clad in scuffed and scarred black leathers, as usual, but there's a gleaming skull pin at Raymesin's collar.

Each toss of a ball is followed by applauds, or those 'oh no' if there's a miss, from the crowd that has formed around the contestants. The musicians are helping with suspense music as the balls are thrown.

"She is..." He trails off for a moment, his brows knitting as if he's about to say more, and then pauses, closing his mouth. There's something dark in his expression...and concerned. Finally, he takes a breath and nods. "She is well, Grandmaster. Thank you. And she does our entire House proud with her endless dedication." A beat, as he runs a hand over his jaw, and then grunts. "We must catch up when we can. I would like discuss how House Blackram can repay the Templars for their help, and...other matters."



Then comes the call for the games, and he reaches out to slap a grateful hand to Preston's armored shoulder before stepping in line and scooping up his share of the leather balls. On his turn, the Marquis attempts to toss them as best he can, making a decent showing for himself as the balls land -- though he can't help but look a bit...distracted, by something.

Felicia casts a smile and tip of her head Jennyva's way as she steps back from the throwing line to collect her whiskey again. Her eyes catch, more than once, on Gwenna's coronet with a thoughtful kind of expression.

"Lord Rysen!" Evaristo says, chuffed to bits to see him. "Looks like you did alright there, but... I am not sure you won," he admits with a grin. He sees Raymesin and he perks up even more. "Ray! Come over here, have a drink," he shouts and waves insistantly at his fellow Harlequin. "I wanted to have skulls for glasses, but... you know." Yes, if Evaristo got to do all the crazy ideas he wants, this would likely be a death trap, this party.

Marius, Vladimir, 1 House Corvini Guard arrive, following Giulio.

Merek looks to Dianna in perplexion, then he frowns, "I said I have something for you next time we meet," he says again, though not with the mishief from before.

It's a rather /fiddly/ sort of game, surprisingly difficult as those who step up to partake soon discover. They all find some success, but it most definitely varies. It is Alessia, however, who seems to have the favor of Death tonight -- or whoever's domain /accuracy/ might fall under, and, okay, just for these few minutes -- with a rather remarkable performance of hitting her targets with perfect precision. Berenice has a servant at all times for moments like this, so that she can set her glass of wine aside and applaud enthusiastically. "Lady Alessia, well done! A remarkable show of precision. You are now the very lucky recipient of a voucher of service for the Leather Paean."



Her eyes gleam with particular pleasure to announce, "Our next game will be my personal favorite sort of game: a game of social wits and charm. Among the crowd there is one person we have designated as the /fly/. You must find the right people to ask questions, read their reactions, and eventually identify the correct person. The person who is victorious will have the pleasure of a voucher to Elegant Impressions, the shop of my protege herself, Talia Baseborn."

Alaric has joined the line.

Rosalind finishes her one glass and sets it aside. Throwing all three balls, Rosa manages to knock all over all the targets with an ease. She grins, not with smugness, but because she did it.

Noting Felicia suddenly, Dianna smiles - whether privately or to the knight, it seems to matter not, for the Lady Mazetti is certainly enjoying herself. She turns to Merek with surprise, "Oh! You do? I ... why, I'm flattered; I can't imagine what it might be. Thank you."

Dianna has joined the line.

Merek has joined the line.

Preston has joined the line.

Felicia has joined the line.

Gwenna has joined the line.

Throwing the balls one at a time, managing to deftly hit the target and then some, Alessia beams as her sister cheers her on, raising her hand, when the final ball is thrown, to her twin before making her approach. She stands by her sister as she watches the other contestants, offering cheers for their successes. When her name is called, she beams. "Thank you." She calls, to the hosts, before graciously accepting the voucher.

Alaric grins and kisses the back of the Queen's hand as he walks to the front of the line because, well...King! He seems amused though at something that took place between the two of them, something said, before he walks up, "Your Highness," he says as he greets the host and applaus for Alessia after her victory.

The Corvini count makes his way into the Temple, trailed by his guardsmen and retainers. Something of a cool gaze flits across the room, his dark eyes tracking person by person. One corner of his mouth settles in a bland smile. His gaze pitters this way and that. His cousins are noted with a warm smile, the king receives a low, deep bow of his head. Casually, he considers them all for a moment, before shrugging and sauntering up to the line.

Giulio has joined the line.

Jules takes his free hand and rubs at his chin as he makes his way slowly through the crowd where ever he may be going and says, "Lady Colette?" His tone clearly questioning, "I hope so. I saw her yesterday but she seems quite content to make me very stressed by risking her health. I hope so." He now reaches a table and pulls out a chair for Rinel and says, "Would you care for a seat? Balls are wonderful but you do need to rest periodically or you'll overdo it before the end of the night."

Gwenna watches the skull game while finishing up a small bit to eat and glass of something or other. There are some 'ohs' and 'ahs' from the Redrain for particularly notable hits and misses. Turning to look at some of the decor, she does catch a glance of Felicia's and offers the woman a quick smile. But! The other game concludes and she offers some congratulations for the participants as she stands. The next game seems one she plans to try her hand at.

Turn in line: Alaric

Symonesse watches Alaric wander off to place the games with an indulgent smile that lingers even after she looks away from his retreating figure. Her smile never falters and retains sincere warmth, but wherever those golden eyes might be looking, her mind is clearly elsewhere. Her gaze thoughtful despite her sunny smile.

Alaric checked charm + seduction at difficulty 20, rolling 43 higher.

Alaric checked command + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

Alaric checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 23 higher.

Alaric checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Dianna notes her cousin, Giulio, in line behind her and grins, waving fingertips

Turn in line: Dianna

Dianna checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 20, rolling 18 higher.

"...Skull cups...? That would be interesting to see." Felicia muses as half catches Evaristo's words, suppressing a groan as she see's the line-up for the next game. A glance cast towards the ceiling as if it's likely divine intervention is the only way she's going to succeed in this one. It's no accident when she elects to shift her position closer to the Redrain princess to remark,"I rather like your coronet. I was... thinking of something similar... admittedly not in stygian. Who made it?"

Rysen accepts his longcoat back from Lygeia and slips it over his arms and shoulders. He grins at Evaristo and claps for Alessia. "Suppose it's good enough not be hated by Death," he says, and looks for some whiskey. When he's found it, he raises his glass to the local bards he recognizes before coming to the side of Gwenna. He bows and says, "Good to see you, Your Highness," and takes a seat, turning to watch the next game.

Rinel takes a seat and smiles at Jules. "Thank you. I am not sure that we have been introduced, Goodman. I am Rinel Tern, disciple of Lord Vellichor. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. You are in the service of House Laurent?"

Rysen has joined the a temporary red bench.

Rosalind looks up to Gaston, unfamiliar with the man--the giant man,"How the hells do you walk stealthily being that large?"her demeanor good-natured and harmless. She grins up at the man as she sits back next to Gwenna.

Dianna checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 12 higher.

Dianna checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

When Jennyva catches sight of Felicia's smile the Shepherd looks a little relieved, returning it. It isn't long before her meandering has her winding up standing near to the not-busy friendly face. Evaristo's antics have her curling her free hand into a fist and lifting it so she can hide her smile/laugh behind it, though her amusement is clear in her expression all the same.

Dianna checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher. Dianna rolled a critical!

Turn in line: Merek

Merek checked charm + seduction at difficulty 20, rolling 13 higher.

Lethe has joined the a temporary red bench.

Merek checked command + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.

Merek checked charm + etiquette at difficulty 40, rolling 4 lower.

Merek checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Turn in line: Preston

"You've always been welcome for such debates, Rinel. Even in the period I was....displeased. It need not be a game." Preston answers, a little school ma'amy in tone. THen it is his turn and....Preston is not great at that. Throwing things isn't what he does. Stabbings? Those he does. Hacking from horseback? Sure. Getting long wood and steel shafts into people? Yes, he does like to charge with a lance. But. Not this. With the Marquis heading off, Preston steps back from the game and nods "We should, Marquis. Especially as we have that land now in your border, I know Mother Ailith wants to talk to you as well about that. But. It might be a possible place for a fortress, to hold the borders firm." Ah, but now he has to be social, and Dianna seems to have a head start already. And maybe 'Because I am the sword of the Gods' isn't a great social plan.

Alaric has fun having his little conversations with people, whispering quietly, trying to find out other information, and making his way through while trying to figure out who the fly might be before he makes his way over back to the Queen once more, settling down and seeing curiously if he'll find out he gathered up the correct person or not as he leans in amusedly, talking more quietly to the Queen or anyone who happens by.

Merek blinks a bit owlishly to Dianna, "My apologies! Yes, you will like it, but I think that it will be amazing." He nods to the woman, then he's doing his performance and lucking clean through it, it's amazing. Not that it will win it for him, but it's amazing to watch!

Preston checked composure + seduction at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.

Preston checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

Felicia raises her glass in Dianna's vague direction with something of a wink, but the majority of her attention is consumed between Jennyva and Gwenna. It's to the former she offers,"Harlequin Jennyva, it's been entirely too long... how have you been?"

Preston checked command + etiquette at difficulty 40, rolling 15 higher.

Preston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Turn in line: Felicia

Gwenna smiles and dips her head to Felicia before touching her circlet a moment. "Thank you. I actually won the piece in a fashion show held during this festival. I believe it came from the former Guildmaster Joscelin's shop, though the design was Evaristo's," she notes with a broadening smile and nod in the Harlequin's direction. "I imagine he could so something for you as well, and is even right here for the asking." Rysen is given a warm smile next after his greeting. "A pleasure to see you as well, my lord. Hopefully we can speak a bit more after the game. You too, Lady Rosalind!" She then turns back to the game as her turn soon approaches.

