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Aug Grayson Family Dinner

The next installment of the Grayson Family Dinner is scheduled for August 15th! Grayson family members are of course welcome, as are any vassals or anyone somehow connected to the family. It's just a way for everyone to all get in the same room and catch each other up on what's going on. Attendance is not required, but strongly encouraged and light guilt trips may be arranged for those who can't make it because family comes first, right? None Greater Than Grayson At Attending Family Gatherings!

Date

Aug. 15, 2020, 9 p.m.

Hosted By

Sabella

Participants

Lou Liara Niklas Bedivere Michael Esme Alaric Kalani Talia Harlan Elora Lisebet Lailah Ahriman

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Lou is already seated at the table and has already shoved food onto her plate. For once she is drinking wine instead of whiskey.

Joy, the advisor of roses arrives, following Esme.

Alaric has joined the Dining Table.

2 Whitehawk Guards, Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby cat arrive, following Bedivere.

Liara's also in situ ahead of time, for once in a while, her place setting furnished with a glass of wine and another of water. She sets about moving some roast chicken and a whole mound of vegetables from one of the platters to her own plate.

As with every Grayson family 'n' fealty feast the dining room staff are doing it right. It's not a ball or anything, so there're no fancy decorations or what have you, but this is more than made up for by the truly upsetting amount of food on offer. The main table is laid out with your main courses, there are side tables with side dishes, servants are walking around and offering people finger foods and, of course, whatever people can imagine they might want to drink. Niklas is already there, sitting in the throne that no one ever told him he couldn't put right in the middle of the table, gesturing toward a very beautiful painting of a very ugly boot and saying to Lou, "...used to be a painting of Queen Alariel, but I took it down for the boot. She was unpleasant to look at anyway. Eyes followed you everywhere. She strangled an archduke once, you know? She had a good reason, but still, do you want a strangler watching you eat dinner? Now this beautiful boot? Love it." This is a good story. This is the content the people pay to hear. When people start filing in Niklas gets to his feet and moves so he can individually welcome arrivals.

Showing up fashionably late is Lord Bedivere with the trusty Cabbit upon his right shoulder, balancing out the fact that he misses a hand on that side. Meanwhile, he gives nods and waves (with his left, of course).

Due, a large hunting dog, 2 Whitehawk Guards, Feyre, a Whitehawk falconer, 1 Iron Guardsmen arrive, following Elora.

Sabella is standing by the door as usual to greet those that arrive, "Lord Bedivere, welcome! Please feel free to grab a seat and something to eat!" She gestures to the well set table, "We tried to make sure there's a little something for everyone and if you want to start with dessert you'll be in good company."

Sabella's station at the door causes Michael's gait to slow. To hm. To bandy about the idea of whether he was actually going to /commit/ to going all the way into the hall. But guards saw him, he is stuck. He will greet Sabella and move to mingle past her.

What does a Fidante do at a Grayson dinner? They saunter in with all that feline movements. Esme's auburn hair seems fire-bright in the fall season as she moves into the dining room. Joy immediately finds a place out of the way with the rest of the servants and advisors. The brilliant emerald of Esme's eyes slide immediately to the rolling cart. Not the amazingly beautiful women or the distinguished gentlemen. Chocolate. It goes to the chocolate. Those eyes light up as she starts to bounce lightly on the balls of her feet. A vibrant smile upon her lips that just seems to bestow everyone she looks at with a sincere happiness. She looks around for certain people. It is there that Sabella (who can never be missed). "SABELLA!" It is less a shout of loudness and more a cry of happiness. If the princess does not evade there will be a ratehr large hug offered when Esme gets her chance, but Niklas is completely the next target of her sights.

Alaric sweeps into the dining room amid the arriving fealty members, pausing to deliver greetings first to his family. "Niklas, Lou. Liara. It's good to see you all. No one's drank all the good wine, have they?" To Sabella, he delivers an affable grin before delivering a hushed word to the hostess. He doesn't linger long, finding himself a seat before attempting to steal Lou's wine with the most casual of gestures to see a servant quickly replace it.

Not one to have her delicate sensibilities offended by the amount of food on offer, Lady Kalani Seliki has paused just inside the great hall, waiting as Bedivere is greeted by Princess Sabella and then she moves ahead. She laughs, waiting again, then decides that this is going to cause a bottle neck and quickly nips into line behind Esme to greet Sabella before anyone else gets into the queue.

Talia slips in quietly into the dining room, not through the door that Sabella has stationed herself into but through the door that connects the dining room to the kitchens, normally reserved for servants to come and go. Given that she is dressed in the same muted colors as the servants, one might not think twice of it. The young woman slips quietly into a place at the wall, standing there without making a noise.

Arriving together are the Duchess and Duke of House Ashford. Seems Harlan found his way back from Ashford Keep recently, and given the smile on his face, was happy to have a chance to bring the wife out for Dinner with the Graysons and Guests. Despite the difference in height Harlan is being quite proper about it, having Lisebet hold on to his arm as they walk. As they enter he pauses the walk and bows to those present. "Your Majesty. Highnesses. Various Lords and Ladies. Thank you for having us." He smiles at Lisebet as he rises from his bow.

For Sabella, Bedivere smiles. It is brief and slight, but it is there for her. "Thank you, Your Highness." says he with a bit of warmth before he moves forth toward the dinner table, pulls out a chair, and sits down. Cabbit seems to be purrfectly perched upon that tabard-clad shoulder of the older gentleman, and there is an audible purr as well as curious look to all the people here but without moving from the lord knight's shoulder.

Elora Whitehawk arrives at the dining hall and gives Sabella a polite nod and a smile. "Hello, princess Sabella. It's nice to see you again." And soon she enters the dining area to find herself a glass of wine before sweeping her gaze over the room. A few familiar faces are noted, but there are plenty she doesn't know. Which has her staying quiet and off to the side to observe.

As Harlan bows, Lisebet dips into a graceful curtsey, rising as he does. "A pleasure as always, your Majesty, Highnesses, Lords and ladies, all." Though her gaze goes to the food, a brow arching slightly. "As always, this is decadent. Reason to always come to Grayson dinners - they feed us very well."

"I've never been one for hunting," says Niklas, still standing to greet people and all of that nice polite stuff even as he's not exactly subtly slicing into a haunch of boar, "but I've never complained about the results of others hunting." When Esme approahces Niklas gives her a big hug that holds the plate of porky game out of the way of potentially falling upon the Fidante's outfit. "I've done such a bad job of getting together with you! But here you are!" He gives Elora an expressive bow. "Lady Elora! It's so good to see you again!" Surely he's running out of exclamation points.

Sabella hugs Esme tightly and beams at her, "Lady Esme! I'm so glad you could make it! Do you know everyone here? I assume you do but please let me know if you do not! Duke Harlan, Duchess Lisebet! So wonderful to see you both together! Lady Elora, I'm so glad you too could make it! Lord Michael try the duck it's delicious! And your majesty should we run out of the good wine I can send a runner to the ward of the Lyceum and tell them Esme Fidante is here to make them hurry."

