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Bard's College Five-Year Anniversary

Gianna founded the Bard's College around five years ago, and that's good enough cause for a celebration! A modest celebration, though one with free food. As all College events, this is open to anyone who cares to come celebrate five years of music, song, and story.

Date

May 30, 2020, 3:37 p.m.

Hosted By

Gianna

Participants

Alaric Symonesse Tyrval Evaristo Sanya Matteo Thea Rorik Berenice Zoey Nina Nurie Azova Adrienne Kiera Sorrel Ilira Niklas Sabella Aureth Saro

Organizations

Bard's College

Location

Arx - Ward of the Crown - Bard's College - Main Hall

Largesse Level

Average

Comments and Log


Rodrigo, the Surprisingly Large Flautist arrives, following Nina.

Mistress Dahlia Hall, the silent watcher arrives, following Nanette.

Gianna sweeps out of the Nightingale's Office, glad in bard blue and surveying those gathered with the very barest hint of a smile curving her lips. She begins to circulate, quietly greeting faces both familiar and not.

Of course the Mockingbird is here to celebrate, but he comes in from the outside right before the start of the party. He's clad in darkest of purple and white and silver, which matches his patron's outfit very well (it's almost like they talked beforehand!) The patron question, Berenice, is escorted with an arm around his, Evaristo listening enraptured to something she says and torn between her and the upcoming celebration. However, once inside he looks around with a growing smile, and he grins wide and warm at Gianna.

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

Azova arrives, following Rorik.

Roland, the worst bard in Arvum arrives, following Niklas.

Greguin, an organized priest, 3 Templar Knight guards, Binky, an asshole crow arrive, following Aureth.

Though she hasn't been out and about in quite some time, Sanya nevertheless managed to tear herself from her work to attend an event to support the organisation she holds dear to her heart. "Messere." She smiles on spotting Evaristo, before approaching, albeit slower than usual due to her state. "I'm glad that the Nightingale chose to hold this." She grins. "How've you been?"

Prince Matteo Pravus strolls in to the anniversary party after it has started, but not late enough to be scandalous or even fashionable. He didn't check the time, and meandered his way over to pop his head into the event, seemingly just risen from bed if the mussed hair and wrinkled black silk is any indication. He frowns as he steps in, glancing around in a curious study of the college.

Thea comes striding into the college, a slight smile on her lips. Just coming back from the Malvici greenhouse, she MAY have dirt smudged on her cheek. Missing a spot unintentionally. She won't be here for long, just long enough however, as she looks about to greet a few people she knows.

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

Rorik comes ambling into the Bard's college with Azova on his arm, the two chattering amicably as they make their way into the party. The giant Kennex seems to move with a bit of pained slowness though, and there are bruises on his face that are still in the process of healing. "Anyway, after Dame Bree whipped my ass, I realized I need to learn how to dodge a little bit better," he chuckles. "I don't think I'm ever going to best her in a fight, but at least I can make her work for the win a little harder. You should see all the bruises," he tells her with a proud tip of his chin. "I think I'm basically one big black and blue mark under this shirt."

Gianna raises her hand in greeting to Evaristo, pausing to murmur something in the air of one of the random bards walking about. He smiles cheerfully and they touch glasses. Wait, when did Gianna get a flute of something or other sparkly? It has been spirited to her. She has one now. A nod for Sanya, with a quick glance at the woman's belly. Ah.

Berenice is light to Evaristo's dark, her gown a gleaming aeterna and seasilk ombre affair shifting from white to deepest violet; despite the reduction of the party's grandeur, she certainly is dressed for the most resplendent of galas. Her arm is slipped through Evaristo's, her other hand crossing to settle warm and familiar on his forearm as she whispers some private joke to him. And then they are there, making their entrance, and her attention turns outward, all gleaming smiles; when Sanya approaches, her smile widens, and she says, "Lady Sanya, you look as /ravishing/ as ever." Her gaze is fixed /away/ from her visible pregnancy. Nothing happening down there.

Zoey arrives without escort, looking around for familiar faces and giving greetings to those she knows. There is a soft tinkling of the bells sown into her gown as she walks.

As a bard, fashionista, and lover of all parties, Nina Autumndale would naturally not miss such an important event. She is looking forward to mingling, wearing a stunning two-part, bright pink and silver gown, with matching shoes of course. She arrives getting a flute of blubby for herself, and drifts about elegantly on her cloud of shiny silk.

Nurie drifts in with a light step, her dark gaze sparkling with good cheer, as she takes in the surroundings and the people already gathered. She makes her way towards Gianna slowly, not getting in the way of others, though it's clear her intention is to drift close enough to speak with her softly.

"You as well, your highness." Sanya beams at Berenice. "Though that goes without saying." She glances between the two. "You always coordinate so well. I love how you balance each other out." Nodding to their black and white garb. She gives the Nightingale a nod, her smile warm.

"/Why/ do you sound so proud of that?" Does anyone expect less than exasperation from a healer at such a proud pronouncement? Azova follows it up with a laugh, at least, glancing around the Hall for the familiar. And, espying Thea, lifts her chin a little to gesture towards the Malvici Lady. "Lady Thea was kind enough to give me some dodging tips, and help once I've mastered the ones she taught me. So I can avoid pirate knives. Maybe you should ask her for some help too." is suggested, patting his arm comfortingly.

In a party like this, a princess is a drop of water in an ocean. Still, Adrienne arrives with unusual lightness, to the odd clink of chaimail and swish of chiffon. It is what counts, perhaps, as dressing down. She takes in the room with quiet appreciation and scans the attendees - there are a few familiar faces who receive faint smiles in greeting - and it's happenstance that Nina is nearest as she greets, brow perking with surprise, "Nina Autumndale? It is not a party in Arx if you are not there. Are you a member of the college?" Her tone is polite but even as she finishes her greeting, she skims over the room again.

Nurie's smile has warmth that truly lights her eyes, as she brushes her fingertips over her heart and bows her head respectfully in greeting to Gianna. "I just wanted to offer my congratulations, n

"Lady Sanya, I am absolutely thrilled to see you again," Evaristo says and beams a happy smile at Sanya. He doesn't shy away from looking at her belly and he looks entirely surprised for a moment, because as usual he is absolutely oblivious about such things. But, HAPPY surprised. As it's a big party already, his attention is going all over, smiling, bowing, greeting. "I am the proudest protegee - I escort the most lovely of patrons to this feast, and I will do all I can to be a complement - and a compliment - to her, of course," he says and he gives Berenice a fond look.

Zoey has joined the couch seating.

Kiera enters softly, though not a member, she would not miss a chance to celebrate what the arts bring to arvum. She looks around with open curiosity and bright eyes

Nurie's smile has warmth that truly lights her eyes, as she brushes her fingertips over her heart and bows her head respectfully in greeting to Gianna. "I just wanted to offer my congratulations, Gianna Whisper. Yours was the first singing I heard on nearly my first day in Arx, and it's buoyed me just when I needed it throughout the time I've been here. Congratualtions to you and everyone involved in the founding of the College! It's quite an accomplishment!"

Hearing her name, Thea turns toward the familiar voice. She smiles over at Azova and bows her head, a chuckle following. "Lady Azova. Just say the word, I'll be happy to continue." Her eyes drift over to Rorik, amusement still there before the Malvici tells Azova,"I have two older brothers. I get it. You have no idea,"before drifting over to greet the others she knows.

Matteo, as he moves through a party where he does not recognize most, does pause in a glance over Nina and then Berenice. It's the latter that he's nearer to, drawing a little closer as he snags a glass of wine. Then he hears Evaristo's speech, and the man laughs nearby, a muffled thing by the lift of wine to his lips.

"Because it was a very exhilarating and I didn't go down right away, of course! There's nothing quite like the rush of a good fight," Rorik says to Azova with a laugh, his grin bold as he follows her look over to Thea. There's a polite chin tip to the Malvici lady, though Rorik steers him and Azova towards Gianna. "I got some tips from Wash. He threw very heavy things at me and I tried not to get hit. That was fun, too. Let's go say hello to the Nightingale?" It's a suggestion, but he's already leading her there, a beaming smile set on his lips as he greets Gianna with a tip of his head. "Gianna, you look beautiful. This is my friend, Lady Azova. She's not a Bard herself, but she tolerates listening to me drum on things!" He spies Berenice over there and dips into a quick bow. "Princess Berenice, it's good to see you. Worry not, I don't have a mop handy."

"Oh, so nice to see you, Princess Adrienne! Yes, I was inducted into the college not too long after my arrival here. It really is one of my favorite places in all of the city!" Nina gives Adrienne a curstey as she finishes her greeting, holding her glass in one hand and a bit of skirt in the other. "How have you been? I hope things are well in the Valardin ward these days." Seeing Matteo, she gives him a little wave now.

