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Ostrian Festival of Lights

A celebration of Ostria in the form of a color festival and events. Prizes will be had and those who collect a color and a grandprize for the last event. Come celebrate the rise of Ostria beneath the careful and steady hand of its Duke and Duchess.


Aug. 15, 2020, 5 p.m.

Hosted By



Theron Evaristo Iseulet Alessia Sabine Sirius Orrin(RIP) Strozza Svana Orelia Adalyn Apollo Thea Vitalis Raymesin Arik Jaenelle Gunther Hadrian Merek Alaric Aswin




Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Ostria Quarter

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Braith checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Braith stands with her husband at the front of the quarter before the entire set up in her dress of falling stars and the associated accessories so that she catches the light and reflects the various colors. Dark curls are oiled and left to hang with twinkling stars in her leonine mane. Resting her arm upon Theron's she uses him partially to remain upon her feet and just now the Lark has begun to show with a soft curve pressing the dress outwards.

She is singing a welcome to their guests at first, welcoming all that arrive with a bright smile.

"Welcome, welcome, enjoy the festivities in celebration of Ostria and remember there will be prizes and contests of different skills. Be ready to perform and amaze us!"

She leans her head into Theron's shoulder at one point and then turns her head to whisper up towards him before her attention turns to those arriving.

The Sword of Ostria escorts the Lark of Northlands with a bright smile on his features. His own tailored Umbra outfit is a different yet similar motif than The Wife's. While hers celebrates the stars, his celebrates the moons. Together they make the night. Theron easily supports Braith's need, managing to keep most of his concern off his features. Tonight is for Braith and Guests.

The moment she sings, Theron's smile changes. Something softer, and his eyes change. For all his typical intense gaze, there is a clear adoration for Braith there. As she finishes he sweeps out his free arm, turning his eyes onto the crowd and winking at a few faces here and there. Braith is a Bard, Theron a Sword. Likely it surprises no one when he gestures back to Braith palm up. "What she said!" A quick laugh and a shake of his head. "Everyone, please. Enjoy our night together." After which he leans his head towards Braith and her whisper.

Coral, a cross and over-critical clerk, 2 Tessere trained guards, Monarch, a black and white banded king snake arrive, following Sabine.

3 Valardin Knights, Dog, a scruffy west oathlands puppy arrive, following Sirius.

Sirius arrives, following Iseulet.

Evaristo is one of the first to arrive and he pauses to just stare in awe and wonder at the area, lights reflecting in violet eyes as the bard-captain spins around slowly. Then Braith and Theron welcomes guests and he looks eagerly at them both, his awe growing. "This is AMAZING!" he exclaims. "Lady and Lord Mazetti - you two do look absolutely STUNNING as well! If nothing else happens here, I am MORE than content - I will walk around in the light of stars and moons and bask in it," he says, grinning from ear to ear. He too is a bard, and clearly not the least shy about things.

Evaristo gets Amethyst Lantern from Amethyst Lantern Display.

Sunny, an Ostrian Cat arrives, following Orelia.

Orrin gets Golden Lantern Display.

Orrin drops Golden Lantern Display.

Orrin gets Golden Lantern from Golden Lantern Display.

Iseulet arrives with her arm tucked into Sirius' and lights up (hah!) at the sight of it all. "Oh it's so lovely! Look at all the colors. Looks like they weren't kidding. Ooh! Should we pick out a lantern?"

Drifting into the - relatively - new quarters of her family, Alessia seems impressed by the beautiful colors decorating the plaza. She murmurs something to the maid beside her, sending the woman off to where the drinks are. "Braithy. This is beautiful." She greets her cousin with a cheek kiss. "Theron. Did you help?" She asks, giving him a crushing hug.

In her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter, it can be assumed that Sabine intends to make it count. Thus, scintillating attire ranging from brocade to star iron and dragonweep, all designed to catch and cast back the glinting lights which fill the square. She is not adorned with stars so much as seeming one herself, but for the matte gleam of banded black and white scales which circle her throat-- scales which prove to belong to a living serpent on close inspection, a king snake who's coils are idly stroked with fingertips as the Marquessa strolls along the square's edge with her guards trailing like ducklings behind her.

Alessia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Alessia gets Amethyst Lantern from Amethyst Lantern Display.

Orelia gets Emerald Lantern from Emerald Lantern Display.

Iseulet takes Azure Lantern from Azure Lantern Display.

Strozza takes Amethyst Lantern from Amethyst Lantern Display.

Sabine takes Golden Lantern from Golden Lantern Display.

1 Clement trained guards arrives, following Adalyn.

Paris, a charming mercenary arrives, following Apollo.

Adalyn, Apollo arrive, following Vitalis.

Evaristo is noted and Emily's face grows to a brilliant smile. "Theron, this is Evaristo. Evaristo my lord husband," she says and warmly introduces them. "Thank you for coming, Evar. How are you doing?" She asks of him, a curious quirk of her brow as she extends her hand towards her friend and motions him closer so she can give him a hug. Alessia's compliment makes her smile and she winks at her, and returns the kiss.

"You should perform but be ready for the events to begin." She says and lifts her hand to each that arrives, watching as the others start to filter in. "Get to the food before its gone."

Evaristo is noted and Braith's face grows to a brilliant smile. "Theron, this is Evaristo. Evaristo my lord husband," she says and warmly introduces them. "Thank you for coming, Evar. How are you doing?" She asks of him, a curious quirk of her brow as she extends her hand towards her friend and motions him closer so she can give him a hug. Alessia's compliment makes her smile and she winks at her, and returns the kiss.

"You should perform but be ready for the events to begin." She says and lifts her hand to each that arrives, watching as the others start to filter in. "Get to the food before its gone."

Njall, a Northern nullifier, Bryn, a flustered lovelorn Prodigal assistant arrive, following Svana.

Sirius isn't simply bound by Iseulet's arm, no; he's being tugged along against his very will across that archway of lights and illumination, staggering forward unto his feet and threatening to fall on his face in between each step. "Oh Gods," the Prince there breathes out, looking up- tilting his head back to widen eyes once pale of color now being inundated in a deluge of varying lights. "Take the Amethyst one, th-- fuck, they got it." He scoffs. "Take the g-... shit, they got it too." Sirius clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth and dejectedly reaches out, plucking the Azure-colored lantern off of the shelf to slip its handle between Iseulet's fingers. "Here, it'll do, my lady. It'll do."

Orrin walks into the quarter, stopping by the hosts to offer them a polite bow in greeting, "A pleasure to meet you, lord and lady Mazetti." He says, proceeding to snatch a lantern that most resembles the colors of his House.

Strozza and Orelia arrive! The party is truly complete now! Striding in casually arm and arm as the approach Braith and Theron with a bow of he Admiral's head. "Braith, you've outdone your husband's hair." a flicker of a grin given as Kuhlai retrieves lanterns for he and the champion with him. "It's lovely."


Aswin has joined the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

Hesitantly, Svana wanders in with eyes as big as dinner plates. The colors make her 'ooh' and 'ahh' in a childlike manner. Her twins are with her, each of them sucking and chewing hard pieces of coral strung on silver chains. Her assistant Bryn holds them for now while she steps a bit further into the festival and notices the lanterns. "Which one, Bryn?" A heated discussion in Northlands Shav ensues, with Svana and Bryn pinching each other - and arguing like two sisters, through gritted teeth. When it's all done and said, Svana takes an amethyst one and sticks her tongue out at Bryn.

"This really is amazing," Orelia agrees with Strozza before adding something more quietly.

Svana gets Amethyst Lantern from Amethyst Lantern Display.

Iseulet peers up at that face Sirius is making and laughs, shaking her head. Spying Evaristo, she enthusiastically waves and noticing the hosting couple, she scoots over to them, pulling Sirius along and curtseying. "It's an honor to meet you both. I'm Iseulet Seryn, this is Prince Sirius Valardin." And then spying Svana she chipperly waves in her direction, too!

"Strozza, Orelia!" Braith greets them warmly and then she glances up to See Prince Sirius. She lifts her hand to wave at him as she leans upon Theron's arm and then glances down to her couin in law. "I am glad you enjoy it, really. I mean..its truly a task to out do his hair!" she chimes in, a chuckle leaving her lips. As others enters she lifts her fingers and Orrin gets a smile, a nod of her head. "Welcome, welcome." She says warmly and then turns her attention to Iseulet, trying to play a good hostess. "Welcome my lady, your highness. It is good to see you again and to make your aquaintance. The games should be starting so be ready, prizes for all!"

Svana is waved at as well.

Aswin has left the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

There's a big smile from Svana when she notices Iseulet, waving back to the woman. Bryn waves at no one, instead trading Svana the twins for the lantern. "Not fair! You said you'd be baby holder!~

His head inclines towards Evaristo, Theron's grin comes easily. "Everything here? Her brains, I simply show up and do her bidding happily enough." Theron does extend his forearm towards the man in greeting. "I appreciate the compliment, though. Braith put a lot of work into this." Attention shifts from Evaristo towards Alessia. "Of course I did, otherwise she bats her eyes at me and I am suddenly sad that I made her sad. But, she really did the lions share. I just picked things up and put them down, or directed them to be such." A quick wink and then he is frowning at Strozza. "Come now, that is a low shot, Sir. I adore my wife, and she is very clearly the brains of our particular outfit, but." Theron runs fingers through his hair and it still looks good. Such a curse. "Her hair cannot compare, yet, she is stunning tonight I think. As long as she doesn't overdo herself." A softer grumble but with a grin.

Evaristo grabs a lantern - he does take a few seconds to chose, but in the end it might not surprise anyone he picks the amethyst one; his outfit has a lot of purple outfits. "Mine," he says with glee and holds it to his chest like it is his most prized possession now. He turns to Theronj and Braith again. "SO nice to FINALLY meet! Your wife is a muse, a life to the party, a joyful song drifting from somewhere on a lonely day," he speaks admiringly of Braith, bowing to them both. He glances around meanwhile, spotting who else is there - several familiar faces. Aswin is given a grin and a wave, Iseulet and Sirius a bow, Svana a cheerful grin and an upnod, Apollo little nudge with two fingers against his forhead, Orrin a corteous bow, Orelia a familiar grin and more bowing, in fact he bows a whole lot to a lot of people cause there's a lot of nobles - all with a certain lazy casual flair, eyes glittering with mischief. "I am doing well, by the by, still a bit SORE but that's about it." He grabs a drink and some food, to mingle around with.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant arrive, following Thea.

Sabine inclines her head to the smiles and assorted other greetings that come her way. With the crush of people about their hosts, she makes no effort to insert herself but accords Braith and Theron a deeper bow of her head as gazes intersect. But she is content for the fringes where the population clumps less-- and more than that, for an easy path to somewhere she might /sit/. Along the way she transfers her snake from throat to wrist, turning him into a living bangle that licks at he air as the Marquessa makes herself comfortable. Once there, she is not above sending one of her guards to fetch a lantern, either. The privilege of nobility!

There's a big smile from Svana when she notices Iseulet, waving back to the woman. Bryn waves at no one, instead trading Svana the twins for the lantern. "Not fair! You said you'd be baby holder!" Regardless, Svana juggles her children in a manner just so she can wave to Braith and smile approvingly at her. She nuzzles the back of a twin's head and then gives Evaristo a cool upnod back. Her eyes follow Evaristo's for a moment and eventually she finds Apollo, grinning and winking over at him.

3 Valardin Knights have been dismissed.

Dog, a scruffy west oathlands puppy have been dismissed.

"Simply give me the go ahead." Alessia says with a warm smile, before turning to her maid. She nods with approval on seeing the amethyst lantern in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the next. "Master Evaristo." She greets the Harlequinn, before drifting toward Sirra to take the drink, draining it in one go, before scanning the plaza.

