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Black and White Ball

Join House Grimhall as we present the first Black and White Ball, an event
that coincides with the completion of a ballroom in the Grimhall Longhouse.

Celebrate bold, dramatic contrasts whether in exploration of duality or
because no one carries off neutrals quite the way you do. Bring a date,
whether it sweetheart or friend, and choose who will attend sheathed in
aeterna and who will seek more shadowy shades in compliment. Come on your
own and choose your favorite costume, or with a group of friends.
Co-ordination is encouraged though not required.

There will be the usual drinking and dancing that such occasions warrant,
as well as several different party games to enjoy, some familiar and some
perhaps brand new. Prizes, of course, will be awarded to our winners.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Date

Dec. 7, 2019, 6 p.m.

Hosted By

Vanora

Participants

Erik Merek Drusila Lethe Kalani Katarina Evaristo Jennyva Lenne Peri Gogil Berenice Sanya Valdemar Ephrath Calandra Dianna Sudara Niklas Sabella Esme Jules Symonesse

Organizations

Grimhall

Location

Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Grimhall Longhouse - The Great Grim Ballroom

Largesse Level

Legendary

Comments and Log


Out <O> is now unlocked.

3 Grimhall House Guards, Ivan arrive, following Sanya.

A dutiful Valardin aide, Quiet, a Valardin champion arrive, following Katarina.

5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor arrive, following Valdemar.

Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job, 6 House Velenosa Guards arrive, following Berenice.

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

Trini Albricci, an attractive young Lycene woman, Hilja Toivonen, a reticent, delicate young woman arrive, following Dianna.

Serenade, a lovely nightingale arrives, following Calandra.

Seryna, a charming Lycene handmaiden, 6 Grimhall House Guards arrive, following Vanora.

Merek gets Umbra Cloak from a backpack, made of black leather.

Merek puts Umbra Cloak in a backpack, made of black leather.

6 Grimhall House Guards have been dismissed.

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

Seryna, a charming Lycene handmaiden have been dismissed.

Erik manages to make it in the doors first! And he's heading straight for the drinks. Where are the drinks?!?

Drusila has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

The first glimpses of the newly furbished Great Grim Ballroom would be impressive

enough in their own right, with the incredibly stunning fresco that covers the

walls from ceiling to floor. A starry night dripping into the reflective sea,

and beautiful depictions of life, both fantastic and mundane, still seem ready

to swim right into the room.



Side tables have been set up with light fare appropriate for a dance, bits

of fruit and bread and cheese most commonly found in Setarco, though elements

of the isles are hardly lost, and shrimp encrusted in black pepper one of the

more favored appetizers.



Though the frescoes are not to be disturbed, in order to ensure that the

decor matched the theme for this Black and White ball, all the tables

and chairs have been decorated with either aeterna or umbra.



As guests first gather, musicians are playing softly, the sort of

tunes that unobtrusively dance underneath conversation, but don't

yet lure couples onto the floor.

Lethe has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Katarina has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Peri has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Kalani has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Merek has taken his time to pretty himself up, from the black pants which have damask patterns upon them in golden floral patterns, while he wears a black and also slate toned shirt which comes to above the waist, tastefully showing navel while he has his fingerless lace gloves on with special padding, his rings adjusted upon them. About the waist is a waist chain which carries a dragonweep. His dark scarf is pulled about him while he inclines when he comes into the place, his dancing boots shifted and tied up along. No sleeves, keeping his arms bared while there are golden tones to his attire.

Drusila walks into the ballroom with imperial poise, her black-and-gold dress not exactly fitting the monochrome theme of the Ball but close enough it would seem if the wearers lack of concern is anything to go by. With graceful sliding steps that make her appear to float across the floor, she picks out one of the cozy nooks and makes her way over to better study the rest of the guests as they pour in.

Lethe makes her way to the event by herself. She wears more white than black, but even in her fancy outfit she doesn't stand out too much. The first thing she does is find a seat to take in her surroundings and observe those in attendance.

The Duke and Duchess of Grimhall spend this first part of the party, just after the doors have opened and guests led into the ballroom that none save those building, furnishing, and painting it have yet. Every guest who wishes to is certainly given a warm welcome, told to make themselves at home and that waiters will be circulating around shortly offering two versions of a drink that seems to include chocolate liquor and unflavored vodka. Served either 'black' straight as it is, or 'white' with the addition of cream. For the die-hards there are of course plenty of varieties of wine spread out on the sideboard with the treats, as well as rum and strongmead.



Never one to pass up a chance to wear something nice and spend the evening with other people similarly clad, if for no other reason than to have a genuine reason to wear something nice and wear uncomfortable shoes, Lady Kalani Seliki enters arm in arm with her favorite cousin, Lady Peri Seliki. A curious, and fascinated, glance is swept around the expansive ballroom as she and Peri pause to decide where to meander first, after they join the reception line, of course.



As partygoers file in, Princess Katarina is among them. Smiling and chatting quietly as she enters, she stops at a table to grab a drink, and then decides to wait a bit to greet the hosts -- certainly, there's fun to be had doing a bit of people-watching first. She sips her drink and settles down onto a pillow in the same nook as Drusila and Lethe, careful to make sure her aeterna gown is flattered and flatters her in turn. She looks to the other two women and says, through a distinctly foreign accent, "So many people! But so few colors, mm? To see how they all stand out in their own ways... Interesting, no?"

Evaristo enters with his patron, Princess Berenice, his outfit mostly black with a few white details in white coral or silver that is shiny enough to pass as white. Sort of. He looks around curiously and looks rather impressed with that fresco for a moment, before his eyes dart about to take everything in with a glitter of excitement.

Stepping in all by her little self, Jennyva is moving fairly slow, taking time to drink everything in. Figuratively, of course. It doesn't take her long to offer her greetings to the Duke and Duchess (along with a curtsey and a few polite words), but she doesn't linger, instead making finding a glass of something her priority. Oh, chocolate! Yeah, she will absolutely drink alcohol and chocolate combined. So she has her drink and she drifts, looking from person to person as they enter the ballroom.

Erik's actually dressed up for once, and devoid of not only any sign of scruff, but of inkstains on his hands. He's in blacks and whites, but also a few pieces of something that might be grey but has hints of color depending on how the eye catches it. His own form of silent contrarianism via fashion? Or maybe a failed attempt at conformity through divergent means, but regardless he's smiling brightly as he looks around, an absent grin curled across his countenance and a his white-gloved hands tucked into his black coat pockets. He manages to catch a sight of rum, and off he goes to grab a drink. After a quick swig and a contented sigh, he calls out to no one in particular with a rippling laugh as he meanders back toward the entrance, "It's like a monochrome menagerie! Uniqueness within uniformity's always something to find fascination with."

Lenne, lacking a date to bring with her, seems to have shown up in both bright aeterna, and the occasional splash of black, like the Crovane tree sigil on her cloak. Of course, it is her usual style. But, well, if someone was kind enough to make a ball just for her wardrobe, how could she deign to not show up? It would surely be rude. However, it also has the misfortune of being the first society party she's been to without an escort. It would be unkind to say the young noble has the look of mild worry (or terror!) in her eyes. But it also wouldn't be entire wrong. She would normally gravitate to those she knows. But when one does not know anyone? Well, then look busy until you find a likely target to attach to, no? It seems logical. So she hunts down a small glass of chocolate liquor, which is sure to be too hard for her liking, but will give her plenty of time to make tiny sips and savor it, while hunting.

Peri confers with her cousin and then the two great the duke and duchess. Peri sweeps off her black hat and gives a very rare curtsy to Vanora and Valdemar, "Duchess and Duke Grimhall, thank you for this grand occasion." Both her and her cousin are dressed in pearlescent tones, with white or gray splitting the light into glints of many colors.

"Lord Erik! I am so pleased to hear you say that!" The Duchess Vanora manages to somehow catch his words after offering another several warm greetings to guests. "Come come, I have an important favor to ask of you and it may be one of /the/ most important tasks of the night. I require your assistance absolutely." With that she's gesturing that Erik come closer to where she and Valdemar are finishing up with anything like a receiving line, implying that an /actual/ party may soon begin.

Gogil has elected to go with all white, save for the thick black stitching along seems of the article of clothings and the black pair of boots. After making his greetings with the host and hosteess of the party he moves to find himself a drink and a seat. In that order. Once drink is taken up he moves to take a seat at the rosebud table, pulling out the chair and plopping down uncermoniously.

Gogil has joined the a small rosebud table.

Berenice is rather the reverse of her protege, in a lush aeterna gown, all dramatic whiteness, and jewelry of darkest, light-pricked star iron. (The notes of pink diamond and dragonweep among her jewelry are not quite to theme, but -- oh well.) Her dark eyes sweep over the ballroom, enraptured. "Ah! Positively marvelous. What a remarkable event the Duke and Duchess have put together."

Entering the ballroom, a vision in white though offset with black adornments here and there, Sanya smiles warmly as she walks by the guests. A curtsy is given to Berenice who she spots on the wya. "Your highness. You look wonderful, I'm so glad you could make it." She beams.

Erik blinks owlishly at Vanora's words, but twitches a minute shrug as if to himself before course correcting in the direction of Vanora through the throngs of well-dressed people. He approaches with a bow of his head and a wave of his drink-bearing hand, head ducking closer once he's within a more manageable earshot.

Merek finds a way to the place Katarina and a few of the others are, waving to them, "Any space?" he asks.

"Cousin," Valdemar greets Erik after Vanora asks him to assist her with some aspect of the event. The Duke is dressed mostly in black in complement to his wife's aeterna attire as they stand beside one another to greet those coming in. Looking at Peri and her cousin, he inclines his head to them and says with something of a smile on his face for a moment, "Welcome, we hope you enjoy yourselves here tonight. Please make yourselves comfortable." He then turns his attention back to his scholarly cousin and the Duchess.

There's a step, then another, into the ballroom from someone who is not remotely part of the peerage. In fact, she's barely known around Arx yet except, perhaps, by name for those who have purchased or been gifted one of her pieces. Ephrath has, however, taken the theme to heart. Her dress is one made of maetal scales that turn from light to dark: light by her neck and black by the time they reach the floor. The gloves she wears are much the same and her fingers are capped in talons. Even the collar necklace she wears is a study in that light-and-dark. The only color, in fact, in the dusky-skinned woman's attire is witnessed when the slit in her gown moves just-so and a winding snake of a cuff up her leg is glimpsed and the rubies for eyes upon it gleam. Eph's greetings to the hosts are just a small, near silent thing: voice failing her for the moment before she's skirting off to one side to be quietly out of the way with silver eyes wide as they take in the ballroom.