After lifting his fork, Bedivere does not yet dig into his food because there another Whitehawk is. He lifts that fork further to wave to Elora.

Liara gives a little wave of the hand not occupied with a gravy boat to greet Alaric, cautioning, "No, but the gravy is at risk." The amount which she has poured onto her plate may attest to this - the fact that a servant promptly shows up to replace it, less so. She smiles over at others entering - warmly so to the two Ashfords, then to the Whitehawks, she says, "Lord Bedivere, Lady Elora - what a delight to see you both." Michael, meanwhile, receives a query of, "How do you do, my lord? How is the festival planning going?"

Lou gives Niklas an amused look when he talks about a painting he's taken down. "Strangled a duke you say? That sounds like some of the stuff that you've written in her plays," she says jovially. There's an exuberant air about her, like she's crackling with some sort of bursting, gleeful energy. She's been insufferably like this around the house since... well... the last few weeks. She might have even hummed at people. Alaric gets a wide grin. "Cousin!" Her eyes dancing with delight and perhaps with a bit of a knowing smile before she looks to everyone else. "Lady Kalani, we'll be off soon are you ready for adventure?" she asks. She waves to the others as she enters inbetween eating bites of food and drinking her wine.

"Whom?" NAMES! Names are being thrown about and Michael tries to connect them to faces. Esme is easy, shes the one he doesn't know. "Oh...I've been very emphatically informed that I can't make up a festival where all the children of the peerage have a contest to see who can catch the most frogs out of the damn courtyard pond." Aside to Liara, who he decides is the perfect person to sidle up beside for a few minutes.

Harlan grins over at Lisebet, "Hard to complain about free food." He says offering a hand to help her take a seat.

pose cants his head at the flow of conversation between Niklas and Lou. "Has Niklas decided to veer into the dark and troubling parts of prose?" he wonders, raising his cup in reassurance to Sabella. "My cup runneth over with the blessings of good wine, gifted to me by Lou." He makes a gesture for Liara's gravy boat, diplomatic in negotiation. "If you'll be so kind to deliver me the gravy boat, I'll trade you the plate of rolls. Still warm, too." What a temptress. Tempter? Tempter-tress. As Harlan and Lisebet are seated, he raises a hand in regal reception. "Duke and Duchess Ashford. It's good to see you both. I trust your return to the capital was uneventful and safe?"

"Have medkit, will travel," Kalani replies with a grin to Lou, deciding that a general curtsy to the room at large will suffice by way of proper honorifics, she slips through the increasing press of new arrivals to take a seat somewhere along the length of the table.

Bedivere returns a greeting to Liara, "Good to see you as well, Your Highness. Been a bit, yes? How have you been?" Then, he also waves his fork to Michael, "Oh? Why?" asks he about the frog pond children's game.

Elora collects a glass of wine from a passing server's tray and lifts her drink in cheers to Niklas. "Likewise, prince Niklas. I'm sorry to have missed your latest play, I will surely attend the next." She smiles at the prince's wife again and nods. "Thank you so very much for recommending a nanny the last we spoke, princess Sabella. Nanny Sadie has been a /gem./" Spotting Bedivere across the way she makes her way over to him, but not before greeting Liara. "It's a pleasure to see you as always, your Grace."

"I suppose if you were to give them all nets, then be ready to rescue any especially enterprising child who opts to leap in to catch the frogs by hand," Liara muses in reply to Michael. She passes over the gravy boat to Alaric, hopefully even getting some rolls in return, and then answers Bedivere, "Just splendid, thank you." She remarks to Elora, "We really should chat again about horses one of these days."

Esme hugs Sabella. "You are the most beautiful woman .." Her words pause before she does a count of women in the room and quickly adds without missing a beat, ".. named Sabella to have ever lived. I have not met everyone, but I'm sure I will." This draws her to the warm hugs to Niklas. "My dearest playwrite. I know that we have just been missing each other, but we have all the wine and desserts that we could imagine to make up for it." Pause. "And the delicious meats as well." Her eyes flow over the others and mark Michael's movements for a moment. "I think a frog festival would be rather perfect. Perhaps you could do it under the guise of Limerance? You could say how sometimes you have to save the frog with valor or explain the concepts of fealty to them and have them jump to your fealty. It could be a whole thing." She smiles vibrantly towards the others as she starts to inch towards the dessert cart.

Talia steps forward with silent efficiency, just another quiet figure dressed in Grayson colors, as she takes the plate of rolls near Alaric. She moves them to Liara's side of the table, setting them down quietly and taking the gravy boat and moving back around the table to bring the gravy boat and setting it into the place emptied by rolls. Just servant things.

Lisebet lets Harlan answer the question about his travels. For her part she grins at the King. "I am glad to have Harlan back in the city with us," she admits. "If only because it makes dancing a touch easier when I've a partner who is somewhat trapped into it." Then a small chuckle and nod to Harlan's comment about the food. "This is definitely true. And Princess Sabella and Prince Niklas do set a fantastic table." She regards Lou for a bit, curiously, and then her gaze goes over to Liara, with a bit of a smile, her own in return for the High Lord's is equally warm. She takes a seat as Harlan assists, and glances around for a good glass of wine.

Lisebet has joined the Dining Table.

Kalani has joined the Dining Table.

Michael has joined the Dining Table.

Bedivere has joined the Dining Table.

Liara has joined the Dining Table.

Niklas has joined the Throne of Pena Stormryder.

Esme has joined the Dining Table.

Elora has joined the Dining Table.

Harlan smiles cheerfully at Alaric and nods his head, "It was indeed your Majesty. I sneaked my way back in to town to surprise the Duchess. So the trip was indeed safe, Seemed no one betrayed the fact that I left the keep, so no one was looking for me." The Duke of Ashford says in his warm tones. "Also not to far away. And mostly in woods I am rather fond and familiar with. So even if things got a bit hairy I think I could escape effectively." He spots his wife looking for wine and uses his longer reach to grab her a glass of the type he totally knows she likes.

"I think I would be accused of overspending to deal with a minor problem." Michael makes his way towards the dinner table, overhand carrying a glass of wine. "Its an odd situation. Someone has sieged Bisland Manor by allow frogs to propogate in the courtyard pond. The head cook hates frogs and has to be escorted in and out of the manor now by guards. Three investigators have been unable to ascertain where they came from. Its been trying." Michael plops into his chair.

