Dec. 8, 2019, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near Setarco - The Drowned Bay
Comments and Log
The setting sun shines down over the Drowned Bay, bathing everything in long shadows. The wind whips about here playfully, ranging from gentle breezes to boastful gales that are liable to steal hats away. People mill about the area of the ceremony, a few tents set up off to either side of the decorated, be-flowered altar of chiseled marble in the center. They crowd in from all sides, with guards keeping only lanes from the tents and a main thoroughfare to and from the city open so pedestrians can still get about.
It is crowded and warm here, for not only were nobles invited, but true to form, Valentina Argento has invited the entire city. Commoners and nobility alike attend, though the nobles of course get the privilege of being in the front rows, as well as areas of shade.
The general atmosphere is almost one of a carnival, as food and drink are given out freely and aplenty. Everything from cheap ale to the famed wine Silken Sin can be had here, much of it free. Of course, if the seemingly-endless feast provided by the Palace is not to one's perfect liking, there are merchants setting up carts and stalls along the periphery. There are firedancers and musicians, cartwheelers and jugglers, pickpockets and street hawkers aplenty along the periphery.
All told very sternly by the Ivory Shields to pipe down when the wedding commences, of course.
A high-noted horn blast resounds through the bay, and bells begin to ring from every steeple and the highest towers of the Great Palace. The great gathered crowd hushes as the sun continues to slip below the horizon and the court musicians begin to play. It is a hopeful note they thrum, consisting mostly of drums and wind instruments, soft and a little melancholic in harmony with the nearby ocean and its rhythmic waves.
From a tent on one side emerges Arianna Pravus, resplendent in her wedding day clothes. From the other side of the altar, Valentina Argento makes her presence felt through the sheer radiance of her famed smile and dress.
Grinning broadly, with a crown of small flowers upon her hair and a steelsilk dress about her figure, the Dowager begins to make her way towards the altar, linking an arm with the Duchess of Setarco, Belladonna Pravus, to escort her. Blue eyes scanning the crowd as she walks, every step revealing an expanse of thigh, she gives a little wave to those she passes on her way in the first few rows on the eastern side, taking a hand from the bouquet of arranged wildflowers in her hand to do so. Her beaming smile carves dimples into her chin.
Finally, she stands before the altar and her betrothed as the officiants take their place. Belladonna is present and nearby, witnessing the act as the head of their shared House. A clergy of the Faith begins to preside over the exchanging of vows as the blonde-haired Nilanzan fidgets nervously and glances to the side, where even Ennio sits next to Valetina's personal guard just off the dias with the arch and altar, a flower pinned to his collar. Next to him stands Valkieri, the Little Duke, with a pair of rings upon a pillow and a handsome shirt and small pair of trousers to make him look appropriately attired.
The Duchess Vanora Grimhall-once-Pravus is here in attendance of course, though without her husband at her side or her brood at her feet. Still she is as ever a striking presence, today dripping in dragonweep and looking for all intents and purposes like a Lycene whose blood runs thicker with wine than salt. In her element.
The two Inverno relationships of Arianna, Countess Tyche Inverno and Lady Sabrina Inverno, have found seats together. Tyche, for her part, looks perfectly pleased with her wide smile as she watches Valentina process down the aisle. She reaches over to squeeze Sabrina's hand, a few whispered words shared - gossip about the soon-to-be-wed couple, no doubt.
Is anyone who even vaguely knows Sebastian at all surprised when he's late to the wedding? Of course he is: here in the shadow of the Great Titan, he can't help be lured to her side, and -- having spent all morning /boringly/ and painstakingly climbing along her facade and directing stonemasons who are really quite skilled at their job and definitely don't need the babying, the not so gentle reminder of, 'Lord, the wedding' when the bells toll finally manages to pull him away.
Still, he's late -- hair damp, but dressed in fine silks. And even in the short time since he's arrived he's managed to secure a glass of Silken Sin -- priorities! -- as he slips towards a seat at the front next to Juliana. The Argento flags get a bit of a side eye from the Pravus Voice when he passes them, but he's drinking, so doesn't linger on it, at least. The ceremony, soon enough, gets his attention -- brilliant smile passing from their Duchess, to the Dowager and finally to his cousin.
Lucrezia is leaning against one of the walls, having the bright-eyed look of someone who had spent most of the night before drinking. She rejects every cajoling to come sit until the message is clear: no way, no how is she sitting in a *dress*!
Juliana had spent the week of travel crossing with her brother Sebastian and daughter, the Lady Bastian. Now with the later with her grandmother, Majory having stated that she would rather spend the evening spoiling her grandchildren than dodging poisoned cups and hidden daggers. Jules however is seated, beside her tarty twin, in sea foam silk and gold lace, that doesn't exactlt hide her growing belly but does do well not to draw attention to it. Sliding her hand into Bas', the dark haired beauty seems to be relaxed for the first time in ages as she watches the ceremony. She is home.
Monique has pulled out all the stops in a seasilk gown of gilded flame, matching the abundance of dragonweep to grace the torc at her slender neck, the ring upon her finger and the clasp of the mantle that cloaks the Minx, a black night to contrast the shimmering gold of the corset-style gown. Her crimson tresses flow loose and shining in fiery waves down her back, being whipped about by the wind, brushing over the gift upon her lap as she watches the breathtaking ceremony. There's a sharp inhale as she spies the steelsilk wedding gown, and a soft exhale of envy. "Gods and spirits, such style," the Greenmarch murmurs, wistful.
The young Countess-Consort of Riva is seated beside her husband, dressed in a fine seasilk dress, a finely designed thing that leaves little to the imagination, and quite perfect for the southern heat, Joslyn beams at Arianna Pravus, her sister in all things, leaning a shoulder into Athaur as she watches the procession move on. Legs crossed over she scans the crowd as well, peering for familiar faces, spotting a few but keeping silent while the wedding commences.
What would a propper Valardin count be doing at such a spectacle? If you find one, be sure to ask him. Athaur is not such a Count, as he had been in animated conversation with some of the Ravashari entertainers in their shared tongue about... well something that's for sure. But the start of the Ceremony has him seated next to Joslyn, smiling brightly and the couple as they make their way. He cuts a rather dashing figure in the outfit he has chosen to wear, looking more the Pirate then the Count. He leans slightly against Joslyn before offering a bit of a finger wave to Monique
Even though they had practised this and rehearsed for many days beforehand the occasion was enough to make the Pravosi knight seem a bit shy. She blushes when coming out of the tent where she'd been waiting out of the sun, attended by Umbra and her retinue until they slipped into their seats in the back. When she sees everyone present there's a wide smile on her face and little shows of greeting as she passes through. A wink to her cousin Tyche and her little sister Sabrina. A bit of an upchin towards Joslyn and the Rivenshari Count. Nervous smile and a tiny fingerwaggle for Monique, Vanora, and the twins.
It's the longest walk of her life down that aisle but she does it and stands next to Valentina with an equal luminescence to her that was befitting of the steelsilk she wore. Pale and aglow with the colors chosen for her make-up and eyeshadow. Arianna Pravus took her betrothed by the hand and squeezed it while she stared at the Faith's officiants, waiting for it to all begin.
Occasionally her sapphire and emerald gaze will stray towards the Little Duke or her cousin Bella but for the most part Valentina, the Silver Sun of Nilanza, and arguably the most radiant woman on the shore held all of her attention. Clearly a match of love. Some might be shocked to imagine, the First Knight of Setarco and the Argento Dowager being wed but it's happening.
This is the kind of occasion that merits bringing together even the extended family - and thus not only is Sudara Pravus in attendance, so are her own children. The widow arrived in her customary black, shrouded in a silken cape with the hood up... but set it aside to reveal what for her is a blaze of colour: or at least a sea-blue gown, of typically shoulder-baring and figure-hugging style. Sudara provides a sotto voce commentary for her offspring, smiling warmly as she happily drinks in proceedings.
Duchess Belladonna Pravus takes Valentina -Pravus- to Arianna with a smile on her face, even if hers is one of sobriety and always keen on what might go awry. She spots the officers of the First Legion around the area, and the sea, as if expecting something to crawl out of it. The woman looks tired, but she looks pleased, even as she stands there by the couple, Valkieri being ushered by her side so he can watch from up close.
Always respectful to the Faith she loves so much, the Duchess smiles at the present clergy all sweet-like. It is not HER fault Marach loved hanging around Setarco City and the man needs to get over that. Eyes flit over the crowd, and there are a -few- attemps to usher Lucrezia closer to stand with her if she is not going to sit down like a civilized human being.
Alas, some forces in the world are too powerful, and one Belladonna has yet to master is rounding up the crazy of the family. Case in point, Sebastian gets a stare from him for being late, the woman pointing at the sky for reference, frowning all mom-like. Arianna gets a smile whenever she looks and an encouraging nod as if the deadly Pravus needs it.
Mostly, however, Belladonna just nurses her glass of wine, eyeing Aida and finding herself eating some sugary cake or another while the ceremony happens. With MUCH reluctance, she does share one with Valkieri.