Evaristo's attention is on Berenice the moment she speaks, giving her yet another admiring look and a wide smile. "You look ravishing," he tells her earnestly and openly. He waits for her cue if she wants to go greet the hosts, and bows in greeting to the nobles nearby. There's familiar faces - he gives Jennyva a happy smile. "Lady Jennyva! So nice to see you - and you look amazing," he tells her. Peri and Sanya are given waves and broad smiles, and more bows.

Given the choice of black or white, it'd be laughable for anyone to expect Calandra to arrive in anything but the former. Ethereal silks of translucent umbra adorning dusky complexion flutter almost weightlessly with each movement as the Whisper enters the new ballroom on gliding steps. The fabric greedily swallows the light that warms the grand space, making the glint of slender chains, silver spiderweb embroidery, and duskstone adornments all the brighter.



First order of business, of course, is to find a drink to fill her hand, which is easy enough. Second, mingle. Two familiar faces amongst the sea of people manages to catch her attention fairly quickly, flowing through the crowd to greet Evaristo and Berenice. "Your Highness. Second First Harlequin." A smooth, tempered smile follows on the tail of her polite dip of a bow to the two of them. "Gorgeous, isn't it? I can't imagine how long it took to paint something so lovely." A glance to the fresco before catching sight of Sanya, her smile warming further. "Lady Sanya, wonderful to see you again. If I'm not stolen before then, I believe I promised you another dance next we met."



Katarina greets Merek with a smile, and then looks over her shoulder, towards Drusila and Lethe, and at the yet-to-be-taken pillows. "I believe you will fit," she says, and adds teasingly, "so long as you squish your shoulders in, Sir Merek. We ladies do enjoy stretching out, sometimes." She flashes a bright grin to make clear her joke.

Dark hair piled and spilling in luxurious, spiraling, gold-flecked curls from her crown, Sister Dianna Godsworn (known only over one month ago as 'Lady Dianna Mazetti') steps into the ballroom with her usual grace, dressed in a remarkably simple - if dramatic - aeterna gown, skimming her entire body from just above her collarbone to the wide arc of aeterna trailing behind her. Even arms are utterly sheathed by the flared bell sleeves that drape and drag upon the ballroom floor as she steps with her usual elegant grace into the room. The only part of her sculpted body that is bared - true to form for this beauty - is the center of her chest, where cut-outs bare curve and chasm beneath the tri-ring sygil of the Faith of the Pantheon.



Sister Dianna, along with her two female companions (the Lycene dressed in slender midnight-black silks and the porcelain beauty in a narrow, ebony lace gown), finds her way to greet Duchess Vanora and Duke Valdemar. Dianna bows her head and lowers into an elegant curtsy, followed a beat later by her two female companions. "My lord Duke; my lady Duchess Grimhall. Your ballroom is spectacularly beautiful; thank you for inviting us all here to enjoy your lovely home," Dianna intones with warm resonance. Her amber eyes rest with a gentle smile upon Vanora's and then Valdemar's face. "May this evening and your family be blessed for such generosity of spirit that is surely looked upon with warmth by Jayus."

Throngs of well-dressed people may be Vanora's favorite type of throng, she's certainly delighting in the one today. "So. As a part of tonights festivities...for I think even a fancy dress ball can use a bit of extra fun thrown it, there will be some games to play, a contest or two going about. One that is among the most crucial /and/ suited to our theme is the 'Best Dressed" award, which can go to an individual or a couple attending together, but only those. As you stated yourself it takes great creativity to stand out in a crowd when everyone is clad in the same colors...so find someone, or a pair, who have managed to do just that." She informs Erik in a voice that likely carries somewhat, as it also announces the reason he will be looking over costumes.

Merek has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Sinking into a curtsy to echo the one that Peri does so well, Kalani murmurs her praises as well, clearly finding the great hall to be a magnificent work of architectural achievement. She moves at Peri's side once the formalities are exchanged, one arm looping through Peri's again at that point, "Excellent timing," she fetches not one but two off of a tray and hands the first to Peri while keeping the second for herself. "I love these sorts of events. The shoes, though," she lifts one foot and wiggles it slightly, "fun but tomorrow my toes will weep."

"Thank you," Jennyva calls out in answer to Evaristo, lifting her glass his way in greeting. Not that she abandons the spot she's found to watch from, seemingly content to stay where she is and watch all of the beauty, for now.

Vanora offers Sister Dianna Godsworn a polite dip of her head in awknowledgement, recognizing her far more under her former name than her current, but having changed names herself a time or two (or three) the Duchess certainly doesn't complain. "Sister Dianna, I am most impressed by your journey as I expect many must be. Will you still be serving as a disciple among the Mirrormasks?" She asks with gentle curiosity, introducing to Valdemar should he require it, "This is Dianna, Lady Alessia's twin sister, and now a sister of the Priesthood"

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

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Sabella arrive, following Niklas.

"Master Evaristo, your outfit is awe worthy." Sanya's sapphire eyes glitter as she appraises his black garb. "I wish I had pre-paired with you." She muses before smiling warmly at Calandra. "I did not know you'd be coming. I'll have to ensure I get the dance before you are pulled away." She grins.

Erik chortles at Vanora's instruction, but bows his head in affirmation to the directive regardless. "Sanya may string me up from the foremast for missing some otherwise obviously insightful fashion choice, but I'll make certain to at least provide a discerning eye and take copious notes for reference and redirection of better-trained fashionistas to chime in with their wisdoms." A quick step back, a raise of his glass, and then a quick swig and he says. "To a night spent adjudicating attire in absolute ignorance and at least incomplete inebriation!"

"Indeed, I am a Mirrormask, my lady," Dianna replies to Vanora, her lips curving into a softly-serene smile. "Of course, having been raised in the Lyceum, I am inclined towards Tehom - although, my recent studies of Aion are quite inspiring, as so little is known." Dianna shifts her attention smoothly to Valdemar and her smile intensifies subtly, "You know my twin, my lord? She is my dearest friend - of course."



Pale skin, black hair, and customarily sable attire - Sudara Pravus steps into the ballroom amidst a quiet rustle of silken skirts, her eyes widening and a smile lifting the corners of her mouth as she takes in the chamber's decor and the custumes of the assembled throng. Then she locates Vanora, and starts towards her cousin and hostess.



Peri inclines her head to Kalani in an affirmative to something she said. She pokes one of her feet out just so to how Kalani her utterly boring shows in contrast to her cousin's. She says something for her ears only. She takes a sip and relishes the flavor of the dark liquor. She returns Evaristo's wave and smiles approvingly at his outfit.

Vanora adds in a whisper towards Sanya that is more suited to the stage than actual quiet, "You'll help supervise him of course."

Having overheard her brother's words, Sanya nods at Vanora's direction. "It seems I won't have to, brother." She says before turning back to her companions.

Valdemar bows his head somewhat as well when Dianna approaches, the smile lingering on his face as his wife goes on to introduce the Godsworn. "Ah, then I am certainly pleased to meet you, Sister Dianna. I do know your sister, she is a friend of mine. If one that I have been remiss in catching up with lately. Hopefully I will find the time to amend that soon. Please, though, be welcome and enjoy yourself," he tells her, his tone turning a little warmer. He then chuckles at Erik's "toast" and tells him, "It seems as if my wife certainly made an interesting choice in judges."

A-ha! A likely possible candidate for Lenne. Ephrath's utterly unique dress catches her eye, in a sea of umber and aeterna. And lo and behold, she's manageably alone. She takes a small sip of the chocolate liquor (and promptly coughs gently against the back of her white glove) and heads toward the lady all dressed in metal scale. "Sorry to disturb," Lenne says Ephrath, once she's close enough that she doesn't need to speak too loudly. "But I just wanted to say, your dress is absolutely unique." Her lips draw into a playful smile. "And more than a little menacing! I've never seen anything like it."

"Lady Sanya! You look as stylish as ever. And Whisper Calandra, that gown is /divine/." Berenice's lips curve into something playfully smug when Sanya expresses a regret at not coming with Evaristo, and she steps a bit closer to her chosen escort. "Alas! I think I am rather difficult for him to say no to."

Having just gotten a drink in hand (some of the chocolate creation), Ephrath is drifting and looking for somewhere quiet, perhaps, to settle in and stare... er, OBSERVE. But she finds herself waylaid by Lenne. The woman blinks a couple of times and then a bit of a flush spreads from her ears across her cheeks. "Thank you," she says in that rather dense Isles accent of hers. "It was Brother Felix's idea-" pause, "and creation, the dress."

With a pleased smile upon her face, Dianna bows her head graciously to Vanora and to Valdemar. "My lady, my lord: You both honor me greatly. I shall enjoy very much this evening - as I always enjoy a lush party. And, perhaps, at another time, we may sit and come to know one another better - along with my beloved twin sister?" Dianna's eyes sparkle with delight, and she turns her gaze to Erik warmly. "Lord Grimhall, I fear I have yet to acquire a drink with wich to join your toast - but I quite approve also! How are you, of late?"

Erik might've already been heading in Ephrath's direction, or might've just heard 'unique' and 'dress' in the same sentence. Either way, he's migrating through the crowd toward Ephrath after a shrug to Valdemar and a waggle of his fingers to Sanya. "Holding you to that!" He warns his sister before bobbing his way through the crowd like a ship in choppy waters.



"Mistress Drake!", he says when moving in range of Ephrath, beaming brightly. Maybe he's just naturally upbeat. Surprisingly, he hasn't been bludgeoned for it yet even in this breadth of company, but the night is young and he's a big target. "Glad you could make it.", he adds, then flashes a quick grin and appraisingly glances over her outfit.

Once the guards lead them through, Princess Niklas Grayson and his wife, the Princess Sabella Grayson, enter the ballroom with aplomb. Niklas pauses to look around, saying to Sabella, "This wasn't here last time I stopped by. It was all a bit," he pauses look for a word, then says, "of a grim hall, I suppose." He offers waves with barely restrained enthusiasm for those he recognizes, pulling his wife over to greet various people. "Lady Lenne! I haven't seen Lord Rysen since his adventure. I hope things are well."

"La-- Sister Dianna," Evaristo greets the new Godsworn, his smile wide and charming. There's a sniff in the air, realising she's wearing the same perfume as he does and he laughs quietly and gives her a wink. "Whisper Calandra - it's been WAY too long! Good to see you, and that outfit... amazing," he breathes, admiring the whisper with a warm smile. He reaches for some drinks for himself and Berenice, whatever she prefers, conceding her explanation with a nod and a grin. "Absolutely impossible. Can't say no for a variety of reasons, and why would I /want/ to?! I get to escort Princess Berenice to a ball? I am sure I make many MANY people VERY envious."

