Sept. 14, 2016, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Velenosa Estate - Dining Room
Comments and Log
Luca seems glad Isolde is bustling about and bubbling, even if she calls him a layabout. How could he argue? He drops back into his chair, but doesn't put his boots back on the table. Such manners. "A pleasure, Lord Eos," he says, and lifts a hand when he spies Deva and Darren. He even smiles.
It's a dress. An actual dress. Will wonders never cease? Deva's umbra skirts swish around as she arrives with her brother Darren and on his arm, but she's not really the sort to be escorted gracefully. She strides forward, practically pulling him along with her more than anything. "Princess Isolde, good evening. We're glad to be here," she smiles lightly, leaning as the princess gives her a peck on the cheek. Her fingers lift to wiggle in return at Luca in a wordless greeting.
"And mine," Eos returns before the distraction of many a bustling body arriving in the dining hall. He dips his head once more to Luca before moving out of the way, standing back for a few moments to see where others settle, make any and all greetings and introductions that might be required, before he'd find a landing spot.
"Isolde" Jaenelle greets her sister in law warmly, looking down at her feet in the process. "That will not do at all. I shall have to hire men to carry you around from now on, just incase you decide to trip and break them as you failed the first time." She does look relieved that the woman didn't succeed. She looks toward Eos and offers the man a grin, moving to sit right beside him instead of her normal chair at the table. "I have a confession" she tells Eos gently as she settles, giving him her best most innocent look ever.
It isn't that Dawn has set out to cause a stir but it is a fact that she enters the dining room accompanied by a Prodigal of significant statue and unmistakable appearance. Grayson's Voice is resplendant in green silk and flashing beads but the man beside her is tattooed and scarred in a fashion only rarely seen in Arx. Yet her smile as she glances up at him is as genteel and grateful as any she would give a civilized man. "Thank you, Master Viktarkim," she tells him quietly. And then she sweeps a glance out over the chamber and those within it, that same smile adopting a more formal curve. "Good evening."
Oh boy. Ok. She can do this. Isolde's bright smile doesn't fade a bit as a million people all show up at once and the sheer energy about the woman seems to maginfy. "Ophelia, darling! Good gods, let's have tea soon, since I don't think we have yet. Lady Dawn! I am -exceedingly pleased you are here. Please, please, come in, sit down. Esera will be about soon." Isolde kisses Ophelia's cheek and then Dawn's, barely pausing as she flounces to the rest. "Welcome... you..." She looks at Viktarkim, curiously. "I have literally no idea who you may be, but welcome! I am Princess Isolde Velenosa and oh! Captain General Audric! What on Arvum are you doing here? You are... unexpected." She gives the man a look, before throwing herself at Niccolo in a giant hug. "Papa, I need wine. And a pony. Don't forget." Bamf, and she's off again, because someone is going to show up the instant she finishes typing.
Luca saved her. She's totally ok!
Ophelia lacks the dress which Deva is found in, but her silken skirts mostly conceal the fawn-hued and slightly dirty boots she wears beneath. She's managed to tame her appearance aside from a few stray leaves which may or may not be tangled unknowingly within her ribbons. Her inquisitive fingers have already located grapes and she has a handful nested in her palm, chewing on them slowly as she winds her way through. "There's nothing to hunt in here," she whispers, somewhat loudly, behind Luca's back before dropping into a perfect curtsey before Isolde and then returning kisses, with grape-squirreled cheeks.
With probably a few confused glances on the way by various guards, Audric arrives. The mercenary (thankfully) did not also do his normal thing of bringing a couple unsavory types with him, for once! His grin looks a little strained, but it's there and gets quickly turned on Isolde. "Good evening, Princess! I'll admit, I was a touch confused as well, but, well, business is what it is." He gives a little shrug, before acquiring a glass of wine from somewhere, and then a seat shortly thereafter.
There are no dresses for Darren, who instead strolls in with his sister on his arm, red silks to her umbra-black gown. He is indeed pulled, grunting just a little as he tries to keep up, before finally extracting his arm once they are firmly within the room. "Princess," he intones in a deep, friendly sort of voice, accepting of the kiss and returning it in kind, "Thank you for the invitation. You look beautiful, of course," he mentions to Isolde. Then, his eyes catch Luca's nod, a hand lifting in greeting to the man.
Kima arrives, not long after Eos himself does. Or so she totally assumes as much. Spying the man, the blonde takes up residence at his side and leans in to mutter something. No doubt an excuse as to why she was late. Or somewhat late. Who pays attention to things like time?
Luca doesn't even glance behind him. "Are you certain?" He asks Ophelia, another fond cant to his lips at his sister's voice. His eyes linger on Viktarkim as he asks, though he doesn't sit up from his graceful slouch.
Eos eyes Jaenelle when she sits nearby with a look of false suspicion, a tight press to his lips. His knees pop a little when he eases himself down to crouch near her chair and leans in, to touch at his ear and murmurs to her in conspiratorially stage whisper, "I hesitate to ask, but what is it you have done?" He is distracted from that a moment later by Kima's own, little blonde things on each ear it seems, and clears his throat before reaching over to squeeze Kima's elbow.
"Lady Kima! I promise I didn't forget you!" Isolde laughs brightly and moves to kiss the woman firmly on the lips. "A token of my forgiveness for cursing you with my favor, darling." She winks. "I promise I'll only make a habit of this if you don't mind." She almost seems to let out a huge sigh as Esera arrives. "Oh, thank goodness, Sister, I'm fairly certain everyone has been welcomed properly. I desperately need wine now."
There's a bright smile for Dawn and Ophelia as Deva catches their respective arrivals, and a friendly wave directed toward them both. Bare shoulders drop slightly in what looks to be relief. Withdrawing her arm from Darren's, she gives her brother a brief bump with an elbow before stepping side to allow him to mix and mingle freely.
Niccolo is received by a giant hug. He chuckles once, having just walked in and wraps his arms around Isolde, pressing his lips to the top of her head. He lifts a hand, to gesture to some of the servants. "Wine I can solve, the pony, that I cannot bring here," he tells her, before he lets her go, watching her head off to greet the next person. The man turns to everyone gathered, his gaze lingering on Viktarkim. He drags those brown eyes from him to the others, and allows a hint of a smile to touch his lips. "Good evening, everyone," he says.
Esera is late to her own dinner, which might be unforgivable if the dinner was not already so well attended by servants, and the tables so extravagantly full of food and drink. She arrives in the low and sultry light of the dining room in a gown of sheer umbra, her dark hair braided into a crown (and threaded with sapphires that glitter like dark stars). "My apologies," she says to Isolde, at that huge sigh, a moment before she goes to stand at the head of the head table. "Welcome, everyone, to the Hall of House Velenosa," she says. "I am glad to see so many faces here -- though there are many I do not yet know as well as I might wish."
Kima returns the smooch, and even takes Isolde's hands within her own to give them a friendly squeeze. "You are looking radiant as ever, your Highness." There's a fey smile. "It always pleases me when you take the time to sashay your lovely self my way." Kima would not, however, keep Isolde overlong before releasing her hands to allow them woman to move elsewhere.
Ophelia steals Deva's arm as soon as it's free from Darren, though it's a temporary gesture when she her mouth requires grape-occupation once more. After chewing it thoroughly, and swallowing it down, she plants a kiss towards her cheek, "You look beautiful, Princess. Are you hungry? I hope you're hungry. There's so much food here." She sheds a dimpled smile for Luca, before offering up one of the dubiously obtained purple orbs between pinched fingers, "Grape?"
Viktarkim is indeed both fairly tall, bronze skinned, and covered in tattoos and scarification. His sharply angled face with dark eyes takes in the chamber as he walks in with Lady Dawn, beside her but also half a step behind. Unlike her, his clothing is very simple of tunic and leather loincloth, all clean, in various brown hues with touches of greens (coming soon). The decorated skin of his face and bared arms more than makes up for his plain clothing. When spoken to, he inclines his dark head politely, "My pleasure, my Lady." Isolde's greeting is given a polite incline of his head as well, not certain of proper protocol here - but he's being both polite and very reserved. When he does speak, his baritone is low in volume and oddly accented, "Princess." And so many others gathering.
Talen clips a servant as he enters the room at a brisk pace, his stride strong and his eyes frame solid as it impacts the soft purple of the yougn man in Velenosa colour. "Careful," he issues in accusatory remark before he adjusts his stance and heads for the table, a hand upon the pommel of his blade. The spare runs through his hair, his breath inhaled and exhausted in a sudden rush. There's no apology from him for his lateness, his attempt at being unobstrusive only partially managed in quick tempo of motions.
(OOC) Viktarkim tries to set up his new client to color poses with my name in it so I can try not to miss stuff.
his frame solid* -eyes
(OOC) Talen says: If you're using Potato, page me.