The din and cluster of crowds and bells cannot be escaped here. There's familiarity in the bustle, but also an overwhelming quality to being surrounded by such. Her pulled back hair is almost utilitarian if not for the excess of braids that give the dark-hued woman a dash of style. With the air crisp in announcing the coming of the bride - or brides, rather - Sabrina sets those keen eyes upon her sister. Thankfully, Sabrina isn't the one drawing any attention, because there's a visible crack in her usual aloofness, through which a smile sneaks in and grows like weeds through stone. A nod is given to Arianna, some silent affirmation of encouragement or solidarity.
Vanora is certainly watching the ceremony as a respectful guest trained in a courtier's etiquette would do. Between sips of wine then, and she meanders towards Belladonna and links arms with her cousin impulsively should she allow it.
Amaranth secured a spot close to the altar early on, and has spent the interim time defending her territory with a withering gaze and a goblet of wine. When the ceremony begins good and true, however, she sheathes that sharp expression for a later date. When Arianna and Valentina each make their way toward the altar, flowers in their hair and hearts on their sleeves, she adopts the fashion of the time and silently gushes. One of her hands settles over her heart, while the other stands ready with a goblet of wine to drown her coos and awws, should her discipline falter.
Only after the two have taken their position by the altar does she take quick stock of the attendands to see who has arrived -- and more importantly, who has failed to arrive. Sebastian gets a look for showing up late. Partial credit. Her lips purse in thought, blue eyes ticking this way and that with gleam of a blade half-unsheathed from its scabbard, before she sets her doting, affectionate attentions back on the happy couple.
Not *every* Pravosi ceremony needs to have calamity, but they just wouldn't be Sins if she didn't ready her quiver for the after-party.
Never straying far from the Duchess Belladonna is her young assistant Drusila, following the Duchess around the wedding with perfect poise, only slightly undercut by the worry in her amber eyes whenever she looks at Belladonna herself. She's wearing the same formfitting dress in black steelsilk she's been seen wearing in public for the past few months and it seems it's only with reluctance she finally accepts a glass of fine wine into her hand.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Drusila before departing.
The sun's last golden rays are illuminating the event as the pair begin to exchange their oaths to each other, witnessed by the Faith. Each of them takes a star iron ring from the pillow held by little Valkieri, Belladonna's son. Arianna takes Valentina's hand and gently slips one with the image of a sun upon her hand. The Argento returns the favor to the Pravosi, doing the same with one with the image of a moon.
Their hands are joined together, and then wrapped in blue and grey steelsilk, bonding them together in the colors of their House, that of House Pravus. As the musicians play the soothing tempo of their chosen melody, the Faith speaks the last words of the rites, asking them to pledge their oaths to each other.
Both women do so.
Their joining is pronounced to an uproarous cheer that echoes through the throngs of people gathered, the commoners quite a bit louder than the nobles. Valentina steps in at the same time as her bride does, her arms encircling Arianna's neck as the other woman's goes about her waist.
The first kiss they share as a newly-joined couple is met with more applause, and the throwing of confetti and glitter as the last rays of the sun die off and dusk falls. It is a slow, romantic, storybook thing, before they break apart as torches are produced and the lamp posts set up all about this section of the beach are lit, casting flickering light upon the tables piled high with food and scrambling servents ensuring there is enough wine and meal for everyone.
Lights ring the packed-sand dance floor, a bonfire beginning to blaze in center, and flicker across the pool of dark red wine in which some of the more irrascable nobility are already peeling off to jump into.
Valentina lifts her joined hand, bound in silk, fingers entwined, with Arianna, turning a slow circle to face all of those gathered. Her voice shouts out, struggling to be heard above the general din.
"LADIES AND LORDS! I AM WED!" Biting her lower lip through a grin and pumping a fist into the air, she continues. "AND NOW WE COMMENCE THAT MOST ENDURING AND LOVELY TRADITION OF NILANZA... TO THE DAAAAAAAANCIIIIIIIIIIING!!"
After applauding the ceremony its fair due, Vanora steps forward to brazenly interrupt the brides on their way to mingling. "I've a gift for you, from myself and House Grimhall. I do not wish to forget to see it in your hands before you slip away into the crowd."
Monique tilts her crimson head to Athaur deeply at his wave, a smile flitting across her lips for he and Joslyn's appearance. But the rest is lost in the symbolism and beauty of the ceremony itself. The Minx definitely isn't crying. It's just a bit of sand in her eyes. Her own cheer for the newly married women is wild and warm, and she keeps a hold on her gift while she seeks the booze first, the wedded bliss second.
While Lucerzia makes the appropriate noises at all the right times, the expression on her face is one of pain and growing annoyance as each round of applause or cheering makes her headache worse. It is no pretending, but willful refusal to comply that has Lucrezia hare off to one of the bars in search of a rum that will kill her headache.
Sebastian squeezes his twin's hand with his own, lifting the glass to his lips with the other. Belladonna's /look/ receives a brilliant, warm smile from her cousin in response to the wordless rebuke, thoroughly unabashed. There's an energy that's not unfamiliar about him -- something bright and almost restless -- like coming home has helped him shed whatever illness has plagued him of late, even if the hang of his silks might suggest he's on the thin-side. Of course, in amongst the ceremony he takes the time to regard those assembled -- family, predominantly -- but otherwise, too. Monique, in particular, gets a long regard, seeking to catch the Minx's gaze, and Sudara, too, receives a lift of his glass in silent toast along with a smile, as if the artist is pleased by his cousin's choice of not-black. With both hands full, Sebastian has neither confetti nor glitter to throw -- he wouldn't anyway, not with such amazing steelsilk dresses at risk -- and so he adds his voice, a cheering that ends with the consumption of the rest of his wine. He offers a hand to help Juliana up, and it's probably no surprise he makes a path directly for more wine... and food. He's missed the Setarcan food.
No tears for Joslyn as she watches the union, only a beaming smile as she beams at the newlywed pair, her jade and emerald eyes positively glowing in delight. She rises with the rest, practically dragging Athaur to his feet. "All right, now that's done... let's fine the wine and join the rest!" She waves to Monique with her free hand, grinning and giving a delighted laugh. "Lady Arianna Pravus and her lovely bride," Joslyn beams at them, dragging Athaur along to get him a bit closer. "I won't hold you up, so many want to talk to you, but you're going to have to give me a proper introduction to the woman that stole you away to me properly," she beams. "I hope she's good enough for the likes of my sister!"
Athaur cheers heartily for the newly wed couple, clapping his hands and letting out a whistle or too. Before he realizes that apparently whistling is not done. Compact traditions are ever so strange. He lets Joslyn drag him along, a cheerful look on his face before he offers a quick bow the the women which sends the bells braided in his hair and sewn in his clothes jingling. "Yes, congratulations. I look forward to the chance to meet you."
Juliana's voice is added, she would clap but that would mean letting go of Sebastian and really that's not a choice at the moment. There really isn't nods from Jules, instead those blue eyes seem to slowly move from one person to the next as if she is deciding where to catorgorize them. However even that ends when Sebastian moves to pull her too her feet. Only a couple inches short of her twim, Jules smile blooms warm to him when she makes it to her feet. Arm curled into his, is lead easily towards the table. Though the Lady Juliana is far to aware of the dangers from eating from it at this exact point.
Once they are declared wed and Valentina so happily declares that it is time for debauchery and dancing, well Arianna Pravus couldn't be happier. She laughed and smiled with a jubilant gleam in her eyes. When her cousin Vanora approached her she had swung Valentina out and been in the midst of dipping her for a kiss.
"Just a moment my dear," the silken knight purrs before she locks lips with her wife. It's intimate but mostly just fun and then she's staring at the gift offered by Vanora. "You got us something? Well you know that in true Setarcan tradition we'll have to guess until we get it right or you have to leave it with the other gifts to be opened at the end!" Her cousin, the Grimhall Duchess is kissed upon the cheek in passing as she drags her beloved towards Belladonna and Drusila. "I am sure that you and Val want to dance and I very much wish to be polite and check in with some of the other guests."
With a gentle peck on the cheek, Arianna leaves the beautiful Silver Sun of Nilanza to mingle with the exotic Drusila and the Spider of Setarco. Joslyn and Athaur are hugged and kissed lightly on the corner of their mouths in a true greeting in the way of Pravus. Then she slips over to Amaranth to dance with her for a moment and lean in to whisper about terrible, debaucherous things or whatever it is that Sins get up to at Pravosi weddings. Monique is saved a dance of course, the Pravosi knight enjoying her time with the woman and casually conversing about recent events while mingling with the other guests.
After she has done the rounds the Dark Maiden returns to her bride's side and slips her arm around her waist, squeezing her possessively while she drags her off towards the pool of wine. "Did you really set this up? This was your idea yes?"
Arianna definitely also doesn't try to drag Gabi and Sudara towards the pools either. Of course not.
Vanora steps aside for a moment then after Arianna's parting gift. Here sans husband, she makes her way over to the Duchess then, the Spider of Setaro and her favorite seafoam siren. Words are murmured low in the other womans ear after Vanora greets Bella with an airy kiss to each cheek that leaves her perfume lingering.
Monique's eyes catch on Sebastian's when his gaze drifts her way, emerald sparking against sky. She mouths something, carmine-stained lips twitching with amusement before turning away to be swept up by Arianna, whom the gift is given to. The Minx whispers something low and quiet to the newly-wedded Pravus as makes the handoff, and then of course, dancing ensues.
