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A Taste of Arx: Grayson Ward

Come and celebrate what makes the Compact so wonderfully diverse with a night of dancing, games, and drinking in Grayson Ward! See the best of what Grayson and their vassals have to offer with displays of food, drink, and botany! Make new friends and marvel at the talents on display! Compete and test your skills against other social combatants for your chance to win fabulous prizes! But most of all, everyone is welcome to come and enjoy Grayson hospitality at its best!

Date

April 22, 2020, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Sabella

Participants

Waldemai Agostino Poppy Lucita Sapphira Rowenova Lisebet Mihaly Eirene Talwyn Thea Kace Zoey Ryhalt Merek Kalani Ciaran Aiden Symonesse Adrienne Niklas Christine Lark Sunaia Carita Zulana Cillian

Organizations

Grayson

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Grounds

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


The grounds around Grayson mansion are absolutely sparkling tonight! Lanterns made of different bits of colored glass line the path and light up the many tables that have been set here and there throughout the gardens and smaller round ones strung through the tree branches to make the whole display just a little more magical. A large buffet table has been set to one side with servants standing behind it to help hand out on all the delicious goodness that's heaped on top of shining silver platters--savory at one end and a pile of sweets at the other from cakes to cupcakes to pies, lemon squares, and fruit perfect for dipping in the chocolate sauces on display! Members of the Bard's College are set off to one side, providing music throughout the evening that ranges from upbeat, toe tapping numbers to quieter pieces that set quite a romantic mood. Servants carrying finger-foods and glasses full of different alcohols weave expertly through the crowds and Princess Sabella Grayson grabs herself one of the more bubbly concoctions, standing ready to greet everyone that arrives! "Please make yourself at home and have something to eat and drink! We'll be playing some games in a bit, one of which will require a partner so do start thinking of that now and perhaps make a new friend before then! House Grayson welcomes everyone and hopes you enjoy getting to know us and our vassals here tonight!"

Sabella drops Chest of the Gryphon.

Michael gets Chest of the Gryphon.

Rosabla, a discerning lady's maid arrives, following Bellamy.

Michael drops Chest of the Gryphon.

Waldemai follows his nose to the rumored source of free food and booze.

Michael gets a shiny ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Agostino takes a sparkling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Kalani gets a dazzling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Eirene gets a snazzy ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Micana, 1 Saik Guard arrive, following Lucita.

Mihaly gets Grayson bracelet from Chest of the Gryphon.

Sir Floppington the Soulful Hound arrives, following Rowenova.

Poppy takes Grayson bracelet from Chest of the Gryphon.

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

Trig, a large dog with an intense stare arrives, following Kace.

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

1 Farshaw trained guards arrives, following Ryhalt.

Sapphira gets a small round stained glass ornament of a green gryphon from Chest of the Gryphon.

Octavian, a silken spaniel, an aid in Kennex livery, 2 Kennex corsairs arrive, following Zoey.

Lisebet gets a dazzling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Rowenova gets a small round stained glass ornament of a green gryphon from Chest of the Gryphon.

Zoey gets a sparkling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Talwyn gets a blinding ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Thea takes a shiny ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

When Agostino arrives, he wanders toward the buffet table first. He doesn't show much interest in the food right now, but rather seeks out a glass of wine to enjoy as he mills about. Sabella's announcement does get his attention, after which he looks about to see who is present.

Poppy is yet again easily amazed as she walks in. Her mouth is agape and her eyes drinking in the surroundings. She's shown to a chest where she choses a delicate bracelet and has an aide help fasten it around her wrist. She beams with gratitude before moving off to the side to let others come find their treats.

Lucita strolls into the event and glances around. She gives a curtsy to royals when near them and cheerful waves to friends.

Sapphira fetches a glass of sparkling wine with a most winning smile soon after she arrives, the smaller maiden scanning the various faces as she sets off to mill pleasantly about the celebration.

Following up after Lucita are Rowenova and Sir Floppington who bow to those who are here today before smiling to her patron. "How are you?" says she.

Lucita gets a swanky ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Lisebet makes her way out. It's not so far from Ashford house, but the petite duchess does look like she might explode any day now. She isn't walking very quickly, and she's all bundled up, with servants hovering. There'd be a duke hovering but she appears to have managed to slip out of the house with little fanfare and less notice.

Mihaly isn't sure if he'll be here solo tonight or not. As is his way, since it's night time, he hasn't fully joined the crowd yet. The old Riven knight is still on the outside, having only just recently plucked something out of the chest that was being offered to everyone. His old pipe firmly gripped between his teeth, he puffs quietly, looking skyward. Of course he'd be looking at stars.

Waldemai gets a swanky ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Eirene wanders around with a purpose. Seeking someone. She stops to grab a snazzy hat, which she affixes to her head, and continues to look about. She raises a hand as she's spying a few familiar faces. That top hat looks quite rakish. Seeing the old Riven Knight, she sets her path to go join him.

Waldemai wear hat

With a swish of gold-blue fabric on his doublet, Prince Talwyn walks into the Greyson courtyard and looks around with his brown eyes to look for people he knows. He heads for some drinks and was handed a bright - well, blinding top hat - and he looks pleased with it, "Hmm excellent worksmanship, and by Gods, it's blinding"

Venturing onto the grounds early this evening, Thea already has a drink in hand. She curties to those that require curties, bows her head to others. A slight smile is on her lips as she slips the had on her head,"Well this will be fun. And I'm not swallowing eyeballs."

Kace Wanders in and calmly looks around to see if anyone she knows is here.

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

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

Niklas drops the Ashford pavilion.

Niklas drops the Shepherd pavilion.

Niklas drops the Grayson pavilion.

Niklas drops the Bisland pavilion.

Niklas drops a normal tent that absolutely wasn't made with blood magic.

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

Rowenova has joined the the Shepherd pavilion.

Zoey arrives at the event and looks around curiously. She meanders about, making polite greetings to those she knows or who happen to make eye contact.

Lucita says, "Goodness, Prince Talwyn, it is indeed ... rather.. bright." She grins a little as she squints and shades her eyes, obviously teasing."

Ryhalt strolls along, people-watching and not too concerned that he is running late.

Agostino has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Sapphira spies Zoey, a rare familiar face picked out of the crowds, the blonde suddenly appearing near the other woman with a bounce of her booted toes, "Lady Zoey! It's good to see you again."

"Isn't that bracelet lovely? Lord Michael Bisland came up with that one I believe," Sabella tells Poppy cheerfully when she picks a bracelet. She seems very pleased with all the people that are taking the top hats, "Those are made from ironwool, you may have heard of it as one of the newest materials that House Grayson came together to create, it's quite sparkly so I thought it would fit in well! Duchess Lisebet! Oh do tell me what you want and then go have a seat and I shall have it brought over! And Prince Talwyn I think it looks very dashing on you!"

Eirene has joined the the Bisland pavilion.

Poppy beams at Sabella, "It's beautiful and I just love the color. Thank you." She takes a drink of wine but suddenly needs to shield her eyes when Talwyn puts on that hat. "Ouch. My eyes."

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

Mihaly has joined the the Bisland pavilion.

Lisebet flashes a smile at Sabella, offering a modest curtsey so she doesn't keel over. "You are most kind, your highness. I am well taken care of, thank you!" She does however find a seat, one of the servants rushing off to find whatever might suit Lisebet's fancy. Seems the Duchess will let folks visit with her for tonight.

After going down the buffet line, Rowenova certainly carries a good amount of the party food on her dual plates which she keeps close on one arm while meandering along to hang out with various folks. She spins out a shiny fork from her right bracer, too.

Zoey turns when she hears her name. "Lady Sapphira! I thought I might see you here," she greets her with a warm smile. "I have not missed any games, have I?"

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

Agostino has left the the Grayson pavilion.

Cecily, a coy secretary have been dismissed.

Omero, a hulking bodyguard have been dismissed.

Merek walks up into the grounds while he wears his golden-black attire, shifting to look at the place and finding a little place to settle in while he smiles.

Bibacious Assistants and Teetotalling Gardeners from the Defense Lab arrives, delivering a message to Lucita before departing.

Talwyn replies Lucita with a quick smile, "I do like it" and puts the blinding top hat on without a missed beat, replying Sabella with a quick bow of his head, smiling, "You are much too kind, Princess."

Sapphira smiles easily at Zoey, "I thought I should visit the event put on by the house we're pledged too. You haven't missed anything just yet, though I have heard one of the games will require a partner."

The old Riven knight stands quiet, looking up at the stars. "In any light, they are always amazing." he regards, as if knowing Eirene approach by her footsteps. Or maybe it's the swish-swifh of her leathers. His head tilts back down, giving one of his trademark slight smiles. "Hey. I was wondering if you were going to come by or not."

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

Thea grins about her hat,"I have another iron wool hat at home. It's like a bee. I should start a collection." Taking a drink, she starts to walk over to Eirene, telling her,"I went to the Thrax one last eve. I swallowed eyeballs and--tried to drink something with chunks in it. That's where I failed.."

Kace heads over by Merek and asks "Hello, I'm Princess Kace Redrain, you seem to be here somewhat by yourself as well. How are you doing?"

Christine has joined the the Bisland pavilion.

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

Niklas puts a shiny ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a sparkling ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a dazzling ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a snazzy ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a snazzy ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a blinding ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a blinding ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a swanky ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a swanky ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a swanky ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a shiny ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a sparkling ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas puts a sparkling ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Happily helping herself to one of the very sparkly tophats, and using a couple of hair pins to secure it in place at a suitably jaunty angle, Kalani Seliki joins the wave of people surfing along the buffet line. A lemon square or two is acquired, a slender glass of something alcoholic and bubbly, and suitably armed she mingles with the gathered attendees, enjoying the music and the way the colored glass makes everything sparkle.

"Will it now?" Zoey says with a smile. "Well, have you a partner yet? I do not."

Adrienne gets a small round stained glass ornament of a green gryphon from Chest of the Gryphon.

Agostino has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Ciaran arrives both too early to be fashionably late, and too late to be punctual. The cane he uses to support his steps is probably a decent part of the reason as to why. It's Lisebet to whom his steps carry him, offering her a light nod as he closes the distance. "You're looking well," he greets her. "My congratulations for the...you know." He considers the hats with some skepticism, asking his sister: "Are those some popular new style in the capital?"

Sapphira shakes her head to Zoey, the blonde peering about herself, "No, I was going to press one of my cousins into service, but I haven't spotted any just yet. I would be more than happy to be your partner, instead."

Aiden gets a small round stained glass ornament of a green gryphon from Chest of the Gryphon.

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

Zoey gets a small round stained glass ornament of a green gryphon from Chest of the Gryphon.

"Please do help yourself to some food and drink before this first game starts for that will make it all the merrier!" Sabella calls out to the crowd, eyes shining, "We will be having a contest to see who ought to be named the best speaker at the party! We'll have two winners and I will be giving you a prompt that will you have to make a passionate case for, swaying the crowd to your way of thinking. If you are interested in such a thing I'll ask you to form a line shortly!"

As promised to Sabella Grayson, Aiden is not alone. With him are a pair of nannies, a four year old, a younger daughter still perhaps nearing three, and a wee infant in the arms of the father himself. The kids are kept on a tight leash at a party such as this, but, it was good to get an infant used to such noise. The proud papa might relinquish the infant sooner rather than later, due to the contacts that surely will be made tonight. The girls are dressed as fancy as a Duchy could afford them to be, considering. "Well now girls, be polite. Don't ask for anything--- OHh my is that..." And daddy former Grayson goes to the chest and plucks out an ornament of a green gryphon. "Huzzah, these are beautiful!" Wait, was he supposed to take that? ZOINK. He looks around sheepishly before he admires the object closely, while balancing poor Thaliana in his arms.

Merek gets a shiny ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Eirene boggles at the words from Thea. "You ate what? And you couldn't take a little chunk? Are you really my niece?" She rubs her finger over the brim of her shiny snazzy hat and tells Mihaly,"Said I would right? Need a partner for this game"

Kace gets a shiny ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Merek puts a shiny ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Merek gets a shiny ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Waldemai huffs a breath on his new hat and shines it with his sleeve. "Thing'll put your eye out in the summer sunlight."

Christine gets a dazzling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Thea grumbles at Eirene,"I could SWALLOW the eyeballs, the chunks were big and you had to CHEW!" Gods! "They were like in something like milk or something. Was awful. I think I took a smell first and it ended from there." Hearing Waldemai, Thea winks and adjusts her hat accordingly.

Finding his brother and sister in the crowd by advantage of his height, Ryhalt makes his way over to them. To Lisebet and Ciaran he says, "Hello," with a wide smile. "A pleasure to see you both together. And, looks like we'll be uncles again soon."

Lucita grins toward Waldemai. "If you are wearing it, maybe it will shad the eyes. At least do not have to look at your own."

Waldemai catches Thea's eye. "Especially down in Southport's sun right, my lady?"

