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Story Time with the Queen

A private event in which Queen Symonesse Grayson shares some stories about a menacing figure that was disappointed a very long time ago and now seeks to have his revenge. Sure to be interesting and riveting. There will also be cake.

OOC: If you can see this event, which should be everyone as this is a public event, your PC has received an invitation to the palace for this meeting. This will give some IC information about the Horned God plot that is starting to kick up as well as help players who are looking for a hook make connections and speaking a little OOCly about how to use plots and whatnot to approach this part of the metaplot. If you as a player are not able to make it, the log will be open so you can just assume you were there, stole someone's notes, etc. We want to include as many people that want to be included as possible!


July 31, 2021, 4 p.m.

Hosted By

Herja Symonesse


Aconite Samantha Raymesin Medeia Lucita Lisebet Eirene Ian Gianna Raja Lou Drake Lianne Evaristo Mattheu Acantha Raven Marzio Sorrel Jerrica Corban Thea Apollo Ryhalt Isabeau Katarina Cesare Thesarin Aindre Cufre Mirk Sebastian Bhandn Elizabetha Brigida Miraj Ilira Mia Kiera Raimon Sen'azala Michael Ivy Oberion Ripley Amari Denica Merek Liara



Arx - Ward of the Crown - The Palace - Great Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Aconite had slipped in a bit early. Finding an out of the way spot to sit at the green table. Familair faces that she spots get a little wave of her hand but she remains quite still and silent.

2 Culler Brutes, 1 Culler Boatswain arrive, following Raja.

Lucita has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Scarf, the violet serpent have been dismissed.

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Savio has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

1 Culler Boatswain have been dismissed.

2 Culler Brutes have been dismissed.

Paris, a charming mercenary have been dismissed.

Micana, an efficient assistant have been dismissed.

1 Saik Guard have been dismissed.

2 Nilanzan Corsair have been dismissed.

The Marquessa of Deepwood seems to have quietly returned to the city, just in time for story time with the Queen! Dressed rather conservatively in attire that does little to make her stand out in a crowd, she looks almost like she just arrived from the road, and came straight here. She, too, has her entourage with her, thoogh she does leave them in their designated places to wait while she enters the great hall on her own. Moticing Mia's arrival ahead of her, she dips her head in greeting to her fellow Marquessa, a soft smile touching her lips, Then she moves toward a secluded alcove, pushing back her hood to free the mop of dark hair crowning her head. She runs her fingers through the strands in an attempt to straighten them in a hint of self-consciousness.

Raymesin arrives quietly, and takes a few moments to look around before stepping over towards one spot in particular with a nod for those already there. The shadowy corner would appear to be the natural haunt of the tall man clad all in black.

Benny The Beaver arrives, following Acantha.

Raymesin has joined the Shadowy Corner.

Without her usual entourage of guards, Medeia enters the palace instead with Cesare and Evaristo at her sides. Once in the great hall, a quick glance around has her motioning toward a quiet, out of the way spot for them to sit and listen. She settles somewhat comfortably, keeping any conversation in tones low enough not to travel beyond the trio.

Raja has joined the Shadowy Corner.

Gianna has joined the Green Table.

Lucita having left her trio of guard dogs and a guard watching over them back at the palace gates, Lucita makes her way into the room and discretely seeks a spot to sit, sliding into place into the nearest one she sees.

Alakay, a cranky northwoods snow cat have been dismissed.

Lisebet enters quietly, making her way to a table and settling in there. She's got a folder with some pages in it, and she's ready to take notes, it seems. She's left her retainers outside, and seems to be comfortable enough with it. She waves at Lou, but opts to settle where she can more easily write, if needed.

Eirene was going to join a few familiar faces but as her Riven family enter, she moves to join them. Her arms fold over her chest as she leans against a wall, nodding her chin to Mia and Thesarin in hello.

Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound, Rurik, a prodigal assistant arrive, following Mirk.

Merike the Merry, the Graypeak Mountain Dog have been dismissed.

Liara has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Ian arrived a little bit early, not exactly dressed fancy, but at the very least he's changed into a clean shirt and had the sense not to get in a spar on the way over and turn up looking and smelling like he's been in a fight. As such, he's not getting dirty Islesman yuck all over the sofa that he chose as a place to slouch.

Gianna makes her way inside without any particular posing - not a new outfit today - and finds herself a place to sit. She crosses one leg over the other and flicks her hair over her shoulder.

Raja makes her way into the hall, pausing inside to revel in the splendor of the palace. She has even dressed up for the event! Inside, she glances around for familiar faces. Spotting one lanky Ulbran, she cannot help but slink closer to the familiar face. She gives an upnod to him.

Lou had arrived early enough to get here before the crowd started. She'd staked out the Grayson Royal Couches and settled herself there, having writing utensils and scratch journals ready for any note taking. Willen opted to get the cliff notes version later, and is back at the Society of Explorers doing yet more journal cataloguing; a senior archivist's job never ends.

Drake enters the hall at the appointed time, along with Thea. Often he seems lazy or inattentive at big meetings, but this is an audience with the Queen, and about a matter important to him and his family. Becoming Count has forced him to take some additional responsibility, and he's taken to it well enough - so he arrives at the appointed time and looks alert, finding a large table near the front to sit down.

Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound have been dismissed.

Lianne arrives with Apollo at her side, a hand curled about his arm. The uncharacteristic assortment of guards which have been keeping watch over the last week or so keep to the outer halls of the palace, as is required, and goodness, doesn't she seem to breathe easier for it. A warm smile on her features, she tugs her husband in the direction of Medeia and the company she keeps, joining them in that quiet alcove by the stairs.

The palace isn't a place unfamiliar for those who seek out entertainment. After all, it has served as the setting for many a ball and meeting and soiree. Usually, those events would see the palace lit up bright and beckoning, especially on such a cold and blustery night. Tonight is different. There are servants and guards to meet guests as the door, but the atmosphere is a subdued one. There is no finery on display tonight. The most ostentatious sign of wealth might just be the dozen or so cakes that are patiently being cut into individual pieces and set upon fine porcelain plates with pretty little silver cake-forks tucked to the side of them. Oddly, it seems as if all the treats and drinks are being served and poured ahead of time.

Symonesse stands at the front of the hall, her slight figure swallowed up by the sheer dimensions of the room. She waits patiently with her golden eyes sweeping over the incoming guests with her hands folded demurely over her waist. Finally, when it seems that most of the guests have arrived, the Queen gives a nod to the guards near the door and the majority of the guards and all of the servants begin to file out. Symonesse moves around the hall quietly, lighting a number of copper and brass braziers set around the room from a red candle held in her hands. Finally, her circuit leads her back to the front of the room, where she waits for a few moments longer.

Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean have been dismissed.

Evaristo escorts Medeia to some seats and then sprawls out lazily. He upnods or half-bows to people as they pass however, alert and excited.

Briar, the fleet and agile shrike have been dismissed.

A dazzling breath of color enters the palace, soft chimes of bells jingle in a melodic charm as the tall sun kissed man (Mattheu) walks through the room. He takes a seat at the green table as it is open, as he nods to the women already seated there additional soft chimes play from the string of bells in his hair.

Acantha enters in as quietly as possibly. Benny is the only guard that seems to be with the Countess today. If he counts as a guard really. The brunette finds a place to settle and the overly large beaver with her hops up into the seat next to her and starts to watch the crowd with a keen interest.

Raven slips in, verdant eyes a bit wide as she takes it all in. All the nobles, the impressive interior, it takes her a bit of gawping and searching but she finds shelter with some familiar faces, settling on the couches, bowing her head respectfully to others before claiming a seat at the comfortable couches.

Seeming to have the same thought as many others, Marzio chose to arrive before the crowd and as such... arrives with everyone else. The Mazetti Lord glances around and spies Ian, then heads to take a seat near the Kennex Lord.

Sorrel settled in next to Lou awhile ago, and she's just people watching as things start to get started. Of course, she's been humming for awhile, so hopefully her couch-mates will not find that too annoying. At least she's a tuneful hummer.

Jerrica arrives and quietly finds a seat with other Grayson family members at the Grayson Royal Couches. She greets the others sitting at the couches and waves at familiar faces around the room.

Although it is said that the majority of the guards are dismissed, a majority is not all. So it is that Sir Corban Telmar, the First Captain of the King's Own, together with a small retinue of his colleagues move to secure the room while the Iron Guard soldiers that provide day-to-day security in the Palace are dismissed. The First Captain stands to the Queen's back and to the left, the opposite side of where he stands for the King. He stands up straight, eyes sweeping, ready to anticipate the Queen's next move. Which is easier said than done for a Nox'alfar.

Thea makes her way her way in quietly in, a bit slowly but that's fine. Seeing some of her family members and friends, she gives them a brief wave and smile as she walks past before going to settle at a table. Making herself comfortable for now.

Apollo settles down with Lianne, murmuring greetings to Medeia, Cesare, and Evaristo as he does. He seems decided to listen, today, keeping the greetings brief, the dismissal of most of even the queen's retinue inspiring a loft of brows.

Ryhalt joins his sister, Lisebet, with a light smile as he sits next to her. He looks about the room curiously as everyone after files in.

Isabeau has arrived early, with paper in hand to take her own notes, in the absense of her own usual notetaker. Before properly settling in a seat at the same table chosen by Drake and inevitably Thea, she does spread her skirts in a smooth curtsey towards Symonesse. She then settles down, hands folding atop her lap neatly as she waits, the image of sweetly smiling patience.

Raymesin does bow to Symonesse as she passes with the candle. It's the sort of bow one might expect from a man who never had etiquette lessons and bows maybe once a year.

Katarina Valardin walks with her hands folded in front of her lap. She doesn't seem especially excited about what's billed as story time with the /Queen/. In fact, she seems downright... /tense/, for some reason. Perhaps it's because her guards and her entourage were made to wait with all of the other guards and the other entourages and the various animals that somehow know how to deliver letters at the Palace's gates, in what must look to passing commoners like the gathering of a loafing, idle army. Katarina's unease remains at the sight of the Queen, and she says nothing, even to her tablemates -- just discreetly fusses underneath the table, to move the stiletto that she carries in a closed holster underneath her gown from that closed holster to a place tucked in her garter against bare thigh. Almost immediately, she seems calmer.

Katarina takes Intricately forged ancient steel stiletto from glints of silver twisted around a provocative thigh holster for purely questionable purposes.

Cesare's all aglimmer in radiant tones of honey-gold and inky black today, escorting his darling patron along with the dashing Evaristo. There's much to be observed, and as they find a place to sit, he settles quietly, content to watch the people stream in and turn a keen eye over the details of the great hall.

Raven follows what others do, so as people rise and bow as the Queen passes so does she.

Thesarin moves in behind his wife, leaving his Prodigal guards to wait outside with the others, and moving with the air of someone who always expects a path to clear when he walks. He's dressed appropriately to his station, long sleeves and high collars mostly covering the copper-brown tattoos to his wrists and neck, but he still seems every bit a shav from the Grey Forest dressed up in a nobleman's clothes. He moves to stand in the corner with Mia and Eirene, arms crossed in front of his chest. (Perhaps 'looms' would be the better term for it. The man is one of nature's loomers.)

Gianna bows her head when Symonesse reaches the front of the room, leaning forward in her seat for a moment before straightening again and tilting her chin up.

Prince Aindre, having arrived sometime earlier in the evening, had been standing up at the front of the great hall and having a few quiet words with Queen Symonesse before she departs to begin lighting candles all around the place and he departs as well with a quiet smile, slipping through all the various people who are still finding their seating until he makes his way to the nice couch all done up in House Grayson's colors and conveniently full of those very same Graysons where he finds a seat for himself.