Vanora murmurs back and forth with Bella quietly a moment, her posture towards her cousin intimate and affectionate both.
Sudara offers Sebastian a slightly sheepish smile, inclining her head in acknowledgement of his salute. Then she takes the risk of commissioning the eldest of her children to supervise the younger ones in a search for refreshments (and cake), while she sets about making her zig-zag way through the throng, to try to snare the newlyweds as a couple. She presents the facade of a perfectly at-ease courtier and diplomat, but close contact with some of those present does prompt an element of relief to enter her smile. Vanora even receives a finger-wave as they move in opposite directions. Then she reaches her destination, offering a deep curtsey. "My ladies. Congratulations. And welcome to a new phase in your lives."
Drusila curties to the Valentina, so suddenly bereft of her Arianna who heads off for an extended tour of the dance floor. "May your ambitions be ever entwined." She tells the bride and offers her a subtle smile.
A quick peck on the corner of each lip in return for Arianna and Joslyn giggles, looking back to Athaur. "So many people, hardly time for her to talk, but gods, look at her?" Joslyn beams. "She's absolutely glowing. Lady Valentina must truly be something special." she gives a bit of a happy sigh, her eyes following Arianna a bit further until she notices for the first time in the evening the pools filled with wine. "Oh gods... I won't even need a glass," she grins. "Of course I wouldn't want to ruin this," she gestures to her dress in all of it's fine shimmering seasilk. Another smile offered to Vanora, waving rather delightedly towards her patron. "Should have guessed I'd see you here!" she offers. "I do wish to dance with my husband a bit but..." she considers. "I feel rather tempted to go for a swim, but I won't be the first."
As Vanora approaches her, Belladonna links arms with the woman, smiling at her. The Duchess leans in to whisper a welcome to her cousin. She eyes Valkieri and points at the Grimhall, to signal to the young man to greet the Islander, even if silently.
The ceremony goes on without a hitch, and Belladonna seems to admire it with a distant stare. Not a terribly romantic person, even she can capture some of the value of tying the knot, so to speak, with someone dear. She awaits until it is time to move, and she does, finally kneeling by her song when Vanora goes to talk to the just-married couple.
Bella seems all to focused on giving her son instructions, and even some feedback on his posture and discipline, and looks like she is a bad decision away from simulating the wedding again so they can improve on his form. Poor Valkieri! After that, at least, Belladonna unleashes her son, who runs away from her for SOME reason. Vanora comes, and the Duchess does whisper back to her briefly, an touches her forehead to the other woman's temple, before going to Lucrezia.
Because of course she would.
She is rapid to link arms with her cousin, the Admiral of the dread Black Fleet, and pulls the woman in so they can both walk together, like besties. "My dear Lucrezia. I am sure I am not the first, but this dress? Ooh! So beautiful. I love it. This is now on the menu. For good. I cannot go back." She kisses the woman's temple and probably fights her bratty cousin until they reach where they can dance, and she does. THEY do.
Athaur blinks in suprise at the kiss on the corner of the lip but returns it in kind. He looks to his wife, nodding his head. "She absolutely is. They both looked stunning. And so happy as well." He chuckles softly, leaning in to kiss his wife's cheak. "I will of course claim a dance from you at some point. But I will not begrudge you if you wish to mingle with your family." But then his eyes sweep the room before he lands on Sebastian. There is a blink to his eyes and then he narrows them gamefully at the man.
As people begin the festivities in earnest all around, commoners resuming their merrymaking and taking the rare opportunity to eat, drink, and chat with the nobility, Valentina lowers her joined hand with Arianna. There's a note of surprise in her voice, a sudden, muffled 'MMF!' as she is dipped into a fierce kiss. They emerge from it with laugher on the Argento's lips. She manages to tear her smile away from her bride at Vanora's approach.
Those immaculate eyebrows of the Dowager raise towards her crown of flowers as the gift is given, taking the velvet thing and hugging it close to her chest. "Darling Vanora, you are most gracious! It warms my heart to have you here. Thank you for the gift, my dear, and do not allow yourself to depart before you are well and truly sated on drink, food, and company!"
As Joslyn approaches, the Nilanzan smiles with enthusiasm, reaching to take the woman's hands and draw her in for a kiss on each cheek. She laughs, placing a hand on Arianna's arm, jiggling the one that has them bound together. "Oh, darling, hoping I am good for her is my most fond and oft worry, as well! I think you shall remain disappointed as I am the lucky one in this union!"
"My Lord," She turns the same brilliant, high-wattage smile onto Athaur, casually reaching out to flick one of the bells sewn onto his sleeve with the end of a finger. "What a charmingly creative way to accessorize! You shall make the most music of us all should someone manage to drag you to dance. Is it fashion trend or homeland tradition?"
As Arianna departs, the pair of them undoing the decorative binding, Valentina folds the silken ribbons that held their hands together carefully. She leans down to smile at Valkieri, pressing them into the pocket of his tunic with a conspiratorial smile and a wink. "Keep this safe for me, my Little Duke. It is a very important mission!"
Just as Arianna returns, Sudara's approach is noted with a brightening grin. She reaches out for the widow to take both of her hands, kissing each cheek. "Sudara, dear! Thank you for gracing us on our Big Day. Have you words of wisdom to spare for us poor souls still finding our way?"
Valentina turns to run her hand along Drusila's arm, drawing her into a hug from which there can be no escape! "None of that, now. You are celebrating -with- us here!"
There is laughter at the question of the pool. "Of course this was my idea! I can be wicked when I so choose, you know."
And then Vanora finishes her glass of wine, summons another, and begins to nurse it as she wanders towards the pool. "It is good to see you here as well, Joslyn. I am still struck that you've allowed me the honor of being your patron, and can assure you I will not let you down."
There's very few things in life that will convince Gabriella Pravus to forsake the company of her weapon even for a moment. Weddings would certainly be at the very top of the list of things that she absolutely would not abandon a sword for, and she has likely argued, at length, about the multitude of reasons why. All that to say, it is a truly striking thing indeed to see her without the tremendous greatsword known as Gluttony strapped at her back as the wedding ceremony unfolds, but without it she certainly does. For exactly once, and only once.
Which perhaps makes up for the fact that the knight steadfastly refuses to wear a dress, instead opting for a fine and formal coat of fine blue fabric brocaded in silver - proud, Pravus colors - white breeches and a pair of dark, knee-length dress boots. The white, gold-embroidered shoulder-cape that adorns her right shoulder jostles with the enthusiasm of her applause as the wedding ceremony is completed; in contrast to her sister, Gabriella is nothing if not burningly bright smiles and infectious jubilance, shouting her warm congratulations for Arianna and Valentina both.
It's only when the celebration begins in earnest that Gabriella comes to a crisp stand, a bright grin at her lips as she makes her way to the dance; she's sidelined only by Arianna's dragging enthusiasm, and something she can't help but notice from the peripheries of her vision. Striking, sky blue eyes flutter in a blink; she offers a warm, "I shall be there to congratulate you properly soon, Arianna, I promise," to the newly-wedded wife, before she turns crisply on her heel, and maneuvers herself into position. She knows exactly where to go. Exactly where to stand.
-Exactly- where to be, so that Lucrezia can -see- her while she dances with the Duchess. Shee her, and see and the fact that Gabriella is grinning from ear to ear at the sight of her dear sister. In a dress. It's the power, and privilege, of being an older sister.
Out of a habit of long being a Pravus, Sebastian makes a plate of food that consistent of a variety of selections -- small portions of everything. He nibbles at one or two pieces before offering the plate to Juliana, securing another glass of wine. He's through a good fourth of it by the time he spots the pair of brides heading for the pool of wine, steering his twin towards them. "Before you make use of a very entertaining pool of wine--" he gives a long laugh, seeking to draw Arianna into a one-armed hug, kissing her cheek and murmuring something softly to her. It's not a gesture that draws her away from Valentina, and indeed, it allows him to repeat the gesture with the Dowager, eyes shining as he murmurs something to her, too.
Sabrina's peaceful demeanor had experienced a tectonic shift when Valentina makes a proclamation of dancing. Her reserved, but celebratory applause had dwindled like as if thrown down a bottomless well. A hurried look to Tyche, then a glance away, knowing she'll find no ally in her cousin on that front. The moving crowd becomes something of a study for her thereafter, as Sabrina reaches the newlyweds only after it seems they aren't launching to the dance floor with the fervor she had originally expected. "Valentina. I welcome you as my family." To the point, the sentimentality is betrayed by the weight of words spoken by a woman who only ever said what she meant. A tug on the silk that had bound them together, testing its strength before giving a resolute nod. That rare smile finds its way back to her lips, eyes fixed on her and then Arianna. "Congratulations, sister." With warmth in her voice, she leaves it at that for now, moving aside to allow the procession of other celebrants to congratulate the couple without Sabrina in their way.
"I won't really be in any position to dance once I've taken in the wine that I will," Joslyn points out, looping her arms over Athaur's shoulders, turning to face him, the bells along her earings ringing out amidst the din of the crowd. To Valentina she smiles over her shoulder. "I doubt that very much, Lady Valentina. Don't you worry, I am sure we'll have ample time to get to know each other in the future. I don't remember the last time I saw Ari so happy! Please, congratulations to you both," She beams, swaying along with Athaur to the music, encouraging him to dance, a few small words shared amidst the noise, a beaming smile shone at him.