Lisebet smiles, offering a hug to both her brothers, assuming they don't fuss over such a PDA. "Indeed you both will, in the not too distant future. It's good to see you both, as well. I hope things are going reasonably in the right direction for you both?"

Agostino has left the the Grayson pavilion.

Cecily, a coy secretary, Omero, a hulking bodyguard leave, following Agostino.

Aiden, caught up with the admiration over a trinket... rather than the latest fashion statement (oh my he failed there didn't he!) But then he's turning toward someone begging his ear and whispering to him. His smile boldens! "Rowenova! Of course of course. Tell him at once. I'm here. I'm back. Ready to squawk - I mean - talk."

Symonesse arrives with her usual retinue of King's Own, but it appears that her cow has been left at the palace tonight. The first thing she notices are all the shiny top hats, which leave her laughing in delight as she makes her way across the grounds. She considers one for herself, but, instead, grabs something to drink. She turns to watch as it appears games are soon to begin, a small smile still curving her lips before she takes a sip from the glass in her hand.

Ciaran is happy enough to hug Lisebet, glancing at Ryhalt for a moment after the fact. "I'll do my best not to be too bad an influence," he tells Lisebet unseriously, leaning on his cane heavily. "I've put in the commission for our house caravel, so that's nice. Thinking about what to do with myself in the meantime. I'll need some new project to obsess over."

Poppy looks a little green at what Thea says, "You chewed chunky eyeballs?" She turns a little green at the thought of that. Seeing the little girls with Aiden, she gives them a little wave.

Waldemai lifts his new hat to salute Lady Lucita. "Much more useful than a metal helm, isn't i, m'lady? Unless the arrows are flying around your ears."

Sapphira tips back her glass of sparkling wine before letting loose a giggle to Zoey, "I think I shall give my public rhetoric a try. We'll see if musical performance translate to dramatic persuasion."

Talwyn listens to the explanation of the contest, and he looks enthusastic, moving a little forward with Lucita, sharing some words with her, "Oh, I wonder what topic it may be today."

My, what a crowd. Adrienne studies the gathering with open fascination. The guard at her elbow edges in closer as she navigates around partygoers and dancers. She slips a snack from a passing tray and eats it neatly before bending over to pull loose a slender green ornament from a chest. It is in studying it that she notes Symonesse; Adrienne slips into a deep, instinctive curtsey.

After leaning to whisper to Lucita then Aiden, Rowenova grins. "I will be sure that he knows. Thank you, Duke Aiden." She bows briefly to both of them before popping up to her full height plus the wolf ears of her pelt headress and then merrily spinning her dinner fork. She suddenly spots the Queen of the Compact to whom she fork waves.

Lucita spots the Queen when she arrives and gives her a beguiling smile as she curtsies when Symonesse passes by.

Christine checked intellect + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Adrienne has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

"I swalled the eyeballs." Taking a another drink, Thea explains to Poppy,"There was some drink and it had CHUNKS I'd have to had chewed. I was done after that."

Ryhalt happily returns his sister's hug, only some mock fussing here! "We'll see." He grins in that sly, playful way that says he was up to no good, but it'll probably turn out fine never-the-less. "Got some news out of Westrock both of you may be interested in, though looks as Lisebet won't be able to join if we take a trip."

Lucita says, "Oh, I can understand .. how revolting that may have been. As bad as hot cocoa made with curdled milk."

"Fish eyes aren't that bad," says an exhausted Prince Niklas Grayson as he rushes in and drops off more top hats. Like some kind of servant! To Poppy he assures, "Things like fish eyes and shark's milk and fermented fins and that sort of thing _seem_ awful, but it's because they decided to have them all out at the same time. It was a bit much! Trust me, if you have some nice fish chowder and maybe some roasted lamb and olives and yoghurt with mint, a little bit of baleen soup isn't nearly so stomach turning."

Ailenya is looking in the trunk and Aiden allows her to get a top hat, "Pick something for mommy." He cants his head toward the arrival of the Queen, his eyes glimmering, walking up toward Symonesse, "Queen Symonesse. It has been a long time. Do tell that husband of yours, I am not giving up on my quest. I will deliver soon. Soon as we all do something about this. Well. Air. Around us. You look lovely! This is Thaliana. Newest of the new. And look at the trinkets they're handing out. Wonderful hmm?" He dangles the trinket for the little babe in his arms, while Ailenya prances toward Poppy, showing off the big hat on her head now, with a little grin.

Eirene doffs her hat to the Queen Symonesse, sending sparkles in the lamplight. Or something equally fancy. She throws it on over her single-plaited hair and shrugs at Thea, "Was it, like, shit you drink at sea," she guesses, nodding at Lucita. "I'm sure I could disgust you with the shit I've eaten on a long campaign." She grins wickedly.

"You can thank Lord Jyri Whitehawk for those creations," Sabella tells Aiden with a big smile, "Aren't they lovely?! All right, all right, if you could just come up here if you wanted to try your hand, or your lips I suppose, at being the best speaker at the party--" she gestures those that volunteered up towards the front near the chocolate fountain. Definitely not so she can snack on chocolate covered strawberries while this happens. "Now, you'll need to convince the crowd to your way of thinking on this very important question!" She takes a deep breath before saying very seriously:

"As you know Grayson is represented by two animals: the fierce badger and the majestic gryphon. So I ask you: which would you rather fight? One gryphon sized badger or ten badger sized gryphons? And why? The crowd will decide which arguments are the best!"

2 Grayson House Guards, Songbird, a dignified war-mastiff, Crom, an expressive bull-mastiff arrive, following Lark.

Lisebet watches as the others get started on games, deciding to forego them this time around. "Next time, I will enjoy playing all the games," she says softly. She puts her tophat on, since it will definitely make her stand out.

The Queen offers smiles of greeting for those that direct them her way, but soon the entirety of her attention is capture by Aiden and his little companion. "Well, hello little one. Nice to see you again." Her golden eyes lift to look at Aiden as she asks with a charming smile, "Might I hold her? It has been a very long time since we've seen each other."

Thea glances over at Niklas,"The fish eyes I can do. Swallow done,"her hand waving about. Easy peasy! All she does is give Eirene a look. THE look and that's enough. Yep. Shark milk.

Landroval, the Eagle have been dismissed.

Waldemai checked intellect + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Lucita laughs softly at Eirene's comment. "I expect you could. I've heard tales round the campfires when at war." She looks toward Talwyn, making a quiet comment to him and then placing her hand on his arm when it is offered to her.

Thea checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Sapphira checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Rowenova checked perception + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.

Zoey checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Lucita checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.

Eirene checked wits + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 54 higher.

Poppy considers Niklas's words "Oh. It's like the disgusted faces I get when I talk about eating Caribou and whale." She quickly drops the conversation when the little girl comes near. Kneeling down to her level, she beams at her. "Hi, I'm Poppy." And then sneaks her a piece of candy.

Exhaling a laugh at the hypothetical scenario presented for debate, Kalani dusts the crumbs off of her fingers and threads her way back through the throng to pick up another glass of the bubbly liquor.

Mihaly gives a proper and knightly bow to the Queen upon her passing by. "Your Majesty." he utters in the gruff but polite tone that Rivens are known to appear as. The mention of odd food gets a bit of a blanching expression from him. "Was never a fan of fisheyes." But he continues the request that's being asked of him, so he throws his own effort in.

Poppy checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Mihaly checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Merek checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Aiden checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Ciaran looks between Ryhalt and Lisebet. "I should probably have thrown my proverbial hat into the ring for the contest," he muses. "I think I'd have done a lot better here than I did at the Thrax eating contest..." He tells Ryhalt, "Happy to hear about the news, be it here or later."

Rowenova hears out the question posed then lets out a hearty Northern laugh! "One gryphon sized badger! I already have experience fighting giant creatures and can focus solely on the one rather than being attacked by 10 directions!"

Waldemai does not hesitate for a moment. "I'l rather fight ten small anythings than any one big anything." He stomps his feet. "Boom boom. That's two down right there." He pauses for a moment, considering his words. "Except piranha. Nobody does any stomping in the water."

Lisebet smiles at Ciaran. "Have you? That is wonderful news. I am very glad to hear it. As for what you should do with yourself, I'm certain something will come up. Have you considered - wait, a trip to Westrock Reach? Now I am curious. And certainly I can go, if need be!" She'll certainly do her best at any rate.

Lucita considers the request... ten badgers or one griffon. "I'd have to say the griffon because they are said to be intelligent and give a possibility of talking to them to help stop a battle. I'm a poor enough fighter that ten badgers at once would certainly hamstring me and take me down in the blink of an eye. One small dagger or two would not be useful against them.

Sapphira patiently awaits her turn in line, her gittern extracted from its case and positioned in her hands when she ventures forth to stake her case, strumming the strings every so often for dramatic effect, "I would fight a gryphon-sized badger. It would be a triumph worthy of a great ballad of courage, to fell such a beast in single combat."

Aiden passes off Thaliana Rubino to Symonesse, "I can only blame myself for that. Too many adventures. Too many. Flitting here, there, and well, basically everywhere. I'm soon off again. But ,yes, hold her, yes! Yes." He's certainly a little more eccentric these days, but he gently transfers the babe to Symonesse, "I was just telling Grazia we need to host a party soon and invite those we've not seen in a while. Or perhaps more intimate dinners. I miss family. This family.... some of them." He winks, then looks toward the stage, "Oop, good timing. Do you mind holding her for a moment! I must /answer/ this topic. If she gets too fussy, the nanny there, will let you off the hook." He finger flicks toward the pair of women keeping the other girls out of mischief.

Eirene scoffs at the question. "That's dumb," she says with her usual gruffness. "One enemy, no matter how large, is easier to fight than a bunch of smaller ones. More target area. Easier to attack. Less chance it will surround you and peck you to death with tiny sharp beaks. You can more readily coordinate your attack against a single large badger rather than against ten bagder-griffons." And in a throwback to the Lycene party, "And if you get the help of the invisible horses, you'll be set."

Poppy lifts her head and answers with a little consideration, "One badger. Even if it's giant, it'll still love food and a warm bed."

"Gryphons, because they are a bit prettier," Merek offers, which is all his argument because he thinks that it works, "You can pet them and make friends with them. Badgers? You can't!"

Christine thinks for a moment before responding "One badger sized gryphon, I can hide from one easier than ten. It is also likely that ten badger sized grpyhons would do a ton more damage to me than one thing I can watch."

Thea looks around, with a drink in hand. "Have you ever seen a pissed off badger? Give me a gryphon sized badger anytime, because ten seperate sized ones? You'd end up losing limbs and probably a head." Her gold-flecked green eyes gaze at those around her,"And I rather like my head and if I'm to die, I'd rather it be fast, not slow and painful. One shot." Wait..Did she just admit she'd lose? Maybe. However--"If I didn't die--I'd rather one stab then tryig to swing at several heads with teeth."

"Oh, I will surely pick a griffon sized badger." Prince Talwyn offers up in a clear baritone voice, his words like a musical breeze, "Now imagine a swoop of 10 badger-sized griffons flying about, and all around - it will clearly take days to defeat them! And not to mention, the spectacle of defeating a large monstrous badger will far outweigh the impact of defeating 10 small griffons."

Poppy's comment gets a nod from Niklas. "Though I have to say, caribou sounds like it would probably be rather good. Of course I once knew a lord who had a war caribou. He once told me that the two of them formed a strong spiritual bond while in a sweat lodge once. And-" Niklas sees some children nearby and stops telling that story. "The accounting of Lord Cullen's amorous adventures with his caribou can probably wait for another time." When he spies Symonesse, Niklas offers her the deepest of nods. "Your highness. I promise that this evening I will do my best to stay away from your ankles, lest a pattern form and people start to talk."

"A gryphon-sized badger, or ten badger-sized gryphons," Zoey ponders aloud. "Looking at it from the advantages that each creature has, the badger is a fierce creature, especially when defending its home, but a gryphon has the advantage of flight. Certainly one large badger would be terrifying, but compared by the ability of nearly a dozen gryphons to swarm over me, I think I would rather fight the badger."

Ryhalt glances over to where the game is starting, but remains by his siblings, content to just chat and watch today. "An eating contest?" He chuckles. "That would have been entertaining to watch. We can team up for the second game, if you want your hat in that one. The news isn't dire as from other places out West, but I got word there was a landslide. It sounds as if something is partially uncovered, so wants exploring. Should be fun, if both or either of you can go."

Mihaly tries to talk, but may of gotten smoke caught in his throat from his pipe. He's not nearly as loud as he should be, causing his voice not nearly carry as well as others. "A regular sized badger is already a threat in of itself. Those are angry little devils if they're cornered. I can only imagine the kind of damage one might make being multiple times it's normal size. Never mind damage to you, but it could wreck your house's foundations if it decided to dig enough."

