Ischian Lily and Lantern Festival
((OOC:Finally getting around to doing this event. If your character would like to contribute a lantern to the waves? Let me know! I’d love to have a lantern created for them.))
Aug. 10, 2021, 8:30 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near Ischia - Braiga Fortress
Comments and Log
While the chill fingerling grip of Winter touches Arx and the rest of those landlocked - Ischia was as lush and warm as ever. The tropical scene perhaps offered a bit of a reprieve for those looking to have an island getaway. And what better place than Ischia? The sprawling little towns and Braiga Fortress, the seat of House Seraceni, was alive with color and scents to delight. Lilies of various shades and aromas were strung thickly like banners or wreathed in decorative bunches around windows, doors, and stalls. Even the fearsome oathed Corsairs and Privateers found themselves with a floral boutonniere on their fine frock coat lapels.
The main festival was held in a large square in Ischia’s capital city, Morisco, and stairs led out to a beautiful beach that opened out to a shimmering expanse of ocean. It’s here in the square that vendors of every sort were selling their lily infused wears. Clothing, weaponry, food, drink, and all sorts of baubles were out for the eye to catch. Refreshments however were in constant flow as the Voice of Seraceni made sure that all who attended found themselves free of hunger or thirst..
Culture here was mixed as was most of Ischian heritage and there is notably Eurusi influences in some of the items being seen at certain stalls as refugees seek to rebuild new lives after so much chaos. But, being a popular port for all, it hosts adventurers and nobility from all over.
Yuri stepped away from a conversation with a stall vendor, passing idle chatter and a perusal of the baubles they were selling before he meandered off with his flute of wine; skylit eyes passing over incoming festival goers. He seemed to be quite appreciative of the climate of Ischia, dressed down easily to all but forget that winter had begun in full force on the mainland. A single Ischian lily was settled into the open portion of his collar, shoulder-cloak flowing over one free shoulder as he began to take his steps toward the center of the square where the gathering of ceremony effects were being held. A more than occasional glance was sifting through the crowds, peering off for any sight of the Voice of Seraceni before idling with his own small conversations at each stall he visited.
A gentle offshore breeze tousles the wavy, stylishly unkempt hair of one Lord Cassimir Inverno as he strides with direct purpose toward...well, probably somewhere quiet and out of the way. Both hands have been casually shoved into his trouser pockets, habitually, perhaps to protect them from winter's bite, but there is no trace of the same cold that plagues Arx at present. Sage green irises bend toward the stone floor comprising the sprawling, festive square, lifting only to either appreciate the splendor of the fortress, or passively observe the faces of others congregating, laughing and conversing freely with one another. He arrives alone, without a date, but that does not seem to bother him much; he wears a dispassionate expression. A servant passes bearing aloft a tray of wine glasses, which prompts him to slow to a stop, withdraw a hand and take one. After a quick sniff test, he tips the rim back and sips.
Cesare Whisper is overdressed for the weather. Being a native of Setarco himself, one would think he'd know better, but here he is, having recently flouted how well he's adapting to an Arx winter, and now stripping off layers of tweed and velvet in the Ischian climate it seems he's already forgotten. Nonetheless, he's obviously enjoying the scenery, stopping to speak to many of the vendors, sample their wares, and of course, stick his face deep into each of the different varieties of lily as if he can somehow remember each individual scent. Probably he can't, but by the gods he's going to end up decorated like a floral bouquet and liberally libated in the meantime, with all the ease and natural charm a Whisper can manage.
In a burst of color and jingling as he hops and bounces through the crowd, Mattheu keeps nodding to everyone that stops to stare at the man, or turn to wonder where the melody of chimes is coming from. His boots have been off since arriving, not even off the boat and his boots where being slung over his shoulder.
This is her first time in Ischia.
She's heard of its lights, sounds and colors before, forever enamored by the lush scenery presented by a place that she has only glimpsed in her imagination, or from the descriptions painted to life so eloquently by the newly-anointed prince by her side. With the opportunity to indulge her curiosity now, it probably isn't surprising that Natasha Thrax is drinking in the sights presented before her with all the enthusiasm expected of a consummate academic who has only dreamed of being an adventurer when so much of her duties anchor her in metropolitan centers and often too far away from more exotic promises to her liking. Drawn to the glittering view of white sands and a visible sapphirine coastline, it may be fortunate that she has an escort to prevent her from winding down the stairs immediately to explore the beach.