Once everyone starts to splinter off to form their own pairings, Amaranth relinquishes her choice seat and sets off on a roundabout path of mingling and chatter that leaves her close to the happy couple, but never too occupied to attend them when they're ready to meet her. It is Arianna who visits her first, and so she entreats the woman to a brief dance provides cover for the furious whispering that goes back and forth. When their mingling ends, she bids Arianna a farewell with a quick hug, and shoos her on with little hand gestures and a big smile.
Afterward, she heads over to Valentina, who has been boxed in by all the well-wishers delivering more boxes, parcels, and other such things. She greets Valentina with a fond squeeze on the arm. "You both look so perfectly happy, and there is nothing more beautiful than happy Pravosi. Welcome to the family, darling. You've been part of it all along, but it's nice to see the honor made formal, Valentina Pravus. Now, go ruin your dresses with fun and mischief."
She departs from the (other) bride, and turns about in a direct route for Gabriella. Once at the blonde's side, she grins, and lifts her eyebrows while a hand raises to flick fingers toward that sword. "I don't fault you for bringing it, but do you really plan to carry it for the entire evening?" Perching a hand on her hip, she looks down at the heirloom with a lopsided, but knowing smile. "I suppose that you're used to it by now. Still, if you want to let loose, just let me know and I'll keep your sword company."
Jules takes the plate, eyeing it for a moment before biting into a fig as she is led off towards the pool and the brides. It's the pool that gets the first look, a dark brow arching. "Didn't we kill someone like that not to long ago?" asks rather amused before her blue gaze lifts to Valentina and Arianna, having no free hand smiles to the two. "You are both stunning, congratulations."
A brief expression of panic plays out in Drusila's eyes as her attempt to maintain her perfect imperial poise is ruined by a direct assault by the guest of honor herself. Pulled into the hug of no escape, she wraps both her arms around Valentina's waist and presses her lips against her cheek. "One dance." She declares, negotiating her ransom.
"Find an island to call your very own, and make your home there," Sudara suggests/instructs in response to Valentina's query, her expression impish... but not entirely joking as she offers her advice to the newlyweds. And perhaps to others in earshot. "It worked out remarkably well for me. Though you might possibly wish to bring somewhat fewer people with you. But congratulations, truly. I hope that you retain this happiness in your hearts throughout the years to come."
Athaur laughs softly as Valentina playes with one of his bells. "They are both a fashion statement and a Homeland tradition. Marvelous how that works out. Do not worry My Lady, I will certainly be on the dance floor and likely long after everyone else has abandoned it." Then to put truth to those words he slips his arms around Joslyn's waist, swaying slightly to the music with her as they exchange quiet words
"What do you mean 'there is no rum'?" Lucrezia's tone is sharp with annoyance and anger, ready to teach the poor servants at the bar the hazard of an improperly stocked bar. Lucky for them Belladonna swoops in at just the right moment to haul her away to the dance floor. She doesn't quite dig in her heels, but she tries to distract by pulling the other direction, towards the wine pool. Still, it is those words that settle her, somewhat. Is that a blush or is the piratess flushed? She is a few measures into the dance, dancing away wildly and rebelliously counter-beat to whatever Belladonna tries when it dawns on her just what Belladonna means. "No!!!! I'll run away!" Sure enough, she sees her sister, Gabriella, all shiny in her pants. She sticks her tongue out at Gabriella.
Joslyn sways along with Athaur, letting the music move them through the throng of the crowds, quiet words whispered into each other's ears, leaning in close to be heard, her body pressed up against his, a smile crawling over the corner of her lips.
Sebastian's one-armed hug is responded to with bouth arms from Valentina, throwing her limbs unabashedly around his neck and demanding a more firm congratulations from the man by all but strangling him with the fury of her happiness. "Thank you, my most prized and soulful artist! You have already made one dream come true," She gestures to the enormous statue whom they are all towered over by. "I am happy you were here to see another come to pass!"
As Sabrina approaches next in line, the blonde-haired bride listens attentively to her kind words. And then she reaches for the woman's arms as she tries to step aside. She, too, is dragged forward, embraced in a full-on hug of the mushiest varieties, kissed upon both cheeks.
"And you, New Sister! Your presence is a balm to our hearts and a sign of our steadfast alliance. ...But do not think this will stop me from stealing diamonds from you in the future!" She adds with a laugh, rubbing her hands up and down Sabrina's arms before releasing her.
Amaranth approaches next, hauled in for a kiss-kiss, the standard Valentina greeting, and the holding of both hands at arm's length. "Did I see you stealing my first dance with my blushing bride? You naughty sort! I shall have my revenge upon you, and now you owe me one as well. Do not forget it!"
Athaur holds Joslyn close as the two sweep across the dance floor, moving in time with eachother. He smiles brightly as he gently guides her along the floor, exchanging soft whispered words with her.
Monique slips over to heated pool of wine with an expression akin to rapture on her lovely face. The Minx bends slightly to inhale deeply of the heady scent, all the while keeping an eye on something, or someone, in the crowd.
Joslyn laughs a bit at something that Athaur says, swaying along with him, continuing their quiet conversation.
Sabrina tenses up as she's pulled into Valentina's sudden embrace. Few were recipients of such from Sabrina. It takes a moment, but her body then relaxes to lend credit to the words of welcome she'd spoken. Her face scrunches up as each cheek is kissed, her braid swaying from the force of being pulled in. "Stealing is the correct word for it, Valentina. History will remember that I won those diamonds, even if it was you that kept them." A wry dance on her lips as she looks up at Valentina. "What you have now is rarer than any diamond." To Arianna, then, she nods. "You will keep her shimmering and bright." It's hard to tell if that's a 'command' from a new younger sister or a vote of confidence. She leaves it dubious as Valentina releases her.
The Duchess smiles at her rebelious cousin as she tries to up-tempo Belladonna, and the blonde Setarcan follows her Admiral then, showing quite a bit of energy to keep up the pace. It is almost like taming a wild animal, but instead of lassos Belladonna has her smiles and touches, and eventually she does slip an arm around the other woman's waist and brings Lucrezia close.
"It was done the moment you put this dress, Lucrezia. You might as well admit it that if it was not meant to be, you would not look good so in it," she smiles at her cousin, now guiding the dance into something more to the comforms of nobility, not releasing her deadly cousin, quite capable of waltzing about without taking her eyes from the Admiral.
Even if Lucrezia complains, that is a dance Bella has her cousin finish, lulling the piratess into a sense of relaxation by dialing the energy way down, and dancing cheek to cheek with the woman. Only when the dance is done is that Bella curtsies before her cousin, smiling. "Thank you, my dear Lucrezia. I really needed this."
A kiss to the woman's temple later, and Belladonna is out and about again unless stopped on the way, her eye on Valkieri as the boy moves about doing his Lil' Duke things.
Her sister's greeting and subsequent words, so softly spoken to her, made Arianna's eyes water. Sabrina earns another kiss and a tight hug,"Thank you so much Sabrina. I know feelings aren't your strong suit and you avoid crowds like these...so it means everything to me and Val that you could come.." Then she is off again. The pool desperately needs her attention and while everyone is dancing, the First Knight of Setarco is going to join the Minx by the poolside. Valentina was on the way over and caught her looks, the eyebrow wiggle and the lewd gestures she openly makes towards the water. It is most definitely a Pravosi wedding after all.
Sinful little things they are! When both women are by the poolside she does her best to /just/ remove Valentina's dress for her, an attendant coming to take the stupidly expensive garment for safekeeping. Politely and very chivalrously Arianna takes the Silver Sun by the hand so she can walk down the steps of the heated wine pool and find a seat. A soft kiss is pressed to her cheek, and then again to her neck before she stands up to take off her own dress. Nakedness among the people of Setarco was just natural and so nobody would really ooh or ahhh but there would be oogling for sure. The guards probably fought over this particular shift for this very reason.
Arianna's alabaster flesh disappears beneath the line of red water, sliding over to Valentina and lifting her onto her lap so she can hold onto her while they soak. "Monique! Are you having a good time? Why don't you get in here and join us?"
Athaur continues dancing with Joslyn, though his eyes do start to wander as people disrobe for the use of the wine pool. "Well, at least that rumor of Lycene parties turned out true. I was afraid I would be disappointed."
Lucrezia sticks her tongue out. Gabriella rebuffs with a polite, overexaggerated tinyclap for her sister. And her dress. And her terrible fate. It's how she shows she cares.
Thankfully, further taunting is saved for the moment when she finds a familiar presence at her side. Blue eyes fluttering in a blink, she glances aside at Amaranth, mirroring those raised eyebrows with one of her own. Arms crossing over her chest, she turns to face Amaranth fully, head cocked to her right. "That would be akin to asking if I plan to carry my arm for the entire evening. I would sooner part with my life," she proclaims roundly. "It would be simply asking for it to be whisked away right out from under me to leave it anywhere."
She might be a little overprotective. But regardless; the Setarcan knight smiles a warm smile all her own just for Amaranth as she circles around the woman until she orients herself nearest the dancing crowds; Gabriella offers a faint smile. "But if there were any I -would- entrust it to, it would be you. I assure you, though, it is fine. If you do not believe me, though..." She glances out towards where the others dance -- and when she looks back, she is offering a hand to Amaranth. "... perhaps a dance?"