Dawn accepts the exuberant greeting from Isolde without batting a blash, though in comparison her manner is far more restrained. "I wouldn't miss it for the world," she says before the Mirrormask is off. In the wake of that departure, her gaze rests briefly on the man she named as Audric and a small tilt of her head acknowledges him. Then the Lady's regard moves onto the Redrain siblings, whose appearance here earns the first grin of the evening from Dawn. The peacock fan she holds in one hand is lifted and fluttered at the pair, as one does when equipped with such things.
"Duke Niccolo," greets her fellow Voice as she moves in, and, "Your Grace," when Esera arrives. Her empty hand moves up to touch Viktarkim's elbow, to guide him with her towards the table and out of the greeting crush. "The Lyceum is known for exquisite entertaining, you should find this very educational," she murmurs to her escort.
"I shall tell you later. Just know, I did not mean to" Jaenelle tells Eos with a serious look and quick nod of her head, reaching out to pat his hand lightly. She peeks around him to offer Kima a smile, as if completely ignoring her sorrowfilled expressions from moments before. She looks towards Esera as she enters, content to watch those around her for now.
With some luck, Audric manages to wind up sitting near someone he knows. Which means that Kima's inflicted with his presence, and he reaches over to clap the woman lightly on the shoulder. "Lady Kima, Lord Eos," he says, cheerfully, keeping that same, strained smile on his face. "How lovely to see the both of you! Hopefully this time I won't immediately get pulled away. We'll see, though. Never can be entirely certain."
The problem with being a whirlwind of greeting and flurry of politeness, is what happens after? Oh well, at least more people show up. Isolde flutters over to Talen, pointing at Luca. "I'm going to make him my champion, since I almost fell off the table." There's literally no more context given and she's off again, beelining to Malrico. "Oh! I don't know you -either-, darling! Welcome! I am Princess Isolde Velenosa! Come in and enjoy yourself! Unless you're going to try and stab someone, and then please don't. There's too much expensive clothing here for bloodsports." She laughs brightly, fluttering away again, grabbing a glass of wine from somewhere. There's probably wineglasses everywhere. Or a servant trying to catch up with Isolde to give her one.
(OOC) Viktarkim says: I got it. If you don't use my name in the pose I may not see it so feel free to page or kick me.
Luca greets nobody, only stirring from his part as a piece of furniture when his cup is filled by an industrious servant. He says a quiet thank you to the woman and then drinks deeply, dark eyes tracking slowly towards Esera.
(OOC) Isolde says: I'm 100000% there with you Vik.
"I feel like I can't move in this thing," is Deva's low, but not really whispered, reply for Ophelia. "But thank you," she adds, her smile softening as the young princess scoops up her arm. "I'm always hungry. And thirsty." She twists at the waist, looking for someone - anyone - to claim a drink from. She at least brightens at the offer, and holds out a palm for the grape to be dropped into. "Thank you. How are you? I'm afraid I still have sand in my boots from the other evening."
Freed from Deva's side, Darren will idly shake his arm as though he were trying to get the blood flowing back into it, Deva nudged in kind before she's stolen away by the grape-cheeked Opehlia, who gets a quirk of the brow. But then his attention will shift to Dawn and the man who accompanies her, the tall Viktarkim studied momentarily before he'll offer a warm grin to Dawn as he approaches. "Lady Dawn," he says in a happy sort of greeting, another glance given up to the tall man at her side. "Who's this accompanying you tonight?" he asks, brows lofted in a curious sort of way.
Well, that was mildly unsettling. Eos gives Jaenelle a curious side-eye before shaking his head with another of those quiet laughs and rising back up to his full height. He doesn't take a seat still, stepping back some with Kima, reaching out to press a hand to the small of her back, glancing around to the mix of new and familiar faces, nodding to those he recognizes in the likes of Audric and Niccolo.
Esera has joined the Dining Table.
"Luca's retired for the next month," Talen replies, "he did his part at the Grayson tourney. Let him hibernate." The Sword of Lenosia has adjusted his sword belt as he takes a seat, pausing at the back of his own only until Esera has seated herself. "Good evening," he greets his neighbours at the table, reaching across for a bottle of red to pour himself. None of this waiting around nonesense, it seems.
Dawn's light touch to his tattooed arm turns Viktarkim's head and he moves with her. His own dark eyes linger on Niccolo in turn, taking his time to study various people who are here. A faint nod is given to Audric and Kima both, whom he has met previously ere his dark eyed gaze settles upon Darren.
Talen has joined the Dining Table.
Niccolo has joined the Dining Table.
Luca raises his cup to Talen. "Here, here," he toasts. "I also saved Isolde from tumbling off the table, not five minutes past. That should buy me at least two months."
Ophelia looks down towards Deva's palm with a small frown, glancing up at her mouth, down again, and finally delivers a twin pair of them. "They're good. Very grapelike. And you look so very-very pretty." Lowering her voice to near a whisper, she adds, "I think the point is that you can't move in that thing. Cut slits and then put more sparkles on your bodice if they're too high. It works wonders." Her eyes widen a bit at Isolde at the mention of no stabbing and too many expensive clothes for bloodsports, but she breathes then, "I need a drink too. Luca has the servants crowding him. I'm going to find more if you want to mingle."
Kima, after giving a smile both to Jaenelle and Eos, turns her attention to Audric. A brow ticks up, just a touch, but then she reaches out to give Audric's shoulder a light push. Ah ha ha ha. "You're a man of business, so it only stands to reason that there are people always clamoring for your ear. My brother and I won't begrudge you."
Malrico flashes an unsettling smile of far too many teeth when greeted by Isolde, inclining his head in a polite greeting. The non-descript, completely average looking man nods with an amiable expression that never quite reaches his eyes, "Of course, child, of course. I'm a friend of your father's. But it's been years. Many years, just a blink in time, but I'm so happy to see you all together again." He offers an arm to Isolde as he walks towards the dining table, "So very happy."
Jaenelle grins at Eos' reaction and slides from where she was perched to move towards the head table where the Velenosa family has arranged themselves. She greets Niccolo, standing on her toes to give him a soft kiss to his cheek, and after she slides a glass towards Talen for him to fill for her.
"Prince Darren," Dawn answers, smiling up at the man in question and using her fan to indicate the Prodigal at her side. "This is Master Viktarkim, an associate of Princess Lou's. I'm told he saved her life, perhaps more than once, and now he's come to Arx. Sir," her eyes lift now to Viktarkim. "This is Prince Darren of Farhaven, High Lord of Redrain, and a good friend." That introduction concluded, she is drawing breath to give voice to some other social pleasantry when a wayward glance finds Malrico and even that composed lady must do a quick doubletake at the man, her smile suffering a hitch.
"No, one," Talen replies to Luca, "because there will undoubtedly be another tourney and I'm honestly getting fucking tired of the northern way of doing things." To the closest Redrain he clarifies, "North in general, not your ilk, I promise. Just--" he cuts himself off, attention shifting around the room. It lingers only a little here, a little there and then he's focusing on his deep, red wine and pours it until the appropriate level. When Jaenelle's slides into proximity he does likewise for her, not a word in complaint given. "Your highness," he adds politely.
Esera rests her palms against the edge of the table, fingers splayed. "In my House you have my protection," she says, her voice rising powerfully above the din of common conversation. "And my love." She lifts one hand to her heart, a ring flashing bright at her finger. "Should, of course..." At this, she smiles. "...I have yours, as well." After a pause, she says, "My Father and my Sword killed a boar for the table, but there are delicacies from across the Southern Coast -- and wine from across it, too. Please enjoy." She bows her head to the gathered guests, and then takes her seat.
Jaenelle has joined the Dining Table.
"My lady," Niccolo greets Dawn, when she addresses him directly. Seeing Esera walk in, he shows her a touch of a smile. There's a dip of his head to Talen's arrival and catching Eos's look, he extends a similar gesture toward the other man. And then there is Malrico. Slowly, the duke turns to face him when he hears his voice. There is a glint in the Velenosa noble man's eyes and the very hint of a polite smile.
"Malrico," Niccolo says, in what could be a greeting. "It has been years," he agrees.
Talen says, "The boar basically killed itself upon seeing your father, your grace."
Isolde laughs brightly as Malrico walks to the table, taking his arm and squeezing it lightly. "Oh, truly? Then we must be friends as well. I promise to pick your brain about all of Papa's secrets, darling." She guides him to a chair, kissing his cheek, then winking at him. The Mirrormask is off not a beat later, a shadowy maelstrom of Umbra. "Why, Duke Leo! It is appropriate we meet properly this evening. Welcome. Hopefully we can speak soon. Do you know if Calista is planning on coming?"