Lucita listens to the others, blushes as she realizes she was not paying enough attention to the question then says. "Oh.. er.. sorry Princess Sabella. I'd still pick the large single foe, for the reasons Eirene stated, instead of ten litle ones.

"We'll be fine!" Symonesse cradles Thaliana like she is an old pro and shoos Aiden off to compete with her other hand. She murmurs a few words to the baby of what sounds like nonsense as she turns to watch the competitors, her eyes bright as she gently bounces the infantin her arms.

Ciaran tells Ryhalt, gravely serious, "Quite the contest. Some of the food was quite literally still alive when they served it. I didn't last very long." He scratches at his cheek. "Old ruins, is it?" He gances at Lisebet briefly before saying, "You'd probably struggle to pry me away from it, now that you've told me. I'd be happy to go have a look."

Poppy gives a soft snort at Niklas's words. "Everyone knows those stories. It's as bad as those stories about people falling in love with bears. Messy affairs." She too then pinches a piece of candy before listening to the other arguments.

Conall, a huge, friendly, sable Wolfhound dog with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, an impressively-large, silvery Wolfhound with bright gold eyes, Atanas Pandev, a wry, stalwart escort, Colm Teague, the stolid adjunct of ice-blue eyes, Ash, a fearless grey fuzzball of cuteness with butter-yellow eyes arrive, following Sunaia.

Lark strolls in to view, taking firm hold of a wine as it's handed to her by a servant as she walks briskly by. Upon heading deeper in to the grounds, perhaps to be closer with the other members of her family, she halts as she passes Symonesse and lowers herself in to a respectful curtsy. "Your Majesty."

Lisebet offers a bright smile. "I'm sure I will be able to come along," she says. As food and drinks are brought to her, she offers some to Ryhalt and Ciaran, amusedly. "There is quite a crowd here today. it seems a lot of people were looking for sparkly things and a bit of a party."

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

Niklas takes Chest of the Gryphon.

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

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

Niklas drops Chest of the Gryphon.

Niklas takes Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Rosabla, a discerning lady's maid leaves, following Bellamy.

Aiden seems to wait until there's a moment to interject! He nods at the arguements before he counters, "The answer is not so clear, not at first. A badger, many of you have seen with your own eyes, or at least seen when they are skinned. You know they exist." He stands up high so his voice can ring out with that sense of leadership he carried with him in the battle of Stormwall, "A badger you know. You know their instincts. You know how they react. They are fierce and they will attack if threatened. You know how to smoke them out, you know their weaknesses. You know how to set a trap for one. Just because a badger grows in size - to a size of a griffon --- And how many of /You/ have actually seen one?!" He puts his hands on his hips, then gestures, "The size would not matter if we know everything about the creature. We know through history, of a badger. We know from hunters and farmers. A badger is a known animal to us. It exists. You've seen it. I've seen one. Not that they are pleasant when they are defending themselves. BUT, any common person could take on one, larger than normal. But a griffon sized? Surely the same tactics to hunt one would suffice."
Aiden nods, "A griffon. Well, they work as a team. That speaks of intelligence. Ohhh and they are, they are! But have you seen one?" He's watching very closely the reactions to that before he goes on, "So a badger is the answer, one that is a size of a griffon, is the smarter choice. For we know very little of the griffons, well, ... hahhaha... Some, know more. Some. Yes. So. Take the opponent you know, over the one you don't, for size.. well when did size matter at all! Look at the beasts the people of this realm have taken on! Size matters not!"

Eirene gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Thea takes Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Sabella laughs at some of the responses, nods to others, seems thoughtful, then looks out at the crowd each time a person speaks to make sure that she's noting the crowd's reaction, "Interesting thoughts! Now that you've made your base arguments and laid out your reasoning, please continue and convince us why your point of view is better and more well thought out than the opinions the others have presented." She casually dips a strawberry in chocolate and takes a bit while listening to hear what they might say.

Sapphira gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Zoey gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Aiden gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Ciaran declares to Lisebet, dire: "I don't do well at parties." Which is probably why he's off to one side talking to his relatives instead of getting up in the midst of the impromptu debate league. He exhales lengthily. "But, I hold out hope that if I subject myself to enough of them, I may yet learn to like them. I suppose if the Queen's going to be here, it would be rude not to attend." He then starts to drift away a bit. "I should go have a look at what they're giving away."

Zoey checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 34 higher.

Talwyn gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Eirene checked wits + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

Sapphira checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.

Christine checked intellect + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher. Christine rolled a critical!

Niklas leans over and says to Poppy, "Have you ever noticed everyone pronounced griffin slightly differently? Someone should write a book."

Symonesse whispers to the baby in her arms as if the little thing understands her, but abruptly stops when Lark curtsiesand gives her a grin, "Hello, Princess Lark." The Queen shifts the infant in her arms and looks toward the competitors, her attention split between muttering to Thaliana and listening to the speeches.

Waldemai checked intellect + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 11 lower.

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Thea checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Entering the Grayson Mansion with long, easy strides, Lady Sunaia Ashford - flanked by her pair of dogs and holding a grey kitten - pauses just inside to survey the scene. She notes her family aside, flashes a smile at a few, though, from this distance, it's hard to tell exactly who she's greeting. Polite as always, Sunaia dips into a neat-and-quick bow - until she notes the queen. For a moment, she hesitates, looking, then makes her way towards Symonesse, dropping to kneel and bow her head. "Your Majesty." She rises and flicks her moonlight-colored eyes to meet Symonesse's gaze. "I am Lady Sunaia Ashford, Your Majesty."

Merek checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

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

Lucita checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 43 higher.

Ryhalt laughs at the Thrax having served living food. "Of course they did. Part of the entertainment and all." He nods. "Probably ruins or something, the report was sketchy. Still, looking forward to exploring it with both of you." Smiling happily, he nods to Lisebet and looks about. "Sure are. With all the dire and sad news on all sides, it is a nice thing to relax and cherish what is here." He chuckles at Ciaran trying to acclimate himself to parties such as this. "Will you be attending the ball, either of you?"

Alternately laughing and shaking her head at the arguments, spurious or not, Kalani moves through the crowd so that she can see the persuasive debaters more clearly. Some faces she recognizes, some she doesn't, but all get a good look as each take a turn.

Mihaly checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.

Ciaran gets a sparkling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Aiden checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Waldemai looks dumbfounded at the idea of defending what seems like such an obvious idea. "Well, because I've got two feet...That's a lot of stomping, right? Well, I suppose after you squish a few your boots would get kind of slippery. Yeah, that probably wasn't the smartest idea I've ever had, was it?

Ciaran puts a sparkling ironwool top hat in Chest of the Gryphon.

Poppy checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Ciaran gets a snazzy ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Eirene motions around her. "Some of these people have never had to take on a giant fuc---" She spots the Queen and a baby and amends her words to, "frickin' monster in their lives. Or have been overswarmed by a mass of smaller foes. I've been through both, and have fought both kinds of enemies." She's all dressed in red and black battle leathers, with weapons easily hung at her side. She looks like she's seen the fights she speaks of. "So when I speak tactically, I speak from a position of experience."

Christine adding to Aiden's argument a bit "You also know with a large badger that it likely will leave you be if it's home and young are not threatened. As others have stated, they're ground based that's much better odds than ten things flying about."

Merek thinks about it for a bit, "Well, I think the point of view is that cuteness is a factor in the way we deal with animals, a mythological creature? It's the best for being kind to while you persuade! You don't even need a bit of fighting."

Ciaran gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Zoey goes into further details about what is involved with defending against multiple foes as opposed to just one, and it sounds like she was made to listen to Ian going on about combat tactics long enough that something stuck.

Symonesse looks away from the speakers as Sunaia approaches, then kneels. She carefully balances the baby in her arms and gestures for the Ashford to rise with her free hand. "Hello, Lady Sunaia. Please stand. This is a party. Such formality is not required." She nods at the infant and says brightly, "This is Lady Thaliana Rubino. We are old friends and were just catching up."

Sapphira continues to extoll the virtues of crafting an epic song of the ages about fighting a giant badger, her voice filled with perhaps unearned confidence on the subject.

Lucita has certainty in her voice as she endorses Eirene and Aiden's reasoning. "No need to say more, they have said it very well indeed." A beguiling smile accompanies the statement.

Mihaly starts to talk. He might've had a good point. But the itchness that smoke in his throat has caused is not a great time to speak loudly. Because he goes into a hacking, coughing fit. He tries to hold it in. "Well-" and he starts coughing, until he's reaching for something to drink. Yep, that's what you get for trying to speak eloquently and smoke at the same time. Usually doesn't go well.

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

Rowenova checked perception + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.

Thea just keeps on talking about gryphons and badgers. Her hands moving about,"Did I mention teeth?"her hat catching the light and possibly flashing someone in the crowd.

Lisebet catches sight of Sunaia, waves to her in passing. She then grins at Ciaran, gesturing to her tophat. "These," she says brightly. "And by all means, go ahead and socialize. I should not monopolize you both."

Rowenova checked perception + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 80 higher. Rowenova rolled a critical!

Merek checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 45, rolling 3 lower.

Christine checked intellect + propaganda at difficulty 45, rolling 13 lower.

Eirene checked wits + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 16 higher.

Mihaly gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Thea checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 32 higher.

Sapphira checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 45, rolling 14 lower.

Lucita checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 45, rolling 16 higher.

Zoey checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 45, rolling 23 higher.

Poppy murmurs to Niklas aside, "That sounds like a good way to offend everyone." She turns back to the arguments about her. Her gaze is a little blank at some parts, especially the whole tactical bits. She remarks with pure stubborness. "Give the giant badger a happy home and it'd be like a puppy. Much easier than fighting them."

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 45, rolling 19 higher.

Poppy checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 45, rolling 17 lower.

Christine starts to speak but gets bulled over by Rowenova making her own point so shuts up and sits down politely nodding to Rowenova "Point made"

Her pale lips lifting at the child in Symonesse's arms, Sunaia actually smiles for a little while. "Beautiful child. I want to have... many. You knew each other, then?" She looks back up to Symonesse's eyes and considers the Nox'alfar queen for a lingering moment. "Do you know each other on first sight, or does it take time, Your Majesty?"

Aiden looks to Christine with a nod, "Indeed...! And as a born Grayson, I would rather die to protect the ten griffons the sized of a badger than fight against them, for in the history of Queen Alarice, we worked together once, to save our people. I would not look upon the griffons as enemies or something to fight, rather to make alliances with. Though, in either case, I do not think a badger would be maliace against us either, such as it is." He looks pleased, eyes turning to Symoneese, to see if she was still comfortable with the child he pawned off on her. He waves down at the Queen, teeth gleaming.

Aiden checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 45, rolling 17 lower.

4 Redoubt Buccaneers, Luna, the Darkwater Assistant arrive, following Carita.

Merek eventually offers a funny thing about it, all then, nods a bit to people while he notices their argument is better.

Rowenova hops up on a barrel and then a second level of stacked barrels and does do while still managing her dual plates (along one arm). She lifts her shiny fork (in her other hand) and turns the prongs downward. "So see, if the gryphon sized badger is about this tall, you can try to used ranged combat, or you might even be able to land on its back. You might use sedative alchemy, or any combination of those three."

"She knew my Naamah before I knew I was having a daughter," Zoey cuts in to tell Sunaia.

Eirene checked wits + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 26 higher.

Talwyn considers the viewpoint of his competitors and smiles, accepting some of it, he particularly agrees with Aiden, "The Duke has the right of it - consider it's much more feasible to trap a giant badger than 10 little griffons."

Rowenova checked perception + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 22 lower.

Zoey checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 60, rolling 6 higher.

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 60, rolling 7 higher.

Thea checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 14 lower.

Mihaly checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 17 lower.

Lucita checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 60, rolling 16 lower.

Eirene checked wits + leadership at difficulty 75, rolling 20 lower.

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 75, rolling 18 lower.

Zoey checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 75, rolling 23 lower.

"It depends on how well we've known each other before." Symonesse says simply as she glances at the baby. She catches Aiden's glance in her direction and give him a little wave, laughing a bit. She looks to Zoey and grin, "I'll need to come say hello to her sometime. You might want to arrange some playdates between Naamah and Lady Thaliana in the future. I have a feeling they will get along swimmingly. When they can talk and all that, of course. Now, they would just gurgle at each other." The Queen tilts her head to brush her cheek against the top of the baby's.

"And then there would be..."Thea starts. But nope. She something from auntie Eirene and something about---What the bloody hell?! Thea's eyes grow wide and she shouts,"It doesn't go that way!"

Niklas stands on his tippy toes and looks around. "Where's Caith? Someone needs to put forth the argument that one giant badger is easiest, because it's only one thing to hug, but ten small griffins is best because then you get to hug ten times."

After getting a drink, Mihaly might be able talk again. "Badgers...bad." he utters in a rasp before taking another, longer drink. Wordlessly, he just points at Eirene, as if to imply he's agreeing whatever it is the Malvici General. Yep, just going along with it.