"Please don't tell Relara that or she'll be in that pond cheating and stashing frogs everywhere," Sabella says with a laugh to Michael. But it's a little strained and there's a look like why my daughter? Then she's beaming at Elora, "Oh, I'm so glad she's worked out for you! I always say one can never have enough nannies! Never," she spares a glance to Nik that appears to be considering sending him out for more nannies come to think of it, but then her attention is bouncing again to the room at large, "We'll be starting our little game here momentarily! For those who have never been here or just haven't been in awhile, what we do is just share a little something interesting that has either happened to us lately or that we think might happen to us in the future! It can be plans, it can be a certain interest you've stumbled upon, it can be something you're looking for help with!"

"And then--and this is the most important part--" she stresses, "You pick the next person to go! So let me start--I've had the most interesting conversations lately with Ambassador Bahiya from Eurus and learned quite a bit about their culture. And the delicious spices they put in their food! If you have not stopped by Mistress Rukhnis' Roost for some of the hume-mus, then you are really missing out! I'd recommend it to anyone!" she looks around the table smiling, "Let's see--Princess Liara, what have you been up to lately?"

Bedivere seems content, or catent, to eat for now and let his gaze move from Elora to Liara then Sabella as the proceedings begin. Now that dining happens, Cabbit climbs down from shoulder level to lap level and peeks over the table, but he simply stares at the edge of the plate then looks up at Bedivere with those expectant eyes. Of course, he gets a bit of buttered bread for that.

"Ah well. It was a good show and we did raise- wait, is this my thing to share?" Niklas does some quick math, then nods. "Nevermind. We didn't raise anything. Nobody heard that! It will be a surprise later! What legendary historical queen?!" Niklas drops back into his seat after all the hugging is done and nods to Michael, "Is there an issue with the frogs? Generally I rather like frogs, but I suppose that's because I don't have any of them singing to me from the garden. Or if I do I'm well away from them and can't hear it." He gives Lisebet a smile and says, "I tell them 'get me one of everything' and they say 'what do you mean by everything' and I just shout 'everything!' over and over until there's a lot of animals in front of me and plenty of sauces to slather on them. If only I'd discovered this trick earlier in life. Though I suppose it's good that I didn't since earlier in life I _was_ tended to by slaves. So that would have been rather bad form." He nods to his wife. "The grasshoppers aren't as bad as they sound, but they're still not as good as not having eaten a grasshopper."

Elora's smile broadens when Liara mentions the horses. "Of course! I'd love to chat about them, your Grace. Perhaps we can meet at the Queensrest Inn again soon? I know Duke Malcolm is rather busy these days, but I can reach out to him as well." Moving to take a seat near Bedivere, she listens to Sabella explain the game and then nods her understanding. "How are you, Bedivere?" she eventually asks, smiling at the fellow Whitehawk. "And Cabbit. Hello."

"Lots of meetings," Liara answers Sabella, then goes on with a quick smile, "but I do have one particular undertaking in planning that I'm sure may interest some people. I plan to tour the Crownlands, as many holdings as I reasonably can, along with a big entourage. An excellent chance to meet and engage with the peerage who do not often make it here to the court in Arx, and with all that is happening and that is going to happen, an opportunity to ensure that everybody is on the same page." She gestures lightly about with her fork, "I'd invite anyone interested to let me know, whether they wish to travel with me, or might want to receive me in their own holding."

Then Liara looks about - or, more specifically, aside to Michael, "Lord Michael's turn, I think. This frog business sounds fascinatingly odd."

Harlan has joined the Dining Table.

"Lisebet! You should come to the map making even at the Explorers Hall and drag Harlan over with you. If you have any maps to contribute so we can update those we have on hand, we're offering silver for copies or so we can borrow them to copy. In return you'll get an updated map too, and we'll have updated usefulness in our archives." Lou seems to be practically bouncing about, trilling with energy when she speaks of this map project. Her eyes are like 'You. Want. To. Give. Me. Your. Maps.' OR, at least, that's the very EASILY read expression on her features. She does not, at all, make grabby hand motions, but only barely just. She glances to the other House heads or signatories, aka Voices, in the room. "And if you do not have up to date maps, I will send Explorers, at no cost to you, with people of your choosing, to make new ones for you of any changing terrain." Which is coupled with a 'You. Really. Want. Explorers. To. Update. Your. Maps' look. Which is partially pleading.

Liara gives a little incline of her head to Elora. "Certainly. I found the whole idea quite interesting, even if not quite my thing."

Merril, an Assistant Page, 3 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Lailah.

Lailah quietly enters and takes an empty seat, trying to avoid any undue attention.

Lisebet smiles as the wine is passed her way. "Thank you, Harlan," she says softly. She's distracted then by Niklas first, who gets a laugh. "I heard nothing, your highness." And then there's Lou. Lisebet listens and she is apparently not immune to whatever charm Lou's using there. "I am not sure - I expect that Harlan has the maps, as I don't. But if there is some ongoing mapmaking, I'm fairly certain we'd be pleased to have updated maps." She glances over at Harlan, to see what he's thinking on the topic.

"Updated copies of maps would be fantastic," Kalani's voice holds similar enthusiasm as she puts samples of this, that, other things onto her plate and takes a turn at filling the glass in front of her as well. Spotting Lailah, she waves a cheerful greeting and invites Lailah - with a tip of her head - to the seat beside her.

Once Talia has moved around plates as is appropriate, she steps back against the wall of the dining room again. Her gaze rests for a moment on Liara as she answers, thoughtfully tipping her head for a moment for it, before she looks to Michael.

Lou gives Lisebet a wide grin and an super duper excited look. Probably not even Sabella has seen Lou this happy before. "Thank you!" she quips, giving Harlan a quick look. Kalani gets a grateful look too. She leans into whisper something to Sabella.

Esme looks interested in the conversation around her. There is a bright look towards Liara as she's speaking of her tour. "If you do not mind me saying, that is a wonderful idea. I do wish you best on your adventure, if you need anything please let me know." She is not a true within the fealty to offer, but then she looks back towards the others and follows as people tend to share.

Michael's mouth goes to open...then closes. He ponders how to proceed as his glass settles upon the table. "A malcontent has seeded the courtyard pond at Bisland Manor with frogs. The cook won't come in through the front gate without an escort. Investigators haven't discovered who has done it. The last investigator I believe has been arrested, but I don't believe this implicates the Iron Guard as being corrupted. Again." Michael's hands fold into his lap as he leans back. "I don't believe the conspiracy has reached far enough to threaten the security of the Compact. So I wouldn't worry of it." He'll glance about to find...Kalani. "Lady Kalani Seliki, if the missives crossing my desks haven't assured me that you have things to tell, I'll eat a frog."

Harlan looks between Lou and Lisebet, "I was in charge of the maps?" He says with a grin as if he doesn't know where they are RIGHT this moment. "Maybe Rhiannon borrowed them? I am usually stuck in your Library doing paperwork after all." A small wink is offered to his duchess at the mention of the Library and it's ownership. "But yes! New maps could not hurt. And Events are always fun when Lisebet is dragging you to them... I do think I am still a member of the society, although I am not sure I have done much exploring in a while..."