"It's gorgeous!" Sabella enthuses as they enter, beaming as she looks around the room with big, bright eyes, "I also love balls that have some kind of theme. We ought to do one sometime, maybe this summer--do you see Vanora?" she asks, looking around the crowd then tugging Nik towards the food, "Is that chocolate?!"

"It is, and it's very good. Chocolate alcohol, too," Jennyva speaks up towards Sabella, lifting her glass in indication for the Princess to see, then gesturing with it towards the closest available supply. She's helpful.

"Oh! Felix, the weaponsmith?" She laughs softly. "I was told he doesn't make much armor, these days. I suppose it's because he has branched out into making gowns!" She gently tugs at the finger of one of her gloves, drawing it off. She holds out a curled finger, as if to brush a knuckle against one of the scales. "May I? I absolutely have to see how it feels. Is it not terribly heavy? It's delightful, even if it is. I feel terribly in danger of being kidnapped and offered to some dark god, in my maidenly white, next to you."

Calandra catches the corner of her lower lip for just a moment between teeth when it's announced there'll be games and competition. In pairs! A shame the arm she usually adorns to these things couldn't make it. "If not, I'll make sure to save ours as the best one." She chimes lightly to Sanya before the lady is off and Berenice traps her attentions for now. "Thank you, Your Highness. Fashioned by Madame Talia Baseborn. I've become smitten with her work, she captured my idea perfectly. I've longed for a fine dress to pay homage to Lady Death." A shift of her torso shows off the embroided silver webs. "But you, you're practically prismatic! My compliments to your tailor, it's gorgeous."



As for Evaristo, the man earns a coy lift and subtle turn of the Whisper's chin, lips curling thin at the edges in a pleased, cattish smile. "Too long. Though I've been hearing so much about you, lately. Second First Harlequin and Voice of the Bard's College. You've been rather busy, I see."

With a deeply fond smile, Dianna turns her gaze briefly and chuckles softly to Evaristo. "My dear Messere, how /are/ you? You do owe me a dance, you remember?" She leans in to kiss his cheek and smirks, winking at him. "You smell /extraordinary/."

"Lady Jennyva! I'm rather sure there's a rule that spans frailties which says that chocolate is always good," Sabella grins, going where Jennyva indicates, "Did I see Lady Peri too? A proper Grayson invasion of an Islander event hm?"

"Ah! Lord Erik!" Ephrath looks relieved to see a familiar face. Particularly the one she was told to find. The woman dips her head to him, the sheet of her dark hair sliding over her shoulder. "This all-" she gestures with her drink, "looks amazing. My compliments to your house." When Lenne reaches out to her dress, she almost jumps away but seems to steel herself for it, going very, very still. Perhaps less out of wanting to avoid hurting the woman (the scales aren't sharp, truly) and more out of her own uncertainty for the moment and the knowledge that one is a member of the peerage. "Ah, well. A special offer, really. He is much more weaponsmith than tailor, but he offered and I was not about to turn him down. It is heavy, but not terribly so." She does tilt her head to listen to something Erik says and looks... relieved? Maybe. Or perhaps it's curiosity on those dark features. "I would be honored, Lord Erik."

"Princess Berenice was my own tutor on the art of convincing others." Sanya says with an amused smile. "I couldn't deny that fact even if I wished to." Then she turns to Calandra with a beaming smile. "I'm sure it will be." On spotting Niklas and Sabella, she approaches the two. "Your highnesses! It's good to see you both."

"/Another/ of my proteges!" Berenice replies to Calandra with a warm, delighted laugh. "Her work is indeed positively /exquisite/. This is not one of hers--" She gestures a glass briefly down at her own gown. "--but I thank you nonetheless. One of my own designs, in fact, although enacted by someone with actual skill with a needle. Which I entirely lack." She offers a warm smile of greeting to Dianna, and then looks back to Sanya with a laugh. "Well, you were an excellent pupil," she tells her. "Did I hear tell that you have a brother in the city now?"

With a wave over her shoulder towards the people she's leaving behind at one of the cozy nooks, Drusila slides across the ballroom floor to Vanora to quietly offer her respects before making her way out of the ballroom entirely.

Drusila has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Lady Esme Fidante said she would be late. She noted that to everyone that would ask or mention it. She managed though to get here a bit earlier than intended. She may have warned a few she was bringing her inner Torean out in the dress as well. Her green eyes scan the room, displaying a quiet happiness to everything she looks at. The lady has decided to go without gloves (or much of a dress to be told) for the evening. Her auburn hair pulled up with black vines thread through it. The dress is abandoning her regular bright white for the darkness of shadows. Those eyes slide across the many outfits and widen with appreciation to all of them. There doesn't seem to be any rush in her slow saunter into the room and her taking it all in. WHile she might have changed her outward appearance darker; her smile is vibrant. She's channeled the sun (or maybe the moon) and beams at anyone that might glance her direction if she notes them.

"Erik, have you met Princess Berenice?" Sanya turns to her brother, practically urging him to make his acquaintances with a beckon.

Dianna creases her amber eyes with a great smile and returns her attention fully to Vanora. "My lady, I am sure you've a great number of guests to greet this evening. I shall, again, find you - for, if I might steal you from your husband for a dance, I would be honored. Your gown is stunning, but it is you who are truly lovely. May I bring either of you something to drink?" Dianna smiles warmly to Vanora's eyes and then to Valdemar's.

Katarina has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Did someone say the magic word? "Does someone need introductions?!" Sabella asks Sanya, lighting up.

Merek looks to Katarina, and to Lethe, then decides he will follow the Princess to greeting, while he stands up, adjusting his shirt a bit, then he takes a moment to ask of her, "Would you like me to bring you a drink, Your Highness?" to Katarina.

"I think I saw her, yes," Jennyva abandons her casual lean against some furniture to move over to Sabella and Niklas, bending into a shallow bow aimed at both of them as she finishes her approach. "I've never been to one here, and it sounded magical -- I have to say I'm not disappointed. The..." She gestures to the mosiac. "Art is incredible." She looks over towards Sanya, then back and notes, "I don't think I know but two or three people, here."

Lenne draws her hand back without taking that touch. She tugs her glove back on, and gives Ephrath an apologetic look. "I'm terribly sorry. I do get carried away, at times. As everyone knows, they don't teach us /any/ decency or etiquette, up in the Northlands. Lady Lenne Crovane, so you know who you're dodging." She clasps her hands behind her back, to remove the threat of them. "I get rather discomforted by unfamiliar touch myself, so I really should know better. I'll behave, having offered my esteem for your fashion."

To Dianna Vanora responds, "Ah so it is my husband whom you'd prefer to dance with? I see. I suppose even if not as graceful as I he does excuse a certain...presence. Be therefore honored, I believe the musicians will be begin livening up their tunes shortly. One of which might be a contest of sorts as well after all." To that she smiles at Valdemar, lifts her hand from where it is placed on his arm, and steps away.

Erik smiles apologetically to the exchange with Ephrath, then looks in Sanya's direction to answer. "I haven't yet, no! But I imagine that introduction might indeed be imminent." Then he's flitting a lopsided grin in Sabella's direction. "A repeat of the Illustrious Sabella Lightning-Introductions? I might need to transcribe this one." Nevertheless he concedes to his twin sister, or his Voice. Same person really, but terribly different hats, and begins migrating toward Sanya.

Eyes widening at Vanora, Dianna corrects Vanora, "Oh, /no/, my lady: it is with /you/."

"Well, that dress is definitely a homeage to Death - and you wear it like you were born to do so," Evaristo tells Calandra, admiring her outfit more closely. He turns into the kiss to his cheek from Dianna, laughing a little again. "Let's make that happen this time, and forgive me for not doing so at the Ball of Death." He bows to Sabella and Niklas now, and smiles brightly and friendly at them both, raising his glass to them in greeting. He excuses himself to Berenice and walks over to greet the hosts now, bowing deeply. "Duchess, Duke - this hall is like being in the night sky together with the stars themselves. As one favoring a lot of black, well - I have to say this theme fits me VERY well! Brilliant," he notes cheerfully, but doesn't hog their attention, returning directly to Berenice's side for now.



Katarina stands from one of the nooks and looks to Merek: "You are very kind to offer, Sir Merek. I would gladly accept that kindness." She starts to walk, striding confidently through the sea of people in her aeterna gown, flashing smiles, nods, and quiet murmurs of greeting to those who she knows and those who know her, as she bears in on Vanora and those around her.

To this Vanora responds with a peal of laughter and another nod to Dianna.

Merek checked wits + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

"It's... it's quite all right," Ephrath says to Lenne, though she still sounds a little uncertain. "I'm Ephrath Drake. Jeweler. I own the Brazen Serpent." But then she's offering to step aside with Erik and follow him. Apparently to witness whatever he might be off to do. Or maybe to just become a shadow to someone she knows within the growing throng of very, very fabulously dressed notables.

Merek dips a nod to Katarina, and makes his way to look at a palette of wine, before he decides on a simple one that would look wonderful for someone engaging a bit socially. It's not perfect, but it is a safe choice, and he brings that to the Princess, inclining, "Your drink, Your Highness." He assists in her presentation like this.

Peri stands in her nook with Kalani commenting on clothes. Her gaze lingers on Ephrath's dress in admiration and curiosity.

Lethe watches Katarina and Merek but decides to remain seated where she is. It is comfortable.

"I defer to you, your highness." Sanya grins at Sabella's offer, gesturing around.

Softly, Dianna laughs and smiles, pleased, at Vanora - then turns to Valdemar, her eyes twinkling. "My lord, not that I would not love to find my way upon the dance floor with you, as well, but... your wife /is/ rather extraordinary," Dianna winks sweetly. "How did you come to be acquainted with my twin?" Briefly, Dianna nods to Evaristo, then returns her attention to Duke Grimhall.

"Ah! And he's /here/. Marvelous." Berenice's gaze slips over to Erik curiously for a moment as he starts to make his way over. "One moment, though--" She actually does join Evaristo in his approach of the hosts for the evening; it wouldn't do to neglect such a greeting. "Duchess Vanora, Duke Valdemar, the ballroom is positively /magnificent/. And the decorations for the party are /divine/."

Esme tracks someone's movements in the room, but then pries her eyes from them to Vanora and Valdemar. A saunter in that direction as she smiles in the most becoming fashion. "Ah, so we meet again." This is given to Valdemar before she brightens more at Vanora. There is a slight lowering of her frame. "Thank you so much for the personal invitation. The place looks amazing, as do both of you. I am sure that when the Gods saw you both, Jayus wept with pure joy." She will drop a comment towards Vanora before she straightens. It's clear that she's prepared to leave the greeting line for all the others.