Aiden laughs, flagging his hand at the others, "My passion is to defend and protect." He bounces back over toward the Queen, "Wait wait.. Some little birdy told me that you were old friends?" There might just be a little bird, an albino one at that, hanging out by the Queen. He turns to Sunaia, "I don't believe we've ... maybe .. wait, hmm... You seem familiar. You look... familiar. Like an ...well.. I'm Aiden Rubino nee Grayson. How do you do?" And then a switch back to Symonesse, "How is she?"

Sapphira settles in to watch the last few speakers after flitting over to sample some dishes from a passing tray.

Eirene knows her shit, clearly. She continues speaking from a place of experience, adding in a few war stories, something about a thousand fuc-- frikkin' wasps, a giant centepde made of small ones, fighting a giant undead thing, a hulking flesh-demon... Eventually she just sort of trails off in a shrug, not able to drive her point home any more. She ends with a 'eh'.

Ryhalt smiles to Lisebet. "It is fine, unless we're keeping those that would speak to you away. Is just humorous to watch the speakers from here."

Poppy grins at Niklas's words and agrees, "I mean, imagine ten little gryphons to hug and have following you around all the time. It would be the absolute best thing ever. Though, taming them would be the hardest bit. Like, what do Gryphons even eat? And can you train them to poop outside?"

Ciaran returns from the chest with a bottle of the liquor on offer, considering the label as he looks up at Lisebet. "I am not sure where to elbow myself in, actually," he tells her, though he does glance over at Sunaia when he sees her take a knee before the queen.

The crowd listens--well those that are nearby and not eating or dancing or talking listen--and sometimes they roar with laughter, especially when someone flubs their argument! Other times they nod along like someone is making these great points that they'll remember if they're ever faced with a giant gryphon sized badger. Is someone in the back taking notes? In any event the competitors one by one head back into the crowd until it's only Lady Eirene and Prince Talwyn left passionately making their cases in front of a cheering crowd. Princess Sabella is also cheering, applauding wildly and heading over to the prizes display case, "I believe we have our winners! Prince Talwyn, Lady Eirene, I am amazed at your skill with words and your knowledge of creatures that I do hope I haven't just willed into creation!" she congratulates them cheerfully before handing out the prizes. "For those of you that enjoyed that game, please do find yourself a partner for our next one--a cake race with a twist!"

Sunaia takes Grayson bracelet from Chest of the Gryphon.

Zoey does her best to keep up with Eirene and Talwyn, but in the end the battle medic and the more senior bard have it, and she bows out.

Sunaia takes a sparkling ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

a display case with elegant reeded columns is now unlocked.

"And finally..." Prince Talwyn speaks up with wide gestures, "When you come down to it - the single large badger - particularly if we trapped it - it will be faster and easier to defeat, and far more impressive

After having made great points (about 3), Rowenova forgets that she has to continually talk. But, there is food. Such good food. She sits down and then chows down on the foods.

Sabella gets intricate gold tiara with green and blue sapphires from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Sabella gets gold circlet with sapphires from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

a display case with elegant reeded columns is now locked.

Symonesse takes a snazzy ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Eirene doffs her sparkly top hat to Talwyn. "You could have it stuffed and mounted, like the giant skull we have in the Malvici courtyard." She grins and is given another shiny hat, this one with gold and sapphires. She eyes her prize curiously, turning it in her hands as if trying to figure out how one wears it.

Aiden cants his head over at hearing Poppy's enthusiasm. His head cants and he listens to her, eyes fixed.

Lisebet glances at Ryhalt, and she nods at that. "I am pleased for the company. I can't think anyone would not come speak with me just because you two mischief makers are here." Whoever calls a duke a mischief maker anyway? His baby sister, that's who. "You know, I am reminded that I promised to have tea with the Queen and it had quite escaped me."

Sapphira seeks out Zoey as the first contest draws to a close, a cheery smile aimed her way, "Seems we are to have a cake race together. Sounds like a messy endeavor."

Aiden gets a swanky ironwool top hat from Chest of the Gryphon.

Talwyn returns a wave of his blinding top hat to Eirene, "Oh, you have one of those? I will love to have a look - we can borrow it as an exciting prop for a performance!"

Eirene is wearing her tiara OVER the top-hat. Extra schnazzy sparkles on her head today.

Talwyn receives the prize from Sabella with a bow, "Thank you, Princess!! I haven't had a chance to congratulate you on how well you skid the other day! The speeches are making us all passionate and blood rushing for a hunt!" Not that he looks like he's anywhere ready to hunt anything but a rabbit, with a bow.

Poppy catches Aiden's intense look and smiles sheepishly, clearly assuming she said something stupid. She gives a slight shrug, "I like animals." Yeah, as if that makes it better.

"I imagine they mostly eat fully grown pigs. Maybe the occasional small horse. I've never seen a giraffe, of course, but I've read about them and I have to think those long, majestic necks would look to a griffin like a pile of drumsticks does to us." Niklas nods. This all seems very accurate and true. "Though maybe they actually eat trees. I've never learned much about animals."

Ryhalt chuckles at Lisebet calling him a mischief maker, but the way he grins, it's completely accurate! "A...cake race... I.." He glances to his brother. "I think it's safe to say we can keep our hats out of this one? Now, if it had been a bacon race..." He sighs. Alas.

Lucita says, "A cake race? Oh dear. I hope you do not mind if I get icing on you. I'm not the most agile racer. Not to worry though, the Valardin servants must know how to get cake out of clothes. Princess Caelis' children love cake and are just as messy eating it as my own children are."

"Maybe a mammoth,"suggests to Niklas. "Ive seen those." All Thea has to offer about that as she interject herself to that feeding of large animals.

A small-and-quick smile flashes to Aiden from Sunaia. "Hello, Aiden, I'm Sunaia Ashford. I don't think we've met; it's good to meet you, though." Generally attempting to keep her attention focused on one person, Sunaia finds she's rather distracted with all of the goings-on and nods a respectful bow to Symonesse and then to Aiden. "Please excuse me, I think I heard something about an odd hat, and I wanted to look at it." She wanders off and, finding a bracelet and iron wool hat in a chest not far away, takes one of each and makes her way to the Ashford Tent. Quiet... maybe. But probably not.

Sunaia has joined the the Ashford pavilion.

"Seems a large meal, Lady Thea. I would admire the griffin that tackled it." Niklas makes his way over to the Queen. "Your highness, would you care to be my partner in a cake race? I love cake and I hate races, so this may be a terrible idea, which strikes me as a good reason to do it."

Sabella grins at Talwyn, giving a nod of her head at the praise, "I figure that as Graysons we're known for our diplomatic skills so I always like to work in some kind of event where people have to give a speech! Otherwise you'd just be listening to me talk and talk and talk and talk all night and while I think I can be very engaging and entertaining even wonderful things can get tired after awhile. I mean you would get tired of listening to me, I would never, ever get tired of talking!" As she speaks servants are coming out carrying plates that have on them the most delicious looking cakes! But rather than setting them on the table, then bring them over to where it looks like a straight track has been set up, each lane marked by lanterns.

Poppy perks and nods repeatedly to Thea. "I had a baby mammoth for a while. He got seperated from his parents one winter, so I raised him and released him when he was big enough to look after himself. Now, he comes to visit with his babies some summer. They're so cute!"

Eirene says, "Okay fine. We two old dogs will see if we can show the kids some new tricks..." she nods at Mihaly as she folds her arms over her chest. "Maybe we'll not break a hip..."

Aiden wiggles his fingers at Poppy when she looks at him, "Perhaps we can talk more about it later... If you were actually interested in answers to your questions." She knows what she was just asking. "I'm Aiden Rubino," he introduces quickly, "Although I didn't win the debate, well, that's certainly because hurting creatures sickens me. Well, unless they are corrupted... then well, there's little.. to be done. Find me later. I am constantly growing the group of those who hmm, have a passion about such subjects."

Then back to Sunaia, "Ashford! Ah-ha. I knew I saw family resemblance, but I didn't... want to assume. Perhaps as childen? I spent my youth in Bastion and in the lands of those in our fealty. I knew Aislin and Killian very well. Well--" and then she excuses herself and it leaves him gaping, before his mouth claps closed and he glances to Symonesse, "Not participating in the games?"

Symonesse gives Sunaia a nod as she bows and walks away. The Queen's gaze lingers after her, but then she smiles at Aiden and says, "We are doing wonderfully, but I am afraid I must pass her back now, though reluctantly. Thank you for giving us a chance to talk again. It's good to see you, too." Symonesse's smile is as bright as it is infectious as she passes the baby back to her father and starts to move for the exit.

Sabella gets a decadent chocolate cake with seven layers of rich chocolate icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Sabella gets a beautiful yellow cake with white icing, the crumb speckled with pink berries from a beautiful bakery box.

5 King's Own Guardsmen leaves, following Symonesse.

Lisebet chuckles. "I am certainly keeping my hat out of this one, as I am not sure it would be wise to start this little one on any large amount of cake just yet." her own grin might be equally mischievous truthfully.

Carita's appearance might not be quite so noticeable until the Countess enters tha lantern light and pulls the heavy cowl of her hood back. Though, her buccaneers are far more noteable than she if one had to pick a person out to be from House Darkwater. She's stopped by an attendant and accepts a drink as her eyes scan the area for people she knows. A few finger waves here and there and she makes her way further in to mingle.

Talwyn nods approvingly to Sabella, "It is excellently planned!" And as the cakes are brought in, "Oh - oh.. what's happening?" He looks back at Lucita, his brows raised, "What were we participating in, Lady Lucita?"

Sabella gets a deliciously moist carrot cake with cream cheese icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Poppy beams at Aiden's finger wiggle and wiggles back, "I'm Poppy. A pleasure to meet you. I will certainly grab your attention later." Her eyes find Rowenova, "But now. I must win cake." She rolls her sleeves up like she means business and walks to her friend.

Lucita glances toward Talwyn and gives a little shake of the head. "I don't know. Will teach us to join something all unknowing, won't it?"

Sabella gets a tart, sweet lemon-blueberry cake with bright blue icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Rowenova sets down her empty plates and licks off her now-shiny-again fork before sliding away said fork into a slotted notch in her leather bracer. Afterwards, she moves closer to Poppy. "Let's do it!"

As Symonesse whisks off after passing papa back his little girl, he decides to pass off Thaliana to the nannies. "Well Niklas, it does seem we both had the same idea and are now left without. Want to work together on this one?"

Aiden^

Merek walks to where Kalani is at for the next game.

Sabella gets a rich, red velvet cake with a swirled coat of thick cream cheese icing from a beautiful bakery box.

"Absolutely," says Niklas to Aiden, cheerful at the idea of cake even if the notion of having to race for it seems a bit daunting.

Kalani grins at Merek as the next in the round of games is announced. "I have no idea what this one will involve, but since I pushed for the last one, you get to do any heavy lifting this time." She makes a fist and socks Merek lightly on the arm, "Team Physician!"

"We aren't going to win, but we can be good sports about it. Have you seen my chicken legs lately?" Aiden says to Niklas with a gusty sigh of air, "You think.. hiking into dangerous country side time after time would do me more than this. But then getting suck behind a desk... all that effort. Well, let's put our best wing forward shall we?" A spirited grin.

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

Clearly more comfortable in the Ashford tent, Sunaia watches the games from afar, her long, white hands scratching slowly on the napes of her pair of dogs. She's just a little white wall-flower in a white tent. Yep.

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

As the teams pair up and start heading over, Sabella instructs each one to pick a runner and then the runner is handed a delicious--and kind of heavy--cake on a plate. The other team mate is directed to go stand by the finish line, probably with a perplexed look about them, "Now before we start i want to say that these cakes were make by the wonderfully talented Mistress Tanith Grayhope who will be opening up a bakery here shortly! I wanted to highlight her wonderful goods here and so they are now the stars of this race!"

She lets everyone let that name sink into their memories for a moment and also lets them oogle the wonderful cakes before continuing, "This will be the ultimate work of teamwork! The race will run with the cake and try NOT to eat it! And if you're laughing in the stands thinking that's easy, I will tell you it is not. These cakes smell DELICIOUS! The teammate at the finish line will shout encouragement to their teammate along the way to try to keep them running rather than slowing down to eat the cake. Does anyone have any questions?"

Merek nods back to Kalani while he pats back, then thinks about it, "Can we just eat the cake?" he asks, nodding a bit, then he chuckles while he thinks about it.

Zoey checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Ciaran shrugs towards Carita, with a silent 'here-we-go' sort of look on his face. He maneuvers his way towards the finish line, glancing briefly at Tanith on the way. "So..." he speks up towards Sabella, plenty cocky at her declaration. "All I have to do is take the cake and not eat the cake? And tell my partner not to eat the cake?" He declares, "I will be the most persuasive cake-non-eater you have ever seen."