Eirene offers a proper Southport salute. The hand over the heart, the sharp lean forward, the nod of the head. For all that Eirene usually gives a fig for protocol and propriety, she treats the Queen with the upmost reverence. She seems quite curious about the strange ceremony being undertaken.

Aindre has joined the Grayson Royal Couches.

Drake gives a bow to the queen when her circle passes near his table. He waits before the appointed time to take his ... nodding, as he does, with almost-bows toward Isabeau and Katarina nearby, before settling in.

Cufre keeps to the fringes as she enters, and is well on her way toward one of the darker niches of the hall before the lighting of braziers begins.

Cufre has joined the Darkened Alcove.

Mirk strides into the hall, nodding his head to the familiar faces in the crowd, of which there are a great many. He pauses briefly to bow to the Queen during her circuit around the room, then quietly finds his way to a seat, settling in with a minimum of conversation. At least for now.

Mirk has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

Raja watches in silence as the Queen walks past. She gives a polite curtsey, gripping the duskweave cloth of her skirts before dipping reverently.

Long strides carry one Prince Sebastian Pravus into the Great Hall of the palace; only marginally late, and at least some of that attributed to the distraction of leaving his guards and assistants in the outer chambers. Dressed in a mix of steelsilk and silk, all in House Pravus colors, it would be impossible to mistake the royal for anything other than one of the Sins. He bows his head in the direction of the Queen, but soon enough his eyes are passing over the crowd, and he spots familiar faces, heading in a specific direction.

Sebastian has joined the Comfortable Crown Couches.

The people Ian responds to or greets runs a pretty wide gamut of the social strata, but when Raven and Marzio, and then Lucita come in and head in his direction, he scoots on the couch to make room. He also makes the effort to force himself back to his feet and there is a little bit of effort there, when Symonesse passes with the candle. Then he sits back down.

Sir Bhandn had a bit of a time with getting here at the appointed hour, emerging from the crowd with his weapons conspicuously absent. He dressed up for the event -- it's the palace, after all -- but today he's constantly fidgeting with his shirt as though finding it a trifle uncomfortable. He came alone as well, and sets up quietly amongst the throng, not finding any one place in particular. His grey eyes do watch as the Queen lights braziers, brows furrowing together, but all he does is fold his arms and wait. Bhandn's attention is wholly fixed upon the Nox'alfar woman, and he too will offer genuflection when she passes near, but his air is that of a man waiting patiently for the event to begin in earnest. He isn't interested in the cake, apparently.

Elizabetha glides into the hall with a remarkably casual ease, a warm, breezy smile stretched across her lips as she looks around the room, taking in the splemndor of the setting, the panapoly of assembled fashions and personages. It seems her attention might be pulled in any direction, and yet she finds her way over to her cousins, joining the other Graysons in the territory they have claimed.

Lucita spends some time admiring the spidersilk garments the queen is wearing and then turns her attention back to those near by seated on the couches.

Symonesse does not ignore those that offer greetings as she circles the room, but her responses are muted and more distracted than usual, as if the whole of her attention is focused on lighting the braziers. Once she is finished, she waits a moment, the distracted look remaining and then, smiles as if in relief. The Queen clears her throat and speaks up, her lilting voice carrying through the hall despite the gentleness of her tone, "I think we all know why we are here tonight. After what happened at the Whisper House not so long ago, I think it is time we accept the reality that we are at war against an enemy that has no concept of honor. An enemy that does not fight fair. It is an enemy that has infiltrated our homes and our safe havens and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals." Symonesse pauses a moment and then continues, "We cannot fight him with our armies. He will simply turn them against us. We cannot fight him with magic. The world still suffers under the effects of poison and using the type of magic that could counter him won't just kill you, but would be utterly ineffective without proper training. If we are going to win this war, we must be crafty and clever. We cannot attack this enemy. If we have even a hope of winning, we must attack his goals."

As the Queen makes her circuit of the room, Samantha automatically rises and offers a curtsey and warm greeting, before settling back into her seat once more. She does little to interrupt or distract the queen otherwise, and waits quietly while the candles ae lit. She focuses her gaze on the Queen as she speaks, and listens with quiet attention.

An aide alongside the wall holding what looks like a large shield covered in a cloth sack begins to uncover it, showing a flash of brass beneath, but Corban holds up a hand, as if to belay that when the Queen breathes a sigh of relief. He thereafter resumes his place next to the Queen, hands folded behind him at a formal parade rest.

Lighting the braziers is something that Lisebet watches, her gaze following the Queen's progress with some curiosity. Once Symonesse starts speaking, Lisebet listens, looking down at the table and her writing materials in front of her at something said. She's quiet, though her lips curve in a bit of a smile. She could just be politely bowing her head to the Queen, it's true.

Raven sits up attentively to listen to the Queen when she speaks. There's a flicker of irritation as the sling that keeps her arm immobile across her chest, cuts into her shoulder as she tries to make herself taller to see better. She gives up and sloooowly rises to see better, trying not to draw attention to herself while her attention rivets firmly to the woman and the words leaving her.

Brigida has been in the room for a while (honest), the venerable priestess of Petrichor, resting on a little stool that she seems to have procured from somewhere. She quietly listens for the most part, clucking her tongue now in thought as her beady eyes flick from person to person, her face betraying nothing.

Acantha's head dips when the Queen passes by out of respect. Benny hops down and bows as well. Then he's moving to stand on his hind legs near Acantha. She gives a look to him and there is a wane smile, "You can relax." she whispers to him. Then she looks up and her eyebrows furrow at the words from the Queen. But she doesn't speak up. They really had a hard time with the Horned God. So listening to things was good.

A myriad of emotions flash over Lou's features when the attack at the Whisper House is mentioned, maybe denoting she was amongst those that were there. Otherwise she speaks quietly with the others seated at her couch. She'd been watching the Queen making her rounds, a small suspicion of something happening, and when the Queen sighs her relief, Lou remarks quietly to those she's seated with and then nods her head in conformation to herself. Suspicion fulfilled.

Raja remains standing in that shadowy corner, fingers folded in front of herself. She watches the Queen as she lights the braziers and then listens intently with her words. Raja's brows furrow a bit, questions rolling through her mind. However, she just listens.

When Symonesse says that this is not an enemy to be fought with magic, Bhandn looks momentarily surprised, his eyebrows shooting up on his head before he can recover himself. His lips move silently, bewilderment settling into his features, but his attention doesn't waver from the Queen. He's here to listen.

Aconite listens as the queen speaks. Oving to genuflect respectfully when the queen is near and then taking her seat at the table once more. Eyes darting to the fires in the braiziers then back to the Queen once more.

Ryhalt nods in agreement with what the Queen has said, a slight curve of a grin easing his otherwise somber appearance.

Peep, a teenytiny button quail chick, Cheep, a teenytiny button quail chick arrive, following Miraj.

Eirene's expression is unchanged. Unsurprised. She gives a grim nod to the things which will not work, and smiles a little at that which will. It's not a happy smile.

Mattheu stands with a soft melody of bells, nodding to Symonesse when she passes. Then tenses slightly as she speaks sitting back down in quiet the bells mysteriously silent while he watches her for more of the story and what options the people have.

Thea is sitting, silently listening. She frowns as a bit, but continues to pay close attention.

Symonesse says, "His primary goals appears to see himself elevated, to achieve the sort of power that he believes was unfairly denied to him. To achieve this goal, not only is he converting Abandoned into an overwhelming army, but he is also seeking relics to devour or, I suspect, to use to perform specific tasks. He also seeks relics that could be used to harm him or distract from his purpose. There are those few remaining sylv'alfar that remain uncorrupted that he wishes to convert or, this late in his plan, more likely destroy. I believe that those in this room, people who have shown their devotion to the Compact, can band together and, very much like his own forces seek to divide and defeat, we, too, can seek to divide and defeat. I know there are those who work on decoding prophesy and while it might be important, there are a great many avenues that MUST be explored. A song will not defeat him. A properly spoken prophesy will not defeat him. Besseching the Kindly Voices will not stop him. Not alone. It is a war of attrition and the more we can chip away at the foundations of what he plans, the greater the chance of stopping him." Symonesse takes a deep breath, seeming to tremble slightly, but seems to quickly rally from that moment of weakness. "I have warded the room so that we might speak freely and safely, but I cannot maintain it for long. I will try to do so for as long as I can.""

Drake definitely looks concerned at the comment about relics. But a small sigh escapes him when the queen says 'speak freely.' It's a little blessing.

Arriving fashionably late (at least she hopes so), Miraj slips in quietly as not to interrupt the goings on. Seeing as how the place is quite packed, it looks like she will float, rather than take a seat for the moment.

Katarina briefly looks like a veteran remembering the sight of staring down into the gullet of some horrible unreal sea-monster during the Gyre War, or what-have-you. (Though that could accurately describe Katarina as well.) "Queen Symonesse," she says, her voice almost catching as she speaks up. "Is there any way to aid you in this -- /this/, your warding, in this moment? That your focus might be more upon... planning, and not..." Katarina trails off.

Prince Aindre looks attentive from out in the crowd where he's found a place among the Grayson couches, listening with a rapt sort of attention as the tale is told, his gaze on the Queen of the Compact. There's admiration at first, but as talk turns to the enemies of the Compact there's something else too, a sort of quiet anger on his expression that tries to move across his face like a weather unwilling to be snuffed out. The prince keeps his composure nonetheless and some of what's there is smoothed out with concern just afterward for some reason or another.

Raven frowns looks to Ian and then Sebastian as if waiting for them to speak up rather than blurting out questions or comments leaving her betters to do so though she does say something softly to those at the couch she stands beside.

Rascal, a large striped skunk, Treb, a restless direhorn, Dash, a Kite of the Cloudspine arrive, following Ivy.

Ian doesn't have the bearing of someone who intends to speak up just now. Heck, he doesn't have the bearing of someone who's even paying all that much attention, as he slouches on the couch and occasionally drinks from a flask that he produced from somewhere at some point. It only takes a look at his focused, intense, impossibly blue eyes to make it clear that appearances can be deceiving, but those are some damned deceiving apperances, right there.

Brigida mutters something under her breath that could be about 'getting on with it' or possibly 'nothing wrong with it'. It's hard to say to be honest but rubs the smooth part of her staff with her thumb as she listens intently.

Lisebet looks up and over at Katarina at those words, and then back to the queen. Although she doesn't say anything, she does look curious.

Medeia keeps her eyes on Symonesse as she speaks, listening intently to the queen's words on the traitor and his goals, they things that may not work. Her lips press thin, looking around - first at those near her and then at the hall beyond. Her brows furrows as she stands to speak. "Queen Symonesse, Lady Medeia Eswynd." She gives a curtsy. "I was recently speaking with someone about a thought they'd had in disrupting the traitor's goals. We agreed that the Compact's tactics would need the be cunning and, likely, mundane. Unexpected. However, they also shared an idea that sounded familiar. You may recall some time ago, before Pieros, I wrote you about influencing the Dream. Their idea is to have some grand scale declaration that the traitor is not a god. I relayed to them the information you had shared with me, but as I am here? I ask you if there is any merit in such a path?"

Everything that Symonesse says seems to get a nod from Sorrel, who perhaps has a reputation in some circles for throwing herself into this sort of issue head first. She looks around the room at those assembled seriously, then back to the Queen. "Your Royal Highness, I do not know if you have a set agenda, but there are those of us who were looking to assemble task forces to tackle some of these projects to help cut his legs out from under him," she offers seriously.

