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Velenosa-Grayson Wedding Reception

Houses Velenosa and Grayson join together to celebrate the marriage of Archduchess Jaenelle Velenosa and Prince Noah Grayson. Make your way through the Lenosia Labyrinth to the center to enjoy an evening of poor life choices. Getting lost in the maze is another viable option!

Date

Sept. 23, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Jaenelle Noah

Participants

Aella Grady Quenia Aindre Mattheu Viviana Cesare Bianca Sorrel Donella Varan Corban Denica Scythia Auda Giorgio Thea Calista Symonesse Caprice Galen Yuri Merek

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Velenosa Grounds - Lenosia Labyrinth - Fox's Den

Largesse Level

Legendary

Comments and Log


Lamora, Quartz, a very sneezy kitten arrive, following Auda.

3 Proscipi veteran guards arrives, following Giorgio.

Fiore, the elegantly long-limbed androgyne arrives, following Caprice.

As the sun sets over Arx, the center of the maze has been decorated for a celebration. Lanterns scatter the grounds surrounding the gleaming white tower that sits in the center while the area is large enough that people are able to move freely and find more private spots to speak. Servants carry trays of wine, the rather specific wine that Medeia has had the vineyards of Saikland create for the event, and tasting plates for people to nibble on popular Southern Lycene foods. The bride and groom stand by the opening of the maze leading into the center to greet those who arrive. Clearly just glad no one has died along the way.

3 Thrax Guards, Springbottom, the ravenous pygmy goat, Chief Rin Redreef, Hrafn the stoic raven, 1 Thrax Elite Guards arrive, following Galen.

A riotous running in circles finds Aella and Viviana practically falling into the Fox's Den with laughter. The countess straightens quickly, not quite managing to stifle her smile as she adopts a more proper posture. The raven feather cloak she wears is pushed back over one shoulder, her arm offered out to the princess to take. "This is amazing," She murmurs as she snags a glass of wine for Viviana and then one for herself. An effort has been made to look like wedding appropriate with a blue seasilk dress and matching slippers.

Grady comes traipsing in, almost arm in arm with one of the servants. He seems to have decided that the easiest way to get to the heart of the labyrinth without having to walk too terribly much was to make friends with someone whose business it was to know the quick way through. His guards are elsewhere, maybe having 'accidentally' gotten themselves lost, but Mortimer's following along behind Grady, carrying a small cask on his shoulder and looking like he's not being paid enough for ANY of this. "Oh! Here we are. Just in the center, easy as anything, just like you promised. Thank you ever so much. I know I should have been wandering for hours if I hadn't run into you. Probably would have shown up just as the party was drawing to a close, yes? And then I would have had to turn around and do the whole thing all over again. You are the savior of my evening." The servant has things to do other than listen to Grady's chattering, but he does stop her for a moment more. "Oh! One more thing. Have you any idea where I ought to have Mortimer drop off the wedding present?" She doesn't, really has things to do, and thus Grady is left to figure it out for himself and Mortimer's left to keep carrying the heavy cask while his employer figures it out.

3 Last Watch Sentries arrives, following Donella.

Quenia's assistant has made certain she got out of the house. She's dressed in a lovely starlight silk gown this evening, sans armor. The armor is a myth. She's arrived alone, having no one to escort her and she meanders here and there and everywhere throughout the maze until she finally finds the designated location. She may have also been delighted at the various trinkets that have been set aside for the guests.

Prince Aindre's been in no real hurry at all to find his way through the myriad turns in the Lenosian labyrinth, taking him time in his wandering through the deep shadows of the thing with Queen Symonesse on his arm to keep the worst of the darkness at bay in the places between the lamps. So, with all there is to see and admire it's a wonder the pair of them manage to arrive with any semblance of being on time for the Velenosa-Grayson wedding reception. "I should have known you were playing the mischief-maker the third time you turned us in a circle..", the Grayson is accusing Symonesse of about the time they finally arrive at the center where so many of the guests have gathered. He's smiling when he says it, good-nature thick about his demeanor just before he allows his gaze to drift out across the people who've arrived prior to spot a few faces he knows and plenty more he doesn't.

The maze which was created for their ceremony was made all the more colorful as one lone Rivenshari wandered throughout, a soft melodic jingling following them through hedges and tunnels as each chest was found, followed by a small whistle for each of the items held within. Then more jingling from bells as Mattheu Rivenshari makes his way in circles to get to the reception, passing through the clearing to the fox's den as a burst of color with a nod towards the wedded couple then searching out a drink.

"We could have been privateers, Countess, just you remember that --" Viviana murmurs, dropping a wink. It's a wink because the sightless eye's behind an eyepatch. There's an embarassment of star iron that's set against subdued ivory and powder blue. All of her blades are peace-bound tight, but present, making this appearance as the Sword of Setarco. The most dangerous is the Countess that she's escorting, the firebrand in ocean blues. "Almost would have gotten away with it."

Draped in glimmering twilight tones and clearly taking the warming of the weather to heart, Cesare drifts into the center of the labyrinth alight with excitement, dark eyes reflecting the golden glow of the lanterns. It's not like it's hard to spot the bride and groom, and he steps over immediately, politely waiting his turn to say his hellos. He dips into a deep bow when he approaches the pair. "Congratulations on this happy occasion. The Labyrinth looks wonderful, you both look stunning. Particularly you, Archduchess - your choker, the crown - just stunning. I wish you both many years of health, cooperation, and joy together." He extends a pair of small wrapped packages to each of them, with a slight smile.

Mattheu has joined the a private corner.

Bianca has not died. But it's probably because she arrives escorted by Sir Corban Telmar. After all, the King is still alive! It's a safe bet. The Legate in her seasilk wrap gown of carmine and sunset colors steps complacently alongside the King's Own First Captain, her silver eyes wide with awe at the white marble tower. She inadvertently tugs Corban's arm in a bid to get there faster, her scholar's mind quite clearly itching to examine it. "Have you ever seen anything so enchanting, Sir Corban?" She does slow her steps upon spying her patron and his new wife, a smile rising to her rose-stained lips. "All the blessings of the Gods upon you both, Archduchess, Archduke-Consort. Limerance's, especially."

It's a pretty romantic maze to wander in, and Sorrel and Galen Thrax find their way through it together, arm in arm, totally not dead. The Warlord of Thrax is the elder brother of the bride, and his wife has long been a friend and companion to her sister-in-law. She's wearing a fiery outfit, looking rather cheerful, and she beams at the newlyweds as they come to the center. "Archduchess! Archduke-Consort! Congratulations! I'm so happy for both of you!" Sorrel says enthusiastically as she bounces up behind Bianca and Corban.

"Lord Mattheu!" Grady is distracted from his 'find a place for Mortimer to put the heavy thing' task a lot faster than he'd be if it was HIM carrying the heavy thing. "So glad to see you here. I don't suppose you've come as part of the entertainment? With your violin?" He sounds hopeful.

Donella is keeping warm, and to hell with it anyway. She will not be doing an impression of any psychopath frozen in a maze, not even for Jaenelle's wedding reception. Maybe next time? But here's Nelly. Pleasantly rumpled from her trip through, she smoothes herself down with her hands, and follows Sorrel and Galen in to the receiving line. "I particularly liked the Archduke Consort's vows," she comments.

Varan arrives at the center of the maze with Calista at his arm, the pair complementing each other in both crimson and ebony. First and foremost, they greet the bride and groom at the entrance. "Congratulations and best wishes to you both." he says with a charming smile to Jaenelle and Noah. "All the more reason to visit the Lyceum ward now." There's a glance and a grin shared with Calista before they move onward so others can greet the newly married couple. He then leans close to murmur something to the Duchess of Roses.

"It is really quite tremendous. All the twists and turns as befit a maze from the Lyceum! I am surprised that I did not need to dodge poison and assassins at a ball to get myself to the center!" says Corban, but it is all in good humor, escorting the Legate, the two of them making it out to two large events together. He then bows his head to the Archduchess. "Lord Sistermander. It is so good to see you. And Prince Noah. Congratulations."

Arriving arm-in-arm with Thea, Denica navigates her celestial themed gown with deft fingers. The young woman is wearing a cheerful expression on her face, bright smile and lively eyes. Everything interests the artist, all the details, especially the small ones. She is easily lost to the overall scene, taking it all in with avid curiosity. She is chatting quietly, but her attention drifts, towards the newlyweds and the receiving line. She steps the pair in after Donella, giving a warm smile to her sister before she speaks up to the duo of the moment. "Congratulations cousin!," she says to Jaenelle before her words encompass the two collectively. "Congratulations to both of you, all the best to you today and onwards into your journey together," she says with a bright tone letting her voice carry enough to reach them.

Arm in arm with Giorgio, Scythia arrives in her usual crimson red. The chains that hold the seasilk closed glittering with the multitudes of gem-studded chains that criss-cross over a lividly scarred shoulder. Her usual inexpressive features remain, though her dark eyes dance with delight at the surroundings, unable to resist being marginally charmed as she immediately, though gently, begins drawing her escort with her to one place after offering Jaenelle and Noah a curtsey of respect.

Scythia has joined the private niche.

"..Should I have brought a date," muses Auda as she trails in behind the Thrax royalty. She's got her lovely bottle of wine, and the little fox broach pinned to the label of her usual charcoal leather coat. She hasn't dressed up all that much, it seems, beyond the duskweave blouse and a smattering of jewelry. "Congratulations, both of you," is offered to Noah and Jaenelle with a theatrical bow, but then she's moving aside to let others greet.

Mattheu has left the a private corner.

Mattheu has joined the dance floor.

Donella smiles to Denica's congratulations, and teases aside, "Assuming they make it out of the maze alive. Fortunately they have hacking tools for parting favors, and plenty of cake and wine."

Quenia follows the line of people also arriving, offering her own greetings. "Archduchess. Prince Noah. Congratulations," she offers, giving them each a warm smile. That said, she moves on so as not to hog the line for the other well wishers, looking around to find a place to settle. She chooses the private niche.