Moving into the gathering in a creation of starlight silk, dark eyes move over the colorful stalls and the unique scenery, the blend of immigrant influences already present. Occasionally, she points something out to the man treading a long-legged path next to her, somehow taller than she is in spite of her preferences for imposing footwear, with a pale hand adorned with the luminous silver of Thrax's sea-serpent signet, and the much darker star iron wedding band situated on an important finger. "It's as lovely as you said - perhaps even more," she tells Romulius. "I can't believe it took me so long to visit - I hope Ophira forgives me for the slight."
Torsney, an attentive high strung law clerk arrives, delivering a message to Ophira before departing.
The Islander contingent consisting of Romulius and Natasha Thrax had arrived in Ischia well before the Festival, the couple having made landfall in the port of Morisco before the sun had reached its zenith. How they managed to escape the notice of its ruling family is something of a mystery, but this is the first time that their presence has been made clear since their arrival. All the better when it's clear that festivities have begun in earnest. Floral spectacles and the exotic - to Islanders - decorations and festival-goers provide no shortage of distractions, but the newly-anointed prince explains what he can. Doubtlessly the better travelled of the pair, he also possesses the distinction of a *recent* visit to Braiga. "There is nothing to forgive. If anything, I suspect she'll apologize for not convincing you to enjoy it sooner."
There are sights to see and people to converse with while moving around the many exotic fares and wares. Seating has been provided special from La Rosa itself thanks to Lord Yuri Tessere. Cooking from the dance hall and restaurant itself is on display at one of the stalls where they have tested their hand at using Ischian spice in a few of their dishes. And what would be La Rosa if they also didn’t provide some of their famed wines?
Fashionably late. That's not usually the calling card for Patrizio Pravus, but then again, he's also usually showing up with a retinue of centurions flanking him and... for once, he's noticeably bereft of such an escort. No, the Voice of Pravus is arriving, just slightly on the late side of things in his blue and steel silks, though he does have a heavier cloak with him, as if he's perhaps just more wary about the winter from Arx following them to Ischia, but there's a very distinct smile lingering on his features, and the jade eyes look here and there as he's joining the others at the Festival.
Shuffling through a few sets of crowds, Lord Yuri Tessere seemed to pause on recognition of several faces, though a look of confusion settled upon his face when he noticed the newlywedded royal couple. Footfalls fell rather on a path toward Romulius and Natasha upon his trail through the stall square; a quick stop at one of the stalls that his staff were taking to with hurried orders and serving such patrons that frequented the stall. Eyes fell onto Romulius first, giving a gentle bow of his head with a smirk, "While I can wholeheartedly believe she shall apologize profusely, I do not think any slight would be taken on either parts." Then soon landing onto Natasha, "Your journey was well? A few precious moments away from the capital to feel liberated from duty? Congratulations, your Highnesses." Head canted toward Cassimir with a friendly bow, ended with a wave to rope in Lord Inverno as well, "It has been far too long, Lord Cassimir! I am quite happy to see you! Come, come!"
Merek does not know what to make of crowds. The man wears a dark attire with hood up and beltcape about the waist. He takes the time to begin making a few lanterns perhaps, while he seems to think about things generally.
The various vendors eventually catch Cassimir's curious eye; so, while sipping from his wine glass distractedly, he meanders along the row of tables laden with trinkets and knick-knacks, pausing to pay special mind to things that stand out to him as more artistically pleasing or interesting. It is only when he's nearly brushed shoulders with another reveler that his focus is broken, and he turns to address the stranger with an apologetic look. Before words can be exchanged, he hears his name called by a familiar voice. After pivoting upon his heels, eyes scan the immediate area and focus upon a gaggle of similarly familiar faces. "My lord Yuri," he murmurs with an inflection of surprise. A smile curls at one corner of his mouth. "I didn't expect to see you here. How have you been? Princess Natasha, Prince Romulius." After stepping nearer, he bows appropriately to the couple. "Belated congratulations on your marriage. I am sorry to have missed the festivities."
"Your descriptions were always plenty inducement enough," she tells Romulius. "I still remember a few of the letters you wrote me during your summer tours around Arvani waters and ports." La Rosa's fare is *very* familiar enough when plenty of its supply had made it to their own celebrations just a week or two prior; it prompts Natasha to automatically cast a wide, dark net over faces both familiar than not. Catching sight of Yuri somewhere in the crowd at his approach, she leans towards her husband, murmuring softly. "There's a face that we've missed," followed by the lift of alabaster fingers to wave to Cesare and....Cassimir? The Inverno lord's appearance sparks visible surprise on the princess' features, though attention falls completely on the Tessere lord once addressed, porcelain features radiating subtle effulgence. "The journey was slightly choppy considering the onset of some volatile weather, but it made for a more exhilarating trip. It's wonderful to see you, my lord, and thank you for your kind words. Your offerings won't go amiss, I promise."