Here and mingling, Sorrel has a glass of wine in one hand as she makes her way through the throng, singing a little song to herself as she goes. She seems to be in a lovely mood, quite pleased with the turnout and with the number of bards present.

"Thank you so much," Gianna tells Nurie, and there's a hint of pleasure in her eyes as she says so. "That is a very kind thing to say. And I do love your orchids - so lovely. That ring, though. I have one just like it. Josephine gave it to me." She pauses, noting, "I wish she was here now." A rueful look, and then she's turning toward Rorik and Azova, raising her glass. "Lord Rorik, Lady Azova! So good to see you. Thank you for coming. I love your dress."

The click of heels echoes on marble as Ilira slips in after a few others, clad in pale silks and dark leathers. She lingers by the door for a moment, to sweep her gaze across the crowd and bow her head in acknowledgement to passing nobles. The flicker of a smile curves her lips as she eyes Thea, Zoey. Then, in fluid carriage, she crosses to the table of refreshments and plucks up a glass of wine, balanced in her left hand as she settles herself onto an empty couch. Her attention holds on the action.

"It is a good fit for you," Adrienne agrees with a hint of a smile to Nina's greeting. "With the exception of Lady Kennex," - ah there she is! Adrienne raises a few fingers in a wave to Zoey - "I've had little opportunity to meet its members since coming to the city. Who would you recommend that I meet?" She follows Nina's wave to Matteo, tilts her head in absent-minded courtesy, and answers, "And I'm well. You're kind to ask. I'll be travelling back west for a time, but the Ward itself is preparing for the Festival of Death." It's a cheery pronounciation of a potentially gloomy name.

Nurie bows her head again, with a bright smile and a hint of a blush. But then she makes way for more to approach, eagerly turning to claim a flute for herself, and to take more time in truly looking about the hall with great interest, mingling with the crowd.

Azova flashes a grateful smile towards Thea, hand lifted in greeting and acknowledgment before she's already been lead another way. "So you're saying I definitely should not ask Wash for any training. Excellent, thank you." she decides, just then inclining her head politely towards Gianna. "Nightingale, it's a pleasure to meet you. I love your ensemble. Such lovely brocade. And the color!" The compliment of her own dress brings a smile to her face too. "That's so kind of you, and appreciated." When Rorik addresses Berenice, her gaze turns that way too, and another polite dip of head offered.

Niklas walks in to the main hall of the Bard's College with Sabella on his arm. He gestures a hand toward the auditorium entrance and finishes saying whatever it is he'd started out there, "...and walked off with them bold as brass. The metal. No other brasses." Niklas glances around the room, but ultimately directs his wife around toward Gianna. "Ah, Nightingale, you are as lovely to see as you are to hear! As always sapphires do suit you." So much flattery! It's almost like he's met her! Niklas looks to his wife and asks, "Shall I get you a drink, my love?"

"Perhaps, but you are still /always/ welcome to say it," Berenice replies to Sanya with bright mirth and a teasing sort of vanity. Soon enough, she has a glass of sparkling wine in hand to enjoy, because of course she does. She eyes Matteo nearby, her gaze narrowing on him. "I see you there, Prince Matteo. Come here. Have you met my protege? Captain Evaristo Arterius, Mockingbird of the Bard's College, among many other accomplishments." And then Rorik is there, making /threats/ by way of polite assurances. "Lord Rorik, it is quite nice to see you /without any mops/," she tells him with a distinct sense of warning.

Zoey returns Adrienne's wave from her seat on one of the couches, and gives Ilira a nod as well.

"Oh! Well, let me make some proper introductions, then," Nina says, and she starts to move around the crowd with Adrienne to follow. "Of course you do know Princess Sorrel, I believe? If not, a valuable person to know!" She gestures that way. "... and this party is thanks to Gianna, of course!" Nina starts to walk in Gianna's direction, though of course she is likely popular. "Oh, I do love the color of that dress; it matches so well with the college pin," she says to Gianna.

Thea receives a message, and excuses herself, but not before looking over to Gianna,"I just wanted to make a brief stop. Five years I'm sure for you just flew by,"a smile appearing. With a quick bow, Thea steps out.

"It's only a few months from now." Sanya chuckles merrily when she notes Evaristo's gaze. "Though it's not something I've spoken about often." She turns to Berenice. "Then I'll say it again, you look ravishing, your highness. The highlight of every event is seeing what you've chosen to wear." She says with a sincere smile, appraising the princess' dress. A certain name captures her attention swiftly. "Matteo?" She shifts her attention to the Pravus prince. "You must be Vanora's brother. I've been keen to meet you ever since she mentioned you'd entered the city. She's had the loveliest things to say. Though so often does about her Pravus kin."

Matteo sketches a salute across the party towards Nina, adding a little wink towards Adrienne for all that he doesn't recognize her companion. His name, however, calls his attention over to Berenice and Evaristo, and the group gathering there. "I would introduce my protege, but I don't think Jac has any fancy titles and well, she isn't here," he replies with easy humor, before turning to bow his head to Evaristo. "Captain Mockingbird of Many Accomplishments, it is a pleasure to meet you. And, a pleasure to see you again, Princess Berenice." He grins to Sanya, nodding. "Yes, Vanora's brother. When we were younger, I will have you know, she used to be Matteo's sister. But, she has risen quite high, hasn't she?"

"Please," Sabella tells Niklas with a smile, beaming at the crowd that's already there and then gushing to Gianna, "Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that this day would come? Five years! How extraordinary! You ought to be very proud and also incredibly celebrated for such an accomplishment! I don't think I've been to a party in this city that the Bard's College hasn't been apart of in forever! And to think I remember when this was just a discussion once about possibly putting such a thing together!"

Kiera moves over to a table to grab something nonalcoholic and then maneuvers her way a short distance from adrienne hoping to introduce herself

Evaristo manages to sweep by Gianna somewhere there - or she sweeps by him - and he compiments her too. "Gianna, I don't know HOW you possibly can outdo yourself each time, but you have. Again. You look ravishing," he tells her. "Let me know when game-time is up!" Then he's drawn into other introductions, bowing to Matteo and Rorik both. "Well met, Prince Matteo, Lord Rorik. Are mops some new fashion fad that came and went?" he asks innocently. "I feel out of the loop." Out of the corner of his eye he spots Ilira and he perks up, giving her a friendly wave. "Ilira! There you are - you're looking amazing."

"I'm very excited to celebrate the College's first five years in Arx. Here's to five hundred more, yeah?" Rorik says to Gianna with a charming sort of smile before he chuckles over to Berenice. If he's worried about the tone she's using, it's not something he wears outright - instead, there's a spark of amusement in his eyes, as though this mop thing might be an inside /joke/ or something. He does however hear Azova muttering something beside him and he blinks at her. "Whaaaat? I was just telling her Highness the other day about all the times I'd pretend to have a fight on my ship with a mop. They make very good pretend swords. And dance partners, actually, but that's a story for another time. Anyway, it's very /clean/ fun," he jokes, before he turns a more sincere smile to Berenice. "You do look beautiful, your Highness. It's nice to see you." Evaristo gets a pleasant nod and then - "Sabella! NIKLAS!"

Gianna brightens, flicking her hair over her shoulder with her free hand. "Why thank you, Prince Niklas. Princess Sabella. I'm so glad you both came. You've been with me since the beginning, and I'm not sure I've ever really told you how grateful I am for that." An almost smile. One that reaches her eyes, even. "I could never have dreamed of this. Until I did." And distraction! "Miss Autumndale, thank you," she tells her. "I love that dress, too. Remarkable. You wore it so well --- do you like the brocade? I decided to splurge on an official outfit of sorts for College business some time ago." Also, 'bard blue'? Is the shade of blue of Gianna's eyes. This is perhaps never quite as obvious as when she's wearing it in the main hall of the College, with all its banners. An inclination of her head to Thea, a murmured word of thanks. "Just a bit longer," she tells Evaristo.

"Lord Rorik keeps threatening to assault me with a mop, so I am in the process of selecting a suitably dramatic poison for him," Berenice tells Evaristo airily in explanation. Yes, totally normal. Her gaze shifts between Matteo and Sanya for a moment as she sips her wine, but offers a pleased and gracious nod to both Sanya and Rorik for their /compliments/. "You're /too/ kind," she says in a tone that suggests there is no world in which she could receive too many compliments.

"Well I hope you'll forgive me." Sanya says to the prince with an apologetic smile. "I'm Lady Sanya Grimhall, cousin of Duke Valdemar. Though honestly Vanora's been like a sister to me, in spirit if not by blood. It's an easy mistake to make, addressing her kin in such a way." She inclines her head respectfully. "It's a pleasure to meet you, your highness." Of course she can't miss the other Kennex. "Lord Rorik, a pleasure to meet you too."

"You must not have heard me, I clearly muttered I did not want to knooooow." Azova points out, with some combination of amusement and concern. Having seen Niklas and Sabella at several Thraxian or Kennex events, their familiarity prompts a smile as her greeting for them. Clearly, she has not heard anything about poison or her already pale skin would further drain of color. And she is happy to remain cheerfully oblivious in the midst of so many people.