Adalyn strolls into the event, arm in arm with her companions - Vitalis on the right, Apollo on her left. Chattering amiably to the two, she stops mid-sentence to cast an admiring gaze over the surroundings. "How beautiful!"

Sabine has joined the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

Apollo leans in to nudge Adalyn with his shoulder, gesturing at the displays and murmuring a few words there, too. There's a sigh as he straightens - and apparent agreement. "Truly lovely," he agrees. "Do they do this in Ostria?" he asks. "Should have stayed longer." That's with a grin past Adalyn at Vitalis. "We should get lanterns, I think."

Vitalis checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

"Lies and slander, cousin." Strozza smirks at THeron before looking to the others moving about before he himself turns a slow circle to take it all in, "Where to first, Reli?" lips pursed, brows raised in quiet interest at all of the chaos.

Braith gives a look to all and she can not help but draws a breath and lifts her voice which is powerful when needed. Her hand grips Theron's arm tightly and she speaks out. "Guests, one and all we will begin the festitvities with trials of different strengths. One is a test of strength, another a test of words, wits, spirit and wills! YOu are able to participate in all but should you win one we ask that you bow out of the others for those that carry a lantern by the end of each will be able to perform once more to win the grand prize."

She makes a motion and out steps a guardian with Midnight Sea, a lovely gelding who is paraded around. One of the beautiful breed from the Mazetti seat of power.

Thus we will begin with the test of words! Who shall take up this challenge, please form a line here.!" Just before her.

Evaristo has joined the line.

Sabine has joined the line.

Svana has joined the line.

Orrin has joined the line.

Running a bit late is Thea. Not even surprising these days as all these extra days are catching up to her. If you look closely, you may find flecks of glitter still stuck to her skin, her hair. Apparently she missed a few spots. Hearing Braith, she lifts her eyebrow before she turn toward the horse.

Iseulet has joined the line.

"Test of words?" asks Orelia. "Sounds like you're up, Roz."

Orrin whistles at the mention of a word contest, "Now that sounds like fun. Let's see if I got to learn something from Scythia." He says, moving to join the growing line.

Strozza has joined the line.

Vitalis stops when Adalyn does, eyes lifting to observe the square, lanterns, decorations, music - briefly transported. He blinks several times and tucks his chin, throat cleared. He looks at Apollo over Adalyn's head and grins, "It changes every year. Ostria is never the same one season to the next." He glances at those gathered - his kin - "Save one thing." He looks to the displays, "Yes. I think I'd like a gold one." Dibs. When Braith lifts her voice, he tracks the movement of the hndsome horse, eases back. "Doesn't seem sporting for me to compete for an Ostrian steed," he gestures Adalyn and Apollo to go on if they're interested.

HAStily finishing eating his treat, and washing it down with wine, Evaristo gives Svana a faintly puzzled look, then shrugs and walks over to stand in the line - first in it, even. "Sounds fun, I'm in!" He then ogles the prize itself. "Oh dear, last time there was an animal involved, I came second, and won," he explains, which makes no sense. "It was a dog."

Apollo has joined the line.

Evaristo checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Caught in some sort of reverie as she stands by the large metal statue, Alessia's gaze idly shifts to the entrance, in time to see Vitalis' arrival. This snaps her out of it, and she smiles faintly, though there's a certain unease as she studies his face. Then she turns to Adalyn and Apollo. "My lady. Messere. Glad you both accompanied Vi today." She greets them, nodding to the competition. "You're not too late to join."

Braith chuckles as Evaristo rushes forward to take a place in line and she grins at him. "Very well, you are our first performer, Evaristo! Start us off. Share a song, a story or whatever you like!"

Turn in line: Evaristo

Wasn't her bodyguard somewhere around here too? Svana goes to find Njall, putting the babies in his arms. "You hold these, I have something to do." He starts protesting loudly since he's talking to a nice looking maiden, but Svana just shushes him and moves over to the line, smiling. She smiles less when she sees her boss getting into the line. "Shit."

The Shav dialect instinctually draws Therons attention, a soft snort at bickering siblings. Sirius' brief struggle at selecting a lantern gets Theron's Gaze. "Good choice! But It's a blue, so as an Ostrian I am biased." His head ducks in greeting towards Orrin. Another nod at the selection, followed by a wink for Orelia.

As Iseulet introduces herself and Sirius. "Marquessa Seryn, correct? Only heard the name in passing once or twice. Prince Sirius, welcome. Thank you both for coming here. Anything you see here you liked?" He gestures to Braith. "She did it. If it is something you do not like?" He jerks a thumb at himself. "My fault." A quick grin and a wink for them as well. Evaristo gets an easy laugh. "She does have a voice, does she not? I cannot compare in that kind of skill, unless you need a frog or some such." Another quick nod for guests, first for Sabine as she inserts herself into the throng. Fingers snap and point at Strozza before his shoulders and head do the same. "Ha! It is okay to admit jealousy over my locks. Quite natural."

Once Braith begins her annoucements Theron is sure to pace her every step of the way with his arm, not interfering. Simply supporting.

Evaristo gets Renewal, the sanguine mahogany lute from A sanguine leather covered lute case tooled with a skull and vine motif.

Strozza checked wits + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Apollo takes Emerald Lantern from Emerald Lantern Display.

Adalyn has joined the line.

Thea takes Crimson Lantern from Crimson Lantern Display.

Strozza nods and moves to the line, but not before tapping Orelia on the nose, "Don't be afraid to distance yourself if I am embarrassing, Reli. I expect I shall not be too impressive here today." winking to the blonde champion.

For the Mazettis who remember Valerio, it will be like seeing a ghost - Vitalis already strongly resembled his father, now scarred and with a ghostly eye, the resemblance is nothing short of eerie.

Evaristo grins at Braith and takes out the lute from its case on his back. "About a year ago," he begins speaking, even as he plays soft chords on that lute to back up his tale, "we held the first Ball of Death, after the Festival of Death. At this ball, Queen Symonesse herself visited, and when it came to the time to dance, I asked her to dance with me - I mean, why wouldn't I?" He plays a few rather joyful chords to emphasise, grinning wide. "I wrote this song afterwards. It has never been performed publically before."

A life forever in a constant dream
the words I wrote more rare and dark
there was another world that I could gleam
it started as a tiny fragile spark

And it grew stronger as the sadness grew
an ember growing to a brightest hope
a ray of sunshine that I never knew
something I longed for, so that I could cope

How could I leave my life and love behind?
How could I let the memories all fade?
How could I be so cruel, so stubborn and unkind?
Why did I run, what got me so afraid?

I can not tell you, I do not know
But in this life, and maybe others
I have known hope and love and joy
With Death beside, my constant mother

There is a meaning and a reason why
As all will end and Death will bless
My soul once more to see the morning sky
Perhaps we'll dance, Sweet Symonesse

The song is perhaps melancholy in its text, but the melody is filled with hope. When he is done, he bows deeply and steps aside for the next contestant.

3 First Legion Centurions arrives, following Drusila.

Orelia grins to Strozza. "Distance from you? Never."

"If this is a taste of what Ostria is like, I can't wait to visit," Adalyn remarks earnestly, a moment devoted to taking in the sights and admiring the variety of lanterns. She seems to be debating over the colors when the Ostrian steed is brought out. "I'll try my hand at the event then. Ostrians are most handsome creatures." She nods toward the horse, but flashes a mischievous grin toward Vitalis, pressing a quick kiss to his cheek. "Apollo, will you come?" Spotting Alessia, she offers a smile and bows her head. "Good to see you, Lady Alessia. I'm glad we could make it for the event. It's beautifully decorated."

Thea has joined the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

Alessia has joined the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

Apollo gives Vitalis a study a moment, a flicker of a smile following. "One thing, mm?" he asks. Then: "I'm going to have an emerald one," he says. At Alessia's approach, he gives a bow, a quiet smile. "Lady Alessia. Glad to be here. It does inspire a bit of wanderlust." He looks toward the line - gives Adalyn a look, a nod - then gives Vitalis' arm a squeeze. "I think I know what I'll do."

"It was down to Braith. Maybe a little bit of Theron." Alessia eyes the sword for a moment, before drifting toward one of the benches. Clearly not planning on competing for now. She settles down beside Thea.

Braith clasps her hands together and noting Apollo, Adalyn and Vitalis she lifts her hand from where they are drawn together. A smile pulls at her lips as she waves to them but is turning her attention back on Evaristo when he performs the song, having to lower one to take Theron's arm tas she nods her head in time to the music, her gaze settling on the mockingbird before she cheers, clapping her hand upon her own on Theron's arm. "Well done! Well done indeed Evaristo! She looks to the next in line, "Please," she says to Sabine, "We would love to hear you next!

Sabine checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Turn in line: Sabine

Iseulet claps enthusiastically. "Lovely." And then she turns her attention to Sabine expectantly!

Svana claps for Evaristo, smiling at him when he's finished with his performance. Her cheeks color with delight and then she looks back to Apollo, eyeballing this and that before she turns back around.

Raymesin gets Amethyst Lantern from Amethyst Lantern Display.

Thea is listening to the others that are competeing, appearing amused for a moment.

Indeed, there is a second glance at Vitalis. He starts to lean towards Braith and stops, Evaristo is about to perform. Theron's untrained eye is looking over the lute, finally giving an approving nod. This time he does whisper towards Braith and claps his hands together, careful to keep the one Braith has very still. "Well done, Evaristo." Eyes sweep over the gathering crowd, old habits die hard. He openly looks pleased for Braith.

Raymesin arrives in the Ostria Quarter, clad all in black with his hood casting his face in shadow as he looks about.

Upon her turn, Sabine quirks a faint half-smile and slides forward to again incline her head to their hosts. "It has been some years since I was called to perform, not since I was an heir. Thank you for your indulgence," she murmurs to Braith and Theron both. Then, turning to face the audience, she draws herself taller, this already tall woman, and adopts an orator's pose-- posture demanding attention, demanding silence. Her voice, trained to public speeches, rolls out like a war banner, fluid and rising, meant for bone-jarring drumbeats, in comparison to the cool, composed marble of her person.

"My home is gone," she begins, turning the blunt impact of eye-contact from one person to another. "My home is gone and the land still burns with dragonfire. My home is gone and the great ziggurat is dark beneath a burning sky, the crystal lanterns dimmed. The fires burn and my love stood against them until her smile turned to ash. My home is gone and the land still burns with dragonfire." It is a lament, clearly, a rolling drumbeat of grief and sworn vengeance that continues on with all of the cheer of a funeral rite. It goes on as she walks from one side of the "stage" to the other, maintaining her piercing gaze with any who meet her eye, and when it ends-- with a rousing, "Any price, any bargain, to have my vengeance, for my love is gone and the land still burns with dragonfire," because repetition is great for impact!-- she sinks in a single courtly curtsy. "...thank you," she tells the audience, before returning to her seat.

Evaristo applauds vigorously, drawn in with eyes wide at Sabine's performance. "BRAVO!" he calls out enthusiastically. "What IS that from?! That is brilliant!"

Turn in line: Svana

Svana gets Island Breeze, an invigorating scent in a frosted orange bottle from a black pouch with a vibrant red rose on both sides.

Svana puts Island Breeze, an invigorating scent in a frosted orange bottle in a black pouch with a vibrant red rose on both sides.

Svana checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Braith listens to Theron's whisper and as new faces arrive she gives nods towards them so as not to interrupt the performances. "Wow...that was..." Braith looks completely taken with it, blinking as she glances up at Theron and smiles brightly. "Brilliant..and That was." she loved it. And then she sees Svana and she motions to her with a wink. "Svana your turn!"