"Grapelike is a good thing for grapes to be," Deva whispers to Ophelia, nodding solemnly. "That's a good idea. Maybe you can help me pick out a dress next time? I'm hopeless when it comes to all this," she admits with a small smile. "I'll see you," she replies, gently squeezing Ophelia's arm before peeling away to give the other woman room to move. While looking for a seat to settle into, she passes by Luca from behind and quickly, slightly ruffles his hair. "Oh, good. That's a relief," she says to Talen in response, her smile a wry one.
Luca droops. Talen's words seem to honestly depress him, and he slouches forward to assault a slab of pork placed on his plate with listless jabs of his fork. He is completely oblivious to unsettling strangers (or friends). He perks up a little at Deva's ruffle, mostly for her benefit.
The sellsword gives Kima another grin. "Why, that takes quite the load off my heart, I'll have you know," he says, before scanning the room. "The Sword, I see, continues to be a ruthless taskmaster. There, there, Prince Luca. Plenty of chances to find another way to get a month off!"
Deva has joined the Dining Table.
"A pleasure, Master Viktarkim. That's quite impressive, saving a life," Darren will reply once introductions are made, though his eyes will soon shift away. The glance will first fall upon Malrico, whom he studies curiously, but only momentarily, before his focus will shift to Isolde. There's a light twist of his lips into a smirk as he looks away again, back to Dawn and her companion, before he'll shrug a shoulder towards the dining room. "I suppose we should sit, eh?" he mentions, before stepping over to find himself a freed seat that's close to Deva.
Ophelia beams a warm smile towards Deva, dimples and all, and then sets on a direct course for the table. She reaches over Niccolo's shoulder to steal a glass of wine, commenting, "If you don't have a bow, Favorite Grace Uncle, learning to kill by sight alone is probably a good thing to know." She pauses. "I think it takes the fun out of things though." Dropping her voice into yet another whisper, she comments, "I'd sit next to you, but then I'd probably have to use good manners. And where's the fun in that?" She deposits a kiss to his cheek and then floats to the other side to drop, in graceful plummet, into a seat.
Darren has joined the Dining Table.
"Tut tut tut, Master Talen, the fine beast would never take the easy way out." Malrico keeps that sharklike smile of too many teeth as he inclines his head in an amiable greeting towards the duke, "Duke Niccolo, so glad to see you, not in sickness but in health. Some friendships last forever." He releases Isoldes arm as he seats himself.
"Just have another drink," Deva advises Luca, glancing over a shoulder in search of a passing servant. She claims at least three drinks, two for them plus Darren when he settles in at her other side. "Sometimes, if you drink enough, you can completely tune out all the things people want you to do. I speak from experience."
"The Sword is precisely as he should be," Kima remarks casually to Audric, though her eyes cut across the room to the man with the unsettling smile. She then turns her attention to Eos, mercilessly prodding his ribs. For no real reason other than to do so.
"Just don't drink too much, else you might pass out and knock your head on the table," Darren grunts to Luca, catching the tail-end of the conversation that he and Deva were having. The drink, should she pass it to him, was taken and sniffed. "Though, you might hit hard enough to earn yourself a scar, which could be quite fetching," he adds with a shrug. "What is this?" he asks Deva, frowning at the cup.
The duke tilts his head to look at Ophelia. "My dearest of nieces," Niccolo offers in greeting. "The sword did most of the slaying, after Talen had shot the thing, to slow it down. But perhaps one day," he says, and glances at Malrico. "I might be able to do as Talen suggests." He faintly smiles at her kiss, before he glances at Malrico. "Some friendships do last forever," the duke agrees, claiming his own seat. He looks over at Isolde, and allows a hint of a smile in her direction, before turning to Esera.
The tall savage slightly bows to Darren, "Your Highness." Hopefully he got that right. Viktarkim doesn't seem to be inclined to say much, his words strange upon the ear and perhaps having a lilt of the far north-west, but hard to say. He waits until it looks like Lady Dawn has chosen where she may like to sit - and then if she will allow him, he will draw out a chair for her to assist. Viktarkim isn't -entirely- unhouse broken. He will then take a seat or stand near the wall as Dawn may so indicate as pleases her.
"Perhaps," Talen replies to Malrico, his steely gray eyes scanning the unfamiliar fellow of his adoptive guardian's apparent past. "I don't believe we've been introduced, my lord. Do you know much of hunting, of beasts, of the easy and hard way out?" A glance to his goblet is given before he lifts it, drinkings and watching from across the way. When he hears Kima's claim there's a lift of his wine in salutation, recognition and thanks.
If the dining room was rich with servants before, it is now flooded with them. They arrive from every door, in the purple of House Velenosa. Each carries a tray -- a single tray for every guest in attendance. Upon each silver tray is a glittering crystal glass, half-full of an ambered white wine the color of flame, and a bottle of wine (with the rest of the wine, no doubt). Esera takes her glass first, and drinks from it almost ceremoniously.
And Kima lifts her own glass in salute as well! Camaraderie, solidarity, and all that shit.
Eos presses a hand against the first prod at his ribs without paying it much attention. He swats at the second, still not a flinch. The third prod he wraps Kima's hand in his own and squeezes it with a warm smile and such a doting brotherly look. Nevermind the white of his knuckles. Then there's the flury of servants and he takes another step further back to be well out of the way, tugging Kima along with him before letting her hand go. Leaning back to peer beyond her shoulder. "It is good to see you again, Audric, I trust that you have worked out the trouble with that leak by now?"
"Thank you," Dawn murmurs as she steps forward to take the chair held for her by the Prodigal. Something else is murmured, now that she's dragged her eyes away from Malrico. The fan she wields is slipped into a little pouch at her waist, freeing her hands to claim a glass of fine red. Before it's sipped, she looks to Esera and smiles to see that gesture made by their hostess. Her drink follows that one. And then, almost reluctantly, she tilts another look at Malrico and the gentlemen he converses with.
Ophelia finds herself staring at Malrico from across the table, or perhaps his mouth, for far too long. She then smiles, brilliantly, as if having and showing that many teeth were a completely normal thing and toasts her glass towards him, "Don't worry. I can't kill by sight alone." That same cheerful expression is transferred to Darren along the way, "We have lots of cushions, at least. Scars make wonderful dinner conversation." She pauses. "I think." Her brow knots for that vexed moment, but it's soon smoothed away with another couple of drinks.
Luca leans towards Audric to ask, "Have you any ideas for that?" Then he's getting his own glass of amber wine, and he follows Esera's lead. With a lot less ceremoniousness. He glances towards Ophelia at her words, and tells his sister, "Something to shoot for." For her, even puns.
Isolde laughs brightly, finally taking a moment to drain her glass. She keeps an eye on the door, and grabs a second glass very quickly. She lingers at the edge of the massive gathering, trying to keep an eye out for anyone not engaging, or remaining quiet, seemingly content with letting Esera take over her event.
Jaenelle finds herself with two glasses now, and does not seem to mind this new occurance at all. She sips from the red wine, then from the white. She leans over towards Talen, speaking softly to the Sword before rightening herself once more as she looks over the large animal being served.
"Does it matter what it is?" Deva asks Darren with an arched brow. "Have you met Princess Ophelia yet? Princess, this is my brother, Darren." There's a title that she's failing to mention, but she doesn't seem troubled. Looking to Esera, she smiles pleasantly as the dinner begins.
"All leaks have been quite firmly taken care of, Lord Eos" Audric says, his tone turning entirely sober for just a moment, before it returns to his normal, carefree one. Then Luca gets a grin, Audric's expression turning thoughtful. "Well, outside of heroics, there's always my standby of simply conveniently forgetting to do as you're told."
Malrico laughs cheerfully at Ophelia's comment, "Would you like to, your highness?" He then turns towards Talen and sing songs cheerfully, "I do, I do, I do, I do." He takes a wine glass and lifts it to bring it to his lips, never losing that smile as he adds to Talen, "Some more than others. Giovanni Artiglio wouldn't have approved of your bargain. Not at all, not at all." He drains the glass, "But, some things can't be undone, mm?"
Once she has welcomed her guests, and taken the first sip of wine, Esera is silent, a quiet watcher at the head of the table. Though she says nothing, her eyes shine just as bright as those glasses of wine, and she regards each face with interest.
"Ah, the huntress?" There's an arch to Darren's brows again as he's introduced to Ophelia, the girl getting a grin that shows just a hint of teeth. "Deva's told me quite a bit about you," he notes, before shrugging his shoulders to his sister. "I suppose not," he'll remark aout the wine, a glance to Esera as he tilts his glass to her, and then knocks back a gulp. As he drinks though, his eyes will peer over the rim of the glass back to Malrico again, his lips flattening into a thoughtful purse as he looks away. "Scars do make interesting conversation, this is true," he'll mention, as a sort of distant aside to Ophelia.
Isolde looks over and smiles brightly as Aria arrives. "Oh, my, Lady Aria! I had not heard you arrived in Arx yet! Oh, my darling, we should talk soon." She makes her way over, murmuring to the woman quietly, greeting her, as well, with a kiss to the cheek.