Symonesse gives Katarina a luminously sweet smile and shakes her head, "Not without putting all of you at risk of harm. I will be fine, Princess Katarina. I promise." She draws in another breath as her golden eyes slowly move over the crown. "I know you have questions. I will answer what I can, but I don't have all of the answers myself. I cannot give you a list of relics that he seeks, but I think there are clues out there waiting for us to find them. I cannot tell you where or how to stop the growth of his army, but I think that venturing out and disrupting the rituals that his lieutenants use to bind these people to him could prove useful. I think identifying his mages and doing whatever we can to thwart their power is another way to strike at him. Learning the rituals that are used to create his monsters and subverting them is another way we can chip away at what he plans."

Ilira slips into the great hall. Moving with silent efficiency, she makes her way to an empty seat toward the back of the chamber, drawing as little attention as possible in her resplendent finery. She settles in and reclines gracefully, lacing her pale hands together in her lap. Her lustrous eyes rest on the proceedings, unwavering.

Medeia has joined the line.

Evaristo has joined the line.

Raven has joined the line.

Isabeau has joined the line.

Lianne has joined the line.

Turn in line: Medeia

Symonesse listens to Medeia quietly and then says with something like genuine regret in her voice, "The state of magic amongst the denizens of the Compact is very weak. The Poison has been reduced, but it is not gone. Not yet. Such a ritual, to have the effect that is desired, would require the sort of sacrifice that would make such a ritual pointless. If someone wishes to use ritual to counter our enemy, I might suggest rituals that would provide what protection can be had from the influence of Legion. But keep in mind, the magic will be weak. It would be... unpredictable in ways that I fear might do more harm than good."

Katarina dips her head into a respectful nod at Symonesse's answer, but the smile does nothing to remove the nearly stricken look in the Princess's golden eyes. Her fingers are laced together atop the table where she sits, and they lace just a bit tighter.

Kiera has joined the Great Table.

Medeia nods, giving Symonesse another curtsy. "I had suspected as much, but confirmation is welcome - it allows such thoughts to be put aside and not distract from more viable options. My thanks, Your Majesty."

Turn in line: Evaristo

Acantha lets Benny crawl into the seat with her. It's easier to not take up two seats. She gives a look to Raimon when the man starts speaking to her though and she quietly responds.

Raja has joined the line.

Evaristo indicates he wishes to speak and when he's given permission, he stands up and smiles beatifically from a surprisingly gaunt and pale face, which makes his smile seem even larger. "Your royal highness, esteemed peers of the realm, most respectful citizens of the Compact..." he begins. "Ahem. Since we know the Traitor has two powerful allies, and information sharing is a problem - as proven here today - we discussed something in Bard's College." He nods at Gianna there. "After a suggestion from Princess Sorrel, reminding us that they find love to be entirely trite and uninteresting, and that information can be hidden in such written works, perhaps even spoken - I suggested to Nightingale Gianna that perhaps the bards can work as carriers of information, far and near. Hiding it in words of poetic love. It might not seem so very suspicious or odd, with bards that travel for their work, carrying important information hidden in words of love."

Evaristo adds: "I present the idea - if you think it has merit, we will. If not, well - it was an idea, nothing more."

Gianna inclines her head and leans forward in her seat, resting her elbows on the table before her and lacing her fingers together to rest her chin on top of them.

Lou raises a brow lightly at Evaristo, "That's specific to the Eater of Stories, I believe, Evaristo," she remarks from the sidelines.

Evaristo nods to Lou. "And does not he work with the traitor, and gather information for him?"

Symonesse nods to Medeia with that regretful smile still in place even as she looks to Evaristo when he speaks of his idea. She considered it a moment and then says with some amount of surprise, "That... that might work. Hiding messages in mundane poetry and song. For all that they are powerful, his allies are unsubtle. They don't look at nuance. I think such an idea could be a good way of, perhaps, also communicating with those tribes and people who are at risk of falling to his influence. He recruits by force as much as persuasion. So why not try to persuade in return before he even gets to them? How many here have teared up or laughed for joy in response to a song or a poem?" She glances at Lou and says softly, "If they work together, all weapons that we could use must be considered. I think this is an idea worth exploring, but carefully."

Marzio has joined the line.

Evaristo nods excitedly. "The whole idea actually involved also having our bards perform songs in all corners of the Compact and continent, and tell stories WE wish to get out there.... But. Details can be discussed later. I wanted to see if it had any merit." He bows, and then sits back down.

Turn in line: Raven

Raven looks around and frowns as the Queen's commentary is met by resounding silence. She purses her lips and gives Ian a mildly exasperated look. She grimaces a bit, her weight shifting between her feet restlessly. Simple minds seek simple tasks so she with some reticence she speaks up after giving a bow as deep as her arm permits, "Your majesty, some things have clear actions. Countering an army, for example. Or seeking relics. I and I know many others have done considerable research concerning the Horned God. To counter his goals we need to understand the goals. We need to understand what he needs BEFORE he needs it so we can seek to take it away before he claims it. Are there means to ascertaining what /specifically/ he requires? Yes, an army of believers and apparently certain relics but are there ways to discern what else he requires? Which relics? Does he need access to a specific location? Is he working on specific timeline?"

She offers a sheepish grin, "I, for one, wholeheartedly embrace avoiding magical means to counter his plans but there must be understanding enough in order to identify what he requires for his ends, and what priority each stands. Is there any means you might suggest in order for us to discover or more clearly understand what he already has, what he lacks, and in what priority he is likely to seek? I do not see that we will ever be anything other than reactionary until we have a better idea than we do now. OR at least. I won't until I know better, no doubt there is knowledge I lack or have failed to properly understand. I follow orders much more effectively than I make plans."

Lou has joined the line.

Lianne pipes up without being called on, a quick correction of, "Orichalum," then a mutter of, "Or Metallic Betrayer. Not a god," before she sinks into quietude, an apologetic smile flashed.

A flicker of feeling passes behind Ilira's eyes.

Eirene snorts to herself at Lianne's comment. There's a faint hint of a smirk ghosting on her lips at something she's thinking.

Medeia has joined the line.

Lou inclines her head in Lianne's direction when she says that. "Names have power. Call him for what he is, and not want he wants to be. Traitor. Betrayer. Adding Metallic or whatever to it, or not. But definitely not a God."

At Raven's question, Mia's black eyes slide over the Queen. One black brow arches as with a question of her own, unspoken, but most decidedly for Symonesse. "I prefer referring to him as the 'Traitor', myself. And no, not the Metallic Traitor, because it isn't simply the Metallic Order he once belonged to that he betrayed. It was also his father. And his children. And his people. He is not THE Betrayer, but as has been pointed out before, betrayal itself is in his nature and every promise of aid or power he has ever offered to his kin, to the sylv'alfar, to the Abandoned -- he has broken. He's powerful, yes, but he's no god. And his attempts to make the world believe that he is are only one more lie he tells for his own ends, including to frighten us all into submission." Here, she echoes both Lou and Lianne, nodding to each in turn, but then resumes her silence. For now.

"The guy with a really large stick up his bum," Evaristo suggests. He's not shouting it. But maybe it's heard.

Raven blink-blink-blinks as Lou makes this distinction and she realizes she's right. There's a hissed cuss under her breath and rubs her palm against her forehead, "Yeah, Fair points, I'll be calling him Traitor henceforth." her tone so, very weary. As if someone who sincerely loathes all this magical, would be god, evil cult and everything else she can't stab with her sword.

Symonesse looks to Raven and holds her hands out, saying softly, "I don't have the answer to that. I have tried to put myself into his mindset in order to try to predict what he needs for his goals. As I said, I think there are clues. I think if we try to think about what he wants, we might find the answers. You are correct, much of what we do is reactionary, but, I believe that these things that happens give us clues. We don't just react, we learn. We analyze. The Whisper House was attacked, so, think about -why-. Why there? Why at that time? What did they leave behind? What was said? Like I said before, we have to be clever and crafty, that includes how we learn about our enemy." She sighs softly and then says with a shake of her head. "I wish I had more to offer." The discussion of how to name the enemy goes by unremarked for the moment, though there is no mistaking the gratitude in her gaze as Lianne speaks up first.

Raven smiles and bows deeply, "Think like him is a reasonable answer, your Majesty. You've my word, we will figure it out and make it work." Hopefully before the cost is too steep. She steps back to her place by the couch.

Turn in line: Isabeau

Kiera has been standing in the back listening before moving quiety the table where drake thea and isabeau sit

Isabeau speaks up at her turn, her features set in a serene, sweet smile as her large eyes turn to Symonesse, "What qualifies as a relic of interest, your Majesty?" she queries in her soothing, contralto voice, chin giving a slight tip to her chin. "I believe my family may be in possession of a potential relic, though it might need... help," she phrases delicately, "It is of interest to the family to find out more, and if it is useful for the cause, all the better and to the good. Do you have any advice on where to begin to... fix it?"

Drake has joined the line.

Acantha seems to clam up a bit around new people and sadly Raimon is new to her. Maybe if her name didn't show up on a hit list she'd feel a bit better about things. She gives a look to Benny before she produces a fresh twig from her pouch and offers it over to the chonky beaver. He takes it with careful hands and then plops over into her lap to partake of his treat and watch the proceedings with the Countess.

Reedy, a King's Own aide have been dismissed.

Katarina has joined the line.

Symonesse gives Isabeau a smile and says after a moment of thought, "Relics of power. Something that has -meaning- attached to it. Not meaning in the sense that your great grandfather proposed to your great grandmother with a specific ring. But meaning in terms of how it might have helped shape the world. A throne that a despised king sat upon. A sword passed through generations. A book that tells a story that had been completely forgotten. A relic that binds a tribe together. A relic that once drove a House apart. Without knowing specifics, I cannot advise directly, but I think it is likely worth exploring, yes."

Isabeau looks to Symonesse and specifies, "A bloodwood sword once wielded by Dame Fayche, Red Thorn."

Symonesse pauses a moment and then says softly, "Then, I would say definitely worth exploring."

"I have some small measure of information on that particular sword, Duchess Telmar," Mia murmurs from her place among her kin. "If it would be of use to you, I can discuss the subject with you some other evening."

Raymesin clears his throat. "Might be worth explorin' whether it's better restored or better destroyed," the Lowers man says. "Traitor can't use what don't exist no more."

Evaristo has joined the line.

Raven says, "And keeping it from him if it's kept might be a considerable endeavor."

Isabeau looks aside to Mia, then dips her head in acknowledgement, "Then we will start there."

Symonesse makes a gesture toward Mia and her smile brightens remarkably, "See? This is what I mean. Pieces of a puzzle might fit together if we talk about them." She gives a quelling look to Raymesin and says, "Not the time for that." Then, she lifts her chin and looks for the next question.

Turn in line: Lianne

Lianne's smile for Symonesse as she is given leave to speak is small but sincere, paired with a low bow of her head. "I have no question, your majesty, but rather, mm, a request for those gathered, I suppose. As we know, Orichalcum has allied himself with both Azazel and Ruin." Their names spoken plainly here while the room is warded, no room for ambiguity or uncertainty about who she means. "There is currently work underway to disempower and defeat them both, and I've begun to organize... /projects/ to combat Azazel in particular. Should anyone have particular investment in aiding in those efforts, please reach out to me after. If we can deprive Orichalcum of his most potent allies, we'll certainly stand a better chance of defeating him and freeing those he's enslaved." With that, she bows her head again and reclaims her seat, not wishing to hold up the meeting farther.

a reserved assistant named Stojan, 3 Inquisition Confessors, 3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards arrive, following Denica.

Denica has joined the Great Table.

Raven perks at Lianne's commentary, eyerbrows lifting. She pauses then and chews her bottom lip, scanning the rest of the room.