Quenia has joined the private niche.

"Puf- Princess," Aella smirks at Viviana. "There's little stopping us from doing that /now/. Or in the future. I recall the archduchess putting word out for such some time back..." A wink is given to Viviana before taking a sip of the wine. "Strong. Good. Let's get the pleasantries made." She leads them over to Jaenelle and Noah, offering a formal bow to the newlyweds. "May the gods bless you, and keep your consort out of trouble." Her eyes flick to Noah. "Don't trip her when you dance, aye?"

Arriving with Scythia on his arm, Giorgio is clothed in a mix of silvery whites and reds and there's a dart of his gaze about the room, taking in those that have already arrived. A bare hint of a smile rests upon his lips and he's paying his respects to the newlyweds with a respectful bow being offered. Then, he finds himself being drawn in one direction and he's moving alongside of Scythia, a cant of his head allowing him to offer in quiet tones, "I'm not surprised that there is quite the crowd here."

"I'll take you around after,"Thea promises Denica as they walk inside. She smiles as they step over to Jaenelle and Noah, waiting their turn, nodding when their time arrives. "Congratulaions Archduchess and Princess Noelle." She clears her throat, because clearly that nickname isn't going away. When Denica and Thea step away, she goes to grab a drink. "Countess Aella, Princess Viviana, hello,"she greets.

3 Last Watch Sentries have been dismissed.

Giorgio has joined the private niche.

Bianca gives Corban a curious smile, touching his arm in question. "Sistermander?" But she turns to greet Sorrel as well, lifting a hand in greeting. "Cousin. I hope you're well? You look ravishing this evening, though I cannot think of many times when you do not."

"Congratulations, Archduchess Jaenelle and Arch-duke Consort Noah Velenosa. The name just rolls off the tongue so nicely." Calista dips into a curtsey as she moves with Varan to greet the bride and groom after they've taken their time through the maze. Together, they are not unlike the famed Torean rose gardens at midnight and while she is the epitome of Lycene design, Varan showcases his exceptional Grayson appeal. They move on shortly after only for Calista to lean in and smile brilliantly at the soft words spoken privately to her. She sees many familiar faces as they arrive, and though she keeps one slender arm threaded with Varan's, her other hand lifts to waggle fingers at Donella, Corban, and Thea.

Denica turns a grin on Donella, "hacking through foliage is a true test of any union," she says with mirth flickering in her icy blues. A glance over to Thea, she lets her attention drift to the women she greets. Aella is met with a warm smile, "Countess, a pleasure to see you again." The later is unfamiliar to her and she just flashes another smile. Lots of smiles. It's a celebration, Denica seems to bring her bon-vivant demeanour with her today.

Grady gets a tap on the shoulder and a pointed throat-clearing for Mortimer. "Oh, yes." He circles around to the receiving line, and whenever he moves through, he's careful not to hold up the line: "Congratulations, Archduchess Jaenelle, Arch-duke Consort Noah. Ah. House Deepwood would like to offer a reminder of the Crownlands and home, not that you're packing up and moving to the Lyceum just yet, your Grace, or at least I assume not." He smiles, broad and warm. "I'll just... no, it's quite large, isn't it. I'll have Mortimer put it over there." He points at a random place which may or may not be the correct place to put it, but let's just put poor Mortimer out of his misery. In the non-stabby sense of the word.

Symonesse doesn't even try to deny it when Aindre accuses her of deliberately sabotaging their efforts to make it through the maze. Instead, she smiles sweetly and says with a little laugh, "Getting a little lost can be fun now and then! Anyway, I was just testing your navigational abilities and look at you! You passed! Congratulations!" She does a little cheer for the Grayson prince before she laughs and winds her arms around one of us, leaning in the murmur a little, before she glances around and starts to slowly make her way toward where the recently married couple is seeing their well-wishers.

Viviana touches her glass to Aella's, nods the once with cheery approval, and it's time to make with the proper introductions to the newly wedded. "Good luck. Remember to always use the pointy end first--" with a sweep of a formal bow.

Caprice arrives alone as she frequently does at shindigs! The better to people/clothes-watch and weave in and out of other people's conversations. Embracing the brightness of spring well before the weather has truly given up winter's ghost, the exertion of successfully navigating the maze (only a few turns around...honest!) leaves her pale-colored shawl more of an accessory than a requirement for the time being. Into the line of well-wishers! Short and sweet, her congratulations, and a layperson's benediction of the gods before she's moving to let the next in line borrow a moment of the newlyweds' time.

Calista has joined the a private corner.

Denica has joined the small square table.

Sir Corban steps away from the happy couple, and then touches Bianca's hand in return. "The Archduchess is the sister of Dame Leona, the former Lord Commander. Thus, she is the Lord Sistermander. And I believe Eleanor adopted her?" Not literally, of course. He is not entirely sure there. "And she was so helpful in raising funds to complete the statue of Lord Commander Dayne in the Hall of Heroes. We are tremendously in her debt."

Mattheu heads towards the wedded couple, "I don't have a gift, other than a saying that we have."

Mattheu says in Ravashari, "Follow the winds and you'll end up where you're meant to be, try to use the wind to go where you want to go and you'll find a fight.""

"It translates roughly to, "Follow the one that will guide you to the places you're meant to be, fighting them to go where you'd rather, will only end in misery." Mattheu nods to both Jaenelle and Noah with a soft grin before he heads off in a soft jingling aloof direction.

Thea spies Calista and wiggles her fingers. "Cousin, hello. How are you? Long time no see." There's a smile at Caprice as well, nodding her head. When the queen enters, Thea gives a formal and respectful curtsy to Symonesse.

Donella steps in to delightedly kiss-kiss at Calista's cheeks, assuming that nothing from Tor or its surroundings tries to cut her for it. Reaching for her free hand, she says, "Look at you, my rosebud. So beautiful, still! You make me sick with envy. You remember my sister, Denica, don't you?" Corban's distant mention of Leona softens her manner for a brief time, and she says, "It is good that they did this now. I think people need the reminder of renewal at the moment."

Bartolomeo, protege of Signora Lauretta Tessere arrives, following Yuri.

As Aella leads Viviana toward the dance floor, she stops to greet some other familiar faces. "Countess Thea, Princess Denica. A pleasure to see you both." To the princesses in question, she makes introductions, "Princess Viviana Pravus, this is Princess Denica Thrax." The countess is, perhaps, a bit stiff and overly formal - she'll need some more wine.

Grady is freed from care and Mortimer's nagging, now that his assistant has gone to find a nice place to sit down and rest, free to roam the space. Somewhere along the line he winds up with a glass of wine in his hand that he's not really drinking. It looks elegant, though, or it would if Grady wasn't a particularly graceless brand of thin. But his smile, broad enough to crinkle the corners of his eyes, is the smile of someone who is delighted to be where he is.

Varan collects a glass of wine from a servant's offered tray and hands it to Calista before he collects one for himself. Together they walk toward a quiet area of the enclosure while the prince nods in greeting to various family members and friends -- some he hasn't seen in quite a while.

Varan has joined the a private corner.

"Indeed! Congratulations!" The Warlord of Thrax erupts with his melodious voice. Galen's stormy eyes then fall on Noah and his lips beam into a bright smile, "I do hope you're prepared to handle my sister!" with a light-hearted laugh he turns to Sorrel and sweeps one arm around her to draw her close and place a warm kiss to her lips, "I'll be right back!" he offers with a wink before turning to move toward his sister and brother-in-law. The Prince carries himself with a gracefulness much like a large predatory cat, a mixture of fluid movement with a hint of stalking. He's dressed in his finer silks, darker blues trimmed in greys, it is truly a rare appearance for the man. His hair pulled back neatly, his moustache perfectly manicured with practically a swagger of its own. Galen would waste no time making his way to his sister and Noah, offering a polite "Pardon me!" to anyone he bumps along the way. "I wish you both all the love and happiness that one could dream of, and then some!" a wink of a stormy eye and then a kiss to his sister's cheek accompanied by a whisper. Noah is his next target, not being spared a kiss on the cheek and a whisper of his own, then with a final clasp of a hand to the man's shoulder, Galen turns with a grin while making his way back toward Sorrel.

Donella has joined the dance floor.

A wink can travel far, and Caprice offers one back in return to Thea - the better not to draw too much attention to herself while she resumes her less-than-circumspect study of all things sartorial.

Yuri slipped in rather quietly with another attendees of the festivities, glancing around idly upon the guests before he meandered off to wherever the alcohol was being served; undoubtedly where double-pouring and reckless abandon of propriety in serving sizes will not be questioned. Whiskey glass in hand, the lord paced off toward a corner as the guests continued to pile in even after the doors had opened.

Calista greets Thea then Donella as they all do the Lycene air kiss greet. Suddenly there is wine in her hand and she blooms when Varan has procured them something to drink. "It has been some time, Countess Thea. You look wonderful as always. It is so good to see you now that this horrid winter chill has broken. Princess Donella, you flatter me so. Have you seen Alejandro lately? He was just speaking of you the other day." There's a little wink there for the Redrain Princess-Consort. "It has been years, but yes, Princess Denica, how do you do. May I introduce you all to Prince Varan Grayson." She says while gesturing to her escort for the evening to the handsome Grayson man beside her. "Prince Varan, this is Countess Thea Wyrvenheart, Princess-Consort Donella Redrain, and Princess Denica Thrax."

"A fitting and impressive title for a woman who is, by all accounts, beyond peer," Bianca surmises to Corban's explanation, shooting a backward glance to Jaenelle and Noah as the Legate steps away with the King's Own. "Shall we explore the tower, Sir Corban, or are there greetings you wish to make first?" Her silver eyes stray back to the impressive white marble like a siren's song.

When Galen abandons her for the moment, Sorrel moves to embrace Bianca with a smile. "Cousin," she says brightly, beaming at the Legate. "It's always good to see you. And with Sir Corban!" She winks at him cheerfully.