Cesare somehow has two glasses of wine, one in each hand, when his path simultaneously draws him into the path of the Princess and Prince Thrax, and now Lord Tessere as well. "The newlyweds!" he greets warmly. "This is certainly a lovely place for a post-wedding getaway, and much more comfortable than -" a glance to Romulius, and he curtails whatever joke he was going to make, albeit with a small smile toward Natasha. "Ah, here, I have two glasses of wine. Would you like them?"
He turns to Cassimir and Yuri as well, as they approach. "Cesare Whisper, my lords. Lovely to make your acquaintance. I've missed the Southern Sea."
"What, perhaps, were you throwing at the Southern Sea to miss it, good Messere Whisper?" Patrizio's voice is amused in retort to Cesare's words, when he's drawing over to join familiar faces amidst the crowd, dipping his head respectfully to the others about the Whisper. The smile's evident on his features, though, and he's clearly delighting in the warmth, with that cloak tucked over his arm. With another dip of his head to the prince and princess. "And my belated congratulations on the union. May the gods smile upon you both."
The sight of the young Lord Tessere brings an immediate smile to the bronzed mien of Romulius Thrax, a quick dip of head given in greeting before La Rosa's proprietor unleashes his characteristic charm. "Thank you, my lord. I've always just missed you at La Rosa, as the staff would tell it. I hadn't think that you would unleash them all here for the Festival, but I'm grateful enough for it." Then, Cassimir and Cesare make their appearance, and the Inverno is given a more wan smile than Yuri had been offered. "Lord Cassimir, you needn't apologize for a thing. We know as well as any the burdens of duty, and I daresay that some are more important than our wedding." To the Whisper, then, "Master Whisper. I shouldn't be surprised you can conjure drinks from the air itself, after your work in Maelstrom." They're accepted with a dip of his head in gratitude, and then there's another familiar face in the Prince Patrizio. "Thank you, your highness. I'm confident in their kindness."
"I admit, tis not a place you would readily catch me but...I rather fell in love with the Southern Sea, the island. I will never pass up a chance to return when I am readily able, and so invited." Yuri cast toward Cassimir with a smile, and wink, before drawing upon his shoulder for a familiar touch to the shoulder. His attention settled off to Natasha with an amicable smile, and a respectful part of his head, "Your Highness, just in case you were tiring of the first offering, I happened to bring more with me! Do not hesitate in the slightest to indulge. Though, I would not want to sully the good reputation of Moriscan bakers and chefs. I have tried not to upstage the good people /too/ much. I shall certainly catch hell for that." His gaze lofted to Lady Ophira Seraceni for a moment, before he returned to Romulius, "Just so, but tried not to unleash the full wrath of La Rosa upon the island. I needed someone to run the house while away, after all."
"Greetings to you, Master Cesare. A pleasure; Lord Yuri Tessere. It /is/ beautiful, is it not? It reminds me of the climate of Iriscal but such island beauty captures my heart in more ways than one." Yuri remarked, offering a respectful bow to the approaching Patrizio, "Your Highness, it has been some time. You are well?"
Cesare's approach widens Natasha's smile by a hair; it may seem uncharitable to some, but to the usually unsmiling princess it is reflective of pleasure that is normally buttressed by a stoic countenance. She extends a hand to retrieve the glass offered to her. "Messere Whisper, it's so good to see you and so soon. I feel as if we've been running into each other so often as of late that I might start suspect that we're either following you, or you're following us." Clearly a tease, lifting her glass in a silent toast before taking a sip. Cassimir's congratulations, while received with that same subtle warmth, does temper in the corners, searching his features with a hint of concern. "You were missed, however," she adds onto Romulius' remarks to the Inverno lord. "I'm glad to have the opportunity to mingle with you here."
Patrizio's approach has her coiffed head turning to flash him another of her barely-there smiles, though it remains sincerely meant. "And I don't think I've seen you since our encounter in the Jade Moon, Your Highness," she adds. "As informal of a debrief as it was after the Battle of Pieros. How are you?"
Natasha is overheard praising Ophira.
Patrizio sketches a bow, to Romulius, and Yuri, and Natasha in turn. "I'm doing well," answers he, in response to the multiple asks after his care, though there's the faint touch of colour that finds his cheeks at Natasha's comments bout the 'informal debrief'. "I fear that I was, truthfully, quite happy to put the war behind myself. As much as it was a great victory for the Compact, I worry that it's fleeting. But that's why there needs be time to enjoy such delights as we're afforded, and retreats from the Abyssal thing that is winter in Arx." He shudders, perhaps as much for effect as anything else, but that cheer of his is not in the slightest diminished. The grin lingers, before the jade gaze finds the figure of the voice of the resident house hosting the festivities, and he bows low to Ophira. "My thanks, my lady, for the invitation to come join. Sincerely, for it's been some time since I've had the chance to be in Ischia."