Symonesse listens to Lianna and the relief and perhaps hope that seeps into her golden eyes is apparent. She nods a little and then says, "Thank you so much, Marquessa. Depriving our enemy's allies of power would be a great detriment to his plans and I am grateful that you are taking on such dangerous work."

Turn in line: Raja

Benny The Beaver have been dismissed.

Quietly, Raja steps out from the shadowy corner to make her voice heard, "I have many questions, but there are a couple of more burning ones. You said that he binds to these people either through manipulation or through force. Do we know of a way to break these chains from these people that have either been deceived or enslaved?" She pauses for a brief moment, "Also, if he is able to force a person into his chains, how does one resist such power?" She does pause and glance back to Lianne, "It is said that the Eater loves the Lowers. It is one of the reasons I built the library there. I figure having a place of information could help, even if just a little."

Apollo's attention, which had been split amongst those near, the queen, and the questioners, fixes on Raja for a thoughtful more thoughtful length.

Ivy has joined the line.

Acantha sits quietly and listens to those that are asking questions and the replies that they get.

Raimon perks up at Raja's query. Interesting questions, there.

Lou has joined the line.

Silk, the Seafaring Spider arrives, delivering a message to Raimon before departing.

The Queen nods to Raja and laces her fingers together before her. "I think it is ritual. I don't think he can simply look at someone and compel them to join him, but I suspect that he uses ritual and sacrifice in order to craft those bindings. I think stopping them is a good goal. I think finding something to break the chains that have already been created is more complicated. It would need to be something that can break apart the magic used to create the binding. Netherite, perhaps, though it is rare and very dangerous to use. Perhaps a counter ritual that doesn't try to destroy the entirety of the binding, but simply target a small piece in hopes that it might weaken the entirety. Smaller, tightly focused rituals are the safest and the most likely to have an effect, if one chooses to go that direction, but I do caution anyone who does to be careful. Again, with the poisoned primum, the results could be very unpredictable. If you do something like that, finding a basis, a previous ritual to build from would be safest."

Lianne gestures toward Raja as the queen mentions rituals, nethicite. Something else to discuss when they meet to speak about Azazel's interest in the Lowers and the library.

Raymesin has joined the line.

Apollo has joined the line.

Raja furrows her brows at the queen. It was simply a look of someone trying to process and fully understand what she speaks of. "I have not heard of this.. netherite. I will seek out more information on it. I am glad that he cannot compel someone without a full ritual. So, are you saying we should find where he performs these rituals to stop them?"

Symonesse nods and says, "That is exactly what I am saying. We know who he targets. Now, we find out where."

Raja bows her head in polite reverence to the queen. The liberator's eyes burn as she rises back up, "Thank you, your majesty." Then she steps back, having said her piece.

Turn in line: Marzio

Rising to his feet when it is his turn to speak, Marzio offers a somewhat stiff bow toward Symonesse before saying, "Your highness... uhh, I'm Marzio Mazetti, Marshal of Ostria." He clearly is not overly comfortable speaking to someone so important in the midst of such a huge number of people, and it is evident in how he fumbles over his words and does quite a bit of looking at his feet. He looks down at his armor that he's wearing and mumbles loud enough for all to hear, "Shoulda worn something nicer...."

"You had mentioned earlier that one avenue to help might be to go after his mages. Thwarting their power. What sort of avenue or advice would you offer toward those of us who might be of an intent to go after said mages? How to find them... what to look for... anything, really, that might help us track them down?" he asks, chancing a glance from his very interesting boots back up to Symonesse with curiously lifted brows. "I don't mind fighting them if I can find them. I'm sure there are others that would say the same."

As the meeting continues, Ian starts to look less at the people asking questions, as he did in the beginning, and more at Symonesse. His flat expression is, as it always is, disengaged and all but impossible to read. Which just leaves a lot of intense, creepy staring. At the Queen. So there's that.

Nirai slips into the hall about as quietly as it's possible to enter through large doors, into a large room. Very effectively for those inside, and there's no attempt at even trying outside. She settles against what qualifies as the 'back' wall in this meeting, head slightly bowered, with arms crossed loosely over her chest.

The Queen laughs gently and says with a touch of reassurance to her voice, "What you are wearing is perfect, Marshal Marzio." His question steals humor away and converts it to thoughtfulness as she answers, "I think the way to find these mages is to figure out what our enemy might use them for. To convert more armies? To find specific items? To secure a location that he needs? As for fighting them..." She draws in a breath and her golden eyes glimmer with concern. "I would advise against open combat against such any mage, much less one working with our enemy. We just lost one of our Peers in such a fight, though he died heroically. I do not want to lose others if it can be avoided. Attacking from the shadows or in unexpected ways is much more safe and, frankly, more likely to be effective."

Lou gets up to join the line, but stands within talking distance to the couches. On the matter of nethercite, Lou speaks up. "Nethercite can be found in the Suthryn Wastes, at the place where the great betrayal took place. Otherwise known as the destruction of the land and culture known as Uanna. Explorers discovered it there when Baroness Skye went to study the site to see what she might be able to do to cleanse Blackshore from the dragon attack that happened there." She furrows her brow as she adds, "However, I am given to understand that it is a very dangerous place to travel to, and one may not come back wholly sane."

Mattheu has taken to watching the braziers and the flames within them. Listening to those that have joined for the Queen's information. A pensive look upon his face as others get up and offer up additional information or questions.

Marzio had been absently brushing his hair with his fingers while Symonesse answered his question, a fact that he realizes and stops with a complete lack of subtlty. "Right... okay," he says, his brow furrowing thoughtfully before he moves to reclaim his seat. Almost as soon as his butt touches the cushions he springs back up and says, "Thank you, Highness," and dips into another stiff bow and resettles himself.

Turn in line: Medeia

Medeia rises once more, having listened and tucked away much of what has been discussed already. A gesture to Raja suggests she might have something to say on the matter of nethicite. Later. Clearing her throat, she steels herself as she prepares to speak. "I suspect that most in this room know that, while I am not a Prodigal, the matter of their acceptance and treatment is important to me. And I know that, especially among the Isles and Oathlands, my view is an unpopular one." Her eyes don't stray from Symonesse, not allowing herself to back down from this question - even as a small, nervous tremble might betray her. "Your Majesty, earlier, amongst my companions here, I said that we must recruit more Abandoned into the Compact so that the traitor cannot recruit them first. Shortly after, in your response to Messere Evaristo," A hand gently indicates the man, "You said that the songs and poems used to hide communication could be recruitment tools - persuasion. Was that an endorsement of creating more Prodigals? And if so, how might we begin to fix the feelings of distrust and inequitable treatment of Prodigals within the Compact? There is no godly reason I can think of for the disparity, and I believe the strife will only serve the traitor as we fight amongst ourselves." The lady is not one to beg, but there is a plea in her eyes for a response that offers hope. "And even if that was /not/ an official endorsement, I stand by the idea that we must unite. Should any of you share my belief? I have had success in bringing Abandoned to knee for Eswynd, Redreef, and Malespero. If there are those who wish assistance, you need only ask."

Lianne has joined the line.

Peep, a teenytiny button quail chick, Cheep, a teenytiny button quail chick leave, following Miraj.

Symonesse blinks at Medeia and her brow furrows as she considers her words carefully, "I am not going to weigh in on how to repair the rift between Prodigals and other members of the Compact. Any words that I offer now about the issue without careful consideration and a great deal more thought could do more harm than good, I believe. I will say this, though. I hear a great deal about 'unity'. There is no God of Unity. Civilization is a fine thing to aspire to. A codified set of expectations to live in a society. But unity implies sameness of thought and action and desire. Skald gives us freedom of thought and action. It is His Reflection that desire complete unity. The Compact exists on the basis of a promise. A promise that we will all help each other when it is needed. The Compact survives on the basis of the honoring of those oaths and that promise, not in unity. The Abandoned have often been used to do the work of the enemies of the Gods and the Compact. I have empathy for those who join the Compact in hope of protection and safety, but I also empathize with those that are afraid because of what has already been done. There are no easy answers. I urged Captain Evaristo in his exploration of song and poem to persuade more in the hope to persuade those that might be tempted by the promise of unity to consider the cost of it."

Cesare has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove leave, following Cesare.

"I do not suggest unity as sameness, perhaps that is poor word choice on my part." Medeia frowns, taking a moment to think. "But alliances in which we all strive for that shared protection and survival - no, flourishing. I do not push to erase that which makes any house, any tribe, unique away. Our strength comes from shared knowledge, building a common expertise of variety, perspective, and so on." She looks down briefly, shaking her head. "Diversity is our greatest tool. But we much accept that." If the lady seems to be holding her breath as she reclaims her seat, it's because she is.

Brigida huffs a little as she moves to get comfortable on her little stool before muttering, "Maybe it would help more if people would just have a little more compassion for one another." Whether or not she is,actually addressing anyone here or just commenting to herself is a matter of debate.

"But the Compact is a shared pact of defense and protection. It is kept through honoring one's oaths and vows. If you are a Prodigal that has only recently sworn to uphold that promise, it makes sense that the rest of the Compact needs time to see that your House will uphold their oaths. Do you trust someone with all your secrets and to keep you safe the moment that you meet them? Of course not. It wouldn't be sensible. Do I think some go too far in vilifying Prodigals? Perhaps, but then I think all of us could be more kind to one another in general. But I can understand being wary and protective of a thing, such as the oaths that bind the Compact, that can be so destructive if broken. I thank you for your words, Lady Medeida. They give me much to think about."

Turn in line: Drake

Drake stands up, giving another bow to the queen. "My matter is more direct. One such relic... as you mentioned earlier. .... was already taken from my family, your majesty. It was most likely for the Traitor's plans and to stop me from trying to persue further and use it against him." His head inclines downward for a moment. "If possible, for the honor of my house, we would like to find a way to retrieve it." He looks at Isabeau as she had also mentioned bloodwood, but that's just a glance, and then he continues. "But that is not the only reason I speak up today." Drake takes a breath. "We know why Whisper House was attacked. Some of us who were there, and fought off the attackers, were able to get clues from the bodies of the fallen who were present. They were Su'tavi clan, friends of the Horned One and his agents. It was grisly work sorting it, but we pieced together their plan. It was an attempt to gather information to possibly assassinate several nobles and other notables. Some present at the time of the attack, and some not. I have made copies of their target list, which I can distribute as long as I have copies available. It includes some present company, who... may also already be aware."

Lianne notes on the wake of Drake's words, "The Iron Guard and the Inquisition have both been diligent in keeping said individuals informed."

"I believe Duke Michael insured the Iron Guard contacted everyone on that list," Lou speaks up from the sidelines to Drake. "At least, I know he did the few I contacted myself, anyway, to ensure they were aware as they had not been at the meeting in question."

"I am sorry to hear that happened, Count Drake, though I might caution that if our enemy has already taken this item, it is likely already destroyed for what primum it might offer. Perhaps not, but I would proceed with caution. As for what was recovered from the attack, I think that this list of names should be examined to discover why these specific names. What do they have in common? What do they have that be group them together in some ways? I suspect some of the names might be obvious, of course." Symonesse glances pointedly at Mia before her golden eyes return to Drake. "Look at the surprising names. Those might hold clues."

Michael sits up suddenly in a start from where he was sitting, certainly not expecting to hear his name. "Mhm! The Iron Guard is patrolling more heavily and the Inquisition and the Guardsmen have made good progress on foiling any plots that might ensue in the near future."

Drake inclines his head downward. "I'd be happy to distribute to anyone who does not know, just since you mentioned earlier it seemed uncertain as to the reasoning behind that attack." That's his time, so he just sits down after that.