Jules makes his own move to sit down next to Rinel and shakes his head but the smile seems to broaden before he speaks, "No, no." His words spoken quickly, "I've had the good fortune to meet several members of the family and they are quite lovely but I have the equally good fortune to be in the service of Lady Mikani, a kinder soul would be hard to find." His face grows into a look of deep thoughtfulness and then a light seems to come on, "Jules Fabron, your servant." He shakes his head and adds, "I can't say I remembered introducing myself. So sorry if I failed to."

Felicia checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 20, rolling 7 lower.

Evaristo applauds vigorously for Alessia and bows towards her as she wins, then gestures at the musicians who lower the volume of the music a little, so that those that now play can do so without being overwhelmed and having to shout since this requires talking. He winks at Jennyva, another fellow Harlequin in passing, and watches the game go on around himself.

Felicia checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 4 lower.

Felicia checked command + etiquette at difficulty 40, rolling 16 lower.

Felicia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Berenice has joined the line.

Turn in line: Gwenna

After taking a drink of whiskey, Rysen cheers for Merek and his performance. When he learns that Gwenna will be participating, Rysen smiles. "Best of luck, Your Highness."

Malcolm's here - and he's here for the free food, drinks, and mingling. Or he's here for the music. Or, he's here to check out the temple in the memorial park. All of the above? Likely. He's sucking at his teeth as he accepts a drink from a servant on his way toward plunking onto a bench. "Everything - but no dancin. Nope, no. Fine event though, ain't it?"

Having thrown her dice, Dianna slips back to Merek's side and is met by Aurelio, who brings her a tall glass of whisky. Lady Mazetti looks /much/ more pleased and beams, leaning in to kiss the young man's cheek before taking a sip and returning her attention to the game.

Rosalind finds herself waving to Rysen and his companion, her favorite person,"Good evening! How are you?!"a big smile on her face.

"...Very carefully," Gaston says to Rosalind after another pull from his mug, flashing her a small smile. He shrugs his shoulders. "Mostly it involves grabbing up branches and scattered debris from the ground and pretending to be a tree." It's...not entirely clear if he's joking or not.

Jules has joined the a temporary red bench.

Malcolm has joined the a temporary yellow bench.

Rinel has joined the a temporary red bench.

Gwenna checked charm + seduction at difficulty 20, rolling 45 higher.

Gwenna checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Gwenna checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 10 higher.

Gwenna checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.

Turn in line: Giulio

Giulio checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 20, rolling 38 higher.

Giulio checked composure + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Giulio checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 11 higher.

Giulio checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Felicia might just be too distracted between Gwenna and Jennyva to really make a go of it, or she's just /that bad/ at it. The redhead eventually circles back to her original spot. Though her attention is definitely settling on Evaristo thoughtfully.

"Doing well, My Lady," says Rysen to Rosalind with a grin. "How have your adventures been treating you? No injuries on Lady Elloise's latest contraption, I hope?" When Gwenna takes on the game, Rysen applauds heartily for the Redrain leader.

Alessia has joined the a temporary blue bench.

The Corvini count is somewhat adept at the games of court, but, not as active in it as many, casually working through those that might have insights. Glad handing and smiling all the while. A casual sort of amusement settles on his lips as he goes about.

Jennyva raises her glass to Evaristo, lifting her chin in greeting as he passes. Her eyes follow him briefly, but Felicia catches her attention back and she beams a smile that way. "Well enough," she says. "I spent most of the winter in Graypeak, it was -- quiet, for the most part." She spies Malcolm and looks _super_ surprised for a moment, then beams in his direction. There's even a wave sent that way.

Gwenna checked charm + seduction at difficulty 20, rolling 95 higher. Gwenna rolled a critical!

Giulio has joined the a temporary red bench.

Gwenna checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Alaric checked charm + seduction at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.

Gwenna checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 25 higher.

Gwenna checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Alaric checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Alaric checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 3 lower.

Alaric checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Alessia settles into the blue bench with a newly filled glass of whiskey as the next round commences, her expression intent on the competitors, especially once it reaches the tie.

Felicia chuckles,"Sometimes quiet is good. Sometimes. Things have slowly been getting busier in the city." there's a dip of her head respectfully Malcolm's way, but it's to Jennyva she says,"I don't suppose you'd introduce me to Harlequin Evaristo... apparently he designed princess Gwenna's coronet... and I think I'd rather like to get him to design one for me if he's willing."

Rosalind grins at Gaston,"Pretending to be a tree you say? Will you show me?!" The energetic redhead introduces herself to the giant,"I'm Lady Rosalind Ravenseye, Ros or Rosa for short. Nice to meet you!" Then Gwenna is winning and she's cheering for her Patron with excitedness. Rosa turns Rysen, her hazel green eyes large,"I'm going patrolling with Princess Reese in a few days. I'm a little excited!"

Raymesin lurks quietly near the door, the tall Harlequin keeping an eye on the denizens of the temple as the party continues. And then, seeing that things are apparently remaining quiet on the trouble front, he nods to Evaristo and ducks back outside again.

Malcolm's busy looking around, but, when he does notice Jennyva he waves entirely too cheerfully with one hand while hitching his glass high in the other. "COUSIN JENNY -- hullo there. You Harlequins throw up a proper party! Eh - not upup - but regular up. Not hangover like, right?"

Merek nods aside to Dianna at somehing, with a smile, then he's making a way to wait upon the next game!

The competition is CLOSE. The competitors mingle throughout the crowd, finding those planted by the hosts to serve as parts of the game. Alaric and Gwenna both charm their way through matters with social grace, and for a good while it seems that they are neck-and-neck. So close! But then Gwenna says the most perfect thing in the world, in the exact right moment, to the exact right person -- and she is the one who triumphantly identifies the Fly in the evening's web.



And Berenice is predictably /delighted/. "Princess Gwenna! That was so /very/ close for a while -- although I suppose it was not as clear to those competing how near to the end you might be. But I am sure you will look positively /resplendent/ in whatever Talia creates for you. I'm so pleased to be able to gift you with this prize!"

Lethe has left the a temporary red bench.

3 Tyde Houseguard, 2 Redwood Initiates leave, following Lethe.

"The next game is a /little/ similar, but with a different bent," Berenice continues. "Another hunt for a particular person hidden among the crowd, but this one is formed of riddles and clues that those with keenly investigative minds may find rewarding. Those who think their mental prowess is up to the task, please join us!"

Evaristo dips his head to Raymesin and smiles lopsidedly - he's not terribly surprised to see the man slink back outside. He watches the King and Princess Gwenna - it's pretty clear they're competing against each other, and then Gwenna beats him and he lets out a shout and applauds vigorously. "Congratulations! And well played, everyone!" he calls. The voucher is presented to Gwenna there too.

"You'll be in good hands," replies Rysen to Rosalind. He chuckles a little to overhear the conversation between Gaston and Rosalind. "I'm sure camouflage and disguises are great ways to remain undetected. It's an ability I lack in any form." Turning again to Rosalind, Rysen says, "Have you ever seen Princess Reese on the battlefield?" When Berenice announces Gwenna as the winner, Rysen cheers loudly.

Leaning over to Merek to murmur privately, Dianna smiles warmly and makes her way to her cousin, Giulio. "Cousin, how good to see you out this evening," she smiles, tucking closer for a quiet chat.

Rinel has joined the line.

Merek has joined the line.

Evaristo has left the a temporary blue bench.

Giulio has joined the line.

Maybe Gwenna picked up some particularly good turn of phrase or arched her brow JUST SO. Whatever it was, she squeaks the win and looks positively beyond thrilled to receive the voucher. "Thank you so much! You have no idea how much I hoped to win this. Competition was quite intimidating and I feel quite lucky to have gotten to play with you all."

Talia has joined the line.

"I will be sure to reach out to you and Mother Ailith soon, once I am settled into our estate again fully," Gaston promises Preston next as he wanders towards the refreshments for a refill -- he's drained his mug nearly entirely in a few gulps, and still seems possessed of a powerful thirst for the beer, burying his scarred face in it as the partygoers move about through the next event. He chuckles at Rosalind's response and nods a little. "Marquis Gaston Blackram. A pleasure, I'm sure. Find some proper foliage and I will manage a demonstration for you." A beat, as he nods to Rysen. "The trick is in the stance. Knowing how a tree grows, and mimicking it ably, makes all the difference."

Rosalind has joined the line.

"Oh, I'd be more than happy to introduce you," Jennyva says without any sort of hesitation, starting to scan the crowd and -- ah, there he is. But Malcolm is being Malcolm, and so when she gestures for Felicia to walk with her, it's towards her cousin she heads first. Because she's not hollering. "Have you met Duke Malcolm first, though? Malcolm. I imagine most of us are going to be hungover tomorrow, yes. Is that what you're asking?" She's playful about it, but it's clear she's not _entirely_ sure. "This is Dame Felicia Harrow. Dame Felicia, this is Duke Malcolm Shepherd." Gestures are made, in case they aren't sure. Now, she's trying to catch Evaristo's eye and wave him over with her glass.

Jennyva has joined the a temporary yellow bench.

Preston has joined the line.

Felicia has joined the line.