"Life," says Sabine, rather unhelpfully, as her course takes her near Evaristo on the way to her seat (helpfully saved by dutiful guardsmen, bless their hearts). "As once was," is added more quietly while she settles on teak support. The lantern chosen earlier by another guard is handed her and she tilts it in brief study before lowering it to a steadied perch on one knee. Her gaze shifts to the next participant.

Evaristo has joined the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

Evaristo looks at Sabine a little thoughtfully, and then simply moves to sit down near her on some of those benches, leaning in to murmur something.

Svana steps toward the 'center stage', so to speak. Rather than commit to any great, deep works of art, she instead makes a terrific sales pitch. For her own shop. "No doubt many of you have gotten tired of hearing the criers speak of my shop the past month," Svana says, humor twinkling in her eyes. "If you realized that was my shop - or perhaps you have wondered who is the one perfuming all of the best people in the City? Present company excluded, some of you are the best. However, if you want to be even better, you should stop by The Silver Lining and see what I have in stock. There are autumn and winter scents for those of you with discerning tastes... and I can see just by looking around that so many of you have exceptional taste!" Svana looks around, gauging her crowd for a long moment. "But in case you were wondering, perfuming isn't all I do. The exquisite, handsome, charming, and exceptionally debonaire Master Apollo Oakwood is my patron! I am a seamstress, leatherworker, and sometimes jeweler! Make him proud, buy things from me." And with that, she steps down.

Bold move.

Adalyn bows her head toward Apollo for a murmured conversation, although she's keeping an eye on the event, pausing to devote attention to the other competitors when they take their turns. She applauds for each in turn, nodding approvingly and offering good-natured commentary. "That was beautifully done," she calls to Sabine.

Vitalis claps for a stirring recitation, nodding acknowledgement to Evaristo should the man look his way. To Adalyn about visiting Ostria, "You won't be disappointed." He looks around, fondness for the familiar tones and shapes, "After the baby is born, mmh? It's a long journey." He stills dutifully for Adalyn's kiss and smiles as she walks away to join the performers. 'Just one?' Apollo quips. He grins, all mischief, "That I'll admit to." He quiets to listen to Sabine's recitation, silent a long moment when she finishes before clapping enthusiastically.

He moves to the table, gets a golden lantern, and lifts it as he approaches Braith and Theron, cheery light spilling, shadows dance as he lets it spin, "Theron. Braith." To Braith, "Am I to understand this is your doing?"

Before Braith replies he turns attention to Svana and laughs, a bright bark, solemn visage briefly transformed. "I'll take two!" he cups a hand to his mouth, mock shouting at Svana.

Apollo seems rapt by Evaristo's performance, and Sabine's after - though his guard, hanging back near Vitalis, seems faintly uncomfortable, shifting on his feet, clearing his throat. When Svana takes the moment for self-promotion, he smiles broadly, laughs, nods, claps.

As Svana stands up and does her selling point, Braith grins, showing teeth as she tilts her head and then glances towards Apollo at the mention of him. Clapping her hands when the perfumer is done she cheers. "I shall certainly have to visit your shop," she remarks. "I will drag my husband along as well." She gives Theron a wink and then a quick kiss to his cheek before she looks to Orrin. "Count Orrin Seliki, I do believe. Please by all means perform for us." She inclines her head to him and then glances up at Vitalis. "It is, with some help. But I hope you are enjoying it, cousin."

Evaristo looks up and he laughs out loud - he stands up to applaud Svana. "She is great!" he confirms.

Turn in line: Orrin

Thea hears Svana. Her eyes squinting. "Gods. Is your shop where Ian bought me so horrific perfume that smelled like dead fish? And---" Every horrific smell known to man used to assult your nose. "Not to say it was YOURS, but uh--you get the idea!" You're mucking this up, THEA!

Orrin checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

Orrin nods politely to Braith as his name is called, clearing his throat before taking his spot.

"My family, so far away." He begins, standing in the middle of the space reserved for those trying their luck at the contest. "My wrists are bruised and my back scarred, but I promise to see you again." The count falls to his knees, "For no man is to be my master, but myself and the gods no matter whether they chain me or call me by different names in their foreign tongues." He rises, keeping his hands together as if they were bound by some invisible ropes, "I won't rest until the day where I'm free comes and I will be sure to repay them for what they done. But..." His eyes rise to meet the crowd for the first time, "Will I ever forget what they've done me?"

Svana walks away, bowing gently to Apollo on her way. She does look suddenly worried, brows furrowing - but she looks over at Thea. "I BEG your PARDON?" She asks her. "Nothing I make smells like that." She takes her bag off, offering it to Thea. "Go ahead, there's some bottles in there. And I hardly smell like a dead fish. You're thinking of someone I used to be married to, I'm sure."

There's an uncontrolled laugh escaping Alessia's throat at Svana's final comment.

Followed by her nudging Thea. "Look what you've done."

Sabine's performance also gets rapt attention from Theron, not exactly known for his patronage of the more Bardic arts. The strong command voice, it appeals to The Sword of Ostria instinctually by the look on his face. He listens to the words, weighs them and in the end applauds just as heartily for her as he did for Evaristo. Like he, Theron is curious as to the source, but the show must go on. For now it is his turn to pay attention towards Svana as she... pitches. He glances aside to Braith expression deadpan, and there's no applause. With Vitalis there, his attention turns away from the matter of the chestnut haired crafter. He gestures towards Braith. "The Wife's, in fact. She had the plan for me to follow." Theron starts blinking when his brain just catches up to the fact that Braith just voluntold him to visit a shop. "Wait, what? Nevermind, just tell me where to be and what to do. I find it easier to skip to the end with you."

When Svana finishes her recitation of the merits of her goods, Sabine looks away from Evaristo and his murmurings in order to give the woman the signal honour of a nod-- her first to those of common origins here, a sign in and of itself. Then, though she returns to the conversation, her focus remains on the performers. With Orrin stepping up-- and taking to his knees soon after-- she observes with interest.

The offering of Orrin's is one that keeps Braith's gaze upon him. It is moving really and she meets the Count's gaze and nods quietly. She clears her throat and brings her hands together to clap once more, if a bit more subdued but not less true. "Count, moving words. Thank you for sharing them." The lady inclines her head deeply to him and thus her attention shifts to Iseulet. "Marquessa, please." she motions her forward to be the focal point next.

She turns her head to Theron and pats his arm. "It will be fun. We will go together." How reassuring for him.

Turn in line: Iseulet

Iseulet checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.

Apollo steps juuuust out of the line to catch Svana's arm, murmur something warm, and kiss her cheek. He listens to Count Orrin with some interest, and then - thinking - turns to Adalyn, whispers animatedly with her.

Iseulet steps up and gently smoothes out the fabric of her dress, "Thank you." Then folds her hands behind her back thoughtfully. "How about a little poem my mother once taught me when I was a child?" She clears her throat and begins:
"This is a story about an unusual turn of events
That began with a frog and his flatulent scents.

For Flatulent Frederick tooted all day long
In fact, he tooted so much it sounded like a song.

His tooting started early and ended very late,
It was really no surprise he never had a date.

Until one day, an eagle came swooping down from the sky,
With plans to kiss Frederick's favorite female friend goodbye.

When just before the fine feathered fiend could attack,
The hungry bird was met with a most rancid "BRRRAAAACK"

The smell was so absolutely horrid and downright awfuk,
The eagle quickly flew away before he even got a mouthfull!

And so Flatulent Frederick became celebrated for saving a life,
While simultaneously gaining the attention of his soon to be wife!"

And with that, Iseulet takes her bow, regaining her dignity on the floor just there.

Thea clears her throat at Svana's comment. Followed by an innocent look to Alessia. "I didn't MEAN it the way it CAME OUT!" Where's the alcohol?!

"It's a pleasure to share them, my lady." Orrin says, "I'm certainly not as much of an actor as my wife is, but..." He lifts an eyebrow, already moving back to watch the next performance, "It can be enjoyable."

Svana has missed Orrin's performance in the midst of her face getting more than a little red as she looks at Thea, her eyes starting to get that crazy look. She hasn't worn /that/ look in a while. Thankfully Apollo comes by and catches her arm, smiling softly. "Yeah, well. I could make you more proud. Just give me time. And..." She leans in and whispers something to him softly before looking up to watch Iseulet, then laughing softly at her performance.

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Sir Thad Quackington, Arik arrive, following Jaenelle.

Braith watches Orrin, "We are glad to have you," she admits and then turns her attention to Iseulet. She can not help but laugh at the grand display of the frog and his flatulents put to verses. She shakes her head, a chuckle leaving her as she nods her head, "Marquessa, I had no idea. You mother was quite humorous." She winks and looks cheerfully towards Strozza. "I wonder if you can top that, cousin." She motions him forward.

Turn in line: Strozza

Thea theron=think! THINK before she speaks

"That was certainly very persuasive," Adalyn notes of Svana's performance, grinning. She tilts her head to intercept Apollo's murmured words and nods, her smile growing as she offers a hushed response. Iseulet's poem draws a look of pure amusement as it is recited. "I'm sure that one is popular with the children."

Evaristo is laughing out loud again - he stands up and cheers Iseulet. "Heroic Flatulent Frog!" he exclaims. "Great song!"

Strozza checked wits + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Thea decides a different tactict. Looking at Svana and well--beckons her over,"Messere Svana, do you have a moment?" TIME FOR DAMAGE CONTROL!

Vitalis takes Golden Lantern from Golden Lantern Display.

Raymesin makes his way over towards Svana, offering her - and Apollo - polite nods as he approaches.

Sabine says, with a touch of wryness, "A shame that Nurie isn't here, I suspect she'd count that one the winner of the night."

"Doubtful, Braith. But I shall fail gracefully." Stepping forward to his place, hands folding into the pockets of his great coat, Strozza's expression is fixed and calm. If he has listened to the others he has given no indication save for light applause at the finish of each. A sniff and a moment is pondered before he begins to speak.

"Have with me a sight eternal
Feast upon vision of the end
Bend thoughts away from fear
Beyond when thou were vernal

The fabric of the weave to mend
The essence of us returns at last
The matter to the gods so dear
Across a cosmos to turning wheel

None to small to replenish
A well beyond thought so vast.
Worry not you live again.
To love, to lose, to feel."

Brows raising slightly as he finishes, lips pursing momentarily before he comments again, lantern raised. "Valerio - cousin. I hope we might meet again before I follow your path... and must forget." throat bobbing a moment and quietly stepping to one side of the festivities after giving his dedication.

Iseulet laughs and dips her head, "Indeed, very popular with children and all I could think of on the spot."

Svana brightens when she sees Raymesin too, waving at him. She leans in and gives him a squeeze on the hand. Her eyes travel to Njall, her faithful body guard, who's arms are full of screaming baby. She looks over to Thea. "Yes, I have a few moments."

Arik arrives beside Jaenelle the pair seeming at the very least to be mildly in a hurry. The Halfshav can even be heard, "If we miss Lady Braith performing we might need to pretend I never came." as an aside to Jaenelle as he looks around the quarter blooming with lanterns and tries to spy Braith in the crowd.

Vitalis tucks his chin, lips twisting wry at Theron, giving credit to his wife, "Oh, no doubt. This doesn't have your stamp on it, Cousin." He pauses, studying Braith's posture and reaches for her hand, "It's lovely. Thank you. I miss Ostria terribly." He gives it a squeeze and lets go.

He turns to listen to Orrin, approval shown in clapping for the man's earnest performance, lips pursed, appreciative. He grins and shakes his head at Iseulet's performance, clapping along dutifully. Pootifully? And attention turns to Strozza, the words striking a chord that draws him up, shoulders back, lips pressed flat. He'll catch Strozza's eye, offer a study, then a nod. He looks back to Braith, "Thank you. Sincerely." A nod to Theron and he's off, perhaps in search of something to drink. He skims by Apollo's guard, pausing to murmur something as he passes. Wine, where is the wine?