While everyone else is busy resting their eyes on the Lycenes taking their public bath together, Drusila disapears somewhere in the crowd.
With her presence already seeming to have faded from the memory of the happy couple (and most likely the others present), Sudara quietly adopts the unobtrusive gait and demeanour that helped her through so many awkward parties in her youth, blending into the crowd as she slips away to round up her offspring and usher them away to see some of the less provocative parts of the festivities.
"Nothing I've seen in my life thus far can compare to the hedonism of a pool of warmed wine," Monique announces earnestly to Arianna and Valentina, the Minx entranced by the waters but strong enough to pull her eyes up to the lovely wedded women while she speaks. "I most certainly will be joining you. I just thought to marvel at it like an Oathlander for a moment, first. Will you tell me how you two fell in love, while I do?"
"I will leave her tired, breathless, and sweaty!" Valentina declares to Sabrina, turning to cock an eyebrow and a dimple-baring, saucy grin at Arianna as she does so. "I can promise no more this night. Mayhaps tomorrow, when we have suitably recovered from our overindulgences, I shall have the presence of mind to polish her abright once more."
As she is scooped away into Arianna Pravus' orbit, Valentina waves over her shoulder, her skirt held in the other hand. "I am abducted! I bid you all farewell and remember me well if I should drown!"
Hand-in-hand, Valentina giddily approaches the pool filled with heated Setarcan red wine, for a moment acting agape at her bride as she is disrobed by hands other than her own. Yet while the First Knight of Setarco tries to lead the Dowager gently into the pool, the Dowager has very different ideas.
Now devoid of clothing, Val takes two steps back, before running and LEAPING into the pool, tucking her legs up under her with her arms. She makes a terrific splash, sending wine into the sand and dousing those unfortunate enough to be nearby. A moment later, her eyes scrunched shut, she surfaces, both arms in the air, wide, pointing fingers at the night sky.
"I DECLARE THIS VALENWINE!" A beat, and then laughter as she scrubs at her face. "...This -really- burns my eyes! This was such a terrible idea!" She's fanning them as Arianna draws her closer, energetically pointing at her face. "I need something! I need a cloth! I need something!"
Only after her eyes have been rinsed or wiped clean of the burning alcohol, does Valentina run her hands through her wet hair to spill wine back into the pool, grinning madly. "Of course I shall tell you the tale, dearest! ...As soon as you are in the pool!"
As Belladonna rises to her dance challenge, Lucrezia dances more frenzied and wild, making no attempt whatsoever to keep to the music. It'd be a wise thing to doubt if she even knows a civilized dance! Between her headache pounding worse with the race of her blood and Belladonna's encouragment to a slower dance, the edge of her wildness is softened, but not subdued. "Just because I look good doesn't mean I have to like it." Oh, she was liking it, desperately thirsty for it. When they dance cheek to cheek, she wraps her arms about Belladonna's shoulders before letting her go to mingle. She looks inordinately happy at Belladonna's praise.
To get her revenge, she spins about until she catches sight of her sister and goes over to where Gabrellia is asking Amaranth out to a dance. Thus so gets an unrestricted view of Valentina's antics in the wine pool. Is that the look on the piratess' face of 'why am I even wearing clothes?' why yes, yes it is...
"I made a promise to my sister that I would be here. That's all that matters." Sabrina murmurs to Arianna in the midst of the embrace. Nakedness and revelry soon abound, while Sabrina instead elects to people watch, making a perch for herself by the bar and sampling with care some of the wine. The bar wine, not the pool wine. A pensive blanket is rarely far from the young noble's mind, though the occasional glance back at the newlyweds drags her back to the present. Especially when Valentina promises a story, for which Sabrina is quick to straighten and lend her curious ears.
"Being whisked away isn't all soo bad," Amaranth teases, as the corners of her mouth upturn with the beginnings of her own mischief. She turns to face Gabriella once the bladed blonde maneuvers to her other side, and looks past her toward the dancing crowd. That small expression of mirth and good-humor grows wider, and she lifts her eyebrows slowly at Gabriella. When all is said and done, she utters a soft, "Ah," and cocks her head to one side.
"Well, I'm not supposed to lie at weddings after what happened last time. But if that's what it takes for a dance, then I simply don't believe you, Lady Gabriella Pravus." Gingerly, she lays her hand into Gabby's own, and curls her fingers to impart an encouraging squeeze. Then she hurries out onto the dance floor and drags the woman *still wearing her damned sword* onto the dance floor.
The sound of a splash draws her attention, and some laughter, and she peeks toward the pool. "Is your sword wine-proof?" Grinning wolfishly, she raises her hand in Gabriella's to shoulder level, rests its twin at the blonde's hip, and moves in gentle, sweeping rhythm to the sound of musicians nearby. She leads at first, mostly to steer them away from the fire-jugglers and pick-pockets, but also toward the pool. Maybe just a little. "You know, for no reason in particular."
While the two move, she leans in and whispers something against Gabriella's ear. Her dark pair spills across the blonde's shoulder, and veils her face for a fleeting moment. Once eye-to-eye with Gabriella again, she squeezes with her hand on Gabby's hip.
There's a little chuckle from the countess, her eyes sparkling with mishief. "Speaking of which, I'm not going to be going into that pool with my dress on, I'll need you to give me a hand. And don't you worry about my modesty, it never existed," Joslyn grins. The dress never hid much to begin with, the sheer skirts already putting on full display her legs. "I think I'm going to pickle myself tonight. Just never imagined it would be in an actual pool of wine," she grins, waving over to Monique as she admires the pool, and to Arianna and Valentina as they splash within those ruby depths, she disentangles herself from Athaur, leading him over to the poolside. "Leave it with Leporis, she can watch it, my dear. And you two," She grins over at Arianna and Valentina. "I am going to be joining you both, it would be rude to not partake in the finest pleasure I've ever beheld with my own eyes."
Oh. Oh no. A terrible mistake has been made. Sebastian's head turns towards the Great Titan when Valentina gestures towards it. The artist stills, and a low breath escapes him, and he... totally forgets what he was doing. Thankfully Valentina and Arianna both are already suitably distracted so that his thorough distraction from their happy day might not be noticed.
Athaur laughs softly as he moves over towards the pool with Joslyn. "My darling wife, I would never be so brash as to acuse you with Modesty. I know you far to well." He leans in and kisses her cheek, grinning wickedly as he whispers something in her ear before he starts to help unwrap her from her gown with deft and practiced fingers.
Juliana has been.. well, quiet. Oddly so for the Setarcian Lady. Having discarded the plate that Bas had handed her, mostly untasted. Her free hand rests on her belly as she has been listening to the party at her back, instead watching the blue waters that suround the island. Whatever thoughts on with the lady is hard to tell.
"Yes!" Valentina's arms raise high once more as Joslyn and Althaur approach the pool and declare their intent to enter. "The more who get in, the sweeter the Valenwine gets! It is well known that the oils of the body make it... well... it wasn't for drinking, anyway."
With a sweep of her arm, the blonde, up to her shoulders in the red wine, causes a ripple along it's surface. Her other arm goes around Arianna as she makes the grand gesture. "Gather around, children, and I shall tell you a tale. A tale of two people who could not have been more different, and yet came together as one, all the same..."
Sitting in Arianna's lap, the Dowager lifts her chin up with comical self-importance, fighting back a smile. "Twas a lovely day when I first met fair Arianna. It was one of... -those- days, shall we say? Yes, we know the ones I mean. The one where you see your future bride firmly, mmm... 'enthralled' by a wholly other woman. -Two- women, in point of fact! I shall not name names, but let us say it was not love at first sight."
"When next I met her, my Bell introduced her to me more properly! She had sweet Anna promise to protect and look after my safety. 'Surely you jest, Bells!', I tought to myself." Val places a hand over her bare chest in mock indignation. "'This good-looking vagabond is to be my protector, with her crass mouth and irreverence!? Nonsense!'"
"Ah, but if familiarity breeds contempt, what does it breed when contempt is already there? Does it then wrap all the way around to affection again? Let me see..." The Dowager places a finger to her chin, eyeballing Arianna as if truly trying to remember or come to a decision. "When first that tide began to turn, we watched a joust. I do believe she had just been saying words I would never repeat in polite company to a certain gentleman. Shouted them, in fact! It made me laugh."
The Nilanzan's hand rubs up and down Arianna's back gently as she smiles fondly up at the firelit night air. "Well, time brought us closer, but I believe the first moment I knew my feelings to be absolute and true... She was teaching my little Valki how to fence for the first time. She was patient with the Little Duke, kind, funny. All of her best qualities on display. So she want from a crass, uncouth foul-mouth to a kind, loyal, loving, witty, intelligent, and powerful woman that I now see her as!"
"Perhaps not a love tale for the ages, no great moments in romantic history or grand declarations. Just a long string of little things that brought two strangers together to this day."