Zoey checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 8 lower.

Lucita checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Rowenova checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Rowenova checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Sapphira checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Mihaly just kind of looks at Eirene once the rules are explained. "Uh. Hm." There's a dubious look he gives the Malvici next to him.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Niklas checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Ciaran checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Eirene just blinks. "So the contest is to just run and not eat cake?" She shoots Sabella a 'seriously' kind of look, brow furrowed. She turns to Mihaly and asks, "Do you really want to do this, because I don't care for chocolate cake nor for making an idiot out of myself when it falls out of my hands."

Lucita checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Poppy checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

Aiden checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Kalani checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

"Chicken legs... remember-" Aiden points out, "I'm going to sit my tail feathers down on that chair and cheer you on." He seems to call dibs on that position, winking at Niklas, patting him on the arm, "You got this. Just don't eat the cake right?" And he jogs on over.

looks over at Eirene,"I'm going to head home. See if I can plant things in Martino's room-I mean-,"she just goes to walk away and adjusts her amazing shiny hat,"I have a meeting."

Carita checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher. Carita rolled a critical!

Obviously that would be Thea.

Talwyn listens with a broad grin as Sabella sets out the cake, "Oh, we have got to patronise the bakery, they do smell delicious!"

Niklas checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

"I'm all about eating cake, but there are some limit to what I allow myself to do for it." Mihaly chuckles, then shaking his head. "I say this might be one we're a bit too old for." Seem like the old fogies are backing out this part of things. More cake for everyone else.

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Niklas looks at Aiden, then looks at the cake. "I mean. It's some good looking cake."

"I want to eat this cake," Merek tells Kalani, "I am at some point going to eat it, I'm telling you," he says, then he bgins to run along!

Zoey starts the race with everyone else, but the smell of the cake... "Sapphira! Forget the race. Come help me eat this cake."

Eirene sets the choclate cake aside. Looks like she and Mihaly are bowing out. She goes for a more liquid kind of refreshment instead, helping herself to some alcohol. "Yeah yeah, Thea. Just don't put something in my rooms, ok?" She salutes her niece with her wine-glass.

"DON'T YOU Dare!" Aiden gets up off his butt and stands up on a chair, "Niklas Grayson. I'm watching you." Fingers to his eyes and then over at Niklas, "I mean, it'll make you fat."

Carita checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Eirene drops a decadent chocolate cake with seven layers of rich chocolate icing.

Ciaran hollers over towards Carita, as the race begins. "You can do it," he tells her encouragingly, voice carrying over the ambient noise of the crowd.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Scratchers the red-tailed hawk leave, following Thea.

Adrienne looks up from admiring a glass gryphon ornament to watch the relay... cake... race with undisguised fascination. She presses a graceful hand to her mouth. Probably just coughing.


Standing at the finish line, and looking (at first) perplexed but amused, Kalani lets out a quick laugh as the instructions are made clear. She eyes Merek, at the other end of this particular field of contest, and rests her hands on her hips. "You can do it, Merek! Avoid the cake. You DON'T like cake. No! Put the cake as far away from your mouth as possible! Don't even /think/ about cake. Think about gangrene!"

Talwyn calls to Lucita, giving her a dazzling smile, "Lady Lucita, you can do this - we can have a round of cakes later at the bakery!"

Picking up the carrot cake, Rowenova forlornly gazes upon this lovely dessert but bucks up all her willpower she might have to not eat it. Go signal, and then Nova speedily darts down the race track, doing so whilst cake carrying without any balance loss, apparently practiced as a professional servant!

Ryhalt chuckles as Ciaran goes to join in the cake race, after all. He calls out, "I need to do see this." Laughing, he watches the race avidly. Aside to Lisebet, he says, "Yes, wouldn't be fair to come out with a sugar addiction, that'll make the uncles spoilage plot all fouled up!"

Lisebet watches as Ciaran gets pulled in. She looks over to Ryhalt, and says, "You know, if I wasn't this far along, I'd totally be dragging you into that mess." A pause and then, "Good Luck, Ciaran!" she calls out.

Poppy cheers and jumps around "Go Nova! Don't eat it. Don't let it tempt you. Resisssst!"

Sapphira starts to cheer on Zoey, bouncing upon the balls of her feet. It's short lived, however, as the cake turns out to be far too alluring for her partner. Now that it seems like a lost cause, she doesn't seem to have a problem to go over and join Zoey in just happily eating the dessert.

Lucita cake, delicious cake, blueberry for sweetness and lemon for a little tang, sooo tempting. One finger edges over the edge of the plate, almost reaching the blue glaze of icing sliding over it. She strides quickly quickly forward, the fingers getting closer and closer to the icing, platter wobbling a little. When she hears Talwyn speak to her, she glances from the cake to the Prince and back. A sigh is given and she says. "Alright, alright... I think... here. doesn't it look so good? I'm bad as the twins wanting to take a piece of it. Such temptations to resist!"

Other people are running. Running so fast to their partners. Maybe some of them give in and just gobble down their cake. Maybe some of them make it to the end of this relay. Prince Niklas Grayson, however, stands there and stares at the cake. Aiden is doing a good job of keeping him from just dropping his face into it. "But it's strawberry cake! That's possibly the best kind of cake. I think there might be rum in it. That just makes it better!"

Ciaran shouts over towards Lisebet. "It's the countess you should cheer for, not me!" He grins stupidly, amused by the sheer improbability of the whole thing. What are these, magically tempting cakes? "Go on, you've got it in the bag," he calls to Carita. Perhaps somewhat to Ryhalt's disappointment, his role seems to involve just sitting at the end of the line: the world will be spared the spectacle of a man with a broken leg trying to run a relay race.

It might seem like an easy thing, but it's not! Nearly immediately despite Sapphira's cheers, Zoey is just too taken with the cake in her hands and takes a few steps but then is digging right in. It's so good! Niklas almost, ALMOST joins her, but does not eat the cake. Unfortunately he's staring at it so much he also doesn't really start to run. Rowenova takes off almost immediately like an arrow from a bow like, what cake?! Lucita isn't far behind her and Merek is trailing just behind that, with Carita in fourth place right now, though still with a better lead than Niklas!

Picking up a beautiful strawberry sponge cake as she begins the race and while not the most athletic of people, seems to be managing herself well enough. She lifts the cake up a little higher at one point, smelling how glorious it is, but has the willpower to continue on without so much as a dab of a finger in the frosting. She finally reaches Ciaran, who she places it down in front of. "Wait, did someone say there's rum in this cake?"

Zoey has joined the the Bisland pavilion.

Aiden laughs at Niklas, "If you bring it here, we can share it. You know. I bet my girls would love a taste too! So don't drop it. Pretend it's a prop in one of your plays and that if you drop it or eat it, you're betraying your lover. For that is the temptation!" Or something. Aiden snorts a little, looking over at the other teams, "Lucita YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO EAT THAT CAKE!" That's fair right? He waves at Lucita, before turning back to Niklas, "Right right. Focuuuus."

Aiden checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 33 higher.

Ryhalt laughs at Lisebet. "Make me run with a cake and shout at me not to eat it so you can be the one to eat it at the end? My Dukely dignity saved by pregnancy. Huzzah!" He flashes her a teasing grin. If anything, he looks *more* amused that Ciaran's the one talking Carita out of eating the cake.

Rowenova checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 63 higher.

Rowenova checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Carita checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 3 higher.

Talwyn checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.

Carita checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Ciaran checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Kalani checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 20, rolling 4 lower.

Lucita checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.

Lucita checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Poppy checked charm + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Niklas checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 13 higher.

Niklas checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Ciaran happily accepts the sponge cake onto his platter from Carita at the relay race's end, doing his best to maintain a certain lordly dignity despite the absurdity of it all. "The presence or absence of rum must remain a mystery, Lady Darkwater," he tells her, in his very best captain-of-the-ship voice. "There is no privation you cannot endure in the name of victory!"

Lisebet starts to laugh, which is both a good and bad thing. It's a light hearted musical sound, but when she catches her breath, she ends up with a case of the Hic - Hic - hiccups!

Sapphira has joined the the Bisland pavilion.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.

Poppy is even more enthused by Rowenova's quick movements. "C'mon! Just think of how it's got vegetables in it. It won't be anywhere near as delicious as those chocolate cakes." Is she sabotaging the other teams? It's absolutely possible.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Niklas snaps to attention and gives Aiden a nod, then tears off across the field. He's never run so fast. So gracefully. With such conviction! But then Aiden tries to tempt Lucita into eating her cake and all the prince hears is 'EAT THAT CAKE' and he says, "Oh, okay!" and then scoops some out and starts chompin' down.

"Great, Lady Lucita - you are almost here! I can almost smell the cakes - I'm sure they are delicious - the faster you reach, the faster we can eat it!" Prince Talwyn cheers and takes out his lute, he's ready to play a cheerful song for Lucita! If nothing, to distract her from the cake

Merek keeps running along while he keeps from eating the cake, nodding to Kalani, "I mean, that makes me want the cake still, but I won't eat it, just for you!"

With a wolfish grin in the shade cast by her pelt headdress, Trusted Servant Rowenova of House Halfshav smoothly speeds toward her fellow Northerner, bringing forth the carrot cake at high speed. "But I want it!" Despite this, despite saying so, she does not partake of said cake!

Sapphira follows after Zoey, and that cake, helping herself to bites with a fork as she finds a seat. Between licking frosting from the tines, she offers the others at the tent a cheery smile in greeting.

The two leaders in this race are REALLY out there and away from the rest of the group! Rowenova might as well have wings and a hatred of baked goods she's moving so fast! Lucita is just behind her, maybe not a fan of sweet-lemon or blueberry? She's not giving it a second look! Perhaps all thanks to Talwyn and Poppy at the finish line encouraging them to run! Merek is definitely giving that cake interested looks, but he continues on and he's pretty fast--a bit faster than Carita, who thanks to the calls of Ciaran does not completely stop to taste that cake. Maybe just a nibble. A bit of frosting? But her partner reminds her there's a race to be run and so she continues on!

Kalani hoots out a laugh as Merek's reply, her hands resting on her hips, which is less 'encouraging' and more 'badgering', "All the same. No cake! Resistance is NOT futile! Hang nails. Blisters. Think of anything gross!"

Lucita says, "You really want me to forgo this delicious cake, but it looks and smells so very yummy?" She says to Talwyn. Then she starts to waver a little at Aiden's call to her to eat the cake, the fingers almost making an elegant dance of it, sliding to support the platter and then to almost rake through the icing as she quicksteps along the path along which folks race. "Don't tempt me any further, Your Highness!"

Aiden looks away for a second to taunt the competition and pays for it. He wags his arm after Niklas, "Wait wait .. NO not you! Don't ... eat!" And then He watches Niklas starting in on that cake and he flies his fists up into the air and sinks down to his knees, "Noooooooo...!" Before Aileyna races over to him and his arms sweep her up in a hug, kissing her forehead, "Yes dear, you can have some cake now." Scooping her up, he exits the field of play and heads for the tables, hoping there's some other cake around to feast on.

Niklas takes a decadent chocolate cake with seven layers of rich chocolate icing.

Aiden has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Carita's really a dessert person, so this -could- be something of a challenge, but cake with the addition of rum? "There's no... privatation?" Is that frosting on her chin. Surely not. Her cheeks now pink from laughing, and moving as quickly as she can, a sparkle in her eyes.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 5 higher.

Lucita checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 18 higher.

Rowenova checked dexterity + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 28 higher.

Rowenova checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Carita checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 4 lower.

Carita checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Lucita checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

Kalani checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 25, rolling 13 lower.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

Talwyn checked charm + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 39 higher.

Poppy checked charm + leadership at difficulty 25, rolling 26 higher.

Ciaran checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 52 higher.

"You can do it, Lucita!" Talwyn starts strumming on his lute, "Brace on - fight the wind/Sing on - through the snow/Come back to me - and win!" he sings aloud for his teammate, distracting her from the delicious smell of the cake

Ciaran is really getting into it, apparently. "Once more into the breach," he calls out to Carita in his battlefield voice. It's almost excessive. Once more! Or close up the walls with cakes uneaten! In peace nothing becomes a man as modest stillness and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger!" He is quoting a famous play. And paraphrasing liberally.

It's honestly not even close. Rowenova soars over the finish line first with her cake pristinely held in her hands triumphantly! Lucita comes next, followed by Merek and then finally Carita, "An amazing show of willpower and althetic prowess!" Sabella laughs, certainly not noticing any icing on Carita's chin. She applauds wildly, "And please let's everyone thank the teammates that kept them on track and going! Lady Poppy, Prince Talwyn, Lady Kalani, and Lord Ciaran! You were all amazing! I would definitely have been like Lady Zoey and stopped to eat the cake immediately, although some of you might have swayed me to at least keep walking while I did!"

a display case with elegant reeded columns is now unlocked.