Yuri has joined the a private corner.

Grady notices something, and starts with a little more purpose in the direction of the alcohol. Which, certainly that can't be like him, can it? No, it's not. He's there for Yuri, something that he proves by breezing right by the whiskey. His smile fades to something warm, but a little more neutral as he speaks to the man for a moment.

Corban waggles his fingers at Sorrel nearby, smiling at his dear friend, before his attention is drawn away by the offer to go explore the tower. "Oh, I should rather like to explore," he says, warmly. "Please, do lead on." Sorrel, however, does get a hand squeeze. "The Legate is kind enough to let me escort her to the Laurent Winter Ball and then found my inoffensive enough to let me escort her here."

Donella has left the dance floor.

Having likewise freed himself of his gifts, Cesare drifts over to mingle with the partygoers. "Lord Grady!" he says brightly. "Green suits you very much. I read that you were injured on a recent trip to Artshall? Are you well now?" His drifting too takes him in the direction of Yuri, therefore - and he has some idea, probably, of what Grady is saying.

Denica catches the introduction that Donella makes and her curious eyes drift towards Calista. The smile on her features, deepens and she nods her head. "It has been a turn, lovely to see you." Her attention then re-aligned with Varan and she flashes the man a smile, "we've met, but it's nice to see you again, your highness," she says in a cheerful manner. Catching the introduction from Aella, she flashes another smile and nods her head to Viviana, "pleasure," she says to the other woman.

Prince Aindre cuts a Look at the Queen of the Compact, further accusation there save for the quiet playfulness around the edges of it, "It's good to know all those hours spent in the hunt and wander of the Gray Forest weren't for nothing, I suppose. If I can make it through a winter in there, I think I can get us through a hedge maze. Elven trickery or not..", he promises her, letting his smile hint just briefly at something like a grin before he's moving along at Symonesse's insistence toward the newlyweds where they're standing. "You've really done it this time.", he assures the Archduchess Regent with a small widening of his smile. Is that a congratulations? The griffin-prince gestures to the Nox'alfar at his side and tells her, "Despite all the dangers and distractions of your labyrinth, I managed to get the Queen here to give you her gift. It's a lovely reception you've put together for this.", this at his most polite.

Thea chuckles at Calista. "Agreed. I hope to see you about more. I'm sure I'll be out more often as well." When she's introduced to Varan, Thea nods to him, a smile appears. "Pleasure to meet you." Thea finds Cesare and Grady with her gaze, wiggling her fingers.

No sooner than he had settled within his cup, Yuri's eyes darted upward rather quickly at two faces wholly familiar that were beginning to sift his way. There was a slight pause before Grady was upon him rather quickly; a quick moment to finish off the sting of the whiskey that burned down his throat before glancing in Grady's immediate direction.

As people begin filing into the center, Jaenelle smiles warmly at each person who approaches. "Blessed Bianca, Sir Corban," she greets first as the pair move forward. "We appreciate the wonderful words, and hope that the Gods have blessed this union. Please enjoy yourselves, and I hope you found the small tokens of our thanks throughout the maze before finding your way here." Her eyes widen then as they look over Corban's shoulders and there is a sudden softness to her features when Sorrel and Galen arrive and there are a sudden wave of unshed tears that are quickly blinked back. "You are here," she says softly looking at her brother, listening to his softly spoken words. There is such emotion to the usual composed woman and she leaves Noah's side to huge him, then Sorrel as if its her fault. She releases them and steps back, needing to become the hostess again even if she just wants to hug her brother again.

"Donella" she grins, sniffling the last remaining tears away, "they were well written though I am sure he didnt write anything and made it all up on the spot. I was impressed as well. Next time you need a speech writer, I would ask him for his opinion." Or not. Dont do that. "Prince Varan, I married the wrong Grayson," she teases with a grin, though she easily shifts towards his escort, "Duchess Calista, you look stunning. Thank you for your kind words."

"Countess Aella and Princess Viviana. Now I know you'll never admit this in public, but I am certain Prince Noah is thrilled you both are here so he has someone who may like him." A dip of her head is shifted towards Denica and Thea as they come in behind Viviana and Aella, "thank you, Denica, hopefully the journey is full of adventures, though not too exciting ones. I like peace. Thea, did someone pat you down before you came here for reasons?" There is a good natured squint of her eyes before a package is handed to her from Cesare and she smiles as she peeks at what is inside. "That is beautiful! You are the greatest present gifter I have ever met." She really likes the ring. Then Grady approaches, "are you giving me the Crownlands? I accept. I am sorry, Cesare, but you are second best gift giver. I was just given an entire fealty as a wedding present. No take backs." Liara is going to be so angry.

To Mattheu, she can't help but grin, "oh My Lord. Noah and I fight more than we get along for the most part. He is difficult and stubborn and he gets me so angry. It is one of the reasons that I married him, because of his ability to annoy me so badly I lose my cool. I pride myself on being composed and thinking logically, and I could not have someone who is able to get beneath my skin as an enemy, so I married him." She lifts up her wine glass to grin then towards Noah.

"Pleasure's mine, Princess Denica. Oh -- more Thrax -- Bladesong. Princess Sorrel Thrax - Prince Galen. It's a pleasure, truly." Viviana murmurs with a dip of her head and a higher lift of her glass. "A sea-going Pravus can always appreciate the sea-going Thrax. Personal styles aside, of course -- it's a fashion thing. Not a politics thing. I mean, oh, it could be that too. But there's cultures and customs and choices and so - on - and what's a scandalous opinion, mm?" After a beat. "We like Noah? Huh."

Varan gives a polite bow in greeting to both Thea and Donella and a charming smile to follow. "Countess. Princess-consort. A pleasure to meet you both." His attention then pivots toward the Thrax princess, that smile of his remaining. "Likewise, Princess Denica." His free hand smoothes a small section of his waistcoat while the other continues to hold a wine glass, his gaze returning to Calista as he does.

Bianca embraces Sorrel in return, warm and smelling of forest. "He is every inch the galant knight, chivalrous and kind to escort an old woman around to these events. We were just about to enjoy exploring the tower and the rest of the maze. I hope we'll see you within, cousin?" Jaenelle's quip is overheard, and garners a beatific and pleased smile from the Legate of Creation. "So well matched."

"Yes, soon! I think I have to go introduce Galen to people. This is what he gets for spending too much time at sea. He's terribly popular when he returns. A person of interest," Sorrel tells Bianca with amusement as she nods to the Legate and her knight, then drifts over to greet Viviana and Aella. "Your Highness. Countess. Have you met my husband Prince Galen?"

Grady squeezes Yuri's shoulder, and says one last parting thing. Then he turns on his heel at the sound of Cesare's voice and hits the Whisper with the full force of his smile. He laughs in a way that sets his hazel eyes sparkling, just a quick bit of mirth that sounds like it's designed to downplay any worries that he might be injured. "Hurt? Goodness me, no. The trip was as safe as anything. But you know, a long time on the road. Travel's on the list of things that doesn't agree with me terribly well. I was a few days recovering." Did he give away the whole Crownlands rather than just a few fermented Crownland apples? He's smiling right past that possibility. The whole Crownlands isn't going to get anyone drunk, but the fermented apples, might. "Countess Thea! Have you escaped Count Drake in the maze, or has he escaped you?"

Quenia has left the private niche.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira leave, following Quenia.

"Well, we have to make all those hours wandering the words worth -something-," Symonesse says with a bit of a giggle before she guides Aindre through the crowd. She gives little waves and grins here and there to those that she recognizes and even complete strangers that even so much as look in her direction, as if they are all old friends no matter if they've never spoken before. Finally, her dainty feet finally lead her to Jaenelle and Noah. She nods to one of her attending King's Own, who apparently also plays the part of Gift Tranport this evening, and passes along a delicate spun glass jar to Jaenelle as she says with a bright smile, "Congratulations to you both. I saw this snack jar in a shop window and just knew it would be a perfect gift for you. Who doesn't love snacks in jars? I did not include snacks, but maybe someone else brought snacks as a gift?" She takes a step back and gives Jaenelle a long look and her voices takes on a note of sincerity as she says, "I do hope you will be very happy."

"Shall we find a seat? There is a flurry of activity and I will be honest, it has been a while since I have been thrust into the company of so many at once." Calista says to Varan while idly gazing about for a place to sit and talk more comfortably. This invitation is also open to the ladies in their current presence.

"No -- there was only a name and the rumor of a very impressive mustache, your Highness," Viviana tells Sorrel, looking very grave. Then, she brightens with a dazzling smile. "The rumors are justified."

Donella makes her curtsy briefly to Prince Varan. She is without her prince at the moment and feels the lack. "Perhaps he'd also chew my food for me?" she jokes to Jaenelle's effusion. "No one gives a tinker's damn what I say, and never has-- remember, I told a Dominus to sit down and eat a potato. So anyway, I might as well enjoy creating a contrast for your husband's well-spoken ways to get more applause with. You are perfect, and we love you-- and for that reason Darren will not let me come and live with you, he says."

Aella laughs in response to Jaenelle and Viviana. "Aye, we do. I think we're the only ones. Not that folk can tell on account of how awful we are to him." And he deserves it for how awful he is. When Sorrel greets her, she gives a bow to her and Galen. "Your Highnesses, good evening. I haven't met your husband. Countess Aella Ravenseye, well met," SHe offers the prince. "I'm not at sea nearly as much as I'd like. And... Aye, quite the mustache."

There's a dramatic gaze at Jaenelle as she gasps. "Pat me down? Your grace--whatever for?" The flecks of gold in Thea's green eyes shine brighter. Grady gets a wink, she telling him,"Both. Though the real answer is he got called away and sends his Congratulations as well." The latter is meant to the couple.

Scythia and Giorgio stand and speak quietly in that quiet niche for a time, before the Thraxian Lady seems to decide something, clasping one of her escort's hands, rather than his arm and draws him with her towards the dancing floor with an expression that says she will do it if the man is kicking and screaming if she must. Hopefully, that much isn't necessary. In fact, she even unbends her usual stoic expression to flash a dazzling smile to Giorgio as she moves, both in invitation and lure.