Whatever Athaur whispers to Joslyn draws a hearty laugh from the Countess as she grins over her shoulder at him, spreading her arms so he may more easily peel the silk from her body until those thin layers are removed and she's completely bared. Quiet words are exchanged once more with her husband, before she departs from his arms with an outstretched grasp. "Oh don't marvel everlong, Lady Monique. You must simply take your moment, seize it and... let the moment sink in... and savor..." she takes a step into the pool, in contrast with Valentina, Joslyn lets herself slowly sink in, each step punctuating a new word. "Each..." step. "Moment..." she slinks into the wine, letting it sink up to her neck, letting out a reverent sigh. "This was the most perfect idea," she says to Valentina. "Not for drinking you say? Well now, I can't very well do it through my skin now, can I? I must find myself a glass then proper." Joslyn begins flagging down a server to deliver to her something a bit more fresh.
"Athaur, dear, were you going to join in?" She wonders, giving him a most inviting grin. "Let yourself embrace the culture of my own people, as I have yours, even if just for a single night. Make this a night to remember!"
/Still/ wearing that damned sword, Gabriella falls into place beside her dance partner as if wearing a weapon as large as she is tall to a dance were the most natural thing in the world. And to be fair, she takes to that dance quite naturally, despite the added weight: fingers laced with Amaranth's in one hand, the other rests comfortably on her dance partner's hip as the slow, graceful sway gradually brings them closer and closer towards the pool as if by the pull of the tide. Her dark blonde brow raises in an inscrutably questioning expression, perfectly paired with the purse of her lips.
"Are you asking me to drown my late father's prized and priceless sword in wine for the sake of brazen revelry, Amaranth?" The question comes in that grim, unreadable way that so perfectly encapsulates the gravity of it all -- and is so perfectly contradicted by the way she flashes a grin, not moments later. "Because that seems the way he would doubtless want it to be honored." She's really not being glib.
A press of cheeks. A murmur of words. And her smile tempers just a bit as she murmurs her own in return, pulling back to watch her companion. She catches sight of Lucrezia's approach as they grow closer to the warmed alcohol, casting a look to her sister that is only -slightly- teasing. "You look so lovely, Zia!" she calls out. "But I believe you have paid your dues. Don't you? Amaranth wishes me to baptize our father's sword in wine. Would you care to join us?"
Athaur grins slightly as he carefully folds up Joslyn's dress, bringing it over to her handmaiden before fetching a bottle of wine for his wife. "My dear Joslyn, it is not a culture so strange to me to bathe nude." He glances down at the wine for a moment. "Though the wine is certainly new." He easily disrobes from his clothes, the bells causing a bit of a cacophany until he has disrobed. He sinks into the wine with a sigh, pushing his hair back over his shoulder.
Monique needs very little further encouragement to strip down out of her gown, though she leaves her jewels on. Thoroughly naked, the Greenmarch slips into the wine pool, letting the tanins soak into her creamy, unmarred skin. But the only sound she makes is a soft sigh, because everything else is caught in Valentina's tale. "It's a beautiful tale, and I admit I'm envious. True love that springs from such beginnings and has already been tested is to be cherished."
From on her lap, the beautiful Dowager spun a tale about how they met and from the moments in which she laughed through her teeth, rolled her eyes and even blushed. Arianna's eyes were focused on Valentina when she spoke, the finger under her chin making her wrap her arms around the Nilanzan tighter. "She lies and slanders my good name as a knight and yet I still love her but she's wrong." Finally Umbra showed up with her actual glass of wine, the one her wife helped make in fact, the young brunette was offered thanks but the gloomy handmaiden just sighs as if she had just suffered the worst attack of apathy. Not even able to muster the fucks to roll her eyes she walks away from the cavorting nobles and their esteemed guests.
"I had fallen in love with her before, when I was younger." She sips her wine and looks away with a shit-eating grin of embarassments. "When I was in my teens, I had this two bit artist who had a crush on me paint me the Dowager and I have to say I caught a lot of shit for it from my family here. Gabi. You remember that shit? Am? You never let me live it down but you all kept my secret for all these years. Alas....she's mine now."
The dark maiden was known for her humor so it's hard to tell if she's fucking around but probably not. "She understands what's it's like to be of two worlds. The same worlds in fact, even though she was born Argento and I Pravus. Not to mention our children. We will make many, many beautiful and deadly children." Sublimely she sighs and closes her eyes, opening them when Monique joins them. "What about you Outlaw Queen? You ever been in love?"
"Amidst such revelry too?" Joslyn wonders, eyeing Athaur with a grin. "I suppose it's not as strange as all that, but the wine is rather new to me as well. I hadn't planned on anything like this tonight," she sips the wine as it's poured into her glass, holding it up with a bit of a grin, looking to Valentina and nodding along with Monique as she rests back, sinking herself against Athaur as he joins in the pool. "Truly a tale for the ages, love blossoming slowly over time, finding those qualities one most admires in someone? That is far more worthy than the so oft told tales of young adults falling into their arms mere moons after they first met, only for the story to end there and the truth of the misery they wrought upon each other the rest of their days left unsaid," Joslyn sips her wine again. "Love comes easily, but one that lasts as I suspect yours well?" she raises her glass to Valentina and Arianna both. "That's something truly worth telling about."
Jules looks back at the pool and the party goes, a small smile warming her lips before reaching out to touch Sebastian's arm and leaning in to whisper to his ear.
Athaur chuckles softly, slippin an arm around Joslyn as she rests back against him. He takes his own sip of wine. "Oh yes, even amongst such revelry. But there are many different types of nudity my dear." He lifts his glass to the newlyweds with a small smile. "May the spirits and the gods bless your union as they have blessed your courtship though. It is a lovely tale."
Half listens to the story from Valentina and Arianna, half watches her sister and Amaranth dance. Though, her eyes slide towards the bar every now and again as if wondering if the rum shortage has been corrected. Full attention returns to Gabriella when she calls out to invite her to the wine pool. "I think the sword will find wine weak after rightfully being baptized in the blood of our enemies, but... Yes, I will join you. There is no rum." Lucrezia scowls. "Wine mine be a better use in bathing than it is in drinking."
"If your husband does not wish to come to the wine, then we may certainly avail ourselves of our prowess to force him in! I believe three capable women enough to hurl him bodily into our wicked waters, yes?" Valentina grins at Joslyn as the woman slowly enters, bobbing her brows and sending a wink. She then gestures at the man in question, Athaur, with a wide, brimming grin. "Oh splendid! He comes of his own accord, without need of being manhandled by three sirens."
But as the man finishes disrobing, Valentina sinks into the water a little more fully. Her eyes remain carefully above it, but like a crocodile, she begins to move... slowly, towards the edge. Approaching Joslyn, the Dowager's blue eyes flick up to the other woman, the rest of her face, including her nose, held beneath. She might be smiling. Those are smiling eyes, but it's hard to tell because red wine isn't the most transparent of liquids.
Val's nose and lips appear just long enough to press a finger against, to indicate Joslyn should 'Shhhh', patting her arm as Valentina swims by, quite blatantly obvious in her approach to the opposite side of the constructed pool to anyone watching. No sooner is Athaur entering than she strikes, coming above the wine-line like an alligator for prey... reaching for his clothes!
At first, she tries to pull a bell off, but the threads prove too mighty for her struggling arms. Instead, she takes to gnawing one of them, holding it up with a crow of triumph. "My wedding present!"
Looking far too smug and proud of herself, the Dowager clutches the bell to her chest as Monique, too, sinks into the heated liquid. She approaches the other woman, gently brushing the woman's hair away with a soft touch to press lips against her forehead. "You will find your Arianna, of that I have no doubt." Is her gentle reply.
She is soon returning to Arianna, ringing her bell triumphantly. "Look what I got- Wait, what? When we were teens!? So long ago! When I was married to the Duke? Or before? Oh, you scandalous lech and liar! You tease." The Nilanzan swats at Arianna's arm with a smirk, before grinning broadly as she slips a hand through the woman's hair, pulling out a few locks to begin tying the bell to.
"Yes, well, I do rather like our story. Not so thrilling to tell, for it would take such time to write each little event out. Still, boring can be beautiful, I suppose. That is us! Boring and beautiful!"
When Sebastian finally refocuses, he doesn't immediately head for the wine-pool filled with his family -- though he does glance that way with a low-throated chuckle, as if the sight more feels familiar than shocking. Instead, he leans into Juliana, shoulder against hers, as he listens to her. "It's good to be home," he breathes, his exhale soft and pleased.
"Oh rest assured, he's dealt with quite enough of my manhandling for one lifetime," Joslyn smiles, leaning against him, sipping more of her wine. "Not that I aim to stop, but it's far easier to tempt him into agreeable positions after all," Joslyn lets out a little sigh, but looks rather quizzically to Valentina as she approaches, slipping into the water and stalking past her to lunge at his clothes, stealing one of the bells in a rather brazen display. Joslyn's eyes widen a bit and she blinks slowly, looking then back to Athaur.
"I've been in love exactly twice," Monique murmurs with a fond smile. "My ex-husband, and then the Archlector of Gild, his brother. I suppose I have a type. But I believe you can love truly and deeply many times over, so I wouldn't discount more heartbreak in my future," the Minx teases, lifting a hand out of the water to scoop up her sodden hair, dribbling wine across the back of her neck. "But your love story makes me wish for an Arianna of my own."
Athaur checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.