Sabella gets gold circlet with rubies from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Sabella gets intricate gold tiara with rubies from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Adrienne checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Poppy shouts encouragement to Rowenova, not that she has too. The woman has wings! As she crosses the finish line she cheers super loud "Yes! The north loves cake the best! Even if it is a vegetable cake."

Niklas calls out to Poppy, face just a bit more slathered with strawberries than a prince's really should, "If you loved cake you'd be eating it by now, my lady!"

Rowenova only slows after following through beyond the finish line a few meters then smoothly spins toward Poppy with a big grin, "For the North!" says she, assentingly nodding! "Brought to you by House Halfshav and vassal Stahlben!"

Sapphira applauds for those still trying to resist the urge to eat cake while having long failed such herself, another bite of the confection placed between her and Zoey taken.

Sabella gets stylish tanzanite griffins pair of hairpins washed in blue hues from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Ryhalt claps loudly for the end of the race and chuckles, overhearing Ciaran's brand of encouragement. "It worked, though." He smiles for his brother as the winners are announced.

"Woohooo!" Kalani applauds and does a little dance in place, spinning around once or twice as Merek manages NOT to eat the cake. "Go Merek! It is NOT your birthday!"

Lucita simply hands the cake to Talwyn once he stops playing and singing. "Here you are partner. Now that I don't have both hands full, I can take a sample of it?"

Sabella laughs and laughs, even as she goes to fetch the prizes for the evening, "I really am amazed that any of you made it past the starting line at all!"

Ciaran looks like a little self-conscious about his dramatics, stopping over to help Carita with any residual cake once the race is done. "Well, neither of us were going to be the fastest when a proper ranger was in the race," he tells her, knocking the end of his cane to his busted leg. "But we finished! Which is more than some other teams could say. Well ran."

Eirene claps for the competition even if she isn't the kind who would run amuck with a cake herself. "I think I'll play this game with my twins sometime," she remarks, a bit more for the crowd than just the tent she hangs out under. "I think they would enjoy the 'eating' part more than the running part though..."

Lisebet cheers along for her brother,and all the other contestants. "Well done!"

With long strides which still speak of the running energy she just used as though that were still active, Rowenova walks up to Poppy and offers out the vegetable cake her way. As she does so, she lets out a hearty laugh after Sabella's words, "Me, too. Considering how much I love food!"

Sabella gets elegant pair of hairpins ornamented with handsome wisteria griffins and pale blue moonstones from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Poppy chuckles and cheers before dipping a finger into the frosting on the cake. "Mmm. Delicious!"

Sabella gets attractive pair of hairpins topped with golden citrine griffins from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Carita's laughter rings out, richly feminine, as a free hand rests on her ribs and handing the cake over to Ciaran once he's at her side. "I dare say, those stairs at manor have done me better than I expected. Truly." There's a little more laughter at the mention of his leg as she nods, "Frankly, Lord Ciaran, I'm surprised I finished at all. Well done, your words were certainly... uh... motivating." She coughs a little, "Or something."

Waldemai puts Simple Cloth Cap in Pouch.

Sabella gets gleaming pair of hairpins topped with turquoise and green garnet griffins from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Talwyn sets aside his lute to receive his team-mate as she arrives, "You did great, Lady Lucita!!" he smiles broadly at her

Waldemai applauds Lucita

a display case with elegant reeded columns is now locked.

Once he has slaked his lust for cake, Niklas looks down at his half-eaten cake and feels, not shame, not guilt, not - well, mostly he just feels a little ill. So he takes the cake over to the Grayson pavilion where Aiden has gone, pulls out a useful knife and cuts off all the bits with bites on it, then passes it over to his partner. "Would the little Lady of Rubino care for some cake?"

Ciaran confesses freely to Carita, "I had no idea what I was doing," he tells her cheerily. "But I have a lot of practice shouting." Soon, he's wondering: "So, do you want to eat it?"

Merek applauds while he takes the cake when all has been finished, beginning to eat it as well.

Adrienne turns a questioning look away from Aiden to Niklas before she smiles, head inclining in greeting. "The Princess of Valardin might if there is enough to share without robbing the children."

A festive race has just concluded judging by the applause and the laughter in the crowd. Some people appear to be carrying around whole cakes? Or not so whole anymore. Sabella is beaming as she hands out the prizes, which appear to be crowns for the winning team and hairpins for second and third place, "Scout Rowenova, I didn't know anyone could move that fast! You reminded me of Baron Silas from last year who I swear had his feet never touch the ground in a relay race we did that was much like this!"

Eirene removes her shiny hat from her shinier hat and studies the gemstones. "This would actually look nice with that fancy damn dress I have, the seasilk one?" She shrugs at Mihaly. '"

Sunaia has left the the Ashford pavilion.

Conall, a huge, friendly, sable Wolfhound dog with bright platinum eyes have been dismissed.

Ylva, an impressively-large, silvery Wolfhound with bright gold eyes have been dismissed.

Atanas Pandev, a wry, stalwart escort have been dismissed.

Colm Teague, the stolid adjunct of ice-blue eyes have been dismissed.

Ash, a fearless grey fuzzball of cuteness with butter-yellow eyes have been dismissed.

Mihaly nods at Eirene. "That'd actually be a good look. I wasn't sure if a tiara would make the look, you should try it out sometime. See what you think."

Aiden looks toward Niklas then, "Oh my. They certainly can't eat all that. A little slice for them." He side glances at Niklas, "How on earth did you manage to shove half of that cake down? I mean, I guess if this were an eating contest... hahaha!" He takes the half left and cuts a little piece off for Aileyna and Zaria. Thaliana doesn't get any, of course, baby.

Lucita admires the prizes each person got and drifts off to the side, a slice of cake awaiting her.

Still managing the vegetable cake for herself and Poppy, Rowenova drops down her free hand. Her shiny fork pops out from her arm bracer and shoots out before being caught up in that same hand. She lifts up the revealed fork with a jaunty twirl. "Excellent encouragement from Lady Poppy and much practice from my servant duties for my ducal house added together there, me thinks. Thank you Princess Sabella. I will be sure to tell him, or Duke Aiden can!"

Kalani makes a mild huff of sound and mock-glowers at Merek, "What, I don't get /any/ of the cake? Meanie," she rolls her eyes after she says this. She brightens as Sabella hands out the prizes, "Ooh, Moonstone, they're lovely!" she turns the pins slowly around in her hands and promptly fits them into the braid of her hair and makes sure they're well anchored. "Thank you."

Mihaly glances at Eirene, offering his arm to her. "Well, Lady Malvici? I think we've done our civic duty for the night, making an appearance. Want to head back? I'd like to tell Thesarin they're giving free cake away out here and I'd like to see the look on his face."

The Jadairali emissary might be expected to travel with a retinue of guards trailing her, or arrive with a great deal of pomp and circumstance suitable to the expanse and grandeur of the Undying Empire. Instead, Zulana arrives alone, dressed in her loose uniform and lightweight armor, casting her gaze over the crowd one at a time -- considering each in turn -- before her attention finally lands on Sabella and she makes her way over towards the hostess. "Your highness, I received your invitation. And I thought perhaps I would see what an Arvani festival was like. The colored lanterns remind me a bit of some festivals back home..." And for a moment, Zulana's gaze is distant, and she has a surprisingly unguarded -- if slightly wistful -- smile.

Eirene pauses to have a pair of slices of the choclate cake wrapped up to go. "For Idris and Iris," she says to Mihaly. Once the pieces are secured, she takes his offered arm and grins. "They will murder me if they hear there was cake and I didn't bring any home."

"Of course, your highness," says Niklas to Adrienne, who goes ahead and cuts up his cake and parcels it out to everyone at the table. To Aiden he says, "Oh, I have a magical stomach. Bigger on the inside than on the out. Anyway, talking about eating giraffes got me all hungry." He pauses when the latest arrival joins the celebration and says, "Oh, look, it's the emissary from Jadairal."

Niklas has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Merek then accepts a set of hairpins, while he looks at them, then he nods to Kalani, and gives the woman a few pieces of cake, the side with a little icing. "I was the one that ran with the cake, I get the best piece!" He then places the hairpins on.

Zoey happily enjoys her cake with Sapphira, but puts her fork down at Zulana's entrance. Her eyes follow after the striking gold-eyed woman as she approaches Sabella.

Mihaly has left the the Bisland pavilion.

Eirene has left the the Bisland pavilion.

Carissa, a Malvici bodyguard, Planchet the Lycene maggiordome leave, following Eirene.

Eirene leaves, following Mihaly.

Merek checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Carita has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Now that the games have ended, Sabella seems to relax a little bit, picking up a glass and raising it Kalani's way, "I should be thanking you all for making this event so successful! I absolutely adored listening to everyone's speeches earlier and the encouragement that was given during the race. I am not athletically inclined myself, so I remain in awe of those that actually ran. But Aiden! I haven't had a chance to meet the baby for real yet, the Queen was too quick to get her first! Three girls! Just like us! Though not in the same order and we do have little Gareth,"

As Zulana approaches Sabella's smile becomes absolutely radiant, "Emissary Zulana! I'm so happy you could join us! There are parties in all the wards all week long so if you wander between them you'll see the different ways we have fun! Just the other night in the Lyceum Princess Jaenelle staged the most wonderful murder-mystery game the like of which I have never seen! And just last night Countess Carita over there hosted some games in the Thrax Courtyard, an eating contest and then a sledding contest, which against all odds I actually won! I'm hoping to get over to the Valardin ward tomorrow to see what they're up to. Do you like cake? We have several here that were made by an aspiring baker from the Lowers, Mistress Tanith Grayhope. They're quite delicious!"

Merek then notices Zulana and looks a little on edge, while he steps next to Kalani.

Sapphira hums a soft tune to herself as she remains at the Bisland pavilion, happily digging into the remains of their failed cake race while watching people come and go.

Merek is overheard praising Sabella.

Merek is overheard praising Kalani.

Ciaran has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Aiden follows where Niklas indicates, his attention swiveling back to the man, because he also noted Adrienne's reaction, "Mind filling me in there?" He smirks a bit, "I've been uh.. collecting feathers."

Ciaran now has no less than two huge cakes in front of him, looking somewhat at a loss as to what to do with his bounty of cheesecake and sponge. "I'd probably get gout halfway through the attempt," he mutters to himself, perhaps considering the feat of trying to devour the entire thing all by himself. He does not seem to immediately realize that there is no less han an emissary of the Platinum Empire in attendance; his back is turned the wrong way.

Merek is overheard praising Niklas.

Merek is overheard praising Ciaran.

Sabella adds to Zulana, "Oh do help yourself to a top hat if you'd like one! Made from ironwool! It absolutely shines in the sunlight." She gestures to the gryphon chest.

Lisebet looks over to Ryhalt, once her hiccups are under control. She takes a breath and says, "I should go pay my respects to Princess Sabella and then go see if Harlan has noticed I am not home as yet."

Zoey is overheard praising Sabella.

She glances over at Ciaran, Lisebet does, amusedly. "You could share those, I suppose," she calls.

Merek looks aside to Kalani, and nods a bit, then he lifts up both shoulders, "Ya," he says, then he takes a moment to take one of the cigarillos from the pack he keeps with him, Black Mountain, which he lights a cherry flavored which he smokes from.

When Zulana shows up, Rowenova certainly notices. She simmers down on all the giddy antics around the carrot cake and just eats at it with her shiny fork. Though, her calculating gaze slightly shifts to a curious one after the Jadarial Emissary actually dons a real smile. Hmm!

Ciaran places one cake down before Lisebet. "You -are- eating for two now, aren't you."

Waldemai already has his top hat on, along with his Gloria tie, and his snowball champion scarf. He is now a contender for Worst Dressed Man. "Thank you very much, your highness," he calls. And tips his hat, of course.

Ryhalt smiles to Lisebet and gives her one more hug of farewell. "I am surprised he hasn't come to find you already. Good bye, dear sister." He glances over to Ciaran as she calls out to him and laughs.

Poppy pops the tiara on her head. She's all sorts of mismatched, but who cares! It's a tiara! "Thank you, your highness." Now that she's won something she comes back over to the groups and asks, "Would anyone like to taste the cake made with a vegetable."

Kalani beams a smile at Sabella, laughing as she dips her chin in a nod of agreement, "I'm really glad to not be the one doing the running or the hard work this time around," she calls in return. A sidelong glance is shared with Merek, a quiet word, and then she slips briefly away long enough to claim a pair of glasses and returns to hand one to Merek. "Well, if you're going to smoke, you should drink as well," sage medical knowledge dispensed.

Zulana glances into the gryphon chest, and selects a bottle of the hard cider. "You can learn a great deal about a land by trying their alcohol," she remarks towards the Grayson princess. "Back home, some of our festivals have traditional dances, others have contests between adepts striving to outdo each other. It seems that the Compact's festivals are similar. Not that I should be terribly surprised; the citizens of Tongdjiyi held a huge festival in Respite to welcome the new year. And to celebrate the city's construction."