Katarina hasn't quite made it to the hostess yet when Merek appears with a new drink. She stops in her tracks, delighted at the speed of service. With a grin and a nod of thanks towards Merek, Katarina then turns, and approaches the clot of people surrounding the Duchess and the Duke, calmly looking for her way in, avoiding cutting off anyone else's greetings or praise. She even has time to take a sip of her drink.

Niklas eyes his wife when she prepares to do her favorite thing. "H'boy." He slowly edges away from her so as not to be caught up in the introduction blast wave and instead turns on those who have approached. "Indeed Lady Jennyva. It's quite an accomplishment." To Sanya, he asks, "So how much of a part in making this beautiful ballroom a reality did you take, Lady Sanya? It really is quite lovely." Evaristo gets a slight bow. "Mockingfirst Evaristo. It is good to see you." He brightens when he sees Katarina across the room. "My goodness, has Princess Katarina Valardin _finally_ returned to Arx? I think we need to stop by there to hear of her newest adventures!"

Soemtimes a Seliki's table talk is a bit loud. Peri beams at Kalani and says with great enthusiasm, "I am! And you have a new cousin. Very healthy lungs."

The chuckle that escapes Calandra is gentle and velveteen to Berenice's own laughter, offering an idle tip of her glass to the noblewoman as a brightened smile encompasses her. "You've managed to snatch up some amazing talent. I still can't believe I was able to acquire that stunning starlight gown from her. I was tempted to wear it here, but.." Well, Evaristo sums it up perfectly, which earns him a grateful tip of her head in thanks. "It was heartbreaking that I ended up missing the Ball of Death, speaking of it. Hopefully the Harlequins are hosting another event soon?" A faint pinch of her brow coupled with her smile is sent to Evaristo in brief apology to the man.

Well, zero for one, then. Lenne hums a little sound to herself as she withdraws back out of the path of travel through the room. She, an unassuming scholar in white, has managed to terrify a woman dressed like the seductive warlock villainess in an epic fable. She is not quite sure if she should be impressed with herself, or deeply ashamed. Something to ponder. Perhaps next time she should try something more of the 'Hello, nice to meet you, I'm Lenne. Very harmless Lenne,' variety of approach.

"Hardly a thing, your highness." Sanya admits with dismay as she surveys the room. "This was Duchess Vanora's eye. I couldn't compete with her in the art of decorating, so I don't try. But I assist where I can." She laughs.

"Trust me, I take no offense, Sister Dianna. She /is/ extraordinary," Valdemar tells the Godsworn woman, his gaze shifting between her and Vanora, before going on to explain in answer to her question, "Lady Alessia and I met in the Shrine of Tehom some time ago and struck up a conversation. Your twin is an excellent listener and has a keen mind." He then looks to Evaristo and Berenice as they compliment the appearance of the ballroom, though he shakes his head a bit. "All the credit for that belongs to my wife. I had no hand in the design of this room, or else I doubt it would be quite so lovely," he remarks in reply to them.

Peri waves to Lenne, "Lady Lenne, how is your brother? Have you met my cousin? Lady Kalani?"

Sabella absolutely beams at Jennyva for giving her the excuse, "Well! Our hosts tonight are Duke Valdemar and Duchess Vanora, who used to be my sister-in-law-in-law but, well it's a long story! Then there's Princess Berenice of course you'd be able to pick her out of a crowd because she'll be the best dressed at the center of it! Princess Katarina Valardin is over there, she throws some of the most unique parties I've ever been to, I'm sure you know Lady Peri and Lady Kalani but if you don't you should for they are a ridiculous amount of fun, let's see, Sir Merek over there is an artist and I don't think you'll hear him say more than two sentences together the whole night, Calandra Whisper who has an amazing singing voice but you'll rarely see her in the same room as Mistress Gianna and you should not ask about it, Mistress Ephrath over there is a jeweler who makes lovely things and is new to the city, Sister Dianna was a Mazetti but just took her vows, that's...Lady Lethe Tyde over there she's very sweet, oh, Lady Esme Fidante is delightful and I've heard people seat us at opposite ends of the hall at parties for no one would get a word in edgewise if we were together, Lord Erik and Lady Sanya Grimhall of course," she offers the latter a grin, "Lady Sanya is a dear sister to her brother here who can't quite be considered a newcomer but I'll still make introductions for him all the same--ah, Master Evaristo! He's a bard of great skill and also a harlequin so I think he delivers babies while making puns if you're ever in need of such a service and...Lord Gogil Redreef who I haven't gotten to know very well at all yet, and..." she finally takes a breath eyes landing on Lenne, "I actually don't know who that is so someone will need to introduce me!" she smiled and finally has a sip of her chocolate drink.



Smiling gently to herself as she appears to pass *wholly* unregarded, Sudara wends her way quietly through the expensively-attired crowd, seeking her cousin... only to slow to a halt when she sees that Vanora seems not to be engaged in anything that would merit interruption. Chuckling softly as she shakes her head, she slightly changes angle and homes in on an available drink.



"She is, indeed," Dianna sincerely replies to Valdemar, "and has of the keenest minds I have ever known. Many will say I am biased, of course, as she is my twin sister - but it is good to know there are others who independently agree." As Valdemar speaks to Evaristo, Dianna shifts her attention to Lady Esme Fidante, who is nearby; and Dianna Godsworn dips into a curtsy. "My lady, your gown is simply ravishing. How do you do this evening?"

Truth be told the hostess has /always/ loathed receiving lines, but they are more acceptable than the social repercussions of skipping protocol and etiquette and those bits and pieces of noble life, so she does her duty. Until she does not have to. Therefore with a kiss to Valdemar's cheeck, Vanora departs with Dianna Mazetti towards the dance floor, a gesture from her hand and the players lift the volume and the tempo of their music, encouraging that other couples or individuals or groups might join them. "You don't mind leading I hope. I'm told its not my strong point."

"I need you to go with me to all of the parties," Jennyva tells Sabella seemingly seriously, flashing a grin over at Niklas. She looks towards Lenne and shakes her head. "I don't know her, either," she says. "Sorry." Gogil is also given a curious look. She at least pretends to have been able to follow the recitation of the names of all of those present, and she looks over all of the faces. Oh boy.



When Dianna turns to address Esme, Katarina strikes. By 'strikes,' what is meant is that she slips in a step closer to address Vanora and Valdemar directly, as best she can without making them hold six conversations at once between them. "Duchess Vanora, a lovely party," she says, in just as much time as it takes for Vanora to speed off to the dance floor. Katarina smiles as she watches the Duchess go and asides to Valdemar in a joking voice: "Did I say it funny...?"

Erik hoists his glass in Sabella's direction wherever she's at, loosing a lilting whistle. "To Sabellaductions! Thank you Your Highness!" Though he does scan the crowds for a moment at the mention of one name or another amongst her monologue.

Ephrath is following Erik, but she's looking at each person as they're introduced... even if her -own- introduction causes her to freeze in place briefly. Shaking herself out of it, she leans in to speak to the Grimhall lord quietly.

"It is a wise husband who ensures that his wife receives every inch of credit that she is due," Berenice tells Valdemar with particular amusement. "It is clear why the two of you lead so well in tandem. But I will not monopolize your time, of course." She offers a graceful curtsy, her gaze tracking Vanora to the dance floor for a moment before she steps away to find Sanya once more. "Well! I could not make introductions before greeting the hosts, of course, but now I am quite at my leisure to meet your dear brother."

Berenice has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Niklas leans over to Sabella. "That's Lady Lenne Crovane. She was at the opera. Her brother is Lord Rysen, which I only say as a helpful guidepost and not because anyone should be defined by their relatives."

Lenne perks up at her name, from where she was studying her tiny glass, and pondering braving another sip of it. She glances about until spotting the waving Peri, and heads in that direction. Her smile is somewhere between pleasant and relieved. "I think you'll find that I haven't met anyone. And my brother is fine. Nearly recovered, and from what I hear, out fighting giants. With, I assure you, neither my permission, nor his physician's. But Rysen is Rysen." She turns to give a small curtsy to Kalani. "A pleasure to meet you. Lady Lenne Crovane."

Catching even the hint of her name through the buzzing ballroom, Calandra perks to see Sabella across the way, raising a hand in greeting to her before hearing that tidbit about her. The Whisper blanks a little and just.. slooowly hides her face behind a long drink. Oh Gods, now people are gonna ask about that!

Gogil is in mid bite of some sort of dark confection or another when he feels eyes upon him from the direction of Sabella after her pointing of who's here. He's caught in that awkward moment of eating and maybe replying. He finnaly just settles upon bobbing his head in agreement that he is indeed Gogil, and continuing to chew that delicious desert.

Esme smiles towards Dianna in that happy way of hers. "Thank you, I thought I would try for something different than I tend to wear. It is for a ball afterall. You look wonderful as well." Her own emerald eyes follow Sabella's words on each introduction. Her own causes a rippling laugh which she's un-apologetic to. "You are not wrong, Princess." Her eyes noticably move towards Erik and Epthrath's introduction. She moves over in their direction to re-engage the E committee.

"Oh, Erik." Sanya pulls her brother by the arm, apologising to those around him for pulling him away. "This is Princess Berenice Velenosa, Oleander of Lenosia. Your highness, this is sailor-explorer-scholar Lord Erik Grimhall." She grins.

"We got nothing PLANNED but... now that you say it like THAT, maybe I should get something together. Not another ball - I will try to make the Ball of Death a YEARLY event, because really - Princess Berenice just made it so amazingly LEGENDARY, it should be repeated forever and ever. WEll, once a year," Evaristo babbles at Calandra. "But some sort of event... I shall consider it!" He drinks some of the chocolate alcohol and eyes widen at the taste. "This is brilliant," he murmurs, taking another large gulp. He glances around, and mingles around on his own when Berenice does the same, turning his attention on the dance floor.

A face she does not know appears and Dianna smiles warmly to Katarina's eyes, dropping into yet another curtsy as the godsworn rather openly admires Katarina's gown. "So lovely," Dianna murrs softly as she rises and again smiles to the unknown joiner. "Pardon me a tick, Lady Esme?" Dianna excuses her attention briefly to introduce herself to Katarina as Esme's attention - and feet - drift. "I am Sister Dianna Godsworn," Dianna focuses easily on Katarina's eyes. "And, I don't believe we've had the pleasure of meeting."