Alessia has left the a temporary blue bench.

Alaric applauds noticably when the winner is announced, a smile on his features, "Well done...though now I will be the most unfashionable King ever. My hopes and dreams dashed by a Princess from Redrain. I vow to remember this day!" He winks though to Gwenna, applauding in the direction of the Princess before rising to his feet beside Symonesse, stretching a moment and curiously looking to the next event

Felicia has joined the a temporary yellow bench.

Turn in line: Rinel

Rinel checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Rinel checked perception + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 28 higher.

Rinel checked intellect + occult at difficulty 40, rolling 24 higher.

Dianna quietly murmurs to her cousin before kissing his cheek and retreating to watch the games continue.

Rinel checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Turn in line: Merek

Rosalind mentions to both Gaston and Rysen with a wink and laugh,"Trees bend and sway with the wind. And change with the seasons,"cheering for Gwenna quite loudly.

Felicia can't help but chuckle, leaning over to offer to Jennyva,"I meant Harlequin Evaristo... but...." a half-bow is offered, and a hand for Malcolm,"Although we haven't actually met that I can recall... Duke Malcolm is married to one of my dearest friends."

Giulio checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 20, rolling 28 higher.

Giulio checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 46 higher.

Giulio checked intellect + occult at difficulty 40, rolling 19 higher.

Giulio checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Said Redrain princess looks /stricken/ a moment, but Alaric's laugh draws one from her as well. Gwenna dips and curtsy and grins. "It was an honor, Your Majesty, to even get to compete alongside you. I think I even picked up a little something new watching you." She gives a dip of her head and then moves back to take a seat at the red bench.

Merek checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 8 lower.

Merek checked wits + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Merek checked intellect + occult at difficulty 40, rolling 11 higher.

Merek checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Turn in line: Giulio

Turn in line: Talia

Rysen listens to Gaston with a thoughtful expression, and when Rosalind speaks, Rysen smiles. "Spoken like a shaman, My Lady." Turning back to Gaston, Rysen says, "I have learned though experience that stealth and surprise should never be underestimated on the battlefield or any situation where one's life is at stake. I would also wish to observe if you ever demonstrate your techniques for Lady Rosalind."

Talia checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Talia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 6 lower.

Talia checked perception + occult at difficulty 40, rolling 14 lower.

Talia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Merek does manage to do well enough, he does know a lot about some of the things brought up, while he takes a moment to nod in thought. He seems to be distracted a bit more than anything.

Turn in line: Rosalind

Rosalind checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.

Alessia has joined the a temporary red bench.

Rosalind checked wits + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 34 higher.

Rosalind checked perception + occult at difficulty 40, rolling 54 higher.

Rosalind checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Berenice has joined the line.

Turn in line: Preston

"Yes, I know, but he's busy, I'm trying to get him to come here," Jennyva explains for Felicia, sipping from her glass before she settles down to sit beside Malcolm. With them chatting for a moment, she goes back to trying to catch Evaristo's attention.

Preston checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 9 lower.

Preston checked wits + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Preston checked intellect + linguistics at difficulty 40, rolling 37 lower.

Preston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher. Preston rolled a critical!

Turn in line: Felicia

Gaston sagenods slowly to Rosalind's statement, his eyes growing distant for a moment. "There was a great tree spirit I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of times. He said something...very similar, actually, the last time." He seems distracted by the thought, caught up in the memory for a long moment -- but manages a belated nod to Rysen with another small grin. "You are more than welcome, my lord. I will try my best to make it, err...educational."

Felicia checked wits + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.

In this, Giulio is something less of a neophyte, looking about with a seemingly lackadaisical consideration. Those dark eyes, however, seem piercing in their consideration.

Felicia checked wits + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.

Evaristo isn't THAT busy, he's just very good at looking busy. Walking around with a glass and making gestures at staff that absolutely do not need to be gestured at because they're all doing exactly what they are supposed to do - or else Berenice will see that they are likely never working again, really. But, there's few that are as good as Evaristo at looking like they are working, when they are not in fact working at all. Still, he's also perceptive enough to see Jennyva there and he perks up and wanders over while glancing at the people playing. He bows, smiling. "Lady Jennyva, Lord Malcolm!" He looks curiously at Felicia and smiles brightly. "My lady, Second First Harlequin Evaristo Arterius, at your service," he introduces himself. "You all having a good time, I hope?"

Felicia checked intellect + occult at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.

Felicia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Felicia dips her head respectfully to Evaristo at his greeting,"Second First Harlequin Evaristo, a pleasure. Deathspeaker Felicia Harrow." she offers with a broad grin of her own,"And I always enjoy things that celebrate Her... even if I can't make as many of them as I should like." she pauses for a beat and then nods Gwenna's way,"I understand you designed the coronet that Princess Gwenna's wearing tonight?"

Sitting on the red bench, Alessia mumurs something to her cousin, sipping from her glass, before greeting those around her.

Rosalind perks at Gaston, asking instantly,"Would tell me about him?"grinning at him and Rysen both,"that isn't a bad thing,"as she continues her game.

Looking thoroughly pleased with herself when Felicia and Evaristo introduce themselves, Jennyva gestures between them as if she were helping it along. The question from Evaristo has her nodding easily, offering up a smile. "I am," she says. "You've done an amazing job. It looks like everyone is having a good time, I think."

There are several worthy competitors for this particular game, but it is not quite so close as the last. At first it seems that Giulio's investigative prowess will see him crowned the winner, but Rosalind is a dark horse: she is slower to start, puzzling over a riddle or two, but then pieces together clues with increasing alacrity until she IDs the Bat themself.



"Lady Rosalind, remind me never to compete with you in matters of riddles and clues!" Berenice says with a warm laugh. "You moved so swiftly through them! I hope you will /greatly/ enjoy your prize: a voucher for Corsetina Mercantile, the jewelry shop of Messere Mailys Corsetina." Her gaze sweeps slowly across the crowd. "And now our last -- and likely silliest -- game! I do hope no one is /too/ intoxicated yet, or else we might be at risk of some accidents." Which, honestly, she just seems to think would add to the proceedings." A pair of servants bring large painting of a spider onto the stage, except -- ALAS -- it only has seven legs! The fourth it seems awaits the competitors to place it. Blindfolded. After they're spun around. GOOD LUCK.

Giulio has joined the line.

Dianna has joined the line.

Felicia has joined the line.

Rysen has joined the line.

Joining the line for the next game, Dianna smirks at Giulio. "Cousin. Who knew you were such a sport for games?"

Merek has joined the line.

"/I/ certainly didn't," Berenice says in laughing aside to Dianna.

"Grand evening, truly, Second First Harlequin - gods that's a big ol' mouthful - Evaristo." Malcolm up-nods, giving a grin. "An' yeah. Came here to see what it's all about. Gotta admire a Death that appreciates a good game."

Rysen cheers for Rosalind. "Most impressive, My Lady!" he says. "You are quick in pretty much everything, I see."

Talia has joined the line.

Symonesse has joined the line.

"I can assure you, that Princess Berenice made this place looking like it does - I worked on the games but the Princess is THE socialite and knows JUST how to throw the best parties. Very thankful to House Velenosa," he notes and he looks over and shoots Berenice a decidedly fond and warm look. "Oh, the circlet? Yes, that was fun to design! I almost didn't want to give it away as a prize," he jokes. "Are you interested in something similar?" he asks Felicia curiously. "Oh also actually... I have something I should talk to a Deathspeaker about... But not NOW, I shall probably send you a messenger later."

Gaston has joined the line.

Dianna grins at Berenice and chuckles softly, "I must say, then, that I compliment your ability to entice. I'm quite impressed."

Talia

Turn in line: Giulio

Rosalind thanks Bernice with a bright smile, sincere with her words,"Thank you!" Turning back to to plop on a bench to have a drink. She thanks Rysen also with a grin,"Thanks! Drinking too, as you know!"teasing the Crovane lord.

Giulio checked intellect + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 28 higher. Giulio rolled a critical!

Giulio checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Giulio checked perception + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 7 lower.

Giulio checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Talia's gaze beneath the veil slides to Evaristo and Felicia, her features obscured. But the young woman rises and moves to the next game, a good excuse to leave.

Malcolm has joined the line.

Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job have been dismissed.

6 House Velenosa Guards have been dismissed.

Talia has left the a temporary yellow bench.

Afterward, yes, Malcolm sets down his glass in order to join the next game.

Turn in line: Dianna

Dianna checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 46 higher.

Dianna checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 6 lower.

"Now I'm glad I didn't introduce myself with ALL my titles..." Evaristo quips after Malcolm, grinning widely. "Fancy says hi!" he adds, a greeting from the dog he once won at a Shepherd party. He applauds Rosalind and she gets her voucher from hisb hand.

Felicia nods sincerely at Evaristo's words,"Very interested." she enthuses openly with a wolfish grin,"Though not in stygian... I'm looking for something similar in star iron and champagne silver, with a skull in the center... to reflect the Harrow sigil but also honor the Mother at the same time. And you're always welcome to send a messenger, or drop by Harrowed Grounds... if I can't assist you I am certain one of the others will be able to. I'd wanted to speak with you about the potential for us helping to sponsor future events in Her name, too. Not that we are, of course... a Discipleship as such, but She is still our favourite."

Dianna checked perception + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 1 lower.

Dianna checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Turn in line: Felicia

Preston has joined the line.