"A lot of things can't be undone. All we can do is learn from them," Niccolo pointedly remarks in response to Malrico, his dark brown eyes looking from Esera to the guest. He reaches for his glass of wine, and raises it towards Malrico, in a silent toast, before he drinks. He looks away from the man to allow a touch of a smile to the newly arrived guests.
"Hi Darren." Ophelia's greeting also lacks an appropriate title after Deva's introductions, but it overflows with warmth. Malrico's words has her biting on her lower lip though, eyes peeling upwards for a lengthy period of time. It's more than enough time for conversation to continue, before she thoughtfully answers with a perk of her shoulders, "Yes. But I think Luca would make me walk around blindfolded all the time and it seems as if it would be hard to shoot that way." She checks her brown eyes towards Luca, before she grins terribly affably at Darren once more, her return query a bit random, "Do you also like sand?"
Whatever Talen responds back to Jaenelle has her offering him a look mixed between appreciation and complete amusement. "On, not beneath, understood" she tells him, lacking any context for any who may overhear her gently spoken words. She reaches for the white liquid once more, taking a smaller sip than before, her eyes scanning those around her before they land on Darren. She does not interrupt his conversation with Ophelia for the moment though.
Viktarkim cants his head slightly to catch Lady Dawn's murmur. He gives her a faint nod and takes the seat beside her. The strange tray brought out by servants, one of which is laid before even himself, is looked at. The tribal savage glances at the servant, then carefully picks up the crystal glass with the amber-golden wine within it. He does not taste it but observes the others conversing around the table. Clearly to the attentive, Viktarkim takes his cues from Lady Dawn. He will lichtly taste the wine only after she does and otherwise listens.
Esera catches her father's gaze, as it passes from her to Malrico. She smiles to him, and her dark lashes lower, amber eyes shadowed. "If we are lucky, we may learn from them," she says. "If we are unlucky, they destroy us."
"Truly," Talen replies to Malrico in nonchalant effort, raising his glass of the provided white wine in simple toast as Niccolo does. "I never knew the man." When the Sword catches Jaenelle's reply he bows his head in acknowledged of her own before he idly thumbs at the lip of his goblet.
"You should see her shoot birds. It's magical," Deva explains to Darren, gesturing toward Ophelia with an upturned palm. She eyes Luca for a moment, as if weighing something, but turns away to look at her brother again to wait for his opinion of sand.
Aria is really just through the door when she is swept up by Isolde. There is a brief blink of surprise and blue eyes widen- and then the girl smiles and nods a couple times quickly in response to the greeting. She shiftsh er weight slightly from left to right, out of habit. "It's been quite some time... We simply must talk soon. I really had not the faintest idea I was heading to Arx myself until it happened." She lets out a soft, almost glittery laugh and draws a deep bereath, tilting herh ead slightly to the left as she does so. "It is alway good to see a friendly face in a new place." She casts her gaze out over the room, her smile warming further over the intervening seconds.
Dawn also seems partial to listening. But... "Is it luck that determines destruction then?" she does finally contribute, such musing seeming an idle thing. When she glances over at Viktarkim again, a smile is found. "How do you find the wine, Master Viktarkim? Another thing we cherish the Lyceum for, its wines."
Eos looks back out over the gathering, taking it all in, enjoying the moment of spectacle and people watching right up until he hears Isolde's bright greeting of Aria. His head snaps aside so quickly it's a wonder he doesn't give himself whiplash, and reaches over to prod Kima in the ribs much as she'd done, but with purpose and only the once. Nothing said, there surely wasn't much need, just a bemused questioning, "Lady Aria?" that, in his soft spoken manner, probably doesn't carry over the din in the slightest. No matter, his feet were already on the move to gravitate toward the latest arrival.
Isolde nods easily and motions for Aria, indicating Eos there. "There's a seat by Lord Eos, darling. I'll be in touch soon." She kisses the woman's cheek again gently, before moving about the edges once more, prowling around, watching the various exchanges and interactions.
"By the time you've made enough bad decisions there's only luck to save you, your course is set," Esera answers Dawn. "Before that there are a hundred powers more influential than luck -- at least, I'd like to think so."
Kima turns her head as well, though not with near as much severity as had her brother. When she overhears him speak Aria's name, the blonde instantly begins to grin. "Why it /is/, little Aria." She lifts her hand in a wave. "Go on, then, Eos, call her over, she'll never hear you like that."
"Do I like sand?" The question catches Darren just a touch off-guard, though he's quick to chuckle to Ophelia, his grin growing wide. "Yes, yes I do. I was just at the beach the other night, actually," he mentions, before he'll cock his head to Deva. "Magical, eh? We'll have to go hunting sometime then, Ophelia," he remarks. His eyes will shift down the table again, focusing just for a brief moment upon Jaenelle, who he greets with a tip of his wine glass in her direction. Then, he'll take another sip. The conversation between Esera, Dawn, and the others catches his attention, but he'll merely look in that direction, silently observing for the moment without interruption.
Luca raises his voice, to ask Dawn: "What else do you cherish the Lyceum for?" He looks..curious. Sort of. Maybe, just sober.
Esera turns to listen to Dawn with keen interest.
Like Esera, Niccolo turns to listen to Dawn with curious interest.
"Hunting? Do you want to go right now?" Ophelia's smile grew all the more at Darren's own grin, with bright eyes turned towards Deva and Luca inclusively. She pauses moments later, "Oh. We can't. But yes, we should! Deva's mastery is incredible. We should..." Her voice trails off as she also, surprisingly, looks to Dawn.
Malrico smiles that shark-like smile of too many teeth at Ophelia, "Perhaps for the best then, mm?" He raises his glass of crystal slightly and then says to Talen, "A good man, very good man. They never last long, truth be told, but they linger in memory after, mm?"
Aria nods again when Eos's position is indicated to her, biting lightly on her lip. She is just abotu to speak again when Isolde is on ehr way, leaving the tiny blonde to disappear into the tumult. With a temerity suitable of someone ten inches above her height the young woman forges her way toward the table in question. When Eos calls out she blinks and cocks her head left, raising ah and cupped to show she didn't hear. But then girl is close. Breathlessly Aria calls back in a bright, easily hard voice, "Lord Eos! I 'd heard I would see you out this way. It was really just a matter of time I suppose." Then to Kima, "And my Lady." A curtsey is bobbed. Aria takes deep, quick breathless, apparently just a little winded. "How do the winds find you?"
Jaenelle gives Darren a slight dip of her head in response to that of his tipped glass. "Be careful, Lady Dawn. That was one of th questions I was asked right before I was initiated into the family."
Isolde wanders about the room, pausing by this person and that, never actually settling in one place for long, though her wanderings are slow. She nods as Aria finds Eos, satisfied with that, chuckling softly, offering light touches to shoulders, nothing too untoward, letting there simply be that friendly contact, as she inspects wine glasses and temperments.
The servants leave upon silent footsteps, and return minutes later with another tray. Again there is a tray for each guest, this time laden with fruits and cheeses and other lavish treats. It is the sort of tray that might under less extravagant circumstances be shared.
"Ah." All eyes on Dawn? So Dawn's eyes find Luca and she recognizes him with one of her characteristic smiles, bright enough to rival the opals decorating her hair. "It's songs, it's poetry. The friends it produces," and here she looks to Esera, to Niccolo, each of them earning the slight lift of her wineglass. But more than all of those, what I cherish most is the way it so gracefully weaves life and shadow together, to remind us of the beauty in both. The contrast, I think. No one else does it half so well."
"No, they don't," Talen replies with rich bass to his tone, "and yet good men who die easily serve a purpose. Even if it is just to live and then die," he utters, lifting his glass and indicating Niccolo, "so others may live on and bring about greater things." The Sword of Lenosia's eyes wander to the Archduchess of Flowers then, lingering there for a time.
(OOC) Dawn says: Its. Not it's. Rogue apostrophes. D:
Satisfied, Deva smiles even wider between Darren and Ophelia. "We could always go tomorrow. We really should, though, my bow is collecting too much dust." As the others turn to Dawn, so does she. Her own glass is raised slightly before she holds it to her lips for a gulp.
Esera lifts her wineglass to Dawn, light from the candles refracted in cut crystal. "That House Grayson and House Redrain have joined me in my hall does not go unnoticed," she says, looking from Dawn, to Darren, and smiling to each. "And will not be forgotten, either."
Luca seems not exactly DISAPPOINTED with Dawn's answer, but a little puzzled. "Not the duelists? Wine and friends. It's like you've never been to the Lyceum." He's amused himself, smirking self deprecatingly as he takes his tray and begins eating the delicate little cheeses and meat. The flower on his tray he plucks up, and leans to deposit on Deva's tray, instead.