Rising from her seat so that she can curtsy to Lenne in return before she extends one hand forward, moving her drink to her other hand to accomplish this. "Nice to meet you, Lady Lenne Crovane, please call me Kalani or just Lani. Any friend of Peri's is absolutely someone I look forward to knowing. And your brother sounds like the sort of patient that needs a personal physician riding herd on him around the watch," she adds with a grin.

Shaking his head at Katarina's question for him, Valdemar assures her, "No, you just happened over here as she was accepting an offer to dance, your Highness. No doubt you will have another chance to catch her ear before the night is over. It is early yet." He then nods his agreement with Berenice before she slips away.

Sanya has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Vanora has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Evaristo is overheard praising Grimhall.

Evaristo is overheard praising Vanora.

There's more chatter from Ephrath to Erik but ah! He's being pulled away by his sister and the woman dressed in scales is, briefly, left alone again. So she holds her drink in close and turns to gives a nod and a sort of smile -- a very nervous 'oh gods what am I doing here' smile -- to the approaching Esme.



Katarina has a sip of her own drink and nods to Valdemar. "Oh, I know, I am being silly. But did I hear that she designed this... all of this? Amazing. It is not just her who is lifted by it, but your entire house. I know you do not need me to tell you to be proud. So I only hint at it, like I just did." She gives Valdemar a wink.

Katarina is overheard praising Grimhall: An excellent party to show a beautiful ballroom.

Katarina is overheard praising Vanora: A masterful designer and a lovely hostess.

Katarina is overheard praising Valdemar: A man with excellent taste in wives.

Berenice is overheard praising Grimhall.

Berenice is overheard praising Vanora.

Berenice is overheard praising Valdemar.

Calandra is overheard praising Grimhall.

Ephrath is overheard praising Grimhall.

That observation on Rysen can only be answered by a long-suffering expression, by Lenne. "He has more than one. Apparently it isn't enough. But I'm afraid our branch of the family is very possibly the most stubborn one. Once we set our mind to things, little can dissuade us." She touches a hand to the center of her chest. "Which, as it turns out, is the also the story of why I'm here, without my usual escorts to hide behind." She reaches out her hand in turn, then. "Lani, then. If you call me just Lenne," she says with a smile.

Ephrath is overheard praising Valdemar.

"I never say no to a party invitation," Sabella grins to Jennyva, "So always feel free to find me and ask bout anything!" When Niklas points out who Lenne is, she looks to the other woman, "Ah! Lord Rysen is recovering well, yes? I didn't realize he had a sister in the city!"

Calandra is overheard praising Vanora.

The other two members of the E-trio are near his sister Sanya, who's leading him off toward a couch where Berenice is seated. He sketches a deep bow from the waist when the siblings arrive at the designated furniture, beaming a bright smile before angling his head forward in a cant, words rolling in a chipper, measured baritone cadence and seemingly particular on enunciations. "A most auspicious evening for greeting, Your Highness. I've yet to have the pleasure of attending one of your parties, but I imagine it's no less a party to make your acquaintance."

Ephrath is overheard praising Vanora.

Erik has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Calandra is overheard praising Valdemar.

Sabella has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Niklas has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Jennyva is overheard praising Vanora.

Lenne is overheard praising Grimhall.

Jennyva is overheard praising Valdemar.

Jennyva is overheard praising Sabella.

Lenne is overheard praising Ephrath: Such a bold dress! And far easier to leap in terror in it than I expected!

A delighted laugh comes from Kalani as Lenne's words, "I'm very familiar with that particular personality setting and character trait. It runs through Seliki, through and through. We tend to take it to extremes, but that's why we always send a healer with our soldiers and sailors," she taps one fingertip lightly against her right temple, "we know that fair is fair." She sweeps one hand toward the open seats where she and Peri have been observing the crush of people and assorted fashions, "Please, join us."

Vanora has left the the polished marble dance floor.

"I don't know if she designed every single piece, but it is possible she did. The room as a whole, however, is her work. Whatever she didn't design, she chose for the room," Valdemar explains in reply to Katarina, before nodding at what she has to say about his pride in his wife, a grin on his face.

Emerald green eyes follow Erik as he leaves Ephrath and there is a twist of Esme's lips into a frown. That frown and look move towards Sanya too as the Lady shakes her auburn head. Then a bright smile for Ephrath as she moves over. "You look amazing." She offers to the jeweler and then holds out her hand and spins it to indicate the woman should do the same. "I'm so glad you made it and I'm so sorry that Erik.." His name is not said with fondness, ".. got pulled away. How about you come with me and we'll get a drink and some food? What are you currently working on?"

Evaristo stops watching the dancing and walks off towards Dianna now, bowing to Katarina whom she's talking with there. "Am I interrupting?" he asks. "I am Evaristo ARterius - I was hoping to steal Sister Dianna for a dance before I am way too late, but am not in such a hurry as to be an oaf and drag her away," he jokes.

Jared, an overworked-looking, nervous Apprentice Whisper arrives, delivering a message to Evaristo before departing.

Lenne has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

For though Ephrath looks much like a lost puppy, she doesn't look -upset- about it so much as at a loss for what to do next. Enter: Esme. The jeweler looks a touch relieved, but then realizes she's being asked to showcase the outfit and she does give a slow turn; enough for the full effect, including the winding snake up her leg (not a real snake this time!) when the scaled dress splits to be seen. Coming to a stop, she gives a small shake of her head. "It's quite all right," she tells Esme. "He has duties. His House is hosting, after all." She is holding a drink, though it looks as if she hasn't actually had much of it at all. Too nervous to yet partake, perhaps! But she does look more than happy to follow Esme. Once more: a mere puppy. "Ah... well, the pieces I made for this took up quite a bit of my time and effort." Her favorite subject: her work. She seems able to easily shift into the topic. "But I have a few commissions I am working on at the moment as well."



Katarina has her words with Valdemar and leaves him with a smile so that she can turn to Dianna. "Sister Diana Godsworn," she says, her eyes lighting up. "I am Princess Katarina Valardin. It is lovely to meet you. Your gown is stunning, and I am not saying this as mere flattery--" It's then that Evaristo approaches. "You are Evaristo Arterius, indeed, and I am Princess Katarina Valardin. I would not recommend stealing or dragging Sister Dianna, as that does not seem terribly kind... but if she wishes to dance?" Katarina lets the thought end there, punctuating it with a little grin.

"I'll keep that in mind. My cousin has been talking about us having a party, so you'll at least have to come to that," Jennyva tells Sabella, chuckling. "Thank you, for the introductions. Now I'm going to go and -- test my memory, I think." She lifts her glass in salute to the woman, then to Niklas as well, and once she's taken a sip she turns to slip back to mingling seemingly at random.

Merek offers a smile to folk while he seems to watch Katarina, Dianna, and folk. He seems to be in his thoughts.

Esme smiles warmly for Ephrath. It's a sincere warmth that comes from the core of who she is. "Oh, there are duties of the house for sure, but one need not be rude to act on them." She glances towards Erik for a brief moment and then turns her attention away from him. "Commissions? That is most lovely. Truly. You are doing well then in Arx? I remember when I first arrived, I was captivated by everything. Truly, I still am." Her eyes flit across the area and then she plucks up a drink. "How did you come up with the design for your fabulous dress?"

Gogil has left the a small rosebud table.



Seeing that the one person here whom she knows is now very definitely engaged, Sudara comes to a halt, then briefly casts around. Taking a fortifying sip from her newly-acquired goblet, she dredges up youthful memories of long-gone but comparably glittering affairs - so that she can put into practice skills first learned as a decidedly spare cousin with neither wealth nor prospects of inheritance. She starts to drift through the revellers with a smile here and a polite nod there... working her way ever closer to the edge of the party, the distant promise of the quiet company of her books.



Eyes creasing again with a pleased smile at Evaristo's presence, Dianna shifts her gaze to Katarina's face again as the godsworn gathers her floor-length sleeves to drape in ruffles over her forearms before slipping her hands around Evaristo's right elbow. "Interrupting only barely, Messere. I was just introducing myself to the lovely... -" Dianna turns her attention from the Harlequin back to Katarina, who has just introduced herself AND paid a compliment. Dianna's laugh is light and bright; she beams at the princess and stoops into another, graceful and flourishing curtsy. "My thanks, your highness," Dianna murrs as she rises and finds Katarina's eyes again. "I am not easily stolen, though I thank you for your warning to our Harlequin friend," Dianna's eyes twinkle and she winks conspiratorially. "Not /usually/, of course...." she smirks, her gaze lingering impishly on Katarina. "And I would love to dance... perhaps after I've yet danced with the Duchess and Messere Harlequin?"

An aeterna-clad figure in a clingy dress trimmed in stygian, with an onyx and diamond tiara and the reddish-gold hair that marks her as the Duchess if her bearing didn't quite make it there, strides off the dance floor after murmuring something else to the musicians, to which their expressions remain a combination of stoic and resigned. It is then that the music quiets entirely, while a loud drum beats draws attention to the small staging area. Apparently the Duchess intends to speak, but she's not deep enough yet in her cups for this to cause alarm. "My his and her highness, lords and ladies, dames and sirs and masters and mistresses, House Grimhall is delighted to welcome you tonight as our guests to the our first Black and White ball, an event we hope to repeat more than once. I will not bore you and go into long-winded explanations of the appeal of this particular event for me, nor what else in our world I think it can represent. Rather: I will announce the games, for some are about to begin!" Her hands clasp together with delight. "Over at the ivory and onyx couches, I will be leading an interested group, should I so find one, in a game of "Two Truths and a Lie, with possible house variations. For those of you who may not know, it is a traditional game played by children in the Lyceum, but can be known to get just as interesting in the right group of adults." She pauses. "I expect at least /one/ of those cozy nook conversations to result in scandalous gossip, though I do not particular care which, and we shall as a group give them each a chance to make their case. In the meantime, Lord Erik Grimhall is still assessing each of you with his well-honed gaze to determine which couple or individual will win Best Dressed of the Evening. However from this point onward, bribes, pleading, cajoling, intimidating, and other similar tactics are all considered perfectly fair, and even encouraged."

"You shall absolutely have to let me know when it is! " Sabella finishes her drink and sends Nik off to get her another as she takes a seat, "I think there will be a number of happenings in the coming months and parties will be necessary to keep people's spirits up and make connections that might otherwise be..difficult to otherwise make."