Raimon nods once, firmly, in confirmation of Aindre's quietly - expressed sentiment and then shifts to a spot closer to Sister Brigida during a lull in the conversation. Raimon stops moving and returns full attention to those making their statements as the discourse picks up again. Listening intently, his eyes and ears track each speaker in turn.

Turn in line: Katarina

Aconite's eyes coninue to follow the conversation. A few things spoken between Gianna, Mattheu and Aconite. The quiet courtier's lips thin and her inky eyes flicker towards Michael before returning once more to those speaking and the Queen when she answers.

Samantha remains quiet, listening intently for now, from her shadowy corner. Her eyes rest on this or that person who speaks, but she is uncharacteristically quiet.

Lou tips her head in thanks to Michael when he gives that report. She knew he was on the case! Once that matter seems settled, she takes a moment to look around the room, tilting her head as she notices something. She makes a small, discreet nod in the direction of the back somewhere.

Katarina stands up and smooths her gown over her lap. She looks at the Queen for a long moment and it's like words are refusing to come out of her lips. For a second it seems like the Valardin Princess might just... what, lose her nerve and sit back down? But then, no: "My Queen, I would like to steer us back to the topic of Orichalcum himself. Earlier, there was a brief discussion of... what to call him."

Katarina's golden eyes fan around the room. "My blood is not the blood of the sylv'alfar. So perhaps those present would be better suited to pursue this matter -- or perhaps they already are doing so. We are a Compact of secrets, after all." Katarina's eyes return to Symonesse. "Before he was the Metallic called Orichalcum... he was the son of the sylv'alfar King A'kioh. It was he who brought Legion to the sylv'alfar and made them a people without names -- and so, he was most certainly born with one, and it was /not/ Orichalcum. Rather than bicker among ourselves about whether to call him the Metallic Traitor, or the Horned Big Butt, and squabble over /that/... my Queen, do you know where those who are suited to this task might begin to look, to find his true name, if it is not lost to all time?"

Mia's black brows arch in reply to the Queen's pointed look, apparently some silent conversation - or at least some silent knowledge - passing between them in all their glances to one another. Or possibly a question? This one looks as though it might be an unspoken question, which makes her commentary to Drake an awkward aside, given that she isn't quite looking in the man's direction and is still watching Symonesse. "We spoke about that blade some time ago, Count Wyvernheart, and as Her Majesty has said, if *he* has taken it, then it's likely been destroyed. But if you suspect another culprit, you only need to put the request to us. Riven will help you where we can, for the sake of the love my aunt bears all her nieces."

Eirene snorts as Mia references her. She shoots her niece-in-law a 'I'm right here' look.

Mia is not one for frequent smiles, certainly not in public. Nor is she especially good at looking innocent. She is, however, a *remarkable* talent at simply pretending not to notice things she doesn't care to acknowledge -- like that look from Eirene.

Symonesse nods to Katarina's question and says carefully, "Humans always want to bestow mercy upon even the greatest of its enemies. It is admirable, the desire to understand, to empathise, to grant thought and feeling where it perhaps doesn't exist. The Traitor had a name. I know it. It is his name no longer. When he betrayed his people and his honor, he gave up that name. True names can hold power, but only if that name fits the object or person. The Traitor discarded his name long ago. A better path might be to search for the true names of those whose names he has taken. Restoring them removes a weapon from his arsenal."

Isabeau checks composure at hard. Isabeau fails.

Raimon has joined the line.

Thea hears Mia, looks over at Eirene and actually gives an amused smirk of her own. Then she's checking to people at her table.

Isabeau stares down at a list she was passed, her knuckles shaking and a little white as she crumples the edges, her perpetual smile faded into a worried, pale frown that she can't seem to conceal.

Katarina folds her hand in front of her lap as she listens, and bows her head when Symonesse finishes speaking. "I understand. Thank you, Your Majesty." She sits, and briefly seems distracted by something happening at her table.

Evaristo checks 'recovery check' at normal. Critical Success! Evaristo is spectacularly successful.

Amari checks 'recovery check' at normal. Amari is successful.

Raven checks 'recovery check' at normal. Raven marginally fails.

Turn in line: Evaristo

When indicated he can stand and talk, Evaristo rises while clearing his voice. "I will apologize in advance about this topic. It is most certainly related and might be important, but I also admit it is personal - a pleading for help." He indicates Lord Marzio with a nod. "Lord Marzio brought up the attack against the Whisper House, and the reason it happened, and also asked about how to hunt the mages. I was there... I foolishly physically attacked the mage, a woman. I was sent flying like a thrown wet mitten, and watched to my horror and sadness Marquis Sanna die next to me; or so I thought. He got up, and he attacked that mage, and he hurt her so badly she fled. I owe him my life, I believe. Maybe more of us do." He swallows hard. "The attack... left something inside of me. I caution everyone that attack a mage physically; your armor will be largely useless. Centipedes crawled under my skin and literally drained my strength. They are still there, nibbling at my... soul. We believe. And centipedes appear around me, randomly. I've already received assistance from many friends and kind people, but... well, I ask for more here now. Don't have to talk about it NOW, but I figure with all these people here..." He smiles sheepishly. "Also, I am a perfect example of what can happen, and if figuring out how to help me - use me as your experiment if you wish - it might help others later." He clutches the skull pendant hanging from his neck. "My worst fear is that I am somehow tainted. So... I suppose the question here is, what do I do?"

Scraps has joined the Shadowy Corner.

Scraps has left the Shadowy Corner.

Raven looks to Evaristo. There's a pained, regretful grimace and fidget. She eyes the room carefully, scanning faces attentively.

Iveth has joined the Shadowy Corner.

Symonesse gives Evaristo a long look and then says, "Such tainting is a risk of taking on mages in combat, as I have cautioned, yes. Death is not the worst thing that can happen when fighting against magic. As for your particular condition, we can speak of the specifics later, when I am not overextending myself as I am now."

"You'd think I'd have learned," Evaristo says cheerfully. "But... nah." He bows and looks thankful, giving Symonesse an intent look before he sits down.

Turn in line: Ivy

Brigida mutters, "I am not ... ... anymore. ... for ideas of how to ... compassion it is ... ... Treat ... with ... that you ... wish ... them to treat ... Now hush for now Raimon... ... trying to listen."

Ivy steps forward when indicated, offering a warm smile and a deferential bow towards Symonesse as she does so. On straightening, she sweeps a glance around the room, pausing here and there on a familiar face before turning to the Queen. Hands clasped together, she can't quite fully keep her fingers from figeting with her sleeves, the metal cuffs at her wrists, nerves betrayed in tiny tics and fusses. "Your Majesty... what of the Talismans? You've spoken of items of power, relics. An item created by or imbued by a God seems like it would present quite the target to the Traitor. We've spoken briefly of one... are there others? Is this a search that should have a broader scope?" Darting glances around the room once more, she draws in a deep breath and looks back to Symonesse, a slight flush creeping slowly upwards. Turning slightly and lifting her voice, she adds, "This is also an invitation. If this, talismans, is something you are interested in, know something about, would like to learn of... please reach out to me. I've been conducting some research and doing some... soul-searching... to learn more about them. But this is information that may be useful to many." Pausing, flush fully enflaming her face, she looks back to Symonesse with an expression both sheepish and hopeful.

Iveth is a person that arrives rather late. He sweeps in, his movements graceful but his manner unassuming as he skirts the edges of the room. He doesn't appear interested in interrupting, he simply looks for a place that is quiet and discreet and slips into place to watch.

Symonesse smiles with real warmth as Ivy approaches and, when she finishes, offers in response, "One for each of the Gods, from what I remember. Imbued with faith and hope. So, yes, it would be a worthwhile project for our purposes to discover where they have disappeared to and where they might be now. Very worthwhile, Lady Ivy."

Raven's green gaze sweeps across the room, chewing on her bottom lip in though. The wheels spin and while calm there's a restless energy around her. Evaristo gets a fingerwave from Raven before her gaze moves on noting the mood of the rest. Iveth's arrival is briefly noted, and his features swept over but there are plenty here she doesn't recognize so her gaze sweeps onwards to guage the rest of the room.

Evaristo glances down at the skull around his neck, and looks thoughtful.

Gianna tilts her head and watches the shadowy corner for a few minutes.

Lisebet looks up, a little bit of a chagrined look on her face, as Evaristo speaks. Then she takes a deep breath, looking down at the list she has in front of her quietly.

Nodding, Ivy returns that smile to Symonesse and bows her head, "Thank you, Your Majesty." She begins to withdraw, then pauses and adds, "Oh, and I have a late harvest of alfalfa if you'd like some for Tulip." There's a brief flash of a smile and then she's stepping back to rejoin the throngs.

Turn in line: Lou

Lou seems a touch nervous when she steps up from her place in line to ask her question, her eyes glancing all over the people gathered. Normally, this Explorer doesn't mind talking about the things she's experienced, but this one? Well, it might be too far fetched for most to believe. "Some years ago, I aided a group of people on a voyage to Icefall. During that journey, we discovered a family of five dwarves and somehow managed to rescue them from their fate. They had been trapped in place, sitting around a table, a cave by Stasis, Lagoma's reflection, for some 800 years, taken unawares in their journey to their new home since they gave up their home to become Ruin's prison." Yes, yes there are much worse fates than death when magic is concerned, this being one of them! "They, as a people, have a long and tragic history. When Brass helped move them he had hoped to let them stay in peace. The family, in their gratitude, gave us a way to find them again, should we have need of their aid." The commentary is long, but it is a precursor to her question. "Do you think it would be worth it to try and journey to them again, to see if they might be willing to aid our cause as allies, given that their home is also Arvum?" Yes. Yes Lou said dwarves. Out Loud. With a straight face. A very serious face. A very unapologetic face. And, maybe, just maybe, a bit of a daring face even in spite of her earlier nervousness at this topic. And maybe? Points to her for revealing their existence to others, if they did not already know about it - letting people know of a long forgotten culture.

Dwarves are a thing? Eirene is surprised, which she rarely is. She blinks at Lou.

The Queen's brow furrows as she considers for a moment and then answers, "Cautiously, perhaps. If they have been under the effects of Stasis, I would be wary of their current state, both emotionally and magically. Expose like that to any sort of corrupting influence isn't easy to shed, even after freed from it. I think it is worthwhile to reach out to them with assistance, but I wouldn't count on them being able to aid us against our enemy if they have been weakened by another."

Isabeau has joined the line.

"It was only the five who were weakened. Many more survived than those five. But, I agree with caution all the same." And now Lou has some things to consider as she steps back out of the line. Rather than returning to her own couches, she meanders over to where Mia is seated and whispers something quietly to her.

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound arrives, following Ripley.

Turn in line: Raymesin

Raymesin leans away from the shadowy corner and steps into the light. Not that it makes much difference, with the tall man clad in black as he is, his leathers marked with a spider-and-knife sigil. "Yer Majesty," he says to Symonesse, his Lowers accent execrable as ever. "There's a way to make the Eater's boss forget small snippets'a stuff. It ain't easy, quick, or cheap, but it exists. Think it can be changed about a bit to break some'a them folks free'a the Traitor?"

Raja gives a double-take to Raymesin.

Ripley slinks in, well really he just strolls in, looking to the crowd gathered and gives a bit of a double take at the sheer amount and goes to find a corner to hole up in.

Symonesse chuckles a bit and nods, "Perhaps. Most rituals are arranged around specific pieces. Changing some of the pieces could lead to a different result, yes. I urge caution, as I always do, but I think exploring if it can be adapted would be useful."

Raymesin inclines his head deeply to Symonesse. "Right. Talk to you another time, then." And then he's stepping back, and becoming one with the shadows once more.