Matteo's gaze sweeps over the party; there's no compliment forthcoming from him. Though, he does remark: "I think this is the first party I've been to since my return to Arx where I am not just waiting for the commoners to storm in and eat our bodies." He smiles, crookedly. "I guess they would not need to storm. There are plenty of them here. I'm surprised there aren't more, what with the free food and all. It could easily turn to jostling and shoving and well, more."

Adrienne seems grateful for Nina's escort and looks first to Sorrel. There's recognition there, but also not - her gaze travelling over the Bladesong in silent study. "It's been a long time, Sorrel," Adrienne says at last, warmly. "You look wonderful. How are you? I'm overdue to have invited you for tea." Oh, but Nina's introducing her to the very popular Nightingale. "Gianna Whisper? I'm honored to meet you. Adrienne Valardin," she introduces for herself. "If I looked forward to nothing else on coming to Arx, it was to hear you perform." She's wholesomely sincere. Adrienne flashes Nina a grateful look and murmurs something softly to her.

Aureth ambles amiably among the partygoers, dressed in white and trailed by a priestly entourage that makes him unsubtle despite any efforts he might have. "It's quite a hike from the Boroughs," he remarks on the failure of rioters to attend, as he wanders past Matteo. He lifts a leg, extends it, and slaps the back of it with one hand. "I used to have excellent calves because of it."

"I'll keep that in mind. I hear women like a neatly turned calf," Matteo murmurs in passing to the priest, lifting his glass in a salute to Aureth's... advice?

Gianna takes a few moments to attempt to catch Ilira's eye and raise her glass to one of the College's newest additions. She mouths something to the young woman. A quick tilt of her chin to Berenice, and to Sorrel, and she turns her attention to Adrienne. "Why, thank you. The honour is mine, Princess. I have heard rumour you rather like music yourself. You ought to consider joining the College. We've had a part in so many --- you know what? I had a speech. I should give the speech."

"She promised to make it as entertaining as possible for me," Rorik says chipperly to Evaristo at the talk of poisons. Like it's something to be /excited/ about! He's at least easily distracted, so he turns to Sanya to dip into a quick bow for her. "Lady Sanya, it's a pleasure. Do you know Lady Azova?" He tips his chin to the woman at his side, taking a moment to murmur something down to Azova with a bit of a grin before he straightens back up.

"I have never been less than honored to have helped this endeavor become what it is, Nightingale, and even though I no longer act as your patron there are few people that are not related to me for whom I have such tremendous pride as I do in your successes." Niklas disengages for a moment to pick up a pair of drinks from a passing server and gets one to Sabella just in time to throw up his hands and call out, "Second Mockingbird Evaristo! We should have planned outfits so we could be accessories for the Nightingale. Damn. I wish I'd thought of that earlier! Well, there will probably be another party like this in five more years, assuming we're all still here." He looks between Rorik and Berenice, offering a grimace of disapproval at the threat on offer. "Rory once decided to stage a mop ambush on my sister. Fortunately we found most of his teeth."

Nina leans over, listens to Adrienne, and nods with a big smile, her eyes squinting as she does. She greets Gianna with the same happy expression. "Thank you so much. I'm looking forward to helping sponsor a fashion show for the Death Festival soon too. I think brocade has become my favorite. Velvet is nice, but... it's a touch warm for spring and summer, and with the brocade you can even dress it down a bit and wear a tunic and trousers..." She sighs. "Oh, I'm carrying on. Thank you for holding such a lovely party!"

"Ah, yes, your Highness. Welcome to Arx! I'd heard word from the Valardin ward that you were in the city, but I haven't managed to go see my cousins over there lately," Sorrel replies as she slips over closer to Adrienne to make speaking more easy.

Ilira's face lights with a smile to Evaristo. "Here I am--and thank you." She settles back into her quiet as she lifts her wine to sip, a trace of gold dusted to the rim when she lowers it.

Nurie draws in a quiet breath at Matteo's words, though for the moment she keeps her face carefully pleasant in expression and doesn't speak. She does, however, lift her flute in quiet salute to Aureth, her more distant smile warming to a grin as he slaps his calf.

"Everyone," Gianna calls out, voice raised but no less pure. "Do bear with me. I have some words to say. A few moments of your time, please." The Nightingale glances about herself at the throng of people and hikes the hem of her gown up enough to allow herself to step up onto one of the low tables so she can be better seen by everyone.

At Gianna's call, Zoey turns in her seat with interest.

"If it eases your mind, the riots aren't as common as you'd thing." Sanya offers to the prince, before turning to Azova. "Oh, Lady Azova. My mother was Lady Alina Darkwater, Count Draevor's sister." Her demeanor becomes solemn when she mentions the late man. "It's been so long, we may not have met when I last was in Darkwater Watch."

"I don't imagine they'd want to risk earning the attention of the King's Own by rioting in the Crown Ward," Berenice says with a bright laugh to Matteo. "I only regret that the Nightingale had to reduce the grandeur of her planned celebrations because of all that todo." Yes. That is obviously the regretful thing. "I'm afraid that Evaristo is /my/ accessory for the evening," she says with a warm laugh to Niklas, her dark eyes gleaming. "Your highnesses, you both look positively /resplendent/," she does add a moment later to Niklas and Sabella both, before her attention is drawn to Gianna as she seeks to begin her speech.

"Ahhh, the good old Mop - the dance-partner that never admonishes you for a wrong step and is lightly moving with you across the deck. I know them well," Evaristo says dead pan. "She is so considerate, our Princess Berenice. Killing someone joyfully and with some entertainment? Very nice," he agrees cheerfully. He turns to Niklas and he makes a sound of agreement; "We SHOULD have, but... there will be more parties, and that IS an excellent idea." He throws another friendly wink at Ilira, and just mentions casually to those around; "Miss Ilira Starlys over there, is our newest bard - just joined us a couple of days ago. Absolutely MARVELOUS on a lute and her voice is spectacular!" Then he quiets and turns to listen to Gianna.

Ilira's eyes lift to Gianna, her lips curved.

"Lady Sanya. A pleasure." One of Azova's elbows is directed toward Rorik's side. "I don't think you're supposed to be excited about that prospect." About to say more to Sanya, she is first distracted by the whisper towards her, and then Gianna. So she murmurs something quietly to each before paying attention to the Nightingale.

Aureth tips an imaginary hat to answer Nurie's salute, teeth flashing in a return grin, and then he goes, "Speech, speech, speech!" like he's trying to get other people to start chanting. Who invited the heckler, anyway? I blame Evaristo.

Nurie obediantly turns towards Gianna as she speaks and then steps up onto the table, her grin rfading once more into a smile, but the warmth remaining as she regards the Whisper.

Adrienne's pale eyes sparkle at Gianna's welcome. "Please don't let me keep you..." she offers as Gianna begins her address. She reaches out to take Sorrel's hand with a friendly squeeze if the princess permits it. "It's been busy. I should have thought to see you here. Are you well?" It's a kind question but also concerned, a little too knowing in light of recent events. "Nina was just telling me that she's putting on a fashion show. She deserves more glamorous company than what I can provide."

"When I first came to this city," Gianna begins, her voice projecting easily in the room, "Five years ago, there was no formal organization for musicians. Commoners who relied on their music, songs, or stories could not be guaranteed enough coin to make a living. Music as a life's pursuit was not something necessarily available.

"I sang many a song in taverns and parks. The citizens of Arx were generous, and I will always be grateful for the warmth of my welcome here. Still, there had to be a way to share this prosperity with others, and so I decided there ought to be a place for those interested in the bardic arts to gather and perform. With the aid of Prince Niklas, Princess Sabella, Baroness Lucita, Lord Porter, Princess Caith, Marquessa Iseulet, and the now-departed Itzal Culler, I founded the Bard's College.

"I found us a home here, in a building long abandoned. Restoration took some time, and we uncovered a beautiful mosaic that hinted at the build's mysterious past. The College opened, and we began to put on plays and concerts. Prince Niklas' Good Duke of Gemecitta; Lady Evonleigh's Wager of Hearts and Lady of a Thousand Masks. I sang the Nightingale's Lament here. We hosted Princess Sorrel's Metallic Opera and her boon concert for Princess Arianna Pravus as well. The College has been instrumental in summer plays for children, rediscovering the citole, providing tragedy relief, working with Venturo Thayne and his Raconteur Enterprises, working with the Laurents for the Artshall Revival, helping put on the Commoner Games and the Festival of Death - which is coming up again, do attend - and most recently, spreading the Freedom Song of the Isles with House Thrax." So many words.