"Oh, no, I don't blame him." Ephrath lifts a hand -- well, a hand and then her drink in the other -- as she answers Esme. "These things happen." Beat. "I assume." This is her first ball after all! The woman draws her drink in and holds it close to her chest. "I didn't," she says honestly, looking down at dress and glove alike. "Brother Felix, the weaponsmith, came up with it. He truly has a great mind for these things." She goes quiet as the Duchess presents the games and rules for the evening, eyes widening. "Well," she says softly, "that sounds mildly terrifying."



"We will dance," Katarina assures Dianna confidently. "I believe I see in the corner of my eye Prince Niklas -- I am sure he would love for me to stop by and tell of my newest adventures. After I have done this," the Eurusi Valardin says, turning her eyes towards Valdemar, "If you have not already been claimed, would you care to dance, my Lord~?"

"That gown though," Evaristo says admiringly of Katarina's dress. "Extraordinary. I am honored to meet you, Princess." He bows once more, then turns a grin at Dianna and is about to lead her onto the dance floor - but pauses and casts her an amused look. "Or would you like to take part in the game first?"

Jared, an overworked-looking, nervous Apprentice Whisper arrives, delivering a message to Evaristo before departing.

"Did you mention Brother Felix?" Sabella leans back to say to Ephrath, beaming, "Isn't he just so darling? I spent a day engaged to him once you know. Or at least an hour. I used to call him Master Smith because I believe he is the master of the smith and have not seen someone who is so skilled or generous in all my life!"



In between spotting Niklas in the crowd and saying that she's spotted Niklas in the crowd, Katarina does meet eyes with Evaristo and give him a radiant smile of appreciation.

Lethe has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Esme smiles vibrantly at Ephrath, but her eyes try to catch Sudara to incline her head in invitation. Then she sweeps the room again. It's knightly training to attempt to be aware of the room. A glass is lifted in toast to the Duchess as she speaks. "You should play her game.." She offers to Ephrath. "It will be fun to see what is a truth and a lie. I am /horrid/ at those games. Everyone can always tell when I'm lying." Her smile beams to Sabella. "Why, Princess, your introductions are inspirations marked by the Gods." There is delight in her eyes to the woman. Something causes her eyes to pause somewhere in the room and a quick flash of a frown, but it's gone as she looks back towards those she's with.

Jules enters into the ballroom alone. He is wearing a flowing white shirt that has a rather low neckline. He turns his eyes to scan over the crowd looking for anyone who may be somewhat isolated or alone. He has a broad smile on his face and he looks to everyone as best he can as he passes, giving a bow or not as appropriate and to those who he knows, he greets them by name. This is a prime time to catch his attention if you want it.

Vanora has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Vanora has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

"Ah! Yes," Ephrath says turning to look to Sabella. "He designed and made my dress... and gloves, and these-" she holds up a hand so the 'talons' may be seen. "Engaged? Truly? I... I must say I am curious to know more." But Esme is talking of the game and she looks... uncertain. Wary. But- "It is their event and I would hate for them to think I am rejecting the effort put into it," she says quietly to the Fidante lady. "Please, lead the way to one of the couches."

Vanora has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

"Shall we play?" Dianna's eyebrow lofts, her expression amused as she is obviously game for the Lycean sport. "My lord Duke, you are apparently begged to the dance floor by many - and I do hope I shall be able to determine for myself how well you might lead my feet upon the dance floor?" the godsworn dips into a curtsy for Valdemar, her eyes twinkling merrily as she gathers Evaristo's arm again and beams, awaiting Evaristo's lead.

Serenade, a lovely nightingale leaves, following Calandra.

Lethe has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Alcohol is consumed, and Jennyva does a bit more chatting as she starts the drift towards the door. It isn't too very long before she makes her way out.

5 Grimhall House Guards have been dismissed.

Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor have been dismissed.

"Let's play, I never can resist making a fool out of myself," Evaristo jokes and leads the way to the game in question, grinning from ear to ear. "The competition will be absolutely lethal," he admits, glancing around the place.

Dianna has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Evaristo has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Esme has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

Ephrath has joined the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

Sabella laughs when Esme praises her, "Honestly I lay in wait for someone to need introductions at every party! it's my favorite thing it do--connect new people to each other so that they can become fast friends. I find in a large place like Arx it's quite a welcome skill to have! And who doesn't like hearing their name and what someone thinks about them?"

Esme brings her glass up to her lips as her lashes sort of half fall. Then Ephrath is saying she wants to play. There is something akin to 'oh hell' in her eyes before she nods. "Of course, I should just play this with my eyes closed." She will see if Sabella, the majestic, is walking with them as well. Those long lashes of Esme's half mass to parly conceal her green eyes. There is a cant of her head though. "Oh. I'm not sure people always want to hear what people think of them. I only want to hear the good things." She gives a quick, teasing smile towards Sabella before moving to take a place at the couches.

"Ah, two lies and a truth." Niklas steps away from his table to move to the seating, though pauses after a few steps. "Ah. There is enough room, there is enough room, there is not enough room." Back to Sabella he says, "I'm quite terrible at this game." But then Katarina is approaching and he holds up a hand. "Princess! I do hope you have many adventures with which to regail all who care to hear. Which may be only me, I suppose, but only for now, I think."

Lenne leans forward a little, out from behind one of those obscuring curtains where she chats with Peri and Kalani, when Jules walks into view. She reaches out a hand to wave in his direction. Sadly, however, her usual blazingly white aeterna isn't standing out quite as much as it usually does, given all of its competition. So she calls out as much as propriety allows. "Over here, Jules!"

The Duchess Grimhall had just begun to gather her braver guests at a set of ivory and onyx leather couches, "Now, the idea behind this game is quite simple. When it is ones turn, one has to make three statements to the rest of the group. Two of them must be true. One of them must not be true. The other guests then discuss and determine which statement was the lie. If the group guesses correctly, then the speaker must take a drink...down the entire thing or merely take a sip, I'll leave that up to players, I'm not aiming to make anyone get ill. There are variations, but these of course are the rules in a nutshell, and the simpler ones we will begin with." Others around the room are mingling in quiet conversation, and some are gliding across the dance floor, though musicians play at a volume so as to drown out the talk or the games.

Symonesse arrives, announced by her retinue of guards, as always. She wears white, well, -mostly- white for the event for there are accents of gold to her clothing that compliment her golden eyes. She gazes around in curiosity as she's led inside. A small ripple of laughter spills from the Queen's lips as she spots all the black and white, openly admiring the costume of those around her with approving nods. If anyone gets close enough, she might just give them a fistbump of encouragement (Victus taught her that at the last Assembly.) There seems to be a game beginning, which means she drifts close enough to Vanora to listen, but waits to give the hostess a greeting until she's finished relaying the rules.

Ephrath drifts over towards the leather couches with Esme, offering a small smile to those already gathered there. She finds a place to sit, tucking herself in carefully and rather unobtrusively. Or she attempts to. When one is wearing a gown of scales in a sea of umbra and aeterna, well... it stands out. More than she intended, perhaps. The woman does give a small smile to Erik. "Perhaps soon, Lord Erik. But you have your duties to attend to and Lady Esme is lovely company." And so she listens to the rules, clutching her drink.

On spotting the queen's entrance, Sanya's brows rise though she manages to maintain her composure, to rise steadily and give a respectful curtsy, a warm smile on her lips.

Sanya says in Nox'alfar, "I'm so glad to see you here, my queen. Pardon my terrible accent.""

Evaristo checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Evaristo is joining the games but sees someone out of the corner of his eyes - he double-takes and his eyes widen seeing the Queen. He looks momentarily entirely stunned and just stares, before he regains some semblance of control and blinks at Dianna like someone who probably heard her but it takes at least ten seconds for it to go through his brain and being processed. "Oh, so that's how you do it," he breathes, looking enlightened.

From the supple leather seating area in ivory, onyx and charcoal, Sister Dianna Godsworn releases Evaristo's elbow and turns towards the queen as the entourage files in. Dianna lowers herself into a deep, respectful curtsy, her gaze lingering with a gentle smile at Her Majesty's gown.

Evaristo follows Dianna's example and bows deeply to Queen Symonesse as well.

Jared, an overworked-looking, nervous Apprentice Whisper arrives, delivering a message to Evaristo before departing.



At the arrival of the queen, Sudara quite frankly double-takes... before dipping into a curtsey and deciding that discretion is decidedly the better part. Completing the skill learned in her youth, she slips out of the party and flees back towards the quiet safety of a library.



And then Ephrath, a bit slow, realizes that everyone is making their gestures and greetings and gawping at the newcomer and she looks and... well, one can slot her neatly in the 'gawping' category. "Is that?" It's meant to be whispered, but her voice squeaks at the end. The dusky-skinned woman nearly drops her drink and one of the talons she wears scratches at the glass besides as she catches it. In her dress, she can bare curtsey but she does stand to fumble through... well, it's not even a close approximation. If one wanted to pick out the commoner in the midst of all the peerage: she just made herself known, silver eyes too-wide, motions too-stilted, and the embarrassed flush rushing across her features as she sinks back into her seat trying to look very very small.



Katarina approaches Niklas and moves to gently embrace the Grayson Prince in the acceptable fashion, so that she can put an air-kiss to either cheek. "Prince Niklas! I do indeed have adventures to tell. But two of them are lies and one of them is a truth, and you must determine which is which." She moves to give Sabella a similarly fond greeting. "Have I missed your introductions? Did I receive a good one? I do so hope that I did, but I know you would not do anything less." She spots the Queen entering, because how could she not, and as Symonesse doles out a couple fistbumps, Katarina steps over to claim one of her own, giggling in pure delight at this new way of greeting royalty.

Esme is speaking at the couch and then there is a queen. Esme's eyes slide in that direction and then WIDEN. Those truth-telling eyes display something that goes beyond fascination. They take in the queen's ears and just look her over. A mental check mark is made on her life goals. Then the smile radiates (though not as bright as the Queenly one) towards the woman. She will stand to curtsy before tucking herself back into her seat at the couch. There is a look towards teh door and then she writes something and sends it off.

Jules continues his way through the ballroom and even though he has a smile on his face his eyes just beam and light up on brights. He does not hesitate to give her a wave back and flows through the crowd like a salmon in the midst of spawning season. As he finally closes through the masses to his target, he gives Lenne a smile and a bow, "My lady, so delighted to see you here!" And his voice seems to indicate it too. He turns and gives a bow to her company as well, both to Peri and Kalani, so delighted to see you as well."

Suddenly heads are all turning towards the door, and some of them even away from Vanora who is giving game directions and therefore expected she'd have the audience captive at least out of the nature of competition. And then she sees what it is they are turning towards, and the Duchess rises again to her feet, steps away from the couches enough to execute her most perfect curtsy, dipping her head as low as it might go without her tiara falling to the marble floor. "Your Majesty. We are humbled and honored by your presence tonight. Do come and enjoy." Her head lifts enough then only to smile at the Queen, putting emphasis behind those words.