"He was more than a good man," Niccolo interjects in the conversation between Malrico and Talen. "He was a great man, and that lives in his son," he points out, with a dip of his head to Talen. He then looks at Dawn lifting his glass in return to her and when Esera mentions Darren, he also offers the gesture to the Redrain prince.
Viktarkim has been listening and watching, taking in details about the individuals around the table. His own expression gives nothing away, his dark eyes to roam slowly from one to another around the table. Dawn's question brings his attention back to her and he keeps his voice low, "It is good. Not sweet nor too fruity, suitably dry." Surely he's no much a judge of a good wine from a bad one. Another small sip. Viktarkim's gaze rest briefly on Ophilia and then Jaenelle but it is the Duke Niccolo who holds his interest most to study.
(OOC) Viktarkim was afk, pardon. Trying to stuff the teenager into his bed. Pushup King.
"Sure," Darren replies with a shrug to the offer of hunting. "I just got myself a new bow. I guess it's as good excuse as any to try it out," he remarks, and then quiets as his attention momentarily tunes to Dawn and her words. He'll incline his head just slightly, in approval. "Certainly the fighters who brave battle without armour," he'll chuckle to Luca, before raising his glass to Esera at her words. "We wouldn't have missed the dinner for anything," he grins to Esera, and then to Niccolo as well. "Always a pleasure to be amongst friends," he'll note genuinely.
"I had no idea you were in Arx," Eos remarks to Aria, some of his usual reservation cracking with the surprise of her presence when he reaches to take her hand into both of his and squeeze it gently. "When-" His attention breaks a moment before he tucks his jaw and clears his throat, shaking his head a little. "You were told correctly," he assures her. He stilts once more before finally shaking his head and adding a hair rushed, "Vomas will be very excited to know you're here."
Dawn drinks as well and then returns her glass to the table to trade for one of those pieces of fruit. The Lady always eats lightly, though not just yet in this case. "I've not spent a great deal of time with its duelists, Prince Luca," she remarks, though it's Talen her eyes cut towards there. "But friends and wine from the Lyceum? Yes." She nods here to Esera and Niccolo both, adds a flourish of that berry in hand to Darren, and then finally takes a smile bite before turning to her seating companion. "You're full of surprises, Master Viktarkim," she says in a tone of quiet approval.
For once, Audric is not incessantly babbling. Maybe it's being surrounded by nobility. Or, more likely, it's because there's quite a lot of food and wine and he's busying himself with that. Aria gets a brief grin, though, when she joins Kima and Eos. "I've never known the winds to find Lady Kima in anything but good spirits."
Deva turns her head slightly to wrinkle her nose at Luca, watching warily as the flower is deposited onto her own. That leaves her with two flowers. She whispers something lowly, fingers reaching out to pluck it up by the stem to twirl between her fingers. Her expression changes from skepticism to delighted laughter in a heartbeat, head shaking in what seems to be genuine amusement.
Luca winces as Darren recalls the tournament. He won't leave Dawn hanging, though, and puts on a touch of a smile. "For the best, my Lady. We duelists are not wholesome company."
"That none of you brought host gifts has also not gone unnoticed," Esera says, but the laugh that follows is warm.
"If you ever don't like the taste, just drink it all very quickly when no one is looking at you and then stuff a piece of fruit in your mouth." Ophelia imparts her wisdom towards Viktarkim in somber fashion after nodding once towards Dawn, seemingly satisfied herself with the answer. "Oh. This is so pretty," she coos towards her plate, spearing a sliver of cantaloupe and carefully balancing it on top of a piece of pineapple. She crowns it with one of the grapes she apparently still kept in her palm, while eating the rest one at a time. She sends another smile towards Darren and Deva inbetween, wondering as she visually inspects the cheeses, "Have you taken her out yet? Your bow, that is."
"The man speaks true," Kima answers Aria, gesturing to Audric without introducing him. "My spirits soar as high as the eagle and all that," she flutters her fingers. Up, up, and away. The strange behavior Eos exhibits is noted, but not questioned.
Jaenelle glances across towards Viktarkim, head tilting and brows furrowed as she stares at him longer than politely acceptable. She doesn't seem to notice though, her expression smoothing out, brows lifting, almost as if she is having a full on conversation with herself. Then her attention is pulled away as she picks up a piece of fruit from the plate placed before her and bites it in two.
"Ah, but what gift do you get for the host who has so much?" Darren replies to Esera, with a chuckle. "Is the gift of friendship not enough?" He quirks a brow, then shrugs, his laugh equally as warm as Esera's own. "I'll ensure a cask of whiskey is sent over straight away, so no offense is had." Then, he'll look back to Ophelia, shaking his head to her. "Not yet. It's brand new," he'll grin at her. "Needs some breaking into, certainly. But she's a beauty," he'll say with pride in is voice.
"Oh. I was working on an art piece for you, your Grace, but I only finished half a flower. It was going to have a diamond in it, though." Ophelia relays down towards Esera. She impales a cube of cheese about a dozen times before she pauses, "I'll send it when I'm done with it."
"It is no doubt as you say, your grace," Talen replies to Niccolo upon hearing the praise of Giovanni and by extension himself. Accepting it without complaint and only the continued, prideful tilt of chin and good bearing in his straight spine, the Sword drums his fingertips against the crystal cup. Dawn's eyes are caught and he smiles mildly for the woman, his best effort. "That reminds me," he calls to the Grayson woman, "did you ever have the damage assessed?" As an side, "Jet kicked a royal statue in half. It was rather impressive... yet tragic."
Esera blows a kiss to Darren, accepting the answer he gives as a gift in itself. But she certainly won't turn down any casks of whiskey.
"That is because she is never long without spirits," Eos adds distractedly to Audric and Kima's words. Apparently even when he's, whatever it is the man is, sibling jabs had to be attended. Linguistic muscle memory.
"Then we'll go soon," Deva decides, looking from Ophelia to Darren. "You too," she tells Luca simply, waving a hand in his direction. "The boar is delicious," she declares, after slicing off a few bites.
Lady Dawn gets a blink out of Viktarkim, "Am I?" Maybe her comment surprised him, "I have had wine before my Lady, though none so fine." Possibly taken from the bodies of traveler's whom he had run through with his blade, for all they know. Sangria, perhaps. A black brow is raised at Ophelia's advice, "Duly noted." But he doesn't do it. His eyes might catch Jaenelle watching him in turn and if he does ere she should look away again, he'll meet her eyes boldly enough. The Prodigal doesn't slide his gaze away from anyone at the table who cares to look at him.
Isolde finishes one circuit of the room and then finds a bit of wall to lean against, the Mirrormask lingering on the fringes, always with wine, always catching bits here and there.
""I see something has caught your attention. You can tell me more of Vomas's recent exploits soon." Aria reachesa out to place a small hand very briefly on the arm of the man in front of her before turning to face AUdric and Kima ropely. That is godo to hear, rom both of you. I've been told that good spirits are the first key to a happy life." Aria wiggles her fingers slightly as if to emphasize the words. Finally to Audric she offers, "I do not believe we've had the pleasure? Arianna Gilden, of Caith."
"I've been told that the most entertaining company is rarely wholesome, Prince Luca, but... I admit, the King and I differ on a number of things, and rarely listen to each other's advice." Dawn speaks of Alaric as if he were in the next room, capable of speech, but the curve of her smile is warm. Fond. Her regard rests a moment on Esera but before something is said to answer tha laughing remark about gifts, Talen interjects. "Unfortunately, Master Talen, the damage was considerable. That particular statue was some centuries old and it's difficult to assess its value in silver. Very tragic indeed." But, she's able to reclaim a smile and turns a glint of amusement up at the Prodigal beside her. "You describe it well though. Better than I could do, our sommelier despairs of me."
(OOC) Aria says: Having a bit of trouble following the large scene after a long day. If I miss someone I apologize.
(OOC) Esera says: It's OK, I think everyone struggles.
(OOC) Talen says: I don't.
(OOC) Isolde says: I'm basically a zombie right now, no worries!
Luca just nods at Deva. Odds he knows what she's telling him he's going to do? Anyone's guess. Oddly, he mirrors Ophelia, stabbing an artful pinwheel of thinly sliced beef and cheese with a fork, more interested in perforation than consumption.
(OOC) Talen says: (but I'm also ignoring half of you because tbbbbt!)
Darren catches Esera's blown kiss with eyes only, the man offering her a friendly grin. He won't blow a kiss back, but he will tip his glass to her once more. His focus will stray around the room, catching Isolde there against the wall, the man clearing his throat as he calls out to her. "Princess, you should try some of the food," he motions her over, flourishing to the empty seat beside him. "You're welcome to sit beside me, if you'd like." Then, to Talen, he'll quirk a brow. "Your horse kicked and broke a statue? It must be a very strong stead," he remarks, "Hopefully whatever was done can be repaired."