Turn in line: Apollo

Apollo rises to speak. "Your majesty, thank you for your effort here," he says, and offers a bow. "First, to Princess Katarina's point." He turns toward the princess in question, offers a slight bow. "I think clarity matters, and so calling him something we all understand to be the same person matters. The Archive is riddled with ambiguities because history was recorded in vague terms. But specifically regarding calling him a god -" he breaks off, takes a breath. "There was a vision. Of slaughter at Whitepeak. Orichalcum himself said: If you repeat anything enough, everyone believes it. Even the Dream. And while it might not have been his own aspirational godhood of which he spoke, I'd rather not hazard it. Words have power. Ritual or not."

He turns his attention back on Queen Symonesse. "I'd like to speak about the attack at Whisper House specifically. I understand that there was a list found that suggests a particular set of people were sought to be killed. I've heard variously speculation that the list is itself a distraction," a glance toward Drake, here, "or not the entire purpose for the attack. I've understood that those responsible, the Su'tavi, were given an objective of hunting down another set of people entirely." He pauses a moment. "I'm given to wonder if Orichalcum and allies wouldn't seek to destroy or infiltrate or use Whisper House specifically for a number of reasons. Among them, the alliance with Ruin; Whisper House does a great deal of work in the name of civilization, cooperation. Alternatively, the courtiers being more adept at persuasion might provide a means to subjugate more of the Abandoned, if force has not yielded success." His eyes flicker toward Raja, and then back to the Queen. "And I've considered that a subjugation - or chains - formed of or imposed by force might be particularly brittle, where those of persuasion of -" a hesitation, "- deception might prove more flexible. Do you think any of these have any more merit than the others? Perhaps a way that might explain the tree that was left behind, the particular tactics used? Historical precedent, perhaps?"

Reedy, a King's Own aide have been dismissed.

Aconite speaks quietly with those at her table while her inky gaze rests on Apollo her brows lifting a bit at his words.

Sidling around in a slow-ish, meandering sort of way, Ivy finds herself near Evaristo and those at the alcove.

Ivy has joined the Alcove By the Stairs.

Ryhalt has left the Gray Table.

Symonesse draws in a breath, hands trembling, and says in a strained voice, "I think we must be careful about getting too far in the weeds about trying to guess if a clue was offered as deception or not. Perhaps it was, but I will say this from personal experience. The Traitor is not subtle nor is he especially crafty. He is stubborn. He is -persistent-. He is determined. But he is not some great mastermind that is playing multiple games at once. He has a goal. He is going for that goal and he is smart enough to come at it from several angles. As for infiltration, I wouldn't put it past him to have that as a goal. He is a tool of Legion. Legion seeks to infect, to possess, to bend all to his rule. Why wouldn't he start in place where the influence of civilization is strongest, such as amongst the Whispers. It might be part of the agreement to have Ruin work with him. As for the difference in bonds, that seems to be a question worth exploring to discover how best to break them, in my opinion."

Kiera has left the Great Table.

Apollo, looking thoughtful, yet bows, and says, "Thank you, Queen Symonesse," before sitting down.

From the back, Ripley raises his hand and waves at the Queen when she's done sitting and gives her a thumbs up, looking pleased.

Ian looks around at all of the candles, and then, in silence, levers himself to his feet and starts threading his way around the back of the room where he won't be in anyone's way in the general direction of Raymesin. Not with any speed, really, but he'll get there.

Turn in line: Lianne

Ian has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Lou has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Acantha gives a meaningful look to Apollo when he turns to sit back down, maybe the names on the list were there for a reason.

Raven frowns at the mention of Legion. She pauses, something occuring to her. She bows her head to Ian as he passes and remains close at hand by Sebastian still for the moment.

There is a moment of consideration on Mia's face, one that breaks her away from whatever whispered conversation she had been having with Lou and those gathered together in the corner. And it lingers, and lingers for a moment more, before the Marquessa raises her voice loudly enough to be heard well and clearly. "I cannot say with certainty whether the Su'tavi had additional motives, Marquis Malerspero, but as one of the names on that list, I can assure you that the Traitor means to see me dead. He has tried to kill me more than once. And he will not stop. So whatever else he might have in mind, I would very much urge everyone who has found themselves listed as a target to consider it a very sincere and *very* deadly threat."

"On the subject of allies," Lianne begins as she rises once more, with a squeeze to her husband's hand and a dip of her head to the queen suggesting apology for not remembering to mention this earlier, for prolonging her strain, "I've reason to believe that our enemy wishes us isolated and alone, trade and communication blocked. Ruin's influence set to Orichalcum's ends. I agree wholeheartedly with the advised caution, but we ought also mind our trade routes and consider what allies we have available, given how well our isolation will serve this particular enemy." She pauses, considering adding more, but decides to hold it for another time, lips pursed with faint contrition, sympathy.

Ian leans against the wall not in the alcove but near it.

Iveth has quietly murmured some response to a question from where he stands, but largely he is an unobtrusive presence. When Symonesse speaks of the way Legion infects and possesses, bending everything to his rule, his expression freezes. It's a mask of composure that barely holds, the lines of sorrow he wears growing deeper still as he listens without interrupting.

Symonesse just nods to what Lianne says, adding to it by saying, "I agree with that assessment. He's not some great mage or especially clever, but he is very good at stealing power and escaping consequences. Even when he was Copper's student, he spent more time trying to get out of work than actually doing it. He will seek to isolate us, if he can, because it makes it -easier-. Everything he does from now is to clear his path. So yes, he would like our allies out of the way, if possible." Something shifts in her expression, a furrowing of her brow as she looks down at the floor for a moment.

Lou pauses her conversation with Mia as the Riven Marquessa speaks, giving the woman grim faced look of support. It's then she takes notice of Iveth, who she had not seen coming in earlier. The Grayson princess inclines her head quietly toward him before remarking something to Mia again.

Raven's frown deepens. She's absorbing this, green eyes attentive...well at first. Then Ian's loitering draws her gaze and there's a puzzled glance his way before the Queen's apparent shift in mood snares her attention once more.

Eirene's relaxed posture changes as the Queen's does. She stands a bit more upright and tenses in readiness. Blue eyes seek out the exits and mark her allies in the room. She doesn't like what she sees. Perhaps it's paranoia. Perhaps it's just readiness.

Lisebet quietly listens and watches, her gaze going from one speaker to another. She's here to help, to learn, and to try to figure out what she can do next. Her gaze goes from face to face, a thoughtful look on her composed features.

Brigida leans forward a little, resting somewhat on her staff as well, her fingers tightening around the gnarled wood as her lips quietly move in a silent prayer.

Mia checks composure at normal. Mia is successful.

Lianne's features flash with faint concern for the queen, but she nods and retakes her seat, attention shifting to Evaristo as he holds his pendant.

Turn in line: Isabeau

Isabeau speaks up again, seeming to be spurred by another topic of conversation. When she speaks again to address Symonesse she says, "I was part of an expedition of late... a diplomatic one , and I believe we could ensure further allies that were once used against us if we can protect their names. I believe they promised alliance if we had a solution. Is there a way that we can do this? Or any protection they can be offered?"

Eirene has left the Shadowy Corner.

Raymesin doesn't seem to really move much; he shrugs just a little while responding to something Ian says, murmurs a response, but little more than that. And yet, from relatively relaxed, the tall man's gone tense and very much aware of his surroundings.

Symonesse is obviously starting to weaken as she looks at Isabeau, frowning a little. "Perhaps, but without knowing specifics or why their names are in danger, I wouldn't be able to offer much more than that. I think speaking with others about solutions couldn't hurt at all." She draws in a breath and then says a little louder, "You will have to forgive me, but I don't think I can hold the ward much longer. If there is anything left to say, we should hurry."

There is one fleeting moment where Mia's dark eyes slide to Iveth, maybe at something that was said in the room, maybe at something that was said in their little corner. But in that moment, something in the woman's normally reserved exterior cracks, just a very little, and her posture shifts so as to lean towards him more closely than might be considered polite for acquaintances on a visit to the palace.

Isabeau quickly and succinctly summarizes, "Formorians."

Raimon's been largely listening and watching, fairly intently, for quite some time now. And he's perceptive and empathetic enough to sense the change in the timbre of the mood of the room. Rai's response is to take advantage of the break at the change in questioner to shift on over to a spot closer to the doorway, which brings him fairly close to where Ian is. Rai stops moving once Isabeau starts talking. Listening again.

Ian doesn't really go tense ever, but he does a different, deeper, more alert kind of calm, sometimes, something that he does now.

Lucita nods to Mia and her lips form the shape of "Definitely, most serous."

Drake folds his hands, leaning over to mutter to a few people close by, but having nothing else to add for the moment. When the Queen says the wards may not hold much longer, he nods.

Just as she was trained to do, Thea starts to grow a bit more alert. She starts to mentally note exits and places, knowing her dagger is close to her persons. Other than that, she remains quiet.

Pushing up from his seat, Sebastian touches Raven's arm briefly. With a nod to her, and then to Lucita and Marzio, he quietly slips out the door: apparently intending to beat the rush.

Bhandn checks perception at normal. Bhandn is successful.

Raven frowns gently. Clear concern as she realizes this is personally costing the Queen. A brief look of guilt swiftly replaced by concern. She then notes Ian's posture and again there's bafflement but she scans the room more attentively again. She shifts a bit to stand a bit more protectively positioned near Sebastian and Lucita.

Sebastian has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Mattheu snaps his attention back to the meeting, the faint sound of bells as he shifts uneasily after the Queen mentions that she's unable to continue.

"They helped us once. I think they could be allies again." Symonesse nods to Isabeau and looks out over the room, her eyes resting here and there briefly. "If that is everything, I will drop the wards. The palace is still relatively safe, but..." She trails off, sighs, and then abruptly drops into a chair behind her, breathing a little heavily. The room seems to change a bit, somehow the light seems less gentle and golden.

Corban moves to the Queen when she falls into the chair behind her, protectively. "Your Majesty," he says, offering her arm to escort her. Whenever she is ready.

Lisebet stirs a bit, but remains in her seat for the moment. She writes some quick words down on her pages, before she looks up again. "Thank you, your highness," is all she says.

Throughout the meeting Sir Bhandn remained quiet. His eyes went from speaker to Queen, speaker to Queen almost restlessly the entire time. But something catches his eye, and then he's casting his gaze around the assembled crowd, and that most definitely is a restless search. A hand clenches at his side, but he remains quiet, and suddenly looks down at his side before muttering something that sounds like a curse under his breath.

Acantha feels the target on her back grow as lists and things are passed around. She gives a nod to those that speak, but she doesn't need to add to things. "Thank you, your Highness." she states before she rises to also leave. She had a lot to think on.

Jerrica has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

6 Grayson House Guards leaves, following Jerrica.

Elizabetha has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Raven raises her voice, "Anyone who needs the entries and research I have on the Horned one or as we call him, the Traitor, Do come find me and I shall share my library."

Prince Aindre rises from his place at the Grayson seating with a few murmured farewells for those who were nearest to him, a grin for someone and then he's moving along through the crowd as the wards of the great hall begin to fall, adjusting his eyepatch a little for some reason or another, maybe he's got an itch under there? He weaves through people until he's finally at the head of the hall again where the Queen has fallen into a seat out of exhaustion, the concern just a thing that gilds his normally polished demeanor even as he tries not to let it. "That was admirable to hold out that long for the sake of getting so much information out there, Queen Symonesse. I think you put a lot of questions to rest today.", he says gently with a smile that's for her.

Isabeau gathers herself to her feet and begins to step out.

Isabeau has left the Great Table.

Jerome, a bodyguard, Elaine, an older courtier, Morgana, a proper secretary, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Isabeau.