Cesare laughs, tipping his head back. "I'm only hoping for an opportunity to test out whether you /really/ fit into a wine cask," he offers Natasha with a wink, before holding both hands up in a gesture of peacemaking to Romulius. "Your highness, I would do no such thing in seriousness, because I have no doubt that it would be me who ended up in the wine barrel, and that you would fold me in all sorts of uncomfortable and permanently damaging ways to put me there. With that said - the wedding celebration was a true pleasure, and it was my delight to offer what I sincerely hope was only a small sampling of my talents."
A bow to Yuri, and Cesare's amused expression turns slightly wistful."I haven't been this far south since leaving Setarco," he admits. "And I continue to be surprised by how many people, including the esteemed Prince Patrizio, don't know the story of how I was run out of my city of birth by too many noblewomen lusting after my talents and my nubile young body and becoming profoundly, murderously jealous over me." He might be kidding about...maybe half of that. Might.
The festival is in full swing, the hostess of the event is absent for the time being from greeting one and all. But that doesn’t mean much now does it? Music is played richly and with skill, a lively sweep of sound that has yet to find a voice but none is currently needed. One might think it odd given the widely coveted skill of the Siren herself but such thoughts might pass as such riveting notes continue by instrument alone. A decent dancefloor space made of rich earthen tile is set out before the diligent musicians - one of whom is settled with a rosewood lyre perched on a knee, lithe manicured digits trailing effortlessly at the strings. Every now and then a pause, a smile is flashed and a gentle reminder to all is given to look towards the basket and chest that rest at this young woman’s bare tan feet. If this woman, some who no doubt notice because she's truly a hard sight to miss, twiddles her fingers in greeting towards the Prince of Pravus? Whose to think anything of it.
For those unfamiliar with the Inverno lord, his slow, murmured responses may come across as ill-bred, though in truth the act of conversing with large crowds consisting of strangers, draws out of him a latent timidity. However, he does turn to address Whisper Cesare with an attempted smile of warmth. "Lord Cassimir Inverno, a pleasure," he replies, and without stumbling over a single word. As though to provide some much-needed liquid courage, he lifts the rim of his glass to pursed lips and takes a healthy sip of its contents. The companionable touch to his shoulder by Yuri seems an unexpected one; Cassimir's eyes widen out of their half-lidded laze for a fraction of a moment, and then he manages to let yet another smile brighten his features. Natasha and Romulius are graced with the continuation of that expression of warmth, though instead of addressing some of those carefully disguised sympathies delivered, he merely nods his appreciation and falls silent. After all, there is a /reason/ he has emerged from his bedroom, tonight, and it is not necessarily to socialize with the same gusto he was once more capable of doing. Sage eyes list toward the chest of lanterns, waiting to be claimed and set free for the presumed fallen...
Yuri takes A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Cesare takes A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Yuri takes Spice, an Ischian Lily perfume from a wooden wicker basket brimming with lilies.
Cassimir takes A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Natasha takes A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Patrizio takes A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
While half his blood might be owed to the Lyceum, Romulius adopted little of their tendencies and he is distinctly *not* the sort who flourishes as the center of attentions. An unfortunate consequence of his recent marriage and (dramatic) elevation in status is that he sees exactly that happening, lately. There are, fortunately, proper Lycene statesmen and expert courtiers to lean upon to bear the burden of entertaining and delighting those that gather around the newlyweds, allowing the former Blackshore to focus on those threads more easily followed. Namely, Patrizio's appeal to subjects he's actually comfortable with and the princess upon his arm. "All victories are fleeting, aren't they? There's nothing to be gained from resting on laurels when some other foe inevitably looms on the horizon." A shrug punctuates it, as though he's not attached enough to the thought to argue it if pressed.
Cesare's immediate assurances of jest summon up a look of mirth, cerulean bright with the Whisper's canny assessment of the Sword's protective tendencies. "You needn't worry of that, Master Whisper. I doubt your willingness to waste a cask of wine." Then, though, it is time for the Festival's purpose to be seen to, and the Siren's direction is followed as Romulius makes to collect one of the lanterns.
Romulius takes A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Patrizio takes Spice, an Ischian Lily perfume from a wooden wicker basket brimming with lilies.
Merek gets A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Merek puts A lotus lantern for lost souls in a bronze banded mahogany chest.
Merek gets A lotus lantern for lost souls from a bronze banded mahogany chest.