The servants return with somewhat heartier helpings of food than fruit and cheese, with all manner of sides to accompany the boar. In House Velenosa, even the serving of food is a choreographed dance, elegant to behold.
"You have stories" Jaenelle informs Viktarkim when his attention falls to her, and their eyes meet. "Perhaps one day you will tell me them. I am collecting them, I suppose, and interesting people have interesting stories."
"I, of course," Eos mumbles, glancing back towards Kima a moment before muttering more to himself than to any of those closest, "Excuse me, I have something, there is something that needs attending." He steps clear of Aria, leaving her to the company and conversation of the others before taking to restrained steps to duck past servers and make his way out from the dining hall.
"Would you like to smash one of the ones in our gardens?" Talen offers before anyone else can stop him. "I'll give you a big, heavy club and you can just whack at it until you're satisfied. We have some rather old ones ourselves, I think." Darren's query and comment makes him bow his head, "He's a rather angry horse. Perfect, really. Except in diplomatic endeavors."
Esera rests her chin against her uplifted knuckles, her smile a mix of mesmerizing and amused as she listens to each conversation unravel.
Deva frowns at Luca, and starts lifting her fork in his direction, but she deflates a beat later and looks down the table in the other direction. "No one is hitting each other here, Lady Dawn. I can't decide how I feel about it," she says with a raised voice and a mischievous smile.
The duke has turned to drinking in silence after the last few words exchanged. Niccolo brings his glass to his lips, and after drinking swishes the liquid inside. His gaze follows the exchange between Dawn and Talen with some curiosity. When the Velenosa Sword turns to Darren, his attention meanders that way as well.
"Oh," Ophelia tags onto Talen's words, now wielding a knife within her hand and carelessly waving it about a little bit as she adds towards Darren. "I can furnish a statue if you want. Is there anyone in particular whose likeness you would like? I could probably manage... Oh, I don't know. Half a face or so before I got bored with carving it."
"At least an eye," Ophelia amends, realistically.
Esera rests one hand upon Niccolo's. Her Voice is seated close enough that she may. If they are silent, they are at least silent together.
Isolde smiles warmly at Darren's invitation and she pushes off her bit of wall, to head over to his bit of table. She rests a hand on his shoulder and looks over the food. "Mmmm, I suppose I ought to try the finished product, rather than terrorizing the kitchen staff all day." She laughs quietly and settles into a seat, taking a few choice bits of fruit. "But how could I pass up such an invitation. I'd be honored, Prince Darren."
Isolde has joined the Dining Table.
Jaenelle closes her eyes at Talen's offer. "Thrax ships. Grayson statues. You are not allowed to leave the estate grounds, Talen."
"Ah, I don't believe we have," Audric says, cheerfully, and drains most of his glass of wine in a long pull. "Captain-General Audric, of the Valorous few," he says to Aria, giving her a grin. "I'm a sellsword and sometimes influence Lady Kima into mischief." Then Eos bolts, and his head tips to the side. "Huh."
"Sommelier?" Viktarkim asks of Lady Dawn, unfamiliar with that term. Fruits and cheese are less fragile than fancy cut crystla goblets. The Prodigal sets the glass down with care for the thin stem and selects a few dark grapes and some of the cheese. Even his fingernails /look/ clean as if he'd used the point of a knife to skim around beneath them before he'd come to the table. He keeps an eye on Talen over there from time to time, studying that man as well. Especially after mention of the horse and statue incident. "One would think a good horseman would have control of his animal." It is offered low, to Dawn, perhaps. Jaenelle is actually offered a -smile- (without teeth), "It would be my pleasure, if you so wish to hear, Lady ...?" He missed her introduction.
Niccolo glances at Esera when he feels her hand on his, and offers her a genuine smile. He is close, being her Voice. There are no words, just a look her way, before he claims more of his wine by bringing his glass to his lips.
Luca reaches for his wine bottle to refill his cup. Then, he pushes up one silk sleeve and offers Deva his upturned forearm.
Dawn looks up from studying the latest selection so artfully presented. "Ah, but have you heard, Princess Deva? Sword Talen has offered me a club and targets on which to vent my righteous fury over the destruction to Grayson property. It's early yet," she returns. Her smile is offered next to Ophelia. "That's alright, your highness. It's kind of you to offer but I think I'll limit my martial efforts to picking apart this boar. As I was told, it's happened and it can't be taken back. Better to focus on the here and now, which I am finding to be fine indeed."
A slice of boar is taken and laid on her plate to be cut up. "A sommelier is one who makes wine his life," she asides quietly to Viktarkim. "Selecting them, describing them, presenting them. The matter of the horse just receives a small shake of her head; she apparently meant it, about focusing on the meal for now.
Once all the entrees have gone round, and more wine has been poured, the servants bring round delicate platters with globes of chocolate. They return with pitchers, and from the pitchers they pour a stream of melted, steaming chocolate upon each globe. Those globes melt to reveal cream and glazed fruits, little cakes, all manner of delights. Not Ophelia's, though. Ophelia's reveals the boar's heart, warm and glistening.
Talen drains his glass and pushes it backward, out of reach, a signal for it to be collected. "Ask the Voice of Grayson," Talen tells Ophelia while eyeing the way her hand wobbles that knife about, skeptical for her own safety it seems. Viktarkim's spoken thought consumes him a moment and he stares over, "You'd think, no? Too bad I'm a terrible horseman." With a twist of his lip at the corner of his mouth, he leans and murmurs something to Jaenelle in stage whisper. "That ship? It sinking? It was /rigged/." Rigged, get it? GET IT.
Kima doesn't seem to hear what Audric says, busy as she easy watching the fleeing back of her brother. She had sought to reach out, grab his arm and ask what was amiss, but Eos had been too quick. Shortly after Audric says it himself, Kima 'Huhs,' in kind.
"Uhm, right. Aria," she gives a faint smile. "It is good to see you again. I'm sure you'll have a lovely time here in Arx."
"I might need another drink to see that," Deva laughs, giving Dawn a dimpled grin of amusement. Head tilting to regard Luca, she rolls her eyes and tugs his sleeve back down. "I lost the urge already."
(OOC) Kima says: busy as she is*
"Angry steads are good for riding into battle, though perhaps not wise to ride them in the City," Darren offers with a slow chuckle to Talen. "Sounds like he needs to be broken more, that'll calm it," he shrugs, then drifts his attention back to Isolde as the Princess decides to accept his offer, standing for a moment to pull the seat out for her. He'll sit again, once she does, murmuring soft words before he'll return his focus to Dawn and Talen both. A brow is quirked, but he says nothing at all. Instead, he'll start arranging a plate of food, passing it to Isolde along with the fruits she's picked out for herself.
"Princess Jaenelle Velenosa" the woman introduces herself to Viktarkim with a return smile of her own, "it is lovely to meet you." And she looks as if she truly means it. She leans in slightly towards Talen, her voice taking on the same tone as he, "it was a perfectly good ship before you touched it. The only thing rigged is you."
"That is my hope, Kima." Aria looks off after Eos as well and breathes a quiet sigh. She quickly brightens, however, smiling and drawing another deep breath as she rises slightly on thefront of her feet. "Mischief is it, Audric?" She asks, tilting herh ead slightly to the lft as she does so. "You'll have to share when you've a moment. Now that I've left Caith to the Steward for a time perhaps I could do with a bit of mischief." SHe continues to grin, not quite from ear to ear.
Isolde seems amused by Darren's culinary arrangement, and her gaze drifts between Dawn and Talen as well from time to time, though, almost pointedly does not say anything. Her motivations may not be clear, but it seems she's clearly making a choice at the very least. She murmurs back to Darren, not connecting the quiet words with the rest of the situation at all.
Given Ophelia's proclivities for impaling her food so heartily this evening and with her knife being wielded with caution-invoking antics, she quietly gasps a little at the delicacy presented before her. Her opposite hand collects a fork, dual-wielding now as she seeks to turn it a bit where it sits, "Oh... this is brilliant," she breathes, her brows tugged lower as she nibbles on her lower lip and looks down towards Esera and Niccolo and then back towards Luca and Deva. "I don't think I've ever... How would you...?" The tines of her fork gently probe at the surface, rhythmically almost as if inducing pulsing back to it. "Do I just stab it?"
Dawn's cue isn't missed that he should attend to his meal, as she does. And therefor when the platter comes around, Viktarkim will acquire some of the boar's meat for his own trencher. His dark eyes flick back to Talen's at the other man's reply and the savage Prodigal actually looks amused, without his mouth showing any hint of that brief smile he'd shared with Jaenelle, who claims his attention back. "Princess." He's already been introduced so he won't repeat it unless she indicates that she missed it. The meat he eats quietly with some of the fruit, cheese, and bread if there is any. The wine is either savoured or nursed along to make it last another few sips.