Erik rises a moment after Esme from the couch, and his sister's speaking in a different tongue, because obvious Something Is Happening. It only takes a moment for his gaze to fall in the direction of the Queen, and a courteously low bow is offered, before settling back onto the couch with an adjustment in his seating to accommodate for additional bodies.

Jules has joined the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

The Queen laughs a little bit when Katarina returns the fistbump and gives the princess a wink before she offers warm smiles to those who have greeted her. She nods to Vanora and bows her head, "Duchess Vanora, thank you for your invitation. I apologize for my tardiness. Please, don't let me interrupt the game. It sounds very interesting." Symonesse smiles a little and looks for a place to move a bit out of the way to allow the festivities to continue now that's she come in and interrupted it for everyone.

Valdemar was pulled away from the guests by servants to talk of some wrinkle or another that needed to be smoothed over. As he is finishing that conversation, the Duke notices that people are directing their attention to the entrance. Upon noticing why, he makes his way that direction as well, giving the Queen a graceful bow while his wife greets her.

Berenice sinks into a deep curtsy, the tulle skirts of her gown rustling and whispering, in respect to Symonesse's approach. "Your highness, what an honor to see you again." And then a curiosity clearly occurs to her, and she wonders, "Do the Nox'alfar have particular feelings about lying?"

Sanya settles on the couch beside her brother with a curious smile at Berenice's question, her gaze returning to the queen to hear her response.

"Of course, your Majesty." Vanora responds, and then returns to a seated position as directed. There's a corner of a smile towards Sanya, accompanied by quieter words before she then claps her hands together and inquires. "Is there anyone who should like to go first? If not I will take the plunge as my duties as hostess require. Oh, and we'll need drinks!" A graceful hand is lifted in the direction of a servant, something clearly the universal symbol for "Please make sure everyone has their exact favorite drink within as few minutes as possible."

"Your Highness," says Niklas in welcome to Katarina as she comes over. He is about to say more, but cuts off when the room does its collective moment of awe, looks over and straightens up just a bit when he sees the queen. She gets a quick bow as she passes, but then he's looking back to Katarina. "So, what's it been? Fighting magisters? Breaking chains in Skal'daja with the Dawn Warrior? Crusading against the Dune Emperor?"

Once his initial shock has passed, Evaristo gives Symonesse a big warm smile, and even a little wink - but he is about to start a game here and when Vanora asks of who to go first, he calls out; "I can begin!"

"I doubt anyone would say anything bad about you, Lady Esme. Ever! How could they? You're such a delight!" Sabella laughs at Katarina comes over, reaching out to give the other Princess a hug in return, "Of course! I always speak highly of you for much the same reasons." When she sees Symonesse, or rather her guards first, come in, she brightens even further, "Your Majesty! Do come sit, they're playing a little game over there but I'm sure dancing will be happening shortly and I doubt you will be short of partners. Do you know Princess Katrina?"

Evaristo checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

With a bright, surprised and sultry laugh, Dianna grins at Evaristo, who has volunteered.

Symonesse glances at Berenice, still smiling, as she says softly, "It depends on the lie and depends on the purpose of the lie." Then, she spots Sabella and her smile widens as she drifts in that direction, murmuring as she draws nearer to them, "Hello, cousin. No, I don't think we have been -formally- introduced as of yet, but I am always eager to meet new people. The game looks interesting. Too bad that I'm a -terrible- liar."

Berenice checked perception + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.



Katarina giggles at Sabella's comment about introductions, and then says to Niklas: "Most recently I did some thing that I think may be far more dangerous, in truth." She pauses for slightly dramatic effect, and then says, "I went from Shrine to Shrine in and around the Sanctum, and reflected on my journeys in my life and who it has made me... how I am different now, from who I was even recently. To some, I am told, this is somewhat more terrifying thing than monsters or pirates. Me, I will handle all three, it is nothing to fear." She smiles broadly and then turns to be introduced to the Queen, if Sabella indeed intends to do so. She curtsies to Symonesse, because of course one curtsies, even though she's already exchanged a fistbump, a far more formal gesture.

"Queen Symonesse, this is Princess Katarina Valardin! She's incredibly delightful and plans the most wonderful of parties that bring people together. I believe some of the art from one of them is still hanging at one of the galleries in town. Maybe two of them! And of course, Princess Katarina, you know Queen Symonesse. She's utterly charming and brightens a room just by appearing in it, blinding everyone with her ever-present smile," Sabella herself is beaming pretty brightly. Introductions! She reaches out to pat Niklas' arm, "I'm sure there will be another game you can get in on. One that won't require me to ask you if you're truly from the Lyceum or have wings on your back on the way home."

Symonesse's eyes smile brightens yet again as she greets Katarina, moving to embrace her as if they've known each other forever. "Yes! We bumped fists on the way in. Prince Victus taught me that. It is a pleasure to meet someone that dear Sabella thinks so highly of, Princess Katarina. I shall look forward to attending one of your wonderful parties when you are ready to have one. I have been making an attempt to make some social appearances now that the winter has passed." She laughs lightly at Sabella's comment to Niklas, her golden eyes warm with humor.

Evaristo mutters, "Can't wait ... hear yours!"

Sanya checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Ephrath fidgets where she sits. She doesn't have to drink, it'd seem! But she fills that space by removing a finger talon, putting it back on, removing it, putting it back on. May as well be a fidget toy, truly.

"Not quite the adventure I expected, your highness, but I am glad to hear that you were able to get as much out of such a trip as one might adventuring in distant lands. Next time you choose to take a pilgrimage, you may consider the road in the Mourning Isles. It's so much drearier than the Oathlands, so it really allows one to focus inward since there's not much happening outward." Niklas glances sidelong at Sabela and lifts his shoulders, shrugging invisible wings. "You still check every day. Maybe they'll be there some day." He offers a second bow as Symonesse approaches. "It's nice to see you out and enjoying yourself in the city, your majesty."

Merek nods a bit to Kat, "You're welcome," he says, then he's making a way to find a place to settle in also!

Evaristo has delivered his truths and his lie and a few are drinking and some are not - so clearly some figured out his lie. He is laughing and now taking a seat, to listen to the next contestant.



Katarina's eyes go wide at the Queen's words, and she actually brings her hand up towards her heart in a gesture of awe. "It would be my absolute honor, Your Highness. I will endeavor that each of them is as grand as they must be, though the Duke and Duchess have set a very high bar already." She gives Niklas a little smile at his thoughts on pilgrimages, and as she does so, she leans backward a bit so that she can look at his back and surreptitiously check for any signs of wings.



Katarina also sends Merek off with another smile, and a graceful nod.

"Princess Katarina is from Eurus," Sabella points out helpfully to the Queen, grinning at Niklas and having a sip of her chocolate drink, "He soars above the rest of us on the nights his plays go on," she says to Katarina with a laugh, "I'll catch him with them out one of these days."

Berenice checked perception + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

"I've been making the attempt, but the cold and the hours I keep mean that I am limited in what functions I can attend, but it is lovely to get out when I can." Symonesse says to Niklas, her smile still in place. Yet, when Sabella reveals that Katarina is from Eurus, that smile slips just a little bit as obvious surprise overtakes her delicate features. She draws in a short breath and says to Katarina, her expression and tone just as warm and friendly as before, "Well, I am glad that you are here now. I am sure that any event you choose to host will be marvelous."



Katarina's smile fades just a moment as well as her homeland is brought up in a more direct manner than, say, the insinuation performed by her accent. "Princess Sabella is correct," she says, seeking to regain the footing of a briefly faltered smile. "I was rescued from a shipwreck by Princess Alis Valardin. House Valardin took me in and accepted me as one of their own. No matter where I come from, it is they who are my family, just as it is you who are my Queen." Katarina's smile has returned more fully now, as she eases back into confidence.

With parting words to the group at the ivory and onyx couches, The Duchess Vanora rises to her feet and moves back towards the center of the room, checking on the details here and there and allowing her space in the game to be taken up by another. "Oh and Lady Sanya before I forget. Though this game is often more about staying aloft than winning any prizes, I expect you to call it after every player who wishes has had a turn, and then judge based on wins and losses and how well they did on their own turn, who is our champion of the evening."

Vanora has left the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor leave, following Valdemar.

"To stubborn resolve!" Peri can be heard toasting from the nook with her small crowd. She holds up a small glass of chocolate liquor to Lady Lenne and then downs it and gives her a encouraging nod, with jaw firmly set.

Vanora murmurs something quietly to Valdemar just before he departs. "Forgive me, I sent my husband on a brief errand, he'll be back in moments."

Evaristo is settling in and he'll throw guesses and get one right here and there perhaps, and enjoy the game immensely and then he'll get out there and dance.

A parting waggle of her fingers is given to Vanora by Sanya as she heads for the center of the room. She seems to mouth - 'I won't let you down.'

Evaristo has left the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

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

Vanora briefly takes a turn around the dance floor with Evaristo, who is an excellent partner. They have a quiet conversation that is very unimportant and will be instantly forgotten, but it's charming surely.

If Niklas notices the momentary awkwardness he just powers right on through. "Princess Katarina is an absolutely lovely person and the city is already more beautiful for her presence." He glances sidelong at his wife and gives her hand a squeeze, then looks back to the others. "We are lucky to have the Princess Katarinas and Prince Masons of the world find their way to our shore."

"Knowing the two of you does give my heart hope for the future," Sabella confides to Katarina, giving her a smile, "A place can't be all bad if the two of you came from it! And Prince Mason is my favorite brother-in-law. I have to admit that I never thought anyone could keep up with Lou, never mind make her happy. And she smiles a lot more since she met him."

One song ends, another begins and here it is that the Duchess approaches the group who have gathered to speak with the queen. "Your Highnesses. Such a pleasure to have each of you here with us tonight. Queen Symonesse, I could not help but notice your own, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Absolutely stunning."

Niklas gives Sabella a surprised look. "What about Connie?"

"I agree with Prince Niklas. We are lucky that you are here with us, Princess Katarina. After such glowing recommendations, I look forward to getting to know you better. Perhaps, if you are free some evening, you could come to the palace for tea?" Symonesse says with quiet sincerity, a smile still curving her lips. That smile never really seems to go away. As Vanora approaches, the Queen tips her head towards her and says, "Thank you. Your entire outfit is absolutely lovely. Everyone here tonight is so well-dressed."