Whatever it is that Amaranth hears in that whisper draws a long look, a meaningful one, a look guarded and veiled and sealed up tight so that one can only tell that *some* caravan of thought passes through, but not what roads it takes or the treasures it carries, directed solely on Gabriella. Afterward, she smiles, a pleasant smile, and then steps on Gabriella's toes rather pointedly. "Oh, dear, I'm such a clumsy dancer. I'm so *terribly* sorry," she says, in that overblown way meant to signify insincerity by all except the worst of performers.
Shortly after Gabriella, Amaranth turns her head to bestow a bright smile onto Lucrezia. "Cousin! So good to see you. Come join us. Steal me away from your sister for a quick dance, then lets go for a swim." As she calls out to the short-haired Pravosi, she leans into Gabriella's form, and through the language of their moving bodies more readily felt than seen, passes the lead of their dance to the be-sworded (STILL) blonde. "You look fantastic in a dress, by the way. You should wear them more often! Next time I'll bring some rum so that you can get good and shit-faced, until you can hardly remember what you're wearing at all."
Sidelong, she looks back to Gabriella, and that curl of her fingers reprises. This time it's with the opposite hand, the one enjoined with Gabriella's own, to impart an encouraging squeeze of an entirely different flavor. "Maybe we can find her some rum to make up for all the dress wearing she's been cruelly forced to do. Mmm. But I wonder if rum in the wine pool is a faux pas. It will have to wait until we've all had a hot bath." Gingerly, she brushes against Gabriella's body as their weaving and twirling brings them past Lucrezia, and incrimentally toward the pool.
Over Gabriella's shoulder, Amaranth gives Lucrezia an impish look, one of those you-know-what-to-do looks, before flitting her blue-eyed gaze toward Gabby and then the pool in quick succession. As their topsy turns bring Amaranth to face away from Lucrezia again, she gives the short-haired Pravosi one imploring look of hope.
Familial telepathy! It's real! Maybe!
Athaur laughs softly. "Well if I had known that getting manhandled by three beautiful women were in the cards for me if I had delayed I would have done so." He looks at Joslyn and laughs softly. "Oh, I can assure you that you can manhandle me quite a bit more. He turns towards Valentina, blinking in surprise as one of his bells is absconded with. But he lets out an easy chuckle, shifting from his place behind Jos. He moves towards the edge of the pool, leaning against the side as he reaches into his bag to procure a needle, thread, and another bell and starts to stitch it back in place.
Belladonna walks closer to the wine pool after having convened with many leaders of Setarco, laughed at plenty bad jokes, and dodged all sort of bureaucratic demands of her station. Those are problems for the Belladonna of tomorrow, and the Belladonna of today just wants to relax a little, and be with her family.
"Wine is perfect the way it is, dear Lucrezia, and you stop grumping over there." Belladonna readily takes the woman by the hand and, with a goblet in each hand, she sinks them into the Valenwine so she and Lucrezia can toast to something that tastes like people and Setarco's main export drink. She smiles widely, raising a glass at her cousin, and takes a sip first.
She listens to Joslyn and Monique, and to Monique the Duchess adds with a smile, while waving at someo big merchant figure walking in the distance, "Love is indeed a many-masked visitor. I am sure you will find someone that will steal your heart away, my dear, in due time. Maybe a lost brother of your former stories will reveal himself, adding that spark of drama every good love story needs." She teases playfully, while looking at Lucrezia, and then at Amaranth and Gabriella.
"You are -not- participating in that," she cuts the Admiral off rather quick, and then she simply stares at Gabriella and Amaranth. MOSTLY Gabriella. "Really? Even you?" She asks deadpan, not really shocked but... yeah. Belladonna isn't sure what she was expecting either. "You... do know that is Alaricite, yes? No... no reverence for the... No. No. You know what? You do with it what you may, I am just going to stand and watch someone lose a leg."
Staring at the wine pool, Belladonna checks the party just to make sure there is nobody else she needs to greet, before she eyes the group, "Valentina, behave. Tell me, dear, how is the wine? Is it warm enough?"
There's no small amount of embarrassment on Arianna's face when Valentina stole one of Arthaur's bells. She blushes as it's tied in and comes over to the man to politely dip her head in a show of respect and remove the bell. It is offered in cupped palms to the Rivenshari Count. "She didn't know, please forgive me for not being better at informing my wife of certain cultural sensitivities."
For all his troubles he is gently kissed on the cheek and one of the servants is flagged down, to bring the man whatever it is he desires in a show of gratitude from the Pravosi knight. Soon after she goes back to Valentina and shakes her head,"You are terribly naughty and later I will have to discipline you for your misbehaving!" She's teasing in her playful reprimand of the gorgeous Nilanzan, hardly blaming her for not knowing!
"Immersed in a pool of wine with some of the wickedest vipers Setarco has known, and you call your story boring." Sabrina rolls her eyes before taking a bigger sip of wine than she'd planned. "They say seasoned lips are worth the storm." A shrug from Sabrina, who speaks with both confidence and the candor of a woman who isn't in any place to know whether it's true. "I suspect your affections are more than mere seasoning. They are, perhaps, the sea itself." A flick of her wrist toward the pool of wine most of the guests now find themselves bathed in, she sips again before adding with dry humor. "Or at the very least, the pool."
Joslyn looks plainly relieved as Athaur simply begins to sew on a new bell, letting out a small laugh that perhaps comes out a bit more nervous than she had intended. "Well, we could always educate her of course," Joslyn says. "The Ravashari have such an incredible rich culture, and I'm only just really beginning to get a hang of all of it. Though I can only imagine how badly I'm butchering the langugage," she looks to Athaur as if for confirmation.
She smiles over at Belladonna. "I've had so many loves in my life. I had my very own Arianna once, though fate was not on our side. A memory that I bring with me forever, though I try not to compare others to her," Joslyn gives a soft sigh, a memory, distant and painful but so long ago now. "The wine is wonderful, never would have thought I'd spend my evening like this. I'm going to come home all red and have to answer so many strange questions," she muses.
Valentina gasps as Athaur turns and begins to repair the assymetry that she inflicted upon his wardrobe. She finishes tying the bell into her new wife's hair to gape at Joslyn. "And he -sews-? My dear, -never- let that man go!"
"Sabrina... Sabrina. What would it take to cause you to carouse with us? Must I send your sister after you? Do not think I will not!" The Argento casts her gaze at the always-dour (from her limited experiences) woman, nudging Arianna in the side.
The Nilanzan's hand brushes through the Dark Maiden's hair, fingers combing through wet locks, again and again as she watches the dancing wistfully. But in no hurry to leave the pool, have to dry, then redress, then abandon her footwear because sand will endlessly cling to her feet, she doesn't leap out to go try and join them. Yet.
But no force in the universe will keep the Argento off of the dance arena forever!
Belladonna's voice slides into Val's ears and plucks her from her wistful staring. She turns her face up to grin at Belladonna, raising both arms up like a child waiting to be picked up. She gestures for the Duchess to come closer with her hands. "Bells, the wine is perfect! Come find out for yourself, if you dare enter the lair of the Crimson Shark~... I might even behave. For a moment or two."
So saying, the Silver Sun of Nilanza bends down at the waist, opening her mouth to scoop up the wine, swallowing it down with a self-satisfied smirk.
Athaur laughs softly. "Oh, I do not sew well. Just enough of a stitch to replace a bell in truth." He gives the new bell a soft tug. "And darling you are getting much better at the language." He looks to Arianna, closing her hand over the bell. "It is a wedding gift, as she says. Apology accepted and pay it no mind."
Juliana with her arms around Sebastian, squeezes him as he laughs softly, the twins whispering back and forth as they watch the day settle over the bay.
Sabrina shifts in her seat by the bar, comfortably crossing one leg over the other. "There are whispers of a medallion long lost to the sands which bestows its wearer with power over nature. The winds and rains, flowers to sprout from dry, cracked earth. The story goes that its last wearer lived in wealth and opulence, yet was an impoverished potter when first he slipped the glittering gem around his neck. However..." Sabrina holds up a finger, leaning in with a warning, predatory look as if she were cast in this story as a servant of fate itself. "He quickly learned that while he could demand riches to inundate his halls, they were empty without someone to share it with. His prospects for wife were plentiful, but he couldn't look past the glitter of gold in their eyes. These women would not be faithful to him, he knew. So he twisted the nature of the medallion itself, so that he could command not just the elements, but the nature of a soul."
Sabrina eyes them over the brim of her glass, sips, and sobers up with a lean back in her chair that spares them the over detailed tale she wished to tell. Instead, to the point, "The end result was a woman whose nature was deception. He was unloveable, unkind, unwanted. He couldn't change her nature any more than he could make himself young again. She tricked him, and he lost his wealth, his medallion, and his life." Sabrina is surprisingly playful in the way she looks to Valentina, then, with a curling of her lips. "So how badly do you /really/ want me to carouse with you?"
Now knowing that clothes aren't necessary for this, there is nothing that'd keep Lucrezia in her dress. Pieces of her clothing come off haphazardly as she goes over to the pool. She hardly needs Belladonna dragging her in, but she does balk at drinking wine while bathing in wine. There *are* limits to the wine non-sense that she'd tolerate!