Lailah notices Kalani's gesture and walks over to seat where indicated.

Alaric carries light conversations with a baroness and her consort for a time, seeming to enjoy their exchange before his attention is soon re-routed toward the table at large. "That is a wonderful idea," he posits in support to Liara's announced traveling itenerary. "Perhaps Lou could use this as an opportunity to help further her own ventures with the Explorers and developing their cartopgraphy. With the changes in the past few years, and more to undoubtedly come, I can imagine there are quite a few holdings that could benefit from an Explorer taking on the task."

Sabella gives Lou what can only be described as a shocked look. Then she laughs, then the laughter fades a bit and she looks askance at Lou, murmuring something back.

Liara spots the plate of rolls that made its way over to her thanks to Talia, and plucks one up to munch at as she listens to Michael, eventually observing, "If we find ourselves assailed by giant frogs with a penchant for eating cooks, at least we know the source." She gives a light incline of her head to Esme, saying, "Thank you," and then a quick smile to Alaric.

Lou perks up a bit at Alaric's suggestion, as though she had not considered that when Liara had brought up the tour. "Oh, that would be an excellent idea. Though I'd defer to Liara on that as she may not wish her tour to have a distraction. I've offered to have the Explorers tour the lands of every noble house, free of charge, to update their maps if they are so inclined. I'm just waiting to hear word back from them." She, again, looks at the House Heads and Voices at the table. The offer had been passed around the district only just today. "Assuming they are amenable, of course." She notes Sabella's laugh, and her expression, for a moment, gets super serious, though is still quite, extremely happy.

Kalani shares a smile with Lailah and is offering to pour out a glass of wine for Lailah when Michael names her next in turn for the game. "You know, just for the amusement value of seeing you eat a frog, I ought to say that there's nothing to share," the smile on her face turns a trifle impish. She leans forward then, just a bit, to glance down the table to Lou, "I know that with the recent Watchtower expansion we've more or less updated our maps by hand, but having a official map, and survey of the coast, would be a wonderful addition." This said she lifts one shoulder in a shrug, "Right now the most pressing concern is what to do about Clan Redbone, Peri and I were sorting through best and worst case scenarios just the other night. Granted, even the best of plans tend to go sideways when implemented with real people involved, but at least we have the idea." She glances around then and wonders, "Lord Bedivere, perhaps you can go next?"

Sabella gives Lailah a smile as she comes in and then finally seems to notice Talia, giving her a wave, but not calling out to her, "I'd be interested in going with you," she says to Liara with a nod, "We did something like that when Niklas and I got married, it was a fantastic opportunity and we had so much fun!" She can't help but smile at Michael's account, "Did you happen to mention to someone you either liked or did not like frogs, Lord Michael? I'd start there. But then again, I'm no Inquisitor!"

Niklas stops in the middle of his aporkalypse to get to his feet, give everyone a carry on nod, then head over to the closest empty seat to where Talia is wallflowering. He pulls the seat out, but very much doesn't look in her direction or make a big deal out of telling her to sit or anything, then heads back over to plop down in his throne. "I'd love to help, Lou. I'm not usually one for cartography, but I'm good at copying and if you want someone to draw a nice kraken or something in the 'hitherbe dragons' bits of the map I can certainly do that. I actually have an excellent map of the Oathlands I recently copied for Porter, who went off and became Brother Porter today, which is mad to me but good on him!"

"I shall work out the full details with anyone interested in the coming weeks, and do appreciate the offers," Liara says in response to the offers regarding the tour. Then she gets back to actually eating - there's a lot of food to get through under all the gravy.

Despite no pressure, it's clear that Talia is immediately torn as soon as Niklas pulls out that chair. She chews at her bottom lip, ducking her head for a moment as she tries to decide between remaining where she is or taking the indicated spot. The latter ends up winning, for whatever logic has been worked out in the long, silent moment. She slips quietly into the seat, folding her fingers in her lap.

Lisebet chuckles at Harlan's comment. "Rhiannon would be good to check with, definitely," she says with a nod. "Your Grace," she add sto Liara, "If you let us know when you are near Ashford Keep, we can of course offer accomodations for part of your trip, if you would like." Welcome home, Harlan.

Talia has joined the Dining Table.

Lou's eyes dance merrily at her whispered conversation with Sabella, glancing once to Alaric, then back to her sister. Though before she addresses another round of quest conversation she nods to Kalani, "Consider it done." She glances to Niklas. "Mapping should not be terribly dangerous, and there's bounds to be interesting things along the way that you could maybe write about," a pause, as she considers, "or maybe just see for yourself. Some of the sights in some of the land are absolutely amazingly beautiful, sometimes from on high even." With a grin at Niklas, she turns back and leans in to Sabella again.

Alaric arches a brow at the look Lou passes his way between hushed words exchanged with Sabella. He turns to Niklas and casually engages him in a few hushed words of his own.

Esme listens with interest at what everyone is interested in and then she leans over towards Talia a bit to offer a soft comment and a bright smile. Although, Esme glandes towards Niklas. "Why do you find that to be mad?"

Harlan just smiles big at Lisebet's offer of the Ashfords helping out. "We can spare the Ashford Scouts to help out? I am sure they would be of good use on such trips, good to watch for dangers in the forest. A vanguard of sorts. Of course you can always count on supplies if you stop at any of our settlements as well." He just tags right along with his Duchess' decisions.

Lisebet offers a smile Talia's way, and a gentle nod.

"Well! I did just mean the copying bit, but if you wouldn't mind having a non-explorer along on the trip then I'd be happy to go. Having recently had an opportunity to vomit in many of the Islands' most beautiful ports I'm quite excited to get out there and vomit in entirely new places across Arvum!" Niklas leans toward Alaric and returns his whisper, though makes a face at the king's response.

Lailah drinks from a glass of water, waving off the glass of wine politely.

After making sure Cabbit has a bite of meat, and that his fingers have been cleaned by the cat, Bedivere wipes his hand on the napkin in his lap on the opposing side from Cabbit. He nods to Kalani and then says, "Cabbit and I did our very best to try to help the Eurusi ... refugees." He has to think for a moment there about saying something unoffensive, most likely. "Sussing out cultists and spies. Both interactions with people from down that way has been somewhat eventful. Plenty attacks." Then, he grimly notes, "At one point, Marquis Rymarr was felled, and I bore witness before that happened, though. Gotta say that I have not seen someone so valorous in a long, long time. Then, still teaching at the Academy of War. Still War Minister of House Whitehawk."

Bedivere says, "Lord Michael Bisland, you're up."

"That would be lovely, Harlan," Lou beams a bright smile at him, readily accepting the offer of scouts. "And when we go and tour your lands, you're coming with us," she says that in a 'that's settled' sort of voice.

Bedivere says, "Ranger Lou!"