Yuri bid Grady a respectful nod and a smile to pair with it, waiting just a bit before the man had paced off with Cesare to converse before he took a gentle pull from the whiskey in his glass and found himself a seat at the corner he had consigned himself to.

Galen offers a deep and dramatic bow toward those his wife has introduced him to, "Prince Galen Thrax, Warlord of Thrax at your service!" as the Prince rises his smile widens, "The pleasure is all mine I can certainly tell that. Though, the rumors about the moustache are certainly true." Galen feigns a scoff while allowing his stormy eyes to wash over Aella, "Well I certainly know how to fix that! You should come out to sea with us sometimes!"

Scythia has left the private niche.

Scythia has joined the dance floor.

Mattheu has left the dance floor.

Fiore, the elegantly long-limbed androgyne leaves, following Caprice.

As the pair converse in their quiet corner, Giorgio offers a smile here and there and when he finds his hand claimed, only for Scythia to begin 'dragging' him to the dance floor, there's a quick laugh that falls past his lips. He goes willingly, forgoing the kicking and screaming, a warm smile tugging back to his lips, "Claiming that dance already, are we, my Lady?"

Varan gives Calista a nod and then pivots to allow her a better view of the enclosure. "Of course. I'd offer to venture back into the labyrinth for a walk, but I might get us lost again--" He grins at that, amusement glinting in his green-gold flecked eyes. "Wherever you'd like to go, Duchess. We can sit, if you prefer."

Giorgio has left the private niche.

Giorgio has joined the dance floor.

"It is an amazing mustache, I must say. Really, it's how he lured me to the Mourning Isles in the first place," Sorrel says with a laugh as Galen starts making friends, grinning at him. "And he's quite the sailor, too. I'd be lost in an instant, but his command of the seas is impressive. At least to me. A girl who grew up in the mountains."

"Well, I'm glad to hear you weren't injured," Cesare answers, a little wryly. "You did make it sound rather serious. I am going to have to have Lady Medeia make up some tea for you, something with a bit of a kick to it, to fortify that immune system of yours. I put together a blend which has this little dried pepper in it - just enough for a little pep and a smoky taste. You should come over sometime and I'll take you through the storeroom where we have the dried herbs. You can make your own private blend." He casts a gaze over toward Yuri, observational, but says nothing as Yuri occupies himself with a drink and a quiet corner, occupying himself in conversation with Grady for the moment.

Donella calls over, "Galen! Cousin, if you are going to continue to call yourself a Warlord, then I want to be called a Peacelady, even though that sounds like a tragic variety of lily."

A deep curtsy is given when Symonesse approaches and Jaenelle offers the woman a soft smile, "Your Highness. Thank you for coming." She then shifts her attention towards Aindre and he is given a more amused look. "You are a brave man, Prince Aindre. You should have carried her to peek over the maze walls for direction, but even then I am certain she would have lied." Then the jar is handed over and that amusement is transfered back to the Queen, "I am certain it will be filled with many wonderful things. If not snacks then other useful things. Like...well. Brownies are the most useful things I can think of so I might just stick with snacks." Then she smiles softly, and nods, "I hope so too."

"A likely story," Grady laughs to Thea. "I rather imagine he wanders the hedges to this moment, and all of us cheerfully celebrating only a few feet away. There does seem to be something about labyrinths, doesn't there?" He listens with interest to Cesare's description of the herbs he has at his disposal. "I hope you do know that I'm going to hold you to this airy festive promise made by moonlight, Softest Cesare. I shan't become drunk enough to forget."

Cesare checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Viviana checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 10 lower.

"Prince Galen, I accept that invitation." Aella offers a grin to the Thraxian warlord, "I've been sailing about since I could stand." With a glance to Viviana, she dips her head. "Excuse us, I owe this one a dance." Once her wine glass is drained and deposited, she nods to something the princess said quietly and allows herself to be led to the dance floor.

Sorrel checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.

Donella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Scythia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Aella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.

Giorgio checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Auda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Corban has joined the tower's platform.

Denica checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Bianca checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Corban checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Bianca has joined the tower's platform.

Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

"I rarely make offers I don't intend on seeing through, my lord," Cesare replies dryly. "You are welcome at Seawatch Sanctuary whenever we both have a free moment. Providing I survive the next few weeks, of course. I can't say that Lady Medeia will be as willing to let you raid her herbal stash." He retrieves a glass of wine and sips it primly.

"My command of the sea is far less impressive than others, though my sense of direction is certainly far superior to even those who may be more sea worthy than I!" Galen says with a chuckle before cutting his eyes toward Donella and narrowing them playfully, "What was that Peacelady? I can't hear over this amazingly beautfiul and large crowd here to celebrate my sister and new brother," he winks. "My love," he begins while turning his gaze to Sorrel as the others excuse themselves, "I often wonder what fables you spread about me," he teases, "Those two seem lovely perhaps they would like to kill a sea monster or have me throw an eel at them," that last part is said with a chuckle, clearly an inside joke he has told his wife about.

With the flurry of excitement, the dancing, the games, the noise, Calista clings to Varan for a moment and gestures towards the entrance back to the labyrinth. "Perhaps someplace a little more quieter. Besides, I think there are more gifts we just didn't get a chance to search for. Perhaps we can swipe a bottle of wine for our travels. The Archduchess can put it on my tab." Her lips curl with a certain Tehom-may-care smile as she leads Varan out-a-that-way.

"Ah.. she /did/ ride on my shoulder for a few twists and turns. It was not dignified. I'm glad it was dark. Thankfully, I have broad shoulders.", Prince Aindre admits to the Archduchess in a tone that's just a touch lowered, as if he's letting her in on a secret. Of course he silences himself to let the Queen offer up that snack jar and probably Symonesse can't see it at all when the Grayson prince mouths at Jaenelle, 'It's. An. URN.', with a pleased smile and night-darkened wink out of that one good eye of his that.. well, with just one eye, maybe it's more of a blink? He has to put a bit of an emphasis on his expression to show it for what it is. He slides right back into the conversation to sensibly suggest, "You could probably put brownies in it. The sky's the limit, yes?", before pulling away entirely and urging the Queen along with him, into the gathering of people.

Varan has left the a private corner.

Auda has definitely found a glass of wine by now. She might even be on her second! Bright green eyes are flitting about the Fox den, taking in the decorations and the set-up. She's even admiring some of the fashion as she meanders her way towards the dance floor.

Viviana's -- got an eye. And the eye is on her dance partner. Her attention shifts, momentarily, because the Pravus thought she heard something about sea eels -- and then then it's back to the business of dancing like everyone's watching. Totally understandable, really, because literally everyone is more perceptive. "Can't be better than Noah, either. He's Gra -- oh wait. Velenosa now."

Bianca, traversing the tower's platform with Corban, tilts her shock white head to the side, pausing the galant knight a moment to bend down and pluck up a brightly colored pouch with a note attached to it. "Oh, dear. It seems as though someone has lost their..." She stops, reading the note. Her mouth parts slightly, just a soft inhale of feminine surprise. The drawstrings are loosened from the pouch and she shows the insides to Corban - two breathtaking pieces of spidersilk. "It seems as though I have *found* a gift," the Legate amends with a beatific smile to the knight. "Goodness, aren't we supposed to be the ones showering them with gifts?"

Calista has left the a private corner.

3 Fidante House Guards, Santino leave, following Calista.

6 Grayson House Guards, Marshal, a quiet archer and assistant, Calista leave, following Varan.

"If one doesn't give at least the occasional spurious offer under a moon as bright as thione, one is, I think, doing SOMETHING wrong," Grady declares airily to Cesare. "But it is perhaps best to try and find someone who's on their way to being too drunk to remember you made it, or things might become just a bit awkward, come morning. Not that I speak from particular experience. Although I did make sure to ask my wife to marry me during the day, lest she think I was using the moonlight to have a bit of fun."

"Well, I'm sure you can convince them to come along at some point on one of your voyages," Sorrel replies to Galen with an amused smile, reaching for his hands to pull him towards her. "Come. Let's dance for the moment, and then get drunk on your sister's wine."

There is a genuine surprise as Corban looks down into the pouch, taking it in. A slight gasp as he looks from the spidersilk to Bianca and then back. "How tremendous!" he declares, placing a hand over his heart. "And it is very special spidersilk indeed. From a very special spider." His eyes twinkle, saying little more about that, as he trails after the Legate.

Viviana has left the dance floor.

Viviana has joined the dance floor.

It's Symonesse's turn to give Aindre a Look as she lowers her voice to say in a playfully accusatory tone, "You said you weren't going to tell that we cheated!" Now that the 'snack jar' is out of her hands and into Jaenelle's, she plants an elbow into Aindre's ribs and makes a face at him before smoothing her expression to face the Archduchess once more. "See? Brownies would be a fantastic snack for the that snack jar. Aindre was trying to tell me that it wasn't a snack jar at all but what does a Grayson prince know about interior decorating, no offense Prince Noah, but really. If I have a question about hunting or swords or... greatness, I will ask a Grayson prince. For gifting and interior design, I trust my own judgement!" Symonesse positively beams at Jaenelle and, as she is dragged off, she calls back, "Enjoy the snacks." Then, she lowers her voice and says to Aindre, "What were you mouthing over my shoulder? I saw your lips moving out of the corner of my eye..."

"Now lord Grady,"Thea tells the Lord with a squint. "What makes you think I would tell such a lie?" She takes a drink, amused. Thea's eyes look over to the dance flor and just shakes her head. Nope. No forcing this evening!

Galen takes his wifes hand, "I think I can afford a dance with such a stunning woman as yourself," he grins while allowing her to lead him. "I cannot have too much wine, you might be trying to get me drunk and take advantage of me!"