Luca chuckles at Deva, busying himself draining his wineglass as his own chocolate globe melts to reveal spun sugar flowers. The ruckus from down-table catches his attention and he cranes his neck to get a look at the chocolate-drizzled boar heart before Ophelia. "Interesting. Can you eat it?" An innocent question...or a CHALLENGE? His eyes sparkle, a rarity. Or he's drunk.
"I think I'd need several before I was brave enough to wield a club," Dawn calls back to Deva. "Even against a statue. The Sword is a terrible horseman and the same could be said for me with a weapon in hand." Catching Darren's eye, he and the Mirrormask beside him are afforded a smile before she returns to her meal.
"It's an amazing city," Audric says, matching Aria's grin. "I grew up here, before deciding to march across the continent, up to no good and, well, poking holes in people." He takes another drink. "And I'm always willing to encourage mischief. Any idea what that was about, Lady Kima? With your brother, that is."
(OOC) Viktarkim says: Oh yum, Ophelia.
Esera holds Ophelia's gaze across the table, even as she takes a bite of her own beautifully plated fruit. It's a challenging gaze, for as long as it lasts. "You probably shouldn't eat it," she advises.
After leaning in towards Audric in order to mutter something for him to hear, Kima returns her attention to Aria. "Perhaps an upset of the stomach?" She suggests to the pair of them, though she hardly sounds certain. "He is...not usually quite like that."
(OOC) Viktarkim says: She she - he does
"Be careful if you stab it," Niccolo tells Ophelia, with a glance to the heart. Looking from it to his food as he reaches for a piece of fruit and takes a bite from it, pretty much at the same time as Esera does.
"Oh wow," Deva murmurs, leaning forward and over her own lovely dish to stare of Ophelia's heart-topped plate. "Stabbing is probably the best place to start, but be careful because it might like-- splatter everywhere?" Both shoulders shrug uncertainly. "I'm sure several can be taken care of!" is her breezy reply for Dawn.
Darren cocks his head curiously to Isolde at something whispered, before he utters a low chuckle. Whispered words are returned in kind, before he shakes his auburn head and looks back to Dawn with a grin that shows a hint of teeth. "I could teach you how to hold a club. In a few days, you'd be knocking through statues as though they were made of air. Though, I do find that clubs are better for hitting heads than destroying property with," he'll remark to Dawn with a warm chuckle. "Hopefully the statue gets fixed shortly, Lady Dawn. You'll let me know if you need assistance with that." Then, he'll angle a look over to Ophelia's heart-topped plate, offering to the woman, "Don't even stab it. Just eat it with your hands."
"Oh..." Ophelia's shoulders deflate a tiny bit. "So it doesn't come with some elaborate story about how eating it will give me strength enough to conquer a thousand birds or something?" Bright eyes had turned towards Esera, holding her gaze with only the slowest blink inbetween, rabid with hope as she continues to prod at the thicker skin of the steaming organ. She looks between Niccolo and Deva at their warnings, before asking Luca innocently, "Favorite and most treasured brother, if I offer you a piece of my heart, with all the love in the Compact, would you accept it?"
Viktarkim is interested in the boar's heart when it is revealed in the chocolate embrace. He is certainly not grossed out by it - rather the Prodigal looks curious to see if the Lady will actually eat it or not.
Talen drums his fingers again but without his glass he is resorting to the table and its rich cloth that covers it. The muted thuds are minute and as he listens in to the streams around him he seems to grow marginally distracted. As the Thirteenth makes work for idle hands he reaches for one of the knives and checks its balance. "How much do you bet I can throw it into the neck of the pig?" he asks of Audric, down the row, leaning forward far enough he can look past Jaenelle and a half dozen others. "100 silver if I hit it?"
Talen did just propose betting throwing knives in a room full of people, yes.
"Of course," Luca tells Ophelia, without hesitation.
Esera shakes her head to Ophelia. "Oh, Princess Ophelia, I speak out of selfish interest," she says. "For if you eat that heart, you will become more fierce, more beautiful and more brave than even your Grand Duchess."
Ophelia squints towards Darren, probbing at the heart once more. "Thank you, your Grace," she breathes towards Esera, apparently genuine, as she drops her fork, wedging digits through drizzled chocolate to tilt the heart away from her in case of incidental splurting, towards Talen, and then abruptly drives her knife into the center of it and tugs it out again.
The exchange between Ophelia and Luca, in particular the answer Luca gives Ophelia actually gets a hint of a smile from Niccolo. It's his time to reach out,to put his hand on Esera's and he squeezes gently. He leans over to say something to her quietly.
(OOC) Viktarkim waits to see if Talen gets splattered.
"Oh, that should be something entertaining," Audric says, looking over towards Talen, then back to the boar, then back to Talen. "A bet I'll happily take. Try not to hit anyone, though. It'd make a mess."
Dawn mirrors Viktarkim's curiousity, gazing at Ophelia and her candied heart. Pale eyes move on to mark Esera and Niccolo, then Talen, before lowering again to her plate. That light appetite she seems to possess has been conquered by the meal; nothing else passes her lips. Instead, she folds cutlery over her plate and lets her hands slip into her lap. "That's very kind of you, your Grace," she tells Daren, "but we'll see what miracles my sculptors can perform."
Jaenelle does not stop eating, her fork slidding into a piece of the pig as she brings the dainty portion to her mouth. She oh so slowly leans back, away from the area in which Talen's knife will go wizzing past her and into the remaining boar.
Malrico flashes that unsettling smile of far too many teeth towards Talen, "You are a lucky, lucky man. Skill there too. Her grace is fortunate to have you as a servant, never leaving her side."
Deva watches Ophelia with a great amount of fascination. She's staring, curious, perching her chin on a fist with her elbow on the edge of the table.
Darren will wink at Isolde as he murmurs something to her, then pull away with a soft chuckle. He will lean slightly away as Ophelia readies the knife, but he'll stare with fascination that equals Deva's own. "Should've used your hands," he murmurs.
Isolde murmurs quiet words with Darren, and she gives an amused look to the knife throwing, shaking her head. "1000 silver if anyone can best Talen."
Esera rises from her seat, and though she nominally keeps an eye on Ophelia and the Boar Heart, she goes to stand behind Malrico's chair. She drapes her arms over the back of his chair, her hands over his shoulders, and murmurs something to him.
(OOC) Talen says: Oh true
(OOC) Talen says: it's meant to be small wpn
(OOC) Luca says: cheater
The Prodigal may have had a chocolate lump of something set beside his plate but he's not yet finished with his meal and will not allow the servant to take his plate. No, not yet. Viktarkim will finish his meat and cheese, using a piece of the crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the juices. Only once his trencher is dutifully clean does he slide it out of the way. The tattooed and scarred man looks curious at the desert, and he'll poke it once with the tines of a fork lightly to taste and try to identify the brown stuff the others seem to be enjoying. WAIT. What the hell is -that-?! Viktarkim is suddenly looking at the small dish of chocolate with great startled, if silent surprise. Guess who has never seen or tasted chocolate before?
(OOC) Talen says: Damn it. Diff.
(OOC) Talen says: FINALLY. Sorry.
A mess? Talen shields his face only slightly when Ophelia tries to cover him in junk and while the chocolate and gore of the 'delicacy' does indeed project itself, he remains remarkably unspattered. "Ophelia!" he shouts once, for good effect, her title lost in that moment. When he brandishes his knife as Audric takes the bet he throws it, sending it hurtling toward the boar. It sticks itself in the neck-- as broad as it is-- and then twangs as it hits the bone. "Well, that's 100." As Isodle piles on a bit more silver he stifles a short sound of air before his gaze wanders to Malrico, bowing his head. "Until the day I perish, my lord."
Talen shouts from elsewhere, "Ophelia!"
"No, he's not usually quite like that at all," Aria agrees, her grin slowly becoming something more serious. "I'm sure he will share in due time. In any case, we've a dinner to attend. Audric, you should tell me more. It does seem like a lovely city. I've been when I was much younger but it is wholly different now, of course. Now if you'll excuse me- I am going to take a moment and find something to eat. I'll search you out after if you've not wandered off?"
Audric inclines his head towards Talen after the knife firmly imbeds itself in boar. He finds a servant or something to bring Talen his winnings, then turns his grin back towards Aria. "Of course! I'm not going anywhere just yet, I don't think. Still too much wine to be had."
Malrico grins that too broad smile at Esera and whispers something back to her, then raises his wine glass as he adds, "They can smell the blood, never doubt it. But how much and whose? Tch, sharks are curious creatures."
Squirting hearts and shouting Swords and knives whizzing through the air, oh my. But Dawn /had/ praised the Lyceum's color. Which means the Lady observes, eyes tracking these festivities before finally flicking to the side to mark Viktarkim's far more subtle showing over the chocolate. She smiles, of course, and murmurs something to the man before her attention wanders unerringly to the drape of Grand Duchess over Malrico.