"Are you vomiting because you've a terrible case of travel sickness, or are we to expect a new addition in the Niklas and Sabella household in the coming season?" Alaric wonders jovially to Niklas with a pointed look teased toward Sabella. He affects a somber expression when Bedivere begins to recount his journeys, and the witnessing of the late Marquis of Deepwood's fall. "It seems as though you've led an exciting time of it, Lord Bedivere."

As Talia has settled in to her chair, with a quiet exchange to Esme, she relaxes-- slightly. She even moves her hands from her lap, tucking a hair behind her ear shyly and then reaching for a glass of water set on the table.

Liara offers over an easy smile to Lisebet. "Thank you. I look forward to the visit, when it comes." She offers over a little incline of her head to Bedivere after listening, then gets back to eating.

Sabella stops her sisterly whispers with Lou long enough to hold up a hand to Alaric with a shake of her head, "Please don't even joke about that, he already carries around a pouch of Limerance just in case. I'm rather sure it's sprinkled in everything he eats. And drinks. And I think he had a pillow made out of it last month."

Harlan chuckles softly at Lou and rubs his beard. "I suppose I shall. I think I would disappoint all the Ashfords that have come and left us if I did not."

Elora has left the Dining Table.

Due, a large hunting dog, 2 Whitehawk Guards, Feyre, a Whitehawk falconer, 1 Iron Guardsmen leave, following Elora.

When His Majesty speaks his way, Bedivere nods once. "I have. It has been the strangest things. Thankfully, we have been victorious throughout. I pray to the Gods that our fortune in that regard might hold out."

Liara doesn't offer a whole lot more input over the course of the dinner, content to eat her meal and listen.

Esme's cheeks flush a light pink across the tops of her cheeks. She blinks in an owlish manner towards Talia and then drops her voice. Her hands moving a bit as she does. There is a clear show of apology in her green eyes. However, she turns to look at Bedivere for a few moments and then her hand comes to pluck up her wine glass to take a quick drink.

Liara has left the Dining Table.

12 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Lou seems a bit confused, "I thought Michael was first?" she addresses Bedivere.

"Michael has bandied about frogs enough. Frogs were the subject of a rather intense spurning of justice in my youth, Princess Sabella. I've long held the belief that Lady Peri was the original culprit of /that/ frog in a bathtub of a Princess." Michael says with a smile off towards Bedivere.

"Belief is not proof, my lord," Kalani points this out, diplomatically of course, even as she's grinning while speaking the words.

Alaric's comment gets an alarmed look from Niklas, who immediately pulls out a small herb sachet from a pocket. Though when Sabella suggests he might be sprinkling Limerance on his food he slowly, totally cool, puts it back into his pocket. To Alaric he says, "Sea sickness. Honestly, it was a very nice trip. There's something really beautiful about the unity of a group of people as disparate as myself, Father Aureth, Nightingale Gianna, First Liberator Aleksei, Lord Dariel and my own wife all joining together to vomit over the side of a boat. Aleksei is from Sanctum, Gianna is from the Lyceum, Dariel is from Pridehall, I'm from Stormward and Father Aureth is from Arx. It was a real 'this is what makes the Compact' special sort of moment. If only we'd had some Northerners there with us. Next time!"

Lou seems distracted a moment in telling something to Sabella in an excited manner.. But then she hears her name. "Oh, um. Er. I'm going to Brightshore? It'll be very soon. It's an island that hasn't been seen by the Compact in more than 200 years and has lots of strange customs to go with getting on the island we're going to have to learn when we get there because there's nothing in the archives about them. It will be a trip that will mark a safe halfway point to Eurus if we're lucky. As opposed to the Isle of Echoes, which er... I'm not going to get into that one, but Lord Ian is leading that trip right after we get back from Brightshore, or maybe while we're on it. Details are a bit fuzzy since I wouldn't be caught dead going there." Which might be somewhat funny considering some other things going on in her life right now. But it's enough to get Lou scared and that's not truly easy to do.

Lou points over at Lisebet, "Duchess, you are next!"

Alaric surreptitiously commandeers a spoon from a tablemate's arrangement to check his reflection, then tips an exasperated sigh at Niklas in the midst of their quieted exchange. "Personally, I am all for the furthering of the Grayson line and hope we'll see another delightful little one from you, maybe even Lou, soon enough," he says cheerfully. To Bedivere, he inclines his head. "It's a prayer we have all said close to chest, with the way events have led as of late. How are things at the Academy? I imagine there's no shortage of students these days, with the way interest in the defense of the Compact has been going as of late." At Sabella's mentioning of a bag of Limerance, and Niklas consequentially bringing it hence forth, he cannot help the laugh he tries so valiantly to smother behind a sip of wine.

Lisebet laughs softly, as she considers the question. "Me? Oh, well, I should say that I have recently become a protege for the first time. Other than that, lately I've been busy spending my time studying up on languages and a bit on foreign cultures." She half shrugs delicately, and then says, "A bit boring, I admit, but I am sure with a patron such as Prince Niklas, things are bound to become more exciting. Although, I don't usually get sea sick."

With that said, Lisebet sips her drink, and then glances about. "Perhaps Your Majesty, you might go next?" she suggests, her gaze going to Alaric.

Talia is in quiet conversation with Esme, but when Niklas mentions his trip and notably, the people on it, her gaze lifts to look towards him thoughtfully. But then Lisebet is answering, and she looks towards the duchess for the answer and then Alaric when he is prompted next.

"Oh, I think having two children is more than enough," Lou quips at Alaric, giving him a flat look when he suggests she needs to take herself out of exploration service for another extended period of time.

Bedivere hears out Michael with a slight smirk about the blaming of the Seliki before he quietly utters, "Uh huh." As if he were sorta agreeing, yet not. Afterwards, he looks to Lou with curiosity for Brightshore. To Alaric he says, "Fairly well, and yes there are many students these days. Goodwoman Natalia is my protege now, too. It has been mutually beneficial, if I do say so myself."

Esme looks a moment longer horrified at Talia before she smiles another soft comment. Then she looks up and listens to the latest share of adventures and things. The mention of Goodwoman Natalia causes Esme to look around the table a moment before she pops some dessert bite into her mouth.

"While I personally wouldn't mind a fifth, there is always the odd chance that it turns into a fifth and a sixth and that is not something I'd like to really do again," Sabella grins, but shakes her head. She gives Bedivere a sympathetic look when he recounts Rymarr's fall, then says, "It couldn't have been an easy job to do, trying to find such signs in a population that is so different from ours," Lisebet's sharing gets a big smile, "Oh, make sure he sends you all the strange books that he finds! Marquessa Mia is always delighted by them! At least. I think she is. Hm. I haven't spoken to her recently." The look she turns on Nik is definitely not accusatory.

"I believe Adventure Around Every Corner may be my finest find. I've sent a copy of King Calithex seeking permission to put on a performance in the Twilight Court." Niklas leans forward as desserts begin to make their way out from the service door in the back. "Perhaps I'll even survive it! If not, well, good luck to whoever gets my soul next. You've got a lot to live up to."