"But who recruited the Princess to the task?" Jennyva counters for Evaristo with the sort of smugness that betrays that she feels her question has put this argument to rest. So there. She finishes off her wine and pouts at it briefly. Malcolm moves off to get in line and she glances between Evaristo and Felicia, then rises. "I'll be back," she says vaguely in their direction before she wanders off, presumably in search of another glass of something to drink?

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 47 higher.

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Alaric looks over, and watches the Queen rise as he starts to say somethign to her but then laughs, "Go get them," he says pleased, and moves to settle down on the bench again, looking after the Queen and he already starts applauding her before he leans back again to keep an eye on who goes next. "Just keep in mind that if anyone stabs me...I'll be very grumpy. And I might have to have you executed. Maybe." He's clearly joking yet still...he watches now how people do as the contest starts.

Felicia checked willpower + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 0 higher.

Felicia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Turn in line: Rysen

Rysen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.

Rysen checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.

Rysen checked willpower + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.

Rysen checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Turn in line: Merek

Merek checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

Merek checked willpower + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 19 higher.

Merek checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

"Really? Well..." Evaristo says and makes a gesture at himself, he's wearing a fair bit of bling and all of it is Death-related. "I designed all of these, but I can't work metal at all. I am very good at /taking it apart/ but I suppose that's no help. I would be delighed to design something for a Deathspeaker, and would be absolutely thrilled to discuss future events! Let's get together sometime next week?" he suggests, looking quite chuffed at Felicia's suggestions. He turns to Jennyva to respond, opens his mouth, closes it. "Well," he says, "House Velenosa are always eager to do things for the Faith."

Drunk, Dianna is /not/. But. She does poorly in this game. The lady Mazetti shrugs, tossing back the rest of her whisky. That's it: she's not had /enough/ to drink. She nods to Aurelio and he steps to get her another.

Turn in line: Talia

Talia checked intellect + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 14 lower.

Preston is literally no good at these games - almost as though the very concept of 'game' to him is not the same as to everyone else. I mean, Preston made his own games. How many times could he use the same cloth to clean the fire pit before it caught fire in the Shrine. And how long could you leave the cleaning rag in the firepit before it caught fire....and how fast can you polish the Grandmaster's armour. Really not fun games, but /games/. But. Yes. These games? No. Preston is just bloody awful. So bad. So very bad. A one legged man in an arse kicking competition looks like Aleksei Morgan in the duelling ring compared to this.

Talia checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 27 lower.

Talia checked perception + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 27 lower.

Talia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Rosalind has joined the a temporary blue bench.

Turn in line: Symonesse

Symonesse checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.

Symonesse checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 27 lower.

Symonesse checked perception + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 30 lower.

Symonesse checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Turn in line: Gaston

Gaston checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 25 higher.

Gaston checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.

Gaston checked willpower + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 47 higher. Gaston rolled a critical!

Gaston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Turn in line: Malcolm

Malcolm checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.

"Somehow, your majesty... I think if someone should try to stab you... they wont live long enough to regret it." Felicia calls with a nod towards his guard. Not that the sharp edge to her smile might suggest in any way that the former King's Own might help them. Her attention flits after Jennyva, and when he turn comes up she has to 'hold that thought' for Evaristo. But once she has taken her shot at pinning legs on the spider... and offered her Majesty another bow, she scoots back to Evaristo with flushed cheeks,"If you could design it, it would certainly be better than my efforts. My sister Cufre... one of the Harlequin's, is a jeweler, but I'm afraid when it comes to... decorative pieces... I'm awful." there's a laugh and then a nod for his words,"I'd be happy to do so. And House Harrow is always willing to contribute... though I've no illusions that my coffers would be anything more than Velenosa's pocket change."

Malcolm checked stamina + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Malcolm checked willpower + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 12 higher.

Malcolm checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

Turn in line: Preston

Preston checked dexterity + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Merek manages well enough, and all, but keeps to himself while he comes back from the game.

Preston checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.

Preston checked willpower + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 12 lower.

Preston checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

Talia allows herself to be blindfolded and spun, failing entirely at getting her mark onto the spider. She steps away after, watching Symonesse come right after her and fail similarly. She murmurs a thing, exhaling a little laugh beneath her veil that doesn't seem to be directed at the Queen Consort, since her gaze goes towards her own right as she says it.

Certainly not the worst - nor the best. Medicore's a comfortable look on Malcolm. He raises his shoulders, puffs out his chest, and he walks jauntily back to the bench to take his seat and his drink. "That was fun!"

Preston checked command + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.

Not for long does Merek remain alone, for Dianna steps to his side and hooks her arm around his. "I was dreadful, wasn't I? How foolish did I look?" She pouts and takes a deep drink of her whisky, watching the remaining people try to pin legs on the spider.

The Corvini count's thrown weapon well misses the mark and he shakes his head, sighing once. Thankfully, as it misses the mark, it also misses everyone. "As greatly as one might," he murmurs, before returning to the bench he was seated at, one leg crossing over the other.

Symonesse seems excited to be blind-folded and even giggles when she's spun around. Yet, this is very clearly -not- the Queen's game. She staggers around a little, laughing the entire time, as she fumbles around for a place to stick the spider's leg. Somehow, she makes a circuit back to the person in line behind her. She pats the much taller man's chest, but she doesn't actually stick the spider leg to him. She nudges her blindfold off her eyes, winks at Gaston, and then laughs brightly, those golden eyes glittering with amusement as she murmurs, "Best of luck to you."

Alright... it has to be noted that watching nobles - AND THE QUEEN - be spun around and then stumble towards the board and try to find the spider, and pin it... it is hilarious. There are a lot of laughter and cheering in the room now, people are tipsy and merry and this is quite the amusement. Nobody is laughing to be mean, however, it is the joy of the fun of it all.

Merek blinks a bit, now that someone is on his arm. He looks to Dianna, and looks a bit distracted by the crowd of people. Really, all in all he isn't the kind of person that does well with a lot of folk about, and as such he considers, "You did well enough," he says, then he nods sagely.

Rising from her seat, fixing him with a curious gaze, Alessia approaches the Grandmaster of the Templars with a warm smile. "Sir Preston. I see you're acquainted with my sister. I don't believe I've seen you in an event like this before." She greets him warmly. "I've only ever seen you in the training yard."

"Accept the praise, you deserve it," Jennyva calls playfully back to Evaristo before pouncing on a staff member with drinks (figuratively, of course). A new glass is snagged and she takes a few minutes to mingle with other people before ultimately ending right back up at the yellow bench and sitting down again. This time though she has something harder than wine. It's an improvement, given the smile she puts on after taking a sip.

Gaston certainly seems...relatively sober, having powered through a few beers at this point. But of all the games to be offered, giving the towering and slightly-buzzed Marquis something very sharp and blindfolding him seems, at best, a dangerous proposition. Still, the Queen's blessing is accepted with a grateful bow of his head and a shared laugh with her as he steps up for his turn -- as much for not being poked as for the luck he's surely just been granted. Once spun about, he does remarkably well for himself, darting forward with a growl to pin the spider leg to the poster and then lifting his blindfold to peek at it, giving it a satisfied grunt and a nod as he bows to the crowd and steps nimbly off the stage.

Laughing and shaking his head after pinning the leg nowhere near the spider, Rysen returns to the red benches, where Lygeia hands him a glass of clear liquor. If you drank less, you might win more," says Lygeia in her Northlands accented Arvani. "But would I have more fun?" replies Rysen with a wink, as he takes another long drink.

With a soft chuckle and a gentle shake of her head, Dianna smirks wryly at Merek. "I'm sure I dance more gracefully with my eyes /open/. Although..." Dianna's eyebrow lofts as she ponders, then throws back her head and catches, in the corner of her eye, Alessia approaching Preston. Apparently swallowing the wrong way, Dianna coughs suddenly, her eyes tearing. "Goodness, I ... should probably find some wine."

This is undoubtedly the best of the games to /watch/. Berenice is laughing through nearly all of it, eyes bright and crinkling, particularly at Symonesse's turn. And perhaps it was Symonesse's wish of luck to Gaston that has him performing so remarkably, for he is the one among the group that seems to find his footing, and then his aim, and pin the spider's leg with such surgical precision that it will undoubtedly walk just as well as it did before losing it. Thank the gods, for spiders are beloved of the Queen of Endings!



"Marquis Gaston, I did not think you would even deign to /partake/ in such a silly game, and now you've run away with the crown!" Berenice exclaims delightedly. "I am honored to award you a voucher to Seaborn Weaponry, the Faith shop of Brother Felix Meadson. I am sure you will be quite pleased with your results."



And that is that! "Thank you to everyone who participated in our merry games," Berenice addresses the crowd. "I hope you will continue to enjoy yourselves. Dance! Drink! We shall celebrate the Queen of Endings all through the night!" And the musicians start up with a jaunty tune particularly suited for dancing.

Evaristo has laughed quite a lot himself, but cheers just as much, his strong voice carrying well even over the noise. He grins at Felicia as she returns and snags another drink for himself and others nearby if they want another. "If I were you, I'd reach out to Archlector Hamish as well - he is very eager to see the Harlequins shine, and of course he would be. It seems reasonable to work with the Deathspeakers." He beams a smile at Jennyva and looks chuffed again, but his gaze moves towards Berenice and he just clearly admires her there from afar.