"As such with the eddies of business, Your Highness - once a problem is solved, another surfaces in which a solution must be sought," Natasha says. "Even if it means migrating to the south to escape the bitter Arvani winter." There is at least sympathy there despite being an unapologetically cold-weather person; one can take the sea serpent out of Maelstrom, but clearly she's unable to shed her skin. Cesare's quip, however, sketches hints of a lustrous laugh within the amber flecks of her eyes - while she doesn't actually release it, it is evident enough. "My husband doesn't give himself enough credit for his own perceptiveness, I'm afraid," she tells the Whisper. "Because I concur what he says about the wine, but as strange as it is, I'm *very* proud to be of a stature enough that I can fit in one without too much discomfort, in spite of my height." She waits until others have collected lanterns, however, a brief flicker of a smile cast the Siren's way when she glimpses her - and it's only when there's a break in the line that she retrieves one for herself.
She keeps Cassimir by her periphery, however; her concern, perhaps, is a persistent ghost this evening, though the analogy may be apt considering the purpose of the event.
A laugh finds Patrizio easily, before he's shaking his head, to both Romulius and Natasha. "May the gods keep such things far from us, at least for a little stint. I'm quite content to not have to worry about threats to the south here... let us worry about strengthening one another against those other foes who already indicate they're waiting their turn on the dance floor." Which does, perhaps, have him looking /towards/ said dance floor, as if contemplating a turn upon it, even as he does give a playful smile to the mistress of the lyre and an inclination of his head. "But," says he, bringing himself back to the purpose of the festivities, "let us put aside business for the time when it looms before us, and rejoice in the moment."
There was a concerned glance afforded toward Cassimir, one borne out of attentiveness to the lord's mien as Yuri joined in the congregation to retrieve a lantern of his own from the chest before affording a pointed glance toward the Siren engaged with the lyre. His motions settled back down to the chest to procure another lantern, placing not too far out of reach for Ophira when she had the moment to reclaim it for herself. Lord Tessere returned soon after to the familiar festival group, landing his attention to Cesare with a heavy chuckle, "Oh, you too?" An easy smile flowed off from his features before settling into a content silence with another full wine glass that the lord procured off from a passing attendant.
Merek lifts up a lantern while he thinks about it all, and will listen to people, watch the sky, a lot of thought in the mind of the man, though like often he doesn't say a lot probably.
Romulius's gentle tease earns another laugh from Cesare, a bit chagrined. "Oh dear, that's the reputation I've garnered in so short a time," he says, and notably does not deny it. He gathers a lantern of his own, and returns. Like Natasha, Cassimir's wan look and, presumably, the reason for it hasn't escaped him. Probably there isn't a lot to be done for it tonight, but it's both Cesare's natural inclination and part of his profession to be attuned to such things. He turns a slant of a smile to Yuri, brief but full of amusement. "Would it be believable, or pushing the myth, if I said I faced the same problem in Arx?"
"We could all use a break," Natasha replies agreeably to Patrizio. "Or at least from the winter. As much as I'm accustomed to it, I do occasionally miss having sensation on my cheeks whenever I head out into the open air." This last is said dryly, but her precise, mezzo-sopranic diction remains laden with audible good humor. "I was just telling the others that this is my first time in Ischia, though I've been hearing about its beauty and culture for a few years now - as some must have already surmised, they don't let me out much." Said somewhat dryly and self-deprecatingly, but really, she does this to herself. "It may be saying too much to joke about how my uncle and then my brother were adamant in keeping me in the Isles for one reason or another, but thankfully I've been given an opportunity to serve in the capital."
The smiling musician with the lyre rises from her seat, the music continues to play softly without her accompaniment, setting aside her instrument and for those who recognize this creature, well, it’s Ophira. SURPRISE - not really because you all are so smart! A goblet finds itself in her right hand filled with what could only be rum, “I want to thank everyone who has come far and wide to experience and indulge in our humble festival.” Skimming with a sylphic grace made all the more ethereal by the gilded drift of honeysilk on her person, all that predatory lank seemed to be momentarily expelled, does the Siren of Setarco try her best to get the attentions of all, “While our island’s lilies bloom with the promise of life and rich new beginnings, we honor the passing of what was old and those that have left this world.” For a moment eyes dip towards her own lantern in left hand that had been thankfully set aside by Yuri, as if summoning an inner strength that was revealed in tawny eyes now glistening, “I would direct all towards the shoreline as we cast out our love and well wishes to those across the veil.”