Sorrel has joined the dance floor.

Galen has joined the dance floor.

Aella's attention is on Viviana. "Aye, Velenosa. Don't suppose that makes him less great? Unlikely." Her hand lifts to the princess's shoulder so she can take the lead for their dance.

Jaenelle mouths 'urn' after Aindre does when Symonesse looks towards the other man so not to be caught, offering a slow nod of her head. "I will bring it to our next tea, Queen Symonesse. Filled with...things." Things! She grins when she watches them slip off, noting in the distance people have found pouches of things. Jaenelle seems over quite pleased with the way things are going, and leans into Noah to speak to him quietly now that people have been greeted.

Corban checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

"I'm sure you never told a lie in your life," Grady laughs to Thea. "Come dance with me. I promise not to make you dizzy for the sport of it."

With an elated smile as Galen steps onto the dancefloor with her, Sorrel looks as though she might be one of the happiest people here, and she's not even the one who just got married. As the music plays, she helps to guide her husband along with the beat, and she moves quite elegantly.

Cesare checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Sorrel checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Scythia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Denica checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Thea checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Giorgio checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Auda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Bianca checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher.

Viviana checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.

Donella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Denica has left the small square table.

a reserved assistant named Stojan have been dismissed.

3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.

an ostentatious curator named Sivas have been dismissed.

1 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.

Donella shhhhhhhhhhhhhs at Bianca, playfully lifting her own little pouch. "Its to keep us from running off with the silverware. I approve of the bribery."

Yuri took the opportunity to rise out from his seat, peering off to see how many guests had been slowly rising and hopping to upon the line to greet the wedded couple. An empty glass was deposited on a table that seemed to be primed for collecting spare glasses. He approached Jaenelle and Noah's table, if he were able to reach the head of the crowd. A respectful bow was granted toward Noah and Jaenelle both, waiting patiently and politely until he was addressed or the Archduchess and Duke gave leave for him to approach their table when they had a free moment to have an audience.

Yuri has left the a private corner.

"Oh, you and your dear wife," Cesare says. "I look forward very much to meeting this storied lady someday soon. She must be quite a prize indeed, because I can tell how devoted you are to her. It is admirable." He peers over. "I think I may go and say hello to Queen Symonesse. I've never really spoken to her before, or Prince Aindre. Would you like to join me?"

Bianca winks to Donella. "Do you think it will work? I'm not so sure. The designs on the knives were exquisite."

Thea really eyes Grady. "Oh. Now you think I'll dance with you. You'll insinuating an awful lot,"Thea teases. But she slides to her feet, muttering,"I hate dancing. Even Drake has to force me,"take that refilled drink with her.

"It's true, I know very little about interior decoration. I'll stick to hunting and greatness. I know my place.", Prince Aindre admits, giving the Archduchess a knowing smile even if he jumps a little when he catches one of Symonesse's sharp little elbows right in his ribs. It's a very dignified jump, take his word for it. He comes off a touch surprised as he's departing with the Queen and she makes it known he's been caught in the mouthing of his words, though it's a surprise he smooths off his expression in short order to replace with a broad, brimming sort of smile just for her. "Oh, what was I mouthing? I was asking her why her new husband looked so stern. He looked a little stern, don't you think?". Before anyone can piece anything together there he gestures toward the part of the Fox's Den situated for dancing and asks of the Nox'alfar, "I know you wanted to finish searching out the corners of the labyrinth, but the night is still young is it not? Before we depart for that, perhaps I can talk you into a dance for the occasion?". Upon hearing his name, the gaze of his one good eye drifts around until it catches on Cesare rather curiously. "Once you're done with visiting, that is.", he murmurs to the Queen.

Scythia dances with Giorgio, a pair who suits each other quite well. At some opportune moment, he dips her and one of her hand releases from his neck to rest against the floor, coming up with a small pouch before she goes up onto her feet as well, laughing as she says, "Good timing." to her partner. Her eyes flicker over to Symonesse at something she saw in the same moment, her chin ducking respectfully in the midst of her dancing.

Donella smirks, and takes a sip of her drink, circulating past Bianca with an airy response. "Absolutely sure it will not, as I have put a silver bounty on the Archduchess's little teaspoons before-- my daughters collect them. But it is the thought that counts"

"A bit out of fashion, just at present, the love match," Grady admits to Cesare with a fond smile. "I have been told that Her Majesty is a 'literal ray of sunshine', no doubt by someone who didn't have the difference between 'literal' and 'figurative' drilled into them quite as tediously as I did." He takes Thea's arm, but leads her after Cesare rather than towards the dance floor. "I wouldn't dream of forcing you, Countess Thea. Better to let that wonderful drink you're holding convince you of the rightness of my intentions." So he's putting a pin in the dancing thing, and bringing Thea along as Cesare's makeshift train, for now.

As Giorgio dips Scythia down towards the floor and her hand leaves his neck to slip down and then return with a pouch, he can't help the hint of a chuckle that falls past his lips, even as he gives a shake of his head, "Finding random things on the dance floor, are we, my Lady?" And when she's back on her feet, he's drawn her back in, "I suppose that does make for good timing."

Donella sips, and teases, "Wait till you experience what they've baked into the cake..."

"Lord Yuri," Jaenelle begins, there is a pause to her words as if so much is said without saying anything at all. "Thank you for coming," she then says to the man with a soft expression. It is never easy to give your sympathies. "You and yours are in my thoughts and know that anything you may need forward to see that justice is found only is a missive away. We shall see this through," she promises.

"There's cake?!" Viviana's suddenly delighted.

"The teaspoons, hm? I'll keep an eye out," Bianca replies to Donella, good humor lacing every syllable. "As I'll now keep an eye on the cake, too. Did the Archduke-Consort make it, by chance?"

Aindre does manage to very effectively distract Symonesse out of further questioning to determine whatever he said to Jaenelle over her shoulder. Briefly, she glances in Scythia's direction and gives the woman a small wave before her attention returns to the conversation at hand. She looks behind her in Noah's direction and then says in a low voice, "How would I know if he looks stern or not? Maybe he doesn't like snacks? Or weddings?" As a well-known lover of weddings AND snacks herself, the Queen seems briefly baffled by the very idea that someone could not absolutely adore both of these things, but then there is an offer of dancing and she lights up nearly as bright as the moon as she smiles in absolute delight and says, "I've been waiting to get out of the house all winter. I might even let you talk me into TWO dances." As the Grayson prince at her side looks in the direction of Cesare and his companions as they approach, she looks that way too and smiles in greeting as she bows her head, "Are you enjoying the party? I do so love a maze! Once, Calithez had a maze built and promised a brand new title to whoever navigated it first. That stupid pig won, of course." Symonesse frowns and then she brightens a little. "But only three people died, so I consider that a success!"

Cesare casts an amused glance back over his shoulder. "Perhaps this is another of those instances in which there is a kernel of truth in such hyperbole we might consider the coining of myth and legend," he suggests to Grady, sweeping across the floor in a glimmer of violet, over to where the Grayson prince and the Queen of the Compact are /just/ talking about dancing. "Oh, I beg your pardon," he says, bowing deeply like a flower swaying forward in the wind. "Please /don't/ let me interrupt if dancing is on the line. Dancing should always be seen to with haste, I find, lest the spirit passes. Your Majesty, your highness - we've been in each other's company a few times now and I've been a bit reticent to introduce myself. But I am a curious creature, and as I am involved in the efforts to Bastion, I suppose it's an opportune time." He smiles slightly. "It's a /delightlful/ party, though I suspect you have been to much more exciting ones. Is this the same pig who judges bardic talent? I have /got/ to meet this pig. Lady Saccharin told me about him. She's wonderful. I am Cesare, Softest of Whisper House. It's lovely to meet you both."

"Archduchess; I thank you, as members of House Tessere would as well, but I wanted to ensure that respects and a fine congratulations was paid to yourself and the Archduke-Consort on, which is without a doubt, a grand occasion for House Velenosa and we of the Lyceum." Yuri began, giving a respectful nod to Jaenelle and Noah both. A smile was offered to Noah, "Welcome, officially, to the Lyceum, Archduke. I wish you happy days ahead, for you both." His words halted a moment at Jaenelle's thoughtfulness, "I wished not to draw much attention but I thank you for the support, my lady. I will pass such words along to my family so that they may as well rest easy. Be at east that we /shall/ not see this gross and heinous injustice go unpunished."

Donella comments on the Queen's story of the Thex court with a raised eyebrow. "I suppose any fewer and it would hardly have been worth remembering, and a very dull affair."

Thea naturally drags Denica with her, giving Grady a grateful look. Maybe. If you can read her face. "Softest Whisper Cesare,"she greets now after taking a seat. "I'm running into you everwhere." Another drink is taken, getting herself comfortable.

Noah lofts a brow above his left eye at something Galen says and then smirks. Because Noah rarely smiles. He reaches out to wrap his arm around his new bride. Yep. They got matching rings to prove it. His voice low to hers as the games start. "Well, I for one, am glad that no one died in the maze. Not that because no one died, but it would smell bad. Worse if it was off the bridge. Then there would be blo--" Wait this is a wedding. Happy things. He does the dutiful thing of staying at Jae's side. Nod here. Smirk there. Thank you here. All the boxes checked. When Aella says not to trip the Archduchess. He immediately puts his foot behind Jaenelle's to trip her. Although, it will end in a very well caught catch and a dipped kiss before he looks back out to the crowd. Of all the people. Where he's one of the center of attentions. A drink of wine is gathered and brought to his lips.

There's a certain restraint generally thought to be required upon one's introduction to royalty, but Grady, social acrobat though he may be in most situations, seems to have missed that lesson. His smile at Symonesse (and Aindre, who is close enough to be in the line of fire) is broad and warm, picking out flecks of green and gray in his hazel eyes as they light up. He bows, a bow that's far more correctly executed with regards to differences in station than the smile, but he seems to draw the line at his smile being too familiar, and doesn't go so far as to introduce himself unasked.