Lou finishes her conversation with Mia and heads toward the back of the room. For a moment it looks like she might be leaving, until she veers off to just lean against the wall, to get out of the way of those who are leaving.

Evaristo looks concerned, seeing the queen so tired. He gives her a charming and warm smile - she might not notice, but there it is. He then stands up and takes a deep breath, takes a moment to check the floor around him again, and then nods to those at the seats he is at. "A very informative meeting, and now... well, I got a plan, at least."

Samantha rises to her feet once the Queen has finished, and all the questions have been answered. She pulls the hood back up over her hair, and looks to Drake. She makes her way over to him, and murmurs a quiet word.

Raven begins to make her way towards the door, her guards hovering around her as she shuffles on out.

Raven has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Amari rises from her seat in the back where she's been here this entire time, listening and observing. She has a troubled and pensive look about her, but it's vague and unfocused. It's more as if she's chewing on something in her mind and finding it a bit inedible. With a courteous bow toward the Queen at the opposite end of the hall, those thoughts carry her off where they can be more fully mulled.

Medeia rises from her seat, quiet and thoughtful. Her gaze flicks to Symonesse, then she approaches slowly. "Your Majesty, do you need anything aside from rest?" The physician is concerned, but not pressing.

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat leaves, following Amari.

The sight of the weary Queen calling an end to a meeting makes Princess Katarina... seem to exhale? Like she's letting out a breath she's been holding for the entire meeting. She looks to those at her table, and murmurs to them quietly.

Denica folds her portfolio up and tucks it securely in the crook of one arm. A parting nod is offered the people at her table and a bow to the Queen, before the young woman turns her attention to the exit. Even steps takes her with swift purpose, leaving with a focused expression on her face.

Elaine, an older courtier arrives, delivering a message to Ivy before departing.

When the light in the room changes, Iveth quickly wraps up a conversation with Mia in the corner. Then he pushes off, making his way through the crowds. At one point he stops, like he has a decision to make. But before he goes to take care of whatever had his attention, he approaches where Symonesse is resting. He's still several feet away, not daring to come any closer than that. He sweeps into a bow that's fluid and perfectly executed. "You are radiant as ever. If you wish to speak, I think that you'll be able to find me." And quietly and without distracting from the others that wish to tend to their Queen, he begins to move away.

Denica has left the Great Table.

a reserved assistant named Stojan, 3 Inquisition Confessors, 3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Denica.

Aconitesmiles to her table mates. "Whisper.." She murmurs to Gianna and then nods to Matteau. "My lord. Goodnight."

And out slips the jeweler, eyes lingering on the queen before dipping out.

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound leaves, following Ripley.

Aconite murmurs to her table and stands. She curtseys to passing nobility before she too makes her way for the door.

Lisebet gets to her feet, and moves over to stand by Lou. She offers a brief smile and a nod, settling there for a moment, as she continues to muse over what she's heard and learned.

Cufre spares a sad glance to the plates of cake she'd forgotten all about in her focus on the discussion. A sad glance and a hand to her empty stomach as she heads out of the hall.

Ivy speaks quietly with the small group by the stairs before something catches the corner of her eye. Offering a quick apology to the group, she breaks away for a moment to try and approach the departing Iveth.

Cufre has left the Darkened Alcove.

Symonesse waves the concern off with a little laugh as she says in a gentle tone, "I'm fine. I just need to rest for a moment. Nothing that a good sleep and some good food won't fix." Her smile broadens once Aindre steps near and she says with a touch of humored exasperation, "You know, that used to be easy. I just hope this will be enough to help. I'm not as strong as I once was." If there is an edge of frustration to her tone, it is tempered by the sweetness of her smile. As Iveth approaches, the Queen reaches a hand out to wrap around his wrist to stop him. Silently, she squeezes the man's hand and then says softly, "You should have this. It was one of the last things she made, but I think it was always meant to be yours. She gave it to me to hold for you." There is no explanation of the 'she' that she refers to, only Symonesse removing a star iron and amethyst ring from her hand and placing it into his. "Too big for me anyway. Once I am recovered, I owe you at least three hugs."

Meeting over, Nirai eases away from where she's been leaning, turns smoothly on her heel, and slides out quietly with the rest.

Raymesin watches Symonesse and watches Iveth approach Symonesse, all from the shadows and next to Ian. His head tilts a little to one side as he watches, and there's a quick glance to Mia before Raymesin's watching Symonesse again.

"Of course," Medeia gives Symonesse a last curtsy before flicking a quick look at Aindre and retreating from the hall.

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat arrives, delivering a message to Gianna before departing.

Briar, the fleet and agile shrike have been dismissed.

Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean have been dismissed.

Lucita notes the queen's weariness and her set expression softens with a bit of sympathy. She rises, gives a curtsy and taking the Queen's statement as a dismissal to the group, rises and slips out.

Aconite has left the Green Table.

Lucita has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

When Iveth approaches, Corban is on guard, obviously. As he is a guard. But when the Queen reacts warmly, the tension releases and he falls to watchful listening. There is a curiousity, but he is too professional to ask.

Medeia has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Samantha stands there staring at the list for a time, a melancholy expression on her features. Then she folds it and tucks it away into one of many pouches, and glances around briefly. After a moment, she dips her head respectfully to the Queen. "Thank you for gathering us all together today to discuss these weighty matters, your Majesty. There is much to think upon." With that, she turns then to make her way quietly toward the exit.

Reedy, a King's Own aide have been dismissed.

Evaristo has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

With Ivy and Medeia taking their leave, Lianne rises from her seat and offers a hand, so gentlemanly, to Apollo. To Mirk, she notes, "It's been a pleasure to spteak with you, if only briefly, and I mean to make a point of doing so again so." To Evaristo, "And I know we'll talk again soon as well. Don't over-exert yourself, mm?" Brows arch sternly. With that, then, the Malesperos are off.

Evaristo has joined the Green Table.

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat arrives, delivering a message to Gianna before departing.

Lianne has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Apollo has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Siri, an attentive apprentice leaves, following Apollo.

Fajra, Apollo leave, following Lianne.

Ivy has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Marzio has left the Comfortable Crown Couches.

Evaristo has left the Green Table.

Gianna rises from her seat, adjusting the drape of her coat as she does so. She bows to the Queen and retreats.

Evaristo waves to Lianne and the rest. "I'm gonna be juuuust fine! How hard can it be?!" He grins cheerfully, then goes to stalk Gianna and follows her out.

Gianna has left the Green Table.

Alena Sparks, unamused first mate leaves, following Evaristo.

Evaristo leaves, following Gianna.

"We all slow down a little bit as we get on..", Prince Aindre assures the Queen without a laugh at all. The laughter is in his eyes, as it were. He is aware of her age and the absurd nature of what he's just said for the sake of a tease. "I told you the chair would come in handy..", he adds, a meaningful look on his face, leave it to a Grayson to be perfectly aware of when they're right about something. He's a quiet shadow after, through the interaction with Iveth. It's a perfect time for the prince to admire to archictecture of the great hall until the private moment has passed.

"Perhaps, Your Majesty, a much belated now-half-birthday party with your proteges may be a thing to lift your spirits," Mia says, turning to regard the tired and undoubtedly overwhelmed Symonesse. "A quiet table, a cake made by dear old Mab, and the only conversation permitted the decidedly silly sort. Unless giving you your gift now would lift your spirits. I've tucked it in my pocket today, just in case." Is she subtly trying to shoo the remaining crowd into giving the woman a bit of peace for a few moments? Maybe. Or maybe she's simply trying to make her laugh. Either way, she pats the pocket of her dress in what may be half a promise and half a threat that presents will not be escaped.

Mattheu has left the Green Table.

Lou nods her head to Lisebet, as she continues to watch the room. Her eyes seek out Mia to see if she is still there, and then also take note of the Queen. Her brow furrows. She bites her lip. There's a question that rests in her eyes, and some uncertainty. "Pardon me a moment," she remarks to Lisebet, then moves to sidle up to Mia for a few last words.

Drake has left the Great Table.

Katarina checks composure at normal. Katarina is successful.

Samantha has left the Darkened Alcove.

Judge, a black jaguar with golden irises, 7 House Deepwood Guards leave, following Samantha.

There is confusion upon Iveth's expression at first, but soon realization starts to set in. His hand turns over to accept what she has on offer and the longer she speaks the more obvious it becomes that his composure is about to break. His eyes, light green and lovely begin to flood with tears. He lifts it to his gaze so that he might read an inscription on the inner band and that is when a hitching sob is choked back. He breathes in deeply and now, he openly begins to weep. He brushes the moisture away with the back of one hand. "Thank you," he manages quietly. All else is ignored for the time being as he slips that ring onto one of his fingers and bows once again. "I will honor the sacrifice that she made to free me, I will set things to rights before it is my time." An apologetic look is spared for Ivy who has approached him. "I will write."

Mirk rises to his feet, as his group begins to dissolve. There's another bow towards Symonesse, despite his quietness throughout the evening. A couple nods of his head to familiar faces, and then he's heading towards the door at a brisk pace.

Mirk has left the Alcove By the Stairs.

Rurik, a prodigal assistant leaves, following Mirk.

Lisebet simply nods as Lou makes her way over to talk to Mia. The Ashford Duchess gives a smile and a curtsey to the Queen, another curious look at Iveth who she's not met, and then she turns to start to make her way towards the door.

Thea climbs to her feet and gives Symonesse the most awkward of curtsies. Belly in the way and all. Then departs as she has some work to do, nose in books and things.

As everyone pays tribute and departs, Katarina takes her turn. She approaches the weary Symonesse, hands crossed in front of herself, with an uncommon temerity -- 'uncommon' in the literal sense, in that her unease has no easily pegged source. The Princess draws in a breath, and once close enough to truly look at the Queen and see her basically face-to-face instead of across a great and vast hall, she becomes further relieved, to the point that her eyes are a bit wet. But only a bit. She keeps it together enough not to make any noticeable tear-stains running down her veil. "You inspire me, Your Majesty," she says, and dips herself into a deep, d-e-e-p curtsy, before lifting and turning to exit.

Thea has left the Great Table.

Raymesin continues to linger, for whatever reason.

Symonesse gives Iveth's hand a last comforting squeeze and she murmurs to him, "I think it was enough for her that you lived. It's enough for me, too, even though I know it will never be enough for you." Then, she drops the man's hand and gives Mia a smile that almost, but not quite, resembles her usual grin, "Mab's cooking is enough for me, but presents are never, ever refused. It's a Nox thing. Can't refuse a present, can't reject a fistbump." She smiles as she watches Katarina turn to go. It could be concern or exhaustion that lingers in her gaze.

Iveth does not manage to smile again tonight, "No, it will not. But thank you." Then he steps back and away and sweeps out of the palace as silently as he came.

"Of course. Please, don't let me keep you," Ivy gives a nod towards Iveth, a touch of sympathy on her face for his emotional response. She offers a fleeting smile and steps aside. Looking to Symonesse, she approaches, cautiously, not wanting to overwhelm her.

Iveth has left the Shadowy Corner.

Katarina has left the Great Table.

A dutiful Valardin aide, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Katarina.

Ian has a bit of a puzzled look on his face as he hangs around, upholding his sacred duty of upholding the wall by leaning against it.

Micana, an efficient assistant arrives, delivering a message to Raimon before departing.

In passing, Symonesse gives Aindre a look that is almost a scowl as she says, "You aren't allowed to call be old. Also, I am this close to revoking your right to always be right about things, too."