Apollo laughs at the frog poem, and murmurs worriedly to Adalyn after, shaking his head and sighing. But then he attends Strozza's poetry, mood tempering, both less worried and more. The glance back at Vitalis is unsubtle. He gives Raymesin a nod after a pause, when he passes. "Raymesin," he greets, though not so loudly the whole crowd might hear.

At Orrin's more somber performance, Theron is attentive. It is short, but finds it powerful enough. He also applauds the count firmly. "Potent, well done! Certainly more words than I could string together on my own." Ah, then the cry of the offended, the byplay of Thea and Scana is noted and there is a deep chuckle. It does not last long as Braith informs him again how he is going to the shop. He does not hide his sigh, and performs a quiet-not-quiet. "Yes Dearrrrr." For those in immediate hearing. He does silence himself as Iseulet steps forth to begin with her poem. He tries to deadpan, he really does. Theron breaks out laughing and doubles over forgetting about Braith-support a moment to guffaw. Clearing his throat, he straightens himself up, reaching for Braith with snickering apologies. The moment Strozza steps up, Theron makes a face at the man... to help his cousin relax of course!! He does stop before Braith hits him, and Strozza begins. The invocation of the wheel and Valerio's name does indeed bring a little shock to The Swords face. Despite all his teasing of Strozza. He murmurs. "Well done, cousin. Very well done indeed."

Orelia smiles encouragingly when Strozza takes his turn, applauding when he is finished.

Evaristo seems to enjoy each performance equally and stands up to applaud Strozza. "Lovely!" he calls out cheerfully.

Braith shakes her head after and watches Strozza. "Lovely," she says as she gives him a smile. "No failure, cousin. It was beautiful." she admits and offers him a blown kiss. She remains ever on Theron's arm, leaning on him almost as she lifts a hand to lightly wipe at her brow and then whisper to him. But her gaze slip to Apollo, "Master Apollo, please, I look forward to your performance." She introduces him next as Vitalis greets her and her hands come to him, for the moment nodding to him. "I am glad. Please stay and linger. Enjoy with your protege and lovely wife."

She pokes Theron in the side before taking his arm again and resting her head upon his shoulder and that is when Arik is spotted and her head lifts and she raises her hand in greeting to show where she is.

Turn in line: Apollo

Where she sits, Alessia stares ahead as her cousin performs, her mirthful smile from the previous performances dissipating. She rises abruptly and heads to the drinks area to lift an entire bottle.

Sirius has been here this whole time, yes; he's like an inglenook to Iseulet's bright fire, creating himself a nice little place beside her in unexpecting silence, even after she rises up and seizes the room to tell her "flatulent frog" poem. Once she's returned to his side, he regards her with a fixed yet confident gleam of pride. "Your mother was a morbid woman," Sirius says, offering her his arm at a curved slant. "Master Apollo's up." Sirius leans back, craning his head a tad, to gaze off expectantly towards the leatherworker with not much expressed on his bland and flatly-pressed visage.

Apollo checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Adalyn nods encouragingly to Apollo. She quiets, focus riveted upon Strozza's words and causing her to settle into a more solemn demeanor. His last remark prompts her to glance over at Vitalis, expression softening. But then Apollo's name is called and she turns attention back to the event, taking a deep breath.

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

Arik has joined the line.

"Ah but you have arrived, so how much would you give me to lie on your behalf?" Jaenelle asks as she turns towards Arik with a grin when they make it to their destination. "I can make it rather convincing, I promise" then she looks around and softens, "oh, how lovely. She has done a magnificent job at decorating the quarter. This is where the Mazetti family will reside, all ducal houses have their own sections where their estates and manors are built."

Rather than moving to compete singly, Apollo looks back along the line of his arm, hand clasped with Adalyn's, to look at her. And he pulls her along with, some whispering yielding a decision to perform together. And he steps forward, and clears his throat. "A piece written for the Liberators," he says, and then closes his eyes, speaks - not loudly, but in the cautious, darkened tones that belong to the piece.

"After violence there is quiet. At times it is slow to come, but always after, a moment that even the birds note the precipice; choices yet to be made, if any hearts yet beat for the blade always leaves some and for some, none."

Giving Apollo's hand a gentle squeeze, Adalyn turns to face forward, her posture radiating energy. When she speaks, her voice is clear and confident, building with emotion as she begins her lines. "Quiet lives on in the heart. Enforced with more strenuous care than an archivist hushes a patron: some secrets should not be spake or even whispered, lest they be heard and stir within a want. Wanting is not for you, child. Your place is at the forge. At the loom. At tea service. On the throne. Watch there for the guard, and make not a sound. That, at least, is in reach."

Apollo watches her as she speaks, almost like he hesitates to open his ears to the words. But then he turns back to the crowd, and goes on. "If mysteries can be wove into cloth, why not a quiet? Shouting in the heart like an echo down a chasm or the moments after. Trouble is, quiet is heard as an absence but how present it can be, worn about the shoulders."

Adalyn's attention shifts to Apollo, her hands folded in front of her, focus intent upon him as she listens. The words lull her into stillness until it is her turn once more. And then she faces the crowd, voice projecting. "Duty, too, is worn there, but oaths live in a cavern with teeth and tongue, to be spoke or shouted, or swallowed. Freely given: a benediction, a kiss, a prayer; abused: a chain."

Apollo gives her a nod, and she goes on one more line. But for the last verse, they alternate the remaining lines:

Adalyn: "So come ashore, then, hearts all shouting choice,"
Apollo: "Emerge from the lake that's meant to be your end,"
Adalyn: "To lands that like to hear that aching voice,"
Apollo: "Though habit, promise, press ours each to bend,"
Adalyn: "So steady notes, where ours do not sustain,"
Apollo: "Your stern resolve, writ by past and plight"
Adalyn: "No heart abhors the silence or the chain"
Apollo: "so much as them that felt, before, their bite."

Apollo, on instinct, bows slightly when the piece is finished. Following Apollo's lead, Adalyn sketches a small bow as their words fade into silence.

Iseulet snickers to herself, joining Sirius' side and taking up his arm again. "She had her moments," she reassures him and turns her attention to the next performers, clapping after each one.

Turn in line: Adalyn

Nodding to applause and comment sent his way, Strozza actually ducks some as he gathers up Orelia on his way to the sides, taking a glass retrieved by Kuhlai to sip from and frown to himself. Silent once more and possibly even leaning on the shorter woman some while looking to Apollo and Adalyn, listening to their joint performance.

The lantern is handed back to her guardsmen so that Sabine might applaud. Those who followed the frog song are deemed worthy of that courtesy, though the woman wears a smile which indicates she isn't displeased by any of these offerings-- however much they may outstrip her own effort earlier.

As Adalyn is brough twith Braith amends her words, "And the Lady Adalyn!" She chimes out as she listens to them both and her brow arches. As they plasy off each other and interweave the performance the Mazetti lady can not help but smile even if she is looking a little wan.

"WELL DONE! Well done to you both. Very lovely." she intones and looks to the last in line after a merry clap against her hand on Theron's arm. "Lord Yes, Lord Arik is next!" She clears her throat and watches him with a slight curl of her lips.

Turn in line: Arik

Gaspar has joined the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

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

Svana invests herself fully in Adalyn and Apollo's performance, putting her hand up slightly until they're finished. Little details are taken in and she tilts her head slowly. "Show off. Gods and spirits!" But she sounds pleased. She leans into Thea, raising a brow at the woman when she speaks. "Oh?" she asks before whispering back, while keeping an eye on Arik's performance with a wide smile pressed upon her lips.

Arik had been walking with Jaenelle towards where Braith was waving, then he stopped, moved up... Oh he's in line! When it's announced he is singing there is a little release of the Archduchess from being his escort with a mouthed 'I'm singing' and then clears his throat as he makes his way over to... The place where singing happen.

"Come round, listen well
I've quite the tale to tell
It's one of fear and woe
It's one to end the... show?"

He is making all of this up on the spot and the stop and start pacing is obvious.

"Once there was a bird you see,
A bird who never stayed in her tree
She flitted and flew and went all around
Singing and titering making bird sounds"
there's a scratch at his cheek and it seems for once being put on the spot and not drunk he manages to to... Hold a note! Shocking.

"Then one day the bird was dead
Of this bird no more can be said
The next day there was a girl
A messy haired bard new to the world
The bird and the girl were bothed called Lark
You'll recognize them standing over... in the park."

and then he points at Braith and that is the end. Brilliant.

When Arik is done, Braith can not help but smile at the Northlands lord, seemingly surprised. She removes her hand from Theron's arm and applauds him. A laugh leaves her and she shakes her head. "You gave my secret away!" she declares at him but all together looks too pleased as her dimples start to form and she draws a deep breath.

"All of you...this was a blessing to have your performances today. Thank you. But I do believe we have a winner that must be chosen and as to consideration and the reaction of the crowd I must give this to Evaristo! Please come claim your lantern." She says and holds out the Azure Lantern of Spoken Words for him.

Thea is listening to Arik and the rest with amusement, leaning close to speak to Svana.

Iseulet claps for Evaristo's victory enthusiastically.

Sirius shudders all-a-sudden, something unseen and evil swiping him within the low-light atmosphere of lantern glow. "Stop," Sirius asides for Iseulet in a petulant grumble, squinting, his focus diminished from Arik whose performance he's rather captivated by. Somehow. Once the Northlander's finished, Sirius rises alongside Braith and applauds at length and consecutively. "Well done, my Lord, well done," the Oathlander cheers, seamlessly dragging on his encouraging after to add Evaristo into it.

Arik has joined the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

Evaristo lets out a half-giggled guffaw as Arik ends the performance. "THE BEST THING I EVER HEARD!" he shouts out. "Bravo!"

Orrin claps as he smirks for Arik's performance, intensifying his clapping for Evaristo as he is announced the winner. "Interesting. There are different colors for the winners, I wonder what

"Congratulations to you," Sabine says to Evaristo when he's named the victor. Her smile for him transitions quickly to Gaspar. Her husband's arrival leads to the woman reaching out to claim the Marquis' hand and lift it to her lips. An idle kiss is set upon his knuckles, a few words murmured.

Hands lifting in polite applause from the sidelines, Strozza nods to Evaristo's victory while he watches. Expression dour yet, brows lifted still while he gives an approving nod in general silence for the winner.

Evaristo looks surprised he won, even - and leaps over the benches to go claim his prize, holding it up to show

Jaenelle nods as Arik mouths that he is going to sing, and she replies wordlessly 'okay, go sing'. Then louder, "the last time you did that someone stabbed you" because its always important to remind performers that there are dangers lurking. She listens to the song, and offers a clap when it is finished, the sound mixing with the other rounds of applause.

Orrin claps as he smirks for Arik's performance, intensifying his clapping for Evaristo as he is announced the winner. "Interesting. There are different colors for the winners, I wonder what's the color for strength."

Arik doesn't appear to be impaled and when there's actual applause he makes a *huh* sound, "That's new." and begins to make his way down to begin clapping for Braith and Evaristo.

Svana smiles vaguely at Thea, then she claps loudly for Evaristo, cheering for him. She nods to Thea. "Please, let's discuss this outside the festival sometime. I would be glad to have tea with you, or whiskey. Whatever you prefer." She claps again for Arik.

Although she's not one to be shy in front of a crowd, instead delighting in the attention, Adalyn likely isn't accustomed to reciting poetry. She slides her hand back into Apollo's to give a gentle squeeze as their joint performance comes to its conclusion, tugging him to the side so that the next performance can begin. She applauds for Evaristo as he is announced as the winner and calls a cheerful congratulations. "Well done!"

As Evarsito claims his prize, Braith looks amongst the assembled. "Well done Evar, well done. And now we move on to the Emerald Test of Wills! Please any who wish to paricipate gather before me and we will begin. For we have more to get through!.