"Well, percentage wise based on my time in Arx, I think they've taken up at least thirty percent?" Matteo calculates thoughtfully towards Sanya, his brow quirking. It probably isn't that high, but who needs real math when you can make up percents. He looks as if he might want to say something on the subject of Berenice's regrets, but for once-- the Pravus prince thinks better of it, as the speech starts. He sips his wine, turning his attention to Gianna.

"But not /all/ of them," Rorik says to Niklas with a teeth-bearing grin. "Thankfully you can't even tell that some of them are fake - oh, I guess I should shut up now." At least the Kennex lord has some awareness about him. He takes a step back so that he can put his attention towards Gianna, grabbing a drink for himself and Azova in the process. He's an attentive listener when he shuts up.

"And an honored part of the founding and continual instruction of the Oleander School," Berenice adds to Gianna's list of the college's many accomplishments and partnerships.

Gianna continues, "We have expanded into Cascade Springs at the request of House Halfshav, brought a conservatory to the Whisper Palace at Aviaron's Peak, and musical instruction at the Oleander School in Lenosia. We have spread songs far and wide and uncovered folklore long forgotten. Our reach is far. Our voices are strong. We will not be silenced.

"We are, of course, grateful to those who lend their support: the Crown, Whisper House, and House Champagne. Thank you for believing in us and what we stand for. There is so much more to come!" Gianna raises her glass, voice ringing out. "To the College!" Okay now she's done. Probably. She's done.


Adrienne lifts a glass of water from a passing tray with a thankful smile to the server bearing it. "To the College," she toasts soberly at the conclusion of Gianna's remarks before returning to her convesation with Sorrel and Nina.

Rorik is overheard praising Gianna: To the College!

Azova is overheard praising Gianna.

Matteo is overheard praising Gianna: To the college!

Evaristo has a glass in hand and has secured one for Berenice too, in case she didn't already have one. He's listening to this speech, and the more things listed, the more proud he looks - he may not have been there for half of it, but he was there for enough to feel like he is a big part. "Hooray! To the college!" he calls out and raises his glass in a toast and then drinks.

Zoey is overheard praising Gianna: To the College!

"To the College!" Nurie is happy to cry, lifting her voice with many others and raising her glass once more. "We will not be silenced! The delicate young woman's voice is strong, despite her appearance.

Nina flushes a bit and waves Adrienne off - a princess is always glamorous to her, and she WOULD have more to say on the topic... but then Gianna begins to speak, and attracts her attention. The speech is inspiring, and after one brief aside, she raises her glass in a toast, whistling loudly, sipping, then clapping her hand on her wrist so that she can also applaud with enthusiasm.

Nina is overheard praising Gianna: To the college!

Nina is overheard praising Bard's college.

Kiera is overheard praising Gianna: congrats to another five years

Berenice is overheard praising Gianna.

Berenice is overheard praising Bard's college.

Nurie is overheard praising Gianna: To the College! May the reach expand, the voices grow in strength. And may you never be silenced.

"That's understandable, of course. Though if you stay in the city longer, the statistics are likely to become a little more favorable." Sanya muses quietly to Matteo. She applauds for Gianna and those she names in turn, a smile of pride for the oragnisation. "I'm honored to be a part of this." She says with a raised voice.

Gianna smiles. A big, radiant smile, soaking up all the applause and praise with a proudly tilted chin.

Matteo's gaze catches on Nurie as she joins her voice with the others, a singular brow quirking up a little curiously, a lot humorously before he takes a sip of his wine.

"To the College!" Rorik raises his voice in a cheer, though really he's loud enough without raising it at all. He picks up his cup and then takes a large gulp.

Ilira's gaze sparkles as she raises her glass. She snaps her fingers in praise to Gianna, the shine of admiration on her face.

Nanette is overheard praising Dycard.

Sabella raises up her newly acquired glass thanks to Niklas and cheers, "To the college!" Taking a sip then handing it off to Elizabetta so that she can applaud all the louder, "And the Nightingale, whose brilliant, clear voice has guided all of us in this endeavor!"

Niklas is overheard praising Bard's college.

Ilira is overheard praising Gianna.

Evaristo drops Bard's College Five Year Celebration Game.

You would think someone who lived actually /in/ the College and worked right next door to this very room might be one person who would manage to show up precisely on time, but instead, no: here's Saro ambling in through the doorway to the main hall right when the inspiring speechifying has just concluded and everyone else has been here for ages. Nevertheless she catches those enthusiastic cries echoing through the hall, and joins in with her own, "TO the College!" Then, with vague waves around at anybody she recognizes, which is probably not very many people at all, she goes in quest of something to drink and a place to perch and watch the goings-on. Which, apparently, are now going to included games.

With her free hand, Ilira gestures Saro to the empty space beside her on the couch.

Kiera frowns slightly at bernice's words, a look of almost guilt crossing her face but the gianna speaks and she is caught by the words and straightens. SheThere is nothing their that should not be celebrated, championed lauded, the nightengale knows the proper balance. She applauds generously

Evaristo murmurs something to Berenice near after Gianna's speech is finished, then disentangles and bows to her before he steps over to a spot on the floor where he is well visible from all around.

"Hear ye, hear ye!" he calls out, his voice carrying VERY well - he is after all a bard. "My fellow revelers, did you think there would be no games? Fear not!" He unrolls a large vellum scroll, and attaches it to a stand. "Please - I would ask you all to find two partners, because this is a game of bardic pursuits in a manner. It would be nice if you join with someone that you perhaps don't already know that well - make new friends, and laugh together! The idea is - you will make a PLAY together. You have fifteen minutes to write it AND make props, and then it must be NO longer than five minutes! The rules are here to read. I will give you... two minutes to form teams, so hurry up!"

Evaristo adds, to be clear; "You can ONLY use items you can find in this room. Don't tear things down. Don't rip up the furniture..." he adds, with a humorous tone of voice.

Ilira has joined the couch seating.

"I'm pretty sure that means no mops, Rorik." Azova reminds, just in case. It actually doesn't, but she sure sounds convinced.

Gianna gathers up her skirt again and steps down from the table. She subtley gestures to one random nearby bard, who looks confused. She mimes a rubbing motion and gestures to the table she just stepped down from. The bard goes 'oh' and swiftly produces a handkerchief to give the surface of the table a quick wipe. Gianna nods.

"Wow, it's been awhile," Aureth says with the breath of a laugh. "Since I did anything besides _fund_ a play." He raises a hand and projects: "Does anyone need a juggler?" What a good idea.

"Oh, no, we'd have to make props!" Nina giggles. "I'm just such a beginner at that one." But she seems perfectly ready to make a team with the women around her, looking at Adrienne. "Do you know anything much about prop making or would you rather perform in... whatever we write?"

"Well, then." Sanya's eyes widen at the new prospect. She turns to the server who offers her a lime water at her earlier request before turning to Azova. "Would you like to team up?" She asks, her newly found kin. Her gaze shift to Rorik too, naturally.

"Oooh, a game!" Rorik looks delighted as Evaristo makes the announcement, clapping his hands together after he puts his drink aside of course. He leans to read the scroll before he looks over to Azova, brows lifting high. "Want to be on my team?" Her joke about the mops gets a laugh out of him, then he looks to Sanya and nods his head. "Sure. We can go sit over there," he points to one of the couches.

Rorik has joined the couch seating.

"Don't worry, I didn't bring my seam-ripper," Nurie laughs, her smile bright with humor, when there's mention of no destruction of already existing items allowed. But she seems very excited to take part, glancing around as people mill and form into teams.

Azova has joined the couch seating.

Sanya has joined the couch seating.

Azova beams at Sanya, and gestures the way Rorik leads. "This will be fantastic. I'm certain."

"Well," says Niklas, looking over the rules. "It hardly seems like it would be fair for me to go and write a play." He looks to his wife and says, "Would you like to be a playwright today, and I'll be," he gives a long suffering sigh, "an actor?" He looks around, then calls out, "The winning team needs someone to do something crafty with their hands! I thought to myself 'perhaps I will build something' and I already have seven splinters!"

Ilira's gesture catches Saro's eye once she's managed to secure something that might be lemon tea, and though it's clear that she doesn't know the woman making that gesture from the Queen of the Elves, that doesn't seem to remotely trouble her and she agreeably makes her way in that direction. "Good afternoon, milady," she says with an easy smile. She also doesn't seem troubled by the fact that she's wandered into this rather nice gathering wearing a faded and slightly shabby shirt flecked with mysterious shiny stains, which is clearly some old work shirt.

Saro has joined the couch seating.

"And here I am, overwhelmed with my number of friends," comments Matteo more to himself, dryly, than anyone else. His gaze slides around the room, thoughtful, before he points across the room to where Aureth has gone. "I do believe that I need someone with nice calves in my play," he calls out across the party shamelessly. He quirks another brow at Nurie, too, for the seamripper remark.

Zoey goes to Nina and Adrienne, gesturing back to the couch she claimed earlier and saying something to them quietly.