Alaric stands up and walks over towards Symonesse as she finishes her turn and he gently leans in to whisper a departing goodbye as he heasd back to the Palace, while watching the competitions finish out. "Thank you for the fun, but I'm afraid I need to get back to a little less fun and a little more work." He bows to the Queen warmly and then slips off, heading out and at least allowing a little more room to be about since, well, him and his 13 won't take up so much darn space!

Well. That went less terrible. And now he feels a bit woozy. But. Yes. He gently steadies himself off to the side and lets himself calm down after that - thankfully an excess of pride in the Faith and his people is not an excess of pride in himself. As Alessia approaches, Preston inclines his head "M'lady. And....I likely know a great many people's sisters? I am....oh!" Clicking his fingers, Preston seems to put names together "Ah, Lady Dianna? Actually we met earlier today for a talk about the Faith - apparently Brother Felix had been singing my praises, I am sure much exaggeration, and she wished to find out if the reality could live up to the myth. I am certain she left most disappointed. I am quite boring and mortal, as well you know from the training grounds."

Gwenna cheers the competitors, laughing a little as they all make their attempts. "Well done everyone," she calls out and gives a little shake of her hed. "I was a bit too afraid to attempt that one, but I regret not trying it now. It looked like so much fun!"

Alaric has left the a temporary blue bench.

Zelda, the royal messenger, 13 King's Own Guardsmen leave, following Alaric.

Rosalind grins over at Rysen at looks at Lygeia, telling her,"You're my favorite! Can you show me the stuff the you're working on one day?"the always asking and curious Ravenseye asks.

Rosalind cheers for Gaston as well, the really tall Marquis who poses as a tree. That was great as she finishes off her second glass of whisky.

Talia slips out of the party soon after Alaric, though the veiled figure in white's exit is not so high profile as the king's.

Berenice is overheard praising Velenosa.

Berenice is overheard praising Harlequins.

Symonesse is overheard praising Harlequins.

Symonesse is overheard praising Velenosa.

Evaristo is overheard praising Velenosa.

Dianna touches her fingertips to her eyelashes, drying the faint tears as she smiles apologetically. She notices the king's move towards the exit and drops into a deep curtsy, then rises again and turns again to Merek. "Come, let's... dance. You do dance, Sir Merek?" Dianna slants her gaze at Preston and her sister, winking as she practically leads Merek to the dance floor.

Evaristo is overheard praising Harlequins.

"My twin in fact, though not identical." Alessia states the obvious with a chuckle. "I'm not surprised he has been and I doubt he's the only one, sir." She says, taking another drink from her glass. "There's nothing wrong with mortality." She grins, gesturing to their surroundings. "And you probably have one of the most awe inspiring roles in the land, commanding such a formidable force." She says with sincerity.

Dianna has joined the a dancefloor area.

"I saw him at the Fire and Ice ball, but I didn't have the opportunity to speak with him." Felicia says, cheering for all the winners. Blindfolded didn't seem to bother her much, but, well, she was admittedly distracted by getting back to her conversation with Evaristo... even if she does keep an eye out for Jennyva's return. Malcolm's words merit a respectful dip of her head and the aside of,"Puppies do deserve snuggles." with a solemnity out of step with the words themselves. Back to Evaristo she advises,"Some of our membership are Harlequin's to help ensure that our practices are being respectful of Her. The original Deathspeakers.. exclusive of Epilogue, were shamans, and some of our membership remain so... but personally I am a devotee of the Faith... with two sister Harlequin's. So you might say that I have an interest in seeing them flourish." she admits with a broad grin.

Merek looks a bit to Dianna in perplexion, and lifts his brow at the tears. He seems confused, he then nods a bit to the woman, "Yes, I dance... I teach dance on occasion and took a few classes on it." He moves with her also towards the dance floor.

Merek has joined the a dancefloor area.

Rysen applauds for Gaston. "Well done, My Lord." Finishing his drink, he turns to Giulio and says, "It was superb, and I see you spoke truly about it's spice and kick, both of which have done me well here in the celebration of Death."



Turning to Rosalind, Rysen says, "Would you care to dance, My Lady?"

Rysen is overheard praising Evaristo.

Berenice plucks up her wine, her hostly duties not ending by any means, but shifting now. She takes a swallow, her gaze scanning about the crowd, perhaps looking for anything or anyone out of place who might need her attentions. In lieu of any emergencies, though, she drifts to Gaston's side with particular mischief and humor in her dark eyes. "My lord, I didn't realize you could indulge in such /frivolity/," she teases him.

At Gaston's victory, the Corvini count offers a clap of his hands. "Well done, Marquis Blackram! Well done indeed," he calls out. He rises, for a moment to walk over to Berenice and offer a congratulations. He reaches into his satchel to draw out a small, black leather box which he offers to the woman.

Rysen is overheard praising Berenice.

"Congratulations!" EVaristo tells Gaston and he is given the last voucher. "To all that played... it has been lovely to see everyone enjoy themselves! And a big applaud to our most amazing, lovely, beautiful hostess Princess Berenice Velenosa!" he calls out and then applauds vigorously.

Rinel steps out onto the dance floor, arm in arm with Jules. She looks deeply nervous, and she is leaning heavily on him with every other step she takes. Nevertheless, a small smile works its way onto her features as the music begins.

Jules has left the a temporary red bench.

Gaston chuckles heartily as he lingers near the stage for his prize, bowing again gratefully to those who've cheered him and tilting his head back to grin at Berenice as she approaches. "What is life, or death, without a little revelry, eh?" He replies. "But I'll get back to scowling and prowling through the woods, if you prefer." He pockets the voucher with another grunt of satisfaction, and then hesitates for a moment, before his smile returns. "...Speaking of frivolity, would you care for a dance?"

Giulio has left the a temporary red bench.

Alessia has left the a temporary red bench.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Standing alone now that Alaric has departed, Symonesse turns to give Berenice applause when it is called for, laughing happily as she claps her hands together for the Velenosa princess. Her golden gaze falls on the dance floor as couples begin to form and move in that direction. Her head tilts slightly as she watches, hands folded before her.

Rinel has left the a temporary red bench.

Rinel has joined the a dancefloor area.

Jules moves through the crowd, a flowing ease in his step and a broad smile on his face. He seems to nod to everyone but he is not likely familiar with that many people. Still, feel free to assume he nods to you and respond. He then reaches the dance floor with Rinel and begins to dance slowly.

From the dance floor, Dianna applauds, then calls to Evaristo and Berenice, "And well done to you, both!" She slips back into Merek's arms, then begins to move with him, twirling easily with his every footstep.

Jules has joined the a dancefloor area.

Rosalind considers Rysen for before hopping to her feet,"Sure!" Shr grins at him,"Are we making this into a contest too?"

Rysen has left the a temporary red bench.

Rysen has joined the a dancefloor area.

"A twin? Well. That must be an interesting life. Siblings have always fascinated me. The joy of being an orphan of the Faith, I simultaneously have no siblings, and thousands. And my closest sadly just left. I am still not entirely sure how to be me without Thena being there being her." A sorrowful sigh comes from Preston, but he lets it take the sorrow with it and his smile quickly returns, his head shaking "But. There is no changing these things. And I can still tell the story, until she returns, of the time we nearly flung Duke Asger's tables over." Preston's head turns as he watches Dianna go off to her dancing with Merek "Your sister seems a happy person, Lady Alessia. It's a rare thing, someone who can always find a happiness for others. Mother Ailith is similar. Though I think the poor Sir Merek is perhaps a safer dance partner choice for her."

As people move to dance, Evaristo leans in to murmur something to Berenice, then moves towards Symonesse with rather purposeful strides, bowing to her. "May I have a dance, my Queen?" he asks her and smiles wide and charming.

Rosalind has left the a temporary blue bench.

Rosalind has joined the a dancefloor area.

Merek begins to lead, while he maneuvers into a waltz. There's a sensuality in it, even though he is a male, the way he does the dance. It's clear he was trained in proper etiquette of dance in addition to being clealy from the Hundred Cities. He offers a two-finger salute to his friends to the side, not wanting to break the dance. He's content.

Gwenna watches as people make their way to the dance floor and much like the last games, seems rather content to watch for a bit rather than participate. "Truly, this is one of the best events I've been to in some time," is remarked as she raises her glass in Berenice and Evaristo's directions.

Rysen checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Rysen offers an arm to Rosalind and makes his way onto the dance floor, bowing formally in a way that was no doubt drilled into him by his Valardin tutor. Taking the Lady of Stormheart's hand, he sweeps into a dance, moving in time with the music.

Gwenna is overheard praising Velenosa.

Brother Chester arrives, following Jeffeth.

As Evaristo approaches and bows, Symonesse smiles and holds out a hand toward him, her entire face seeming to light up with happiness. "I would be delighted, Master Evaristo. It has been a very long time since you and I have had the chance to dance together, hasn't it?" Clearly, the Queen doesn't realize how cryptic that statement sounds as she allows the Harlequin to lead her out to the dance floor.

Symonesse has left the a temporary blue bench.

Symonesse has joined the a dancefloor area.

Gwenna is overheard praising Harlequins.

Jennyva checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Berenice's voice drops to a lower murmur as she converses with Gaston, eyes glimmering with amusement. But her gaze draws away when Giulio approaches, and she eyes that box with a playful sort of wariness. "Count Giulio, did you bring /work/ to my /party/?" she accuses him.