Romulius gives a half-shrug to Patrizio, the man regarded with a look that doesn't reflect a great deal of optimism in the Sin's wish. "They'll spare us longer still from the south, I think, though it might be asking too much that they stave off conflict altogether." He does *not*, however, turn attention towards the dance floor. On the suggestion of setting aside those sorts of heavy matters on an evening that promises to have burdens all its own, he gives a quick nod of agreement before turning attention back to the collective at large. Yuri's quip earns a laugh under breath, lips parting into a gleam of white before Cesare's lamentations are answered with a raise of the offered wine. "You didn't gift us with a song, Master Whisper, and so I can only assure of your talents with a drink." When Natasha mentions it being her first visit to the island, gaze turns away and towards the various vendors and decorations. He's almost certainly responsible for some of his wife's suppression.
Then, the Siren of Setarco is making her presence felt, and she finds as rapt an audience as she's used to in a fellow former member of House Blackshore. At her indication, there's a hand that comes to the small of his wife's back to usher her forward and towards the shore.
Merek checks willpower at hard. Merek is successful.
Merek looks to the lantern while he listens to the Siren of Setarco. He then looks to the ground and back up to the sky. He manages to keep his expression calm. It's practiced. To anyone looking, it is clear that he's masking his emotions, forcing them to really go away.
"Not at all. In fact, I would have been surprised if it were /not/ the case, Master Cesare. Such is the burdens eligible bachelors must face in their precious time within Arx." Yuri's eyes closed lightly as if he were mourning some ill fate for the two men, raising his glass gently before taking a hearty sip and placing his claimed lantern in a place he could easily retrieve for later. The facade of his mournful gaze broke just so, offering a gentle chuckle at the theatrics. He quieted fully when Ophira spoke up, finishing whatever was left of his wine before his eyes slipped from lantern to Siren's face with a concerted pull of his brow. His lantern was taken up as a solemn charge, waiting along for Ophira's procession. Whether or not she accepted his bid of support was up to the Siren herself.
Patrizio smiles - there's a moment where ehe seems of a mind to speak to the matter of breaks or the like, before Ophira's speaking and... that smile does spread for a few brief moments, even if it's quickly muted at the matter of the attention to the matter to which they dedicate themselves. And, remarkably, he's quite capable of drawing himself back to the serious notes of duty, of a general who's quite aware of the price paid for what might indeed well be a temporary break in the matter of the foes across the seas and their designs on Arvum. The lantern in his hand, there's a sketch of a bow to the others, as he's moving with the mass towards the shore, and...
Cassimir waits for others to collect a lantern from the chest. When it seems everyone has one in their custody, Cassimir makes a passive 'I'll be back' hand gesture to those in his immediate social range and walks toward the chest to acquire his own. It is beautiful, truly, worthy of the time he takes to stand there and admire it. He slowly meanders back to the gathering of more gregarious friends and acquaintances and arrives just in time to catch Natasha's suggestion for a break. The Inverno nods his head silently in agreement, and then contentedly listens to light-hearted conversation carrying on around him. When Lady Ophira's purring voice rises above the din of chatter, his head swivels around to focus upon her and listen closely. Is it time already? The lily in his hand is raised an inch higher, and the scent of it fills his senses. Then he walks to the shore, following the others a half-pace behind.
Cesare's about to protest - Whispers don't marry, and therefore he's not really eligible at all, is he? - but as soon as the Siren begins to speak, he grows silent with the proper respect of not only a polite courtier but one performer recognizing another, appreciative of Ophira's voice in all its nuance and captivating power. He follows the procession to the shore, lantern in hand. Whatever a young man with no family to speak of, having never truly lost anyone or anything can be mourning, he certainly seems to have some handle on loss, but his eyes are fixed not on the lanterns as they drift out, but on the far line of the horizon instead.
Ophira's reveal brings forth a further gentling of an already lambent visage, pausing from her conversation with the rest as the crowd falls silent to fix its attention where they ought. Perceptive eyes - a pair that hardly misses much - follow Yuri's attentive wake towards the Siren and the flow of the throng towards the beach where the tradition is set to begin. She must be so enamored by the sight of all of it, immersing herself in a new experience, that she doesn't appear aware that she ought to be moving with them. Thankfully, Romulius manages to remind her with the broad span of his hand against the small of her back, taking several slippered steps forward and carrying her lantern. "Have you participated in this tradition before?" she wonders towards her husband as they head closer to the water's surface. "I know you've been to Ischia a few times."