Aureth makes a show of inspecting his legs to see if they'll still pass muster, and then tugs up his trouser leg to proffer it to Matteo while-- balancing on the other foot. At least he's still sober.

Sabella grins at Niklas as the game is announced, "Shall we be on the same team? I rather fancy writing a play myself this time!" She raises up her hand and says, "Playwright looking for a team!"

"Good! Come be my empress," Matteo approves with a nod towards Aureth's calf. He then smiles towards Nurie, before remembering something. He pulls a toy out of his pocket, and wiggles it towards Nurie as bait??? as he makes his way to a couch.

Matteo drops a grey cloth toy mouse.

Matteo gets a grey cloth toy mouse.

Matteo has joined the couch seating.

Aureth has joined the couch seating.

Zoey has left the couch seating.

Zoey has joined the couch seating.

Well, if it's good enough for someone of the Faith to do...Nurie hoists her long skirts just enough to twist around and take a look at her own calves, though they're NOWHERE near as shapely as Aureth's. She lifts a brow to Aureth and Matteo, as if in question, though when Matteo appears to wiggle a mouse, she gasps aloud, at least until she realizes it's not alive. But she does come over to the couch seating, perhaps realizing that maybe there might be more help needed!

"I've never been an empress before," Aureth says, as he strolls over to this couch arrangement.

Nurie has joined the couch seating.

Mistress Dahlia Hall, the silent watcher leaves, following Nanette.

"Greetings, my Lady," Ilira smiles to Saro with a bow of her head. "I am Ilira." Her attention flickers to Zoey's approach as she smiles, "And hello to you, again, Lady Zoey. Here, there's room." She scoots to allow space for her to sit.

Gianna glances over at Evaristo, raising her eyebrows. "I seem to be needed?"

Evaristo mingles around as people start to form teams and nudges people if it seems they're unsure. In the end, he ends up joining up with Sabella and Niklas himself. "The two minutes are UP! Our fifteen minutes of insane play-making begins NOW!" He turns a time-glass on a table, so people can see and get more stressed!

Aureth drops intricately woven triple-looped spiderweb of rose gold and ruby drops.

Aureth takes intricately woven triple-looped spiderweb of rose gold and ruby drops.

Gianna smoothes her skirt. "I suppose I'll be judging," she announces.

Nina feels bad that not everyone can be on the same team. And she feels a little intimidated by the concept of crafting, but ... she'll make do. She's already worried that she hasn't done everything she needs to do at this party and this game is very hard. "Ahhh... oh. What props do we need? I'll go run off and find some things in the work shop." She scatters hurried on heels.

Azova appears distinctly amused when she stands up to go scrounging for supplies. Cloth, wine, water, a glass... not a huge list by any means. But it has to look /good/. A smile is cast over her shoulder to her teammates before she searches in earnest.

Something Sorrel says causes Adrienne to laugh, low and soft. "I'm sure we can find you a tablecloth, Sorrel." With a look of serious focus, Adrienne turns with Nina to survey the room. Surely a Bard's College has instruments laying about.

Evaristo has joined the couch seating.

Sabella has joined the couch seating.

Niklas has joined the couch seating.

Gianna doesn't have to do anything but wait at this point, and so she spend that time watching with a hint of amusement, nibbling on a bit of meatroll and sipping from the glass. It may not be expensive stuff, but it's still food and drink. The College is festive enough on its own in the regular trappings, perhaps.

Evaristo is making some animated gesturing over at one of the couches where he plots and plans with Sabella and Niklas - and then he's rushing off to start finding THINGS. He's eyeing those banners for awhile, but... one glance at Gianna and he thinks better of it. But, a table-cloth is swiped off a table, and some sheets of fellum, he manages to convince an innocent bard to lend him the feather from his hat...

Nina knows her way around and knows how to find things, so she scurries into the workshop for a bit, and then comes back with a bit of cloth, and some pieces of wood and paper. She mostly starts working with the paper. At the very least, she has clever hands, which are largely used for strumming harps but have other skills on occasion. She also gets another drink. It will improve matters, she's certain.

Aureth starts whistling a tune. Helpfully. (It's not that helpful.)

Matteo is laughing, almost crying, at the sofa as he also drinks more wine.

Niklas throws up his hands and storms away from the couches. "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!"

Adrienne hums a tune under her breath - and frowns, casting Aureth a bit of princess side eye as their tunes clash - before she shakes it off. The chitarrone has her frowning with a far bigger problem.

Niklas gets a drink and then goes back to the couch. "OF BEING THIRSTY!"

Saro announces with a clap of hands, "Right, I'm on it!" and jumps up from the couch where she's been sitting with Ilira and Zoey. She moves off through the room very purposefully, efficiently requisitioning a large platter (she conscientiously eats the remaining refreshments on it first) and then a tablecloth, before all the tablecloths can be bundled off by the other teams.

"Not nearly enough! Have more wine," Matteo calls out to Niklas from across the party.

Rorik looks up from his amused conversation with his teammates when Niklas storms away only to grab a drink. It makes him laugh so hard he snorts.

Nina walks past Matteo on the sofa in one of her breezy pass-bys. "I should have said hello earlier but suddenly we got so busy with the game! Remind me later, I will introduce you to the Princess Adrienne... We're... writing a play! Very fast!" She raises her glass to Matteo, downs it in one, and then refills it and THEN goes back to cutting paper.

Evaristo calls back at Niklas. "We need MORE! MORE THINGS!" He sweeps a scar from a bystander with a charming smile, and carries an armload back to the couch - it's everything from wine-glasses to a slipper. Just ONE slipper.

"/Very/ fast," Adrienne calls back in answer, still frowning. She runs slender fingers over the instrument's strings, tuning and testing it - possibly to the chargrin of anyone else trying to compose at the moment. Princess privilege.

"Quicksand! What is quicksand!" Matteo suddenly asks as he hops to his feet. He almost bumps into Nina, laughing, as he promises: "Yes, of course. Our play is also very fast." Then he brushes past her, intent. He looks around, before grabbing a silver platter of pastries and absconding with them back to the sofa.

Nurie is a whirlwind of activity. Twisting crowns togeter from cloth napkins and borrowed jewelry, getting out a sewing repair kit, helping to hike up poor Aureth's trouser legs and then fashioning an overlay of skirts with her cloak. And showing her lady's maid skillz as well as tailoring, she next sets upon Aureth's hair. It's not quite as good as she might get with a proper brush, but slowly his long locks are gathered into a very fashinable updo, as high as she can get it. Occasionally, moving his head this way and that shamelessly to work on him. And chattering quite amiably with both her partners.

Saro pauses on her way back to her team to collect another few random items which she doesn't seem sure about but which nevertheless appear to strike her as promising, before flopping down on the couch next to Ilira.

While people are planning and writing, Roland, who got in by claiming to be with Niklas and Sabella, heads over to hit on Gianna while strongly implying that he should be allowed to sing the closing song, because he wrote a great song about whirlpools and it feels very timely.

Aureth gets Pearl decorated silver hairbrush from a grey pouch textured with embroidered coins.

Aureth says, "You never know when you'll need a hairbrush."

Evaristo gets a seasilk scarf in ocean teal from a hybrid between a bandolier and a satchel in the colors of a mockingbird's wings.

"Oh, isn't that lovely," Gianna is telling Roland. "I'm afraid we won't have time for your ditty." The tone of voice says 'gracious' but somehow that is... dubious. She shoots Niklas a Look.

Evaristo is starting to put together things into some sort of costumes. There's quite a few feathers involved. The slipper is being shaped into some sort of strange hat.

It'll have to do. Adrienne glides back toward Sorrel and Nina - but pauses mid-stride, noting Roland and Gianna. She slides around the former, noting with grave courtesy to Gianna and just a hint of humor to her eyes. "If I forgot to say earlier, you are dazzling, Nightengale. Enjoy the performances." It's not underhanded flattery when it's so transparently obvious (and true). She's still a Valardin. Then she rejoins her team. "I'll do what I can. You may want to slip in a few mentions of sapphires, however."

Evaristo tries to shape the silk tablecloth into another hat and is making attempts to fit it on Niklas.

Matteo shoves a pastry into his mouth with a sigh and sets aside the pastry for a servant to take care of and put back with the rest of the food. Alas, no smushing quicksand!

The sand in that glass is getting to the point where it must be no more than maybe a couple of minutes left...

Aureth has left the couch seating.

Greguin, an organized priest have been dismissed.

3 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

Binky, an asshole crow have been dismissed.

Aureth has joined the couch seating.

Adrienne checked intellect + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 39 higher.

Adrienne checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 44 higher.

What a kind thing to say! Gianna inclines her head to Adrienne, turning her back on Roland in the meantime. Oops! "Thank you! Good luck."

Nina checked wits + legerdemain at difficulty 20, rolling 13 higher.

Nina checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.

Sorrel checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 37 higher.

Sorrel checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 34 higher.