Rising from her bench, Jenny sets her now empty glass down where she'd been sitting. There's quick smile to the others before she takes Malcolm's arm. "Then don't step on my toes," she tells him. "Problem solved." Yes, her cousin is getting drug out to the dancefloor with the others, because she is _going_ to get to dance. She's not terrible at it, either -- good enough that she can ensure her toes aren't going to get stepped on, at least!

Evaristo has joined the a dancefloor area.

Jennyva has left the a temporary yellow bench.

Jennyva has joined the a dancefloor area.

Malcolm has left the a temporary yellow bench.

Malcolm has joined the a dancefloor area.

"I did not know that about you, sir." Alessia's brows rise at the mention of being an orphan of the faith. "Yes, it was so sudden. But from what I'm gathering, she seems to be fulfilling a higher purpose. Which must be some relief, though I understand that won't stop you missing her." She smiles softly. "Dare I ask about this tale?" She asks with growing amusement. She turns to her sister as she dances. "She's certainly a livelier presence than I could hope to be. She lights up every room." She comments fondly. "I haven't had the opportunity to see Mother Ailith dance, though she's been wonderful company on a multiple occasions." She returns her gaze to the grandmaster.

Evaristo checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Malcolm checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Symonesse checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 74 higher.

Rosalind checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

"Your Highness," Giulio says, matter of factly, his head tilting her way. "Do you know of a time when I am not on duty?" His smile is bland and amused as he leans in for a more quiet conversation. When he breaks away, he looks to the dancefloor. "May I have this dance? As small apology for my... well, usual self."

"And yet it feels like it was yesterday, Your Highness" Evaristo responds to Symonesse quite charmingly and with a fair deal of humor. "Even if I don't remember it, alas," he adds and then sweeps her onto the dance floor with a fair deal of skill. "Was I as good then as I am now?" he asks merrily.

Berenice has Benvolio accept the package Giulio brought, her humor a bit sly and sharp as she considers the Count. "I'm afraid," she says, setting a hand upon Gaston's arm next to her, "that my next dance is already spoken for. Unless the two of you wish to compete for my hand! I /do/ always appreciate being fought over." Her dark eyes are /gleaming/ with mischief.

In contrast to her rather uninspiring performance at playing Pin the Leg on the Spider, Symonesse is grace incarnate when she dances, moving with light ease in Evaristo's arms. She gazes up at him, laughing softly as she says, "I remember it. Vividly. You are absolutely just as good. Maybe even better."

Rosalind links herself with Rysen and begins to move with him and the music. Nope, no formal training here. Her grace is simply from her trained silence in the woods. Rosa thinks she's doing pretty good keeping in step, her demeanor pleasant.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.

A massive figure appears in the temple. Jeffeth Bayweather strides in with his helmet tucked under his massive arm. His gaze goes over the dancefloor, a small little smile tugging at his lips. Glancing at the benches, Jeffeth heads that way rather than going to the dancefloor immediately.

Jeffeth has joined the a temporary red bench.

"Oh, a thousand pardons," Giulio says, bowing his head to Gaston. At her words, he shakes his head. "To the victor, the spoils." A bow of his head follows, before he glances about. Those eyes flit towards one of the benches, and, apparently noting the presence of the Shepherds, he moves in that direction.

Giulio has joined the a temporary yellow bench.

Dianna checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Gaston's eyes glimmer with something as Berenice murmurs to him, looking strangely pleased and nodding as she attends to accepting Giulio's curious delivery; his sharp gaze tracks the box for a moment, unable to resist. But at the mention of a contest for the first dance, his attantion snaps back to the Count, though as the man steps away he grins wolfishly, bowing his head to him. "Perhaps another time, my lord. You have my thanks." Then he's murmuring something to Berenice with another chuckle, and offering his arm as he prowls towards the dance floor.

"Oh, the story is more amusing in memory than in its telling, Lady Alessia. It was a time before either of us were then elevated to the upper ranks of our orders. We had been invited along to discuss planning for the then conflict with the Gyre, and the nobles would not listen when we stated plainly the conditions of the Faith. It got to the stage where Thena and I joked about flipping the table over to see if they would notice that...it is how it was. Very different, but when needed we were there for one another. Many things would not have been possible, so yes. I hope she enjoys what she has gone to do, but I hope she will return before I am called to the wheel. At the very least, I'd like to hear the stories." The mention of mother Ailith dancing does get a small chuckle from the Templar, attempting to cover it with a cough "I will be sure to ask MOther Ailith to seek you out for a dance next ball, m'lady. But yes, your sister seems to find enjoyment in life. But, I think if we all tried to live up to her livelier presence, we might all find ourselves very tired. We each are our own people. Imperfect children of the Gods in our own ways."

Berenice has joined the a dancefloor area.

Gaston has joined the a dancefloor area.

Evaristo says in Nox'alfar, "It is with joy in my heart to hear we danced, and to once more dance with you."

Jennyva is out on the dancefloor right at the moment, dancing with Malcolm and looking like she's enjoying herself. When she spies Jeffeth over there on the bench she beams towards him.

Dianna and Merek twirl and step across the dance floor in easy time together, the pair smiling and seeming to enjoy their conversation - as well as the dance - for light kisses are exchanged on cheeks, along with bright-eyed smiles. As usual, Dianna's attention is exclusively upon the man she is with - or so it certainly seems.

Berenice checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Gaston checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Berenice is not quite so graceful as the Queen herself, but is such a thing even possible? She takes Gaston's arm as he leads her onto the dance floor, her gown sweeping about her legs and trailing behind her in that short train. The height difference between the two of them is rather /excessive/, but somehow they manage without incident -- and actually look rather good doing so.

And Merek begins to maneuver a bit easier into the dance, little offered twirls, a shift to then dip the Mazetti, while he grins a bit mischieviously. Still, that distant look of his golden eyes doesn't seem to fade. Like he's within his thoughts, still he dances with his friend, and speaks to her, "Dancing is perhaps one of the few things I like most."

Rinel smiles politely to Jules as she limps heavily back to the benches collect her cane. "Thank you for the dance, Goodman," she says quietly. She looks at Reminder in her hand. "It was very kind of you." Then she looks out at the dancefloor, where Evaristo and Symonesse whirl gaily across the room in their dance. "Excuse me," she says, in a soft whisper--and she hobbles out of the temple hurriedly.

Listening to the tale attentively, Alessia chuckles lightly. "I'm curious what would have happened if you did flip the table." She nods at his words. "It's certainly possible. I'm sure you'll be guided to one another if the gods will it." She looks thoughtful. "You're right in that. It does no good to crave what others have rather than capitalising on what you have. For example, command has never been my strong suit. It's for the best I abstain from envying someone with your skill." She says with a teasing smile.

Rinel has left the a dancefloor area.

Jules has left the a dancefloor area.

What the Blackram lord lacks in skill, he makes up for in sheer enthusiasm, whirling the princess about to display her grace and managing to be mostly a counterpoint for it, though he laughs delightedly while doing so. His boundless energy is hard to rein in, but at least he doesn't trample anybody.

As a song ends, Rysen smiles warmly, and bows to Rosalind. "You are graceful as the wind amid the meadow, My Lady. Thank you very much for the dance." He bows, and his smile broadens to see Jules and Rinel dancing past them. "I should be getting back to the Black Hall. Congratulations on your victory in the games," he says to Rosalind, before stepping off the dance floor, and offering a wave to Evaristo, as Lygeia falls in behind him. The two depart towards the gate leading back to Arx.

Rysen is overheard praising Rosalind.

Rysen has left the a dancefloor area.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

"I am quite confident we would have been scolded for it - the frustration of the Faith is rarely displayed in emotional outbursts. It is bigger than that. To do so would make it seem small. But. It would havebeen satisfying, I'm sure." Preston's tongue presses against his canine as he grins, enjoying that slightly irreverant thought before he nods on "There are better fighters than me, probably better commanders too in a technical sense, Lady Alessia. But. I am where I need to be, and where my skills work best in combination with circumstance. Where my zeal is an asset, and where it can help others plant that one step forward." As the music dies down though, Preston clicks his tongue and looks "Well, your sister will be wanting you now the music has stopped, and I should consider going back to the compound before I cause any mischief."

Dianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.

Rosalind has left the a dancefloor area.

Rosalind has joined the a temporary blue bench.

"The importance of will power." Alessia says with a grin, before nodding at his words. "I'm certain you are. And if there's ever a time your order needs an extra blade, I'll be more than happy to help." She offers with a warm smile. "Take care, sir. I hope you rest well." She waggles her fingers at as she passes Dianna, heading for the dance floor. "My queen. Messere." She inclines her head to Symonesse and the harlequinn. "If you still have a moment to spare after Master Evaristo, would you like to indulge me with a dance?"

Alessia has joined the a dancefloor area.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Dianna checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Symonesse checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Dianna Mazetti is definitely a show-off on the dance floor: She slips into the tango with Merek but draws her fingers from his own, spinning and spinning and spinning around him in a display that is simply stunning - halted with the stomp of her right slipper on the floor. Dianna's eyes sparkle, her gaze is daring and provocative as she gazes at Merek's eyes, a faint twitch to her eyebrow, her hands upon her hips.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.

When it looks like Dianna is going to show off, Merek does take a moment to shift back when she does. Then he matches the maneuvers with a stunning performance, shifting into his own spins, twirling about while both feet slide off the floor and he lands gracefully into a pirouette, stepping forward, with a shift of his arms to twirl about in fierceness. Primal in the way he finishes with a shift of hand to hip with his gaze looking sideway to the woman, the foot upon the floor bringing a nice click and clack noise while he smiles winningly.