5 Grimhall House Guards, Gustav, a gruff Islander advisor arrive, following Valdemar.



Katarina favors Niklas and Sabella with a genuine smile at their words, and then once again widens her eyes in positively sparkling happiness when Symonesse invites her to the palace. "It would be an honor without compare," she says, dipping into another curtsy. "The only shame of it being springtime already, Your Highness, is that your kind words would have kept me warm through even the coldest winter." When Vanora slides in, Katarina takes a moment to aside to Sabella with a teasing smirk, "...are your thoughts on Prince Mason's marriage a subtle recommendation to me, Princess Sabella...?"

"Thank you for saying so, your Majesty, truly. You have such impeccable taste I take it as a great compliment. We'd like to thank you for attending tonight, we have rarely had such an illustrious visitor. I hope that you will accept a small token, a gift as a party favor for the Black and White ball, that you might remember it and us by." Vanora murmurs to the queen in soft respectful tones, glancing only briefly to her husband.

When Vanora looks in his direction, Valdemar steps forward with an aeterna pouch in hand. "Your Majesty, on behalf of house Grimhall, I hope that you enjoy it," he tells the Queen, bowing his head in her direction as he offers the pouch to her.

Esme does glance up from her drinking and game play to notice the gift of Grimhall to the Queen.

"I meant that married in," Sabella soothes Niklas, playfully swatting at his arm, "Of course I love Constantine, even though his heading back to the Mourning Isles and Kennex raising themselves up meant that we could no longer work together. I still do mention him to all the single ladies I meet," a not-so-subtle glance Katarina's way, "I don't know what you mean, Princess Katarina! By the way, have you ever met Niklas' very single younger brother?"

"How could I resist when you are so well-spoken as well as charming?" Symonesse murmurs to Katarina and laughs a little when Sabella seems to be playing matchmaker. At the offer a gift from the Grimhalls, the Queen bows her head again and says, "You are very generous, Duchess Vanora and Duke Valdemar. I am honored to attend such an elegant evening. You are truly skilled as a hostess, Duchess." She glances at the bracelet within the pouch, eyes widening slightly as she grin. "What a lovely piece. Thank you so very much. Though now, I'm going to have something made to go with it."

Symonesse takes a mirrorsilver bracelet studded with onyx chips from an aeterna pouch lined in night-dark silk velvet.

Ephrath looks up, overhearing something in particular. She reaches out and- grabs Esme's wrist. Then realizes what she's done and lets go. To the others in the seating area, she says in a quiet voice: "Is there anyone who might... maybe... be able to tell her highness that I would be happy to make jewelry for her if she so wishes?"

Esme glances towards Ephrath. Her attention was divided and the wrist grab helps. Then she nods. "Sure." There is a thing written and handed off to take to the Queen. SHe's been drinking, everyone should be glad Esme didn't just scream it.

Peri has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Peri has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Lenne has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Lenne has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Kalani has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Kalani has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Jules has left the a cozy nook of umbra and aeterna pillows behind a gauzy charcoal curtain.

Jules has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Kalani checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

"Thank you for saying so." Vanora responds to the Queen before adding, "You are more than welcome." She then steps closer towards the ivory couches, "Lady Sanya, can we assume this game has been able to select a victor?" After that she moves again towards the musicians, and the music is lowered and the drum beat increased until she holds the crowd's attention. "We already have our grand winners for this evening, the pair votes as "Best Dressed" by our discerning judges. And it is thus with great fanfare and no surprise that I invite Berenice, and Evaristo whom she has allowed to bask in her beauty, to approach and collect their winnings."



Katarina gives Sabella a bit of a muted smile. "I think... that my family would prefer I take such matters, er, a bit more slowly for the time being... until I can assure them that I have..." The Eurusi Princess runs her tongue along her bottom lip gently in thought, like she's searching for the right way to phrase something delicate. "...matured a bit from who I once was." She gives another muted smile, and then seems to be a bit too eager to turn her attention to another matter: "Oh! That bracelet! It is beautiful, truly beautiful--! My Lord, my Lady, she is a Queen and yet you find a way to spoil her--!"

Lenne checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Niklas gives Sabella his best but but but Luca? look, but doesn't say anything. Instead he looks back to Katarina, "I do hope you'll jump right back in to hosting events to beautify the city. We are at a time where we could all use a little more wonder in our lives. Also, I'm so much better a painter than I was when I accidentally painted a squirrel to a canvas and then left it in Marquessa Lianne's gallery. Though I do believe it ended up on display for a good month before she noticed!"

Jules checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Peri hooks her cousin's arm and leads her group out on to the dance floor. She cutsies to Kalani in a reasonable facsimili of a formal dancer and then whooshes off with her cousin in a very athletic twirl of gown and girl. They weave in and out of the other couples, with an encouraging smile to Lady Lenne and Jules. After dancing a circuit of the floor, Peri dips her cousin and then switches to her cousin's lead.

Lenne checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Berenice looks to be rather engrossed in the game of Two Truths and a Lie, but even she can be distracted by the sound of her own name. Her brows sweep up, and then she rises with a look of delight. "Ah! Where /has/ Evaristo gotten to?" No matter! If she has a prize to receive, certainly she will approach to receive it! "You are /too/ gracious, Duchess. I am honored!"

Erik has left the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

As the note is brought over from the area where the game is being played, Symonesse looks over it with a curious little expression. She glances up, her golden eyes searching until they rest on Ephrath. "Princess Katarina, is has been a delight. Sabella, Niklas, it was wonderful to see you both out as usual. If you will excuse me." With the note still in her head, Symonesse takes a few steps away and murmurs something to one of her guards before she moves slowly for the door. The guard approaches Ephrath respectfully and murmurs a few words to the woman before moving to follow Symonesse out.

Keeping pace with Peri means not stepping on Peri's tones or embarrassing her cousin, in public, by breaking any toes. Or tripping over her feet, or the feet owned by anyone else, or knocking anything over.. It's a long list. When it's her turn to lead, and Kalani takes her turn with a laugh, she links arms with Peri again and does a spin left and leads Peri in a circuit around the room, like a promenade.

Rising from her seat, Sanya beams at Berenice. "Congratulations, your highness." She turns to Vanora. "As to the game. I'd say Sister Dianna for her unique approach." She gives the Godsworn a warm smile, before heading for the duchess.

"We just hope that you will remember this evening fondly, your Majesty," Valdemar responds to the Queen's compliment for the Duchess and himself. He then gives Vanora a brief, proud smile when she speaks of her skill as a hostess. At mention of the need to have something made to go with the bracelet after she has seen it, he goes on to add, "No doubt there are plenty of skilled craftspeople here in Arx who would be honored to accommodate you." Then, as his wife announces the winners of the best-dressed contest, he produces two more pouches, these made of umbra. "Congratulations your Highness, and please pass on the same to Master Arterius," he tells Berenice as she approaches, handing her both of the pouches.

Erik rises, turning to Esme who was sitting beside him, a bit of exchange passing between himself, her, and Sanya. He addresses the Esme while offering his hand and a smile, inclining his head. "Lady Fidante, our misaligned schedules has led me remiss in the honor extended to me of escorting you tonight. Could I beg your company for a dance as a 'step' toward amends?"

5 King's Own Guardsmen leaves, following Symonesse.



Katarina asides to Niklas as the prizes are given out: "I absolutely have that intention. And you will have to show me your new paintings! Even the accidental ones."

Clapping for Berenice and Evaristo from the game of Two Truths and a Lie, Dianna beams and again calls, "Bravo, Princess! Bravo, Harlequin!" She does note that Her Majesty is making her way out, meanwhile, and she dips into a humble curtsy before turning back to the game.

Sabella laughs and says to Katarina, "Don't worry, he's still somewhere in the Mourning Isles joyfully writing in ledgers I think. But oh, dancing! Niklas, come on! I missed dancing with you at the last party and I won't make the same mistake again!" She grabs up Nik's hands and pulls him towards the dance floor eagerly, "I should have Mistress Talia make me a pair of dancing shoes that I only bring out to parties so I don't go through so many slippers."

Esme has left the supple leather seating in shades of ivory, onyx, and charcoal.

In truth, Ephrath does not seem at all concerned about the winner being declared before it got to be her turn. She's sitting and staring sort of wide-eyed after the queen after one of the queen's guards came and spoke to her. She only shakes herself out of it as Esme speaks to her, nodding mutely at the Fidante noblewoman.

Suddenly balks, her eyes going wide, "Oh, but the game is hardly concluded - as I believe there are two ladies who have yet to participate," Dianna interjects gently.

Esme stands easily to put her hand in Erik's. There is a smile as she nods her head and moves towards the dance floor. "You know that I've been drinking right? Sooo.. I hope your feet are armored." She lets him lead her to the dance floor. "I'm friendly like Princess Sabella, but there is no way I dance like her."

Lenne looks on at Peri and Kalani with quite a bright smile as they begin that animated dance. That's more what she's used to. But also what she absolutely is not doing, in any party not full of Northlanders who are at least likely to be too drunk to remember the fun, the next day. She allows Jules to lead her to the dance floor, and as the person who is taller, the man, and a far, far, far, better dancer than she, she awaits his lead. It is far more likely to keep her out of trouble, that way. She lowers her voice, to Jules, but doesn't quite whisper. She smiles sweetly up at him. "If you try to spin or dip me, as they do, I will surely die. And you will be in a dungeon forever. A Crovane dungeon of very dark and drab wood. No pressure."



Katarina grins and steps aside so that Sabella and Niklas can hustle past. She leans toward Vanora and murmurs something at an appropriate break in the proclaiming of winners and such.

Niklas brightens at the suggestion and reaches out to take Sabella's hand. "I won an outfit from Mistress Talia. I really should go pick it up. It would have been a good one to wear this evening, almost certainly. Unless there was a misunderstand and she's made me a dress, in which case I'd probably wait for the next Assembly of Peers." Escorting Sabella out to the dance floor he says, "It really has been far too long. I do hope I remember how!"

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Sabella checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.

Merek makes a way to mingle and dance with folk while he settles about. Likely away from the people within.

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

Erik wiggles his free hand's fingers in Dianna's direction, smiling over. "Oh, we're both horrid liars." He moves with Esme toward the floor, admitting "Don't worry, I am quite experienced at dance falls, so if the worst happens we can make the best of it." He steps out onto the floor with the Fidante bearing an almost excited air, guiding the movements into a relaxed, circuitous step around the space.

Erik has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Esme has joined the the polished marble dance floor.

Erik checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Esme checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Peri and Kalani conclude the dance. Peri listens to her cousin and then takes a measured gaze around the room in search of victims.



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