"Oh, do we get extra points if her compliment the judge?" Matteo questions even as one group prepares to put on their play. He lifts his glass of wine to Gianna, offering her with warm humor: "You are apparently well-loved and you are also very beautiful and I would not kick you out of bed."

*we compliment

Aureth laughs, and then says, "Well, an _accurate_ compliment, if not the most delicately phrased, Your Highness," as he rubs his eyes between thumb and middle finger.

"Delicately phrased words are boring, he said in a room full of bards," Matteo drawls companionably to Aureth as he takes a long sip of wine.

Saro checked intellect + woodworking at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.

"Let me see that dialogue piece again," Aureth mutters.

Saro checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.

Zoey checked intellect + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Zoey checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.

Wearing a white tablecloth as a cloak, Sorrel begins to sing a song about how she is the white dragon of legend, Valar! And she has transformed herself into a man -- this is accompanied by a swirling pirouette -- because she has fallen in love with the most honorable of knights. The passion of the white dragon shall not be denied! He is a profoundly honorable king and he is willing to sacrifice for the woman he loves. His oath is his bond, he sings to Dame Sugan. In his tablecloth.

Gianna raises her eyebrows in Matteo's direction, her expression fairly neutral. Vaguely flattered? Hard to tell with Whispers sometimes. "Mmhmn."

"Shall we?" Adrienne asks of her companions, offering Sorrel her arm as she deposits them at the front of the room to perform. On a team consisting of the Bladesong and the Bard of Pravus, Adrienne tactfully makes herself the accompmanist to the stage musical: "VALAR & SUGAN: A LOVE STORY". The chitarrone is as tall as she is, but Adrienne manages to play intricate and light melodies beneath Sorrel and Nina's singing, albeit with a serious gaze and tight smile that screams: /everything is FINE/. Her shoulders shake with laughter as fingers dance, desperate to keep up with whatever Nina and Sorrel create - and having a delightful time in the attempt.

Nina is probably not the most skilled craftsperson it's true, but she has some skill with her hands, enough to put together passing props for their little play. As she had to make fashion in a hurry, well, a tablecloth will do for a costume. And she herself has a helm of paper, using other stuff she scavenged from the workshop in the college. Adrienne had quickly assigned Nina the remarkable role of Sugan in this little play, which... Well, it's not a REAL play, but still, what a flattering idea... to play as such a heroic figure of legend! So ... Nina does her best, and tries not to trip over herself, her performance in the little farce well-aided by what is now three glasses of wine taken in just a bit too rapidly. It doesn't seem to mess up her ability to improvise. Truly, it does enhance it in a fashion. She is a good singer at least!

Nurie is it a facepalm or just Nurie adjusting the crown on her own head and composing her expression before she turns it to the room? Hard to say. But when her hand leaves her face, her cheeks are red, and she does shoot Gianna an apologetic look.

Ilira checked intellect + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Ilira checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.

The singing seems to help! Gianna's watches the song and not-quite-dance but there was a pirouette, after all. Tablecloths and paper serve well enough, and the Nightingale applauds the little play with some merriment in her eyes. It's really, really hard to get a smile out of her.

Wrapped in her tablecloth, in character as Valar, Sorrel notes to Gianna, "I would not kick you out of bed either, but my heart belongs to another, and I must be faithful, no matter how beautiful you are!" And then she bows and lets Team 2 take the stage.

The room errupts into cheers and laughter at the first performance - the outfits are quite spectacular, the performances are good, and it's nobody expecting more than good fun and foolishness. Evaristo stands up and applauds and cheers, laughter shaking his shoulders. "Excellent! Our next team is Lady Zoey, Miss Ilira, and Miss Saro!"

Gianna abruptly has to clear her throat against the back of her hand at Sorrel's comment, her shoulders giving a little shake.

"I might need your help with Pravosi compliments, Nina," Adrienne admits, pale eyes bright as she wraps an arm around Sorrel's waist to offer her a quick half-hug and a murmured words. A passing server carries wine and she steals a glass to offer it to Nina - but then she remembers to sip! Good Valardin. - before offering it a second time. "You deserve this."

Nurie applauds enthusiastically for the first performance, giving it a standing ovation, and taking her glass back up for a quick sip.

Azova checked intellect + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 6 higher.

Azova checked intellect + alchemy at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.

The next team comes up, with their props of Moon and Wolf, and they perform Wolves: the Musical... as presented by herded cats. The trio has whiskers drawn on their cheeks with Zoey's sketching charcoal, thereby transforming them into said felines. They act out a rendition of the Sermon of the Wolf where Ilira plays Wolf while Saro and Zoey take on the other various roles. Zoey does a bit over overly dramatic yowling when portraying a Siren, and bats at the moon when Saro eventually holds it up.

Rorik checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 40 higher.

Rorik checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 20 higher.

Nina looks a little flushed having done such a silly thing, but she's bold and it will pass. She gives Adrienne a little wiggle of her fingers, then takes up the glass. Ah, more wine. "Well no matter what the judges say, we had fun and were funny and all that is what counts! We make a good team!"

Sanya checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 63 higher.

Sanya checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 55 higher.

Saro rises to her feet, the drama of the motion accented by the swirl of a throw evidently filched from right off the back of the sofa. Her throw, however, is not merely a cape, but is draped over her head with two little twists of the fabric sticking up like ears, and her face has been marked with actually rather exquisitely patterned lines that look very convincingly like fur, given that they've only been drawn in shaded charcoal. Holding a large bowl in front of her in what is surely a deeply symbolic manner, though its exact meaning is open to endless fascinating interpretion, she begins to sing in a voice that is probably quite excellent either for wolves or night-serenading cats, but might be be considered only passable by less discerning human audiences.

The song she sings is about.. philosophy? Maybe? It sounds dreary enough to be philosophy, anyway. It also seems to include a great deal of high-flown metaphysical sounding words about souls and the First Choice and the nature of dreams and the fleetingness of existence and what the heck is this whole thing called Life, anyway? It's hard to tell, but it sounds impressive. Maybe. As her part ends, she sweeps her throw out in a solemn bow, leaving everyone to ponder the substance of her song. Probably at great and baffled length.

Sorrel hugs Adrienne cheerfully as they finish their play and start to watch the others perform, laughing and drinking her wine as they go.

Matteo laughs at Saro's song, clapping enthusiastically as she steps off the stage.

Watching the next performance - and the strikingly beautiful make-up under these circumstances - Adrienne murmurs to her companions of Saro's preformance, head canting bird-like, "I'm not certain I understood half of what she sang, but it was undeniably lovely."

Evaristo is chugging down quite a lot of wine and is looking happier and happier and is laughing more and more at the performances. The question is whether he'll be able to do HIS part when it comes up. "This IS going to be hard to judge," he says and grins at Gianna. "Glad I am not the one!"

Nina looks pleased, and thoughtful, applauding as the interpretive song comes to an end.

Ilira twirls up with Saro, draped in a tablecloth styled and tied to form ears atop her head and the shadow of a snout over her face. Painted with gold to represent the Wolf, a few wisps of charcoal trace across her cheeks as whiskers. Her voice twines with Saro's, a punctuation to the drivels and drolls of philosophy, sharp and regal in tone. She accentuates with stomps of her foot, flashes of fingers curled as claws, exaggerative tosses of her head in disdain. They pause, in regard of each other, before a final refrain of opposition echoes between them. On a power-filled note, the song ends, and Ilira swirls a bow as she returns to her seat.

"Oh my," is Nurie's astute observation when the song of the wolves begins. But she does seem enraptured by it, watching the performance with bright interest, and at its conclusion applauds happily for Zoey, Saro, and Ilira's performance!

Evaristo cheers Zoey, Ilira and Saro loudly and applauds, joined by laughter and cheering from the crowd. There's a consistant giggle around the room, because who doesn't just love this sort of display?

Gianna listens to the philosophical song and ponders the bowl with great solemnity and thought. It is definitely deep ponderings and not confusion. Totally. She does not look confused. That wouldn't be elegant. She applauds at the end of this performance, nodding, and claims another glass of wine from a passing junior bard tasked to circulate.

Rorik leaps up out of his seat when it's his team's turn for the performance, escorting Azova and Sanya to the center of the room. Ahem, he clears his throat loudly. "Uh, we're calling this the 'Mercy and the Fool'," he tells the room, before he takes his place to start the performance! This is very clearly a basic slap-stick comedy, wherein Rorik (unironically) plays the fool. His job apparently is to get himself hurt - a /lot/ - in various ways while Sanya fusses over him and puts bandages on his owies. He trips over his shoes first and bonks his head on a bookshelf - THWACK! Then he tries to read a book and slams the heavy tome on his hand instead, yowling. He falls face first into the mosiac on the floor, he 'accidentally' falls into the judge's table crotch-first, and some of this looks painfully real. But he definitely doesn't break anything so don't worry! He amasses more and more bandages from Sanya until he finally finishes by practically launching himself over one of the sofas, sprawling out onto the floor in front of Sanya's feet and undoubtedly getting a few rug-burns in the process.