When everyone is gathered along the shore there are small braziers, kept low to not hinder the show, in which to light the candles nestled within the perfume blooms themselves. Everyone, from all walks of life, are equal this evening as the coasts along Ischia are lined with slowly sparking lights held aloft in hands. Ophira didn't need any adornment, moving like the dawn in greeting kiss to night, bare feet meet the delicate shift of soft sand as her candle is lit then nestled with nimble fingers into her own gift to departed souls. A shapely skim towards the warm lap of water as it teases up to her knees, not minding the salty pull to skirts. For a moment there is nothing but stillness, a hesitation and for anyone who might glance in the twilight that her hands cling to the lotus as if never wishing to give in to the truth - her brother, closest confidant in this life, was gone. The Siren and Voice is the first to cast out, the shimmering light singular in it's striving purpose and it's the signal for all to let their radiance beam out towards the ocean.
A reverence there, in how Patrizio bears the lantern to the sea, to how he lights the candle within, and how he holds it aloft for several long moments. The casting of his jade gaze out to the darkness of the sea, to where the night sky and the darkness of the sea meet unseen at the horizon and... for a moment, for two, his eyes close. But his lips move, in slow steady motions, a recitation of names, not given voice for the others, but known only between him and the gods. A litany, in fact, from the length for which those lips move, before there's a pause, the exhalation that spends the last of his breath that'd been used for the task, the rise of his chest as he takes another breath and...
It's then that the prince of Pravus sets the lantern's light across the endless waves.
Merek will begin to release a lantern, taking the time to watch it. He seems to be thinking, he has too many people to think about, each petal of that lantern seems to bring a memory. He will take the time to watch from the hood while he places a hand upon the hip.
At the shore, there's perhaps not as long a moment of reverence from Romulius Thrax as might be expected for such a display, but the prayer that's offered under breath is a brief one as the lantern is set to sea. Who it might be meant for isn't plainly stated, to Natasha at his side or otherwise, but the light reflecting on its gilt cage is watched as the waves take it.
Quiet introspection was offered as Ophira's first offering to the lantern was done with a pang of knowing for whom the reservation was for. Yuri's head canted down, holding a peaceful reverie for the casting out of the following lanterns before he took the time to prepare his own. Paces brought him to the water's edge, kneeling down gently as the lantern was settled to the surface. The lily at his lapel was pulled free from its confines, held aloft close to the lord's face as eyes closed for a lingering moment. There was a brief inaudible chant that fell from his lips before the lily's petals were impressed upon with a gentle kiss, soon cast alongside the drifting lantern to the waves, "...pace oltre il velo, madre."
Cassimir stands before the lapping of waves over the shore, his boots sinking in to the sand as its bears his weight. He's looking out to the horizon, searching the flat line for any disturbance, like the flutter of sails in the wind, or a ship's bow carving through the water's surface as it draws near, to bear his lost wife home. But nothing changes. The lord tears his gaze away so that he can properly light the candle at the core of the lily wreath. The flame dancing at the tip of the wick reflects in his glassy eyes as he bends and sets it down, then pushes it out to sea with both hands.
There is a strange, almost uncharacteristic hesitation when Natasha sweeps a length of starlight silk away from her slipper feed, to better catch the froth of white seafoam against her toes as brine soaks into her skin. Winter carries even here, felt within the bite of water against skin, but she seems to savor in it when she wades in until she's ankle deep, and delicately usher her lotus lantern to join the rest of the gilded procession as the waves carry them away. Lips don't move, her prayers so silent there's no indication that she even says them, but there is conflict in the depths of ochre-and-gold eyes.
As the many petaled lanterns drift out across the darkened sea, Cesare's very still. He might be praying, but if he is, it is entirely silent, and his eyes are fixed somewhere distant and imperceptible. At the height of summer this celebration would certainly have felt different, but perhaps it's more poignant now.
Shimmering splendor is cast out over the gentle roll of waves. Hundreds of lanterns made from various things such as driftwood or even sweet smelling wreaths meet the sweet embrace of Mangata. Delicate murmurs of prayer and the name of loved ones rise in a gentle chorus and when it falls away and all the lifted hope shifts out further to be a line of ardent luminescence, a bonfire is lit where thick logs for sitting are spread around it.“It is time to remember and reflect, those who leave us are never truly lost and they are merely waiting for us to find them again.” A pause, “Would anyone wish to share a story about a treasured one who has returned to the wheel?”
A breath slides free.... And then Patrizio shakes his head, at the question from Ophira, with all the reverence of a true-believer in the matter of such things. No. There's no fair measure he could give even a single of the stories that he has taken to heart. His hand briefly presses to his chest, and he makes another bow to the waves, before he retreats another step from the sea, without pulling himself fully from he ceremony.