When his turn arises by way of Lisebet's request, Alaric sets down his glass to contemplate his own response. "There doesn't seem to be a boring day when one works alongside the bright and charming Princess Sabella and other luminaries as of late," he says. "One matter of particular interest recently has been our progress in the field of foreign affairs. We may be expanding it in the near future. And then, I made sure to send a copy of Prince Niklas's books to Prince Tyrval. I'm sure one can imagine his response. There's also the prospect of potentially rebuilding the clock tower, as well as expansion of the city to south of the river in a large, collective effort."

"What? Really? You're burying the title, your majesty!" Niklas looks to the king with wide eyes. "What _was_ his response? To be fair I tried to get some of his adventures out of him and all he did was send me a message with lots of capital letters and assurances that he isn't at all jealous or resentful of his father so I definitely shouldn't mention that at all. Then he noted that if I died before getting the letter it was very rude of me."

Talia smiles softly to Esme, tipping her chin in a quiet nod. Her lips part for a moment, but then she reaches for her water to take a sip instead as she falls silent. She looks to Alaric and Niklas for the exchange, seeming a little lost.

Harlan sips his wine as he listens to the interesting things people are doing.

"That reminds me that I need to send him a more recent portrait of the children," Sabella says thoughtfully, nodding to both the King and Niklas, "The one I sent him last month must barely resemble them now the twins are growing so fast!"

"Talia," Alaric turns his eyes upon Talia now. "Perhaps you'll regale us with what you've busied yourself with as of late?"

Lisebet looks like she understands exactly where Sabella is coming from. "I can't say I blame you, your Highness," she says. "As much as I love Emilie and Brennan, the two together is a large handful." She pauses to listen to Alaric, a hand reaching to the copper broach she still wears at his comment about the clock tower. "Some very positive endeavours there," she agrees to Alaric. Niklas gets some laughter from the petite duchess though. "I have found Prince Tyrval to be quite charming, at least so far in my experience. And he's quite right, it would be rude to die before getting his message, I suppose." She lets her gaze go over the table, nodding to Lailah as well, quiet as she is over there. It's almost as if she's gradually checking on those in the room, making sure everyone is alright.

Bedivere shares a look with Sabella and nods twice before he looks to Alaric and hears out what he has been up to. Then, he shifts his gaze to Talia.

Lou finishes off her meal and her wine and rises from her seat. "I'm afraid it's time for me to head out. I have an early day of getting things ready tomorrow for the map making venture."

Talia ducks her head, reciting an obviously very memorized: "I am finishing up the last stitches for my Mourning Isles collection, which will be shown tomorrow evening. Then, I will be ready to start preparing for the Crownlands." She smiles softly to Esme, before adding, "Lady Esme, please, if you would go next?"

Sabella nods emphatically to Lisebet, "It's like you know that having twins means you have two babies but then you HAVE two babies!" When Lou gets up to leave she grabs her sister's hand for a second, "Be careful, Lou," she says earnestly, then lets her go just as quickly with a smile. Then she turns a brilliant one on Talia, "I cannot wait to see what you've done there! The Kennex one is really the one I'm looking out for, I know you'll have just done such a beautiful job! It's always such a pleasure to see your creations, Mistress Talia!"

Lou smiles down at Sabella, "I will," she assures her. "Even if Adventure Awaits." She winks, then makes her way from the dining room as she echoes those words.

Lailah is quietly eating dinner.

Lou has left the Dining Table.

Willen leaves, following Lou.

Esme listens to the others as they share. Her eyes slide over to watch Lou when she leaves and then back to Talia. "I agree, your gowns are most delightful. The one for Fidante is perfect. It is truly beyond words." Then she wrinkles her nose a bit when she's called upon. "I wish I had some wonderful story, but I fear that I do not. My time has been spent studying the academics of the occult and researching. I spent much time researching the favored of Limerance, the results were not what I was hoping to find, but they were results. The academic studying of the occult I fear has come to the highest level I am going to gain. So I am waiting for my next venture to present itself upon my path." Her eyes slide over everyone left. For a moment, she looks towards Niklas, but her eyes state she would find that a hard act to follow. "Lady Lailah, perhaps you might tell us what you have been doing?"

Lailah says, "Oh, not much, just reading."

Harlan stands up for a moment but keeps listening to the game that is going on, but walks over to snag him and Lisebet some cupcakes.

"I admit, I do like how each of the three duchies have turned out," Talia answers to Sabella with a soft smile, nodding. "They all were so different, but the whole of the Mourning Isles has such a distinctive style and influence in their Houses--." She trails off, before turning her attention fully to Esme, looking curious for the study of the occult. She murmurs a quiet, "Do you know much of ghosts, my lady?"

Lailah says, "Ah... Prince Niklas?"

Alaric cants his head toward Lailah's response. "Has anything of note caught your eye, Lady Lailah?" he asks conversationally. "I imagine as Magister of the Academy, and with your history as an accomplished member of the Scholars, you're often encountering some thought-invocative pieces.

Alaric cants his head toward Lailah's response. "Has anything of note caught your eye, Lady Lailah?" he asks conversationally. "I imagine as Magister of the Academy, and with your history as an accomplished member of the Scholars, you're often encountering some thought-invocative pieces."

Sabella gives Esme an interested look, "I didn't know you were interested in things like that! I find the study of magic and the occult to be fascinating, but I don't really have a mind for it. That is, I have a fantastic imagination but I find when I run up against things like that even my imagination is not sufficient! But if anyone were to be favored of Limerance I would imagine it were you, Lady Esme! You embody just everything I always think of when it comes to him."

"Well! The command performance of The Ballad of Tala Everfree was a tremendous success! There were gasps of shock, cries of joy and sobs of sorrow, and the audience seemed to enjoy it too! There were numerous rounds of applause, my cast was roundly lauded and the whole thing was honestly the best thing to happen in the Blackrose since my last performance there. Really, better. I will always love The Playwrights, but Ballad was something I've spent the past decade working on and on which I'd been stymied more than once, so I was overjoyed at the opportunity to perform it across my home fealty, then once more at the king's request." Niklas tilts his head toward Alaric. "After the show we auctioned off a few props, raising just over two million silver for the Liberators. And of course the Seraph of Freedom and her majesty Queen Emeritus Triscali Grayson were in the audience, which was nice since they really did help drive up the price on a number of things. I hope wherever Prima Shard is she enjoys the ring that the former, and kind of acts like maybe she thinks she still is, queen secured her. Dauntless is next, after which I will take a brief break to relax and possibly do a bit of pilgrimaging. We shall see!" He looks around, then points to Harlan and says, "Duke Harlan! What have you been up to?"

Alaric is overheard praising Niklas.