Aureth checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Aureth checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 58 higher. Aureth rolled a critical!

Matteo checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 1 higher.

Matteo checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 30 higher.

Nurie checked wits + sewing at difficulty 20, rolling 43 higher.

Nurie checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.

Though her pregnant form is notable to even those far back in the audience, Sanya doesn't let that impede her as she takes center stage, following Rorik. She plays the part of the frustrated mercy well, doing her best to keep him -well- despite his attempts to make things difficult. Eventually she loses her patients, throwing her equipment aside. "You know there are many others who require my help!" She sings a short song to express her aggravation at having to deal with constant trouble in her work. She turns back to him, knowing it's her duty to pursue her job after all.

Azova is apparently accompanying Rorik on his misadventures through the room as his companion - so far, so real. But at each of his comedic accidents, rather than wincing along with him, she rolls her eyes in ever more dramatic ways, even sagging downward at one point like 'oh my gods, whhhyyyyy'. Until, finally, she is so exasperated, she tosses her glass of 'wine', right at him and flounces off in the opposite direction with the most snooty expression she can manage, leaving him to Sanya's tender mercies.

But of course as soon as her part of that role is done, she's rushing back to the couch with an actual wince. "That looked so real, are you okay?" she whispers, or tries to whisper. But it's not nearly as quiet as she intended.

Adrienne joins in the applause for Zoey, Saro, and Ilira, features remaining bright despite that she's had nothing stronger than water today to drink. "Will the makeup come off as well as it went on do you think?" Then: the slapstick starts and Adrienne exhales. "I never see the Lord Kennex but that I feel as though I may need to stitch him up at any moment." She flinches at a particularly convincing blow.

Evaristo isn't sure what to expect from Rurik, Azova and Sanya but that wasn't it - his mouth is agape at this display of self-inflicted injury, looking outright jealous at the act. Then he slaps his knees and is roaring with laughter, tears in his eyes from it all. The crowd seems to agree with him.

Gianna flinches at the first few injuries, uncertain that the pratfalling is, in fact, prats. But violent shows desensitize even the best people to violence, and so Gianna stops her flinching and just snickers instead. And applauds, when it's over! Of course!

Saro flops down onto the couch again, though she leaves the throw on her head as she watches attentively for the next performance. A series of snickers escape her at Rorik's impressively convincing slapstick and Azova's role as agonized sidekick, and at Sanya's harassed diatribe song she lets out a genuine guffaw, applauding enthusiastically at the end of it. With a glance over to Adrienne she says, "It's only charcoal, so it'll wash off just fine." She might add in a quiet mumble, "Mostly," but it's hard to hear amidst all the laughter and clapping.

Matteo starts the play by leading Aureth to the stage, the latter in a skirt and crown, the former still as wrinkled but with the addition of a crafted crown! They celebrate a wedding, saying their vows to each other which Matteo does with dramatic, effusive praise for Aureth’s lovely beauty and ability to give him heirs, and once bound by Limerance, Aureth swirls his hands and spins in a fraction of what may be interpretive dance as he casts a curse upon Matteo, and then cackles with a purely evil laugh as he turns him into a mouse, and takes control of the holding for himself.

Matteo produces a mouse toy from his pocket, dropping it on the ground at his feet and walking ‘off’ stage casually as he sips at his wine.

From the floor, now covered in water-wine, Rorik merely goes: "Ow." Maybe some of those pratfalls weren't actually prats at all! But he does pull himself up to his feet (carefully, painfully!) in order to take a bow before he collapses into a sofa and pulls a pillow into his lap to hug.

Hair bedecked, braided and intertwined with the strands of a ruby and rose gold necklace that is not a hair ornament but has become a lovely crown despite it due to Nurie's skill, Aureth is very dramatic as the luring and villainous figure of the Empress. His trousers have been rolled up to reveal his legs from the knee down so that the big to-do that is being made of his calves will be understood. But then while walking his new holding, he is cursed for breaking his oath and swallowed up by quicksand, which involves a dramatic collapse and a long piece of fabric that he wiggles about like it is eating him from the waist down. "OH WORLD, I AM SWALLOWED." What a great line. He's proud of it.

Niklas stands up and offers wild applause every time Rorik appears to injure himself, then boos loudly whenever mercies come along to help him.

Evaristo checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 20 higher.

Evaristo checked wits + legerdemain at difficulty 20, rolling 20 higher.

Sabella checked wits + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Sabella checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 50 higher.

Niklas checked wits + artwork at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 54 higher.

Nurie spends most of the performance she's watching with her hands up by her temples, as if she's ready to close them over her eyes at any moment, as the slapstick begins, but the comedy behind it wins her over, and she soon is laughing along with others, and wildly applauding at the end.

When it comes time for Matteo, Aureth, and herself to take the stage, there's a little fretfulness and nervousness, but she's soon swept up and bolstered along by Matteo and Aureth's confidence. Once the evil Empress is swallowed indeed, Nurie flounces in, playing the part of a princess skipping through the forest to find the poor mouse, scooping it up before using some fancy legerdemain to hids it away,and miming a poof of light, so that the restored Matteo can take the stage again, everyone (but the Evil Empress) made right!

Matteo still has his wine glass! He steps back on stage as Nurie cries over the toy mouse, and starts singing an off-key song about how the truly well-turned calf was in front of him all along! He sweeps Nurie up and to her feet with his free hand, twirling her, before he ends the play with a shameless kiss of his princess (to her surprise likely). Then he bows, laughing, and thanks his partners quietly as he finds his way back to the couch.

*Nurie poofs the toy away

Nina finds the little mouse delightful, and giggles at it... and at the shameless kiss, too. Then she applauds for the conclusion of the play.... the competition is getting more heated here by every new show!

Evaristo is watching with the fascination of someone who just can not stop laughing, fits of giggling coming out now and then - and Aureth, MAtteo and Nurie's part does NOT help. He's bending over, trying to get air back.

Adrienne casts Saro a sympathetic glance. She murmurs to a passing server while watching the wriggling and impressive calf displays from Matteo and Aureth - and Nurie's surprise dancing. Shortly later, one of the attendants taps Saro on the shoulder, offering a bowl of water and damp cloth in aid.

Gianna definitely looks at Aureth's calves, though she twitches her skirt aside briefly to compare her own and nods, satisfied. Still pleased! The mouse conjures some hints of amusement, though she does give pause at the kiss. Nurie giggles, so Gianna applauds.

Rorik watches intently the next performance on the stage while nursing a glass of whisky. He laughs when Aureth is swallowed by the world and when Nurie re-transforms the mouse into Matteo, applauding loudly once they take their bows.

Nurie checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Saro is clearly proud of Aureth's line too, and she nods with deepest solemnity at the extreme drama of the evil empress's last earthly sentence. She can't help but smile at various other points in the performance, but what she most seems to enjoy is the creativity of the props, which she takes in with just as much interest at the acting. When the attendant taps her shoulder she blinks, then takes the water and cloth with a rueful grin. "Thank you," she says, making quick work of her makeshift makeup, and then offering cloth and bowl to the others on her team.

Once the floor is cleared out, the last team - Niklas, Sabella and Evaristo - takes the floor. Evaristo and Niklas are both clearly... birds. The commoner bard-captain holds up a sign that reads THE MOCKINGBIRDS - the name of this particular play, clearly.

He has now put on a makeshift outfit made of vellums and a slipper and lots of feathers, some sort of make-shift hat and a beak. He's made it work! It looks ridiculous. What this play is about is clearly about two preening, proud birds that are trying to outsing each other. Evaristo is making flapping motions with his arms, he is doing a very.. interpretive dance and is just going ALL OUT on PREENING. To make it even better - or worse - he is also singing loudly. Not words, however, just what would maybe constitute as bird song. It's not false singing, at least - he is after all a trained bard. There's a few amazingly silly hops now and then, and aggressive waving of feathers at Niklas-bird.

Nurie is indeed taken by surprise, though in the way of a practiced courtier she does not do anything rash. Instead she goes rather still after she's set back down on her feet, curtsying as the audience applauds, before moving off the stage and going to claim her wineglass with a brief smile that fades quickly once the next performance starts. She stands, quietly, taking a few sips, before taking off her crown and untwisting it back into its normal form, and gently taking the pocketed mouse and putting it down on the couch, as she watches the next performance.

Niklas hops up on stage after Evaristo and glares at the Second Mockingbird as he starts his flapping and singing like a bird. Then, not one to lose this clear contest of birdery, he shoves his makeshift beak up, pushes his wings up to his elbows and starts preening and dancing in return. Is he good at singing? Is he good at dancing? Of course he is! And are those costumes fantastic? Well. Fantastic-ish. It's all still quite ridiculous, which is okay when the two people on stage could very well be the city's two biggest egos willing to look like a fool for a laugh.