Evaristo is overheard praising Arik: That was HILARIOUS!

Braith is overheard praising Evaristo: Masterful performance!

There is a thoughtful look on his features when Braith speaks to him quietly. His head turns for Garibaldi and motions the man over with a jerk. A quiet word with the Swordbearer an his attention returns immediately to the task at hand. Apollo is next... along with Adalyn it seems. The first verse certainly grabs the attention of the Sword. The verse on after quiet moreso. Eyes flick between the two during their performance, and he politely applauses. "That too, well done. Glad I'm not the judge!"

When Braith's hand claps back to his arm, his head cranes to see if Garibaldi is back from the assigned task yet. No, and Theron turns his gaze to the Northern man. His free hand, eventually just slowly palms over his face. His shoulders shake, as Theron tries so very hard to not outright laugh at the pun attempt. Indeed he is still chuckling as Evaristo comes to claim his prize.

Theron is overheard praising Arik: Well! At least you tried!

Vitalis passed off his lantern to a servant to retrieve later and found the wine. He grins, lopsided, when Apollo and Adalyn stand together - he might be bright as the lanterns themselves. He lifts fingers to his lips and whistles for their performance, lifting his voice as well, a cheer for them. He's biased. It doesn't matter, he's also not judging the event. Arik gets applause for moxie alone and he moves to greet Adalyn and Apollo as they return to the general festivities.

Theron is overheard praising Evaristo: Outstanding performance, well won!

Evaristo is overheard praising Mazetti.

Sirius very calmly rises from his seat, going through the decorous and genteel process of undoing the various ties and laces; buckles and straps of his coat. The Prince drags back his elbows, pulling and allowing the top to slip off of his arms, and he folds it into his palms once down to his hands it slides. After, he holds it towards Iseulet and requests: "Hold this for me," before moving forward towards Braith, adding himself to the line. All skin and spindly and scraggly Sirius has, indeed, just decided to participate.

Sirius has joined the line.

Alessia has joined the line.

Raymesin applauds Evaristo, then turns and nods to Svana. There are more nods for various familiar faces, and then he's heading away from the festivities.

Orrin has joined the line.

"Oh my. Alright." Iseulet takes Sirius' coat and has a seat to watch. In the front row. Placing the coat upon her lap and folding her hands atop it.

Svana waves at Raymesin before she moves to takes her kids from her bodyguard, sitting down by herself somewhere. They are still fussing a good bit when mum has them. Putting the hard coral back into their mouths, Svana rocks the twins as she gets ready to watch the next leg of the competition.

Gaspar has left the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

Taking Theron's arm again and she watches Sirius step up first he says something to make her laugh and she leans in to whispers back to the Valardin Prince and gives him a nod. "Prince Sirius will start us out with the test of wills, perhaps you can hold your breath, or maybe stare as long as you can...or you can show us your fortitude in drink!"

She motions to Sirius as she nods to him, "Lead us off!"

Apollo leans close to murmur something to Adalyn as they wind their way back toward Vitalis, quietly pleased.

Turn in line: Sirius

Sirius checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Arik is murmuring to Jaenelle after the performance and as the next round begins there's a motion in Braith's direction and a curious expression to the Archduchess.

Strozza has joined the line.

Sabine's husband does not linger. Long enough for a few exchanged words, a kiss set to her cheek and then he is off again after paying his respects. She tilts her hand, encouraging the upwards slither of her king snake about her wrist-- an idle shift-- while her gaze turns to the new competitors, the new competition. /Not/ one she cares to participate in and small wonder, tall but bird-boned as she is.

Thea is listening, really. She nods to Svana in agreement. "Whiskey, since it would simply go in the tes,"before heading off to get a much needed drink.

Observes the beginning to the test of wills, and looks to the line starting to form. Garibaldi finally returns, assisted by a Guardian. Between them a large padded chair, likely by the build it is Theron's. The set it down after other Guardians set down a few pallets for an impromptu dias. The chair goes upon it, and before she can argue about it, Theron moves to pick up The Wife and deposit her in the chair gently if she doesn't whack him into a new day and age first.

Adalyn smiles at Apollo's remark as they weave their way around the crowds to rejoin Vitalis. "That was enjoyable. So much wit and creativity here! Are either of you planning to test your will or just intending to see how others fare?"

Evaristo only now realises he's sitting next to not only Sabine Tessere - even if he's kept a respectful distance between their seats - but also a snake. His eyes widen and he gawks. He also shifts a few inches further away.

Sirius gives Braith a most quizzical gleam, altogether at a loss. All three of her proposed ideas inflicts an individual flinch at some unspecific point of his brows, but he smiles; oh, he smiles; he nods and smiles and tips his head once and twice, looking around, engaging the room if for a brief moment.

"Very well, everyone!" He says aloud, the cadence of his voice hesitant and inspired with regret to what's about to ensue. "I will be doing all three of those things. I'll be holding my breath by clogging my nose, opening my mouth only to drink, all while staring hard into Master Oakwood's eyes as long and hard as I can." And so it is that Sirius waves his hand, and a knight of his comes by with various bottles of spirits bundled in his arms, arranging them in line before the Oathlander Prince. With his right hand, Sirius then takes a hold of his nose and squeezes its bridge shut tight.

Lastly, Apollo. The Prince widens his eyes, hard and sublimely outstretched, so that one could see the red, virulent outlines all across the white of them from lack of sleep as he looks off towards Apollo. Once his drinks are poured, Sirius commences the self-destructive process of drinking one, then the other, and the other, and--nope, on the sixth, he falters. The glass slips from his fingers, he widens his cheeks like a flatulent frog and gasps for raspy, inchoate air. "That's it," he calls out, but his voice's drowned and airless. "That's as far as I go," Sirius declares next, staggering back onto some chair, dizzy, reeling. Drunk, probably.

Apollo checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Vitalis checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 12 lower.

Strozza checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Alessia checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Adalyn checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Vitalis applauds Evaristo named victor, and turns with some query at the contest of wills forming. Vitalis barks, "I've asserted my will here enough for three turns on the Wheel. Today," he gestures at the field, "Is not my da-" spittake. Vitalis leans precipitously, to inspect just how much wine he sprayed, arms held out like a mantling bird. He laughs, wine threatening the rim of the glass, voice lifted to Sirius, "Gods be with you man. I can tell you, it's no mean task."

A polite benchmate would remove the source of distress. Sabine does not but then, Evaristo has done a good job of ensuring some distance, right? And the snake shows no inclination to chase after him. It curls up through the fork between her thumb and fingers, tongue lashing at the air, appearing watch-- as does its mistress-- the performance of will before them. Both Marquessa and serpent regard this impassively.

After finally calming babies down, Svana stands and stretches her neck, taking in a deep breath. She notes Apollo and Adalyn winding their way back to Vitalis and maneuvers that way herself. Bowing to them gently she smiles at Vitalis warmly, then Adalyn too. "I brought these two over to see their favorite Uncle. They're getting dangerous and have teeth coming in noooowwww..." the last word is drawn out as Sirius approaches too, and Svana takes three to five good paces back, stepping away.

"All three, certainly you mean only..." Braith's voice is cut off as she is lifted up carefully by Theron and she cranes her head to one side and the other to try to see this magnificent feat performed by the Valardin. Her eyes widen and she grins from ear to ear. "Well then!" she remarks as she settles into the raised seat that was brought for her. She winces, adjusting as she needs to to get comfortable.

She can not help but laugh and then cheers him again. She glances to Arik and Jaenelle, giving the Princess a nod of her head in a gracious way. Her attention shifts to the others and glances to who is next in line. "Cousin Alessia! You must outdo the Prince!"

Turn in line: Alessia

Gunther is fresh from a cermony and has his Solace tabard on and wears the clothing one might find most squires in. Functional attire adorns his person. The dimunitive figure is squat and stubby. His hands are not proportioned well and he has big mitts for such a dumpy fellow. His hair has maybe a dozen long strands up top that are wet with spit or water and it results in a terrible comb-over that fools no one. "Hullo!" The man beams his smile and greeting with natural warmth and excitement. The olf codger rocks back on his heels a bit and claps his hand at all the colors. "Wow!" He states in pure wonder, "Fella could right get dizzy just seein' them lights!" And the little guy looks for a place to sit or some friendly faces to approach!

Alessia checked stamina + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Apollo... could have maybe held that gaze right back, and for whatever reason he seems to have a particularly obstinate streak with regards to one Sirius Valardin. But that crack from Vitalis - oh gods. Laughter presses between his lips, and then he's laughing, just as the drunken prince is failing - and elbowing Vitalis once in the ribs. How dare he. "Can I buy you a drink, your highness?" he asks Sirius, smiling crookedly.

Vitalis fishes a handkerchief from his vest and dabs at himself, frowns briefly, dabs at Adalyn, "Did I get you?"

Evaristo watches the contestants with a mixture of amusement and horrified interest. He snickers at Sirius and applauds vigorously at everyone, calling out encouragements.

Arik furrows his brow with a look around as if noticing the crowd and then muttering something. There's a squint across the distance to Braith settling into the chair and then a tilt of his head.

In the quiet back and forth between Jaenelle and Arik, the woman lifts her eyes and catches Braith's movements just in time. There is a warm smile for the other woman and a dip of her head in return as greeting. While not trying to be a distraction, or rudly interrupting the hosting duties, she calls out to Braith, "you have done a fantastic job, and I have never seen such beautiful decorations. I almost want to commission a set of lanterns to hang around the Velenosa gardens after this."

Raising her brow when the prince announces what he plans to do, Alessia studies him intently. Naturally curious how on earth this will go. By the end, her demeanor appears impassive. Somehow. Maybe it's her previously dour mood. She glances at Vitalis when he spittakes. Still nothing.

She has a bottle of white wine in hand when Braith summons her and she steps forward, wordless, lifting it to the air in toast. She tosses her head back to drink the entire contents in one go. So what she was planning to do anyway, just all at once. When the bottle is empty, she winces as she attempts to let it all settle. Succeeding but not enough to remain standing, she heads on over to the closest seat to sink down.

To Vitalis, Sabine calls out, "If not her, then I think me, my lord, that had some distance." It isn't like the Marquessa to make /jokes/, though there is a trace of a smile claiming her lips should he look. Her gaze moves back to those attendant on the competitions then, her hand shifting towards her throat to allow Monarch to slither into place as necklace instead of bracelet.

Adalyn begins nodding to Vitalis, although she turns and blinks as Sirius announces his intention to take on all three challenges at once. Vitalis's reaction, paired with Sirius's bold attempt, makes it impossible for her to keep a straight face. She laughs aloud, eyes bright with amusement. "Certainly a strong attempt," she calls out encouragingly through laughter. Her face turns up toward Vitalis's as she leans to press her cheek against the handkerchief. "Nothing that can't be mopped up," she teases.

Strozza's brow raises as he watches the madness. Leaning to murmur to Kuhlai and nodding at a shocked look - no expression had.

Turn in line: Orrin

Orrin checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Some bearded stooge swerves forward beyond the opening, braking on a heel and toe tip at the same time like an unpracticed puppet. It's Sirius, but not truly; it's the mutant there bore of the aforementioned having drunk heroic amounts of ethanol in a prodigiously short amount of time. As he draws near Apollo and Vitalis, the deleterious pungency of alcohol emanates off of him like miasma from a particularly angry swamp. "I..." he tells Apollo, but pauses if only to hold up a smarmy index finger of swaying complaint. "... don't think that's very responsible, Goodman. I must decline." Sirius' tone is meant to be scolding, but really, it's hard to tell where the drunk lampoonery ends and the admonishing begins. Then, he stumbles off to drop the burden of his being beside Iseulet, surrendering himself to the chair. There, he stares off to the ceiling, lobotomized by bright lights and its hexed shapes due to the lacking focus of his retinas.