Zulana gets Griffon's Gaze from Chest of the Gryphon.

Merek looks at the glass, not seeming used to things like that being offered. He lifts that up, to take a sip from he drink, "Thank you," he says, while he adjusts his bright golden and black attire, his scarf keeping the snow away from the face while he thinks. "What does Tongdjiyi mean in your native language?"

Lucita helps Talwyn set the burden of the cake he now carries on a table. "Lady Zoey got a head start on enjoying the cakes. Master Waldemai, would you like a slice of this one, It is too much for Prince Talwyn and me to eat."

Ciaran can't avoid a certain curiosity, his cakely burden now reduced to a manageable one. He gets an eyeful of Zulana, studying the woman top-to-bottom, as if doing so might reveal some especially enticing secret. He does not, however, run up to introduce himself, not with Merek already to hand asking questions.

Zoey smiles at Lucita. "What kind did you get? This one is fantastic!"


"Like I said, smoke - drink and hey, you have cake, you're eating, all that's left is to be merry," Kalani advises Merek with a smile paired with a grin as she looks toward Zulana and back to Merek. "I imagine it probably refers to some sort of city or town or some such, right?"

Talwyn heads over to place the cake down with Lucita as the party seems to wind down a bit, he nods barely at her words as he sets his glance to Waldemai, he picks up a piece to start eating - cheering and playing instruments are tiring activities.

Lucita says, "Lemon and blueberry. Wonder if the blue icing stains the tongue and lips. I'm tryig to tempt Master Waldemai into trying it to find out." She grins at the armorsmith as she teases him.""

Rowenova swallows down one bite of carrot cake then leans closer to Poppy and quietly speaks as she motions out with her fancy fork toward Zulana before standing up to focus more on eating up more vegetable infused dessert time.

Waldemai immediately says, "Thank you, Lady Lucita," because that's what a commoner says when a lady offers him something. "What kind of meat is in it? Or is it a fish cake?"

Merek nods a bit to Kalani, then he looks between folk, some of the peopl from the game, then he nods to Talwyn as well as a few folk, "New people," he muses.

"Sabella! Come on over when you're not--" Aiden laughs a bit, "Busy? Right. When is a Grayson never not busy..." He shakes his head and looks to Niklas, "Great job on that last play by the way." And conversation goes back to the immediate folk within the Grayson pavilion

"I imagine you learn even more by partaking in it with them," Sabella replies to Zulana with amusement, raising her glass of champagne in a bit of a toast and not batting an eye as Tongdjiyi is mentioned, "And that nearly everyone who ever celebrates anything does it in similar ways, surrounded by friends and family and those who might soon be both! Do you need introductions to people? That happens to be my specialty. Or would you like to blend in with the crowd tonight?"

"It is easier to blend when you can call people by name," Zoey adds helpfully in Sabella's direction.

"New people are only new people until you've met them, then they're just people," Kalani dispenses this small nugget of pseudo-wisdom before sipping from the glass of bubbly liquor that she's holding. She also swipes the plate with the cake, or the remnants of cake, from Merek. He is, after all, smoking. Can't eat, and drink and smoke all at the same time. "Have you seen the Tiga yet?" she wonders.

Talwyn smiles at Lucita, "And it is delicious!" he comments, "I was really rather worried all the cakes will be dropped over the race tracks!"

Merek nods a bit to Kalani, then looks over to Adrienne, then to Zulana, and between folk. "Makes sense."

Ciaran nods lightly towards Adrienne. "I have expanded my conception of what the word 'edible' means," he tells Adrienne, in that sort of tone that is both joking and gravely serious all at once.

Lucita says, "It was a close thing, I almost did a time or two. It kept getting heavier and heavier." To Waldemai she says. "Blueberries icing on lemon cake. It is a desert or snack. Might not fill you up well but it tastes very good."

"Ah, the ship, I have probably managed to see it," Merek says.

"I think 'blending in' is a lost cause," Zulana notes to Sabella, not without a touch of humor to her tone. "Jadairali garb -- and Jadairali in general -- are somewhat uncommon in your city, I gather. Indeed, those of us who walk the Path are probably rare everywhere on Arvum, save within Tongdjiyi. So perhaps introductions would be in order."

Ciaran's observation draws a wry laugh from Adrienne before she looks to him mournfully. "Won't you please sit with me, Lord Ciaran?" Aiden further says something to Adrienne that she answers with an easy shake of her head. "I'll look forward to it on quieter days."

Glancing over at Merek, Zulana adds, "Tongdjiyi means 'Copper's Legacy'. Or perhaps more precisely, 'In Memory of Copper'." Her tone is somber as she offers this answer.

Waldemai looks suitable impressed at the flavors of the cake. "Fruit and lemon? Sweet and sour? That sounds pretty tasty after all. Yes, please, I'd like to try that, my lady."

Lisebet has a cake in hand, after hugging Ryhalt. She doe get to her feet, distinctly pregnant, and she moves over to curtsey delicately and politely to Sabella, pausing to listen rather than interrupt.

Merek nods a bit to Zulana, "Thank you," he offers to the answer.

Ciaran tells Adrienne -- and Carita by extension, glancing her way: "You'll have to forgive me. I'm afraid I'm feeling just a bit ill. It happens to me sometimes, these days. I'll need to see you again another time; I'll look forward to it, though."

Rowenova silently listens as she forks up more cake and face stuffs herself.

"Only sometimes. And only randomly. And usually when no one notices," Kalani murmurs as samples the remnants of the cake with a fork she picked up from one of the buffet tables, returning with a couple lemon squares as well. "Probably?" she sounds a little amused even as she glances toward Zulana at the answer. "That's a rather pretty sounding word. Why is it the legacy or memory of Copper, if you don't mind the question?"

Zoey cocks her head to the side a bit at the translation of the city name, and takes a moment to examine Zulana's garb. She is careful to keep the glance casual though, rather than the intense study that she would rather do.

Sapphira exits the Bisland tent once she's managed to get to her feet, a few stray cake crumbs brushed from her gown before she's fetching a glass of wine and setting out to socialize. She pauses near Sabella, offering her a cheerful smile, "What a lovely celebration you planned, your Highness. The prizes were especially lovely!"

Merek listens curiously while he watches.

Ciaran has left the the Grayson pavilion.

1 Farshaw novice guards have been dismissed.

Lisebet takes a moment to wave a good bye to Ciaran as well, and waits for a reasonable opening before she says, "Princess Sabella, it's been a pleasure. as always, you are a marvellous hostess, thank you. I look forward to future conversation and cake." A smile at the one she has in her hand. Strawberries - suddenly she's got a craving for them.

Rowenova glances down at her copper scarf that she enerally wears wrapped as a sash belt under a thinner belt with alchemy vials. Back to cake, though.

"Because the Great Unbound -- Copper -- tried to be a shield for all Arvani who were willing to accept her aid," Zulana notes to Kalani. "And a great many who never even knew she existed, as well. Tongdjiyi will do the same; we have built a well-lit and ordered Path through the darkness, one that people might walk in safety."

Sabella's eyes absolutely shine and she takes a sip of champagne then a deep breath, looking absolutely in her element, "Let's start with family--my husband Prince Niklas Grayson over there, also known as The Playwright since he's brilliant at, well, writing plays! Then that's Duke Aiden Rubino who used to be a Grayson and of course always will be by blood, he knows absolutely everything there is to know about birds of all kinds! That's Duchess Lisebet Ashford over there, who is expecting her third child and I hope has been having everyone wait on her hand and foot tonight! Lord Ciaran Farshaw who, before tonight, I did not realize was an amazing speaker who enthusiastically helped Countess Carita Darkwater, an amazingly kind and generous woman, in our race earlier! Prince Talwyn is known as the Sigh of Dragons, or at least that's what Nik calls him, and is a talented musician! Princess Adrienne Valardin who is also a magician, but also has a very sharp wit! Lady Kalani Seliki is over there with the cake, she's a very accomplished healer and extremely funny, and Lady Sapphira Whitehawk is of course incredibly talented as are all the people in her family, but she's a member of the Bard's College as are our musicians here tonight! Surely you've heard of Baroness Lucita Saik who has an incredible voice--actually now that I'm listing them out we just have a huge chorus of musicians here tonight! I think I saw Princess Kace Redrain and Lord Michael Bisland around here but I'm not quite sure where they've gotten to--Lord Michael was the one who designed the bracelets we gave away tonight! Master Waldemai there is a smith and obvious fashion icon, do you know Scout Rowenova? She's one of the kindest and it turns out fastest people I've ever met in this city! And then Duke Rhyalt owns Bold Espressions the coffee house, which is where I love to spend my time in the mornings with a group of friends, Lady Zoey Kennex who is an aspiring diplomat and extremely gifted archer, Lady Christine Kennex who knows just a little bit about everything and..." she looks around again, "Sir Merek Black who you must have met for he's everywhere in the city and once saved my life!" She finally, FINALLY, takes another breath, a deep one. And has a drink, "Did I miss anyone?"

Niklas calls out, "Lady Lisebet is having triplets!"

Lisebet hears Niklas and turns to blink at him, then she shakes her head. "Gods preserve me, I certainly hope not, Prince Niklas! I already have twins."

Merek blinks a bit when the mention comes to him, saving people. He offers a polite smile for Zulana and Sabella, "I think I made our Emisarry an artwork piece on parchment," he says, then he looks thoughtfully to the side while he whispers a bit.

Lucita is caught out. She peeks out from behind Waldemai from where she was enjoying a bit of cake and dips her head upon Sabella's introduction. "I played the music for you during a gathering at Whisper House." She speaks in cordial tones.

Poppy pouts at Sabella as she fixes her tiara, "What about me?"

Talwyn nods firmly at Lucita's words, and sighs. His enthusiasm and appetite seem to reduce significantly though and he sets the cake aside. At the mention of his name by Sabella, he does raise his glass to acknowledge the name

Zoey nods her head to Zulana when she is introduced by Sabella in her impressive display of introduction ability. "I'm curious," she says. "What is this Path of which you speak?"

Inhaling at the mention of her name, Adrienne turns a pale, frank gaze to Zulana. Her head inclines with deep respect, Oathlands lessons in courtesy showing to the fore, before she turns a quirk of a smile in Sabella's direction. "You're too kind, Sabella."

Zoey is overheard praising Sabella: Super hostess powers activate!

Sapphira titters softly as she's included in Sabella's introduction, a lingering look trying to place unfamiliar names with faces, "It sounds as if we have a number of performers in attendance tonight."

Waldemai is overheard praising Sabella: Even notices commoners

"Wait.. What?!" Aiden looks around, "A Whitehawk I have not come to KNOW!" He gasps out loud, "Where is she?" He of course isn't really going to go stalking through the crowd, since he's with company in the pavilion, but nevertheless, he's curious!

And after another moment to gather herself, Sabella smiles to Sapphira and Lisebet, "Thank you so much for coming! I hope to see you at the other celebrations this week and of course the ball at the end. It's in the palace and it's going to be absolutely stunning, I've seen the flower arrangements already!" She's certainly heard everything Zulana is saying, but all she says it, "I've never found the dark to be all that dark, but of course it's always wonderful to hear that people want to help those that might struggle with it," when Poppy says she wasn't introduced Sabella looks horrified, "My apologies! Of course I was only saving your introduction to be the very last as a newcomer to this city so that everyone might hear it and get to know you! This is Lady Poppy Stahlben, who was part of the winning team earlier in the cake races! She is an amazing speaker and her encouragement helped Scout Rowenova stay focused on the course!"

Zoey waves to Aiden and gestures to Sapphira.

Ryhalt smiles at Seballa's fantastic introduction of everyone to everyone, chuckling at some.

Quickly swallowing, Rowenova quietly thanks Sabella for those kind words, and then after akwardly waving her fancy fork, she spin thrusts it into the vegetable cake (carroty goodness) and scoops up a good bite with gushy icing. That is soon consumed. Also, she apparently wears her winning tiara between those wolfy ears of her pelt headdress.

Zulana is silent through the introductions, though that intense golden gaze rests for several seconds on each of the attendees that Sabella names. Each receives a nod -- but then a question draws her attention back towards Zoey. "The Path is the way the Empire runs. The way we live our lives. The belief that the Art should never be abused -- and that, given time and temptation, many who might otherwise be good can be swayed to do so. My Father, in his wisdom, has helped guide us on a Path, bound us against falling into darkness. And any in Tongdjiyi who wish to be instructed in the Art may accept similar bindings and begin their training."

Sapphira is busily sipping on some wine, not seeming to notice she is the subject of Aiden's manhunt, though Zoey is quick to indicate where she is standing should he wish to approach.