Niklas adds, "It was also nice to have them present since I think most of us assumed Triscali was dead, given that she's hundreds of years old and we've had a few queens and kings since."

Esme turns her eyes towards Talia. "I know of them and I know some academics. I believe I may know one that is more ... aware of them. I cannot speak on that without their permission. Is there something you specifically needed to know or a ghost in specifics that you needed information on?" There is a look of keen interest and she speaks as one might speak of the weather. Her eyes slide towards Harlan and then towards Lailah to hear about the books that Alaric asks. Sabella's words are met with a bright smile. "I was trying to find a specific person in the area of Limerance. It was a result in realizing you may not always get what you wish. Although some studies have led me places I sometimes wish they had not." Her lips curve upwards. "If you ever want to learn about such things, I'm here for you. I am not well versed in teaching, but I am in the subject." Her eyes slide towards Niklas. "Why is it when I cannot make your showings, they end up the most glorious?" Though her emerald gaze slides to Harlan.

Harlan Set's Lisebet's cupcake on her plate as he sits back down next to her.

Kalani adds a bit more wine to her glass, offering to top off Lailah's cup as well before she glances along the table toward Esme as well. "I've been doing quite a bit of reading as well, of late. The reading rooms that are open to the public have been a huge bonus. It does make me wonder if other houses had libraries of their own where books that are not common knowledge are stored." Her eyes widen as Niklas say sit so calmly, "Interesting, to have such notables in the audience."

"I-- can send word, perhaps," Talia replies quietly, before falling silent to turn her attention to Harlan.

Cupcake! That takes Lisebet's interest, and she promptly starts to eat, quite contentedly, while Harlan gets to talk.

Since it seems to be the thing that everyone else is doing, Cabbit looks toward Harlan as well. Then, Bedivere does the same.

Apparently Harlan's attempts at stalling have failed as all eyes are upon him. He slowly chews his cupcake to buy a little more time. Finally he does have to swallow at some point. "Oh... Something interesting... Well. I would like to head out in to the deeper parts of the Gray Forest and see what can be found. There is bound to be over looked ruins in some of the older groves I am thinking."

"I might have a question or two for you, Lady Esme! Purely theoretical, surely," Sabella promises, with the quickest look to Alaric and then back to Esme, "But something you may be interested in nonetheless! But Duke Harlan, you must talk to my sister Reese, she knows those woods inside and out and is even on good terms with some of the Abandoned there! Who hopefully won't be in such a state for long, but that's for a different gathering altogether!" She looks around the room beaming, "Was that everyone? Well, now each of you can just relax and enjoy yourselves since the sharing part of the evening is done and I very much thank you for indulging me in our little game! I feel it helps us get to know each other a little better and can lead to stronger ties within--and without--" a smile to Esme, "Grayson's fealty."

Harlan looks around for a target... "Is anyone left? I must confess the cupcake has been staring me down for a good bit now."

Esme looks up. "I know that I am not of fealty, but I am good with my sword and I have an adventuring spirit if you would like escort." She offers this towards Harlan, but then looks towards Kalani. "I find that people sometimes regret showing me their libraries. I have moved into the Redrain and Grimhall ones while reading everything they would allow me to put my hands on. It is normally teh room and place I ask to go to the most. I have been to the one here at Grayson." There is a pause. "Not much reading and I have not been back." Her eyes slide between Sabella and Niklas. No expectation of invite or anything. Then back towards Kalani. "I would love to see yours. Actually any of yours." Her eyes move towards Harlan.

Harlan smiles at Sabella, "I will have to speak with the princess then." He then looks to Esme, "I am not sure what fealty you are in matters much. I am happy to bring any one along. Plus I am sure Lisebet will appreciate me having all the swords I can keeping me alive." He says with a grin.

Kalani's eyes brighten, "Redrain and Grimhall have their own libraries? How wonderful," she nods several times. "I could only guess that they do, or guess that they did, if that makes sense. So many bits and pieces of important stories and historical lore are scattered everywhere. It's a fascinating puzzle, to be sure."

"The library at Twinbridge University may be the best. Of course I'm rather biased since I did help found it." Niklas sits back now that the game is over and enjoys himself an unsettling amount of pudding. He looks from Sabella to Esme with the uncertainty of someone who feels he may have missed something but also recognizes that he wasn't listening because of pudding.

Alaric finishes his meal and deigns to rise in pending departure. "The dinner was lovely as usual, Sabella. I don't think I could eat another bite, so I should retire for the evening." Despite his claims at not being able to eat another bite, he attempts to discreetly lift Niklas' unsettling amount of pudding for himself on the way out.

Lisebet finishes her cupcake, and then nods to Harlan. "That is quite true. I would prefer you come home healthy after all." She glances around, and then she says, "I should however go check on the children. I'm sure they'll be waiting on one of us to tell them a bed time story, and since you're just back, I'll leave you to socialize. Unless you're ready to head out as well, Harlan?" She rises to her feet, and offers a curtsey to the royalty present.

"Twinbridge University is officially on my list then, Prince Niklas," Kalani remarks as she takes a cupcake for herself as well, since they're so delicious looking.

Sabella gets up to get herself some cupcakes, murmuring something to Esme on her way back to the table, "Thank you for coming, your majesty!" She beams at Alaric, then nods to Lisebet, "And you as well, Duchess! I'm always so delighted when we get a good turn out for these monthly dinners!"

Harlan stands up and smiles, "I could hardly call myself a doting husband if I made you walk home and deal with the children alone could I?" He also bows to everyone and offers his arm to Lisebet. "Thank you all for the fun and food." He looks at Esme, "I will let you know when we plan to venture in to the woods. As for the Library. The Duchess stole it from me so you have to ask her about that some other time." He grins.

Kalani is overheard praising Sabella: For graciously hosting a wonderful evening!

Esme smiles at Sabella. "My heart and brain are yours, all you have to do is ask." She pauses. "Though I would ask that you don't remove them or call me out to actually give them to you." Her head tips and she looks towards Lisabet. There is a decided 'calling you later' look. Then she looks towards Kalani. "Perhaps we should explore it together?" Then she smiles so very very very sweetly at Niklas. Nothing bad transpiring over here.

Alaric is overheard praising Sabella: An amazing hostess as always.

"That would be wonderful. I'm already planning to add another bookshelf to the two I have," Kalani points out with a laugh, "and I'll absolutely need more books to shelve."

Harlan has left the Dining Table.

Lisebet has left the Dining Table.

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

Lisebet leaves, following Harlan.

Alaric has left the Dining Table.

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

Sabella gives Esme a grateful look and a nod, "We can talk more later! Make sure you try each one of the cupcakes," she gestures and a servant is there to instantly push a platter towards Esme and Talia, "One of them is even strawberry flavor! In a cupcake! It's like I'm eating a cake, but also a strawberry! And Lady Kalani you're always welcome to look in our library as well--as are you, Lady Esme! I certainly like taking my tea in there--Prince Gareth would never forgive me if he knew. But he probably doesn't know. Unless death doesn't work like I think it does--which I guess it really didn't for most of us until recently!"