Braith stares for a moment at Alessia, "Oh Lessi," she says, wincing for her and squinting one eye in the beginnings of sympathy for what is about to happen. She makes a face and then glances up to Theron. "I feel like I am reliving my days before we wed," she murmurs and then chuckles a little, clappng her hands together. "I would suggest you not drink any more...but now it is the Count's turn to outdo you! Count Orrin."

Jaenelle's request is not missed and she glances up and over. "I would be glad to design them for you, Princess. You have only to ask!"

She reaches over to take up Theron's hand in her own as she waits for the Seliki.

When faced off with the challenge of impressing others with his wills, Orrin opts for a display of athleticism. Despite his growing age, he is eager to show that most of those years were spent in training back at the Pearlspire and goes for a headstand trying to keep up with it for as long as he can. "Now, while I'm no Valardin prince, I suppose I could also drink while doing this, but alas! My hands are busy and I'm out of cider!" The Count teases, his tanned skin flushing redder by the minute and soon it's clear that he can't maintain the balance for long. With a swing movement, he uses his legs to jump back into a standing position, stretching arms out to regain his balance.

Vitalis has joined the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

Luigi, 3 House Mazetti Guardians arrive, following Hadrian.

Iseulet giggles, covering up her mouth with her hand, then gently unfurling his coat to place it upon his shoulders. "Don't let the room spin out from underneath you," she chides playfully.

Vitalis leans to whisper to Adalyn and Apollo, before straightening and moving to address the Marquessa, "Can we say it was a benediction for your new child? Lycene, mmh, blessing." He can invent traditions, why not! Alessia goes and sinks to a bench and Vitalis tracks her movement. "Pardon, Marquessa." He bows and slips away.

"I'm fine." Alessia murmurs, though it's doubtful it'd reach Braith's ears. She tries to prove this point by attempting to sit up straight, though her hand almost misses the bench when she tries to steady herself.

Jaenelle looks back towards Arik after he speaks once more, a slight raised brow for whatever he says before her attention once more focuses on the going ons around them. "I will have so many lanterns that I will almost burn the city down" Jaenelle assures Arik then when Braith helpfully offers to design some for her use. "Almost" she repeats just incase.

Apollo laughs delightedly at Sirius' answer, lazy-blinking and shaking his head. "Never stopped me before," he says, but claps - equally for Sirius and the next competitor. Some comment from Vitalis draws his eyes, and he nods once, resumes clapping for the magnificent headstand. After a moment he murmurs something sidelong to Adalyn, giving a curious look, shaking his head.

Watching Orrin leaves Braith staring and she tilts her head, wiping at her brow for a moment before she is outright amazed. "Count Seliki, how wonderful. I could not even begin...well not in this dress." She says and affords him applause for his act as she glances to Strozza. "Let us see what you can will yourself through!"

Jaenelle gets a wink and a nod but it is Alessia that makes her smile. "Careful, cousin. I like you unbleeding."

Turn in line: Strozza

"How appropriate a benediction, my lord. Thank you, I'll be certain to tell her of it when she is old enough to understand," says Sabine, with a more formal nod to Vitalis-- as if they weren't discussing spit-takes and wine-spewing. On that note, and in the wake of his departure, she favours Evaristo with a small smile and then makes to rise as well. "One must prepare for other commitments but thank you for your company, captain, and congratulations again on your victory."

Sabine has left the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

Svana packs up her things after a moment, letting her bodyguard and assistant stay (theoretically) behind.

Njall, a Northern nullifier, Bryn, a flustered lovelorn Prodigal assistant leave, following Svana.

Strozza checked stamina + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

"Lady Thea, it has been awhile. I am doing well." Arik replies in an absent manner as Jaenelle all but promises to burn down the city with Braith's help or at least that's the story he's spinning.

Sirius pulls and tugs and ties his coat lazily all about himself as Iseulet delivers it, like an octopus recalling its many tentacular extremities back together, only that this one's too mentally addled to do any buckling or tying or lacing of it. "This was a mistake, Iseulet," Sirius decides, and alarming is perhaps that in his voice's not the indicative presage that all such claims often come with, no -- his is a sardonic look, centered on that ceiling still. Delivering himself, it seems, into that bittersweet understanding of an adversity fraught with inevitable failure. "I should've just held my breath. Pride will be my undoing."

"Kuhlai..." Strozza states as he approaches the challenge area once more. Victory or defeat - it matters not! The Ostrian shall present himself as a competitor as a champion or a worthy adversary.

How will he do this? What nightmare will he face.

"Do it."
"Now. Kuhlai."
"Sir, really. You could just have Lady Orelia just sword you for as long as could stand."
"This is brocade and seatouched wool, Kuhlai."
"But... But sir!"
"Do. It. Kuhlai..." Stro gives his aide a look of stern command and with a gaze of ultimate dismay and perhaps even a tear for the horror he is about to do to his dear master. Like a funeral processionary. Bringing Kuhlai a jug from a chilled basket. Porcelain? It is a soft white in color.


Gods no.

The jug is handed to Strozza who nods when Kuhlai pulls the stopper. He stares into it. Frown so tight he could be doing so for -ALL- of the Lyceum. Perhaps he -is- doing this for the Lyceum. So that no other Lycene ever need do this again. He takes one last look to Orelia before death might take him and then tips the jug back and he begins to drink... Milk. Which he does in slow, steady swallows. The entire jug.

Then Kuhlai comes to help his lord to a seat. To contemplate his life choices

Evaristo stands up and bows at Sabine as she makes ready to leave. "Thank you. And congratulations on the baby," he adds, clearly not one that generally remembers babies.

Sabine is overheard praising Mazetti.

Sabine is overheard praising Strozza: I can't bear to watch.

Coral, a cross and over-critical clerk, 2 Tessere trained guards, Monarch, a black and white banded king snake leave, following Sabine.

"Have I told you that I am not sure what is going on anymore" Jaenelle informs Arik as she watches Strozza carefully, hoping to gain some understanding at what she is witnessing. "Not a single clue" she adds, brows furrowing as she leaves Arik's side to get closer to Strozza, as if that is somehow going to help. "Do I need to call someone for you?" she asks the man, concerned.

Theron is overheard praising Braith: Behold! The Spectacle that the Lark provides you all!

Thea watches Strozza, really not sure WHAT that is. "So um--I have my med supplies if you need. But really---a nice finger down the throat should suffice." Just not hers.

Arik watches as Jaenelle tries to save Strozza from the milk repercussions. Instead he lingers near the bench and comments to Thea, "Did he just drink milk?"

Evaristo is overheard praising Braith: Great event!

Watching Strozza, her eyes squint. "Huh," she remarks as she glances at Alessia as well and oh boys under her breath. "I think we are going to need guardians to be sure we don't burn anything after everyone leaves," she remarks as to how well the family can keep their wits. "Or you will have to watch over us all." She tells Theron. She chuckles and shakes her head, glad the aid is there to help his man.

"Such feats! So many feats from all and impressive as ever but I must award Count Seliki with the lantern." She rises up, pushing up from her seat to hand the Emerald Lantern of Wills over.

Adalyn applauds for Alessia, eyes widening as she downs the entire bottle. A murmured comment by Vitalis is met with a nod of understanding, a curious glance to Apollo following before she turns to catch the other performances. She blinks, eyes fastened upon Strozza and the jug in his hands. "Is that...? Why, yes, it's milk. An interesting choice, particularly in the Lycene ward," she remarks jokingly.

Evaristo stands up and cheers for the count that won the next leg.

"I think so,"Thea slowly nods to Arik. "Is there a POINT to drinking a WHOLE jug of milk? I don't understand." She cleans back, suggesting,"Does he think it's not poisoned? Maybe that's it. Non poisoned milk."

Orelia leans on a black wooden cane while Strozza undergoes his trial by dairy, and when it is over at last she holds her other hand out to him. "Are you alright?"

From behind some servant or another, Duke Hadrian Mazetti emerges to discover Lord Strozza Mazetti taking long swallows of milk. That's enough to freeze the one who is often inclined to do a little bit of everything for a good time. There he stands, hands coming to rest together at the small of his back while he watches the festivities underway with a subdued, faint smile. Like a father - or elder sibling at the very least - watching a younger generation take their first carefree steps. Only briefly does Hadrian's attention drift aside to regard Luigi, then turn back to watch the unfolding events from the sidelines. Present, but without interruption. Observation, without intrusion. The announcement of a winner, in this case Count Seliki, results in Hadrian's hands slipping from his back and coming together with a bit of light applause. That applause being short-lived as his hands come apart, cold black hair is raked back, and once more his hands return to their position at his back.

Studying her cousin with raised brows when he downs the jug of milk, Alessia follows him as he settles down. Definite sympathy.

Vitalis turns from Alessia, lifting his voice, "I thought I was the Mazetti Oathlander. Strozza, you should really have come to me for advice." Dubious, the expression. That much milk... gods. "I think it is a blessing to live elsewhere tonight."

Orrin is still a bit dizzy from his feat, perhaps some drinks before would actually have helped him. Still he manages to find his way closer to Braith, bowing slightly to receive and lift the lantern up high.

Looking pleased with himself for seating her properly, Theron takes Braith's hand in his. For the show of drink and fortitude he has the most innocent of expressions upon his face. "Now, darling. Wait what in the gods name is he doing?" Theron makes a face of sheer dissaproval. "I'm not sure what is worth, chugging milk in such a fashion, or drinking whiskey." Theron is simply well known to consider whiskey a personal blasphemy and is a firm supporter of Ostrian Brandy. "Can I just... can't we hang him off one of the cliffs for the night? It may be more sanitary... and quiet."

Strozza leans back in his seat. Eyes half closed, reaching up to rest a hand on Orelia's cheek. "Kill me now... Please..." thumb brushing across, "Spare me this nightmare... Death is the sweet release. I have drunk such milk, and still failed... Death should claim me."

Arik has joined the line.

Apollo has joined the line.

Orelia has joined the line.

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

Thea has joined the line.

Braith reseats herself as fluidly as she can but catches her breath as she uses Theron to help her get to her seat. She lifts her voice again. "This is a call to the spirit! A call to your beliefs. Tell us about them, something you have witnessed or just faith in its entirety. Please..." she waits and as Arik steps up, the Halfshav receives a nod and grin. "Lord Halfshav, by all means, start us off." She looks proud. PREEN.

Braith has joined the line.

Turn in line: Arik

Arik checked intellect + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Arik checked charm + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

"I promise to make it painless," Orelia promises Strozza. "It will be like falling asleep."

Adalyn can't help but laugh as she overhears Vitalis's remark. She shakes her head slowly, pursing her lips in thought. "I doubt I've seen even an Oathlander downing so much milk in one sitting. That poor man." And then she quiets, attempting a properly solemn expression as the talk turns to matters of theology.

Strozza checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 84 higher. Strozza rolled a critical!

Luigi is one of Jaenelle's favorite people. It isnt Hadrian she sees first but his assistant. When Strozza continues to die, the Archduchess leaves his side and makes her way towards Hadrian. There is a brilliant smile for the man as she offers him a polite incline of her head. "Duke Hadrian" she greets formally, holding out her hand, "did you know that I recently saw a painting that looked remarkable like you?"

Merek makes a way into the place, and looks about. He wears dark attire along with his felt hat while he smiles thoughtfully.

Merek gets Azure Lantern from Azure Lantern Display.

Apollo gives Adalyn a rare quizzical look, head a-tilt. "Did you never meet Lord Rohran?" he asks, then grins suddenly, gives her arm a nudge. Then - is if with the weight of duty - he moves off to join the line. Either he acquits himself well or dispels some Oathlander stereotypes; what's to lose?