Lisebet pauses, glancing back, and then she shrug. There is an obvious moment where she seems torn. She steps out of the way of those leaving, and heads towards the Queen. She waits for an opportune moment to put in, "Your Highness, like Evaristo, I rather tried something I probably shouldn't have, and have the scars to show for it. I would respectfully ask to speak with you about it at your convenience."

Raja lingers in the shadowy corner, silent as she watches the interaction between Iveth and the Queen. Finally, she peels away from her spot, nodding farewell to those around her. With a swish of duskweave, she heads to the exit.

Raja has left the Shadowy Corner.

Raymesin waits politely for Iveth to depart, and then he's leaning away from the piece of wall that he and Ian are propping up. Stepping back into the light, he makes his way over towards Symonesse (and Corban, and Mia, and everyone in that general area). And as he goes, he's pulling something oblong out of a satchel; a book, in fact. "Mia ain't the only one got presents," he says to Symonesse. "There's not many copies'a this one, so don't lose it." And then a nod for Corban. "If I can 'and it over?"

Lou covers her mouth with her hand at what Symonesse says, giving Aindre an amused look. After a moment, she steels herself and says. "I might have something else that could help with finding relevant things and places. It's a long shot, and something I'd like to talk to you about when you have a few moments at some point." This is mentioned to Symonesse.

"Unable to reject a present? Is that so?," Mia replies, and though she doesn't smile, her eyes have gone bright with the sort of light that suggests she has suddenly had a wonderful, terrible idea. "I may finally have a way to repay Prince Tyrval for all his many kindnesses over the years." And gods above, the way she says 'kindnesses'.... but then there's a shake of her head, and she reaches to retrieve a small box from her pocket. "Something I commissioned from Ripley Thornburn, Your Majesty, as a gift in celebration of un-birthday, it seems."

Brigida grunts as she uses her staff to help her get to her feet, her face wrinkled with the effort as the old priestess struggles a moment. "That gets harder every time," she says in annoyance before catching her breath.

Reedy, a King's Own aide have been dismissed.

Prince Aindre, upon being called out, puts on his best and most innocent expression. He's pretty good at it. "I didn't say old. /You/ said old.", but he also consoles in the breath after, "You don't look a day past twenty-five, we should all be so blessed when we're..". He sort of mumbles a number, covers his mouth and fake-coughs into his hand to cover what he's actually saying. The Grayson prince isn't one to just stand around, he fetches a chair from nearby for himself and catches Lou's amused look and gives her a wink before planting himself quite to wait out the pleasantries as they're happening, watchful and seemingly in good spirits with the recovery of Symonesse's own humor through her exhaustion.

Ivy glances between Mia and Symonesse, a warm smile creeping onto her face whenever her gaze shifts towards the Queen. She touches a bag at her hip but leaves it be for the moment, waiting to see the Queen's reaction to the first gift.

Lisebet covers her mouth at the interchange, though her blue eyes dance with amusement. She steps back a bit, but only to allow those with gifts to give them, while she stays out of the way for the moment.

Symonesse grins at Mia and says, so helpfully, "Only if you put it directly in their hands. If you send it by messenger, they can just refuse to take it from them. Just so you know!" Because if there is one thing that the Queen is always eager to help with, it is tormenting Tyrval. She slants a glance to Aindre and says with mock indignation, "You -implied- it which is almost the same thing." Her brows lift as it seems that Mia has opened the floodgates to lots of gifts, which produces an extremely confused expression on the weary elf's face for a moment, before she looks between Raymesin, Mia, and Ivy and says slowly, "This was not how I expected this to end. Like I said before, I can't really refuse them..." She is looking at Lou and says quietly, "I think anything that could find other things we need would be a boon." After Mia offers the first gift, the Queen's eyes widen and she mutters mostly to herself, "Clearly, I need to start having birthdays more often. This is lovely, Mia. Thank you so much."

Merek walks along and into the place, he wears the dark attire he often does, listening while he will find a place to relax. He seems to be in that dark attire with the cloak about him.

Ivy takes stunning stygian necklace with bright green jade from The Silver Lining Garment Bag.

Collecting herself to her feet from where she had been lounging at a couch, Liara turns to move back towards the hall's entrance, a moment taken along the way to mention to Symonesse, with a light smile. "Thank you for arranging this. It was most insightful."

Something about the situation gets a ghost of a smile for Ian, from where he's holding up his wall. Wouldn't want it to fall over. That would be a buzzkill.

Raymesin steps forward when Mia's gift is given, and offers over the book. "Enjoy," he murmurs, then steps back. "An' now that's done, I can see yer knackered so I'll get outta yer 'air. Thanks for this evenin', yer Majesty. Been very interestin', an' I 'ope it's been worth 'ow tired you are now."

Lou inclines her head to Symonesse. "Until then,' she responds, and will likely follow up with a messenger later since the Queen is swarmed with gifts. She whispers a few quiet words to Mia then turns o leave.

Once the gifts have been passed and an appropriate time has allowed for examination, Ivy pulls a small package out herself and holds it out to Symonesse. "I can't say that I had this commissioned... but I expended a lot of effort into making sure this piece was purchased at a price it was worthy of. THat said, you do it far, far more justice than I ever could. Please accept this gift and may it bring you joy."

Willen leaves, following Lou.

"Birthdays only happen once a year, Your Majesty. But the good thing about unbirthdays is that you can have as many as three hundred and sixty-four of them, on whatever other day of the year you choose." And with that, she offers a curtsy and steps back from the assembled one step at a time. "So enjoy it. And a good nap. And as many more unbirthdays as you like."

Prince Aindre hadn't previously been looking down the great hall toward Lord Ian but the second the man smiles the Grayson prince's attention seems to drift in that direction. Maybe he was just perusing the area? Nonetheless, he busts the Kennex lord in the midst of having an emotion and the look he gives to him expresses that very thing. Busted! It's a look he smooths over with a smile, a pleased one for the sight of Ian having been there and then he's looking back to Symonesse with a little mock indignance of his own. "I need an adult. I'm being attacked by the Queen. Anyone? Who is the oldest person in the room? Can they help me?". Poor him. He definitely does not let his gaze cross paths with the Queen in his search for the oldest person in the room. Still, the good-natured smile doesn't leave his lips at all.

Symonesse just laughs when presented with the book and lays it one her lap, murmuring to Raymesin before he can get too far away, "I will be sure to send Tanith a fair and honest critique of this work of art." Which, if it is anything like her last 'critique' is just sending Tanith a bunch of drawings of laughing spiders surrounded by hearts. Ivy's gift is accepted with a bright smile as she says in a low voice, "You have exquisite taste and I am honored. You always have been a fantastic gift giver and I am glad to see that trait persists." Aindre's quest doesn't get a response from Symonesse. Her golden eyes narrow and she makes a vaguely threatening gesture with that book she's just been given...

Ian gives Aindre and his emotional radar a suspicious look. Then, without un-leaning from the wall (wouldn't want it to fall over), he raises a hand. "I turned 30 a couple of days ago. Does that count?" His flat voice gives no indication whether he knows how ridiculous 'turned 30' and 'I'm old now' are together. "Raven got me a bla -- an hourglass."

Mia has left the Shadowy Corner.

Thesarin has left the Shadowy Corner.

Oura, a white-tailed eagle, Valor, a juvenile male Oakhaven Bloodhound, 2 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors leave, following Thesarin.

3 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, Lianna, 1 Bisland pride guards, Feydin, a white-tailed eagle, Vigilance, a juvenile female Oakhaven Bloodhound, Thesarin leave, following Mia.

"I am glad that you like it, Your Majesty. I'm sure it will look perfect on you," Ivy offers with a small nod and a surprised but pleased expression at having learned something new about herself. And her past self. Then she's just pleased that Symonesse likes the gift. This is a good day.

Liara has left the Grayson Royal Couches.

Raymesin actually, honestly, grins at Symonesse's words - and then he inclines his head deeply to her. "I'm sure she'll be glad ter receive it," he says. "'Ave a good night. Day. Thing." And with that, he's turning away, only to offer Ian one of his more usual faint, dry smiles. "Young'un."

There's a quirk of Lisebet's lips, but this is surely seen far more often than an Ian amile. "Thank you so much, your Highness," she says to Symonesse. "An unbirthday? I think I might have to bring this idea home, though I suspect that Emilie will take it to extremes and declare it her unbirthday every day. Children are good that way." She pauses there though, and adds, "If you don't mind, your highness, I shall send you a messenger later as I would like to speak with you."

Wow. Ian's gone from having an emotion in public to tattling on himself. This is not his day. Aindre's in the middle of trying his best to look like he's scared of the idea of being whalloped with a book by the Queen when the Sword of Stormward admits to his recent birthday and he looks back to him. "You /hid/ a birthday from us?", he asks, without any clear reference as to who the 'us' in question is. "You might be a fancy thirty-year old adult with your age and your wisdom but how can I trust you now? Hiding a birthday like that." Then, as if he'd never forget even though Ian had /hid/ it he calls over, "I hope you don't mind your birthday gift will be late. I knew about it all along but sometimes the artisans need their time to work, you know..". That's totally it. There's a sigh for the state of artists and needing to take their time and all that stuff and then Aindre's gaze returns to Symonesse to watch over all the gifts she's receiving. He looks like he approves. "We should probably have a law or something to make all birthdays publicly known. Imagine the gifts our Queen would be buried in, yearly? And I'd never have to worry about friends trying to hide their birthdays again..".

Raymesin looks over his shoulder to call back to Aindre, "If yer find out when my birthday is, let me know?" And then, with a last few nods for familiar faces among the assembled, he departs.

"I would be happy to speak with you, Duchess Lisebet. I can, perhaps, offer some assistance with your condition once I have recovered from the day. Please, feel free to write to me." Symonesse says with a smile and a bow of her head to Lisebet. "Happy birthday, Lord Ian. Thirty isn't old. I have heard from some that you are only as old as you feel? I'm not sure if that is true, but perhaps a worthwhile thing to consider. These gifts have been lovely and such a surprise. I only wish I were better able to celebrate, but I should rest."

Raymesin has left the Shadowy Corner.

Ian snorts at Raymesin's parting words, but doesn't offer any of his own in return. "I would have kept hiding it," he says to Aindre, unrepentent, but Zoey told the whole Thrax ward. Just don't get me another hourglass. You're not far off me giving it right back, if you do."

Ivy gives a nod to Symonesse and, if allowed, leans in to press a kiss to her cheek. Something is whispered briefly to the Quheen before she pulls away and rises up with a smile full of warmth. "Thank you for drawing everyone in today like this. It was so, so needed. And for just being... a friend. Rest well, and let me know if you want any new teas or herbal blends. I made a new blend for the animals that I think helps when the weather turns colder. I'm trying to make it more palatable for people." Offering a nod to the others, Ivy moves to depart.

Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.

Lisebet sweeps an elegant curtsey and smiles. "If you let me know what your favourite tea is, I will see if I can bring some by next time." That offer is earnestly given, at least, Lisebet hoping it is something she can procure from one of the tea houses in the city. "I will send a messenger." That said, she once more heads to the door.

Merike the Merry, the Graypeak Mountain Dog leaves, following Raimon.

Lisebet has left the Gray Table.

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

So, for the OOC portion of this. Symonesse had dropped some hooks and ideas and there is a lot of other stuff out there already being sorted. My recommendation would be to meet up and RP about these things, find something that intrigues you or you want to find out the story behind it, and start creating plots for them so we on staff can kind of see where things are and start organizing how to GM these things for you all.

We are super excited to kick things off and the focus of this particular part of the metaplot is going to be on the smaller blows that result in hurting the enemy versus one, big old battle.

There are going to be more battles and GMed random events and all going forward, but what you guys find interesting to pursue is where we want to go with this.

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