Adrienne touches a knuckle to her lips to mask some of her humor at the birds of a feather preening so gaily while twittering softly to herself.

Azova is definitely laughing from her seat on one of the couches; with maybe even a discrete cough into her wineglass at some point. It absolutely must be the brilliantly humorous depiction of flapping and preening birds up there on stage.

Rorik is laughing from his seat as well, though he lets out a WHOOP when Niklas hops up on stage. Either way, the return preening and dancing practically has him in tears.

Thanks to the swirl of colored scarves, Sabella makes a pretty convincing mockingbird, flitting between Evaristobird and Niklasbird to goad them on and against each other with sweet compliments of how fine their singing voices are, the whole time not practicing her own song or dance or giving a hint as to what either might be. She appears to be acting the part of both another mockingbird and the narrator, explaining that the winner will be crowned the master of all song! Once Evaristobird has gone and then Niklasbird she steps up to the center of the "stage" and takes a deep breath. Then runs over and grabs Gianna's hands, pulling her up on the stage instead! "I never said I was competing," she winks to the audience, gesturing over to Gianna, "For I could never compete with the true Master of Song!" She bows to Gianna, then gestures towards the audience, clearing expecting her to SING! Is this buttering up the judge? Probably!

Oh, that's not to be missed. "Sing!" Adrienne calls out from over her glass of water, joining the growing calls for a performance from Gianna.

Evaristo is getting into this and it may be he IS trying to outstage Niklas and getting into this - big ego really - but it just makes it more hilarious. However, with Sabella's final part of their play, Evaristobird falls to his knees before Gianna as if yes, he is defeated - the true Master of Song is right there, and he finds himself defeated.

Matteo throws his hands upwards, wine glass and all, but he's laughing and then clapping as he looks towards Gianna.

"Oh now that kind of flattery is cheating," Nina says, but she has less filter by now... and it's obviously in good humor. In fact, she then adds, with some determination, "Good for her." And laughs gain.

Saro has finally pulled her throw blanket off her head, the better to muffle the snorts of laughter induced by Evaristo and Niklas as preening, strutting birds -- though she's still eyeballing the costuming with amused appreciation. With Sabella's conclusion, and the not at all blatant appeal to Gianna herself, the luthier starts laughing again, though more silently this time, and she looks as if she really is wondering whether this will get the Nightingale to sing.

When the suggestion is made that Gianna sing, Niklas steps back and looks affronted. Then when people call on her to sing he goes ahead and drops an egg there on stage. (Well. 'egg'.) Then nods to Gianna and steps aside for her to join them on stage. Though not before picking up his soap egg and flinging it at Rorik. Or rather toward. He's not a good flinger.

Gianna conceals her expression with one hand in a super casual and not at all posed manner while Evaristo and Niklas strut about. Definitely not laughing. Nope. Sabella surprises the Nightingale, and the blue-clad woman is led over. The surprise seems genuine, but then a clear love of attention overcomes that and has her holding her head up high. She can also take a moment to improvise, and so she bursts out with a song about the plays that have been performed today and how it is so very difficult to choose between them because they are all so entertaining, but those who may be injured may find their woes eased by winning a prize. She turns to the third team, that of Sanya, Rorik, and Azova, and sings out her congratulations.

Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 165 higher. Gianna rolled a critical!

Gianna checked wits + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.

IT IS THE BEST SONG!

"Ooh, yes. Sing!" Rorik bellows from his place on the sofa before Niklas so /rudely/ flings a soap egg at him. But he must think it's candy seeing as he practically ends up in Azova's lap trying to catch it with his mouth. It hits him in the nose instead, before he shuts up to listen to Gianna. And boy, does he look entranced.

Adrienne presses a hand to her heart as Gianna begins to perform. A smile rests reluctantly on the corner of her mouth. "I've always wanted to hear her sing..."

Ilira loosens her tablecloth from around her. Reclined into the cushions, she crosses her legs and folds her hands, lips quirked. Her eyes are warm as she observes Gianna, her head tilted in appreciation.

Azova makes a face at the nearly eaten soap egg, picking it up hopefully before Rorik can try eating it again and flings it herself back at Niklas with an exasperated look. But, who could not be positively entranced to hear Gianna sing? The healer's jaw drops when the first note is crooned, and she looks entranced the entire time. Wait what, they won something!? When a prize is pressed into her hands, she snaps out of her reverie to beam a happy smile. Prizes!

It's a beautiful song, even improvised, and for a moment, Matteo is caught off guard by it. But then he's clapping, for Gianna and for the third-place team, and probably for how well played Sabella, Niklas, and Evaristo's play was.

Nina stops joking around and sits in quiet contemplation as even an off-the-cuff song from Gianna turns out to make spectacular use of her famous voice. She looks quite in awe of it by the time Gianna has finished the performance. She lets out a breath she forgot she was holding, and then claps, putting her glass down now to make full use of both hands. Her eyes are stil wide. "Astonishing."

Evaristo is leaving room for Gianna as she sings and slinks off to gather some items from under a table - but he pauses and just gapes at her - that is a performance that makes everyone else's pale, in truth. When it ends, he lets out a loud cheer. "FOR THE COLLEGE! FOR GIANNA NIGHTINGALE! And congratulations everyone, you all were AMAZING. Our judge has ruled however, and hence..." He walks over to Sanya, Rorik and Azova, and they are each given copper brooches, with different colored gemstones. "We keep it modest this year - much of the coin went to charities for the Lowers. But, these brooches may still hopefully decorate a nice outfit." He bows to them, and steps back.

Zoey had been going along with the crowd, laughing and clapping when they did, but when Gianna sings her breath catches and she is entranced.

Gianna looks almost giddy when she finishes. That worked out very, very well. And honestly, when she's full on smiling she looks a bit like a chipmunk and that might actually be why she doesn't do it very often. She sweeps down in a dramatic bow.

Much like everyone else Sanya is entranced by the nightingale's performance, to the point where she seems partially distracted when she thanks those who offer her the prize. Grounding herself once again, she smiles. "Oh thank you!" She beams at the hosts, before turning at her teammates. "You were all wonderful!"

Saro's eyes begin to shine as she listens to Gianna sing, and the blanket slowly comes away from her face, resting forgotten in her lap as her hands remain clasped loosely in its folds. She's clearly transported to somewhere else entirely, listening to that unforgettable harmony that pours forth from the throat of the legendary Nightingale. When it's done, it takes her a while to even remember to clap.

Aureth whistles and hoots like a groundling, instead of the man about town he has grown up to me.

Sabella also whistles and applauds but in a much more dignified and princessly way of course, eyes shining brightly for the talent displayed here tonight!

Exhaling softly, Adrienne reluctantly sets aside her glass to offer a kiss to Sorrel's cheek and to touch a few fingers to Nina's arm. "I have to go. It was an honor to perform with you both. Thank you for the privilege." She means it sincerely, tone warm with the pleasure of such remarkable song and music and laughter.

Rorik's so caught up in the singing that he doesn't even realize he's won something until it's pressed into his hands. Then, there's a beaming smile. "Wow, these are amazing," he's quick to pin the brooch onto his shirt, "Thank you so much," he says this sincerely to Evaristo, before he finds a drink from somewhere to hold it up in the air. "TO THE COLLEGE! TO THE NIGHTINGALE!"

More of the tension ebbs from Nurie's shoulders, the practiced and reserved smile warming to something more warm and dreamy as she listens to the winners being sung out, her eyes closing briefly, as if to enjoy the melody all the more.

"To the College," Saro echoes, more quietly this time, and a soft smile plays about her lips as she tosses the blanket none too neatly over the back of the couch and rises to her feet.

Nina nods to Adrienne, grabbing her hand just a bit before she departs. "So great to perform with you today!"

It's only after the performances that a servant steps forward to deliver news to Matteo, his lips curving into a brilliant, bright smile. He murmurs to those near him, though, before he pushes to his feet to make his own way from the party (only after finishing his glass of wine).

Nurie is overheard praising Evaristo: A clever game, to help even more people find their voices (and their creativity and fun)!

Nina is overheard praising Evaristo.

Azova is overheard praising Evaristo.

Zoey is overheard praising Evaristo.

Adrienne squeezes Nina's hand fondly before carefully extracting herself. To Sorrel she add a promise: "We'll have tea this week and share stories."

Ilira offers a soft farewell to Saro as she rises, eyes still distant with the Nightingale's song. "Thanks for performing with me," she murmurs with a smile.

Evaristo gets another drink - and drinks it thirstily. That preening and the insane bird-singing wore him out a bit. He mingles around, says farewell to those leaving, finds some more people to laugh and share drinks with.

"Thank you all for coming!" Gianna calls out. "And celebrating with us. Please, linger and enjoy. It's been lovely."



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