Arik walks up to the stage while Jaenelle is tending to Strozza. As he nears Braith there is a brief pause to murmur something to her before straightening. "In my experience, Spirits don't have Reflections and so they don't have cultists that try and kill people... " he begins to rumble before going on, "While the Pantheon is not only confusing but then Crusades..." there's a point in there somewhere, wait no there isn't. So he is verging on some heresy there, making no point and instead goes on to say "You should all visit the Spirit Grove and plant some flowers. It'll do you good... Southerners." he mutters before walking off the stage and pausing, frozen in his tracks by the stern Strozza who pauses in wishing for death long enough to stern at Arik. So he goes the other way (for not reason at all) and settles back at the benches.

Rising from her seat after exchanging a few quiet words with Vitalis, Alessia gestures to the center of the plaza. "I'm fine. I'll even glaivedance afterwards." Good idea.

Strozza is overheard praising Arik: Behold my -stern-!

Thea actually peers at Arik, a slight grin at the man. "Actually--I -did- grow some flowers at Stone Grove." There's a slight cough there and another drink. A slight twitch of her lips. When Hadrian arrives, she greets him,"Duke Hadrian, good evening. How are you?" A nod to Merek follows.

Iseulet leans over to Sirius, "Can we get on? I've got to get home. If my pussy isn't attended to by eight o'clock, I shall be stroking it for the rest of the evening." And this time she offers her arm to him.

Evaristo almost chokes on his drink.

Arik's words have Alessia's brows rising, in actual -shock-. "Wow."

Arik stands before her after that murmur and she watches him keenly, her lips parting as he starts to drift into speaking heresy. Her gaze flits aside and around the Halfshav before he finally recommends gardening for the soul. She hesitats but eventually says, "The Lord is not wrong, planting living life will give you a sense of fulfillment. A good recommendation!" She says to him before she quickly looks to Apollo...who might have quite the opposite opinion in this matter. "Master Oakwood, I do believe it is your turn."

Apollo checked perception + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Orrin chuckles at Arik words, "He might as well start a crusade, speaking like this."

Comment on Southerners will he! Indeed. Strozza shudders and considers purging the milk. But no. Then the -milk- wins. The stern look he has goes inward. You work for STROZZA now. MILK... Strozza is your master now!!!

Turn in line: Apollo

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

Torn between observing the festivities and socializing, Hadrian's bright green eyes seem to dance from Strozza, to Jaenelle, to Braith, and then back to Jaenelle. The offered hand is regarded with a flick of the eyes and when it appears that he may very well disregard the greeting, a smile begins to bleed to life across his sharp features. He offers a polite bow of his head before a hand extends to accept the hand, which he promptly seeks to encompass in a warm embrace of his own hands, "Archduchess, Jaenelle, it is always a breathtaking opportunity to be in your presence. Though, a painting you say? I can only begin to imagine how exquisite that painting must truly be! Do tell me more?" It's the greeting by Thea, his cousin-by-blood, that earns a warm smile and draws Hadrian's attention away from Jaenelle for a brief time, "Oh, hello, Lady Thea. You're well, I hope? I really, really, really, really, really hope."

Sirius looks back, slowly, towards Iseulet. An outline of vein fires out across his forehead, and he doesn't say a word. And he remains silent, silent, silent, until at last he declares: "Fine, we can go. But only because of the cat." And like a lady-in-waiting, sublimely peerless in her innocence (feigned), Sirius holds out his arm and 'offers' it to Iseulet in a juxtapose of their usual arm-holding roles. "Lead me away, and careful with my dress." That he's not wearing.

Merek picks up the lantern, and would look about, perplexed as to what to do. For now, he observes, looking to the place and walking about in thought.

"A couple times, although I don't remember drinks being involved, at least not milk." Adalyn sends an answering grin toward Apollo. "I'll have to pay more attention next time I cross paths with him." She sends him an encouraging look as he moves to join the line although she appears content to linger on the outskirts herself, not intending to add to the religious discourse.

Vitalis watches Alessia get up, tracking her with one good eye, game effort by the other. He presses to his feet turns and finds himself face to face with Hadrian, "Duke. Archduchess," he bows to the both of them, "Luminaries attending the lantern festival. Apropos." He inclines his head and continues on, towards Adalyn as Apollo braves the competitions again. "Oh..." He looks around sharply, maybe checking exits or paths thereto.

Iseulet takes the arm and dips her head to Sirius in thanks, standing up and waving goodbye to everyone but giving Braith and Theron a special curtsey, calling to them when socially appropriate: "Thank you so much for the lovely evening! Truly divine!" She chirps, gently pulling Sirius away before she embarrasses him more.

3 Valardin Knights, Dog, a scruffy west oathlands puppy leave, following Sirius.

Sirius leaves, following Iseulet.

Apollo shoves his hands in his pockets, peers thoughtfully. "Guess you can have a cult of just about anything," he says - to Arik's point. In fact, Arik's words - and its meandering focus - seems to throw him a little (or perhaps it was Iseulet?); he winds up arguing with it (er, Arik's "points") instead of whatever it might have been he meant to say. "And killing people isn't exclusive to anyone in particular either, gods or spirits and their adherents. But planting things is a plenty good idea, so long as it isn't rubbish you don't want growing. Seeds of regret." He squints mightily a moment. "I /had/ a point, and I've lost it." He shakes his head, gives Braith a helpless look, shakes his head... and wanders away from thoughts of competition. He's not looking for the exits. He's looking for a drink.

Alaric has joined the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

Apollo's words are given a nod to by Braith though she has to hastily clear her throat. "You are not wrong, Master Oakwood. No one cherishes regrets however and whenever they are sewed." As he wanders away she glances to Arik before turning her head to glance upon Orelia. "Lady Orelia, please! Give us your views and opinions. By all means you are next." And hopefully to move on from seeds.

Turn in line: Orelia

Orelia checked intellect + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Evaristo cheers everyone anyway - he looks a little tipsy, in that state where everything is amazing and lazily joyful, a grin on his face and a glitter in eyes that is part drunkedness, part always there.

"Duke." Alessia nods to Hadrian as she passes. "Your grace." To Jaenelle, as she casually strolls toward Braith to say something quietly.

The stare off arches an eyebrow of the Ostrian Sword, but he does not comment directly. He's just busy keeping a subtle eye on The Wife parimarily. Theron does look to the crowd randomly in between those competing to get a feel of how it all is going. Braith's hand gets a tight squeeze and a faint look of concern for his odd cousin as Strozza masters his inner dairy.

Arik looks towards Alaric with squinty eyes and then a messenger comes with brunette hair and some might recognize as Lana, glancing over something he blinks slowly. "Screaming, what?" then he's herded away with a perplexed expression.

Adalyn threads her arm through Vitalis's as he returns to her side. Her expression is arranged into a polite look of focused attention as the various competitors speak, although she may be just a tiny bit less enthused with this more serious subject matter than she was with the ruckus test of wills. Still, she listens attentively and nods in answer to Apollo's remarks before turning to follow her husband's glance over the surroundings.

Arik has left the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

"I am afraid I wont be able to stay much longer, I have opened the dining room to those who wish to have dinner with me, and I should not be late for my own duties. That and I am almost certain if I do not arrive at the appointed time, someone will eat all those little puff things I enjoy so much" Jaenelle explains. "I should leave shortly to make any final arrangements which needs to be done. And" ah, her eyes find the King. "I must kidnap him I believe. I will miss you if you do not come" she informs Hadrian as she leaves him to head towards Alaric. "Your Majesty, come with me."

Thea grins over at Hadrian, telling him,"Busy." Especially more so. "But well. Very very well." Times all his reallys! "I haven't seen you in AGES, it feels years! Isn't it your turn for a family dinner,"she teases a bit, before listening to everyone's points. There's a look to Arik, curious at the screaming.

Alaric turns up to the Ostrian affair fashionably late with a procession of King's Own at his back, grinning regally to the differential greetings aimed his way as he navigates through the festivities in search of the hosts of the event. But then there is Archduchess Jaenelle, brows arching before offering his arm to her. "And just where am I being kidnapped to this time, Your Grace?" he wonders with amusement.

Orelia leans on the cane she carries to get to her feet when it is her turn. "Faith is a funny thing," she begins, looking down before raising her eyes to look out over the crowd. "There was a time, a couple years back, I thought about taking the vows myself. Faith has a way of bringing people together and giving them a purpose, not unlike a family. When all else seems lost, all you have to do is reach out, and there they are."

"No promises today, Archduchess," Hadrian answers back at Jaenelle's invitation. He offers a soft smile after her, but ultimately turns about to discover Vitalis, whom Hadrian offers a soft dip of his chin and a simply spoken, "Lord Vitalis", in acknowledgement. Then Hadrian's attention shifts aside to Alessia and answers her equally simple greeting with one of his own, accompanied by a polite dip of his chin and a tip of an imaginary hit, "My lady". Then once his chin rises up again and his brilliant green eyes turn back about to rediscover Thea, his eyebrows crinkle and rise as a smile joins once more, "I completely understand the nature of being busy. Very, very, very busy. Though it has been a few months, hardly ages," he says with a chuckle. A hand rises up to smooth down the front of his attire as he continues, "Oh, we're exchanging family dinners now? I will have to take that into consideration!"

"This time, you say, as if it has happened before?" Jaenelle asks Alaric with an innocent expression. She takes his arm despite not exactly answering his question. "This way" she says, though her attention shifts from Alaric to Zelda, "I have cookies for you, the ones you like," then again to Alaric, "dinner." There is a soft sigh for Hadrian's words, "I will accept a raincheck, always from you."

Alaric has left the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

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

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Sir Thad Quackington, Alaric leave, following Jaenelle.

"Very succinctly put, Lady Orelia. It does at that, no matter the belief," she says. Braith smiles at the Stonewood lady and looks over to note Jaenelle and the King before she motions to the next in line, Thea. "Do please presnt us with yoru views!"

Thea checked intellect + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Turn in line: Thea

Orelia returns to her seat beside the milk-poisoned Mazetti admiral.

Strozza leans against Orelia... To stop the world from going to cheese.

Thea clears her throat and smiles a bit. "I've been both north and while--I too have my own views. In my travels, I've come to see how BOTH the spirts and faith have been able to work together." Quick. Simple. Short.

Adalyn takes Amethyst Lantern from Amethyst Lantern Display.

Vitalis has joined the line.

Alessia gets Golden Lantern from Golden Lantern Display.

Thea excuses herself, winking at her Duke cousin Hadrian. "I feel you should. It's a been awhile." That said, the Malvici medic runs off. Again. Possibly for another shift. "Take care. And thank you Lady Braith!"

Thea has left the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant leave, following Thea.

Orrin carries both lanterns as he readies to depart, "My lord, my lady." He bows to both of them, "I thank you for this excellent event, but I'm afraid I must go now. Hopefully House Seliki will be able to return the hospitality someday."

Braith gives an understanding nod to Thea. "Very true, well spoken for they both have merit." Shes miles at Thea and then rises to take the golden lantern from a guardian and looks to Orelia. "Lady Orelia, you have wond the lantern of spirit. Thank you for your wise words," she extends the Emerald Lantern of Wills to her.

"Now for wits! Please..Lord Vitalis, start us off."

Vitalis checked wits + riddles at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Gilded Lantern of Spirit

Vitalis checked dexterity + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 69 higher.

Drifting off after clapping Braith on the back, Alessia smiles warmly. "Lovely event. I'm going to get something to eat." And off she goes.

Alessia has left the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

3 House Mazetti Guardians, Sirra, a very quiet maid, an indeterminate number of cats leave, following Alessia.

Orelia accepts the lantern and shows it to Strozza while she admires it. "Thank you very much," she says to Braith.