Lisebet offers a polite nod of her head to Zulana, acknowledging the meeting. Her smile is still light though she doesn't delay long. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance," she says. "But alas, it is time for me to depart. Another time, perhaps, we will be able to speak." With that, she does indeed make her way towards the exit.

Poppy laughs at Sabella brightly and introduces herself a little better. "I'm also a mercy, should you ever hurt yourselves, and I hope to be accepted as a devotee to Lagoma. Maybe. But that's far into the future."

"The Empire is very focused on keeping their people safe," Sabella tells Zoey, with a nod to Zulana, "And while I might not have gone about it the exact way they have, I do recognize that it is an admirable thing to want to do. That's what each one of us is working towards, keeping our people and lands safe. Sometimes with very different methods, but all working towards the same end. If anyone has missed the Assemblies or meeting her elsewhere, this is Emissary Zulana from Jadarial. Am I saying that right? I always worry about mispronouncing things I've only seen on paper. I met someone once whose name was spelled like Yennifer but she pronounced the Y like a J," she shakes her head like that is so weird. Then a smile is given to Poppy, "You should go talk to my cousin, Prince Laric. I think he knows a lot about Lagoma and may be able to put in a good word."

Merek smiles a bit to Kalani, "Apologies, this was all pretty fun, can't think of a lot to talk about."

The Path. The Art. Bound against falling. Zoey nods at these points, a degree of understanding apparent in her expression. "I see. Thank you for explaining."

During those several seconds, Rowenova matches gazes, her cobalt-blue eyes (in their kohl outlines) intently watching Zulana until their eye contact is finally broken. This may be a good cake, but after the binding talk comes up, Rowenova softly grunts with furrowed brows. Another swallow, and then the wolfy scout ultimately clarifies, "They use writs." After pointing out that particular piece, she gets down on more cake.

Talwyn gently steps back from the gathering and bids his partner Lucita farewell, "I do have to depart too. Thank you for the lovely event and competitions - Princess Sabella - you are truly amazing!" He waves to Sabella and Nyklas on the way off

"It's ok," Kalani replies quietly as she finishes off the last of the cake, chasing frosting around the plate with the tip of the fork. "To bad there isn't snow to make another snow fight out of," she admits with a wry grin.

Zephirine leaves, following Talwyn.

Mention of Mercies causes Zulana to turn to Poppy. "I would be curious to see your House of Solace someday. We have Mercies of our own, but the traditions and healing magics they use have remained largely unchanged since the days of Caer'alfar. I imagine Arvani traditions have drifted from that origin over the centuries."

Christine has left the the Bisland pavilion.

Sapphira has left the the Bisland pavilion.

Sapphira has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Zoey has left the the Bisland pavilion.

Zoey has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Poppy is instinctively curiously to Zulana, that ever-present brightness in her tone slightly intensified. "I am looking forward to studying there. Bonespire only really recently joined the compact and a lot of our healing practices come from shamanistic roots. While there has been advances, especially with the mercies coming to visit us and offering aid, I do find that there is more to learn now than ever." She comes to settle properly with the group. "You said healing magics. What type of magics? "

Lucita bids a goodbye to Talwyn as he leaves and wanders through the crowd till she reaches the Grayson Pavilion and slips in amid those seated in that shelter.

Poppy has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Lucita has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Rowenova has left the the Shepherd pavilion.

Rowenova has joined the the Grayson pavilion.

Carita has left the the Grayson pavilion.

4 Redoubt Buccaneers, Luna, the Darkwater Assistant leave, following Carita.

Kalani looks toward Merek then back, ever so calmly, over to Zulana, "Healing magics?" her question coming a half second or less after Poppy asks it.

Lucita has left the the Grayson pavilion.

Lucita bids everyone a goodbye and edges out of the party.

1 Saik Guard, Micana leave, following Lucita.

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout leave, following Lisebet.

Ryhalt takes one last stroll about before he heads on his way out.

1 Farshaw trained guards leaves, following Ryhalt.

Merek looks then to Kalani, and to Zulana, while he nods a bit, "Ya."

"Of course. Mercies are associated with Lagoma; most of them are beseechers, able to do true healing through Elysian magics." Zulana shakes her head. "Apologies. I sometimes forget that within the Compact, things we take for granted elsewhere have been long forgotten. But the Empire still practices the Grace of the Thirteen -- what Tin adapted into your Faith, after he made some editorial changes -- with the associated magics and rituals."

Zoey has left the the Grayson pavilion.

As the talk openly turns to magic, Sabella has another sip of her drink, saying brightly, "I know why people focus so much on mentions of magic--it's such a fantastical idea for it to be so common in a land none of us have ever seen! But I find myself wondering more about the little things that the Emissary has mentioned--such as their celebrations! I find it very nice to know that we have the same sort of festive spirit in common. But I'd be so much more interested to know, I think, what your favorite foods are, Emissary Zulana. Or perhaps your favorite book. Or even color! Or whether you ever thought that you'd find yourself on foreign shores when you were a little girl."

"Editorial changes?" Zoey leaves the pavilions entirely now, coming closer to Zulana.

The conspicuous circle of onlookers around Sabella and Zulana aside, it is far easier for Adrienne to leave the emptying grounds than it was to arrive. With a curtsey to her company, her guard falls in close at her elbow as she departs, a glass ornament still cradled in one hand.

Niklas calls out to Zulana, because when you've already gorged on cake in the middle of a race who needs politesse, "I'd still like to see some of the art you have on your boat!" He then thinks and adds, "Which is surprisingly capable of skirting around the, uh, giant whirlpool."

Adrienne has left the the Grayson pavilion.

Poppy remains clearly enthralled with Zulana, "Elysian magics? I imagine that is not something that the compact has access too? Is it something that can be learned? How does shamanism, I mean, worship of spirits work within that?" However Sabella draws her attention again, and she shuts up with the forced cheerfulness of Sabella. In an attempt to comfort the princess she agrees with slightly less enthusiasm. "Yes. What is your favorite colors and foods. Are they things we can find in the compact?"

Kalani nods, slowly, along with Zulana's explanation. The longer the Ambassador speaks the more wary her expression becomes. "Ahh. I see," which is plain for her clearly NOT getting what the ambassador means when she says 'magic'. "Well, I'm a physician, a combat medic and all that. Magic is as Magic does, I'm sure, but if it works it works."

"Well, for some it works," Merek muses then to Kalani's words.

Within the Grayson pavilion, Rowenova sets down the carrot cake, doing so between herself and Poppy within easy/equal reach. She briefly holds her fork with her mouth as she pulls around her Messenger Bag, gets out a writing mat with beige paper on top. After, she sets down the Messenger Bag by left leg alongside Sir Floppington the soulful hound who is a good boy and just sits. After, Rowenova pulls out a hawk quill from her ink vial on her alchemy belt. Finally equipped, she writes up a new letter.

Sapphira:smiles back at Aiden, chuckling softly to herself, "He has mentioned a couple of plays, though I am more of a musician and dancer. Still, I would not mind playing the goat warchief he has proposed. Do you not think I would be well suited to play a fearsome Abandoned warrior?" She lifts a hand to frame her face with, not looking particularly intimidating as is before she adds, "Ah, but I've been a member of the Bard's College for a time. I just need to reacquaint myself with everyone. Lady Zoey and I discussed some ideas already though, to propose to the Nightingale."

"Well to be fair, skill varies from physician to physician, as does training and methods," Kalani counters with a sidelong glance to Merek and back to Zulana, flushing a little as she says this. "I mean, not to say, that there's bad physicians. Just differently .. trained ones."

Merek nods a bit to Kalani, while he seems to think about it, "Makes sense. All techniques are unique in their own way."

"Well, until recently, three of the Thirteen were 'Lost' to you," Zulana points out to Zoey. "Tin removed Aion, Skald, and Death from the Pantheon. I imagine he felt he had reasons. And of course, your Vellichorian Archives are not all joined together into one like our Verum Armarium that our Vellichorian scholars maintain, where anything written and placed into one is available in all. Though the rituals which empower the Armarium were developed /after/ Tin splintered your Faith off."

Turning back to Poppy and Kalani, Zulana adds, "Elysian magics are when the gods lend their power to those sworn to them. To allow the Mercies to do things like healing wounds by touching them -- though of course, there are costs to do so with the gravest of injuries."

Then the Emissary turns to Sabella. "I would invite you to come see the next festival held in Respite, but I believe your Compact frowns on such things. And still, they're nothing like the festivals back in Daobujin Bo." Zulana's smile grows again. "The streets lined with thousands upon thousands of glimmering lanterns, merchants and crafters and bakers all showing off their wares in stalls -- the adepts with their sword-dances... Father allowed breaks from our training during those festivals, and my Brothers and Sisters and I would go and enjoy the city for a day. Many of us would compete in those sword-dancing competitions."

Poppy can't help herself and practically squeals with excitement, "Sword dancing?!"

"Verum Armarium... Fascinating." Zoey's eyes shine and she smiles like a child listening to stories of great heroes past.

"I think I prefer the way we practice medicine, without having to wager cost and so on," Kalani's words are quiet but she wears a bit of a smile all the same. "I like knowing how to heal people, as much as any of us can, with training and knowledge, with medicine and skill. We're.. crafters of the body, it's not all about compounds and potions, splits and stitches, it's years and years of training and observation and literally hands on practice. It's holding the hand of someone you know you can't save, and catching new babies as they slide into the world."

"If you're interested in sword-dancing, I wonder if it's like the glaive dancing Lady Alessia Mazetti and her sister, Sister Dianna do," Sabella points out to Poppy, "Although sword-dancing sounds just as interesting and intricate and possibly dangerous!" The mention of Respite has the Princess giving Zulana another smile, "We should definitely talk about that, in depth, at a later time. I am very interested in hearing more about that settlement. But someday I would like to see your homeland. I've heard such stories and you arrived here speaking of wonders in a wonder itself and it sounds beautiful."

Merek nods a bit to Kalani, while he thinks about the woman's words a bit. He then crosses both his arms with a look between folk, his scarf waving with the wind while he takes a drink from that glass, then a drag of the moke.

smoke

1 Crimson Blades Private, 1 Crimson Blades Lieutenant, 1 Crimson Blades Sergeant, Akkar arrive, following Cillian.

"Ah, there's a cost to mundane medicine, too." Zulana's words are grave as she considers Kalani. "After all, herbs and other techniques cannot save everyone -- the cost there is their lives. There's a place for both, we believe; magics when they're needed, and the mundane for other matters. Mercies in the Empire use both -- years of training for mundane surgeries and herbology, but also years of training to know how to wield Lagoma's healing power.

To Sabella -- and perhaps Poppy as well -- Zulana adds, "Perhaps for one of your next festivals, if I am here and not in Tongdjiyi, we might arrange a demonstration of Imperial sword dancing for the Compact. Or perhaps someday the Compact will choose to send a delegation to visit Tongdjiyi during a festival, and see the dances there. But yes... Respite is still young, and Daobujin Bo is one of the great old cities of the world. There are few sights to compare. Paintings and tapestries hardly do it justice."

So saying, Zulana shakes her head. "But I should return to the Ordered Path. There are matters I should attend to before my next journey back to Tongdjiyi."

With the Rubino daughters having been sent off prior, Aiden Rubino now says his departing words to those in the Grayson tent. His eyes linger on Zulana, giving them a respectful nod, however, he seems just as keen to slink out before much else transpires.

Kalani is overheard praising Zulana: It's brave, being a ambassador to any strange land, and we're probably the strangest to have to venture into. Bravery is commendable and probably exhausting.

Zoey drops into a curtsy for Zulana. "It was wonderful to meet you, and I am grateful that you would answer our questions."

Aiden has left the the Grayson pavilion.

Poppy admits with a touch of wistfulness, "It would be such a gift to be able to heal like Lagoma did.But, I am uncertain if I would be worthy of such gifts, nor could I yeild such if it comes to costs for others." She excuses herself from the others, "My belly is full of cake and my head is heavy from this beautiful prize. I believe I will take my leave and go rest. Thank you for such a wonderful night. I have enjoyed every moment of it."

"I am truly happy that you came, Emissary Zulana, and hope that you have some time to visit the other Wards this week before you have to leave! But one moment before you go," Sabella says, turning back to the podium where the previous prizes were stored, taking out the last of the hairpins, which she offers to Zulana with a bright smile, "A gift to remind you of Grayson while on the road. Or the sea, as it were!"

a display case with elegant reeded columns is now unlocked.

Sabella gets exquisite citrine griffin topped pair of hairpins from a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Sabella gets a display case with elegant reeded columns.

Sabella gets Chest of the Gryphon.

"Thank you for sharing so much of your culture with us and answering so many of our questions," Kalani replies as well as she smiles at the ambassador, sounding both intrigued and bewildered while she says this. Magic being, to her, a thing of myth and storytelling.

Cillian comes walking into the Grayson grounds looking around, his eyes scanning for someone perhaps he stays near the entrance seeming to be a bit shy about coming in closer.



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