Scythia checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 1 higher.

Viviana checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 5 higher.

Cesare checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 27 higher.

Thea checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 16 higher.

Giorgio checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 6 higher.

Denica checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 31 higher.

Bianca checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 2 higher.

Sorrel checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 10 higher.

Galen has left the dance floor.

3 Thrax Guards, Springbottom, the ravenous pygmy goat, Chief Rin Redreef, Hrafn the stoic raven, 1 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Galen.

Auda checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 1 higher.

Corban checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 0 higher.

Donella checked luck at difficulty 5, rolling 5 higher.

Prince Aindre's too broad to be any sort of flower in the breeze but as a Grayson prince he's no stranger to the art of the bow and he proffers one for Softest Whisper Cesare with the utmost care and polish, though not one so deep that he need steal his arm back from Symonesse at his side. "We /have/ haunted some of the same rooms. I remember. You're not easy to forget, Softest Whisper. I can appreciate that you're interested in the efforts to retake and restore Bastion, it's an effort that'll require too many hands and too many talents and House Grayson is grateful for every single one of them." The man turns his attention to the Queen for a brief moment and therein his lips indulge themselves in another unbidden smile the moment before he promises Cesare, "I would not so much worry about the spirit of the dance leaving our Queen behind. I think when it is in her, the only choice is to exhaust it thoroughly to see it exorcised. The art of it comes quite easily to her." When his attention drifts back to Cesare he manages to look a touch skeptical about the pig and the quality of judgment it might pass upon bards. "Your talents are probably wasted on that animal.", he admits.

Denica is being dragged somewhere, she doesn't seem to care where, rather she has a glass of something in her hand. She probably doesn't quite care what's in the glass either, she's sipping on it and letting Thea take lead. The artist glances around, and something catches her eye. A little pouch, orange and flat, brows lift upwards and she picks it up. "Curious," she murmurs, not seeming to care if it is rigged, or maybe that is part of the fun, she tugs on the strings and opens it up.

"Somethings are more important that celebrations and should not be overlooked for comfort sake," Jaenelle informs Yuri with a smile. "Life is hard, it is painful, but moments like this help. Know that I am grateful that you came, though it might have been hard to do so, and I appreciate your well wishes. Go and enjoy yourself. Even for this small moment before we are forced to confront the darkness once more." A servant delivers a small box, pointing towards Scythia with a smile despite the other woman dancing. "Thank you Lady Scythia!" she calls out before she is dipped and kissed by her husband. "Noah," she says calmly as she is set correctly again, "what are you going to do when you drop me one of these days and I bounce on the floor?"

"It is a pleasure to finally meet you properly, Whisper Cesare. Don't worry. As Prince Aindre says, I am quite filled with the spirit of the dance and will see it expunged before the night is done." The Queen smiles so brilliantly that one might, just for a moment, be forgiven for confusing literal with figurative for a moment as she does seem to glow like she is filled with sunshine even when in the darkness. She bows her head slightly and then shakes her head a little, "You do NOT want to meet that stupid pig. First off, he is no judge of talent AT ALL. Second, he. is. a. pig. And he has the worst table manners!" For a moment, she seems about ready to launch into a full on rant about Calithex's court favorite, but she takes a breath, smiles, and says with a shake of her head, "Well, I will leave it at that. I am very glad that Lady Saccharin is making friends in the city." The warm golden glow of her eyes shifts to fall upon Thea and Grady in turn, saying softly, "Lord Grady, it has been quite a while since I have seen you in the city. What luck to run into you again at a wedding. And Lady Thea, you look lovely tonight."

Noah pauses to think about Jaenelle's question. He really seems to think about it. "Well.." His deep voice rumbles as he mulls over the question. In truth, he's trying to find the answer that will get him less in trouble. "Obviously, I won't drop you. However if I do and you bounce..." He trails off again. Is he stalling? "I'd admire the bounce. Offer to look you over privately for any injuries. Tuck you into bed." Then his voice drops more.

Donella is overheard praising Noah: Smooth.

Auda is overheard praising Noah: Was that some, ah.. not so sweet nothings that I almost overheard?

Thea peers over at Denica's box, eyebrow lifted in curiosity. "What did you get?" But she's distracted, because well---important! "Your Majesty, thank you,"Thea says with a smile. "You're looking rather lovely yourself. Though I can't say I've ever seen you not. How are you?"

At Jaenelle's words, Yuri offered a most cordial smile and he could bow so often in respect for the kind words, "Words cannot truly express my gratitude, Archduchess. I may not speak officially for my family, but I take pride in being here to represent them, if they were able to attend. I shall for a moment more, at least at your behest. For it shall be rude of me not to, of course. But after, I may need to steal away for business. Again, my most sincere of congratulations on this joyous day for Velenosa." His attentions were turned to Noah with the same respectful bow before he made himself scarce to peer about the Den and mingle a bit longer.

Bianca is overheard praising Jaenelle: Brave soul.

Something that sounds suspiciously like a giggle comes from Aella at the dance floor, her and Viviana having a quiet conversation as the princess leads them through the steps. The countess is not clumsy, but she isn't skilled in curtly dancing, and as the dance comes to end, she heads off the dance floor with Viviana in tow. "You know, there was something in the maze that cuaght my eye while we were running circles, let's go check it out." And so the pair slips away back into the maze.

Viviana has left the dance floor.

Aella has left the dance floor.

Havard, a battle-scarred gentle giant, Runa the clever, seafaring raven, Bryndis, another redheaded northern Prodigal leave, following Aella.

Grady bows his head respectfully to Symonesse. "I am, as ever, pleased to return to where I can best put my talents, such as they are, at the Compact's disposal, Your Majesty." The words would sound stiff, except his delivery, that clear tenor, is so warm and fluid.

Auda takes Pluvio Hangover Tincture from black leather belt bag for healers.

"That's kind of you to say, Prince Aindre, if I feel that my sartorial choices make it probably a bit obvious," Cesare offers with a soft chuckle. "Someone told me the other day they had /never/ seen a particular color I was wearing before, and I found that rather hard to believe! I quite like the shade you're wearingl. It is a perfect complement to your eye color."

He soaks up the beam of Symonesse's smile, the vividness of it even managing to coax a broader smile, one of the rare ones with a flash of white teeth and all, out of him. "Well - you've put it perfectly, Your Majesty, at least regarding my own feelings about dancing, but I have been a Disciple of Jayus for a long time, so I feel more strongly about all the creative arts than many. And that probably also explains why I would eagerly perform for even an ill-mannered pig." His smile, having faded slightly but still present, turns between the Queen and the prince. "I do hope I can perform for you sometime. I'm sure that you've seen truly legendary performers, but all performers and all performances are different, after all, and it would be an honor."

Donella fans herself with one hand, smirking just a little bit. When her guards finally catch up to her from the maze, she slips back into their mysterious depths, a nostalgic smile on her face, and nothing but well-wishes for the nuptial pair.

Finally, Auda slides off the dance floor, and starts to wander her wine-laden way back towards the newlyweds. Has she ever not had a glass in her hand, yet? Even while she was dancing, it was with wine. "Archduchess, Archduke-Consort, I brought a little gift for you guys! For the morning, even. I imagine you both might need it tomorrow." She beams, a bit toothy.

Something momentarily catches Cesare's eye near his foot - a piece of detritus, perhaps. "Excuse me," he says. Bending down to pick it up, it reveals itself as a small, plain-cloth brown bag. When he opens it to peer inside, his dark eyes widen in surprise. "I'm not quite sure this is meant to be here," he murmurs.

Finally withdrawing from the dancing floor, Scythia steps away and offers a curtsey towards the various bits of Highnesses, Graces, and Majesties that she passes near enough to, nodding to Giorgio as she smiles, "I do think that's fair and fine, Gio." she remarks to him with some evident amusement.

Corban has left the tower's platform.

Bianca has left the tower's platform.

Archimedes, the Grim Face of Owlish Judgement, Sir Alren, Clementine leave, following Bianca.

Reedy, a King's Own aide, Bianca leave, following Corban.

As Scythia steps away to be polite to those around, Giorgio follows suit, but rather then curtsey (as cute as it may have been), he offers a polite bow that bends just a bit at the waist. Raising back up, he looks back over towards Scythia, only to then offer her his arm as he flashes a smile, "I thought that you might find it a fair assessment. Shall we?"

Grady bows to Symonesse and Aindre, excuses himself from Cesare's company, and circles around to where Thea is sitting again. Just when she thought she was rid of him! "Countess Thea." He sits down across from her, uninvited, and puts his untouched wine glass on the table. "Please do come and dance with me." His tone is playful rather than openly cajoling, spinning a cheerful stream of nonsense for Thea. "Everyone will be mad with jealousy. If not of us, at the very least of me for having secured such a lovely partner."

Grady has joined the small square table.

Symonesse stares at Cesare for a moment longer, her golden eyes seeming unfocused for a moment as if she isn't just looking AT him, but also THROUGH him somehow. Then, she blinks and says softly, her smile warm and bright as sunlight, "Yes, you have been a devotee of Jayus for a very long time now. Your voice used to sing hymns that could make gods weep. I would very much like to hear you sing again. I wonder at how your voice has changed." They are odd words to say, almost nonsensical, but she is then shaking her head a little, as if trying to clear it, before she continues, "Well, just be warned. About the pig. He's a fool." She glances to Grady and says with a little laugh, "That is truer than you think, Lord Grady. I have every faith in you that you will serve the Compact well. And, Lady Thea, I am feeling much better now that the worst of the winter cold has passed. The nights get shorter, but the warmth is worth it."