Vitalis plucks his handkerchief from his breast pocket, striding to the center. He holds it out, flourishing, showing front, back, front back. "I'll open with this. It's my opener." He tents the handkerchief over his hand - click click - "Hear it?" He lifts his hand away and there, perhaps snagged from a passing server - a corkscrew bottle opener. Voila! He shows the opener to everyone, then covers it again and - clink clink - removes the handkerchief to reveal a bottle! TADA! "My opener."

Apollo, having not found a drink (not for lack of drinks about, but for true wanting), turns at Vitalis' - joke? Trick? - catching it just out of the corner of his eye. Does he... does he roll his eyes a little? Maybe. But that's a smile, all the same. He drifts back toward Adalyn, murmurs something to her, laughs a little.

Merek waves, making a way from the place to a meeting!

Strozza reaching for one of Orelia's hands once she comes back with the lantern, "Well done, Reli dear. You have overshadowed my shame and now I can hide... and die of milk." looking admiringly to the lamp.

As no one else sees fit to join Vitalis she claps her hands and rises, "It seems that you have no takers and though your performance. Even if you it was beyond admirable. Well done, cousin. She steps forward to offer the Amethyst Lantern of Wits to him.
Braith winks and grins as she hands it off. A nod of her head given to him.

Turn in line: Vitalis

Strozza has joined the line.

Theron has joined the line.

Adalyn watches Vitalis's presentation, a stifled laugh following. She grins at Apollo, murmuring a response before linking her arm through his. Clearly she's tiring of standing on her feet and ready to head home.

As the Mazetti begin to line up after, she laughs a bit and nods to them. "Very well, it seems that Lord Strozza shall try. I do hope you are recovered enough, cousin." Braith says and motions him forward as the music continues to play and the snacks waft about to fill the air. A smile pulls at her lips as she waits for Strozza to begin, still seated in her chair.

Turn in line: Strozza

"You can do it!" Orelia shouts encouragingly to Strozza.

Aswin has joined the line.

There is a thoughtfull look on the man, so many varied backgrounds tonight to consider. A nod for Vitalis, and then there is Strozza stepping up again. Milk-addled Strozza. Theron turns and kisses his wifes cheek. He goes to wait behind Strozza to murmur. "I swear to all the Gods... if you unleash physical hell upon me, or my clothes..."

Evaristo checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 51 higher.

Strozza checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Orelia checked intellect + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Vitalis looks around, no takers? None? "I know I cut an intimidating figure," he tugs the points of his vest down and shrugs under rakish cloak, tonguing his teeth, "No one?" He shrugs and accepts the lantern prize from Braith, "I have always maintained my wit stands without challenge." Lips pursed, he kisses Braith on the cheek, murmurs something to her. "My thanks. I think-" he looks over to Adalyn, foot-shifting, very pregnant, Adalyn. "-it's time we're gone. This was lovely." He gestures around at the square. "Good night all." And with that, Vitalis gathers those he came with and departs.

Vitalis has left the A Set of Tiered Pine Benches.

1 Clement trained guards leaves, following Adalyn.

Paris, a charming mercenary leaves, following Apollo.

Adalyn, Apollo leave, following Vitalis.

But now a chance to show his talent with weaponry! He's not the most amazing. But a chance to make up for milk. The defeat MILK. MILK SHALL NOT DEFEAT HIM!!! NEVER. Strozza stands and moves forward - whip drawn from his hip as he looks to Orelia. "Wait... I'll be right back." probably. Then Theron is threatening him.

"Fear not. No milk shall best me." snarling to himself before he is turning in precise pinwheel, the lash going loose and becoming a hurricane around the man as the coiled leather and diamondplate wire twirls, spins and convolutes around him in a means that one might expect to shred him, or bloody him terribly.

It goes on in a series of thundercracks as the metal hydra head weights snap at the end of the lash before Kuhlai hurls... THE BOTTLE.

The foul bottle! What contained evil!

Strozza turns once more and swings hard, his whip wheeling about him expertly to smash and sunder the glass, turning it to silvery flinders.

Vengeance for Lyceum!

Braith's eyes betray her as they settle on Theron but as the bottle is thrown and those cracks peel through the air she jerks her attention back to the front. Her lips part an dshe hesitates as she blinks a few times and then cheers! Enthusiastically. "Way to get you revenge, cousin! Well done!"

She chuckles and claps as she looks to the Sword of Ostria next. "My Lord husband, show us why you are the sword!"

Turn in line: Theron

Hadrian begins to laugh aloud for a moment as he glances off in the direction of Lady Braith and Lord Theron, then around to Lord Strozza. Whatever it is that Hadrian finds so funny, the laughter is soon stifled and Hadrian's attention drifts around to Braith and he shines a cheerfully bright smile in the direction of his cousin-by-marriage's wife. Second wife cousin? A shrug later and Hadrian announces toward Braith, "You've truly impressed the Duchess and myself, Lady Braith. You are," and there is a pregnant pause while Hadrian's lips purse and his eyes drift skyward for a moment before he concludes, "Minister of Morale and Social Functions. If you're willing to accept that role?" The question is one that is surely open to refusal, probably.

Theron checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

Evaristo has left the A Set of Tiered Teak Benches.

Watching Theron and Strozza exchange places there is a sense of pride in her. But then Hadrian's questions causes her to shift in the seat, wincing a breath or two before she slowly rises to her feet. Struggling to get them beneath her as she nods her head, "If that would be of benefit to House Mazetti of course, I would be honored to be so for the family." She smiles brightly at him and inclines her head. "But I think we must see how my husband does, no? Such a show from Lord Strozza though, impressive. Though all truly have been impressive and made the evening." She says as she remains upon her feet, watching.

A mild observation of his milk-drinking cousin, Theron's face is calm and serene, a bit of a grin on his lips. However his eyes do not bother to hide the full effect of that particular gaze of his. The milk jug is smashed and Theron holds up a hand when servants move to clean it up. There is a turn of his head towards Braith, Theron has a bit of a smirk. He openly smooches an air kiss at her and turns towards Garibaldi.

The Swordbearer brings forth a different kind of blade. Not Allegiance nor any of his other finely sharpened blades. Garibaldi has hefted a practice weapon for Theron. A solid iron core clad in wood, heavier than Allegiance and Vendetta. This is a blade to hone skills with, and is not the most accurate of tools to wield at times. On the bright side, if he errs, noone will be missing limbs. He's rolled up his sleeves to not split the arms with the efforts to come. Theron readies the practice blade and leaps. He is no Glaivedancer, but he is the sword of Ostria. The physical effort is clear with every strike he brings towards individual shards of the jug, not once connecting to any of them. Each time he stops a fraction from smashing them further. Soon it should become apparent that this is intentional, it would be one thing to smash the pieces into smaller ones, but to stop a blades momentum is another matter.

His form is good, but not perfect, as this is no balanced sword he sweeps about. He ends the series of flourishes be sweeping the practice blade far to the left and rolls his back towards the swing, turning his wrist to allow his arm to curl with the motion. His right hand connects with the hilt behind his back and the spin continues until the right arm is extended out sharply with the weapon horizontal to the ground simply held in place motionless for several long moments before he resets himself, and hands off the practice blade.

Theron's display is enough to keep Braith's attention as he uses Strozza's jug with his fluid movements. A smile draws across her lips for his dance. She lifts her hands to clap for the performance. "Proven well indeed," she says of her husband and then nods to Theron as she gives him a bright smile before seeing who stands ready. She makes a motion for Aswin to step forward. "I do believe you are our very last participant. I would be glad to see your mettle." She says and steps back, slowly lowering into the cushioned seat to watch and prepare the last lantern for the victor.

Turn in line: Aswin

Theron checked strength + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Aswin checked strength + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

"Lord Strozza and Lord Theron have always proven themselves immensely capable. You, however, have proven yourself immensely capable in this arena," Hadrian answers with a cheerfully bright smile. A clap of his hands and soon enough Hadrian provides a nod to the remaining people, before he begins to move off with Luigi falling into step alongside him to discuss some matter or another while the masked Guardians of Ostria move briskly in his wake.

Luigi, 3 House Mazetti Guardians leave, following Hadrian.

Orelia watches intently, smiling for Strozza has he displays his prowess with a whip and then examining Theron intently as he works with a practice sword. Last is Aswin, and she is at the edge of her seat, leaning on her cane.

Aswin checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.

Strozza's brow is up and he offers a bob of his head to Theron as he goes about not breaking his shards. A small grunt of a laugh and appreciation for the Sword's skill as he backs away towards Orelia, to give the display proper appreciation.

Up until now, Aswin Ulbran had been a relatively silent spectator throughout the event. He'd been lounging among the stands and watching while nursing a flagon of ale while each of the events had been taking place. When an event came along that suited his own skillset, he'd stood to head out and line up alongside Strozza and Theron. Still silent, he had stood and watch each of the Mazetti nobles, nodding respectfully for their performances, even offering a dip of his head for Theron's performance.

As he is gestured forward, Aswin moves out toward the competing area and lifts a hand to stall Theron's Swordbearer. Having a quick whispered conversation with the fellow, Aswin moves to fetch ten pieces of the broken jug that Theron had just spared a fate of being smashed into even smaller bits. Passing them off to Garibaldi, Aswin moves out into an area of open space and then draws forth his dagger from his hip. Offering a nod to his lovely assistant, a piece of broken jug is flung at Aswin like a ceramic frisbee. Waiting until just before the piece passes him by, Aswin flies into motion, striking left with the point of his dagger and shattering that piece. What follows is a blur of motion as the Ulbran cartwheels, rolls, and even flips. At the end of each acrobatic maneuver, a piece of glass is flung at him, each piece meeting the quick end of his dagger with the ping of diamondplate on ceramic.

After the tenth piece falls to the ground, Aswin offers a nod of his head in gratitude to Garibaldi before simply turning and walking from the competition grounds without a word to fetch another drink.

Braith might be reaching for Theron as Aswin takes to the front of the festival that is winding down. As he presents his own use of the shards of jug left behind by Strozza, she stares for a moment. "How elegant," she says off handedly and then looks to the others judging the event as she reaches for the last lantern, the crimson and she smiles. "Aswin Ulbran, as I have come to learn, you are quite agile and quick of foot. Your blade work is something to remark upon but I fear according to the crowd that remains that Lord THeron is the winner of the lanter of strength.

She bows her head to Strozza, Aswin and finally the Sword of Ostria as she presents it to him. Crimson Lantern of Strength

Theron checked strength + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

The festival carries on into the late hours and as the lantern winners are presented once more they must repeat their performances to once more be evaulated for the final prize - Midnight Sea the Ostrian Gelding. He is well manored and brought out once more to wait to see who shall tend him from this moment after. Theron presents his sword once more and with a great showing is cheered. Not far behind hims is Lady Orelia to expound upon her belief about Faith and its great importance to the Compact and the world. She speaks truth and once more is lauded for it.

THen comes Evaristo and with his fluid motions and silken voice weaves another song for the group and charms them to no ened, the largest cheer goes to him. Lord Vitalis gets quite a few laughs for his performance and there is clapping as Count Orrin shows off his amazing ability to stand on his head.

In the end as the night grows late and all are starting to leave, Evaristo is given the prize that is Midnight Sea. A delighteful evening carries on and will die out to leave just the Mazettis and a few guests to close out the night.

Immediately there is a sketching salute of his hand towards Strozza. It is followed by Theron settling in to observe the next challenger. He does nod a subtle assent to Garibaldi the moment the Swordbearer had looked his way. There are plenty of Guardians if something untoward occurs. It does not, what does occur is a good show of daggership. Even Theron can appreciate the art of such a tiny weapon. Especially in the light of the flips and acrobatics in the process. He's faintly surprised Garibaldi didn't ping the man in the skull intentionally, Garibaldi is growing.

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