Jennyva dances with Malcolm to the edge of the dancefloor and then breaks away to take his arm instead, and she shoots a thoroughly amused look up at him for his terrible pout. "I'll do it again, too," she threatens him, the smile that follows entirely impish. "Focus on the alcohol, not the reports," she tells him as she leads the way to collect two more glasses of it. There's a brief pause, and then she leans in closer to him to say something softly, her smile briefly gentle before settling back to playful.

Jennyva has left the a dancefloor area.

Rosalind has left the a temporary blue bench.

Rosalind has joined the a temporary red bench.

Malcolm has left the a dancefloor area.

Jennyva is overheard praising Malcolm.

Alessia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Evaristo has been quite distracted - but who wouldn't be, dancing with a Nox'alfar queen, right? But he flashes a smile at Alessia and nods at her. The song near its end, he listens again to the softly spoken words from the Queen and he looks... well, like someone who accidentally kicked a puppy and now he's devastated. He bows again, deeply. "Thank you, Your highness," he replies simply and then just stands there for a moment before he blinks and looks around to see what is going on. Not doing so good as a host right now, is he?

Holding to watch Merek's own show-off stunts, Dianna's smile crawls up her cheeks, plainly amused. The end result is not a taking-up of another dance, but this Mazetti twin's bright laughter as Merek's efforts to upstage her. "Light and stars, Sir Merek Black, but you can dance," she compliments, her eyes twinkling brightly. "But, I must have another drink - do you mind?" she asks Merek?

Symonesse checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

"Oh, gods above, yes ma'am --" Malcolm mutters between huffs of chuckles that he can't seem to hold back, stepping arm in arm with Jennyva toward the refreshment table. New glass in hand, now. If it's wine - it's good. If it's whiskey - it's better - and the feigned poutiness is exchanged for a warm smile that creases the crow's feet perched at the corners of his eyes. "Threatening me with foot stomps and Whisper lessons. You're the best, cos."

Merek looks a bit relaxed while he lifts his shoulders in a roll, "Not at all, m'Lady," he offers then to the Mazetti twin Dianna. Then he's maneuvering to find a snifter of wine to pick up for drinking himself, then he's yawning, "You did well also!"

Laughter comes from this Mazetti with the compliment, "Why, I should hope so!" Dianna smiles to Merek. "I /am/ a glaivedancer." They are at a servant again and Dianna has a quiet conversation, followed by a pout and a shrug.

Dianna has left the a dancefloor area.

Berenice's dance with Gaston seems to have come to a close: while they exchange some final words, he's now bowing over her hand and gracing her knuckles with a kiss. She offers him a few final teasing words, from the looks of it.

Merek checked stamina at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

"Mmmm, keep it up and you might not even have to have lessons," Jennyva teases Malcolm, taking a quick drink from her glass before starting to lead him in Jeffeth's direction. "I'm happy to see you here, Sir Jeffeth," she greets, as they approach. "It's delightful, isn't it?" She's a little winded from the dancing, but it's clear from her smile she's enjoying herself tonight.

Alessia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

The servant brings to Dianna a goblet of wine; Dianna smiles gently and Aurelio steps over, takes the goblet, sips it, then passes it to Dianna. "Merek, do you know Grandmaster Jeffeth? I must step over and say hello." It seems Jeffeth is the man of the hour, for Dianna slips her hand into Merek's elbow and gently guides him over.

Popping up to his feet, the huge man smiles warmly down at Jennyva and her greeting. "My Lady." The big man goes into a deep bow as she approaches. Once he straightens, he's smiling warmly, gesturing to the bench next to him along with Rosalind and Gwenna. "Please, my lady, join us."

Berenice laughs at some minor distress she seems to have caused Gaston, and she simply draws him down into range so that she can brush a kiss light to his cheek before releasing him. "Take care of yourself, Marquis," she tells him, and then she slips away, her gaze returning to the crowd until it lands once upon Giulio. A Lycene always remembers what they owe, after all. She approaches him where he sits with Felicia. "Do I still owe you a dance, Count Giulio? Or did I dash your hopes too terribly?"

Gaston rises from kissing Berenice's hand, and the regretful look in his eyes as they make their last exchange could probably fill a volume or two. Still, he accepts the kiss to his cheek with a warm laugh -- she probably has to stand on tiptoe, after all -- and nods. "You as well, Highness." Then he's stepping off the dancefloor and moving back through the crowded temple towards the entrance, haste in his stride.

Evaristo finds a drink again and leans up against a bench, watching the dancers - his gaze trails at the Queen for awhile but then instead follows Berenice as she moves to dance with Guilio; he raises his glass in a toast to her and smiles brightly and warmly, enjoying himself simply watching. He exchanges words with a few other guests, makes a few terrible puns that draw some laughs; he grasps the skull trinket around his neck for a moment and murmurs something, perhaps a thanks to Death.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Gaston has left the a dancefloor area.

Jennyva has joined the a temporary red bench.

Berenice has left the a dancefloor area.

Merek looks like he can handle his drinking, and looks like he is otherwise managing well, though he seems a bit distant while he finds a place to settle in. He watches people, looking to something not there, like staring into a wall, a brooding melancholy to him.

Malcolm has joined the a temporary red bench.

Rising then from his conversation with the Harrow knight, Giulio bows his head towards Berenice. "Your Highness? I could never forget such," he says, warmly as he rises. "I am, of course, most pleased to dance. Though, I know as a poor Lycene, my talents at this are mere shadows of yours."

Giulio has left the a temporary yellow bench.

Giulio has joined the a dancefloor area.

Giulio checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Merek's then grabbed by Dianna and pulled to Jeffeth, while he blinks a bit, not having noticed he was watching the wall so much. Then he peeks about, "What... Yes, we've met."

"Thank you," Jennyva tells Jeffeth, dipping her head to him and offering him a warm smile. "We're just saying hello briefly though, I think; Duke Malcolm has been very gracious with his time for me. Hello, though." She sends that warm smile down towards Rosalind and Gwenna.

Berenice has joined the a dancefloor area.

Felicia rises from her bench, cheeks flushed a little as she tucks something in her belt and takes a moment to check that everything is in place before she scans the dance floor to make sure Her Majesty is being well attended to.

Rosalind gives a smile to Jennyva, her eyes kind,"Hello! I'm Lady Rosalind and. Rosa or Ros to most everyone. Nice to meet you!" Hearing that Gwenna is leaving, she waves to her as well,"See you soon!"

Berenice slips a hand into Giulio's arm, leaning in towards him as she allows him to lead her to the dance floor. "Well, you have many /other/ talents, I'm sure," she teases him. "Somewhere. I think I heard you have a rather sharp mind?" She turns in towards him once they're on the dance floor proper, one hand at his shoulder and the other clasped with his.

Berenice checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.

Giulio checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Indeed, Dianna /has/ gathered Merek from his attempt at growing upon the wall, and guides him directly to the red bench, where, it seems, Jeffeth is surrounded. No matter, Lady Dianna Mazetti rarely does not go towards what she wants - and what she wants is a warm hello. "Grandmaster Jeffeth," Dianna states, her lips curved in an impish smile. "To think you are here and did not even say hello. You'll break my heart into a million shards. And /then/ what will the people say?"

Letting out a quiet grunt, the big man bows his head to Jennyva. "Ah. Well it was a delight seeing you, my lady. Hopefully I can see you soon?" The big man rumbles before bowing deeply to Gwenna. "Your Highness it was wonderful seeing you, please have a lovely evening." With a warm smile Jeffeth is then looking over to Dianna on her approach, looking from Dianna over to Merek. "Sir Merek." Jeffeth lets out with a light nod. Bowing deeply to Dianna, fist pressed to his chest. "My lady, so good to see you as well." Straightening, Jeffeth ducks into /another/ bow. "My Lord. Ah.. Yes. Unforunately very busy right now."

Jennyva sends a glance sidelong over towards Dianna, then laughs quietly. "That's our cue. I'll see you soon," she promises him. Sidelong up towards Malcolm, she suggests, "Escape?" And then it's time to do just that. There are drinks, but they can be finished on the way out.

Gwenna stands from the red bench and gives everyone a quick dip of her head and kind smile. "My apologies for having to depart too soon, truly. Enjoy the rest of the evening and, really? How could you /not/?" As she makes her way out, she adds, "An exceptional event! Thank you!"

Gwenna has left the a temporary red bench.

Khaavren, a dutiful assistant, 2 Redrain Guards leave, following Gwenna.

Malcolm has left the a temporary red bench.

Jennyva has left the a temporary red bench.

Slipping from Merek's arm, Dianna steps /right up to/ Jeffeth, craning her neck to gaze at him. "You're too tall for me to greet properly. Come down here so I might kiss your cheeks," 'the Mazetti Temptress' attempts to pout - and fails, her impish smile winning instead. She reaches up to Jeffeth and slips her fingers to his neck, straining, "No, but /please/ come down?"

Felicia has left the a temporary yellow bench.

Felicia has joined the a dancefloor area.

The Corvini count is hardly the master of such things that her Highness is, but, his features are pleasant, a warm, pleasant ease to them -- a sharp contrast to his dancing abilities, which are, at best clean and practiced.

Rosalind has left the a temporary red bench.

The big man bends so that Dianna might kiss him as requested. With a warm smile, Jeffeth glances down to the dancefloor then back to Dianna. "It seems to be quieting down. But perhaps you would like another dance, my lady?"