Cassimir does not wait on others, this time. His lips part and he speaks for the first time since acquaintances first turned their concerned eyes upon him in the middle of the square. "Lady Brigid Moore met with me in a tavern wrapped head-to-toe in bandages upon returning from a scouting mission to Acorn Hill. She did that a lot," he remarks with a faint, fond smile forming upon his lips, "walked into imminent danger and walked out of it battered and broken, but no worse for wear in the long run. I could not imagine why she would have abandoned a cot at the Saving Grace Hospital just to meet with and talk to me about my problems, but I think, then, she may have felt some attachment to me. It was early on in our friendship. A few months ago, she sailed back to Acorn Hill. She loved that barony, the place where she grew up, and I knew for the duration of my marriage with her, I would be asked to watch her sail away to defend its borders, and wait for her to return, likely covered in bandages all over, but whole, and I'd nurse her back to health." A pause, and he turns to look out over the sea. "She did not come home, and I fear the worst. But I'm going to hope for the best." And then, Cassimir folds his hands behind his back, takes one step away from the water, and falls silent.
A steady move up to his feet was brought once Ophira had made open bids for words to be spoken. What Yuri had silently feared turned to be true as Cassimir shared a personal memory. His head parted down respectfully, glancing upward toward the cascading lanterns that lit up the surface of the sea like stars, "I have only but words of remembrance to hold close to your hearts. Those placed to memory here on these sparkling waves continue to live in our hearts and minds, through the tales we tell and the strands of wisdom we put into practice at their heed. Be they a sibling, a parent, a child, a lover, or mentor. They are those that anchor our morals and guide our steps in walks of life we need tread without them. But make no mistake that beyond the Wheel, they are watching our steps, cheering at our triumphs. But they are our shining lights when in our personal fits of despair. There is no better a time than to dedicate a toast, a private meal, a prayer, to their memory and what they meant to you." Skylit eyes were hidden as they closed briefly, "Lady Lauretta Tessere is whom I place dedication to my endeavors, to my aspirations. Do not lament they are no longer with us, yet cherish the memories they made you smile. They are our greatest strength."
Loss has always been a subject she treats with utmost privacy, flawed treasures to be hoarded within the blast doors of her composure and akin to broken vases wrought from stained glass; beautiful in their fragility, but sharp enough to cut and draw blood. Quiet, introspective, there is much about Cassimir Inverno that Natasha relates to, which only compounds her surprise when he is the first to speak on the loss of his heroic wife - and how she wouldn't elect to do so at all. While there's no visible sadness, the hidden storms within her gaze churn enough tumult that the amber chips within glint more visibly under the ribbons of vibrant color cast by the dying sun, reflected upon the lanterns sailing away in fond farewell.
They haven't been married long, Cassimir and his dragoon. She couldn't imagine the true depths of his suffering, possibly drowning in the insidious darkness of Despair's eternal well - and no one would know it by looking at him. She could only be so fortunate, to be able to hold onto such control publicly, if the same ever happens to her.
Gods, but she hopes not. In spite of herself, unable to help it, the fingers anchored into the crook of Romulius' elbow squeeze once, though she doesn't meet his eyes. They remain forward, moving onto Yuri when it is his turn to speak.
Romulius is overheard praising Ophira.
Cesare listens to the words of remembrance and hope, nodding quietly to himself. Despair and joy are all too intimately intertwined, and any artist knows this well. He rests a hand briefly on Cassimir's shoulder, gives a light squeeze, and then withdraws, folding his hands in front of himself again.
Cassimir is overheard praising Ophira.
"Dio was the sort that you either hated or loved due to his tactics and lifestyle. There were very few who got close enough to see the man underneath that feared facade, those flirtacious wiles, and all the sly remarks. But, then again, I was his sister and perhaps that granted me a better purview to who the man actually was." A pause, "He didn't trust easily, even his own kin, but for whatever reason I was his compass in the darkest of times and when he thought all was lost...I would guide him back to safe shores." By now the Siren of Setarco came to stand alongside Yuri Tessere where her fingers entwine with his own, "I have lost many in my life but his has cut the deepest due to the unknown nature of his passing from this plane." A knowing glance is shared with Cassimir Inverno for a heartbeat before looking out over all those assembled, the absinthe flecks popping with sincere warmth, "But I know in my heart that he'll return in some fashion to remind me in this life that I did not fail him, for I was not able to steer him to calm waters this time."
Slowly do others come forward to share their stories about sorrow tinged loss, guiding towards healing renewal, and their is suddenly music playing again. That dark abyssal head dips low as Ophira pays her respects to all, "I want to thank you all for coming out and sharing or even taking the time to search deep in reflection." A dusky arm reaches out as night falls, the large bonfires with scattered braziers are open for socializing with servers flowing around to offer refreshments.
Cesare takes an Ischian Red Tongued Lily from a wooden wicker basket brimming with lilies.
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