There is a tap of a cane that precedes the arrival of Prince Ahriman Grayson. The recluse and often absent man seems to be in port. He seldom checks in when he is present in Arx and outside as serving very rarely as a reserve admiral he keeps not duties tied to the city. Late. The expression on his face as he searhes the spread and those gathered could be described as unpleasant to straight up stink-eye.

After they catplete their food, Bedivere pushes Cabbit up to the shoulder on which he originally perched. Though, the feline needs little pushing because climbing up there is regular practice. Then, he stands up. "Thank you, Princess Sabella. It was a wonderful meal."

Niklas's eyes widen as Alaric absconds with his pudding and he calls out after the departing king, "Elves don't like pudding!" He drops back down and grumbles, "Probably. Probably eat blood spider stew or something." Though when he sees Ahriman he straightens up a bit, stands and calls out, "Good evening, your highness! It has been quite a while since we last had you in the city."

"I'd love to visit the library here, thank you, Princess Sabella," Kalani replies, that bright enthusiasm in her tone of voice again. "I've been to the one in Bisland recently, and Peri and I have recently organized the one at Seliki Manor, so I know which titles are already on hand at both."

Talia smiles, shaking her head politely to the platter. She explains quietly, "I should go finish my collection. Make sure that everything is ready and nothing needs to be done." She rises at that, curtsies deeply to the nobility at the table, before taking her leave. There might be a moment's hesitation, but especially as Ahriman enters, it decides her: she slips out the servants' entrance.

When her father enters, Sabella rises to her feet and beams, moving over to give him a hug, "You just missed Alaric, but we're all still here so please, find a seat and help yourself!" she tells him brightly, standing by his side in case he wants to take her arm to get to a seat, "We've got a little bit of everything!"

Talia has left the Dining Table.

At the sight of a feline there is a twitch in the scowl Ahriman sports. Pitch eyes settle for a moment there once he finishes his disaproving stare. He reaches up and tug his tricorn hat from the crown of his head. His fingers (gloved) grip the cane and he lifts to hang it over his arm as he takes his daughter's offered guidance and embraces her. There is a flash on his lips that looks for a moment like the old man may be happy (if only briefly) before his cold expression returns. To her husband he comments, "Son, I trust you are taking care of my grandchildren and the future of our great House? And preparing them thusly for their lives?" He asks of him.

Michael has left the Dining Table.

Esme looks over at the sound of the cane, but it is not the cane she was expecting. There is a tip of her head and she smiles vibrantly. "Good evening." A nod to Sabella. "Of course, we shall talk on it." Her eyes slide to watch Michael before looking back towards the others. "I probably should be leaving as well, but thank you so much for hosting as always and letting me attend it."

Bedivere certainly notices Ahriman but since he is already up and on his way, after pushing in his chair, he strides out behind Michael.

Bedivere has left the Dining Table.

2 Whitehawk Guards, Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby cat leave, following Bedivere.

Diane, a bright-eyed peregrine falcon arrives, delivering a message to Kalani before departing.

Kalani is brushing crumbs off of her hands just as a messenger falcon arrives with a rolled scroll that is dropped -almost- into her hands. It's near enough for her to catch, though, and as she skims the note she rises to her feet. "Thank you, your highness," aimed to both Sabella and Niklas, "for the wonderful evening and delightful game. I need to go tend to this," the scroll is rolled up again and tucked into one pocket.

Esme has left the Dining Table.

Joy, the advisor of roses leaves, following Esme.

Kalani has left the Dining Table.

Niklas raises a hand and waves to Kalani, then nods to Ahriman. "I am, your highness. All twelve of them, growing up in the Grayson way." He gives a faint smile, then sits back down. "The kids are good, I understand Lou's are as well. As for the future of the house, well, we're all rich! So that's nice."

"He certainly inspires them to be their best every day," Sabella promises her father, making sure he gets well settled and helping to make a plate for him. Since she doesn't know what he likes it turns out to be a very packed plate, "And we are quite rich, which is helpful! I've been trying to spread some of that around actually, but I mostly end up donating it back into the house. I think it's a wise thing to do considering how busy we'll all be in the upcoming few years!"

"That is fine." He answers Niklas but his tone states it is not, "I would like to have time with each of them individually soon before I depart on my next journey." A softer gaze settles on Sabella and at the fullness of his plate he bows his head to her, "Thank you." He then adds, "I've already seen my eldest' children and spent time with them. I will be around here the next few days to indulge my grandchildren." Ahriman states to both husband and wife, "Your mother sends her regards." The man takes a few bites and is slow about it. He is ever the gaunt figure since his imprisonment, "Rich is very good." Ahriman asserts, "Truly. Lets not part with our coin in favor of soft-hearted causes and other drivel too extravagantly. We will need it should Eurus or any number of other threats seek to uproot our dominance." He then asks, "I have spent more of my life with his father but I understand our King does well enough."

"I can't say I look forward to meeting Alaric III, but it does seem increasingly likely. Hopefully I can meet him from a great distance, such as when I got to meet Sir Piotr Grimkin." Niklas glances to his wife, then adds, "Perhaps there is something left in him. Something to hope for. It may be that hope is all we have. It often is in these circumstances."

"Oh, Alaric is lovely--this Alaric," Sabella clarifies, sort of as she takes her seat next to Niklas once again, clasping one of his hands in hers with a smile, "And I think that Eurus does seek to do just that, or at least the Dune Emperor does, but I'm still hoping that we're able to somehow get through to him before things come to blows and war and all of that. I know it's a very long shot, but so was getting a letter to him in the first place. So there's always hope! And yes of course you can see the children, just stop by at any time! Relara and Gareth will be thrilled! Clara and Lulu still aren't terribly sure who anyone is so they're a bit harder to impress though."

"Ah, well. Hopefully he (Alaric Sr.) won't meet our people straight off and run north should he send one of their massive fleets. He is not a fool I would expect him to sow discord in the waters and to then anhiliate the Thrax and to seek to destroy us that way especially if there is anything left within him that was our King."

Ahriman leans back from his plate and steeples his fingers, "I spent so many years sailing after him -- my dear friend. That search cost me most of my health, much of my life and the opportunity to guide and shape the growth of my own daughters, and even the birth of my grandchildren." The Prince shrugs, "It could not be helped I suppose. It seems they all.." He coughs, "Mostly did fine on their own." He looks between the two a moment and then smirks, "I'm very proud at how far our line of the family has thrived." That seems genuine at least, "Work to do still."

"And now the house of your birth has become one of the great houses of the land. Seasons change and the wheel turns." Niklas glances to his wife again, then adds for his father-in-law, "If only we'd known then what we know. What had become of his majesty. Where his ships had been dragged and what was done to him."



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