"You forgot your gift for the host, too," Esera murmurs to Malrico. She kisses his cheek, and then withdraws, to retake her seat at the head of the table, one arm draped over the back of her seat, legs crossed at the knee.
Ophelia flinches a bit at Talen's outburst, though it's hard to say if it was the missing splatter or the admonishment which provoked it. She hunches her shoulders a bit, sawing away then at the heart while steadying it with her fingers, murmuring to herself, "It wasn't -really- on purpose." Absent of mind, she uses her fingers to shove the thick-walled strip into her mouth, folding it up and then beginning the process of chewing. What began was enthusiasm ends halfway through with her features scrunched, eating progressively slowing to a halt which has her cheeks hollowing. Discreetly, she pulls her silken napkin from the side of her plate, presenting a strained smile and then turning her head to the side to eject the piece into the confines. Dabbing her lips together, she inches the mangled heart unceremoniously in the direction of Luca and Deva, "I share my heart with the two of you."
Niccolo watches Esera walk over to Malrico and his eyes linger on her briefly, he drinks from his glass once more and turns back to the rest of the guests.
Viktarkim glances up at the knife hand when it's raised but Talen isn't directing the blade towards himself or Lady Dawn. A cautious eye for that, but when it is evident it will strike the boar and not someone else, the savage goes back to gently poking the chocolate thing. It's much stranger to him than boar's bloody hearts and Viktarkim acts like throwing knives around the table is a perfectly normal table activity he's well used to. And probably is. But chocolate? He's not so sure what to think of it yet. His dark eyes flicker to Lady Dawn when she murmurs something more to him and he nods faintly. Still not really eating it, no. But he did taste it and tastes just a litttle more of the tips of his fork. Very strange stuff.
Luca watches Ophelia struggle with a piece of raw pig heart with growing sympathy. As it is (at least somewhat) his fault, he reaches out to draw the plate closer and decides. "You think I will share this delicacy with Princess Deva? This power is for us." Indulgent to the end, he then saws off a strip himself. He eyes it there, on the end of his fork, for a moment. Visibly, his shoulders square, and then the shoves it in his mouth and starts chewing.
Darren's eyes will easily track the Sword's dagger as it flies through the air, even as he has whispered words with the Princess Isolde at his side. When the dagger hits its mark, he'll laugh easily. "Good show," he'll announce to Talen, though he'll not offer up his own skill. Instead, is eyes shift back to Esera and Malrico, as the former drapes her arms over the latter. It's only momentarily focused upon, before it's back across the table. Ophelia's consumption of the heart is watched intently after, a large grin stretching across his face. When she manages to swallow, he'll even applaud her. "Impressively done," Darren will chuckle to Ophelia, then quirk a brow as the heart is offered to Deva and Luca both.
Talen stacks the silver knights up by his plate and leaves them stood there as an ever present reminder of his bet made and won. "I imagine you're going to buy someone a wound," he tells Isolde then. "We might accidentally cause a stab wound and then our reputation only gets /worse/. Poison, knives in throats-- it'll be endless. Her grace will surely go with Princess Jaenelle's suggestion and lock us within the estate."
"Fierce," Esera praises Ophelia. "And beautiful. How strong you are, Princess Ophelia. How much stronger you have now become."
Esera is overheard praising Ophelia for: Fierce and beautiful.
"Then perhaps, Talen, my darling, you should have thought of that before you started showing off." Isolde makes a gesture with her hand. "Set it up so no one gets hurt and tell me whom I owe money to." She laughs quietly, murmuring back with Darren.
Deva holds a hand over her heart, the one currently beating in her chest and not on someone's plate. At least not yet. She bows her head slightly toward Ophelia, and then... well, then she squints at Luca as he takes full claim. "Fine. Don't share." Her arms cross and she stares long and hard.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Esera before departing.
Now that it is safe, Jaenelle leans forward again, her meal all but finished as is both of the glasses of wine. "I am sure if that was the case, we'd all be locked up in here. I fear that you've all rubbed off on me and I am no better off than you are."
Luca gags. Also visibly. He holds very still for a moment, eyes on the middle distance. Another gag, and he pounds on the table with a fist. Head thrown back, he swallows the chunk down with effort and exclaims, "Oh, fuck that is nasty!" He elbows the plate towards Deva. "Don't pout. Help yourself."
(OOC) Viktarkim tries it - bah! Hope I did it right.
(OOC) Luca says: Well done!
"I don't want anyone to beat me," Talen admits to the Mirrormask. "It would be unseemly." Pulling the napkin from his lap he bunches it up and deposits it on his plate, issuing over to Ophelia and Luca. "You're both barbarians." While he doesn't seem disgusted in the least his claim is made with a familiarity. Watching as Luca gags and then foists it off to Deva, it's then that Talen proposes to the Redrain princess, "If you eat a piece and don't blanch half as much as Luca did I'll give you Princess Isolde's thousand silver." This said like he already owns it-- what?!
Ophelia shares a strained smile towards Darren, even as she covertly bundles up her napkin within her lap. Her head dips almost formally towards Esera at the same time, before she begins discreetly wiping her chocolate and partially bloody fingertips upon the hang of the tablecloth out of common view. She claims the goblet of wine immediately after, emulating her earlier wisdom by the direct quaffing of her drink and finding a hidden grape to stuff into her mouth after. Snickering towards Luca, she looks bright-eyed towards Deva with anticipation.
As the meal begins to wind down, and as the servants begin to clear out more platters than they bring, Esera rises. "Thank you all," she says. "For your company, and your friendship -- now, and in harder times to come. The meal is ended, but you are welcome in my home. The doors to the library are open, should you wish to retire in the comfort of my House."
The Prodigal discreetly glances to see if Ophelia spat out the bit of heart meat, but from his angle he doesn't see anything on the floor. Viktarkim eyes her and decides he's still not too sure about the chocolate. He's had a little of it but decides the wine is perhaps a better choice, once he finds his glass has been refilled. The savage seems to be amused, watching these nobles around the table trying to gag down a bit of pig's heart. There is a sidelong look to check and see how Lady Dawn is doing.
"Just don't go down toward my room or I might kill you for messing up my stuff," Talen adds without a completely straight face.
The challenge raised by Talen earns him a low laugh from Darren, who looks amused. "You're challenging the wrong Princess," he'll note to Talen, quite proudly. As though eating hearts were something typical for Redrains. Or, at the very least, as though he expects only the greatest from his sister. "You're only going to lose your silver," he warns, and then dips his head back to Isolde, mentioning something to her in a quiet voice.
Ophelia pushes back her chair and stands when Esera rises. Perhaps not all etiquette is lost on her after all. "The meal was delicious, your Grace, and surpassingly elegant. It was altogether wonderful. Thank you for all of this."
When Esera rises, so too does Dawn to mark their hostess' announcement. Her head bows while the other woman speaks. "Thank you for the hospitality of your House, your Grace," she says across the table. Amidst all of the heart eating and wagering, she reaches out to touch Viktarkim lightly on the shoulder. Another whisper passed on, Grayson's Voice then quietly withdraws.
"No, darling, -Talen- is going to lose my silver. Unless he gives a better showing." Isolde laughs brightly.
Malrico rises from his seat and inclines his head in a graceful bow, "I think I should read a book." He then turns and strides out.
"I thought you weren't sharing the power," Deva scoffs, slumping back in her chair as she watches Luca struggle. With a dramatic roll of her eyes, she hoists up a fork and knife to slice off a bite of the boar heart. Down it goes. "It's kinda chewy," she observes mildly, dabbing at her lips with a napkin. "Thank you," she chimes in for Esera, rising briefly as others do to bid the Grand Duchess good evening.
Viktarkim sets the crystal goblet of wine down and moves to stand when he sees Dawn rise. He stops when she touches his arm lightly again and he listens, then nods, "I should see you safely escorted back to the estate, my Lady. Princess Lou would not forgive me if I lingered and anything befell you ere you were returned home." His dark eyes seek for their hostess and he bows to her, "Thank you, Your Grace." Maybe he doesn't screw that up.
Audric rises as well, giving Kima a brief smile. "Well, as fun as this has been," he says, his tone juuuust barely a teensy bit dry. "I think I've work to do. I'll see you around, Lady Kima." And with that, the sellsword makes his retreat. Partially, at least. He stops just before the door to hand off a glass of wine he almost ran off with. Then he's gone.
Luca looks at Deva as if he is reconsidering things. He half-rises, for the departure of Esera, then falls back into his seat and drains another cup of wine.
Niccolo had been watching Ophelia with a glint of amusement in his features. When Esera rises, so does the duke. He inclines his head at her words. "Thank you all for coming. It was good, seeing us all together," he offers, and his gaze trails some after the departing Malrico. "I'll be retiring for the evening soon myself, but enjoy the hospitality of our estate."
Ophelia is overheard praising Esera for: Grand Duchess Esera warms hearts!
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