Lucrezia shrugs to Belladonna saying she isn't going to participate in getting Gabriella into the wine. "Too late, I think. You getting old there?" She cuts a cruel smile. "Besides, getting the sword in here isn't what I'm after." So, of course, she gets out from that look from Amaranth, dripping wine carelessly all over *and* getting some on Gabrellia as she puts her arm about Gabriella's other side to "help" her towars the wine. "One, two..." Laughing, she pushes her sister clothes, sword, and all towards the edge of the pool and over.
And then Sabrina opened her mouth, diverting the attention of Belladonna from the water and to her dark, faraway cousin. The blonde Setarcan slooowly approaches the Inverno, and her arms soon snake around Sabrina's body so the Duchess can place her chin upon the usually silent Inverno's shoulder, bent at the waist behind Sabrina. Blue eyes flit into dark ones, and the Duchess just... smiles.
She is all too okay with being there, affectionate with her cousin, eyeing the wine and talking to the others. "I will hop into the wine in a second, my dear, I am just enjoying some time with Sabrina before I do. Please, relax, mm?" As she remains with Sabrina, there is a palpable sentiment that there is some sort of attempt from Belladonna to make the younger woman lower her guard.
It is in the way she moves her body, or murmurs to the Inverno. But it is there. "Oh, since we are sharing stories... Did you know the sands of these beaches were red once? Marianna the Queen of the Red Sands was said to have turned them into a swamp of caked blood from invading merchant-princes, the presence of death so strong that it would take generations before the beach recovered its sandy beauty. As far as the eyes could see, bodies prostrated in reverence, turned towards these hills, beheaded and made to forever bow to her. She was all but fifteen."
Belladonna smiles at the bit of story, grinning at Sabrina, "Join me in the wine?" The invite is given, and Belladonna approaches the pool, eyeing the thing. "This is either your best idea ever, Valentina, or one of your poorest. Either way, I salute it." Slowly, the Setarcan begins to undo her clothes. That is, until Gabriella is pushed inside the pool. That is when Belladonna... steps back. "Maybe not."
"You've ever been a hopeless romantic, Ariannagh!"
This is Gabriella, cut off from her matter-of-fact observations by a heel digging in to her toes, sharp, swift, but not certainly not unprovoked. The bright blues of her gaze snap onto Amaranth's once more in the aftermath of that meaningful, unspoken exchange, brows climbing incredulously in a way that directly mirrors the insincerity of Amaranth's tone. It's a practical one-to-one ratio of disbelief to utter bullshit.
"... No, -I- should apologize," the knight decides. "I should have better paid attention to where I was going." Lead is passed, more seen in the way the subtle ways the blonde and brunette dance. "You are, after all, terribly clumsy."
As they dance, though, Gabriella seems unaware at the wicked way she is led, distracted as she is with talk between her sister, Amaranth, and soon enough, Belladonna. "They have no rum?" she echoes, disbelieving. "I do not believe it. Amaranth is right -- enjoy the pool, Zia. I will endeavor to find you some rum. I swear I'll not rest until I do."
And, as she makes this promise to her sister, her fingers squeeze around Amaranth's gently. She looks at her dance partner for a brief, inscrutable moment, before casting her gaze Belladonna's way at her chastising. "I know exactly what it is, Duchess," she says, firmly. /Resolutely/. So much so, she's completely distracted. "And what I have greatest reverence for is family. Do you mean to tell me that my father would -not- find it entertaining to feed feckless wine to his vaunted blade as greedily as he fed it the blood of the vanquished? Because if so, then I would say to you -- waugh?!"
And this is what distracted Gabriella says to Belladonna, blue eyes wide as dinnerplates as she is so shamefully betrayed by her kin and shoved roundly over the edge of the pool. She flails ungracefully; it'll do her no good. "LUCREZIA--"
SPLOOSH. Her look is pricelessly livid as she topples in, clothes, weapon and all, proving roundly that alaricite weapons truly make the greatest splashes of all.
"I am only sorry I didn't bring anything of worth to give as a gift. My own bells are not to be parted with any time soon," Joslyn gives her head a shake, her star iron earrings giving a cheerful ring. "But I do wish you both the best," Joslyn winks, eyeing Arianna and Valentina, her emerald laden gaze shifting over to Belladonna. "I hadn't heard the story, I grew up in Tor, but I have always had a bit of a fixation on Setarco... some of the best wine I've ever tasted," Joslyn sips her glass for emphasis. Of course her attention shifts to the splash, eyes widening as she's startled.
Gabriella is overheard praising Valentina.
Gabriella is overheard praising Arianna.
Juliana is overheard praising Arianna.
Juliana is overheard praising Valentina.
Monique stretches in the wine pool, thoroughly pickled and looking around for a towel. "Now, I think it's time for dancing. I'm sure I'm drunk enough for it," she declares, rising and dripping red that doesn't quite look like blood but still is slightly macabre running down her curves.
One could be forgiven for thinking Sebastian drunk. In fairness, he has drunk a fair bit, and the wine is excellent, as all Setarcan wine is -- but it's more than that. It's like a giddy kind of revelry purely from being here, in his home, with his family: he squeezes Juliana's arm and leads her over towards the tub where the happy couple, and others, are lounging. "How does it taste? Is it perfect yet?" he asks, with a low-throated laugh.
Athaur blinks in surprise as the knight is chucked into the tub, getting rather fully splashed with wine. He blinks a few times and takes a drink from his glass before glancing back at his now wine soaked clothes. "Alas..."
Juliana hand resting against Sebastian's arm, her other on the rise of her belly, smiles to those that are lounging in the pool. "It has been a lovely evening. Again, congradulations to you both, I am sure that you will find all the happiness you deserve."
As Sabrina's tale unfolds, the Dowager presses her lips together in a mild, thoughtful frown. A crease overtakes her brow, and she waits until the story is done, the woman setting up her malicious tale of heartbreak and woe on this, the day of her wine-pool wedding. After a moment, she smiles. "I wish it bad enough, Sabrina! Bad enough to risk your loveless death curses to make it happen! I will see you dance at my wedding, I will."
Blue eyes narrow with playful threat upon Arianna's sister as the Dowager stands to lean over the side of the pool, wine falling into the sand as she does so in thick, red droplets.
She's just beginning to grin broadly as Belladonna approaches, slowly beginning to slip out of her dress, when a sudden splash comes out of nowhere. It creates a cascade that overtakes her, washing her anew in the potent alcoholic beverage. More of it yet sloshes onto the beach, making sand red. For a moment, Valentina, once more dripping from head to toe, stands there with her eyes closed.
"What kind of miscreant just -jumps- into a p-" She starts to ask her teasingly ironic question as she opens her eyes, only to immediately regret it. "Ow, ow, ow, owwwww! It burns! It burns my eyes! Oh my, this was the -worst- idea!"
Flailing for Arianna, the Dowager paws at her new bride until her eyes are flushed or the alcohol wiped from them with a towel. Finally, she flees the pool, gesturing for a towel from a servant. The Nilanzan begins to dry off, shaking the fluffy softness over her head to dry her hair as much as possible.
"I declare it time for dancing! Arianna, you will join me on the dance floor immediately near the bonfire! My Bella, you have danced with far too many people who are not me. Sabrina, you must also take a turn with me before the eve is over!"
"I command these things to happen!"
So declaring, the grinning Argento finishes drying herself off before donning a much simpler dress that reaches the middle of her thighs than her wedding gown, before departing barefoot for the dancing area to mingle with commoners and finish her evening singing and dancing until she is ready to drop.
Monique is overheard praising Pravus.
Amaranth has the dignity to look aghast, positively *horrified* as Lucrezia -- of her own volition and without any prompting, coercion, or corruption from outside sources -- launches Gabriella into the pool of wine with a mighty, unceremonious splash. Of course, Gabriella *may* claim in the future that Amaranth's hands at palm and hip gave a not-so-subtle thrust to help launch the soon-to-be wine-sodden warrior into the pool, but those are the sorts of fables that Amaranth is above denying -- at least, until the wedding is officially over.
She does, however, dust her hands off one against the other, and then wink to Lucrezia nearby. "Great job. I think that you've *more* than earned the reward of shedding that dress, and hopping into the pool." Invitingly, Amaranth sweeps her arm toward the hot tub of wine, with a gracious half-bow at the waist of thanks and encouragement -- and then Valentina declares that pool time is over, and dancing has begun.
Alas. You can't win them all.
Amaranth is overheard praising Valentina.
Amaranth is overheard praising Arianna.
Belladonna is overheard praising Valentina.
Sabrina's eyes meet Bella's, hers dark and murky by nature, but not without some warmth. A finger taps on the glass in consideration of the request, though she's quickly perking up at the vivid imagery talk of the Marquessa brings to life in the woman's mind. Eyes flit toward the bay like she's been transported to another time momentarily. "I would like to hear more," Sabrina admits, but steels herself with suspicion in her voice. "You dangle the right bait, Belladonna, but there are duties a sister is obliged to." That's right. Despite the sour-face she'd worn earlier at the talk of dancing, dancing is what's getting her out of throwing herself naked into the pool. So Valentina's declaration that they dance is accepted. No one have a heart attack.
Sabrina's dancing proves unhoned, out of practice. She knows the steps, but there's a foreign air about the motions that make it seem like she hasn't danced since she was but a child. Still... Valentina gets her dance, even if begrudgingly.
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