"Your sartorial choices certainly help you stand out in a room.", Prince Aindre says by way of agreeing with Cesare, "..Still, here in Arx? That is no easy feat. I've always found it part of the wonder of the place, the myriad people and colors and styles, there is always something to watch is there not? Though it's no feat of ease, you rise to the top. Admirable. It must serve you well as a member of the Bard's College where all the brightest songbirds seem to gather.", he says. The Grayson prince tries to hide some of the amusement which threatens to overtake his expression whenever Queen Symonesse begins to decry the favorite pig of the Twilight Courts but he almost doesn't get his hand up to cover his mouth in time and there's a sense that, perhaps, that's on purpose. There's a curiosity to the loft of one of Aindre's brows as he watches the Softest Whisper retrieve the pouch near his foot, unsure of what's inside but waiting and watching as he adds, "..As for performances? You're right, everyone brings something unique to a performance. It would be a shame to miss any of them, from anyone. I don't have a great eye for the arts, but I do try and attend the College's performances when I can."

Jaenelle laughs at Noah's words, reaching over to pat his arm lightly, "right, of course." Though the more quieter words cause her smile to brighten a bit more and her brows arch in question. "I'll have that in writing, husband." Her attention turns towards Auda when she approaches and she eyes the gift. "Is this going to kill me when I wake up and realize what ive done?"

Scythia slips her arm into Giorgio's, casting one last uncertain look over at someone in the crowd in the direction of Cesare, Aindre, and Symonesse. She tilts her cheek into his shoulder and decides, "No time like the present."

Giorgio follows Scythia's gaze, only to then look back to her as he lifts his other hand to settle it upon the arm that had looped through his, "Very well." A smile is given and he's then guiding her in the general vicinity of Janealle and Noah, so that another polite bow can be given, along with another round of "Congratulations" before they can take their leave.

Giorgio is overheard praising Noah.

Giorgio is overheard praising Jaenelle.

Cesare's expression changes a bit at Symonesse's words, but not in discomfort - just interest and curiosity. "You're not the first one to tell me something like that," he says with a little huff of amusement. "Lady Saccharin told me I was very old, the first time I had a proper meeting with her. It surprised me. I'm not sure why - I just had this feeling that, being an orphan, knowing very little, perhaps I was brand new! It was a silly thought. You're the only one who has said that they knew my voice before, however. I will be very interested to hear how it compares, once you have heard me perform." He brightens again at Aindre's words. "There /is/ always something to watch. I was never short of interest in that regard in Setarco, to be sure, but here in Arx, I am spoiled for choice. I find it quite marvelous to see all the different peoples of the Compact here, mingling together. I'll send word of my upcoming performances when I know the dates! There will be a flower festival celebrating spring, and I am also performing at the opening of a new venue of Master Venturo Thayne's." Amused, he adds, "I'm everywhere, as Countess Thea implied. Difficult to miss."

Bartolomeo, protege of Signora Lauretta Tessere leaves, following Yuri.

Thea curiously hears Symonesse's words, her gaze turning to Cesare. "This somehow--doesn't surprise me. I can't wait to hear it,"grinning a bit. "And I agree, your Majesty. I'm starting to get busier, stepping out of more. I have much to look into. Luckily Highhill is coming along nicely." Squinting at Grady, Thea snorts. "You may have to feed me more drinks for that, but I mean the jealous factor may work." The impishness still hasn't left her eyes. "Oh, your Grace,"Thea mentions to Jaenelle. "I'll make sure to have your gift sent over soon as well. It wasn't quite ready yet." Gods help her.

Noah looks towards Jaenelle and offers down his hand. She's so pocket-sized. "Dance?" There is an inflection in his tone that makes the one word into a question. He smiles for her a bit though.

"No, no, nothing like that. You already have that, among Prince Talen's things." Auda laughs. "It's a tincture for hangovers. I'm sure with all the wine tonight, you both might want something for your head in the morning." When Noah asks his new wife for a dance? Auda starts slipping away.

In the middle of trying to tease Thea into dancing with him, Grady notes Yuri's departure. It's a subtle thing that doesn't even involve a flicker or fade of his smile, only a brief darting of his eyes; but it's enough for him to satisfy himself that Yuri is leaving safely. Then he's back to grinning at Thea. "If the stories about the redoubtable House Malvici are to be believed, I shan't have to feed you anything."

Scythia, too, follows up with that final wave of farewells and congratulations, but she soon is off, on Giorgio's arm.

Scythia has left the dance floor.

Giorgio has left the dance floor.

3 Proscipi veteran guards leaves, following Giorgio.

4 Redreef Wardens, Rylan, a distracted scholar, Captain Bryon Gethrys, 2 Seliki Pikemen, Giorgio leave, following Scythia.

"You should absolutely dance!," she encourages Thea. Denica, however seems content to remain where she is, sipping on a drink. Her mind is miles away, a distant expression, but not one without depth. A smile forms easily on her lips, lingering there, much like the rosy hue from the many glasses of wine. Denica glances towards the maze curiously, "I might go get myself lost. It will be a game. I will wander off and you can find me when you are finished. I'll leave a trail of ribbons and broken charcoal." Denica looks pretty ready to bolt.

Thea goes to give a wave to Scythia, but then finds a pouch in her hand at the same time. "Oh,"and starts to gaze inside. She smiles at the contents before eyeing Grady. "If it was the stuffed elephant seal head, Martino was just being dramatic..." Denica gets a look too. "Well I mean---I can do that. That will be fun too." Thea smiles at that too.

Jaenelle places her hand within Noah's when he asks her to dance, which causes her to blink a bit as its usually she who asks him. "Of course," she answers before turning towards Auda with a grin, "you are the greatest, and yes, I am sure if I drank Talen's colognes I would die a painful death." She squints again at Thea, before laughing, "I am sure I will love it when its finished!"

Noah has joined the dance floor.

Jaenelle has joined the dance floor.

Symonesse gives Cesare another of those radiant smiles and then says, "We will be sure to catch you then. I do very much love a concert. For now, though, I think I will finally steal Prince Aindre away for that dance!" She winds her fingers around Aindre's hand and gently tugs him toward the dance floor. He's not moving unless he chooses to move himself, though. So, to sweeten the deal, she offers playfully, "Two dances and then I'm going to steal a bottle of wine and see if I find some prizes in the maze myself. I am sure there are prizes in it. All mazes have prizes. If I finish the bottle of wine before I finish the maze, you might have to carry me out, though.."

Noah takes her hand and places it in his other hand so the closest one can fall to the small of Jaenelle's back to move her towards the dance floor. "You know her gift probably is coated in glitter. I can get that woman to drink anything if I put that glitter stuff into it." He offers as he pauses to study the others. A nod of his head in thanks and greeting. Jae is the wordy one of them.

Whatever words Grady was expecting Thea to say, the words 'stuffed' 'elephant' 'seal' and 'head', delivered in that order, were not among them. He does a double-take right on the edge of another bit of banter. "I do hope you're not taunting me with a stuffed elephant seal head that doesn't exist." His voice is Quite Severe, except in the sense that it isn't severe at all.

Auda just beams. "I love wine, but the headache is awful." She's shooing them off, though, and slipping off.. towards another servant, who has more wine.

Noah is overheard praising Jaenelle: The woman that has the audacity to marry me and convince me to marry /out/ of my family. Audacity, I say. Also, the most beautiful bride I have ever had the chance to witness. A beauty that is more than flesh and smiles, but timelessness. For I am sure she will forever be marked in this moment as the way I see her always. -- Hopefully because I'm not dead by morning -- A woman who's mere breath is an act of grace and who's personality captivates people, nations, and the world is better for her in it.

Thea eyes Noah. "I'm pretty good with poison if that's going to be a plan,"she warns. No reason. No threat. Just a matter of what is. As well as a look of innocence. Redirecting her attention to Grady, Thea really gasps. "I would never do such! In fact, I can likely bring you over to Malvici and show you. Caly kept it, I think to terroize him even more." She grins to herself, remembering that.

"If you're so ubiquitous, I am sure you'll find the both of us among the gathered and admiring before long. I rarely think I have the time for performances, yet somehow I always manage to end up at a good many of them as I said before.", Prince Aindre admits, the 'somehow' part of that mystery a little less mysterious by how the man cuts the gaze of his one good eye over at the Queen of the Compact in all her brightness and good cheer. "I'll await word of when you're next performing, and I do look forward to it." Before the conversation can carry on any further there's a hand tugging at his own and though Symonesse is far from large enough to tug the Grayson prince along she somehow does it with ease - not at all with his willing help! - and he's being pulled away with a quick wave for both Cesare and Grady before he's gone. "Two dances and a bottle of wine? As long as you don't get your hands on anything sweet. I'd rather carry you out of the maze than spend the rest of the evening sprinting in some vain attempt to keep up with you.", he says, clearly teasing even if he does look around to make sure the dancing area isn't adjacent to the sweets area in any way. Just as they reach their dance, he reverses who is leading whom and takes the lead, stepping out in front and tugging her along then.

"If I can't extract a dance from you, a promise to be shown a stuffed elephant seal head is... Ah. Well. I wouldn't say that it's just as good, now would I, but it's certainly a fine consolation prize, as far as they go." Grady is gracious in his giving up on the dancing thing. He tips an imaginary hat to Aindre and mouths the words 'good luck'.

Jaenelle is overheard praising Noah: He is alright.

Symonesse has joined the dance floor.

Aindre has joined the dance floor.

"Of course, Your Majesty, enjoy the dance," Cesare replies, bowing deeply to Aindre and Symonesse. "It's been a pleasure speaking to you both." As he watches the dancers whirl about the floor, with the opalescent and gleaming Symonesse and the pearl-blue Aindre heading toward them, his expression of cheer sobers a bit. He stands quite still for some time, eyes unreadably dark, at once part of and apart from the merry-making. Eventually, he slips discreetly toward the entrance-exit of the maze.

Cesare is overheard praising Jaenelle: An impeccably carried-off event from top to bottom; one would hardly expect any less.

Auda is overheard praising Jaenelle: Never has there been a grander, more lavish wedding reception ever.

Sorrel is overheard praising Jaenelle: No one throws a party like the Archduchess.