"Ser," Merek offers then to Jeffeth, while he looks to Dianna, and blinks a bit. He then seems to content in watching a wall while he listens to her, standing next to the Mazetti.

"Oh, but I can't leave Sir Merek here; nor can we dance as three. Let's sit a bit; I've need of my wine, at any rate," Dianna replies, having pressed her lips to Jeffeth's cheeks. "How are you sleeping, of late?" she asks, stepping to Merek and guiding him to sit with her - while she sits next to Jeffeth. Yes, men flanking Dianna Mazetti, while good sisters urge their brothers away. How completely appropriate.

Dianna has joined the a temporary red bench.

Alessia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Merek has left the a dancefloor area.

Merek has joined the a temporary red bench.

Merek is guided into a seat, then he blinks a bit at Dianna, lifting his brow a bit, but still seems to content in looking distant and staring off while he pulls his cloak about him a bit.

Symonesse laughs breathlessly once she and Alessia stop twirling, actually seeming to glow with happiness. She takes in a breath and says in a bright tone, "I am glad to hear that someone did. You are quite a dance, but then I have often heard that said of the Lycene. I have also heard a rumor than some of the dances are positively scandalous, but I haven't see one yet that's seemed so."

Evaristo disappears into the throng of people and goes to find more to drink and joins with the bards up there for awhile, adding to the music by playing his lute and doing so with a lot of humor and a bit of theatrics - might be that he's getting quite drunk here, but... so is everyone else!

Felicia finishes her whiskey, shaking herself loose with a small physical motion of her head and straightens herself up properly before making her way over towards Symonesse and Alessia. The former she offers a deep and respectful bow to, the latter a respectful, if shallower, bow. It's definitely to the Queen she asks,"It has been entirely too long since I've been blessed to be in your presence, your Majesty... and I think I'd regret it if I didn't take the opportunity to ask for a dance?"

Evaristo has left the a dancefloor area.

Alena Sparks, unamused first mate, Silk, the Seafaring Spider leave, following Evaristo.

Alessia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 80 higher.

"Ah, it didn't get through that armor I had on," Merek admits then to Jeffeth. He's clearly not doing well with socializing, though he smiles to the man, looking like he's working to find words. He nods to Dianna, "Of course, you be well," he says. Then he's making a way to find Symonesse, "Your Majesty! May I have a dance?" he asks.

Merek has left the a temporary red bench.

Symonesse is struck rather speechless when Alessia pulls her closer and dips her in such a way. That might be something of a blush that creeps over the Queen's alabaster skin as she's once again righted and Alessia surrenders her to Felicia for the next dance. Symonesse's golden eyes linger after Alessia before Felicia is given the full benefit of that luminous smile as she says, "I would be delighted to dance with you, Dame Felicia."

Merek just realizes that Felicia asked, and blinks a bit while he looks around to see if anyone else is about, seeming thoughtful. He then finds a place to settle in and watch people.

Merek has joined the a dancefloor area.

Felicia can't help but arch both brows, there's even an uncertain little applause at the skill and grace of that dip,"Suddenly my dance skills feel all kinds of inferior." she offers, the broad grin accompanying showing takes no offense at it,"It's always good to see you smile, your majesty. I think the Mother might forgive me for saying that I am not immune to regret at stepping down from the Hundred, even if I don't regret the path my life is taking." she offers a hand to Symonesse with her best and most courtly bow, which, well, probably looks like a pale imitation after Alessia's skill.

Felicia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Glancing around the dance floor, Alessia smiles warmly on spotting Merek. "Sir. Would you like to indulge me?" She asks, kindly, approaching him.

Symonesse seems no less charmed by Felicia's bow than by Alessia's as she takes her hand, grinning as she murmurs, "I will not deny that I miss your face amongst the Hundred, but I am proud of you for choosing to forge your own path as well. We can never know what paths and choices will become available to us in life." She allows Felicia to take the lead in the dance, matching her movements perfectly to those of the Harrow.

Symonesse checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 54 higher.

Merek relaxes back onto his feet, his boots polished nicely while they shift about upon the floor, waiting and watching in distant thought as he peers along.

Merek blinks a bit to Alessia, then he seems to consider a moment, "Ah, sure," he offers. Really, he's having trouble keeping up tonight, "I was going to ask the Queen when she's finished, but we can dance for a bit," he mentions, then he offers a hand so he can guide.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Alessia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Dianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Her dance with the knight a little more low key than what she had just attempted with the queen, Alessia smiles softly before murmuring to him.

Felicia is no doubt the lump of stone to Symonesse's willowy movements. Though the Harrow's at least managing not to embarress herself,"But that's the beauty of a life, isn't it? The unexpected." she asks of the queen while endeavouring to strike somewhere between 'dignified' and 'oh god don't stand on her feet'. There's probably a few less conventional moves in there simply in the name of not tripping and landing on her face. Especially at the words 'proud of you' from the radiant one,"Your companions inspired me to make some small scupltures in honor of the Mother over the years, your Majesty." she offers,"I didn't want to be presumptuous... but if you'd like I'll send you one of the few I have remaining. You and the little one's have been well, I hope?"

Merek dances well, even when he looks about the namesake of the night in his gaze, blinking a bit to Alessia thoughtfully. He maneuvers along with shifts and spins, twirls, while he speaks to her.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Dianna rises from the red bench, and, stepping away, gazes upon the dance floor. And, while she knows those there are likely caught up in their dancing, Dianna prefers to keep her etiquette proper - so drops into a deep and flourishing curtsy for Her Majesty before nodding to Felicia and waving fingers to her sister and Merek. She steps forward, glancing back to look at Jeffeth, whom she clearly expects to catch up to her. From somewhere, young Aurelio notes his lady and bows lowly, as well; there is some silent communication between the pair and he bows to Dianna, then steps out into the darkness.

Aurelio, a handsome, fresh-faced manservant have been dismissed.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 20, rolling 10 lower.

Pushing up from the bench the massive knight does indeed follow. Jeffeth bows deeply in the direction of Symonesse, fist pressed to his chest. Another bow is sent in Berenice's direction. THe man then carries on to follow along.

Dianna has left the a temporary red bench.

"The little ones are doing well and are very happy that the weather is changing." Symonesse smiles fondly just at the mention of her children. As the music winds down and the dance starts to come to a stop, she leans in and murmurs to Felicia, "I meant what I said. You made a brave choice."

One final curtsy for the princess before Dianna departs on Jeffeth's arm; the pair are conversing quietly as they leave.

Felicia delicately gives the Queen's hands a gentle squeeze,"I'm glad. And I am still loyal to Alaric and yourself, your majesty. If you ever have a need, you only need to ask." she asserts quietly in response before stepping back to offer Symonesse another deep bow and elects to slip off herself.

Jeffeth has left the a temporary red bench.

Brother Chester leaves, following Jeffeth.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Jeffeth leave, following Dianna.

Merek keeps dancing with Alessia for a bit, offering a nod to Dianna, and a wave, then he shifts his attention to Symonesse, after this dance finishes. "Do you still have room for one more dance?" he asks curiously, blinking then back to the Mazetti.

Felicia has left the a dancefloor area.

Alessia dips head at Merek by the end, her smile still warm before she turns to approach Giulio and the princess, smiling apologetically at the latter. "Gules." She says to her cousin. "Let me know if you have a moment after."

After Felicia releases her, Symonesse smiles at Merek and holds her hand out to him, murmuring, "One more and then I should head back to the palace. This has been a wonderful evening, hasn't it?"

Merek really has to think about that question for a moment, "It has been an evening," he offers. Whatever was within him, keeping him smiling looks like it's shifted away into a deep brooding melancholy, his gaze upon the Queen but further also, while he nods a bit, "This will be the most people I've ever danced with in one night I think." A statement. Taking the hand, he leads up into the dance.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Symonesse checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

"I shall, cousin," Giulio says, with an inclination of his head towards Alessia, before he returns his attention to Berenice, moving back into the scopes of the dance.

Without faltering or flagging, Symonesse gracefully follows Merek's lead, smiling as she says, "I should hope that isn't disappointment in your tone? Though, I imagine you must be tired from dancing. I am finding myself to quite be so myself."

Alessia has left the a dancefloor area.

2 House Mazetti Aspirants, Sirra, a very quiet maid leave, following Alessia.

"A bit tired, that's probably all," Merek admits, while he nods a bit to Symonesse, then he takes a moment to move into the dance. It's a simple thing, while he takes a moment to look about, "Definitely a long night." He nods amiably.

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Ugarte arrives, following Fortunato.

"Indeed. I ended up staying far longer than I thought I would, but it has been ever so long since I've been able to dance like this and in such a lovely place." Symonesse moves with stately grace through the dance. Once it winds down, she stops to give Merek and dip of her head, "Thank you so very much for the dance. I should really be going." She moves off of the dance floor and begins to gather up her guards to make her exit.

Fortunato slides in very, very late, dressed in dark and gold and duskstone, and immediately hanging by the wall as if to quickly observe the ball in aftermath stage.

Merek nods a bit to Symonesse, then he offers a light wave, and bow, "You be well," he says, tiredly.

Symonesse has left the a dancefloor area.

5 King's Own Guardsmen leaves, following Symonesse.

Merek has left the a dancefloor area.

Berenice is still on the dance floor with Giulio, speaking in close tones even as the ball does seem to be tapering off.

Fortunato takes his impression and takes his leave.

Ugarte leaves, following Fortunato.



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