Cesare is overheard praising Noah: I did not hear him grievously insult anyone, and nor was anyone stabbed at the wedding reception. Excellent progress.

Thea is overheard praising Jaenelle: 6,She's great

Thea is overheard praising Noah: Noelle is fine.

Symonesse makes a face and, as it is mentioned, might just cast her eyes around to see where the cake and sweets might be just as a tactical measure as SHE is now being the one led toward the dance floor. "I might take something just in case. I don't want to starve while trying to find my way out of the maze after all! I will even bring some for you too!" Once at the dance floor, Symonesse gives Aindre a rather formal curtsy and holds her hands out to him, her eyes twinkling as she lifts her brows expectantly toward him, waiting.

Thea sighs at Grady. "You get one dance, alright? Just one though. If I step on your toe, don't be upset and love it." Climbing to her feet, she mentions to Symonesse with a grin,"Just take the whole cake. At least half. It'll be fine I'm sure,"then goes to dance. Because--promises.

Grady fairly beams as he escorts Thea onto the dance floor.

Grady has left the small square table.

Grady has joined the dance floor.

Thea has left the small square table.

Thea has joined the dance floor.

Auda pauses, midway to the snack table. She turns slowly on her toes, until she's facing Cesare, and then she's making her approach. "..Softest Whisper, do you have a moment?" Emerald eyes glance to Symonesse and Aindre, but then her attention is focusing on Cesare, fairly intently.

Jaenelle drags Noah to the dance floor, her voice lowering as she speaks to the man in a more private tone. "You know you are better at this then when we met. If nothing else comes of this union, I will take full credit for that. You're welcome to all those you dance with after me, Noah," she says to him after whatever it is she said before.

Immediately, Cesare stops in his slow retreat. "Of course," he says, turning to focus on Auda, a person who looks vaguely familiar but whose face he can't recall. His expression is pleasant, welcoming, but placidly unexpressive, perfectly calm. "What can I do for you?"

Thea gives Grady and amused twitch of her lips but takes his hand. "Don't look so happy. It'll fade soon as I stomp on your foot,"and starts to move her feet, keeping her beat. She's had lessons and not SO bad!

"I couldn't help but overhear the Queen talking about your voice." She pauses, glancing back to the dance floor. "..If you'd like, we could dance and talk? If you've another dance in you, that is." She grins, bright and friendly. "I have a showcase of performance arts that I'm organizing, at the Black Rose Theatre." The opportunity is dangled, regardless of whether or not Cesare wishes another dance.

Grady doesn't move with any particular grace, but even so, he turns out to be a pretty good dance partner. It's not high art or anything, the way he dances Thea around the floor, and it's pretty clear that his dancing style is mostly about making his partner look good, but for all of that, he doesn't run into anyone else and generally knows what he's doing. The high wattage of his smile doesn't hurt. "Now I see your hesitation. After all your insistence that you're a bad dancer, Countess Thea, here you go proving that the opposite is true, and in front of all of these eminent personages with such a broad social reach. Now there will be no end to would-be dance partners. Alas." Spin! Dip!

Denica seems content to make good on her word and as soon as Thea is distracted Denica is sneaking off with a bottle of something. There is a winsome expression on her face and she's off to find adventure. A smile flashes as she passes by Jaenelle and Noah as they dance. The artist doesn't intervene rather she leaves them with a few passing words, "these are the moments." The young woman doesn't feel there needs more clarification but rather her momentarily warm tone is sufficient enough. And with a few waves, a couple smiles, a definite twirl and spin, she's off.

Denica is overheard praising Jaenelle.

Denica is overheard praising Noah.

Grady is overheard praising Thea: A most agreeable, and dare I say elegant dance partner!

a reserved assistant named Stojan, 3 Thrax Guards, an ostentatious curator named Sivas, 1 Thrax Elite Guards leave, following Denica.

"As if I would let you starve..", Prince Aindre responds, letting his smile brim there on the fullness of his lips at the sight of the curtsey proffered by the Queen. He bows in return, a sweeping and ornate sort of movement that's about as graceful as the man gets before he rises up once more and takes Symonesse's hands in his own and pulls her closer until he can lift her wrists and drape her arms over his shoulders and use the freedom that affords his own hands to sweep her up that much closer. "If you save the cake, you'll have the proper prize for surviving the labyrinth, won't you?", he asks, falling into something slow that he leads her along into with him. He reasons further, "..That, and I won't turn a corner to catch you putting mischievous ideas into the head of some poor prowling nightcat or city squirrel..", with all the air of someone who is both teasing and has probably seen that before.

"Oh!" Cesare peers at Auda. "Yes, yes, I remember hearing about that, I've been - so busy lately, with all the -" he gestures airily. All the everything. "Are you - Auda, isn't it?" A pause. "I think I stole your shoes once." He offers her a hand. "I'd be happy to dance, of course. I love to dance."

All that dancing has likely warn out Thea. Or she just wants another drink. "Thank you,"she tells Grady, with a subtle nod of her head. Then a smile. "I can show you the head tomorrow, we can make a visit of it. There's a story there too, I promise." Watching those dancing, Thea, not wanting to interrupt, starts to head out. Someone looks rather happy to have gotten out this evening.

Noah pauses to smile at Jaenelle, but draws her very close. Perhaps too close for even a dance as he doesn't yet start dancing with her. He just stands in the middle of the dance floor for a few moments. His right hand comes up to brush some of her champagne tresses from her face. It's a delicate movement as he smiles a bit more to his bride at her lower words. Then his left hand encircles her with a command of her form and his as he moves through the steps. "I could always dance." The words come from his lips lower enough that she should feel it in his chest. "I just let you think I couldn't so you would stop asking. You didn't."

"I shall be waiting with baited breath," Grady promises Thea, walking her to the entrance/exit to the maze. "Although not bait-breath. I have mints for that. Good night, my lady. Thank you for the dance." He sees her off with a gallant bow.

Thea has left the dance floor.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant, Strawberry Pupcake, the Graypeak Mountain Dog leave, following Thea.

Auda can't help but laugh. "Oh, that was you, wasn't it!" She grins even more, and offers her hand out to Cesare. "Yes, that's me. I'm Auda." Belated, maybe, but she's clearly excited about.. everything. "I haven't been terribly aggressive about getting acts, but Lord Orland wants to do an.. escape act? I'm not sure the details, and then Lord Mattheu reached out today, but I haven't gotten back to him because.." She echoes the vague hand gesture.

Taking Auda's hand, Cesare sweeps her out onto the dance floor with all the poise one would expect, and all the panache that would be due any noble lady, regardless of the fact that they're both commoners. "I think it's an excellent idea," he says, waiting for the other dancers to pass before stepping in. "Is there a particular thematic intent you're seeking to showcase? I do write my own songs, as well, so I am happy to tailor my performance to whatever sort of mood and message you like."

Grady rocks back on his heels a couple of times, looking pleased with the night in general (or maybe pleased with himself, or maybe both) and makes an attempt at smoothing his hair that somehow only makes it into more of a mess. After a moment, some thought seems to occur to him and he strolls, whistling, back into the maze.

Grady has left the dance floor.

2 House Deepwood Guards, Mortimer Ridgewattle the Third leave, following Grady.

"..Well, given.." Another vague gesture with her hand, before it's placed on Cesare's shoulder. "..I think perhaps something about freedom, unity, triumph.. Something to inspire?" Auda's not quite capturing the feeling with words, but hopefully it comes across. She's a graceful dancer, smooth and agile as she follows Cesare's lead.


**********************************************************************
As the scouting parties draw closer to Bastion, they find something unusual. It's a /nice/ kind of unusual, however. Quiet roads, quiet forests. They expected to encounter a higher number of enemy shavs while traveling, but those numbers seem to be thinned out somewhat. Another point of note, numerous refugees that finally make it to their destinations indicate that they were waylaid by attackers and kidnappers along the road. But that they were later liberated by brave and honorable strangers, and then escorted to a safer point to continue their journey. Odd, but not unappreciated all things considered.
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Merek will make a way to the wedding reception in the Fox's Den. He does look at a fancy thing he picked up, on the way. He smiles, then will look to those still about. It's probably a little late, but he offers a small incline, "Congratuations." The Knight offers to his liege, and to Noah.

Jaenelle smiles towards Merek from the dance floor. Noah is anything but a vigorous...dancer, so she is able to talk to others even when his arms are around her and they move through the movements. "That you Merek. Welcome and I hope you got to explore the maze?" Then she turns her attention back to Noah, "I wonder if there are any favors left."

"Of course," Cesare acknowledges. "I wrote a song with a somewhat similar theme recently for my Midwinter Celebration." He hums a few bars, and sings quietly, barely loud enough to carry much beyond himself and Auda as they dance, "It's true that we're a Compact/Of different peoples and many lands/But the best way to open a locked door -/Is not with keys, but with joined hands." An eyebrow arches. "Perhaps something in that vein. More emphasis on throwing off shackles this time, though, since I took the cooperation route last time."

Auda checks dexterity and performance at normal. Auda is successful.

Auda tilts her ear towards Cesare just a little more as he sings, and there's just a faint hitch in her movements before she's finding the space where his song and the music for the dancefloor fit together. There was a moment where she might have stumbled, but that never came to be. "I don't know what your voice used to sound like, but it's amazing now."

Cesare huffs in amusement. "I don't know what it used to sound like either!" he says, which is an odd thing to say. "But thank you; I've worked very hard to get where I am, and, like most artists, am cursed with perpetual dissatisfaction. I love it, though. Singing. I could just as soon stop singing as I could stop breathing. Which is to say, if I stopped either, I imagine I would die. You are a very good dancer, I must say. Will you also be performing?"

"That's the way of art, isn't it? Sometimes keeping it inside is just as fatal as a sword, or sickness." Auda smiles, looking up to Cesare. "I might, but I'll be hosting. I'm not sure if I'd want to dance, or devise some acrobatics performance. I think I'm mostly hoping to get a full evening of performers, so I don't have to figure it out."



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